Now that the first season of The Rings of Power has ended, I wanted to talk about it. First, I absolutely loved it and look forward to the continuation of this series. Naturally there are those out there bashing the series for simple or idiotic reasons, but I am a fan and hope others are too.
Granted, I am a big fan of The Lord of the Rings and have read some of the supplemental materials used for the creation of this series (primarily The Silmarillion and the appendices). My knowledge therefore made the show much more enjoyable for me due to several reasons. I picked up on a lot of smaller details that other viewers may have missed but which only enriched my own viewing since they were really little “easter eggs” alluding to other events/characters. I was also able to predict certain surprises in the show due to some of these allusions and foreknowledge, although that did not diminish my enjoyment.
The production value is insanely good, similar to Peter Jackson’s original trilogy, leaving each episode feeling like a mini-movie (especially as they were on average 70 minutes). There was mystery and intrigue throughout as we were introduced to a familiar world but in an entirely new era. The Rings of Power takes place thousands of years before the events of The Lord of the Rings. Therefore, we see some familiar locations and only a few familiar characters, most notably elves who live forever, but we are getting entirely new stories. A few even tie directly to the events of The Lord of the Rings.
Let’s begin at the beginning, but before we start I do want to put a Spoiler Warning here as I will discuss a few items that would be considered spoilers for those who have not seen the entirety of the first season. I don’t want to write forever, although I could, so I’ll keep my thoughts concise.
Okay. The beginning of the show may have been confusing for many because it covers many events that lead to the start of this season. These events refer to a war that led the elves against the evil god Morgoth. We begin the show in the aftermath of this war with Morgoth defeated and Galadriel being a primary character who is hunting down the last of Morgoth’s forces with the focus on his most powerful servant still on the loose. This being Sauron himself.
Galadriel being a main character is fantastic as little is known about her aside from being the owner of a ring of power. We see some of her power and influence in The Hobbit films which expands Gandalf’s storyline outside the original book and brings more of the universe to the screen. Her own storyline has been limited in the films but we get not only her history but deep, personal storyline that delves into her relationship to the events within Middle Earth and her reluctance to go west until Sauron is defeated. I, for one, think Morfydd Clark does an incredible job bringing a “young” Galadriel to life on screen.
Next, another familiar face, is Elrond who is brought to life by Robert Aramayo. I think he does a great job showing Elrond’s character while giving background to this character as a “half-elf” whose father was granted a place among the stars by the gods and whose brother had a mortal life. Elrond remains an honorable character and gives us the fun relationship and insight into Durin, a dwarven name referenced several times in the movies. Durin and Elrond’s relationship is both explorative and perhaps the most fun in the season. We get to see Moria before its fall, and almost more importantly we get a background and explanation of what Mythril is aside from being the highly valued and magical material in this universe.
The Stranger. My guess right from the start turned out to be true as to who this character is and everything that occurs with him alludes or references many of his habits that we see later on in the timeline. It will be very interesting to see where is story goes in subsequent seasons. The Istari were sent to Middle Earth by the gods to assist with defeating the evil that has grown there. There are five of them in total, and I would not be surprised if we only see the three we’ve already seen in Peter Jackson’s adaptations.
Seeing Numenor was really cool especially with the juxtaposition to the humans we see in the Southlands. This difference delves into the race of humans and how some fought with Morgoth and how some fought with the elves. Numenor has a rich history itself and it is exciting to explore it, although it may be short depending on how much time elapses between seasons. My hope is not too much but we will see.
The events in the Southlands in this season were filled with background for fans of the movies. I thought it was extremely interesting to see one of the original Uruks. The elves who were tortured and twisted by Morgoth into a new state of being that was the genesis of orcs. We get to see why some humans “chose” to fight for evil but we also get a little insight into the orcs and how they are also searching for their own form of freedom. The subtlety in which a lot of this information is weaved into the series is well done.
How Sauron was revealed was likely a shock for many viewers. I went into the final episode with a prediction that turned out to be true. There were several things that hint at who Sauron is throughout the middle episodes and my prior knowledge again led me to an accurate prediction. Some of this knowledge came from the Lord of the Rings: Shadow of Mordor videogame series which explores some history of Sauron and the One Ring as well as the lands of Mordor prior to the events of The Lord of the Rings with Celebrimbor being a primary character in the games though he is represented much differently than in this show.
Last, we only see the first three rings of power being made in this first season. This leaves me really interested to see how they are going to develop the other rings of power within the series. We have seven rings for the dwarves and nine for “mortal men” which the realms of men have not fully been established which is why I think some time jumps may occur. However, by my calculations, we only have about 200 years before we get the events of Isildur cutting the One Ring from Sauron’s finger (per what is seen in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring movie). I determined this strictly from the average age of Numenoreans and Elendil’s current age in this show. Granted, that is a long time though I hope we get several seasons to cover most or all of it.
I could talk about this stuff all day, but I didn’t want to turn this post into a novella and tried to keep things short. Have you watched this show? Did you like it?