The Rings Of Power Is A Show Full Of Sexual Tension And No Kissing (Until Now)

Spoilers for episode 6 of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."

Love comes to Middle-earth! In episode 6 of "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power," all that tension between Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) has finally resulted in a smooch. That's pretty chaste as today's TV series go, but the glances and stares between these two have practically melted the screen. This series is full of longing and stares that seem to mean much more than words. Let's examine Bronwyn and Arondir, and Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and, well, a couple of people. 

High fantasy — the subgenre that is epic in its scope, often set in another world, and often filled with elves and other such creatures — can often eschew the sexual side of things. Not always, as anyone who has read Sarah J. Maas novels can tell you, but often. Instead of jumping into bed, the feelings are the power rather than the physical expression of those feelings. The tension before a big battle is often echoed by the tension between characters. It's about the connection rather than the act. 

If we saw Bronwyn and Arondir just hopping into bed or having a post-coital discussion, it pulls back the tension we're already feeling about the fate of Middle-earth. There is something about the doomed nature of the Southlands that adds to the bittersweet moment of that kiss between them. Yes, sometimes relationships between humans and elves work. Still, even in the case of Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Arwen (Liv Tyler) in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, there was tragedy. He was long-lived, but Arwen had her life cut short because of her choice to live a mortal life with him. 

First kiss?

That doesn't mean sex doesn't happen. It's entirely possible, going by some of the things that Arondir and Bronwyn speak about, like how her touch is the kindest he's known, do seem to imply that perhaps they had a relationship that was physical but decided not to continue it because of Middle-earth reasons. Elves live a very long time, and humans are a blip. It's going to end badly, no matter what. 

There are theories that Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) is Arondir's son. His father isn't around, and his hair is long, meaning we haven't seen his ears. Even if he isn't, Arondir clearly feels fatherly toward him. You'll notice that the kiss between Arondir and Bronwyn happens after he mentions Theo as part of his plans after they win the fight. Even the previous discussion is about new life in defiance of death. They make speeches together. Everyone in town seems to know that they're in love. 

It could be that the villagers just noticed the tension between them. The insane chemistry between Boniadi and Córdova is palpable, and I'm entirely sold on their romance. I want them to be together, despite the tragedy in store. I don't need to see them hook up. We can see that on any other show. Sex is great (yay sex). It's just that this is another thing altogether. It's devotion and connection. It's a deep love and concern for each other. It's knowing that connection is there, despite their efforts to deny it. In a way, it's less sexual than romantic tension, and I'm here for it. Whether they've been banging or not, this is way more compelling. I'm rooting for these crazy kids. 

Galadriel, however ...

If Bronwyn and Arondir have romantic tension, Galadriel and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) have sexual tension. It was present from their meeting on the raft and has only gotten stronger since. This pair's connection isn't about devotion and kindness. They're two powerful people full of secrets who seem to recognize themselves in each other. Forgive me for being a bit crude, but every loaded look between them appears to be a consideration about whether they should just hook up already. If this series went the way of non-fantasy, I'd expect Halbrand and Galadriel to sleep together and not worry so much about it. It's a nice counterpoint to Bronwyn and Arondir. There is power in these two people. They're warriors who are driven toward something. Romance is secondary when all you can think about is revenge or war, but you can certainly appreciate someone else who feels the same. 

To be honest, Galadriel has a bit of sexual tension with Elendil (Lloyd Owen) as well, though he seems too wise to hook up and be half of a doomed relationship. Heck, there was the same tension with Queen Regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) and with her friend Elrond (Robert Aramayo). It might just be the intensity of Galadriel's stare and her seeming to see into the soul, but you could cut it with a knife (or her brother's dagger). 

Wait, where's Celeborn?

I want to throw this out there, however. According to Tolkien's writings, Galadriel is married and has been since the First Age. Remember that guy standing next to the Cate Blanchett version of Galadriel in the "LOTR" trilogy? That's Celeborn (Marton Csokas), her husband. Yup. Galadriel is married and has been for a long time, as this show takes place during the Second Age. In fact, they should have a daughter by now (who later marries Elrond). 

Look, no judgment if elves are polyamorous. Thousands of years is a long time, and their understanding is theirs alone if that's the case. However, asked Clark where Celeborn was in an interview, and she said, "I couldn't possibly say, but there are five seasons of the show." That could mean he'll pop up at some point, wondering why she and Halbrand are so close. It could mean that the show is changing the timeline and having them meet later. It could mean that he — like every other elf — got all mad that she wouldn't abandon her quest to take down Sauron, and they took a break. 

Plus, Galadriel has more important rings to worry about than a wedding ring.

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" is currently streaming through episode 6 on Prime Video.