The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’s sixth episode is its most action-packed yet, depicting a siege on Ostirith by Adar and his merry band of orcs. Among the flurry of violence and mayhem, one figure in particular stood out: That Big Orc.
You know the one. Arondir the elf is doing his thing, slaying orc after orc with his bow before falling off the roof of a building. Once on the ground, he stabs an orc in the chest and, clearly winded, slowly backs away. Suddenly, he backs into an orc that seems twice his size, turning around in sheer surprise.
It’s a golden moment — there are few better action-comedy beats in this world than “our hero, moments after doing some extremely cool stuff, accidentally bumps into an extremely large adversary.” It’s one of the few genuine moments of humor in The Rings of Power so far, and it sets up one of the best action sequences the show has had.
The big orc (I’m going to call him Borc) grabs Arondir and throws him through a fence, immediately establishing the big guy’s superior strength. The Rings of Power has struggled to make use of elven physicality, but in this scene Borc is a perfect juxtaposition for the agility and grace in Arondir’s fighting style. After getting tossed around like so many sacks of potatoes, Arondir meets the large guy in hand-to-hand combat, dodging Borc’s punishing blows and doling out a few fancy kicks of his own.
Then Arondir gets caught with a powerful right straight from Borc, clearly stunning him. It’s a really effective blow on the screen — it catches Arondir flush, and the sound effect is brutal. Borc tosses Arondir again and starts whaling away at him brutally, putting one of the show’s (many) main protagonists in actual peril. It’s only when Arondir picks up an improvised weapon and repeatedly cuts the big guy that he seems to stand any chance, and even then it’s close — Borc plants Arondir on a well and nearly chokes him out. Thankfully for Arondir fans (but regretfully for my fellow Borc fans), Bronwyn comes through just in time to stab Borc in the back. But that’s not before Arondir stabs the big guy’s eye and gets orc blood all over his face, in a particularly gnarly moment.
So pour one out for Borc, somehow one of the most memorable characters of Rings of Power. He provided the show with needed moments of humor and hard-hitting action, and satisfied some crucial needs for good action cinema: moments of levity amidst chaos, juxtaposition of fighting styles, and tense moments of sheer brutality. Rings of Power and other shows like it could use more memorable flash-in-the-pan characters like Borc, especially because of the show’s other issues with character building.
You will be missed, big guy.