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.