Though it takes place thousands of years before the events of the beloved original trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an undeniable nostalgic trip into Middle Earth that proves that we simply can’t get enough of this world. This is the re-entry into J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterful universe that we did not know we needed.
Enter Middle Earth before the forging of the rings of power that would seduce its rulers into evil under the guise of unity and strength. Before the rise of Sauron by way of the one ring to rule them all. “…one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them…
I have to give it up to the creators of the show as well as to Amazon for seriously investing into this I.P.! The show starts off with a gorgeous sequence that finally lets us see into the Undying Lands of Valinor. This leads into a familiar voice over sequence that lets us know exactly where we are and why. Surprising none, the visuals are incredible, the writing is sharp, and the characters are rich and exciting.
Honestly, when I heard Amazon was developing a prequel series set thousands of years before The Fellowship I wasn’t excited. Thousands of years prior meant we don’t get any of the characters we know and love. Wrong! Within the first few images I knew exactly who we were looking at which caused my excitement to skyrocket! As a huge L.o.t.R. fan I feel no shame saying that I nearly squealed when a character called out the name “Galadriel”.
Episode one sets us up beautifully, taking its time so as to give each character their time to shine and for the audience to become acquainted with them. It closes out with an incredible sequence that ties us back to the beginning of the show and sets our expectations for what is to come.
J.A. Bayona is our director for these first two episodes and I am thrilled with how patient the storytelling it. The ensemble cast is exceptional! I want to give a special shout-out to Morfydd Clark who delivers a complex performance that shines incredibly bright as the narrative promises to lead us into the darkness of Mordor.
If you’re reading this and just so happen to not be so familiar with The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings don’t fret. I won’t sit here and shame you. Your friends are perfectly capable of that on their own. Instead, I will address your concern by saying that, yes, people familiar with the world will be able to enjoy this it more quickly. I was sold before a world was spoken so I won’t sit here and lie to you about it. I know you’re smarter than that. However, the show serves as a great entry point for all and everyone will soon be able to fall in love with these characters, this world, and this narrative.
Like all great stories, it’s about good and evil. About corruption. In short, it has familiar elements that are fundamental to great storytelling. This is a show that is absolutely for everyone and, in some ways, is even more widely appealing than the previous six films. One obvious way is that it has made some serious improvements when it comes to diversity. So many more of us will finally be able to see ourselves in Middle Earth. But don’t take my word for it, go check it out on Amazon Prime Video starting on September 1st. And enjoy that gorgeous opening sequence that comes in on episode two! I can already imagine how much artwork, tattoos included, will be inspired by it.