The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Cast: Morfydd Clark, Robert Aramayo, Markella Kavenagh, Owain Arthur, Daniel Weyman
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Creators: J. D. Payne, Patrick McKay
Streaming Platform: Amazon Prime Video
One ring to rule them all! For those deprived of fantasy dramas, 2022 is satiating your thirst to the fullest! While the Game of Thrones nostalgia was brought back by House of the Dragon, Tolkien's extraordinary lore of LOTR comes knocking one more time with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. As advertised heavily, no expense was spared for The Rings of Power and if you're wondering if the end results justify the magnanimous hype, let's find out!
While it isn't entirely necessary to be a Tolkien-nerd while watching The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a brief brush-up won't hurt anyone! The J. D. Payne and Patrick Mckay-led series charters significant events of Middle-earth's Second Age, most importantly, the forging of the Rings of Power. The pilot episode set the story, characters and geography in motion, settling for a slow burn approach. Unless you take into account the LOTR trilogy montage treatment of the First Age war! It's in the second episode where the pace exponentially picks up - with an exciting sea monster battle piece that's unmissable - majorly focusing on the cataclysmic threat of Dark Lord Sauron. For me, the slow pace is a bit of a downer, but also understandable, given the 50-episode approach towards the source material.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is categorically divided into 4 (Elves, Dwarves, Harfoots and Humans) overlapping storylines, Elven warrior Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) seeking revenge from the inconspicuous Sauron, half-Elven Elrond (Robert Aramayo) seeking friend Durin IV's (Owain Arthur), Prince of Khazad-dûm - a Dwarven city - assistance in finding a solution to the impending doom lurking in the shadows, Harfoot Nori (Markella Kavenagh), who years for adventure outside her species' close-knit ties and human Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), who sniffs out a terrifying war in the making.
When it comes to the performances in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the one who exponentially comes out strong from the get-go is the crackling Morfydd Clark, given headlining spotlight in the intrinsic story with so many key characters in play. Morfydd leisurely balances out the conflicted emotions of Galadriel between a vengeful warrior and a grief-stricken family member. Also infectiously entertaining in her own might with the much-needed comic relief in an otherwise dark set-up is Markella Kavenagh's Harfoot, similar to the delightful Hobbits we came to know and love in Peter Jackson's universe. A highlight aspect that fans will definitely be wanting to see more of is the complicated friendship between Elrond and Durin, an elf and a dwarf, which is seen seamlessly through Robert Aramayo and Owain Arthur's earnest camaraderie. To be noted, Daniel Weyman as the mysterious Stranger is sure to tickle the fan theory bones to a fever pitch!
Given the unthinkable budget attached to The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the fantasy series is as breathtaking as you'd expect, interlacing the gorgeous real-life locations with CGI effects spruced out when needed, but never distracting. This is especially seen with the rocky architectural vibes of Khazad-dûm in all its Dwarven glory! Also exceptional is Bear McCreary's royal score which sinks its teeth into the intensity of the Second Age while Kate Hawley's expert hands in the elaborate costumes are a welcome addition too. What is unfortunate is that The Rings of Power deserves to be seen on the big screen to truly enjoy the expansive nature so painstakingly brought to life by J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay. I was lucky enough to have seen the two episodes in a theatre, hence, it comes to wonder if the series will have the same effect when watched on your laptop or phone or if will it be lost in translation. Moreover, what is yet to be observed in the upcoming eight episodes is the eventual action pieces, which were just teased minutely in the first two episodes.
In conclusion, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power kickstarts on a sedated note but is promising with bold potential when it comes to the quality television we so sorely crave!