The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a television series based on JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels, set in the Second Age of Middle-earth thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Following the defeat of the evil Morgoth, the various races of Middle-earth enjoy a period of uneasy peace. However, this reprieve is only temporary, and although one evil has been vanquished, a new one threatens to engulf the continent in strife and conflict once again.
Attempting to cover the Second Age as comprehensively as possible, The Rings of Power is divided into several storylines, each one focusing on a different part of Middle-earth and contributing a different piece of the elaborate puzzle that is Tolkien’s world. The various threads are fairly straightforward, not treading any particularly new ground but telling small, simple stories competently.
While the show’s core narrative might be lacking in complexity, the visuals certainly aren’t, creating a vibrant and gorgeous version of Middle-earth that feels at once familiar and brand-new. The cast also does a great job at buoying the simple script with strong and emotive performances, enhancing the universal themes at the heart of the production.
Importantly, the result remains accessible for people who aren’t particularly versed in Tolkien’s writing. While some of the lore and terminology might be lost on newbies, a lack of knowledge doesn’t interfere with the foundational tale and there’s enough explained and shown to ensure nobody is left in the dark.
One issue the series has is with pacing: while it tries to create a sense of underlying tension gradually rising to the surface, and generally does so well, it’s perhaps a bit too coy about its central hooks and tends to drag its feet in a way that can get frustrating very quickly, especially with each episode clocking in at around an hour. This improves from the first episode but remains a problem throughout the series’ run.
Overall, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is off to a solid start, providing an engaging and pleasant time even if it’s somewhat lacking in narrative ambition. It might be a harder sell for people who aren’t diehard fans, but there’s something here for Tolkien veterans and newcomers alike.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is released weekly on Amazon Prime Video, starting on 2nd September 2022.
Watch the trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power here: