Long-time readers of this blog know that I am a complete nerd for The Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the trilogy numerous times, including The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and many of the histories of Middle-Earth written by Tolkien.
So when it was announced years ago that Amazon would be producing a show based on Tolkien’s world, I was immediately hyped. And last night, I finally got to return to Middle-Earth! It was a long expected return, and definitely worth the wait.
As the title says, you won’t find any spoilers here. This is a show you need to experience for yourself, and fast because I’m sure that by Monday morning it will be impossible to miss spoilers online. All you’ll get here for now are my impressions of the show.
Reports have said that Amazon has spent over $1 billion on this show. Yes, billion with a ‘b’. And so far that money appears to be well spent. I’ve heard complaints online about cheap sets, horrible CGI, and bad costumes, but I didn’t see any of that. The sets looked great, the CGI was barely noticeable, and the costumes? They were amazing, especially the orcs.
Holy cow, the orcs! The last time we saw orcs was in The Hobbit, when many of the creatures were pure CGI. In Rings of Power, the orcs are once again played by actors in costume and make-up, and they are terrifying. Stunning. They look like monsters created in darkness by a power of pure hatred and spite, exactly as they’re supposed to be.
The music was wonderful, just as always in a movie based on Tolkien’s work. Howard Shore, the composer for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit returned again, only for the show’s theme song, but you can absolutely hear his influence on the rest of the soundtrack. Gorgeous, haunting, intense, it’s everything.
Thus far the casting decisions seem to have been done well. I read a review that cast aspersions on the casting of Morfydd Clark as Galadriel and Robert Aramayo as Elrond, calling them ‘miscast’. I don’t get that feeling at all. Clark plays a majestic yet fierce Galadriel, merely a younger, more emotional version of Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel. And Aramayo’s Elrond is thoughtful, wise, and always calculating. Again, a faithful homage to Hugo Weaving’s Elrond but with a younger twist (Rings of Power takes place approximately 7,000 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings after all, a long time even for Elves and they can and do change after the passing of ages).
The fighting scenes were good, not over-the-top or silly as in The Hobbit. The dialogue is fantastic, and changes tonally between the races: when the Harfoots (distant ancestors of hobbits) speak, it’s a very plain, country-bumpkin kind of talking, dwarves speak with a Highland accent, speaking loudly and boastfully, while the Elves speak softly, thoughtfully, using old-fashioned words and sentence structures with a royal British accent when speaking English, though they also speak their native tongue Quenya, as well.
Last night was the premiere of the first two episodes, both an hour long. By the end of the second one, I was not quite as engaged as I had been when I started, and I’ve seen some people say that the first two episodes can get a bit heavy with exposition (I kind of agree), but I owe that more to the fact it was 11:15pm and I’d been awake since 5 that morning.
Either way, I’m looking forward to Episode 3! If you have an Amazon Prime account or someone who will let you borrow it, I highly highly recommend watching Rings of Power, whether you’re a bona fide Tolkien nerd or not! Don’t miss out!
2 thoughts on “Rings of Power: A Spoiler-Free Review”
Yours is the first positive reaction I’ve seen to this show. But it counts for a lot; I know you’re a big LOTR fan, and can be counted on to know what feels like authentic Middle-Earth.
I admit, ever since the Disney Star Wars sequels, I’ve been cynical about these revivals and reboots of classic stories. A lot of them feel like soulless corporate cash grabs to me. But, I’m glad to hear you are enjoying this series so far! 🙂
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Yeah, I was cautiously optimistic going in. I was really worried that it would be exactly as you described, but the interviews with the directors and producers gave me a lot of hope.
Now I think my hope has been vindicated. Are there things I’d change so far, sure. But that’s art for you. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season
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