A look into the controversy surrounding Amazon’s new high-budget show.
By: Brian Lines
For those who might be unaware, there is currently quite a lot of controversy in the entertainment sector surrounding a new television show: Amazon Prime’s “Rings of Power.” In 2017, Amazon acquired the television rights to “Lord of the Rings” for nearly $250 million.
While the film industry is struggling, the television industry is booming. With services like Disney+, HBO Max and Netflix continuing to grow and pump out quality projects, Amazon saw this as an opportunity to boost their own streaming service, Amazon Prime Video. The scale of Amazon’s “Rings of Power” show is unmatched. When they acquired the rights, Amazon announced the show’s release date to be in Sept. 2022, that the show will have 5 seasons and that the overall cost will be $1 billion. The first season of the show alone cost $462 million, pushing the expected overall cost to be much higher than $1 billion according to ScreenRant. Many assume that this new project is Amazon’s attempt to rival HBO Max’s “Game of Thrones.”
To most, this would all sound quite normal; it’s just another rich streaming service creating a new massive show in order to compete with its rivals. However, the “Lord of the Rings” community is not easily satisfied. Many passionate J.R.R Tolkien enthusiasts are resisting the production of the prequel show. In the early 2000s, director Peter Jackson took on the challenge to create a movie series of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” To many at the time, this was folly. However, the film trilogy was an extraordinary success, receiving a total of 17 Oscars between them.
The third installment of the trilogy, “The Return of the King” is tied with “Ben-Hur” and “Titanic” with the most academy award wins (11). Most Tolkien fans look back on these movies with a positive attitude. While the movies were still very limited in content they could use from the books due to the massive amount of content found in the books, they were a fair representation of the story.
Between the success of the trilogy and the books themselves (over 150 million copies sold, according to WordsRated), this new television show has such high pressure being put on it. In addition to the pressure to succeed from past projects, the new “Rings of Power” show is facing criticism from some Tolkien fans who see the massive industry producing this project ironic as Tolkien himself was adamantly against the immense growth of the industry in his time.
Many fans on the internet have been misquoting Tolkien with the line “Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt.” This is not a statement that Tolkien ever wrote. However, in “The Return of the King,” Tolkien wrote “The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them” when discussing the creation of orcs.
Misquote or not, though, it is clear that no matter the quality of the new “Rings of Power” show, many fans will be unhappy with the project. This being said, as a J.R.R Tolkien fan myself, I am still enjoying the show so far. The budget and creative talent behind the show have allowed the making of a beautiful and clever reintroduction to the world we experience in the original film trilogy in the early 2000s.
While the prequel will never be able to fully encapsulate the vastness of the history of “Lord of the Rings,” we can still enjoy the show for what it is able to do. I have enjoyed the score of the show, the performances, the dialogue and characters. If fans are able to take the show for what it is, and not expect it to be the movies or the books, I truly think they will be able to enjoy it.
Sources: Screen Rant, Words Rated, Fan Sided
Screen Rant – https://screenrant.com/lotr-rings-power-show-budget-billion-amazon-details/
Words Rated – https://wordsrated.com/lord-of-the-rings-stats/#:~:text=The%20Lord%20of%20the%20Rings%20series%20is%20one%20of%20the,million%20books%20around%20the%20world.
Fan Sided – https://winteriscoming.net/2022/02/15/fans-spam-the-lord-of-the-rings-of-power-incorrect-jrr-tolkien-quote/