Fantasy Series Begins: Here’s What Fans Can Expect From “The Rings of Power”

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Fantasy series begins
This is what fans can expect from “The Rings of Power”

It’s been 19 years since the third part of the “Lord of the Rings” series hit theaters. In 2012, the prequel “The Hobbit” entranced the masses. After a long wait, the series “The Rings of Power” is now starting. But can she keep up with the movies?

Fans of fantasy have been waiting for this day for a long time, now it’s here. The “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” series kicks off this Friday with a double episode on Amazon Prime Video. After that, the first season, which has a total of eight episodes, will continue weekly. The expectations are very high – and not just because it is the most expensive series of all time to date. But also because director Peter Jackson’s original film trilogy won a total of 17 Oscars and inspired millions of people for the world of hobbits, dwarves and elves. Can Amazon production withstand this pressure of expectations?

Already in 2012, a prequel to “The Lord of the Rings” managed to captivate viewers: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” began in cinemas, two more parts followed. Set 60 years before the events of “The Lord of the Rings”, the “Hobbit” trilogy follows in the footsteps of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) – who, along with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and 13 dwarfs, frees a mountain of a dragon wild.

The Rings of Power series now jumps even further back in time. It is set in the so-called Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the Ring of Power was destroyed in Mount Doom. In the first 15 minutes, viewers get a look back at what happened on the continent. At this point, fans are presented with a visually stunning battle, mass graves and plenty of horrific figures. Because the series starts with the great battle of the elves against the evil Morgoth. Memories of the last battle in “The Return of the King” are instantly awakened. Here, too, good victories are eventually won, some elves return to their homeland – others remain in Middle-earth.

Galadriel in pictures

Overall, the pace within the first two episodes is very fast. Some characters are introduced, many storylines run in parallel – where they will end and whether they will ever come together is uncertain. From the first minute you get a pleasant feeling, as if you are returning home after a long journey, in other words to Middle-earth. This is also because the creators have re-imagined the world of author JRR Tolkien (1892-1973), the author of the “Lord of the Rings” books, with breathtaking backgrounds, a wealth of detail and visually stunning scenes.

At the center of the events is a female protagonist that fans already know: the young Elf Galadriel. The character has already played a role in the earlier films and was then played by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett. Welsh actress Morfydd Clark takes over in the series. Galadriel lost her beloved brother Finrod in battle against Morgoth and his successor Sauron.

She vows revenge and travels to the farthest corners of the world to find evil. She makes her way through an icy desert, presents herself as a strong leader and single-handedly kills a troll – it’s immediately clear: you shouldn’t mess with her. But after the dark forces have long been driven back and there is no trace of Sauron, the Elven High King withdraws the troops and brings them back home. Only Galadriel does not trust the roast and is convinced that the enemy is secretly plotting. “Evil does not sleep, Elrond. It waits’, sums up the bellicose Elf aptly.

Old faces and new creatures

Which brings us to another character that fans already know and have a big part to play: Elrond, once played by Hugo Weaving, now played by Robert Aramayo. But in the series he is not yet the big elf who apparently eats wisdom with spoons and who sends the companions on their great journey in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Instead, he plays the charming politician who, unlike his girlfriend Galadriel, doesn’t really believe in hidden evil.

There are many more characters introduced in the first two episodes. For example, the Elven soldier Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), who falls in love with the human Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi). The Elven soldiers are also said to be giving up their positions in the human regions – but here there are more and more signs that something evil is going on. Cows give black milk, an entire village is – in the truest sense of the word – swallowed by the ground. Arondir gets to the bottom of events.

It’s in the nature of things that it gets dark. After all, as the title suggests, the series revolves around the creation of the Rings of Power. So the jewels that nearly destroyed the peoples of Middle-earth and helped Sauron to rise. But from time to time the sun breaks through the dark clouds – in the form of harfeet. The creatures are relatives of the hobbits and are very similar to the former “Lord of the Rings” heroes Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) and Co. Happy! Because without the peaceful, nature-loving characters, something would certainly be missing. Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh), an unusually curious girl, wants to see the world and constantly wonders “what’s out there”. An ancestor of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins perhaps? When a mysterious man falls from the sky, it seems her time has come.

A question that remains

In addition to humans, elves and harfites, dwarves also play a role. The special thing: the viewer gets to see the mines of Moria when people were still looking for treasures there. Elrond visits Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) there – although elves and dwarves hate each other, the two have a special friendship. Here too, a “Lord of the Rings” flashback begins, as the relationship between Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) in particular caused some laughter in the trilogy.

But even though as a viewer you continue to discover parallels between the films and the series, there are also innovations that were partly outdated. So it’s a very diverse cast. While the “Lord of the Rings” movies feature almost exclusively white actors, that changes in Amazon production. That’s a good thing, because everything else wouldn’t have been up to date either. It also feels good to have a woman at the helm and bury the previously dominant “Lord of the Rings” patriarchy. Nine companions left at that time, there was no room for companions. Which, of course, was also due to Tolkien’s novels. Now the story was drawn out further, so that the makers were much freer in the cast.

As mentioned, the production costs of about $715 million – for the first eight episodes – are noticeable in the design alone. But in between you wonder if the impressive cities of the elves, the stone halls of the dwarves and the great animated monsters would not have been something for the cinema after all. Perhaps this fantastic world is blowing up the television at home, which for some is just a laptop screen? That may only be answered at the end of the adventure. A second season is already in the works.

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