Nothing would have derailed me from writing a review of Prime Video’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, except maybe a hole in my garage roof. Sadly that was the case for me this week, which is why my review was a bit delayed. However, no amount of home angst can keep me away from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien for long. J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay’s series was calling me as if I were Gollum …. “My Precious!” What’s most intriguing about Prime Video’s epic gamble is that so much is at stake with this series. If Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is trashed by the critics, it could have long-lasting impacts on the studio because of this series’s price tag. Luckily we don’t have to face that as this bold, gorgeous, and epic expansion of Tolkien was wildly entertaining for all.
A word to the wise: anyone going into this series expecting Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings will be sadly mistaken. This is a different approach, with some new characters created in the universe by Tolkien. During the first two episodes, the show attempts to inject so much exposition that it gets to be too much, but the cinematography and action sequences provide a nice change of pace.
While the first episode is exposition, for the most part, the second episode sets up some rather appealing character dynamics. The dwarf husband and wife of Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and Disa (Sophia Nomvete) will quickly become a fan favorite. We are left with a bit of a mystery in episode 2 as it pertains to the history of elven lord Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and the good prince. We are also introduced to the Harfoots in the 2nd episode (think Hobbits). Markella Kavenagh plays Nori, and Megan Richards plays Poppy. The best way to describe these two is to think Frodo/Sam. They stumbled upon a stranger who fell from the sky (played by Daniel Weyman), which opens up a huge mystery as to why he came to Middle Earth.
The breakout star so far has to be Morfydd Clark‘s Galadriel. Clark, through two episodes, has given an incredible performance which is only amplified by this terrific ensemble. As mentioned earlier, costuming, set design, and cinematography aid in creating this epic feel to the series. Bear McCreary’s score is the thread that ties this series together. The perfect blend of bold and sublime.
Overall, while it is hard to render a clear verdict after seeing just two of the eight episodes in the series, what we can say is Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power surprised me. This series had unrealistic expectations, and it has met them so far, which was shocking. Whether this continues remains to be seen, but I’m hooked, and that’s always a good sign.