Last Thursday, the first two episodes of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power dropped. They represent the opening foray in what will be a multiyear project. Jeff Bezos is rumored to have spent $465M for this show’s first season of eight episodes alone. With each episode coming in at just over an hour that comes to almost a million dollars a minute, making this show, TV’s most expensive to produce, ever. This series is a prequel to the more familiar The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but due to the magic spells cast by the Tolkien estate’s wizardly licensing lawyers it is only based upon six appendences that appear at the end of the original trilogy. That’s a lot of money to bet on what is only a periphery set of writings. Rings of Power is Amazon’s bid for its very own Game of Thrones franchise, which itself has just begun airing its own prequel. With a whole new cast, Rings still has a few familiar characters. Galadriel and Elrond have already appeared, but for the most part the series’ characters are all new. Two episodes are hardly enough to judge an enterprise of this magnitude, but what I’ve seen so far sure is shiny.
In the first episode, Galadriel and her party of elves are ambushed by an ice troll. She kicks that troll’s ass, but that battle only served to spawn an army of Internet trolls. Chief among whom is Elon Musk. Reigniting his feud with Bezos, Musk complained that in Rings of Power, “Tolkien is turning in his grave, almost every male character so far is a coward, a jerk or both. Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice.” It is for his ilk that Amazon turned off comments on their website for this series. The cast of Rings is quite multicultural, which serves only to inflame the racist hate that such a move engenders. Who is to say what color dwarves and halflings are? I remember from my old D&D days that there were even dark elves in that Tolkienesque landscape. Just because Peter Jackson in his Lord of the Rings movies cast only white actors, doesn’t mean that is how it has to be.
This post has been a little bit inside baseball, rather than explicitly about the finished product, but as I said before, two episodes is too little material to form an accurate judgement. I must say that I like what I have seen so far. Far better than the Thrones prequel. Spending almost a half-billion buys you quite the shiny product. Only, time will tell us just how precious that product really is.