14 votes

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power | Teaser trailer

27 comments

  1. [2]
    bilbodwyer
    Link
    People are quick to draw on the words of characters from LOTR to criticise this show (which let us not forget we have only seen 60 seconds of), but here is some Tolkien explaining his ambition to...

    I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story-the larger founded on the lesser in contact with the earth, the lesser drawing splendour from the vast backcloths – which I could dedicate simply to: to England; to my country. It should possess the tone and quality that I desired, somewhat cool and clear, be redolent of our 'air' (the clime and soil of the North West, meaning Britain and the hither parts of Europe: not Italy or the Aegean, still less the East), and, while possessing (if I could achieve it) the fair elusive beauty that some call Celtic (though it is rarely found in genuine ancient Celtic things), it should be 'high', purged of the gross, and fit for the more adult mind of a land long now steeped in poetry. I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.

    People are quick to draw on the words of characters from LOTR to criticise this show (which let us not forget we have only seen 60 seconds of), but here is some Tolkien explaining his ambition to a friend (link).

    Tolkien wants his works and his world to have a distinct feel, and part of the reason that Peter Jackson's trilogy is so beloved is (I would argue) that he remains broadly true to this vision. It is generally (though definitely not completely) purged of the gross, and has a very cosy feeling at times, which does indeed make me think of a more idyllic England. And although Tolkien explicitly states that his mythos should leave room for other minds, I would argue it is this context that has fans so worried: that the tiny snippet of the series that we have so far seen is... well, gross. It has not come across as 'high', steeped in poetry, or redolent of British air. It reeks of a multi billion dollar corporation keen to capitalise on an existing fandom, with (seemingly; again we have only seen 60 seconds) little or no regard for the source material or intentions of the author.

    Let's be clear, Amazon are clearly hoping to have generated the next Game of Thrones, but in doing so, it comes across like they have missed the mark not only on what people love about Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but also on why Game of Thrones was as popular as it was. If there is still a moment in our culture for epic fantasy, and if that epic fantasy has to be a Lord of the Rings prequel to succeed, then it shouldn't be a Thrones knock-off, and it should be proud of and excited to show off the brilliance of the source material (much like Thrones was to its own).

    Again, we have only seen 60 seconds of this series, so I am reserving judgment. It is presumably not the showrunners who have developed this trailer, and I'm willing to bet that there is still a lot of post-production going on which will (hopefully) make the CGI look less cheap (ugh, that ice wall scene). But the fans are in my view, rightly concerned about the direction this show appears to be taking: profit, and broad appeal.

    10 votes
    1. NaraVara
      Link Parent
      The Jackson trilogy somewhat transformed the book's tone from being less travelogue and more action/adventure story. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli became sort of action figure characters and the...

      The Jackson trilogy somewhat transformed the book's tone from being less travelogue and more action/adventure story. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli became sort of action figure characters and the Frodo and Sam journey took a bit of a back seat in all the associated media.

      I'd argue that was fine for it's purpose as a blockbuster movie, and he still managed to retain something of the tone of there being good in the world, us needing to have faith in small, everyday acts of courage and nobility, and a general affinity for nature and community and craftsmanship.

      The Hobbit trilogy lost a lot of that. This trailer evidences nothing of that. Even some of the spin-off media, like the Shadow of Mordor game, doesn't seem to recognize or care about that element of the story. I was an LOTR superfan for a long time, and it's still probably one of the few frivolous things I'm still very enthusiastic about. But my enthusiasm for this series is about as low as can be. It is, at best, good fan fiction by someone who doesn't really get it.

      5 votes
  2. [8]
    bub
    Link
    I'm bothered by how it feels impossible to express concern about the direction they'll take without being perceived as "anti-sjw," "bigoted," or otherwise making a broad political statement. Many...

    I'm bothered by how it feels impossible to express concern about the direction they'll take without being perceived as "anti-sjw," "bigoted," or otherwise making a broad political statement. Many of the concerned commenters you see feel the need to preface their statements with some sort of disclaimer along the lines of "I have no problems with their casting decisions, BUT..."

    I don't think they should have to do that. It's like the political tensions we suffer from are being used as a shield against all criticism, and that, to me, is ugly. My disclaimer, nevertheless, is that none of what I have to say is about race.

    From what I've heard so far of the series, I am worried it's going to feel like an adulteration of something beloved. This kind of adulteration is rampant in the reboot/revival scene, so worry is justified. Such a change would be most acutely observed in the theming, the atmosphere, the writing style, and the "mature" content additions. A separate issue is the gratuitous disregard of canon, including internal contradiction and continuity errors, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

    They do not need to insert commentary about today's social issues into Lord of the Rings. They did not need to insert it into Star Wars, or into Star Trek, or into any other decades-old franchise. But they did. We do not need steamy sex scenes, vulgarity, nudity, or an added emphasis on romantic drama in any of these franchises either. Nearly every time, though, that's what we get out of these reboots, revivals, and late additions.

    It's popular to counter this opinion by saying "Those franchises always had social commentary in them, and sensitive content common for their era, so this is no different." But yes, this is different. The era of the original work is an important property of the work, and that's what I think many fail to grasp.

    The Lord of the Rings had implicit commentary about issues we faced in the early 20th century. Continuing commentary about those issues would fit right in, if written in the same style. But inserting new commentary about the issues we face in the 21st century is jarring and inappropriate. If a writer, director, producer, or whoever, wants to make a piece that includes 21st century commentary, then they should make an original work instead. If they think that commentary and content appropriate for the 20th century is boring, irrelevant, and they don't want to write it, then they should keep their grubby mitts off of The Lord of the Rings. But, of course, money compels them to grab at the bigger pie.

    The Lord of the Rings has been special to my family for generations. Reading and watching Lord of the Rings content has been a wonderful family activity. It will be unfortunate if the creators of new additions to the franchise decide to make those additions unfit for family settings. Just like with other franchises that have received this mistreatment, I worry that the franchise will be effectively "ended" for good, as far as my family is concerned, if this goes the way I expect it will. I wish it weren't so, but I hold only a fool's hope for it.

    8 votes
    1. [7]
      Seven
      Link Parent
      The problem is that your criticism here isn't actually about any quality of the show itself. It's not about the story, or the visual design, or the overall corporatization of media, but solely...
      • Exemplary

      The problem is that your criticism here isn't actually about any quality of the show itself. It's not about the story, or the visual design, or the overall corporatization of media, but solely about casting decisions and "politics" in media. Think about the dissonance between how we react to a black person being cast for a role versus a white person being cast for the same role. Why is a black person's presence "commentary about today's social issues," while casting a white person is not? It's a consequence of our white supremacist society that whiteness is not thought of as race at all. It's the ever-present thought that "white" is default, and all other races are deviations from that. In our society, a black person existing in media is political but a white person existing in media is apolitical. We need to consciously reject this casual racism and actually think about race; we need to be actively antiracist.

      Also, as a big fan of Star Trek, I just want to say that your critiques of Star Trek including modern social commentary is completely antithetical to the themes of the show. From the beginning, the current politics the show is exploring with LGBTQ rights have always been on the table. Gene Roddenberry wanted to talk about gay rights in The Original Series, and writers of the 90s shows wanted to talk about gay and trans issues as well. It is absolutely in the spirit of the show to talk about modern social commentary into Star Trek.

      And why must we disallow modern social issues from being presented in older media franchises? It would be really boring to have to continue rehashing the same themes over and over again. You say that "inserting new commentary about the issues we face in the 21st century is jarring and inappropriate," but how is that any more inappropriate than inserting commentary about 20th century issues into a fantasy setting? And since when does the existence of black people in a piece of media count as "commentary"? At what point does a media franchise have to cement its political themes? Is Star Trek The Next Generation wrong for including more commentary about gender discrimination than The Original Series? Why is everyone just concerned about the modern stuff? Again, it's really hard to take this as legitimate criticism when the only criticisms I've seen boil down to "I don't like that there are black people in my fantasy show."

      12 votes
      1. [6]
        bub
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Did you reply to the wrong comment by accident? If not, your reply is frankly disingenuous. I made myself abundantly clear when I said that nothing I have to say has anything to do with the...

        solely about casting decisions and "politics" in media.

        Did you reply to the wrong comment by accident? If not, your reply is frankly disingenuous. I made myself abundantly clear when I said that nothing I have to say has anything to do with the casting decisions. They can pick an all-black cast for all I care. It's just actors acting a part. What I care about, to quote my original comment, is "the theming, the atmosphere, the writing style, and the 'mature' content additions." I wanted to be able to watch this show with my family without worrying about surprise genitalia or obscene dialogue.

        As far as your remark about Star Trek goes - who brought up LGBTQ rights? I certainly didn't. It's like you read the first paragraph I wrote, decided not to read the rest, and tossed me into a mental box of "bigots" that deserve this kind of copy/paste treatment, exactly like I was describing was a problem with this entire wretched conversation. Would you like to see proof of my registration as a Democrat? Would that encourage you to actually read what I write?

        It would be really boring to have to continue rehashing the same themes over and over again.

        Then watch something else. There are plenty of newer works for you to get your fill of current events. Why should we take a fictional world created as a product of its time and turn it into a completely different world that's a product of ours? Just make a new fictional world if you think the old one is boring.

        the only criticisms I've seen boil down to "I don't like that there are black people in my fantasy show."

        I'm not at all surprised this is all you have seen, since you seem to be looking so hard for it.

        7 votes
        1. Seven
          Link Parent
          It seems like I hit a nerve, so I apologize if I offended you. I'm not sure why you're being so aggressive now, but I do not appreciate your harsh tone. Let's try to be civil. I was mostly...

          It seems like I hit a nerve, so I apologize if I offended you. I'm not sure why you're being so aggressive now, but I do not appreciate your harsh tone. Let's try to be civil.

          I was mostly responding to your comments here:

          They do not need to insert commentary about today's social issues into Lord of the Rings. They did not need to insert it into Star Wars, or into Star Trek, or into any other decades-old franchise. But they did.

          I'm not sure what kind of social commentary you're talking about if you're not talking about social issues like BIPOC representation and LGBTQ issues. Since those are the politics that most people seem to take issue with in the franchises you mentioned, I assumed that's what you were talking about.

          I'm not at all surprised this is all you have seen, since you seem to be looking so hard for it.

          If you go on the Lord of the Rings subreddits or any comment section of a YouTube video, the presence of a black actor playing an elf is a highly discussed topic. Even in this very thread, there is lots of conversation about it.

          3 votes
        2. [4]
          hungariantoast
          Link Parent
          Wanted? Am I missing something? Did they announce anything about nudity or profanity regarding the show? Because if not, I seriously doubt you need to worry about Galdriel popping out a titty or...

          I wanted to be able to watch this show with my family without worrying about surprise genitalia or obscene dialogue

          Wanted? Am I missing something? Did they announce anything about nudity or profanity regarding the show?

          Because if not, I seriously doubt you need to worry about Galdriel popping out a titty or some shit

          2 votes
          1. bub
            Link Parent
            I hope you're right, I really do. The info I had about the series was weeks old, and influenced by things like Bezos stating "I want my Game of Thrones" when talking about the series, and their...

            I hope you're right, I really do.

            The info I had about the series was weeks old, and influenced by things like Bezos stating "I want my Game of Thrones" when talking about the series, and their hiring of an "intimacy coordinator" for their set.

            Looking again, I'm a little bit more enthusiastic now that the statement has been made that "[The goal was] to make a show for everyone, for kids who are 11, 12, and 13, even though sometimes they might have to pull the blanket up over their eyes if it’s a little too scary."

            So maybe it will turn out well, like the Jackson movies did.

            4 votes
          2. TheJorro
            Link Parent
            In 2020, a LotR fansite found a casting call that had the requirement "must be comfortable with nudity", and the production team had an intimacy coordinator on the staff. So of course that must...
            2 votes
          3. skullkid2424
            Link Parent
            So it definitely was a concern, though I think since then there have been reasons to think they weren't aiming for GoT-style content. A quick DDG provides a couple of newer articles (though I...
            2 votes
  3. [3]
    skullkid2424
    (edited )
    Link
    So nearly every comment is some form of the quote: "Evil is not able to create anything new, it can only distort and destroy what has been invented or made by the forces of good.” Regardless of...

    So nearly every comment is some form of the quote: "Evil is not able to create anything new, it can only distort and destroy what has been invented or made by the forces of good.” Regardless of your opinion on the series - the dedication to comment bombing the video with a Tolkein quote "decrying" amazon reviving the series is pretty amusing.

    Article I found covering the comments: https://www.msn.com/en-ae/entertainment/other/the-lord-of-the-rings-why-are-people-commenting-evil-cannot-create-anything-new/ar-AATPEqM


    For my own part, I'm happy that its not a straight remake of the trilogy or the hobbit movie - so there will be new content for those of us who find Tolkein's works too much to read. They seemed to do a good job keeping the same visual aesthetic as the trilogy, though the use of CGI is always a risk considering one of the unique things about the LotR trilogy is that they preferred camera tricks and custom props which have held up much better than CGI would have. We'll see how it goes though.

    I did just cancel my amazon prime because they upped the price and I haven't been using it enough to justify paying for it anymore...oh well...

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      mrnd
      Link Parent
      The fact that it is not actually a quote from Tolkien makes it even funnier. Only distort and destroy indeed.

      The fact that it is not actually a quote from Tolkien makes it even funnier. Only distort and destroy indeed.

      4 votes
      1. Thales
        Link Parent
        Accusing the showrunners of corruption while corrupting a quote about corruption is a nicely multilayered bit of irony. /// I mean, I'm not that optimistic about the show either, but equating the...

        Accusing the showrunners of corruption while corrupting a quote about corruption is a nicely multilayered bit of irony.

        ///

        I mean, I'm not that optimistic about the show either, but equating the showrunners with evil or "the Shadow" because they look like they might screw up a TV show is absurd.

        4 votes
  4. Omnicrola
    Link
    I thought this comment that was recently in /r/bestof had some interesting insight (anecdotal, unsourced) into why even the high-budget shows like Rings of Power look slightly "off" even though...

    I thought this comment that was recently in /r/bestof had some interesting insight (anecdotal, unsourced) into why even the high-budget shows like Rings of Power look slightly "off" even though their production values are high.

    6 votes
  5. [3]
    streblo
    Link
    On one hand, I get the outrage because this doesn’t look particularly good nor does it feel like it will be very Tolkien. However, being outraged that a fantasy world whose relevant parts consist...

    On one hand, I get the outrage because this doesn’t look particularly good nor does it feel like it will be very Tolkien. However, being outraged that a fantasy world whose relevant parts consist solely of white people and white pseudo people won’t fly in 2022 seems a bit much.

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      clone1
      Link Parent
      I see more people mad about the lack of beard on the dwarf woman than people mad about race.

      I see more people mad about the lack of beard on the dwarf woman than people mad about race.

      6 votes
      1. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        I mean, that I kind of get, that's pretty explicitly described. Though that seems like a whole different Pandora's box to crack open on "mainstream TV" (the concept of female face/body hair being...

        I mean, that I kind of get, that's pretty explicitly described. Though that seems like a whole different Pandora's box to crack open on "mainstream TV" (the concept of female face/body hair being beautiful).

        2 votes
  6. Merry
    Link
    Not really feeling it as much as I thought I would. Maybe it is the music selection they used for the trailer combined with the action shots, but meh. Just looks like generic fantasy setting show....

    Not really feeling it as much as I thought I would. Maybe it is the music selection they used for the trailer combined with the action shots, but meh. Just looks like generic fantasy setting show. Trailers aren't often a good representation of final product though so I will try to keep an open mind. But so far this feels more like The Hobbit more than LotR, and I couldn't even finish The Hobbit trilogy. Might even be dipping into the Shadow of Mordor story-telling/action side too if the trailer ends up being indicative of final product, and that really isn't how I feel the world of Middle Earth feels.

    4 votes
  7. hungariantoast
    Link
    In what context did Tolkien say "evil cannot create anything new"? Interesting answer from StackExchange. Seems like the quote itself originates from TV Tropes, but the "spirit" of it is...

    In what context did Tolkien say "evil cannot create anything new"?

    Interesting answer from StackExchange. Seems like the quote itself originates from TV Tropes, but the "spirit" of it is definitely littered throughout the legendarium

    4 votes
  8. [6]
    vegai
    (edited )
    Link
    I somewhat fear (not a lot, this is just entertainment) that it will suck because it will lack a soul. That they have black people acting as elves and dwarves obviously has almost* nothing to do...

    I somewhat fear (not a lot, this is just entertainment) that it will suck because it will lack a soul. That they have black people acting as elves and dwarves obviously has almost* nothing to do with it, but the whole thing seems like it's trying to recreate Hobbit or Game of Thrones more than the LOTR movies, let alone the spirit of the original books. These Hollywood hacks tend to screw it up every time the original content dries out, and for the stories that this series centers on, there's not a lot of original content. Both Hobbit and GoT showed that no amount of money thrown into the fire will help with that problem.

    But I'm mostly always happy to be proven wrong about my pessimism.

    * it does show a lack of regard for the original content, but in such a minor detail way that it doesn't matter. The other ways might matter.

    2 votes
    1. [5]
      Seven
      Link Parent
      Honestly all the talk about black people getting roles in this show just seems like more of the "anti-SJW" rhetoric that has been infesting majority male fandoms for years now. I really don't see...

      Honestly all the talk about black people getting roles in this show just seems like more of the "anti-SJW" rhetoric that has been infesting majority male fandoms for years now. I really don't see how having a more diverse cast shows a lack of regard for the original content.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        Loire
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I genuinely don't care if there are people of colour in the show but Middle Earth is written to be proto-Europe and all the characters are described as fair skinned. It's not entirely off base to...

        I genuinely don't care if there are people of colour in the show but Middle Earth is written to be proto-Europe and all the characters are described as fair skinned. It's not entirely off base to claim it's disregarding the source.

        It also isn't great, from a modern perspective, that Tolkien wrote all the "evil" humans to be dark skinned/swarthy people from the far East and South.

        9 votes
        1. mrnd
          Link Parent
          I know this is how Tolkien is generally interpreted, but it has actually surprisingly little textual evidence. Tolkien simply doesn't describe characters that much (we don't what is the hair color...

          I know this is how Tolkien is generally interpreted, but it has actually surprisingly little textual evidence. Tolkien simply doesn't describe characters that much (we don't what is the hair color of Legolas).

          Some people that are described by Tolkien as swarthy/brown/dark:

          • Sam specifically, Harfoots and Stoors generally
          • Few specific gondorians and haradrims
          • In some drafts, Maeglin the elf

          So while most visual adaptations follow the "everyone is White except the evil peoples", it is not something that can really be supported by the text alone. Mostly Tolkien just doesn't tell us.

          7 votes
      2. PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        If I remember correctly, the only people that are explicitly mentioned as colored are the Haradrim (the one we see with the combat elephants in LotR). The rest are described as fair people, which...

        I really don't see how having a more diverse cast shows a lack of regard for the original content.

        If I remember correctly, the only people that are explicitly mentioned as colored are the Haradrim (the one we see with the combat elephants in LotR).

        The rest are described as fair people, which is coherent with the inspiration Tolkien draws from (nordic folklore).

        5 votes
      3. vegai
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Frankly, I'm also irritated by the notion that it doesn't matter at all. It just doesn't matter nearly as much as the importance of the quality of the production as a whole. But fundamentally I...

        Frankly, I'm also irritated by the notion that it doesn't matter at all. It just doesn't matter nearly as much as the importance of the quality of the production as a whole.

        But fundamentally I agree with you of course, the noise this has generated is mostly the dumb anti-SJW kind.

        1 vote
  9. [2]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    Amazing when every single YouTube comment translates to "Evil cannot create anything new, it can only spoil and destroy what good forces have invented or created" - J.R.R. Tolkien

    Amazing when every single YouTube comment translates to "Evil cannot create anything new, it can only spoil and destroy what good forces have invented or created" - J.R.R. Tolkien

    2 votes
    1. vegai
      Link Parent
      Social media makes people evil in that sense. Unable to create, only able to react.

      Social media makes people evil in that sense. Unable to create, only able to react.

      3 votes