We’re in the final stretch of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power now. And after an episode that showcased a siege and a triumph, viewers and our characters are thrust into despair immediately. The Rings Of Power Episode 7, “The Eye,” is directed by Charlotte Brändström and written by Jason Cahill and marks a sharp turn in the series. In it, darkness spreads through fire and ash as the survivors of a cataclysm try to find safety. But as darkness spreads, the Harfoots confront evil and Durin is torn between friendship with Elrond and his duty to his people and his king.
The Rings of Power Episode 7 is as intense as it is gorgeous. Opening in ash, the red glow of the fires tinting the world, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) looks broken. From a moment of excitement and triumph, our characters have been cast down into despair. This episode serves as the finest example of cinematography and the series’ budget that we’ve seen yet. A once vibrant and joyful moment is desolate and empty with the exception of dead bodies and a few survivors. This is how you pay off a climactic event.
Additionally, unlike the team on House of the Dragon, The Rings of Power Episode 7 uses minimal light sources to color its scenes but darkness never obscures the actors nor the scene. Effects and set design teams, and cinematographer deserve the loudest of applause. Even though the survivors of the siege and the cataclysm find themselves on dead land, transformed by ash and the perfect terrain for orcs, the scenes aren’t just dark or gritty for the sake of being so. The burning land is present and atmospheric, enhancing the sorrow the characters feel, as injury and loss begin to affect them deeply.
Surprisingly though, The Rings of Power Episode 7 manages to also weave in the storyline between the Dwarves and the elves concisely without feeling overstuffed. In fact, in their golden halls, and with the most prosthetic works of any of the characters, the dwarves have the most emotion and soul in their confrontations with each other and in Durin and Disa’s weighing of what is right for their people and what is right for others. As fans of the franchise will know, mining beneath the darkness is what leads to the fall of Khazad-dûm.
The writing is on the wall, both in King Durin’s (Peter Mullan) warning and in the foreshadowing of the Balrog in Episode 5. That said, the focus of this section of the episode is to build deeper bonds between Elrond and Durin (Owain Arthur), and to ultimately showcase a small ounce of hope in the episode’s atmosphere of crushing defeat. If only for a moment, until Elrond is left alone. And yet that isn’t the most emotional moment for the Dwarves, instead, it’s the somber and firey exchange between Prince Durin and his father.
But the strongest part of The Rings of Power Episode 7 is held in Queen Múriel’s resiliency and crafted front after suffering injury. The reason that J.R.R. Tolkien’s work has resonated for so long is that at the heart, it’s about resiliency. It’s about surviving battle, surviving trauma, and continuing forward even when the road is difficult. That lives here. It’s woven into the heart of The Rings of Power, and while it’s only now realized, we can see how each event led up to the next moment.
While Múriel pushes forward and attempts to remain as hard as stone to keep her people’s spirit, Galadriel aims to keep Theo’s (Tyroe Muhafidin) heart soft. To keep him from celebrating the killing of orcs, and to keep from calling “bad deeds, good.” This episode is about preservation and survival in the darkness of evil. We see Galadriel process her grief for those she’s lost in her discussion with Theo, as she asks him to trust in something more. It’s a conversation that lays them both bare, two people who have lost everything, and with no clear path out of it. Where do you find hope when everything is lost? This is the beauty of Tolkien’s world, and the showrunners have captured that perfectly in this episode.
In stark contrast to the rest of the episode, we see the hobbits in their lush green woods as they survey the land and the danger the fire rocks have caused on the land. As everything comes together, the Stranger (Daniel Weyman) offers a bit of life and hope to the future, though we’ll have to see what comes from it more largely.
But when the mysterious women ominously move through the woods and come into contact with the Hobbits, it’s clear that death is coming closer. While the Harfoot aren’t the most central to this episode, they do serve as a bridge for magic, hope, and eventually darkness. With them, there is no hope left in this episode, and the stage is set for the final episode, where hopefully, we’ll see the light come out of the darkness and or at least begin to.
As the penultimate episode in the season, The Rings of Power Episode 7 is lonely and dark, but it also captures the beauty that has kept The Lord of the Rings as my favorite “franchise.” In my moments of struggle, I think back to Osgiliath and Sam’s monologue. And while nothing in the episode touches that specific cord, it does capture the heart of resiliency through pain, and the need to keep fighting even when everything seems lost. And that’s what Tolkien is about. you have to keep walking.
Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Episode 7 — "The Eye"
As the penultimate episode in the season, The Rings of Power Episode 7 is lonely and dark, but it also captures the beauty that has kept The Lord of the Rings as one of my favorite franchises.