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Talion and Celebrimbor are about as different as two people can be (without one of them being an Uruk.) Talion is a relatively lowborn human ranger of Gondor. Celebrimbor, an elite elven artisan. They are, however, united by two things: The pain of loss, and the desire to repay the atrocities visited upon them. These commonalities unite the pair into a powerful fusion of soldier and wraith, unlike anything else seen in middle-earth. Their quest for vengeance against Sauron and his minions turn them, almost as a side-effect, into a powerful force for good.
The Enemy of my Enemy
Having a common enemy is a common but powerful uniting cause between strangers. It’s been used by politicians, demagogues, and inspiring leaders since the dawn of time. In this case, however, it is the beginning of an intimate partnership. The two literally share one body. At the outset of their journey, they don’t realize the depth of this commitment, but eventually their very thoughts and memories start bleeding into one another. That is insanely personal.
Having a common enemy to unite against can be a good motivator, but in doing so, you need to be aware of what you’re committing to with your ally. I don’t think Talion or Celebrimbor would do anything differently if they could go back again, but that’s more through luck and the fact that they are both objectively good people. When teaming up with someone else to defeat a common foe, you need to also be mindful of who you’re associating yourself with. Is the cost of the partnership worth the prize, if you are victorious?
In the case of the ranger and the elf-lord, the common enemy was just the beginning of a great partnership, where the two became true comrades. If you pick your allies carefully, you may find that someone who was a stranger to you, may become an incredible friend. Just go into any partnership with both eyes open.
Part of the reason that Celebrimbor and Talion work so well together is that their skills are so complementary. Talion provides Celebrimbor with a body, as well as knowledge of combat, tactics, and Uruks that Celebrimbor would not have. On the other hand, Celebrimbor grants Talion superhuman abilities, knowledge well beyond that of your average ranger of Gondor, and a window into the past that proves invaluable as they recover his memories.
Any good partnership should involved complementary skills, in addition to common interests. Teaming up with someone should create a team whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts, in ideal circumstances. If you can create amazing products, you need to find someone who can sell them if you want to run a business. If you’re a great programmer and you want to make a game, you probably need to find an artist, as well as maybe a designer and producer. You should pick partners whose strengths make up for your weaknesses, and vice versa.
I once heard that marriages are most successful when relationship duties are split 50/50, with each party trying to actually put in 60%. Though Talion and Celebrimbor aren’t married, they’re pretty damn close. Being stuck with a person for days, weeks, months, or years on end can be difficult. Part of the secret to their great working relationship is their willingness to go above and beyond for the other.
In any given partnership or group environment, you never want to feel like you’re the “dead weight.” We’ve all been in a situation where we feel like we’re putting more effort in than someone else. The fact is, you can’t control the amount of effort someone else puts into any given situation. All you can do is focus on your own individual effort. Personally, I try to one-up the other person I’m working with, not in a bad way or a way that I’m expecting them to keep up with me, but just going at it with the mindset of, “The person I’m working with deserve 110% of my effort.”
Now, if you put in this level of work and your partner does not, of course it may be worth having a conversation with them about it. I find, however, that if you’re putting in 110% of your own effort, others notice and subconsciously step their own game up accordingly. If they don’t, then it’s worth opening a dialogue. If they still don’t, then maybe it’s time to look for a new group, partner, or situation. Partnerships work best when both people are working at their best. If it’s an issue that can be solved, then solve it if you’re able, but don’t stick around forever if you’re feeling resentful. Life is not worth that kind of negativity.
In the end, Talion and Celebrimbor have a fantastic partnership that sees them through thick and thin, in the face of Mordor’s fiercest generals, monsters, and foes. From the trailer for Shadow of War, Talion and Celebrimbor seem to separate at some point, which is kind of upsetting, but I’m hoping that part of the story involves seeking the wraith out once more, to achieve total victory over Sauron together. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
That’s it for Talion! I’ll see you again on Monday with a new blog post! Until then, as always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace
Ps. Did you know I’ve started a daily vlog? Check it out! You’ll get cool behind-the-scenes looks at some BaGC stuff occasionally, and all kinds of other cool stuff, too!