We’re six episodes into The Rings of Power, and there’s only one word for it: Epic.
You can catch Amazon’s ambitious prequel to Lord of the Rings on Prime Video – all you’ll have to do is become an Amazon Prime member to access over 900 movies and 700 TV seasons. Prime Video offers a massive selection of content, from drama and comedy to thrillers and documentaries. So, whether you want to browse Hollywood titles, view with Arabic subtitles, or switch to South Asian films, you can do it all by heading over to Prime Video.
Here are some of the offerings that are currently on:
- Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
- KGF: Chapter 2
- The Boys
But let’s go back to the TV show that everyone’s talking about.
Ever since it was announced in 2017, The Rings of Power has generated a wide range of emotional reactions from J. R. R. Tolkien fans. Readers of his books look for authenticity in everything, and they’re watching the show with a critical eye. Other fans are dreading the rise of a Marvel-like Tolkien universe, which may dilute the heart of the story and its characters. Those who have seen the Lord of the Rings Hollywood trilogy by Peter Jackson want this series to live up to it. And those who have no idea about elves, dwarves, orcs and their dynamics, must still be able to follow the story and remain immersed.
It's not easy to please everyone – some may say it’s impossible – but Prime Video is doing a laudable job, so far.
The series starts off slow, as every epic tale should – a gradual unfurling of a tapestry of interwoven stories, rather than a smash-bang of events.
We’re immediately drawn into another world, where we see intricately designed realms as they were, long before the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The dwarves’ great colony of Khazad-dum, for instance, is a thriving subterranean metropolis in the prequel, rather than the abandoned, dark pit that you see in the Hollywood production. Impressively cinematic, The Rings of Power seamlessly portrays distinct regions, like Numenor, the island of men, and Eregion, the realm of the elven-smiths. The distinction is important to Tolkien fans because maps have always been a significant part of his books, keeping readers aware of all the cultural and political nuances of each land.
The titular rings themselves haven’t made an appearance, six episodes in, and this is both puzzling and exciting. Like Tolkien’s books, which spend a long time setting up the action, and fleshing out characters, this prequel too, is taking its time to create a lovingly rendered Middle-earth. The hope is that enough viewers stick around to see it through to its conclusion. But there's also the fear that the show might be asking for a lot from the audience, who may not necessarily be willing to be so patient.
As we follow the ensemble of characters, particularly a troubled, obsessive Galadriel, who was a key elf in the Lord of the Rings enterprise too, there are both hits and misses. Galadriel seems to be up on her high horse for the most part, and comes off as a snob in most scenes (which is probably in character for the elf) so I looked elsewhere for a character that I could get behind. Surprisingly, the villainous Adar filled that spot. Joseph Mawle's performance is fantastic, and his portrayal of leadership - though for the wrong side - is fascinating to watch. We definitely need more of him in future episodes.
However, something The Rings of Power does brilliantly, is seamlessly meld the new with the familiar. The elves, for instance, while still regal and graceful, lose some of their mystery in the prequel and become more complicated and flawed. The joyful, tribal Harfoots (ancestors of the hobbits) live dangerous, nomadic lives, instead of being safely tucked away in the burrow-like homes of the Shire that we’ve come to equate with their kind.
No matter whether the storylines appeal to us or not, we can’t help but get attached to the characters – to their hopes, triumphs, falls and failures. Interesting elves, dwarves, harfoots and men - characters both new and old - are each on their unique path, and we’re watching them as they navigate, in a rich, cinematic, very Tolkien-esque world.
Soon, undoubtedly, their paths will collide, and the magic of that intersection is what we’re waiting for. Let Tolkien’s world draw you in deeper, at its slow, engulfing pace, so that the pay-off is powerful. Even epic.
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