Fans of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have divided. I find it surprising that people have already made great views on the show, but then again, the mere existence of people of colour gets some people riled up these days (get over it, by the way).
If you''re not a racist, then you''ll likely feel excitement, anxiety, and even hope. I haven''t seen anywhere near enough to understand whether The Rings of Power will make it work effectively or not. Im also of the opinion that adaptations of Tolkien will not impact the canon or how I read the books, which some fans may be afraid to. If the Rings of Power is bad, it will not make me frown at The Silmarillion the next time I pick it up. It does
Amazon Studios felt a bit of a dissatisfaction in the series (they should check my Twitter DMs if they want to know what racists really think), so they gathered a group of well-known Tolkien critics to sit down with the showrunners, who would answer their questions.
Shaun Gunner, the chair of the Tolkien Society, and Corey Olsen, along with his podcasting colleague Dr. Maggie Parke, were all present. Representatives from the Fellowship of Fans and TheOneRing.net fan community, as well as TikTokers Don Marshall and Silmaremily, the Prancing Pony podcast, and more. What Im saying is that this was a diverse mix of Tolkien creatives, thinkers, and fans, and most of them came away from
The group signed watertight NDAs, but we know they saw a new series of clips from The Rings of Power, as well as their interviews with its designers. Tolkien scholar John Garth was also present to give the group a talk, although a tweet from the man suggests that he does not have any further involvement in the show beyond this PR exercise.
Because she hadn''t enjoyed the initial teaser trailer, I was particularly interested in Kaitlyn Facistas'' thoughts. However, she was more impressed by the extended clip that this group had shown.
As I watched the footage, I became aware of Middle-earth in a way that I hadn''t done when watching the teaser version released earlier this year. There were moments of breathtaking high beauty, exhilarating heroism, and beautifully captured humanity, which evoked many of the same anxieties I had when reading Tolkien for the first time.
It''s the beautifully captured humanity that speaks strongest to me. Im sure Amazon Studios will make the show look amazing with its eye watering budget (although avoiding an overly-CGI experience in favour of practical effects like the initial title reveal would be preferable) and I think we all anticipated the heroics of battle in a modern blockbuster, whether it was or not. But the delicate moments and the stories of regular people in Middle-earth are what makes Tolkiens work so engaging as a reader, and hopefully that
Facista notes that she was, in part, very impressed by their [showrunners] ability to reference the Legendarium and Tolkiens letters in their two hour breakdown. This is something that Corey Olsen and Dr. Maggie Parke discuss once more in their two-hour breakdown of the event, mentioning the letters by name, with Olsen also mentioning that the showrunners used some of the more obscure letters rather than the ones we all know.
The greatest drawback from every single invitee was the passion of the showrunners. [They] know and get Tolkien, and are completely depressed about it, according to Olsen on Twitter. I met them, talked to them, and asked them questions. Their answers exceeded my wildest expectations of their fandom. However, Olsen regretted that the participants were shown another scene as spliced together rather than a whole episode or extended sequence from the program, which made it difficult to judge.
Nearly every person who attended the event speaks out loud, along with passion. Many, like Olsen, express appreciation for the showrunners'' knowledge of Tolkien''s canon, and most feel that the show is in good hands. A good TV series requires a lot more than just enthusiasm, but a vast amount of Tolkien knowledge should begin to alleviate the anxieties of some people.
The Rings of Power will bring characters and events to Middle-earth that Tolkien never wrote about; this is the nature of filling in the most threadbare era of Tolkiens fantasy timeline. However, there should be no egregious conflicts with Tolkiens lore at this stage.
Some detractors will claim that these critics have been paid shills if they attended an event run by Amazon Studios. However, if you sit down and read anything they have written, you''ll be able to trust them in critical detail to see what they have learned, and to recognize when something is a PR spiel. Im certain they must to, and it is an insult to their intelligence to suggest otherwise.
We still don''t know if The Rings of Power will be successful or not, but this group of critics believes that the showrunners'' Tolkien is properly understood and capable of delivering an accurate adaptation, that''s like a good start.