Tag Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

The Rings of Power — Season 1

J.R.R. Tolkien would not enjoy The Rings of Power.

Wait! Before you roll your eyes and seek out a piece with a less whiny opening line, know that this is a generally favorable review of the Amazon series inspired by Tolkien’s creations. Much has been written already about the liberties taken by showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, and sure: there are diversions, detours and a significant condensing of the timeline of Middle-Earth throughout the show’s first season, some of which result in frustrating missed opportunities. Entire diatribes have been dedicated to lamenting the fact that the Rings of Power elves have short hair, or that the Númenóreans should technically be like nine feet tall, or that mithril or the palantíri work very differently here (Erik Kain at Forbes has basically made a career these last few months mewling about what a “betrayal” the series is, at least when he’s not writing hard-hitting articles about Today’s Wordle Hints). So enough has been laid in print already detailing Power‘s departures from Tolkien’s source material, and yes, it’s all technically accurate.

And yet I have a hard time believing Tolkien would really give a shit about that. Before diving into why — and before getting to what the author’s real beef with the show would probably be — we’ll first issue a spoiler warning for The Rings of Power‘s first season.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Here at Motion State, we don’t f*ck around. We’ve got it figured out. We hang ’em high, we die harder. We bring you the head of Alfredo Garcia. We learn to stop worrying and love the bomb. We’re not afraid of Virginia Woolf and never have been. Hell, we even self-bleep our f*cks. Suffice it to say that we’re professionals.

On those infallible grounds, we’re confident in the fact that the best character in the entire Lord of the Rings saga-on-film isn’t the noble wizard Gandalf nor the noble badass Aragorn; it’s not the against-all-odds Frodo nor his tagalong everyman Samwise. It’s certainly not Legolas, despite his superpowered eyesight and epic acrobatics, and it’s not Gimli despite his…it’s not Gimli. Are we about to try to convince you that it’s one of those comic relief companions C-3PO and R2-D2 Merry and Pippin? Maybe pull one of those fast ones where we tell you that it’s the Ring, man, the Ring is the best character, or that we are the best character because Tolkien allowed us to roam free throughout wondrous Middle-Earth…nope. No such luck: the best LotR film character is Isildur, a guy with a fraction of the screentime of the aforementioned candidates, a jerk by all standards of fantasy heroism, dead long before the story really begins.

Here’s why.

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

So I missed the first ten minutes of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The theater I go to is called Legacy, and — wouldn’t you know it! — there’s a similarly-named theater in Indiana, a state in which I do not live. The online purchasing mix-up was doubtless part of a North Korean ploy. After considering flying to Indiana to catch a movie I barely wanted to see, I opted instead to just jump into a showing that was already underway. It’s ten minutes, I thought, and this is a Peter Jackson movie.

So I’m waiting for Smaug to come out and breathe his fiery breath onto the poor Laketownians, but first it seems there’s a weepy scene between Luke Evans’s Bard and some other Laketownians. I try to ease into my seat and into the flow of the movie, but it’s instantly confusing. Is this a flashback? It’s only been ten minutes, so what could these people have to be weepy about so soon?

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