LOTR: What Sets Elrond Apart in The Rings of Power?

LOTR: What Sets Elrond Apart in The Rings of Power?

The Elven Evolution: Elrond’s Journey through Ages

Elrond in The Lord of The Rings

Amazon’s Rings of Power has sparked passionate debates among fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, both the books and the early 2000s movie trilogy. Some viewers expressed their discontent, claiming that the series deviated from the beloved characters in Tolkien’s lore. Surprisingly, the backlash against Morfydd Clarke’s portrayal of Galadriel was particularly fierce, with some comments veering into the realm of overt sexism. Talk about a fiery Balrog!

We all know that when someone takes a fresh stab at established characters, a little fan backlash is inevitable. However, the explosive reception for Rings of Power has reached legendary proportions. The series takes place eons before the events of Fellowship, so changes to familiar faces were bound to happen. One such face is Elrond Half-Elven, and the show’s alterations to his personality actually add depth to his character arc, turning him from a bright-eyed explorer into a wise statesman.

Elrond in The Lord of The Rings

Elrond in The Rings of Power

When we first meet Elrond in the main series, he’s already lived through the bulk of his long Elven life in Middle-earth. His greatest triumphs and failures are behind him, and he now assumes the role of a sagacious guide rather than a hero. The Elven kind is on the verge of fading away, a fate that Rings of Power sets in motion. Like many elves before him, Elrond is preparing to sail to the Undying Lands of Valinor, bidding farewell to the mortal realm.

This apparent detachment from the concerns of mortals becomes a source of conflict between Elrond and his daughter Arwen, who has fallen head over heels for the dashing Aragorn. Arwen is willing to forfeit her Elven heritage and everlasting bliss just to be with him. But Elrond’s insistence that Arwen leave Aragorn and Middle-earth behind stems not from apathy, but from the wisdom that comes with age. After millennia of living, much of it defined by cataclysmic conflicts, Elrond seems more like an observer of history than a participant.

Now, we all know that Elves in the Third Age have a reputation for aloofness. They’re not inherently evil, mind you, but they often seem disinterested in the affairs of Men, focusing only on their own realms. While Elrond is far less isolationist than most Elven lords, frequently offering shelter, counsel, and support to Gandalf and the rest of the adventurers, he stops short of directly mobilizing his own forces to aid them. It’s not that he lacks sympathy for Middle-earth’s plight; it’s just that he knows its fate rests in the hands of its inhabitants. As Elven power wanes with each passing day, their efficacy diminishes, making their final days seem like a morbid form of voyeurism more than actual living.

But Elrond cannot completely sever his ties to Middle-earth. Though toil and valor may prove futile in the grand scheme of things, he feels compelled to leave behind what power he still possesses: knowledge. In fact, it was Elrond, not Gandalf, who called for the non-Hobbit members to form the Fellowship. By uniting this group, Elrond sought to give Middle-earth its best shot at survival, closing the loop on a saga he personally witnessed. He was there when Isildur failed to destroy the Ring at the end of the Second Age. Its return now represents unfinished business for him, a personal conflict between his resigned nature and his indomitable spirit.

Elrond in The Rings of Power

Unlike the rebellious Galadriel of the series, Elrond in The Rings of Power is not as proactive but still has quite an impact on the plot. While the Elrond we know from LOTR has already seen it all, the Rings Elrond is still traveling the world. He forms a close, albeit initially strained, relationship with Durin IV, the heir to the throne of Khazad-dûm (later known as Moria), and acts as a mediator between the Elves and the Dwarves.

In season one, we witness Elrond’s early, somewhat clumsy attempts at statecraft as he and Durin IV navigate an agreement that will provide the Elves with mithril, a crucial element in their fading plight. They seal their alliance through displays of strength (rock-smashing competitions, anyone?) and creative storytelling. Even in his younger days, Elrond’s levelheadedness is already on display, resembling his future self more than the youthful Galadriel. However, his calm demeanor, which emanates from wisdom in LOTR, seems to stem from childlike wonder and unwarranted optimism here.

As the series progresses, Elrond’s initial optimism fades into stoicism as he loses friends, witnesses the fall of Moria, and comes to realize that his people’s salvation, which he helped orchestrate, might spell doom for the world. This tragic shift transforms a colossal figure who once dreamed of a new golden age for his kind into someone resigned to their mere survival. Elrond’s story is one of loss, and the wide-eyed elf bachelor in Rings of Power serves as a stark contrast to the logical, defeated, yet always helpful father figure who implores his daughter to turn her back on love.

Do you think Galadriel or Elrond is more powerful? Check out our article on that!


Note: The images in this article belong to their respective sources.