The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

A first look at The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an epic series that takes audiences back into the world initially created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

What is there to say about this series? It is epic. I mean, you take one look at it and you begin to wonder if there’s a feature film budget. This is one of the most iconic franchises in the world. When you think of the great world builders, J.R.R. Tolkien and George Lucas are the two writers that come to mind. It definitely shows in this series, which focuses on the Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. We’ve never seen this particular era on screen because it takes place over thousands of years prior to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This series is running at the same time as another fantasy show but this one does not have graphic violence. As such, families will be able to watch the series with their children.

Because this series focuses on a different era, audiences are going to meet both new and familiar characters as the series visits a number of locations. Whether its the Misty Mountains, elf capital of Lindon, or the island kingdom of Númenor, we’ll come to see the path that led to the Tolkien books as we know them. Listen, this is not a Peter Jackson project. In fact, they’re keeping the two worlds distinctly separated. But even at that, we’re going to see characters that we’ve already met in both the books and the movies. We also get a younger version of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) and she gets to kick some ass on screen. There’s nothing wrong with letting women appear as heroines and warriors. I don’t know how Peter Jackson would tackle the Second Age in its entirety but the two can exist side by side.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Ben Rothstein/Prime Video).

Without getting into specific spoilers, this is a series that will explore times of both peace and darkness. Which kingdoms will rise and which will fall? The question I want to know is which rings will we see in action during the eight-episode first season. There are episode-specific questions that I have but for now, I won’t spoil it for you. What about Sauron? Will Sauron be one of those characters whose presence looms over the entire season or will we see the villain on screen? The one thing that we do know about this time in the Tolkien books is that they take place over centuries. When it comes to creating a TV series, let alone the previous film trilogies, such storytelling is almost certainly impossible. Time will tell what happens over this season and the (at least, for now) next four seasons to come.

Musically, Howard Shore returns to compose the title theme while Bear McCreary provides the score. It’s just as ambitious as it should be for this franchise. Moreover, McCreary’s score fits right in with what Shore did for the films. Granted, the films focus on the Third Age so the Second Age melodies play more for what’s happening on the screen.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has some big shoes to fill but if the first two episodes are any indication, audiences are in for a treat.

DIRECTORS: J.A. Bayona, Wayne Che Yip, Charlotte Brändström
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: J.D. Payne, Patrick McKay, Lindsey Weber, Callum Greene, J.A. Bayona, Belén Atienza, Justin Doble, Jason Cahill, Gennifer Hutchison, Bruce Richmond, and Sharon Tal Yguado
CAST: Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Maxim Baldry, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman, and Sara Zwangobani

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres its first two episodes on September 1, 2022 at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT on Prime Video. New episodes will be released weekly at 12 AM ET Friday/9 PM PT Thursday. Episodes 1-2: Grade: 4.5/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.