The Rings Of Power Understands The Fun Of A Fight Training Montage

Spoilers follow for the fifth episode of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

Approaching past the midpoint of its freshman season, "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is solidifying itself as the most exciting fantasy series on the air. A distant relative to the original trilogy from Peter Jackson, the show forges its own path as an ode to J. R. R. Tolkien's work while bringing a freshness to the beloved canon. It juggles the complicated inner workings of Middle-earth and the high expectations set by its predecessor to create a series worthy of the source material. "The Rings of Power" is a relentlessly optimistic tale of darkness that plagues Middle-earth in the Second Age.

The streaming series understands when to delve into the more lighthearted aspects of the world that Galadriel and surrounding characters inhabit. This is especially true in the fifth episode, which features a shockingly well-choreographed training sequence that offers some levity in an increasingly gloomy world. Despite the impending return of evil being ever so present, "The Rings of Power" does not hesitate to bring some joy to the protagonists and the audience.

Getting ready for war

As Númenor prepares to depart for the Southlands in Middle-earth, its military begins a rapid recruiting and training process to get its soldiers ready for a very, very difficult battle ahead. Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) is the best fit to guide them in their efforts, as she is deeply familiar with what lies ahead of them. In a bid to gain a high ranking within the army, a challenge is proposed to Valandil (Alex Tarrant) and other determined candidates: If one of them can graze the flesh of Galadriel in combat, they will be promoted to lieutenant. The fight that ensues quickly becomes a full-on brawl between the seasoned elf and more than a handful of young soldiers.

Using a combination of its unprecedented production quality and bombastic musical score, "The Rings of Power" puts on a show with a delightful training montage that harkens back to the whimsical energy that often courses through the film trilogy and the source material. Galadriel is fierce and dominant in the battle of skill and wit, but shows enough restraint and wisdom to teach the eager soldiers proper orc-killing techniques. She revels in the exciting nature of the fight, easily dodging most blows before Valandil lands one, earning himself a promotion.

There is a sense of urgency to the scene, yet "The Rings of Power" successfully mixes all the elements that make training montages so much fun to watch.

A dual-wielding affair

While Galadriel does intend to teach a group of relatively inexperienced recruits a valuable lesson in patience, she still has fun with it. The elf starts with a single sword, but eventually obtains another from an opponent, making a dual-wielding Galadriel even fiercer in a fight that has her outnumbered. The music rises and falls with every swing of her sword, putting the already incredible composition to the test in the most entertaining way possible. The choreography is light and playful, making Galadriel and her movement feel magical and simply wondrous to the human eye. 

Watching this sequence, I could not help but recognize a connection to the fantastic (and dare I say, iconic) training scene between Neo and Morpheus from "The Matrix." The ground-breaking choreography aside, the scene shares plays around with the mentor-apprentice dynamic until it comes full circle by the end. Although the relationship between Galadriel and the students is far less personal, the show uses it to further develop the characters while having some fun in the process.

A veteran severely outplaying a rookie is not a new idea, but "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" aptly employs it with narrative purpose.