Playing Skadi: The Amazon Identification Debate

As I noted in a previous post, Amazon have released the first image of the upcoming Second Age series. Much like their map-leak from a couple of years ago, it is clearly intended to get the geekier elements of online Tolkien fandom in a lather. And much like a couple of years ago, it has succeeded – clearly the promotional team know their audience.

I actually think it is pretty clear that the city in the shot is First Age Tirion – the Two Trees, and the presence of nearby Mountains really being the clincher. Valimar ain’t located in a gap between Mountains.

But that figure in the foreground remains interesting:

I can’t help but feel like Skadi here… the giantess from Norse mythology, who must choose her husband from his feet alone, and winds up picking Njord. We’re literally trying to identify a character from behind.

Now, as previously noted, I feel this is Galadriel with her hair tied into a bun. She ticks the boxes of fair-hair, and being around to witness the Two Trees. Her character is also associated with Prologue narration, and she is well-known to audiences. On the other hand, there appears to be a scabbard at the character’s left hip… which might hint at a male, and other commentators have suggested that it appears to be more a man’s physique than a woman’s. So let’s consider the other candidates…

  • Eärendil: Right hair-colour, has a reason to be carrying a sword in Valinor, and has a decent narrative connection to a Second Age show – he’s the father of Elros and Elrond. Downside is that by the time he canonically arrives in Valinor, the Trees are gone.
  • Mairon/Sauron: Can have any damned hair colour he pleases, and has a strong narrative connection to a Second Age show. He also plays the Fair Form card. Downside is that he wasn’t there for the Trees. He was over in Middle-earth at the time, looking after his boss’ stuff in his absence.
  • Melkor: Can have any damned hair colour he pleases, and was actually in Valinor to see the Trees. Problem is, his connection to the Second Age story-line is tangential – he’s Sauron’s old boss, and winds up worshipped by the Numenoreans, but that’s it. Also, wearing seductive white isn’t really his style.
  • Finarfin and Finrod: Right hair-colour, around for the Trees, but zero connection to the Second Age.
  • Celegorm: Right hair-colour (for a given level of canon), around for the Trees, but zero connection to the Second Age.
  • Feanor: Around for the Trees, and is known to wear a sword. Problem is that he’s got the wrong hair-colour, and is only tangentially connected to the Second Age story-line.
  • Celebrimbor: Around for the Trees (he was born in Tirion), and has a strong narrative connection to the Second Age. Problem is, his hair colour was likely dark.
  • Glorfindel: Right hair-colour, and around for the Trees. Problem is, while he’s relevant to the First and Third Ages, he’s got no real relevance to the Second Age.

None of these individual candidates really stack up to the case for Galadriel, in my opinion. It’s definitely possible that this might be an invented character of no great significance, but seeing as this is Tirion, my money is on the character being an Elf, rather than an Ainu.

3 thoughts on “Playing Skadi: The Amazon Identification Debate

  1. I don’t recall Tolkien ever stating that Celebrimbor was born in Tirion, but it could be him. He’s the son of Curufin after all, and some of Feanor’s sons had red hair IIRC so that’s one way to it.

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    • I don’t have my copy of The Peoples of Middle-earth (HOME XII) on hand, but it’s where you get the information about Celebrimbor’s early life (his mother stayed in Valinor): http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Celebrimbor

      The red-haired Feanorians are Maedhros, Amrod, and Amras. Curufin is explicitly dark-haired, and his son is normally depicted accordingly. On the other hand, we don’t have explicit confirmation of Celebrimbor being dark-haired, so the idea of making him an adaptional red-head is an interesting one.

      Galadriel with hair bun versus Celebrimbor with red-hair? My money is still on the former, because she’s recognisable to the audience, and as such you don’t need to spend valuable time in the Prologue introducing her. She’s just the narrator that explains How Things Came To Be.

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  2. Pingback: Curiouser and Curiouser: The First Image Out of Amazon’s Second Age Series | A Phuulish Fellow

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