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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power


JohnC
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I did think a lot of the subtlety might be lost on a general audience. I was getting a lot out of some characters and relationships just because it seemed the actors were leaning into that backstory or the show would use locations in a way that would feel grander for what they represent rather than what they would mean to a casual viewer.

 

I kind of love that it was made that way to be honest. Because it didn't feel pandering either, if you're someone familiar with that stuff.

 

I felt it took the themes and ideas of the world and stories and made something very absorbing out of all of it, like a half remembered dream.

 

It was certainly uneven in places and had some questionable decisions, but I would argue the same was true of the film trilogy. There were many people disappointed or critical of Fellowship when it first came out - people forget a bit I think how lukewarm the reception of it was in some cases from both critics and fans, but of course it went on to be well loved not just for the best parts, but even the silly parts as well. I doubt this will endure as well, it's obviously not as good as those movies, but I think it might be a grower.

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I can't really understand some of the criticism but I'm not looking at it from a Tolkien reader's point of view so I guess I'm looking at it from a very different perspective.  IMO it was a well written, fun, exciting, GORGEOUS looking series that ticked pretty much every box I was hoping for.  I will give it another watch this week.

 

Totally on board for season 2 - mission accomplished as far as I'm concerned.

 

 

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Yes! (@kodamarama)

 

The difference is that Gandalf and the elves were a near-eternal part of Middle Earth so their “departure” feels like a real ending of something special. This was just another one of loads of continent crossing journeys that people have been doing in sub-episode timescales so it doesn’t feel deserving of the huge drama.

 

 

And I’m not a massive Tolkien reader. Only read the two books. And I thought it looked amazing. And eps 2 and 6 were great. But the “why should I care about this dickhead” vibes were too strong too often for me to love it. Never been rooting for the orcs uruqai before but I was defo torn between Adar and Galadriel.

 

and “well written”? No. Never that.

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3 minutes ago, Darren said:

A few thoughts after a day or two pondering, and reading comments in this thread.

 

I totally get why Galadriel would keep shtum about the true identity of you-know-who. Yes, if she was both perfectly rational and perfectly good she would obviously tell Elrond, if not Gil-Galad, immediately, but none of the characters in Tolkien's universe meet those criteria, with the possible exception of Eru. Not even the Valar, and certainly not the Eldar, without whose internecine feuds, oaths of vengeance binding their descendants, and just general short sighted moral failings, the entire saga would be a lot shorter and much less interesting. So now Galadriel, imperfect and proud, knows she's massively fucked up by bringing the one person she's (yes!) sworn an oath to destroy, not just back to Middle Earth but into the heart of the Elves' kingdom. And she also knows that this possibility was Gil-Galad's stated reason for dispatching her to Valinor in the first place. Her disobedience has proved him right and brought about the very thing he was trying to avoid. But she's proud and obviously reluctant to have the "you were totally right and I was totally wrong" conversation unless she absolutely has to.

 

Now if old laddo was still hanging around doing his enthusiastic amateur blacksmith act she'd have no choice but to swallow her pride and fess up anyway, due to the clear and present danger. But he's done her a bit of a favour by buggering off, so she's got some time to (she hopes) fix the mess she's made, ideally without ever having to reveal the extent of her potentially apocalyptic cock-up.

 

Which brings us on to the rings. Surely one of the themes of both the Simarillion and LOTR is that power corrupts? In the three rings Galadriel sees the potential to thwart Sauron once and for all, not realising of course that Sauron is several steps ahead of her, and that she is in fact stumbling yet again into a calamitous decision that seems to make perfect sense to her but will only further the aims of her enemy. The rings don't need Sauron's direct influence via the not-yet-forged One Ring to achieve this, the lure of their power and its influence over imperfect beings is enough. This is why Elrond is so important in that scene: he's discovered the truth and is about to blow the whistle, or at least confront Galadriel about it, but in the presence of the rings he immediately comes to the same conclusion, that the immense power of these objects holds the solution to all their problems. And so his discovery is suddenly irrelevant: they don't need to waste time raking over the coals of past transgressions, because victory is at hand! Thus do they dance to Sauron's infernal tune.

 

All of this is completely consistent with the behaviour of the Elves throughout the Silmarillion and with the themes of the entire saga. It's incredibly well written.

 

Yeah totally. As well it shows that Gil Galad was being wise in his judgement of Galadriel, also we was clearly worried when they said they were making an all powerful magical crown of all things. Similarly the Dwarf king hinted that the elves becoming mortal and either living with that in Middle earth or running away to Valinor was the natural order of things, and that no good would come of using mithril to cheat death. LOTR has a very black and white morality, and even in the original trilogy they hammered home the point that it was ultimately mercy that lead to the fall of evil not great kings and armies. 

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29 minutes ago, Darren said:

A few thoughts after a day or two pondering, and reading comments in this thread.

 

I totally get why Galadriel would keep shtum about the true identity of you-know-who. Yes, if she was both perfectly rational and perfectly good she would obviously tell Elrond, if not Gil-Galad, immediately, but none of the characters in Tolkien's universe meet those criteria, with the possible exception of Eru. Not even the Valar, and certainly not the Eldar, without whose internecine feuds, oaths of vengeance binding their descendants, and just general short sighted moral failings, the entire saga would be a lot shorter and much less interesting. So now Galadriel, imperfect and proud, knows she's massively fucked up by bringing the one person she's (yes!) sworn an oath to destroy, not just back to Middle Earth but into the heart of the Elves' kingdom. And she also knows that this possibility was Gil-Galad's stated reason for dispatching her to Valinor in the first place. Her disobedience has proved him right and brought about the very thing he was trying to avoid. But she's proud and obviously reluctant to have the "you were totally right and I was totally wrong" conversation unless she absolutely has to.

 

Now if old laddo was still hanging around doing his enthusiastic amateur blacksmith act she'd have no choice but to swallow her pride and fess up anyway, due to the clear and present danger. But he's done her a bit of a favour by buggering off, so she's got some time to (she hopes) fix the mess she's made, ideally without ever having to reveal the extent of her potentially apocalyptic cock-up.

 

Which brings us on to the rings. Surely one of the themes of both the Simarillion and LOTR is that power corrupts? In the three rings Galadriel sees the potential to thwart Sauron once and for all, not realising of course that Sauron is several steps ahead of her, and that she is in fact stumbling yet again into a calamitous decision that seems to make perfect sense to her but will only further the aims of her enemy. The rings don't need Sauron's direct influence via the not-yet-forged One Ring to achieve this, the lure of their power and its influence over imperfect beings is enough. This is why Elrond is so important in that scene: he's discovered the truth and is about to blow the whistle, or at least confront Galadriel about it, but in the presence of the rings he immediately comes to the same conclusion, that the immense power of these objects holds the solution to all their problems. And so his discovery is suddenly irrelevant: they don't need to waste time raking over the coals of past transgressions, because victory is at hand! Thus do they dance to Sauron's infernal tune.

 

All of this is completely consistent with the behaviour of the Elves throughout the Silmarillion and with the themes of the entire saga. It's incredibly well written.

She hasn’t even cast Identify on those rings yet, she can’t possibly know if they’re any good 😉

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20 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

So much this!

"Bad Writing" is such a lazy, crap nothingness of a critique.

...and it now gets banded about at literally anything and everything, that someone might have a dislike for. 

Proper eye-roll nonsense. 


I didn’t say Bad Writing but it really is at times. That term is a summary of all the other points I’ve made around unrealistic motivations, pacing, contrivances, bizarre character actions that are clearly there just to hit a plot point etc.

 

Anyone know why it mattered that they only had 3 ships and not 5? Did they just run out of pixels and had to quickly cut corners? “Mate, I’ve done the viaduct, took me all weekend and it’s got 3 fucking arches and that’s that. I don’t give a shit if the boats don’t line up”?

 

The chunks of extra cheese dialogue is just the most obvious manifestation.

 

And in spite of all of that, I still think it had enough going for it to make it worth coming back next season. Which I didn’t bother with Hobbit 2&3 for.

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52 minutes ago, Darren said:

A few thoughts after a day or two pondering, and reading comments in this thread.

 

I totally get why Galadriel would keep shtum about the true identity of you-know-who. Yes, if she was both perfectly rational and perfectly good she would obviously tell Elrond, if not Gil-Galad, immediately, but none of the characters in Tolkien's universe meet those criteria, with the possible exception of Eru. Not even the Valar, and certainly not the Eldar, without whose internecine feuds, oaths of vengeance binding their descendants, and just general short sighted moral failings, the entire saga would be a lot shorter and much less interesting. So now Galadriel, imperfect and proud, knows she's massively fucked up by bringing the one person she's (yes!) sworn an oath to destroy, not just back to Middle Earth but into the heart of the Elves' kingdom. And she also knows that this possibility was Gil-Galad's stated reason for dispatching her to Valinor in the first place. Her disobedience has proved him right and brought about the very thing he was trying to avoid. But she's proud and obviously reluctant to have the "you were totally right and I was totally wrong" conversation unless she absolutely has to.

 

Now if old laddo was still hanging around doing his enthusiastic amateur blacksmith act she'd have no choice but to swallow her pride and fess up anyway, due to the clear and present danger. But he's done her a bit of a favour by buggering off, so she's got some time to (she hopes) fix the mess she's made, ideally without ever having to reveal the extent of her potentially apocalyptic cock-up.

 

Which brings us on to the rings. Surely one of the themes of both the Simarillion and LOTR is that power corrupts? In the three rings Galadriel sees the potential to thwart Sauron once and for all, not realising of course that Sauron is several steps ahead of her, and that she is in fact stumbling yet again into a calamitous decision that seems to make perfect sense to her but will only further the aims of her enemy. The rings don't need Sauron's direct influence via the not-yet-forged One Ring to achieve this, the lure of their power and its influence over imperfect beings is enough. This is why Elrond is so important in that scene: he's discovered the truth and is about to blow the whistle, or at least confront Galadriel about it, but in the presence of the rings he immediately comes to the same conclusion, that the immense power of these objects holds the solution to all their problems. And so his discovery is suddenly irrelevant: they don't need to waste time raking over the coals of past transgressions, because victory is at hand! Thus do they dance to Sauron's infernal tune.

 

All of this is completely consistent with the behaviour of the Elves throughout the Silmarillion and with the themes of the entire saga. It's incredibly well written.

 

Completely agree with all of this. It was one of my favourite sets of scenes in the whole show for exactly these reasons.

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Thought this was a fantastically-written series overall with an occasional clunker in the dialogue. I love it when a series wraps up and the overall story of the thing is cohesive.

 

It doesn't help though that it shares one of the issues with the films in that the nature of a lot of the magic-y stuff is kept vague. Like.. the nature of the rings; what exactly do they do, how exactly does the one ring let one person dominate the will of another, etc? Can you make someone shit on command with it? In the films, what is Sauron - is he a sort of malevolent presence or an actual big eye boy in the sky. The series was the same - it refused to get too much into the nitty gritty of where Sauron has been, where Sky Man came from, how mithril actually helps the elves, etc.  It's all grand themes rather than the specifics and mechanics of lore.. and I think a lot of people don't really want to get on board with that.

 

On the flip side re: those clunkers, I watched with someone who'd only half watched the films before, no interest in the books. Those clunkers mostly had a purpose in spelling things out, and even if it did take some of us out of the experience a bit, I appreciate that they managed to create something that appealed to a non-fan.

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I suspect a lot of people don't get on with some of it because it plays everything so straight. Tolkien's work was influenced by the great Icelandic sagas, as well as a huge dose of the Biblical, so characters often feel difficult to connect with as they have great "destinies" which will happen through logical or illogical means.

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34 minutes ago, choddo said:


I didn’t say Bad Writing but it really is at times. That term is a summary of all the other points I’ve made around unrealistic motivations, pacing, contrivances, bizarre character actions that are clearly there just to hit a plot point etc.

 

...which is either subjective, or doesn't matter. 

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7 minutes ago, Benny said:

I suspect a lot of people don't get on with some of it because it plays everything so straight. Tolkien's work was influenced by the great Icelandic sagas, as well as a huge dose of the Biblical, so characters often feel difficult to connect with as they have great "destinies" which will happen through logical or illogical means.

 

And it's very tricky to show individual character motivations in that kind of setup; you end up having to draw a line on where you want to dig in and where to skim over stuff. Maybe that's why the first film is my favourite: you have the very clear, very straightforward hobbits brushing up against all this eternal shit.

 

I had huge respect for this series managing to toe that line while also being an enjoyable watch, and also incorporating some of the visual language and storytelling of the movies.

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17 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

...which is either subjective, or doesn't matter. 

 

Well it's subjective because it does matter to me.

 

No one can tell me that anything character driven in this holds a candle to Episode 8 of HoD.

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11 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

Perhaps the reality is their both different and both excellent? ROP & HotD that is. 


There are core elements to good story telling though.

 

HoD is very good. RoP just about gets away with it. And a lot of that is thanks to top quality visual realisation of the amazing imagination of Tolkien.


But what he also had, which I just don't get from this, is a feel for the human relationships, for the politics but also companionship, support and love. That's been left as a secondary concern behind big set pieces, high school level squabbling and egos. If we came back next season to find the whole thing was about meteorboy and Nori's exploration and adventures, that would be just fine with me.

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I am Erik Kain

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2022/10/14/the-rings-of-power-season-1-finale-review-a-dreadful-mess/

 

Anyway, the three elven rings don't corrupt, Gandalf didn't lose his place in heaven,  Galadriel's reaction is appropriate for a B level superhero in a CW TV show but not for an immortal, wise being that has just lived through the last metal war, dwarf women still have beards and you are all wrong.

 

I am glad everyone seems to like it. I loosened up on the Jackson films - a little - after a decade, so maybe there's some hope in another ten years I manage to see some of it.

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Both those articles, Forbes and the Guardian, are dreadfully written by lads that seem to assume they are hilarious but weirdly, their finely-tuned senses seem to miss that they are not.

 

Also, unbelieveably LoTR and HoD are not actually shows in competition with each other.

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4 hours ago, kensei said:

I am Erik Kain

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2022/10/14/the-rings-of-power-season-1-finale-review-a-dreadful-mess/

 

Anyway, the three elven rings don't corrupt, Gandalf didn't lose his place in heaven,  Galadriel's reaction is appropriate for a B level superhero in a CW TV show but not for an immortal, wise being that has just lived through the last metal war, dwarf women still have beards and you are all wrong.

 

I am glad everyone seems to like it. I loosened up on the Jackson films - a little - after a decade, so maybe there's some hope in another ten years I manage to see some of it.


It took you a decade to even accept the PJ films? Why do you even bother with this?

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1 minute ago, Festoon said:

Both those articles, Forbes and the Guardian, are dreadfully written by lads that seem to assume they are hilarious but weirdly, their finely-tuned senses seem to miss that they are not.

 

Also, unbelieveably LoTR and HoD are not actually shows in competition with each other.


the Forbes guy has hated the show since the start… tiresome shite

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