The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2 are the first instalments of the first season of a fantasy TV series streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Loosely based on the appendices author JRR Tolkien included in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, canonically, this series is set in the Second Age of Middle Earth, whereas the Lord of the Rings was set in the Third Age. Much has been made about this series being not true to Tolkien’s works and thus, we have decided to analyse the story of The Rings of Power on its own merits, while ignoring the accusations of virtue signalling race and gender swapping.
S P O I L E R S
In essence, The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2 sets up for us, a tale of vengeance. The elf Galadriel is seeking out the Dark Lord Sauron to destroy him, just like her brother Finrod did, before Sauron killed him. After centuries of war, the Elves are ready for a peaceful existence again but Galadriel is not convinced until Sauron is completely destroyed.
The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2 first introduces us to Galadriel as a child and then later as a warrior – commander of an Elvish force ordered to seek and destroy Sauron. But it is unclear exactly what Galadriel and her force are trying to achieve. Thus, that entire prologue sequence is very confusing. In her monologue, Galadriel tells us that she has been hunting Sauron for centuries (?) and presumably ridding Middle Earth of orcs etc – though none of that is depicted.
Ultimately, her subordinates refuse to continue the search as it appears that the enemy is gone. Powerless, Galadriel returns home to honours, acclaim and a return to the Elvish homeland, Valinor. But still she is unsatisfied despite best friend Elrond’s pleas for her to simply let it go. So, Galadriel agrees to return to Valinor but she jumps ship during the journey! In the middle of nowhere in the Sundering Seas. Despite being dressed (and drenched) in a flimsy night-gown, she still manages to hold on to her blade – where does she sheath it we wonder… Ridiculous.
Elsewhere, we are presented with the supposed proto-hobbits, the Harfoots. There we have Nori and Poppy, effectively female versions of Frodo and Samwise. The key event that takes place is that they witness a falling meteor which crashes near their habitat only to discover a tall man with grey hair and beard within – could this be…. Gandalf? Of course it is.
The other sub-plots: the soldier-elf Arondir having finished his 80 year tour of duty guarding men – and falling in love with a woman to boot (Bronwyn) – decides to investigate suspicious black cow milk (?) in a neighbouring town. There he discovers an underground network of dark tunnels before being captured. Meanwhile, Bronwyn and her son discover an Orc in their home but still manage to behead it, without too much fuss!
And oh yes, one more as Elrond visits the Dwarf-prince Durin, whereby they indulge in a pointless rock breaking challenge, but thanks to Princess Disa, Durin agrees to listen to Elrond’s proposal – for the Dwarves to assist the Elves in making the rings of power of course! Alright, at least this seemingly useless sequence has some narrative purpose!
All the characters in The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2 have been selected to remind the audience of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Thus, we have little folk (Harfoots), Gandalf (?), Arindor (filling in for Legolas), Halbrand (Boromir?), Elves, Dwarves and Orcs. The female characters are all over-powered especially Galadriel, a superwoman that single-handedly killed a snow troll where the men failed miserably, not to mention deciding to swim back to shore from the middle of the Sundering Seas. Even Bronwyn is capable of beheading a Orc all on her own! Empowerment!
The Good and the Bad
If nothing else, the visuals on The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2 are spectacular. The money on special effects seem well spent. Pity then that the story is hard to follow, with shallow characters spouting inane dialogue throughout. The key characters (viz. Galadriel, Nori and Arindor) all have a point to prove and are represented as rebels with a cause. Most of the male characters are presented as incompetent and weak, unimaginative and bland. Even Elrond. Is this the only way modern writers can write for strong female characters – by putting down the men? Infuriating.
The Final Analysis
Based on The Rings of Power Season 1 Eps 1 – 2, it is clear that the folks behind the series have made it a priority to ensure that the audience is constantly reminded of Jackson’s trilogy when watching this. On that count, we believe that it will resonate with mainstream audiences, albeit superficially. But that’s all Amazon really needs right now, isn’t it? Who cares about quality when the numbers work for you and this empty spectacle probably will.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
… still there’s more …