Friday, February 18, 2022

No, I'm Not Going to Watch The Rings of Power

 So, here's the thing. Y'all know I love The Lord of the Rings. Y'all also know that I'm not crazy about movies, but that I try to be generous when it comes to book-to-screen adaptations, even when they're not perfectly faithful to the book. I love the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings films, even if they didn't do Faramir anything like justice. I watched the Hobbit movies in theaters and argued in their favor even when some of their decisions made me more than a little upset. And when I learned that there was going to be a new TV show based on The Silmarillion and other pre-LOTR Middle Earth writings coming in September, I was pretty optimistic. But the more I've heard, the more certain I am, even as early as it is: I am not watching The Rings of Power — and here's the reasons why.

No, I'm Not Going to Watch The Rings of Power (And Here's Why)

  1. They literally cannot be really faithful to the source material. Does that sound overly harsh? Yes. But the showrunners have admitted as much — they don't have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, or anything outside The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the Appendices. That means they're filling in a lot with their own inventions. I will give them credit for stating outright that this is basically a high-budget cinematic AU fanfic (though they said it in a fancier way); it's kind of refreshing to have that established at the outset. But that's not the show I'm looking for
  2. They did this to Elrond:Look, out of all the characters in the show, Elrond is the one I have the most investment in. And this . . . this is not Elrond. He's described in the First Look article as a "politically ambitious young leader," and . . . no. No. No. I live with the character assassination of Faramir in the LOTR movie because the movies are, in most other respects, true to the books. I will not accept them doing the same to Elrond in a show that's not going to make up for it in almost all other respects.
  3. I don't trust Amazon. Look, I'm not here to critique Amazon in general. I'm not even here to comment on how they've done with some of their other recent fantasy-book-or-story-to-movie adaptations. I'm here to say that I don't trust Amazon to get what The Lord of the Rings and the Middle Earth books in general are really about, as evidenced by the fact that they compared it to Game of Thrones, of all things. Honestly? In the hands of someone who understands the themes and the stories and the concepts Tolkien was trying to convey, this show could be good — even with the very drastic changes they're making, even with the amount of original content they're adding, even with how they're treating Elrond. But I don't trust Amazon to get that, and I don't trust Amazon to pick showrunners who'll get it either. (Again, they called Game of Thrones the "spiritual successor" to The Lord of the Rings. Spiritual disowned-wastrel-nephew, maybe. Hardly a successor.)
  4. I don't want The Lord of the Rings to become Amazon's MCU or Star Wars. Maybe this sounds weird to people. I don't know. But while I liked the MCU movies (up until I stopped being able to keep track of them) and I enjoy most of the interactions I have with Star Wars and Star Wars-adjacent stories, they're . . . kind of a lot. It's one thing after another, produced so fast that you barely have time to realize a series is running or a movie is releasing before it's over, and from what I've heard, that speed is reflected in the quality of some of the shows. And, look. All three storyworlds — The Lord of the Rings, the MCU, and Star Wars — have the potential to support this volume of story. But I think that the people behind the new MCU and Star Wars stuff aren't consistently respecting the story or the fans — they're doing this because this is what sells, and they'll keep stretching the material further and further as long as it keeps selling. I don't want that for any of these three storyworlds, but I want it least of all for The Lord of the Rings.
  5. There are other shows I'd rather watch and stories I'd rather enjoy. You know how long my backlist is? It's so long. Even if you leave off shows I'm currently watching, even if you restrict the list to only shows and no movies, no YouTube series, no other forms of media, there's a lot I want to see. There's a lot I know will be good because it's been recommended to me by friends I trust. So, I'm not going to put time and effort into a show I wouldn't look twice to it if it didn't have The Lord of the Rings pinned on to the title when there are so many other stories I could enjoy instead.

So, that's my take. Is there a possibility I will change my mind in November, once there's several episodes actually out and I know if my worst fears have come to pass? Maybe, if literally everyone says it's great. And I am still holding out hope that the animated War of the Rohirrim movie will make up for the failings of The Rings of Power, since it at least has some of the Lord of the Rings leadership on board. But for now? I'm pulling out before I can be disappointed.

Are you planning to watch The Rings of Power? How are you feeling about what we know about the show so far? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!


  1. Great points!! I have a feeling I won't be watching either, for similar reasons (a fear of wokeness is up there. I can't handle it with a series I love so much, lol. It will make me rage if it happens!). Especially since I rarely watch TV series for time reasons. If I'm going to put the time in, I want it to be something that I already have a little more optimism about!

    I do want to re-read LOTR this year. I'm also making a LOTR-themed Animal Crossing Island. So that should keep me in a good Tolkien mood for a while :)

    1. Exactly. There's too many other good things to watch to spend time on something that's just going to make you sad!

      Ooh, sounds like fun! Enjoy the reread and the island!


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