“Rings of Power” Pales in Comparison to the Book


“Rings of Power” premiered on Amazon this past month. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Justin Charles, Digital Producer

On Sept. 1, 2022, Amazon dropped a new show “The Lord of The Rings: Rings of Power.” To be honest, up until the release of the show, I had almost no idea what it was about. As a matter of fact, two episodes into the show, I still had no idea what the show was about. However, now I’m five episodes in and I kinda sorta know what it’s about, so I’m here to give you a quick rundown of the show so far. 

Amazon stated that the show had the most viewers for a Prime Video premiere. This is significant seeing the scale and reach of other shows on the Prime roster such as “The Boys.” However, these ratings do not reflect the quality of the first two episodes. This popularity can mostly be attributed to the massive fanbase that “Lord of the Rings” already has. That, combined with the fact that the last “Lord of the Rings” project was “The Hobbit” which was released in 2012, means that fans were left without any content for over 10 years. 

Before we get any further with this I have something I would like to admit. Yes, I am a nerd. Yes, I read the books. But no, I will not be letting my love for the books seep into my opinions of the show. For anyone wondering, there are so many changes from the books that I would have to write a whole article just on them, and, to be honest, most of the changes the show makes are really significant and I frankly don’t like them. There are even changes made from the original movie series, which surprised me. At the end of the day, this is a show that was made in a different format. It should be expected from the jump that not everything will be able to transfer over and with that expectation, I believe you should expect a different experience to come with it. 

Now onto the show itself. Like I said before, the good ratings of the first two episodes are not a reflection of the episode’s quality at all. In my opinion, the first two episodes are terrible. Why you may ask? They are terrible because it felt more like a task to get through them than something I actually wanted to do. The episodes are slow paced to start off with. You spend a good amount of time just meeting characters and getting accustomed to the different areas that they inhabit. In addition, you follow different story lines that seem to be happening at the same time, in a style reminiscent of “Game of Thrones.” There is not a single main character but actually around three to four. 

The worst storyline of this bunch would have to be the hobbits. Hobbits are just little people who live in traveling communities for those that don’t know. Listen, I love my man Frodo Baggins as much as the next guy, but this story line consists of us following hobbits as they live their lives, and it becomes pretty clear quickly that their lives are boring. They take care of each other, make food, play around and so on and so forth. This is all nice but I turned the show on for some fantasy, not to watch people do the same thing I do everyday just in the woods and on the television screen. The storyline is so bad that I fell asleep every single time that they changed to it, and I wish I was lying. It is probably the sole reason that it took me two weeks to get through the first two episodes. In addition, I had to get to episode three before I got some payoff for all of my rewatching. 

However, once I did get past the first two, I watched the next three episodes in three hours. These last three episodes have really got me into the series as a whole and stopped me from dropping it completely. All of the sudden, the bleak storylines became interesting. There is one with an elf, Galadrial, that ends up stranded in the middle of the ocean by the end of episode one. Now I’m not going to spoil too much but let’s just say that by episode three she has finally made it to land and where she arrives is quite interesting. The new power dynamics along with the potential implications that this storyline would have on the rest of the world made this quickly become my favorite storyline. It finally began to feel like the character’s actions meant something in the grand scheme of things. Another interesting storyline that develops in episode three is between the elf, Elron and the dwarf, Durin. This storyline deals with themes of friendship,  fatherhood, legacy and eventual loyalty with questions arising of who you should be loyal to and when you should be loyal to them. All scenes with these characters got me to think more about my relationships in my personal life. I’m not saying that the show has turned into Dr. Phil, but it brings up interesting arguments. 

Furthermore, the visuals in this show are absolutely stunning. You can see why this is the most expensive Amazon Prime show just simply from the sets. This is not a CGI-heavy show as you can see that many of the sets are actually fully built out, which helps with immersing the audience into the show. The detail put into little things as well, like the character outfits, cities and even statues are noticed and appreciated, especially by book readers who can spot the easter eggs hidden in plain sight. 

In closing, it is becoming a good show. The reality of it is that the whole show does really pale in comparison to the book which it was allegedly based on. I say allegedly because the show drastically changes most of the plot lines to the point that they are almost unrecognizable compared to the book. For the rest of my life I will wonder why they decided to change a great story like that when they could have just stuck to it and everyone would have loved it. But, for what it is, “The Lord of The Rings: Rings of Power” is an enjoyable show once you get past the first two episodes, and I would recommend that you check it out.