- Based on the novel The Lord of the Rings and its appendices by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Developed by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay (Showrunners)
- September 1, 2022 to Present
- Prime Video
Series Cast So Far…
- Galadriel-Morfydd Clark
- Finrod-Will Fletcher
- Thondir-Fabian McCallum
- Rían-Kip Chapman
- Sadoc Burrows-Lenny Henry
- Marigold Brandyfoot-Sara Zwangobani
- Malva-Thusitha Jayasundera
- Vilma-Maxine Cunliffe
- Largo Brandyfoot-Dylan Smith
- Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot-Markella Kavenagh
- Dilly Brandyfoot-Beau Cassidy
- Poppy Proudfellow-Megan Richards
- Elrond-Robert Aramayo
- Gil-galad-Benjamin Walker
- Arondir-Ismael Cruz Córdova
- Waldreg-Geoff Morrell
- Tredwill-Peter Tait
- Rowan-Ian Blackburn
- Bronwyn-Nazanin Boniadi
- Médhor-Augustus Prew
- Revion-Simon Merrells
- Theo-Tyroe Muhafidin
- Celebrimbor-Charles Edwards
- The Stranger-Daniel Weyman
- Durin IV-Owain Arthur
- Halbrand-Charlie Vickers
- Disa-Sophia Nomvete
- Durin III-Peter Mullan
- Míriel-Cynthia Addai-Robinson
- Isildur-Maxim Baldry
- Pharazôn-Trystan Gravelle
- Eärien-Ema Horvath
- Elendil-Lloyd Owen
- Kemen-Leon Wadham
A threat looms in the shadows during the Second Age of Middle-earth.
Ep. 1: A Shadow of the Past
- Directed by J.A. Boyana
- Written by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay
- September 1, 2022
Ep. 2: Adrift
- Directed by J.A. Boyana
- Written by Gennifer Hutchison
- September 1, 2022
I went into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power with extremely low expectations. I think LOTR as well as The Hobbit films are pinnacles of fantasy film making. They are art as well as just downright enjoyable and very rewatchable movies. They aren’t pretentious and self-important.
I’m left with a feeling that the creative minds behind The Rings of Power started out believing what they had was automatically great by default of its association with LOTR. Or maybe they’re just trying to make this a Game of Thrones equivalent right off the bat. I’ll be honest. I find that that show a bit pretentious and stuck on itself.
The first two episodes are rather dialogue heavy with the first being the most significant of the two in that department. There’s a lot of talking as they set up their world of the Second Age of Middle-earth and establish all the main characters that can be fit into these two episodes.
The first two episodes set up pretty much all the majors or the apparent majors. First up we meet the young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) who here is a military leader carrying out a vow she made to herself to avenge her brother’s death. She believes Sauron is still alive though nobody else does. That is a touch cliché.
We also meet Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) who is a Harfoot (a proto hobbit) with a mind that looks beyond her immediate world. She is clearly going to be the Frodo/Bilbo of the series with an apparent need for something greater in her life than her immediate world. They practically beat you over the head with this.
Some of the stuff we get in these two episodes feels a bit like a soap opera while other elements feel as if they are genuinely intent upon building a Lord of the Rings world. First off they introduce a group of fatherless children who one could see as possibly the illegitimate children of Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) who is in love with their mother Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi). The thing is on the property one of the children shows off a broken sword with a mysterious symbol on it linked to Sauron. So is Sauron actually the dad? That feels a bit CW-ish.
Arondir while with Bronwyn encounters a villager with a sick cow who excretes a black liquid. Why does everybody go to black liquid? Maybe it just jumped out at me because it has been around since X-Files. That was the mysterious alien substance that denoted the alien in that show and has become used by every low budget creator since. My most recent encounter with it was a Bruce Willis movie. It’s rather lazy and unimaginative and doesn’t feel that threatening. Who is afraid of what looks like spilled motor oil?
The opening voiceover from Episode 1 sets up a pretty dangerous feeling world but what follows doesn’t feel as dangerous as what they discussed. And maybe that’s the point. They are trying to set the tone that the world at large has forgotten the threat of Sauron or is just desiring to look the other way. So far the story isn’t bad but it is a little weak. I do see potential in this to be an interesting series.
As of right now the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are an adequate beginning to something inspired by but not directly taken from great material. I can say I will watch more. I can’t quite recommend it yet though.
Ep. 3: Adar
- Directed by Wayne Yip
- Written by Jason Cahill and Justin Doble
- September 9, 2022
Episode 3 wasn’t bad. Just not great. I found it a bit slow paced with a lot of talking once again on Galadriel’s part. She expounded upon stuff a great deal. I understand LOTR is not one action sequence after another, but it is also not endless yammering. The story moves forward as a result of the dialogue. Here not too much. I felt as if things drag when it came to her character.
Three episodes in and we learn the truth about the symbol of Sauron that Galadriel has been seeking an answer too. And it feels like a bit anti-climactic. What should’ve been an “Oh crap!” moment comes off as a bit “Meh.” Nobody thought to look at it from literally a different angel? And some of these people read maps as part of their job and cannot pick up on it.
We are also introduced to a mystery about a somewhat exiled king of the Southlands in the form of Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) companion Halbrand (Charlie Vickers) who is posing as a commoner for…reasons. Shades of Aragon? In the first two episodes we get a Frodo substitute and now we have an Aragon substitute. Admittedly you copy the classics but if your classic is from the same universe as you then you probably should not copy it because what you’re really doing then is just repeating your own work. Maybe we will get surprised here. Not sure how.
We are introduced to the island kingdom of Númenor which is ruled by Men and was given to them by the Elves after the last war with Sauron’s former master Morgoth. There is a somewhat exiled king of the island as well as the mystery of why this nation cut itself off from the Elves with whom they were once closely allied.
Also while in Númenor we are introduced to the children of Elendil (Lloyd Owen), the captain who rescued Galadriel and Halbrand. From there what we did get comes off as a bit of a team soap drama. Ugh! It’s about that well written.
The section involving the captured Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) and pals trying to escape is more action oriented. However the framing of the action feels like it is straight out of a different fictional universe. It is all slo-mo and spin kicks. I half expected to see slow moving bullets streak across the screen. It just didn’t fit. And in the end it was all really for nothing. It felt like an action to scene to spice up the episode rather than to tell the story. If it was for anything it was to stretch out the time it took for a new villain named Adar to show up on the scene. Is he the final big bad of this season?
And we get more time with a Harfoots who have begun their migration and they learn about the tall human (Daniel Weyman) that Nori has been taking care of. If you don’t believe this dude is Gandalf, I don’t know what to do for you. If he’s anybody else I will be genuinely surprised. That would be a real twist!
And dropped in this episode we get a long list of the people that have been left behind during previous migrations because they couldn’t keep up as well as a couple people who appeared to have been killed by natural circumstances that occurred during the migration. I’m at a loss that this apparently tightknit community is willing to so readily toss people aside because they fall behind. It doesn’t seem to jive with the presentation of the characters.
Episode 3 drops in so many MORE plot threads. It seems like there is a great deal going on with only five episodes to go. How many plots will be left dangling by the end? I know this is to be ongoing but you need to wrap some stuff up by the end otherwise it is all tease and gets old.
As episodes go this one is okay. The first two episodes were not mind blowing but this is a step down or two from them.
So far this is nothing too special. And in comparison to the films The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is crap but in comparison to some other things that are out there it’s okay. It’s certainly not the most sophisticated direction or writing. It wishes to be the new cool kid on the block rather than being an expansion of Lord of the Rings. As of right now I’m not calling this terrible but it’s a bit of a letdown. I’m hoping it improves by the finale. I will keep watching.