Amazon Prime’s The Rings of Power is a prequel to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, showing some LOTR characters in their younger years and introducing new characters to J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy history. Two characters who drive much of the story in the first season are Galadriel, an elf warrior (who viewers met as an elf queen in LOTR), and Elanor “Nori” Bradyfoot, a pint-sized Harfoot. Nori serves as a foil to the powerful elf warrior throughout season one, prompting viewers to consider their own propensities to see either the good or the bad in others. While Galadriel’s obsession for revenge creates and reveals her predisposition to see the bad in a person or situation, Nori’s predisposition allows her to view others with optimism.
Before discussing Nori’s optimism, we should note that Nori is not a Tolkien character. She was created for the Amazon Prime series, but as Shaun Gunner, chair of the Tolkien Society, explains, “Although the storylines are not exclusively Tolkien, the show has been created with a level of craftsmanship and attention-to-detail which is unparalleled, and which is a love letter to the Professor.” Despite not being a Tolkien original, Nori echoes Tolkien’s hobbits who we already know and love. Tolkien follows God’s logic of 1 Corinthians 1:26-29, making the smallest people the greatest heroes. Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Merry Brandybuck, and Pippin Took complete quests that far surpass any abilities their statures might suggest. Likewise, Nori rises to the level of hero in season 1, saving the giant Starman and putting him on the path of good.
In episode 2 Galadriel is fighting to get back to Middle Earth to find and defeat the Orcs; Nori has no great quest beyond participating in her Harfoot community. However, Galadriel’s power is reduced while Nori’s grows. When Galadriel meets Halbrand on the Sundering Seas, the two are suspicious and distrusting of each other. Galadriel suspects Halbrand has a questionable past and only helps him in ways that ultimately help her. However, when Nori first encounters the Starman, she is both curious and helpful. She hopes he is good and refuses to leave him to fend for himself, even though he is scary and twice her size.
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