Rings Of Power (my thoughts on Amazon’s LotR prequel TV series)

Meh.

Okay, I need to explain my reaction. The production value of Rings of Power is top notch. They have a stellar art department, music by Bear McCreary, great actors, incredible costume design. The only thing that isn’t awesome is the writing/story. And it’s not bad. It’s just…

I don’t even blame the writing team, because I think their hands were tied. They had to work on a major IP with tons of investment money and not take storytelling risks. When you tell stories by committee without taking risks, you’re gonna get some bland storytelling. I think they did a great job, given the constraints they had. They did their best. And it wasn’t bad. The writing here is certainly a thousand times better than the travesty that was the Wheel of Time adaptation.

Judging by media buzz, few people guessed who Sauron was. Really? Is that true? Because it seemed obvious to me by episode 2.

And I guess people were wowed by the stranger with Nori, and didn’t see that ending coming? I saw it a mile away. The final episode “I’m good!” scene was still fun and satisfying to watch, but it was extremely predictable. I think most viewers guessed who the stranger is, in Lord of the Rings lore.

I enjoyed watching the elves, the dwarves, the harfoots, and the Numenorians.  But I didn’t feel invested in any of the characters. We all know Galadriel and Elrond survive, so there’s very little tension to those scenes. I guess a lot of people were charmed by Nori, but I found her charm to be very crafted/scripted. Didn’t care about Isildur. He gave off a spoiled Nick Cage vibe.  Theo, son of Bronwyn? He seemed like was about to go bad at any second, but turned out to going through a simplistic moral struggle that didn’t really seem cogent.  Durin & Disa were cute as a dwarf royal couple, and I did really enjoy their interactions with each other and with Elrond. But in the end, there isn’t much character conflict there, either. Durin’s conflict with his father is classic and predictable.

Every character in this show is going through bland, diluted, classical, predictable struggles. Galadriel thirsts for vengeance. That is all her character is about. Elrond is torn between friendships and duties. Meh. Durin has to obey his father. The Stranger is worried that he might be a peril, aka evil. Nori wants to wander instead of following the path. Arondir is torn between loyalty to his elven people and his love for a human (who is much younger than him, but that is never addressed). Etc. These are all very simple characters with simplistic, bare bones interactions.

The dialogues between Galadriel and Halbrand at the end? Those were okay, but not exceptional in the way that Game of Thrones (seasons 1-5) was. To me, it felt like it had to go through a lot of committee approval processes.

With everything else about this show being so exceptionally beautiful, it was hard for me to watch it wasted on mediocre storytelling. Those elven halls! Numenor! It was so gorgeous!

I wish Hollywood would dare to take risks on non-safe IPs again.

1 Comment

  1. The characters were shallow. Beyond everything you mentioned, they tended to speak in epigrams, and always were changing the subject. I think I know what they were trying to do, but it just came off as trying to sound fancy. As opposed to the Harfoots, who sounded plain and unimaginative. The whole thing felt rushed, in a story sense.

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© 2022 Abby Goldsmith
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