What did we think of the first two episodes of the series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”, to discover exclusively on Amazon Prime Video from this Friday, September 2!
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows a cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the dreaded re-emergence of evil in Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the Elven capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking isle kingdom of Númenor, and to the farthest reaches of the world, these kingdoms and characters will build legends that will continue to exist long after their death.
The plot takes place several thousand years before the events of JRR Tolkien’s books “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”.
WHO IS IT WITH?
The main role of the Rings of Power has been entrusted to Morfydd Clark (interpreter of Sister Clara in the series His Dark Materials: At the crossroads of the worlds). The Welsh actress lends her features to the Elf Galadriel, who appeared in Peter Jackson’s films under the guise of Cate Blanchett.
The semi-Elf Elrond, meanwhile, played by Hugo Weaving in the trilogies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, is embodied in the series by Robert Aramayo, known to the public for having interpreted Ned Stark young in the sixth season of Game of Thrones.
Finally, the British actor Charles Edwards (appeared as secretary to Queen Elizabeth II in the series The Crown) will play a character who had not yet appeared in any adaptation of JRR Tolkien: the Elf blacksmith Celebrimbor, creator of the Rings of Power.
A SERIES AT THE HEIGHT OF PETER JACKSON’S FILMS?
Going down in history as the most expensive series ever produced (a budget of one billion dollars for five seasons is mentioned), The Rings of Power is not strictly speaking a prequel to the Peter Jackson trilogies, although its plot takes place several millennia before the adventures of The Fellowship of the Ring. For rights issues in particular, it was not possible to associate the chronology of the series with those of the feature films.
A time as mentioned as a possible consultant, the New Zealand filmmaker did not ultimately participate in the design of the program. Unlike the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, the series is not an adaptation of any JRR Tolkien novel, since it is only inspired by the Annexes provided at the end of The Return of the King, composed mostly short stories, poems and songs.
Based on a semi-original story, the series is supposed to put into images several major chapters in the History of Middle-earth, such as the creation of the Rings of Power, the advent of the necromancer Sauron or the formation of the Last alliance between Men and Elves to triumph over the armies of the evil wizard.
Visually, the series does not disappoint. The first two introductory episodes offer us an overview of the main protagonists of the series, built like a choral story navigating from one point to another of the map of Middle-earth thanks to judiciously brought transitions.
From Elves to Dwarves via the kingdom of Men, the plot also allows us to rediscover the mines of Moria during their Golden Age (we had only seen the ruins in The Lord of the Rings), but also new species like the Hairy Feet, distant ancestors of the Hobbits.
The series also allows itself to highlight characters left out of previous adaptations of Tolkien such as the High Elf King Gil-galad and the Dwarf King Durin III, both glimpsed in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring .
IT’S BEAUTIFUL, BUT IS IT GOOD?
Very convincing on the visual level therefore, the series is almost just as convincing on the narrative level. While some will criticize its plot for a slow pace, we feel through these first two episodes the showrunners’ desire to rest their story on solid foundations, and to offer their protagonists the development that the cinematic format would not have. could afford, for lack of time.
Because the end of the story is already known, the series allows itself to take its time, which does not mean that nothing happens in this double introductory episode: the series opens with the Galadriel hunts Sauron, while a shadow gradually extends over the territories of Middle-earth; at the same time, Elrond is appointed to assist Celebrimbor in his most ambitious project to date, which will lead to the creation of the Rings of Power.
There is no doubt that many viewers will remain unsatisfied at the end of episode 2, which seems to be a good thing if we interpret this as a form of impatience and not as frustration. So hopefully, as the weeks go by, the series is no longer content to simply be “beautiful”, but that it now brings the development of its plot and its characters to the fore.
Because the success of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was based above all on the writing of its characters (something that had been somewhat lacking in his adaptation of The Hobbit), and the attachment we had for them. We know the main stakes of the Rings of Power, it will now be necessary to make more room for emotion so that the impossible challenge in which the series has embarked is fully accomplished.