encountered for the first time the Lord of the Rings When I was six years old. Peter Jackson‘s Fellowship of the Ring It was the first movie I saw in theaters, and I had to stay up late to watch it on opening night. The only reason I was there in the first place was because my mom read books in the ’70s and they literally changed her life, so when she found out there were going to be live-action adaptations in the trilogy, she was determined to go see them for herself. She was, I suppose, pleasantly surprised and somewhat moved, but my six-year-old self was utterly fascinated. The subtle world-building and vast landscapes began to unlock the “secondary reality” that Tolkien created in his books, and for the next two years, I couldn’t wait to get back on the stage to see what happens next.
When I finally made my way the Lord of the Rings And the the hobbit The books, I began to understand why they were so popular: even the movies, though vast, touched only on the surface of Tolkien’s world history, where themes of good and evil, friendship, loss, and the desire for home run into the depths of all his stories. I read Silmarlion First time in middle school and influenced by the tragic backstory of the brilliant glory of the First Era who fell into the final loss, only a shadow of the Third Era remains.
For several years, I wondered what Tolkien himself would have thought of the films if he had lived to see them. After reading Tolkien’s letters and the accounts of those who knew him, I finally came to the conclusion that should have been clear from the start: He would hate them.
Tolkien’s letters are full of his comments on draft texts that came his way. While the texts themselves were problematic in many ways, he also gave the impression that he would have been dissatisfied with almost any modification of his work. Tolkien’s official biographer, Humphrey Carpenter himself, he said that Tolkien believed his stories “cannot be grounded” and that he had no real expectation that his books could actually be portrayed successfully. Christopher Tolkien Later Confirm this ideaThe man who probably knew Tolkien best said that Jackson’s films “roiled the book by turning it into an action movie for young people between the ages of 15 and 25”.
If I am correct in this assessment of the film series that won 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture in 2003, Tolkien almost certainly would also be unhappy with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. To be fair, he probably didn’t like almost any adaptation of his work. And despite the twists and turns of the Jackson trilogy, the films were a brilliant showcase of cinematography and beautifully written scenes that brought a whole new generation of audiences back to the original stories, myself included. I also think that this new series, despite its perversions, can do the same. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the series does with Tolkien’s canonical work: where it deviates, where it falls short, and where it ultimately succeeds.
Strength rings operate with a smaller time frame
Perhaps the series’ biggest problem is something that is likely the root cause of a number of its adaptive choices: Tolkien never wrote a book focusing on the events of the Second Age, and production. He does not have the rights to the book in it she did Write more about it. Written material in text and appendices the Lord of the RingsWith that said, it gives a surprisingly detailed description of a number of Second Age events, and thus what results present an intriguing question for the base material: what can we get from the Lord of the Rings About the second age, and how does this differ from what we find in other sources?
One difficulty posed by the adaptation is that it decided to unravel the millennia of Middle-earth history in a much smaller time frame than Tolkien would allow. On the one hand, this was done to prevent human lives from passing through like flies while elves remained unchanged, but this choice comes with the corresponding problem of compressing the timeline of the Second Age and leads to confusion about the sequence of events and the impact of individual storylines on the overall plot.
Gil Gilad has a lot of power and authority
Certainly one of the series’ main problems, when it comes to the law, is the Gil Jall case (Benjamin Walker) Authority. Simply put, the Executioner’s generation did not have the strength, ability, or right to tell an elf to go to Valinor, or give them passage there. That was a gift from a Valar that he had no authority to give. Furthermore, the elves were already given a chance to return to Valinor at the end of the First Age; Those who are still in Middle-earth at the beginning of the series have Established to stay there, and they clearly didn’t burn with the desire to return to Valinor yet.
Another issue of Gil-Glad’s authority has to do with Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordovaa story. Jill Executioner is legally the supreme king of the Noldor, but not all elves are Noldor. The elves in Tirhard seem to be the Sylvan of the Elves, who would not be under the control of Gilad’s generation. The separate groups of elves had separate power structures, so the idea of an executioner’s generation having power over other groups of elves is an extension of the imagination, to say the least.
The show must make decisions for Tolkien
Another problem with adaptation, in general, is that in order to bring a product to the screen, the series needs to make decisions on areas in which Tolkien himself has not reached a definitive conclusion. One of these key points, for example, is the origin of the orca. Tolkien considered in much of his writing the possibility that orcs were devious elves but constantly struggled with their origin, state of free will, and eventual fate. Towards the end of his life, he seems to be moving away from the idea that orcs were corrupt elves, but this is a point of uncertainty that the show will likely explore, so they have to make a decision where Tolkien himself was unsure.
Another such point in Meryl character (Cynthia Addai Robinson). It was her power in the end raped by the pharaohs (Tristan Gravel), which led Númenor to eventually destroy it, but in one version of the story she struggled against his disastrous tendencies, and in another version supported him. Here, again, the series has to decide.
It’s hard to imitate Tolkien’s character build and voice
One of the more complex problems with the story, too, is that it treats a number of lovable ecclesiastical characters as its protagonists, and the portrayal of those characters can be strangely different from the canonical versions in the text: Jill Galad appears to be almost willfully ignorant of the dangers in his kingdom, Where he was actually more cautious than most of Sauron’s threat. galadriel (Morvid ClarkShe can be reckless and single-minded about her revenge. There is, of course, something to be said about “supporting characters” and that their character’s arcs will end up in more familiar territory, but seeing a likable character that doesn’t align with the script’s vision and trusting that they’ll end up in the right place can be tough.
Writing is another element of the show that has its ups and downs. Tolkien had a very distinctive writing style and had a way of capturing a culture, history, and time period in the way the characters spoke and in the rhythm of his narrative. He was a perfect fit for that, too: he was a professor of Anglo-Saxon and a linguist who understood better than almost anyone the nuances of English. Yet writers, though recognizing the beauty of Tolkien’s prose, often struggle to repeat it; Sometimes it works, but sometimes it just comes across as solid and unnatural.
Rings of Power successfully capture the objective elements of Tolkien’s work
On the other hand, there are a number of touches made by the show that are almost perfectly executed and largely aligned with Tolkien’s themes and writing. The dynamics of light and dark, good and evil in the introduction to the series, both in the story and in the visuals. It is one of the defining elements of Tolkien’s stories, and on full display, as is the subject of the value and power of true friendship.
There are also touches that can strengthen the world that Tolkien created, which do a better job of capturing Tolkien’s world than the Jackson films did: the series has put a full focus on the problem orcs have with daylight travel, for example, and emphasized the fact that it’s painful physically do it. In terms of orcs, too, while there has been criticism of the excessive CG warg, the depiction of orcs in episode 3 It was awesome. They also found a great way to reflect on the Elvish’s perception of time in Tolkien’s world, where it means twenty years have passed. Completely different things from Durin (Owen Arthur) and Elrond (Robert Aramayo).
The show showcases the majesty of Middle-earth and its culture
Another area in which the series has done a great job is the visualization of the great cities described in Tolkien’s books. Taking the darkness of Moria and turning back the clock to reveal its greatest glories Kingdom of Khazad Dom It resulted in one of the most stunning visual sequences of any mod, and Detection of Nimnor It was equally excellent. Jamal Lyndonthe terror of dwarf kingdoms, and the nobility of a collapsing Nemenor are depicted in stunning detail.
Perhaps their greatest achievement, however, is the way the series has built a number of beautiful Tolkien moments that were not written by Tolkien himself. There is no mention of dwarves finding the right way to dig By singing on the stone, for example, but it fits perfectly with Tolkien’s comments about the importance of music to dwarves and their loving devotion to their manual labor. It’s also a beautiful and perhaps tragic violation: the mountain is clearly telling you where not to go, and the dwarves will one day break this rule.
This also occurs in Arondir’s story, particularly in Episode 3. Tolkien’s work can be haunted by his experience of the trenches in World War I, and the trenches and exploding lands of Tirharad in that episode actually reminiscent of a kind of No Man’s Land in the middle-earth. Also, there may be no more Tolkien moment shown on screen than a dwarf crying and apologizing to a tree for having to cut it down.
This last point is perhaps the best thing that sums up what the series has done so well so far. The theme of decline and loss is present throughout the history of Tolkien who created it, and the deep and continuing pain that exists because of that loss: the longing for healing that the characters hope for, but the reader only glimpses of glimpses of. Elrond refers to this when he talks about Galadriel healing her grief in Valinor, and Elrondre reacts to the same idea as he sees the world around him crumble into corruption. Where the story goes from here is uncertain, but whatever the errors of the presentation, it displays a basic understanding of Tolkien’s themes that are respectfully done and, at their best moments, truly impressive.