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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power


JohnC

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It isn't a slam dunk.

 

On the plus side it's arguably one of the best looking TV shows ever made. The production quality is unprecedented in TV - fantastic cinematography, excellent effects, both practical and CG, etc etc. Cast is good generally. There's a few scenes that are genuinely well done, memorable and touching, and beautiful.

 

On the downside, it's writing is all over the shop. There's some quite well done stuff, including a fair bit of the stuff they're making up whole cloth, but then there's some clunkingly bad stuff. That's amplified if you've any desire to see something that is in line with established lore, which gets chucked in the bin at various points. And it's further amplified if you dislike mystery box tropes. It also has pacing issues, taking a while to get going and then rushes through things at it's climax, and retrospectively not that much happens. It's basically 8 hours of set up for... not a lot.

 

For a Tolkein nerd, it's either a travesty or a mildly interesting bit of alternative universe fan fiction. For general viewers, it'll come down to how much the dodgy bits undermine the good stuff and how much your investment in the whole thing can overpower the rough pacing and thin narrative.

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1 hour ago, dug said:

Did this end up being good, then? 

 

 

Yes, also don't base all your expectations on the series on the first episode. If anything it's not a great introduction to it and is certainly the weakest of all the episodes. It seems a little too keen to introduce a lot of backstory and the whole thing doesn't really start to get going till the second episode.

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54 minutes ago, Chindie said:

It isn't a slam dunk.

 

On the plus side it's arguably one of the best looking TV shows ever made. The production quality is unprecedented in TV - fantastic cinematography, excellent effects, both practical and CG, etc etc. Cast is good generally. There's a few scenes that are genuinely well done, memorable and touching, and beautiful.

 

On the downside, it's writing is all over the shop. There's some quite well done stuff, including a fair bit of the stuff they're making up whole cloth, but then there's some clunkingly bad stuff. That's amplified if you've any desire to see something that is in line with established lore, which gets chucked in the bin at various points. And it's further amplified if you dislike mystery box tropes. It also has pacing issues, taking a while to get going and then rushes through things at it's climax, and retrospectively not that much happens. It's basically 8 hours of set up for... not a lot.

 

For a Tolkein nerd, it's either a travesty or a mildly interesting bit of alternative universe fan fiction. For general viewers, it'll come down to how much the dodgy bits undermine the good stuff and how much your investment in the whole thing can overpower the rough pacing and thin narrative.

This is pretty much where I'm at. The whole dramatic reveal had a bit too much of the "it was me, Austin! It was me all along!" to take it seriously too. I'm not convinced keeping that secret was a benefit to the story, either from the point of view of Tolkien fans or for the average viewer.

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18 minutes ago, Thor said:

I still can't believe people are thinking that's not Gandalf. 

 

It's fucking Gandalf. 

 

It shouldn't be Gandalf, tbf.

 

But it's evident the writers don't really give a fuck about that so you've got a few options.

 

It is Gandalf. He said the thing, he's close to halflings, we bought the LotR licence and Gandalf is one of the things people associate with that so you're putting Gandalf in it. Write it vaguely so we can pad this thing out.

 

Or

 

It isn't Gandalf, but to generate buzz and mysteries were going to be vague about it and aha! In the second series we'll reveal the mystery and he'll be not Gandalf!

 

Or

 

He is Gandalf, but we want to pad this out so we do the mystery thing and then we do a storyline where we call forwards to the things people know about Gandalf so we'll have him die, probably while preventing something passing him, and be resurrected later to be the Gandalf we know and love from the movies.

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42 minutes ago, Kevvy Metal said:

 

Yes, also don't base all your expectations on the series on the first episode. If anything it's not a great introduction to it and is certainly the weakest of all the episodes. It seems a little too keen to introduce a lot of backstory and the whole thing doesn't really start to get going till the second episode.

 

Agree with this - started a 2nd run through and it takes a little while to properly hit the ground running.  I'd definitely say episode 1 is the weakest - even though there are some incredible visuals to enjoy.

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39 minutes ago, Chindie said:

He is Gandalf, but we want to pad this out so we do the mystery thing and then we do a storyline where we call forwards to the things people know about Gandalf so we'll have him die, probably while preventing something passing him, and be resurrected later to be the Gandalf we know and love from the movies.

 

:lol: 

 

I actually think this is the most likely scenario. The wizards are basically angels, they're not subject to the same rules of life and death as mortals or even the elves.

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1 minute ago, Darren said:

 

:lol: 

 

I actually think this is the most likely scenario. The wizards are basically angels, they're not subject to the same rules of life and death as mortals or even the elves.

 

At the moment I do as well. It lets them play both worlds. We get Gandalf, which we want because 'it's not LotR without X', it lets them do the (IMO rubbish) call forwards its like poetry stuff that prequels/sequels seem to like, it lets them do something dramatic with the character's story potentially without doing huge plot building... And then by killing him they can essentially claim it's a retcon that also fits the lore - yeah Gandalf the Grey didn't come to Middle Earth until the Third Age and yeah he didn't go to the east, but this isn't Gandalf the Grey, this is the story of Gandalf the Beige.

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You seem to be hung up on that George Lucas poetry quote. There will inevitably be familiar lines being reappropriated for fans of the movies, just as they were in the movies for fans of the books.

 

2 hours ago, Chindie said:

It shouldn't be Gandalf, tbf.

 

But it's evident the writers don't really give a fuck about that so you've got a few options.

 

It is Gandalf. He said the thing, he's close to halflings, we bought the LotR licence and Gandalf is one of the things people associate with that so you're putting Gandalf in it. Write it vaguely so we can pad this thing out.

 

Or

 

It isn't Gandalf, but to generate buzz and mysteries were going to be vague about it and aha! In the second series we'll reveal the mystery and he'll be not Gandalf!


It’s the first one. The ship has sailed on the second, that was what they were doing with this season.

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57 minutes ago, makkuwata said:

You seem to be hung up on that George Lucas poetry quote. There will inevitably be familiar lines being reappropriated for fans of the movies, just as they were in the movies for fans of the books.

 


It’s the first one. The ship has sailed on the second, that was what they were doing with this season.

 

It hasn't - they've not explicitly named him. They've dropped numerous hints, to the extent it almost certainly is him, but they made the decision not to name him, meaning it's up in the air.

 

I suspect, as said above, it is a Gandalf. They've decided not to spell it out to keep the buzz around the show for a while and give themselves an easy mystery for next series (is it Gandalf, really?!), but ultimately will be him to wring the value from the licence, but to give us some more drama they'll echo his future with the idea he is a supernatural being that doesn't necessarily die.

 

The version we know is the reincarnation of this Gandalf, because he died and that before remember, its what he does. He'll be captured sometime in series 2/early series 3, saved by talking to a butterfly to get him an eagle, whose king he spoke to early in series 2 to discuss the need for all to help fight the evil he's been sent to stop. Then the writers will kill him at the end of series 3, holding the bridge to Important Place against notBalrogs/Sauron that it's very important they do not pass into. He'll be sent back until his task is done with a vision of a dragon and solitary mountain, and something about a ring and the end of the world and a new grey cloak in Series 4. Perhaps along the way he'll encourage the notHobbits to become Hobbits by estolling the virtues of not going on adventures and the niceties of holes with big round doors. Or they'll learn this themselves when they see him get brutally ripped apart/thrown from a high bridge by said notBalrogs/Sauron in the process of getting past him.

 

It'd be better from a lore fan perspective for it to be a blue wizard and the mystery be a red herring, but they're not going to do that when they've paid $Xm to have Lord of the Rings.

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I like the is/isn't he Gandalf ambiguity.  I'm fond of the "shit! it's Saruman!" "phew, it's just Gandalf after rehab" from LotR. The Wizards aren't human and I find fuzziness of their nature interesting.

 

The opening of Ep8 was hitting more of those notes for me.

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5 hours ago, Phantoon said:

This is pretty much where I'm at. The whole dramatic reveal had a bit too much of the "it was me, Austin! It was me all along!" to take it seriously too. I'm not convinced keeping that secret was a benefit to the story, either from the point of view of Tolkien fans or for the average viewer.


I really disagree about the reveal, it was exactly the opposite of that.

 

Spoiler

What was great about it was that they sow the seeds for Halbrand being Sauron very early on and then keep building it up to the point that it’s not a dramatic reveal out of nowhere at all. And I don’t even think the episode particularly plays it as such, it basically says ‘yeah if course he’s fucking Sauron, now let’s get on to why he’s doing what he’s doing.’

 

I’ve really enjoyed the series, even though I can sympathise that there is plenty of jankiness in there that could easily put you off if you don’t buy into the good stuff. My favourite parts have been the spirited effort to flesh out the baddies of LoTR, who in the books and films are just about the most two-dimensional depiction of villainy you can get, into something more substantial. Am definitely up for saviour complex Sauron vs orc freedom fighter Adar next season.

 

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6 hours ago, scottcr said:

On wizard

 

  Reveal hidden contents

I like the fact he’s in the 2nd age. It makes more sense for him to build up a long relationship with Galadriel and Elrond.

 

 

Spoiler

What the several thousand years of the Third Age aren't enough?

 

Anyway, ignore any consideration of source material. It is still weirdly paced, with characters that do inconsistent things and with episodes that are a bit on the long side and probably have too many threads. There are strange horse riding scenes. It's not awful, some of the character interactions are good, some of the visuals and actions sequences are genuinely impressive. It threatens to catch fire and never does. I hated the mystery box stuff. 

 

Maybe you won't, but surely you've seen more compelling TV in the last ten years?

 

Orcs

 

Spoiler

They are just pure monsters in the books, extensions of the Dark Lords will, but I think you run into difficulties if you don't treat them as such. 

 

If you treat them as fully sentient beings, maybe misled or misguided, you run into the problem that the good guys are slaughtering a lot of them. Like a lot a lot. 

 

If you are really skilled, maybe you thread the needle. But I think you just end up undercutting your heroes - it's a lot darker and a lot nastier. I think that happened to Galadriel here.

 

I understand that they did the "I'm gonna genocide" but I don't really think it just made her character seem more bitter and unlikeable.

 

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7 minutes ago, kensei said:

 

  Hide contents

What the several thousand years of the Third Age aren't enough?

 

Anyway, ignore any consideration of source material. It is still weirdly paced, with characters that do inconsistent things and with episodes that are a bit on the long side and probably have too many threads. There are strange horse riding scenes. It's not awful, some of the character interactions are good, some of the visuals and actions sequences are genuinely impressive. It threatens to catch fire and never does. I hated the mystery box stuff. 

 

Maybe you won't, but surely you've seen more compelling TV in the last ten years?

 

Orcs

 

  Hide contents

They are just pure monsters in the books, extensions of the Dark Lords will, but I think you run into difficulties if you don't treat them as such. 

 

If you treat them as fully sentient beings, maybe misled or misguided, you run into the problem that the good guys are slaughtering a lot of them. Like a lot a lot. 

 

If you are really skilled, maybe you thread the needle. But I think you just end up undercutting your heroes - it's a lot darker and a lot nastier. I think that happened to Galadriel here.

 

I understand that they did the "I'm gonna genocide" but I don't really think it just made her character seem more bitter and unlikeable.

 


Orcs are bad because they are bad? They were created by torturing elves under ground. 
 

Read Smith of Wooton Major and Tolkein’s essay to go with it. He wasn’t precious about his lore… 

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55 minutes ago, scottcr said:

I’m so glad they’re in for the five seasons

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Pharazon’s battle against Sauron and then his attack on Valinor is going to be totally epic

 

 

Well,

 

Spoiler

he doesn't get very far. Just Tol Eressia and then CGI wave time.

 

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