The instalment continues the action of the Lord of the Rings prequel series in earnest, with Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) arriving on the beautiful island kingdom of Númenor.
However, they may not find the welcome they are necessarily hoping for.
Meanwhile, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) finds himself a prisoner of a horde of Orcs in the ravaged Southlands.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power episode 3 recap - Adar
A captured Arondir is dragged into an Orc prison camp and beaten, with one Orc saying he is for "Adar". Arondir is reunited with his fellow Elves from his watchtower and finds they are being forced into slave labour.
Aboard a boat on the Sundering Seas, Galadriel awakens in quarters below deck and is greeted with food by Halbrand. After eating, Galadriel climbs up onto the deck of the ship and meets its captain who reveals that they are heading to his home. The ship comes to dock on the beautiful Western island kingdom of Númenor. The ship docks and they disembark, with Halbrand being shocked at the grandeur of Númenor, with Galadriel noting that his ancestors stood with Morgoth but Númenor stood with the Elves before eventually breaking off contact.
The captain leads them to the grand palace to meet Queen Regent Míriel and Chancellor Pharazôn. Halbrand goes to kneel but is told no one kneels, while Galadriel is asked to reveal her identity and notes that she and Halbrand of the Southlands met by chance. Galadriel asks for mercy and passage to Middle-earth, and notes Númenor exists due to the Elves and this grows heated. However, Halbrand plays the diplomat and buys them three days to discuss their desires. The pair are told to remain as "guests". Halbrand expresses his gratitude to the captain and embraces him. Míriel speaks with Pharazôn about the situation and asks after the captain, who the chancellor reveals is Elendil, of a noble line who is a sea guardsman now and has a son who will follow him into service.
On another Númenorean ship, Elendil’s son, Isildur, hears a voice call his name across the sea before he is forced to aid in the ship coping with the choppy waves. On the shoreline, the ship’s crew disembarks as the sailors note "the sea is always right". Isildur’s companions sense his distractions and need to pass the "sea trials". Isildur’s sister Eärien comes to pick him up in the place of his father.
In the palace, Míriel notes the petals falling from the trees symbolise the weeping eyes of the Valar who are watching and judging them. Addressing Elendil, Míriel notes the uniqueness of his name as potentially meaning 'Elf-friend'. The Queen Regent questions his decision to bring an elf into the kingdom for the first in generations, but Elendil notes that "the sea is always right". However, Míriel questions whether this is treason, but Elendil notes that it is what he believes to be the most prudent. Míriel asks Elendil to perform a service and a guard hands him a sword.
Meanwhile, in the Southlands, Arondir continues his slave labour under the watchful eye of Orcs who are shown to avoid the sunlight. Arondir’s friend Mèdhor notes they are building to hide from sunlight but also are searching for something. Watchmaster Revion notes that they are doing this in service of a figure they worship and revere, a figure named Adar. Revion suspects that Adar is Sauron himself, a successor to Morgoth. The discussion of escape is stopped by Orcs who are angry at their lack of successful service. Revion speaks up in defence of the tree they wish to destroy and is applauded for his strength by an Orc before being awarded a water ration. Revion goes to drink and Arondir follows, followed by Mèdhor before his throat is slashed by an Orc and he dies in the arm of Arondir. Revion is ordered to cut the tree down betore Arondir agrees to do it after he notes the environmental devastation around them.
In Númenor, Galadriel escapes the custody of the palace and makes her way to the harbour to escape. The Elf is then approached by Elendil who notes she won’t make it out. Elendil reveals that he has been ordered to keep watch over her and keep her out of trouble, but Galadriel would rather take her chances as a stowaway and threatens to kill him before he alerts the guards nearby. Galadriel notes she would rather leave Númenor than stay where she is hated by all, but Elendil responds to her in Elvish and notes that she is not hated by all. He reveals that Elvish is still taught and used in Númenor, being used in their Hall of Laws. Asking to be taken to this hall, Galadriel rides the long journey alongside Elendil. She is shown to take great pleasure in riding on horseback.
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Back in the city streets, Halbrand seeks a job as a blacksmith for a fresh start. In a nearby tavern, Halbrand is approached by nearby Númenorean men who mock his status as an outsider and lowborn standing, which means Galadriel would not desire him. However, Halbrand offers to pay for their drinks and quickly makes friends with all present before retreating away with the badge stolen from one of them. However, he is followed and approached by the gang who note his thieving. The group corner him and prepare to beat him up, but after multiple hits, Halbrand brutally beats the entire group, injuring some and killing their leader. Guards approach and apprehend Halbrand.
In the Hall of Laws, Elendil shows Galadriel a great library and notes that it was assembled by Elros himself, the brother of Elrond, who chose to be mortal, grow old and die. Elendil notes that their last king was loyal to the Elves until he was forced from the throne but that he now spends his days in the town, exiled in his own kingdom. Elendil shows Galadriel an account from a human spy in the enemy camp and she notices that the symbol she has seen previously was no sigil but was instead a map of the Southlands. Galadriel notes that it is written in Black Speech and is a plan for a realm of their own where evil will endure and thrive, and this plan will be enacted in the event of Morgoth’s defeat by his successor, Sauron. Galadriel notes that the Southlands are just the beginning.
In Rhovanion, the Harfoot community enjoy festival celebrations and Marigold Brandyfoot fears being left behind due to her husband Largo’s injury. The pair note that they will make it as their daughter Nori will succeed due to her sheer determination.
Nori Brandyfoot and Poppy Proudfellow discuss the Stranger and the latter wants to send him on his way due to his strange behaviour - but Nori wants to help him find the constellation. Sneaking off to read a book belonging to Sadoc Burrows, Nori must hide when he returns but manages to steal the page she believes can help thanks to a distraction from Poppy.
At the community gathering, Sadoc speaks to the group but Marigold notes Nori’s absence before she returns. They all note that Harfoots left behind in the next migration will be carried on in hearts and memories. As those left behind are recalled, Poppy is fearful. Meanwhile, the Stranger appears to take what Nori left for him. Finding the page that she left, he reads it over the firelight. Nori notices the fire jumping up nearby as the Stranger accidentally sets alight to the page. Fleeing the flames, the Stranger crashes into the camp amid the ceremony. Emerging while covered in tarp, the Stranger terrifies the group until he calls after Nori. The community is angered by Nori’s actions and the danger it brings to the group, and Sadoc notes the Stranger’s origins are troubling. Nori defends her actions but is told that she is bringing trouble to the Harfoots and is threatened by being "de-caravaned" - but Sadoc defends her over her youth and orders that the Brandyfoots will be at the back of the Caravan. Marigold criticises Nori for her decisions and how it has threatened their family, noting how her need for a destiny could be her downfall. The Stranger watches in fear.
In Númenor, Elendil tells Isildur and Eärien about Galadriel and the former is excited by her arrival but the latter is troubled. Isildur wishes to defer the Sea Trial as his older brother did. However, Elendil notes that the past is dead and they either move on or die with it as there is nothing on the Western shores for them. Elendil insists that Isildur will take the Sea Trial while Eärien receives a letter saying she has been accepted into the Builders' Guild and that her success is due to Isildur convincing her to re-apply, to Elendil’s surprise. Isildur has already left.
Galadriel visits Halbrand in the dungeons and notes that he doesn’t belong on the island - but he notes that neither does she. However, Galadriel notes that he is more than he claims to be and reveals her finding from the Hall of Law, handing a scroll to him. Inside the scroll is a symbol matching his necklace, which Halbrand then claims he took from a dead man. Galadriel notes that the symbol belonged to a man in the Southlands who united many tribes under one banner and which could help defend them against a new evil threatening those lands. Galadriel notes that Halbrand is the missing King of the Southlands. However, Halbrand says that the symbol belonged to one who swore a blood oath to Morgoth and that he is not the hero she seeks and that his family lost the war. Galadriel responds that it is hers who started the war and that theirs was no chance meeting, not fate, nor destiny, but the work of something greater. She asks Halbrand to come with her to Middle-earth and redeem both of their bloodlines. Halbrand notes that they are stuck on Númenor and that she is short an army, but she reveals that that is about to change.
Queen Regent Míriel climbs the stairs to a palace tower to visit her unseen father, and reveals that the moment they have feared has come: the Elf has arrived.
Meanwhile, the Harfoot caravan moves but the Brandyfoot family struggles due to Largo’s injury. However, the Stranger emerges and calls Nori his friend, offering to help carry their belongings, and Nori notes that he will accompany them.
Back in the war camp in the Southlands, the Elves and other prisoners attempt an escape and attack the Orcs. As they attempt their getaway, multiple are killed. Arondir manages to bring down a structure on some Orcs and the sunlight harms the rest. The prisoners begin breaking their chains, but the Orcs release a warg to attack them. Arondir kills an Orc before attempting to escape but sees that Revion has been shot dead with arrows. Arondir is pulled back into the war camp where they decide to take him to Adar. Among the Orc hordes, they chant Adar’s name as the evil, black-clad Elven figure with long black hair and a metal-armoured hand emerges.
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