“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”: The new journey to Middle Earth has begun

The fantasy books of the British author, academic and philosopher J. R. R. Tolkien (1892-1973) have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, before they became known to an even larger audience through director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies. .

Only the collection of mythical stories “The Silmarillion” has not yet been made into a film, not even in the mind of a producer or director, a work in progress, a literary book of fantasy, considered by most to be so grandiose and difficult that it cannot transferred to the cinema.

Some few, scattered, elements from “The Silmarillion” can be observed in the new series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power), which shows us the enormous and chaotic size of the universe that Tolkien “wove” with his words, whose contribution to the world of letters, linguistics, sciences, is priceless.

He conceived and made his own languages, with their own syntax and grammar, languages ​​spoken by the elves and other peoples we find in his books, while also helping to save dead languages ​​of the past (medieval Welsh, Gothic, Lombard). But, above all, it brought us closer to a fantasy world, where we too would like to travel, away from everyday life, alongside Frodo, Bilbo, Legolas, Galadriel, Gimli and Aragorn.

To put things in one order, with Tolkien’s universe teeming with thousands of different characters, names and regions, in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” we are in time in the twilight of the Second Age, some thousands of years ago from the events of the Third Age, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

After five years of waiting, since Amazon Studios secured the television rights to “The Lord of the Rings” by J. RR Tolkien, at $250 million, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos’s big bet, with direct involvement in the entire venture from the start, is the most expensive television production in history, on a budget which may exceed one billion dollars.

Already, we are talking about a series that has already been announced for 5 seasons, with the first season consisting of 8 hour-long episodes and costing just under 500 million euros. Incredible numbers, which certainly raise the question: Was the whole venture worth it?

The first two episodes (“A Shadow of the Past”, “Adrift”) of the first season of “Rings of Power” were released simultaneously a few hours ago on Amazon Prime Video, and here are our first impressions, with some spoilers.

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Galadriel has evolved into one of the most powerful elven fighters.

“Nothing is bad in the beginning”

This is what we hear from an ethereal female voice, with the first images showing us carefree children playing on grass and beside a stream in the heavenly kingdom of Valinor. We are in the First Age. Nothing foreshadowed anything bad. There, with them, the child Galadriel makes her own paper boat and lets the stream take it. She will show her strong character when a friend of hers tries to sink the small ship. The voice that narrates the story is Galadriel’s.

Years later, perhaps thousands of them, with time in Tolkien’s books running differently than ours, Galadriel has evolved into one of the most powerful elven fighters. The Two Trees of Valinor, source of life and light, were destroyed by the dark forces of the Dark Lord Morgoth.

The elves, inhabitants of Valinor, along with Galadriel and her brother, Finrod, were forced to leave for another realm, Middle Earth, with its own dangers and strange creatures. Finrod is later killed after a battle with the wizard Sauron, formerly a loyal servant of Morgoth and maker of the mighty One Ring. Galadriel will try to find the traces of Sauron to take revenge. She has been looking for him for ages. She doesn’t even know where he might be, and the only clue she has is his dark symbol, forever etched into her dead brother’s body.

If in a few words we want to give the main plot of the series, it is this: Galadriel is looking for Sauron to avenge her brother’s death. A story of revenge. Except things aren’t that simple.

To put things in one order, with Tolkien’s universe teeming with thousands of different characters, names and regions, in “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” we are in time in the twilight of the Second Age, some thousands of years ago from the events of the Third Age, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

We are in a time when the skies are starting to get weird and dark again. Some believe that evil is gone and nothing can disturb the peace of the realms, creatures and inhabitants of Middle Earth.

In the first two episodes we will also meet a number of other heroes who we are sure will play an important role in the development of events. Maybe they’ll even get close to each other, like another ‘Fellowship of the Ring’.

The good-hearted Nori, of the Harfoot tribe, ancient ancestors of the small Hobbits, who live – like rabbits – in their small green village and avoid contact with third parties. Such a contact will not be avoided by Nori and her friend, just like the fall of a meteorite.

Arodir, on the other hand, an elf posted to the south, falls in love with the mortal healer Bronwyn. The second woman’s son finds a dangerous object that may also play an important role.

We also meet Elrond, the Half-Elf, who disagrees with Galadriel on many issues and plays the role of a cold politician, but also the unique Durin, prince of the dwarves in the underground city of Kazandum with his “outside heart” wife, a princess Disha, as well as some others that you will discover yourself. Certainly, in the next episodes, we expect new characters and heroes.

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We are in a time when the skies are starting to get weird and dark again.

The coefficients

The creators of the series, under the watchful eye of Bezos – it is no small thing to invest a billion dollars in a television production but also what is ahead of the remaining 152 billion dollars of wealth you have?–, are the newcomer screenwriters JD Payne and Patrick McKay, with none of the scripts they’ve written over the past decade – the two working as a team – having been greenlit for a feature film or series. If the series flops, you know where all the fingers will be pointing, at the two screenwriters and especially at those who cast them. But, it seems, that won’t happen.

In the first two episodes, the director is the Spanish Juan Antonio Bayona, who in 2007 gave us the wonderful horror film “The Orphanage”, one of the best “creepies” of the last decade.

Welsh actress Morfid Clark famously embodies Galadriel, a truly exceptional case of an actress with very eclectic choices in film and television (“Dracula”, “Saint Maud”, “His Dark Materials”). Cate Blanchett rest in peace. The elf Arondir is played by Puerto Rican actor Ismael Cruz Cordova (“The Mandalorian,” “Berlin Station”), along with Owain Arthur (Durin), Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Charlie Vickers (Halbrand) and Marcela Cavena (Nori), among others.

Most of the contributors and actors are unknown. Let’s not forget that the shooting of the series, with some delays here also due to the pandemic, started two and a half years ago, keeping all this time an excessive degree of secrecy about their roles and other details. Even at the auditions no one knew what role he was meant for, the production left everything in a kind of ambiguity (“you’ll be playing something like an elf”).

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We may be dizzy by the production numbers, but the series does not lose heart, emotion and rhythm.

The first taste

Enchanting and impressive. These are the first words that come to me, watching the first two hour-long episodes. I will definitely be seeing them again in the next few days. Hard to believe that this whole spectacle was made for the small screen, and maybe it will mark the beginning of something new. The world and the subscribers will judge it, although it seems from the beginning that it was the ultimate vanity project, what Jeff Bezos wanted to do to write his own TV history (don’t forget, a few days ago the rival awe premiered , HBO’s record-breaking fantasy series House of the Dragon).

We may be dazzled by the production numbers, how expensive it is, whether you like Bezos or not, but the show doesn’t lack heart, emotion and pace. Everything is in place, you want to know what will happen and what our heroes will do in the next episodes, while you are also left with a small beautiful taste, without copying, from the first trilogy “The Lord of the Rings” by Peter Jackson , with the underground world of the Dwarves, the Harfoots who seem to have come out of the Shire, the haircuts of the Elves…

Sure, there have already been discussions about the show’s faithfulness to Tolkien’s work, but if you’re a freak and geek, a fan of fantasy, good TV, and an open mind, you’ll love the return of The Lord of the Rings.

The series “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is shown on the subscription platform Amazon Prime Video. If you have the ability and the time, it’s worth watching it on a big screen and not from your laptop or mobile phone.

The article is in Greek

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