Within Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth, there are certain traits that all the heroes of his stories share. Traits like bravery, loyalty, compassion, selflessness and hope are common among them all. When the world seems dark, and it looks as though evil will prevail, it is the hero’s unfaltering ability to do what is right, and choose what is good, that carries both the characters and the readers through the story.


In the latest episode of the Rings of Power, a new hero has arisen, and out of the most unlikely place. For years, the Southlanders have been guarded by the elves, for fear that they might rise up and support the enemy in trying to reclaim power, because of a mistake made by their ancestors long ago. But in the 5th episode, it was proved that there was one among them who has all the traits it takes to make a leader. One has all the traits that will allow her to rise up in defiance of evil, and guide her people to a better path: Bronwyn.

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Bronwyn is one of those characters who, at first, doesn’t appear to hold much sway with her own kin. Among the villagers, she is something of an outcast, because of her close relationship with Arondir. She is labeled as an elf-lover, and as such, has had to keep her head down, to avoid trouble for her and her son. It is clear that Theo will become significant as he finds the weapon of the enemy, the power used by their ancestors to help Morgoth and Sauron in the previous war. However, what part Bronwyn will play in this has thus far remained unclear.

That is, until Arondir returns with an ultimatum from Adar, the commander of the orc army: side with them or die. It is in moments like these that the weak and weeded out from the loyal and true, and Bronwyn steps up to the mark.

It is clear that she is willing to stand up against certain demise to fight for what she believes in, and not only for themselves, but for all the generations that come after them. In her mind, she is no one special. She is no great leader or warrior, just a person trying to keep her people from repeating the same bad choices that their ancestors made. She tells her people:

“I know I’m not the king you have awaited, but if you choose to stand with me and fight, this tower will no longer be a reminder of our frailty, but a symbol of our strength. Who will stand with me? Who among you will stand and fight? Together, we can survive this.”

Here is exactly the kind of speech that the heroes of Tolkien’s stories often make in key moments. It echoes the words of some of the most well-loved characters from the Lord of the Rings, including Aragorn, Eowyn, and Faramir. In deciding to take a stand, Bronwyn shows that she has the strength and the fierce will that Middle Earth needs in a savior.

Unfortunately, the others don’t see it that way. Many of their people decide to follow Waldreg as he convinces them to cower at the enemy’s side and swear their allegiance as demanded. It is clear that Waldreg is self-serving, and doesn’t actually care about any of the lives he has gambled. He simply wants to put himself in good stead with Adar (whom he thinks is Sauron). At this point, Bronwyn despairs of humanity, and becomes aware of the faults that lie within men, just as Aragorn does at several points during the Lord of the Rings. She tells Arondir:

“You were right to watch us because we’re destined for the darkness. It’s how we survive. Perhaps that is who we are. Who we will always be.”

But in her heart of hearts, Bronwyn doesn’t believe this to be true. In fact, she is only considering joining forces with the enemy to protect her son, as the enemy knows that he has the weapon they need to bring Sauron back.

Any character who acts out of love for another, and does everything that they can to protect those who can’t protect themselves, is a hero in Tolkien’s world. And therefore, they will win in the end. This can be seen when Bronwyn and Arondir settle upon the realization that they can use the tower in their land to their advantage, and gain high grounds to defend their people from the onslaught of the orcs. One of the scenes from the early trailers shows Arondir crashing rocks down upon the enemy from this exact vantage point. There is clearly going to be a difficult battle ahead, but with a strong leader like Bronwyn, the Southlanders can weather whatever comes their way.

MORE: The Rings of Power Is Already Setting Up Isildur’s Downfall



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