". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Mothers of English Historical Novels - Plus Fèt Gede

     . . . .  Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontë by Devoney Looser (2022).

Washington Post review herewhich upon reading the review, I immediately ordered the biography. These Porter sister novelists were the mothers of English historical fiction. I have often invoked Sir Walter Scott as the father of historical fiction (and Dumas as godfather), but as deep as my knowledge of English literary history is, I'd no idea these women had existed.  Can we guess why, one wonders . . . .

 Maria and Jane Porter published the first Brit historical fiction in novel form in several books in the first decade of the 19th century.  

Delaware Art Museum 
Book cover design for Thaddeus of Warsaw, by Jane PorterATTRIBUTED TO: Walter Stewart (American illustrator and painter, 1902–1981) 

Maria Porter, in her 1803 Thaddeus of Warsaw, created

... “the historical novel as we know it” in her 1803 tale of a Polish war hero who becomes a refugee in England. “What was new about ‘Thaddeus of Warsaw,’ ” Looser explains, “was its mingling of climactic historical events with the conventions of biographies, romantic tales, and probable domestic novels.” Contemporary critics dubbed it “a work of genius,” and it was a sensational bestseller. ....


In 1810 Jane Porter published The Scottish Chiefs, telling the tale of William Wallace’s battle for Scottish independence from Britain, published quite prior to Scott’s first novel, Waverly, 1814, that told of of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. 

These two sisters’ novels were massive hits, best sellers, out of the box. Would that have had any influence on Scott’s literary choice of form and subject?  One commentator to the review observed,

 "I find it interesting that of the twenty-six ‘Waverley novels’ written by Walter Scott not one was set during the time of William Wallace and King Robert I." 

Author Looser did address this -- how could she, how can we, not?

... [Looser] is more cogent on the question of why these popular and influential authors are virtually unknown today. The root cause of the sisters’ decline in literary reputation and, eventually, sales, Looser writes, was the phenomenal success of Walter Scott’s “Waverley” in 1814 and the author’s failure to acknowledge that the methods he employed in his historical novels were very similar to the Porters’: “Critics would increasingly claim that the Waverley novels had elevated the genre of fiction — and especially historical fiction — bringing to it a superior new (masculine) excellence, while correcting supposed previous (feminine) faults.”

Are we surprised yet?

.... Jane in particular resented this and in 1827 wrote a pointed short story, “Nobody’s Address,” that implicitly accused Scott of reducing his literary precursors to nobodies. By the time she died in 1850, having survived Maria by 18 years, Jane had been reduced to living with a brother and receiving charitable grants from the government. Her achievements deserved better recognition, and although Looser’s thickly detailed biography could stand to be a little less detailed, it pays overdue tribute to pioneering siblings unjustly neglected by literary history. ....


     . . . . A perfect day -- gold, red and blue -- so clear and still, low humidity for a change, and the temperature in the seasonal 50's. Receiving audio royalties for The Books, was a good start to the day. However,  packed restaurants, streets and sidewalks. The annual Village Halloween Parade cattle stanchions are unloaded and going up too, for Monday, further blocking access to sidewalks and intersections.  Getting around down here is nearly impossible; I had to fight my way through the outsiders to my polling place. This is the first day of early voting in the Midterm election.  Alas there was so little, were so few, to vote for; mostly I was voting against. 

Weep for the city, weep for the state, weep for the nation, weep for the world. 

However, after Monday's Hell Night, Tuesday night, known in some places as El dia de los muertos and others as the Day of the Dead, in Haiti is Festival of the Dead,  Postmambo's Fèt Gede*, will zoom throughout the US and Europe.  This is the third year Postmambo is hosting a Gede festival: 

Postmambo Movie Night


Fèt Gede in Weimar America

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 pm eastern

note earlier-than-usual start time

We'll warm up with some Haitian music videos, including some of my all-time favorites, namely RAM's videos featuring Gede, lwa of the dead. Including their new one, "Gede Vim Anwo." Mr. RAM himself, Richard A. Morse, has indicated that he will be able to drop in and talk to us from his pied-a-terre in New Orleans, where RAM is presently rehearsing and gigging, about these awe-inspiring videos.

==> Our main feature will be Maya Deren's Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti, shot between 1947 and 1954. We'll talk about it afterwards with my fave co-host, Dr. Elizabeth McAlister. (Revisit her January 2022 Postmambo Session on "Funerary Rites in Haitian Vodou" here.)

==> More guests to be announced, including an instructor in Gede dancing . . . Drop in for Fèt Gede / All Saints Day / Day of the Dead / at whatever time you can make it on Tuesday Nov. 1, starting at 7 eastern and continuing until 11 or so. More info to come.

I'll be sending the Zoom link out to this list on Tuesday at 5 p.m. eastern . . .

Get your purple, black and white, your single-lensed shades and black bowler hat, and be your own Gede self

* Fèt Gede is naturally huge in New Orleans, as well as Haiti and eastern Cuba.  The Morse and Ram's pied-à-terre there is so important, not only for the cross-aculturation going on between them and the city's indigenous vodun population and musicians and Head, but because Haiti is so very very dangerous -- no exaggeration to say Haiti is very dangerous -- for everyone, on so many fronts from the second invasion of cholera, lack of water and food, drugs, gang and 'government' violence -- climate change.  You name it, it's there in the perfect storm of calamity that has come to this nation, thanks to relentless, historical, racist politics on the part of the US and Europe.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Is This the First US Science Fiction Novel? The Partisan Leader

      . . . .  Science Fiction, published very early in the United States of America, is a confederate novel by a Virginian, who was a passionate advocate for slavery.  

The Partisan Leader (1836) by Nathaniel Beverly Tucker (male; 'Beverly' is a common male surname and first name in earlier decades among the Aristo class in VA, SC, etc., particularly those descended from pre-Independence VA ), under the pseudonym of Edward William Sidney.  After losing election campaigns in two states, Missouri and Virginia, Tucker's well-connected friends and family got him appointed as professor of Constitutional Law at William and Mary -- his father held the position before him. As we see, this gave Tucker copious free time to write novels (while waited on hand-and-foot by enslaved labor): his first novel, George Balcombe was also published in 1836. *. 

He employed his additional leisure time to write political pro-southern slave state secession, economy and power tracts. Thus, as one likely would expect, this, if not the first, one of the first sf novels -- the novel is set 13 years in the future from the year in which it was published -- would be a romance centered on Virginia, about slavery,  a successful Southern secession from, and confederation against, the dastardly North, which Happy Ending turns the entire Western hemisphere into a vast slave state.

Tucker lived in those halcyon decades in which the Southern Plantation class ruled the Federal government from the White House all the way down, planning to expand slavery as the economic system throughout the Western Hemisphere, while defending it from the heinous designs of Britain, "the Great Apostle of Emancipation”. This 'design' was to destroy the Southern cotton economy in favor of their own in India (which Britain did not have and wasn't trying to have then), while invading the United States with an army of Africans and those freed from bondage out of Cuba, Haiti, Brasil, etc..


One of Tucker's  best friends was Virginian, Abel P. Upshur, who was contributing his bit to expansion and defense by building a navy that could successfully take on Britain's.  The photo above is the USS Abel P. Upshur (DD-193), a Clemson-class destroyer in the service of the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard until -- IRONY!  IRONY! IRONY! --  transferred to the United Kingdom in 1940. During World War II, she served in the Royal Navy as HMS Clare.

The Partisan Leader can be read on the Documenting the South website here

* Incidentally, as a point of interest in the history of American Literature, it was reviewed by this southerner, Edgar Allan Poe.


     . . . . This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (2016) by Matthew Karp "illuminates this era of American history with an intelligent survey of those Southern politicians and their ambitions, both at the regional level and the federal level. “By the middle of the [19th] century,” he writes, “southern masters ruled over the wealthiest and most dynamic slave society the world had ever known.”

Their leaders were nationalists, not separatists. Their “vast southern empire” was not an independent South but the entire United States, and only the election of Abraham Lincoln broke their grip on national power. Fortified by years at the helm of U.S. foreign affairs, slaveholding elites formed their own Confederacy—not only as a desperate effort to preserve their property but as a confident bid to shape the future of the Atlantic world.

 Calhoun's policy was to insure the power of the agrarian South by limiting the power of the federal government. "That section distinct from the rest of the nation, however, eventually aimed to create its own Confederate States of America and then export that confederacy. The result would be a Southern Empire."

The consequence? The failure or success would depend upon southern statesmen advancing that world through United States foreign policy. “Few mid-nineteenth-century Americans,” he writes, “were more deeply engaged with international politics than southern slaveholders.” Those in positions of power, southern elites, also kept the international politics of slavery under constant surveillance, “tracking threats to slave property . . . monitoring oscillations in global attitudes toward emancipation.”

"Given that global perspective, there was little in the southern “institution” that was “peculiar.” During those antebellum decades, the blunt facts illustrate a vise-like grip on the presidency, the cabinet, and the lower levels of federal administration. Professor Karp quotes Iowa Congressman Josiah Grinnell, who observed that during those antebellum years southern slaveholders held the Secretary of State office for two-thirds of the time."

In their minds, Great Britain’s 1833 Slavery Abolition Act was part of the nefarious design to destroy them.  This accounts for the region's adamant anti-British policy in all things up until the War of the Rebellion.

I do believe though, the author is mistaken when he describes these Southerners as "cosmopolitan, highly educated and sophisticated -- because their fundamental tenets were made of contradiction. They were firmly convinced Britain schemed to destroy them economically for it's own economic benefit.  Yet, these leaders also assumed, presumed and expected Britain to support and assist and finance their Great War of the Rebellion. It could have no choice, they were certain, because Britain's industry depended on King Cotton.

Goes to show, again, that the current crops of racist conspiracists, delusionists, climate and election deniers, disseminators of lies and fakery and outright insanity come from a vast pedigree in our national history of determined violence to rid themselves of government and have their own preferred systems of cruel, selfish greed.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

The Reveals Are What We Like: Rings of Power, Finale, "Alloyed"


     . . . . "Alloyed" was a fine episode, a satisfying finale. 

We have a new dimension to the Elven – Númenórean wars of the Second Age: Adar, a villain protagonist in the middle, between Sauron and the Elves.  Adar, “Lord-Father”, has a twisted paternal sense of care for the orcs, whom he played a significant part in their creation, forced to, perhaps, by Sauron, or forced to twist-torture them too much for his own tolerance. Adar thinks he killed Sauron it appears now, because of this.  Adar has destroyed the Southlands for humans to make a home for his orc progeny, outcast by all, where they can live without threat of the sun. This is quite a twist, and it's terrific, not only filled with interest, but also does make Rings Of Power its own ‘creation’ so to speak.

How the three elven rings are forged, with mithril and the gold and silver that come from Valinor were fine; Galadriel's Valinor dagger, which has been part of several pivotal scenes throughout the series, returns to find its own destiny. What a shop Celebrimbor has in Lindon! Those scenes, in their own way, rival in spectacle those of Khazad-dûm. Ya, we learn who is Sauron, though they did a stoopid fake out at the top, alas. Galadriel’s got a whole lot more to be guilty about – she brought Sauron to Linden, where he sussed out the why and how to make the rings in Celebrimbor’s workshop. 

Númenor’s king died, as blind Míriel returns with Elendil, where Pharazôn is waiting to make policy for a cold war by the Númenóreans on elves and their enviable 'immortality'.  Architect apprentice, Elendil's daughter, Isildur's sister, Eärien, saw something no doubt in the palantír – that was left hanging, as do many story/plot lines in Tolkien’s LotR's trilogy, as he moves us from one arc of action to another set of characters in another location for long stretches.

We also learn conclusively the Big Stranger is A Good, not a Peril.  Of course the Weirdling trio were involved – a set of magi from Rhûn, i.e. the Eastlands, i.e. Persia. This is the my personal second favorite part. The reason for this is because I have long

felt Rhûn was a Tolkien take on the ancient world empires of Babylon, Assyria and particularly Persia and Phoenicia.  Partly this is because the name "Radagast" comes up in readings about Persian Empire. The Big Stranger realizes he is a wizard.  He must go off to learn/relearn who is and what he must do, in – Rhûn. Which partly makes sense because Babylon/Persia are the homelands of a class called Magi, who have all sorts of specialist knowledge upon which the King of Kings depends. Those from other lands come to study with the Persian Magi to learn everything from astronomy to medicine to prophecy. Rhûn is where those Perils of Weirdlings are from, who thought he was Sauron. Nevertheless, since the Weirdlings were that ignorant at reading signs and portents, surely there’s nothing for Big Stranger to learn about himself in Rhûn?  Well, maybe how to read that tattered bit of star map our lamented, late Sadoc gifted him, in which he wraps the precious apple which Nori gifted him. A quite different gift of knowledge from that gifted by Sauron to Celebrimbor, hey?

But the most precious gift of all is Nori’s giving of herself as Big Stranger's companion, with her Harfoot sense to keep him straight, find them food and keep them hidden. Plus this provides the driver for the necessary Tolkien Journey There and Back Again. One does wish they had shortened Nori’s farewells several beats, as Big Stranger just hangs out on the overlooking hill under a tree, waiting, waiting, waiting for her so they can get on with his journey to the Big Apple of Knowledge. 

So much to look forward to, whenever the second season arrives.


-- Deadline’s Inside The Ring Episode 8 | The Rings of Power | Prime Video

Nice essay on Slate  -- "One Way The Rings of Power Outdoes the Lord of the Rings Movies" hint -- female characters.  O my goodness the fanfascist bros howl at this! Just as much as they do about all the characters not being whit.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Only What We See - No Spoilage: Rings of Power, Episode 7

 Episode 7: “The Eye” 

    . . . . We see through Galadriel’s eyeseeing fire, ash, smoke and destruction.  In the middle we learn Queen Míriel’s lost her sight.  We conclude (nearly) with Disa and Durin essentially losing their moral sight as they claim the mithril for themselves, as well as Khazad-dûm, after Dwarf King Durin III disinherits Durin IV for disobeying him about the mithril, and locking Elrond out of the dwarf kingdom. The Balrog’s eyes open to the dwarves, elves and mithril too. But the very end is Adar, seeing through the toxic smoke, to Orodum, claiming the burnt over, destroyed Southlands for himself and the orcs, renaming it, “Mordor.”

Our most likeable grouping is the triad of Durin IV, his princess Disa, and the half elf, Elron. These are the three with lives that allow for time that includes long development of friendship, marriage and perspective.  These three share highly developed sense of play, humor and appreciation of good things.

The Harfoots returned, in their most interesting and arresting appearance so far in the series. Their scenes include the Big Stranger and the Weirdlings trio.  The Big Stranger does magical  good, before Sadoc sends him off with a star map to where other Big People are who may help him, while the Weirdlings seem to do evil. Nori, Poppy, their mother and Sadoc soon decide to follow the Big Stranger and help him, because that is what Harfoots do – they help each other out and don’t leave each other alone.  This is where I went, “So what happened to that business of leaving carts of Harfoots of those who can't keep up with the main group on the wandering trail, emphasized in previous episodes?”  However, thanks to Harfoots, we’re pretty sure we’ll be seeing ents, if not this season, in some later season, as Sadoc tells us that “trees can talk, at least some of them do.” In the first episode we saw an ent silouhetted on the distant horizon, when the Big Stranger’s transport from wherever hit Middle Earth in an arc of fire. I, for one, am hoping we shall finally see entwives, at some point.

Two characters who are believed dead, Celeborn and Isildur, we know from LotR are not dead. Their fates in the series won’t be revealed probably for some years?  Happily, we learn Isildur’s bonded horse, Berek, survived and refused to board the ship back to Númenor.

Set free by Elendil, Berek gloriously gallops across the plain, tail flagged, nostrils wide, on the trail presumably of his rider. One guesses that Elendil guesses Berek knows his bonded rider isn't dead.

Though his father, Durin III, disinherits Durin IV, we also know that it can’t be that long before mithril is mined, since there are weapons and armor made from it that remain in possession of elves in LotR’s Third Age’s ending. Though it ends in horror of the balrog some scenes later, the cavern into which the Tree sent its vast root system that had transformed at the end of the First Age into the magical mithril, was a sight worth seeing.

Galadriel shows compassion, as well as some progress into what will become her notable wisdom and long view with young adult Theo, the youngster who cannot find his mother, whose entire life and all he knows destroyed, who feels a weight of guilt, believing the catastrophe of the volcano and tsunami of orcs that overwhelm the Southlands is his fault, that he caused it by giving that sword hilt-key to Weglef. She comforts Theo, she assures him that it isn’t his fault – as later, blind Queen Míriel assures Galadriel the catastrophe is not her fault either. Galadriel protects him, declares him a soldier, and ultimately tets him reunited with his mother Bronwyn, and now, his surrogate father, the sylvan elf, Arondir. However, we also wonder, is it wise of her to be taking the Halbrand, the newly recognized king of the Southlands, which essentially, no longer exist, to Linden so the elves can heal his wounds? Perhaps we shall find out in the next, the final episode of the first season of Rings of Power. But in this episode the last thing we see is Adar staring east to Mount Doom, and declaring the charred, ash fogged Southlands, now safe from the Sun's light, the homeland of his orcs.


Unlike the RoP figures, since we have read LotR and possess hindsight, we know the terrible things that occur at end the Second Age of Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings via tales, song, poetry, memories and legendarium.  We never learned of any of it through the memories and accounts of those who were there and who participated in them. In Rings of Power we are receiving this past via those who were there, who suffered and died, who were the remembered heroes of the Light, and we see as they see, the recalled traitors and perpetrators of the Dark. Seeing the initiation of the horrors of the Second Age played out for our eyes, seeing the seeds of horrors, that may need not have happened, planted throughout this, as well as the previous episodes, adds dimensions to our responses that we couldn’t have only reading of them at the conclusion of Middle Earth’s Third Age, via the memories and descriptions long after, by a few who were there, and those who were not present in the Second Age.

It is important for the story and arcs Rings of Power are showing and telling us, that we be reminded that what we recall from a telescoped portrait view, is now given to us in landscape video – and it often differs in significant ways, while providing compelling stories and characters that we can’t have known from our previous understanding. That understanding came to us enclosed within the halo of heroic history. Here we witness the events and characters without the nimbus of memory’s glory, including characters' moral doubts, inter and intra rivalries, dislike and conflicts. As we know, even well documented, well researched history, leaves out a great deal, often deliberately left out, often revealed long after the canon histories are written.

It seems from the slagging outcry of many, just as with the more recently unearthed stories and events of, say, slavery, Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era, many do not wish the tarnish be brought into the poetry and histories, as well as glow on those halos and nimbi. This disinclination applies at least equally to the language in which ROP is told on screen presently. Though it mirrors that of the language employed by Tolkien in LotR, it is shouted out as ‘bad writing’.  One can’t help but speculate these have either never read LotR, or merely are determined to destroy the progress of RoP for reasons hidden deep within their own hearts. Others though, probably really don’t like this progenitor of heroic fantasy and its legacies, honestly cannot relate to its virtues, which dislike on its own, is perfectly legitimate.

On the other hand, no matter how brilliant these sequel, prequels and adaptations of the originals of the progenitors of the genres might be, they can never bring us the same sense of wonder and discovery.  We have acquired masses of experience and knowledge of literature, language, history, and sheer living experience that nothing can now break through to provide the same experiences of when we were young.  But sometimes, they can provide a respectable simulacrum.  For me, since Rings of Power is its own, if smaller thing, it comes the closest to the reading experience of LotR in those earlier years,  a close resemblance, the memory of what it was like reading the LotR the first 20 + times!  However, I, for one, generally disliked Peter Jackson's adaptation, and dislike it more as time goes one, while many who hate Rings of Power have only seen PJ's trilogy and never read the books -- as too long and boring. There are the others though, who have the appendices and Silmarillion memorized; they loathe this series.

Then there are the racists who are concertedly campaigning to kill the series dead because a Black Puerto Rican is cast as an elf, and an Anglo African is a Harfoot. They reveal themselves as residents of Mordor and worshippers of Sauron with every comment they make.  There are so many reasons to feel that in genre fans, whether for print, television, film, gaming, awards, have been overtaken by a significantly large contingent of fascists.

Despite FanFascism, and Point-to-Point Replicant\ Demanders, there are watchers who do like Rings of Power’s fractal changes from the original LotR’s Third Age perspectives of the  Second Age. Some even find it more interesting, while it remains much the ‘feel’ of Tolkien, that it is at home within These Times in which we are viewing this legendary universe. For instance, this sort of viewer enjoys the non-canon, original characters most, figures as sylvan elf Arondir (who does his own stunts) and Dwarf Princess, Disa. 


"Fiona Apple Drops New Song, ‘Where the Shadows Lie,’ From ‘Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power"

Deadlines After Show for "The Eye", Episode 7, here.

An  essay in New York Magazine as to why, whether we enjoy them or not, these prequels are always going to be inferior experiences to our experiences with the originals: "The Fantasy Prequel Problemby Kathryn VanArendonk.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Speaking Rings Of Power - Episode 7 "Udûn"

     . . . . Ep. 6, "Udûn".  Moveth now the Second Age's Doom.

Nampat arrives with vengeance in this episode. No dwarves, no Harfoots in this sequence of events, only orcs, Númóreans, other humans, one High Elf, and one Sylvan Elf.

In the Black Speech, the official language of Mordor, nampat means Death. The orces pound out Nampat as their war-chant, marching behind Adar. Soon they arrive at Sauron's Tower of Ostirith, taken over as a watchtower over the Southlands by the sylvan elves after Sauron's defeat in the First Age. Our villagers have taken refuge there from the coming of Adar and his orcs.

Reversal after reversal, twist after twist, come quick and fast. Halbrand, Galadriel and Arondir fight with particular skill and heroism. Yet, yes, it ends with Doom bursting upon the Númenóreans and the Southland humans. To save his mother Bronwyn’s life, Theo gives Sauron's sword hilt- key to Adar. Somehow it gets passed to traitor villager, Waldreg, who activates it. The waters of the earth above ground and subterranean are loosed through those dreadful tunnel excavated underneath the the Southland over a long stretch of time via enslaved human labor. The underground waters meet a molten region under the Southlands, thus a mountain explodes into volcano – Mt. Doom  comes to life – flood, fire balls and orcs pour into the village. Galadriel is subsumed into fiery darkness. She was right. Sauron lives.  Cue episode 7.

Only two more to go, and I'm very sorry about that.

Just as old school LotR readers will likely be shocked that Galadriel can have what appear to be threshold romantic moments with not just one man, but two – Elendil and Halbrand -- how could this distant ice queen of Lothlórien, married for so long to that dull fellow, Celeborn, behave like this, any more than she does hand-to-hand combat and has a hot temper, which desires to wipe every orc off the face of the earth?


Galadriel and Halbrand, King of the Southlands

LotR lovers equally could  have a difficulty accepting that the orcs are elves, actual beings, Adar says, “as worthy as the breath of life and just as worthy of a home.”

It was  clear cut in LotR as the Big Bad Dark and all its creatures, were unadulterated evil, and the Big Bright Virtues of the Light, the elves, etc. were unadulterated Good. But here in Rings of Power's Second Age of Middle earth, both Adar and Arondir plant alfirin seeds, which elves traditionally plant on the eve of battle so that new life can grow "in defiance of death". That Adar does this too -- is it a sign that he's potentially redeemable? Or just that he holds onto to a bit of his elven heritage despite all the evil he's committed? Arondir too plants some of the seeds in Bronwyn’s wound to help them heal after they are cauterized.  This is imaginatively involving and very different, while still, to my mind, consistent with what Tolkien created.

Hal is recognized as King of the Southlands, but Adar doesn’t recognize him at all, despite their shared past, in which he inflicted some dreadful hurt upon Hal.  Adar confirms he one of the elves who are the “sons of the dark,” the first orcs, a Uruk, a Moriandor,  made by Morgoth’s torture, and evidently Sauron's too. Adar advises Galadriel that she own her own darkness, that he isn't "the only elf alive who has been transformed by darkness.” Yet, prior to the Doom, Halbrand and Galadriel save each other from their respective urges to commit murder, in an affecting scene. While horse Berek, ridden into battle by Isildur, and his father Elendil bond. Previous to this, Galadriel speaks Words to her horse and it speeds so effectively she catches up with Adar fleeing with the Key.

May Queen Regent Míriel escape the flood and fire emergence of the Dark, but one fears she did not survive, so Pharazôn has his way open to rule Númenor, to institute his ambition to dominate the elves, dwarves and all the rest of Middle Earth.

At this moment the only one of this group of heroes seemingly entirely beyond the effect of the dark, is Arondir. Galadriel and Halbrand are touched by it, as is Theo, who admits how Sauron's sword hilt-key draws him by the sense of personal power he feels when holding it. This is a morally complicated world, with characters who aren’t black and white, which LotR was as well, at least in a sense, as with Boromir and his father. But the LotR's world constantly harks back to the treasons, corruptions and destructions within various characters of the heroes legendarium of the Second Age, that brought about its fall. There's a great deal of viewing satisfaction watching this roll out, despite knowing how it will conclude.

This episode gave me shivers of doom – but then the Second Age is doomed, particularly these very Southlands. Nevertheless, it was satisfying and effective; it moved the plot along swiftly, while we learned quite a bit more about some of our principal characters, including how Elendil's wife died -- drowning.  What we see and learn in this episode has been set-up in the previous ones.  The episodes are building on and out from each other.

Among the fireballs of bitter bile and malice relentlessly released by Some upon this series are the accusations that the lines spoken by are our heroes are stupid-silly. Patience, Watchers! High Language dialog can -- and probably will -- feel forced and artificial in our own wizened rhetorical age. But read aloud the same efforts in the revered LotR, and if they aren’t among the current elderly who first discovered LotR back when it first became a publishing phenomenon, and they themselves were young, so young, people shudder.  So what do we want? Pseudo hipster quippage a la PJ, or occasions in which heroes speak in fabricated, skaldic poetics?  Myself, I vote to apply judiciously,  "the glorious ground of Endill . . . . "