Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Rings Of Power Is Pushing Orcish Cruelty Further Than Any Previous Adaptation

"The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" continues to impress Amazon Prime subscribers by exploring the Second Age of Middle Earth, which hasn't been seen in live-action before. Although there has been some racist backlash against the show, some of the cast members were already prepared for a negative response from some elements in the fandom. It's sad that this was an inevitability, but one star decided to push back by giving the ultimate performance. Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays the Elven warrior Arondir, discussed his approach to the series and the disappointing reception of the diverse cast when speaking to Esquire.

"I fought so hard for this role for this very reason," he explained. I felt that I could carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming ... You can never use it as an excuse: 'But elves don't look like that.' They didn't, but now they do." While he's the first person of color to play an elf in the franchise, Córdova also explained that he felt such a powerful connection to the character, saying, "Characters like this, it's like they find you. I just always knew that this was mine."

Although Arondir's arc starts out in peacetime, he's quickly tested when he goes up against the Orcs that have taken up residence in the Southern Lands. Episode 2 reintroduces audiences to the Orcs in all their practical prosthetic glory, especially in one claustrophobic fight scene. Unfortunately for Arondir, he winds up getting kidnapped by the monsters after hunting them through the tunnels underneath Hordern in Episode 2. However, "The Rings of Power" Episode 3 pushes the cruelty even further.

The Orcs' labor camp

Episode 3 reveals that the Southern Lands are destined to become the horrific territory called Mordor, and the Orcs are slowly digging their way through it. However, they're not doing it themselves — instead, they're kidnapping villagers, soldiers, and anyone else they can get their hands on and putting them to work in labor camps. Arondir finds himself chained up in one of those camps with Revion (Simon Merrells), and their only instruction is to dig. There's a cacophony of screaming that sits in the background of every scene in the camp, just to make it extremely clear that the orcs are warping the Southern Lands into a horrifying environment.

Even when the Elves start to mount a revolution, slaying a couple of Orcs in the process, it all quickly goes downhill when their captors unleash a Warg. Oh yes, those bloodthirsty hounds are around in the Second Age, and this one quickly sinks its teeth into several prisoners before Arondir manages to lock it inside a mound of roots underneath a tree. But while it seems like a heroic battle, the elf is surrounded by so much death. The way the warg rips its way through several prisoners is particularly grim, and the Orcs clearly revel in the carnage.

We've seen the cruelty of orcs in the cinematic "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, like the implied torture of Gollum (Andy Serkis) and Boromir's (Sean Bean) murder, but this episode takes it to a whole new level. Not only are these Orcs scary to watch; they actively enjoy terrorizing their victims. Using the Warg to get the prisoners back in line is a savage move, and they clearly have no qualms in murdering a chunk of their workforce.

It's not looking good for Arondir.