Is ‘The Rings of Power’ a Good Show?

Is the Rings of Power a Good Show?

As it turns out, there are few things more divisive than adaptations of Tolkien’s work.

That’s probably for a good reason. After all, Tolkien was something of a genius. His work, not only ‘The Lord of the Rings’, but his work in developing his legendarium, was unprecedented, and has not been matched by any other Fantasy writer.

So how can anyone make an adaptation of that work that lives up to the original material?

The truth is, it’s hard. And even Oscar winning movies based on Tolkien’s work fall short of the mark for many.

But how did the billion-dollar, Amazon Prime adaptation compare? Was ‘The Rings of Power’ good or bad?

Spoiler Alert

To answer that question, we’ll need to discuss points key to the plot and will reveal many, many spoilers. Do not read further if you have not seen the show. You have been warned.

Is ‘The Rings of Power’ Show On Amazon Well Filmed?

If we are talking about the show as a show, and not as a depiction of Tolkien’s world, it seems hard to deny that the show is a good one. It may not be the single greatest show ever made, but it has all the qualities of a good show.

There’s a driven, war hardened hero. A plucky sidekick. And dwarves. It also has some fantastic battle scenes. And its cinematography is excellent. Indeed, some of the scenes depicted are of such quality that even the greatest Elven craftsmen would look twice.

Also, in the realm of special effects, the show is more based on the original creation of Peter Jackson. The orcs and evil creatures look and feel real.

Is ‘The Rings of Power’ Well Written?

Yes. The Rings of Power is very well written. However, it does not quite reach the heights of Tolkien’s best work, nor does it reach the heights of Peter Jackson’s best moments. But, at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily have to.

One of the issues with creating this show from the start is that it’s not a direct retelling of any story in particular. While it does remain largely faithful to the spirit of Tolkien’s legendarium, there’s no ‘book’ written on ‘The Rings of Power’ other than the section of the Silmarillion that covers the events. But the telling of the events in this book is written more like a history than a novel. The writers had less to work with here, and it’s difficult to entirely encapsulate the sort of ancient language that Tolkien is master of.

Additionally, ‘Rings of Power’ steers away from the purely epic storytelling that Tolkien creates so well and that Jackson also recreates in favor of more personal, more ‘human’ tales. This isn’t the story of great battles, or even about the fate of Middle Earth. These are stories about the motivations – good and bad – of a cast of characters. From this struggle, much greater struggles will one day grow.

In this regard, ‘Rings of Power' performs admirably from a writing standpoint.

Is the Rings of Power Actually ‘Canon’?

Another common critique of ‘Rings of Power’ is that, since it is not actually based on any particular source material, it therefore cannot be canon the way the original works were.

This question is rather difficult to answer, however, as anything that is created now, post Tolkien, in some ways could never be considered canon, as he did not create it himself. Peter Jackson’s take on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ is also not ‘canon’.

However, Peter Jackson’s films are part of a new cinematic universe called ‘The Middle-earth cinematic universe’. This universe does contain a continuity that while being different than the books, does not contradict itself. I would definitely say that ‘The Rings of Power’ are ‘canon’ in so far as that canon refers to the “Middle-earth” cinematic universe.

Why ‘The Rings of Power’ is Actually a Good Adaptation of Tolkien’s Work

Ultimately, ‘The Rings of Power’ is a good adaptation of Tolkien’s works for several reasons that go beyond the writing and the cinematography.

Rings of Power Explores the Second Age

As of yet, we have not had the opportunity to view much about Tolkien’s work outside of the Third Age. Being able to see the historic events only mentioned before play out from the very beginning is a fascinating experience for any Tolkien fan.

Rings of Power Presents a Human Side of Characters

One of the best things about ‘Rings of Power’ is its ability to really let us get to know some of its central characters. This is true of its leading characters, as well as its supporting characters. We get to know Galadriel – who she is, how she ticks, and why she is the way she is. And we get to know Isildur as more than just ‘the guy who didn’t destroy the ring’. We see the weight placed on him by his family, and the beginnings of the strength and weakness that would mark his place in Tolkien’s history.

We witness Numenor in its splendor, and the Elves at their peak.

But, most importantly, we meet Sauron.

Sauron Is a Character in ‘Rings of Power’

At the time of the events in the War of the Ring – that happened during the film versions and just shortly before in ‘The Hobbit’, Sauron is a distant, spiritual being. He’s nothing more than a big bad guy. And yet, in order for a bad guy to be truly believable, he must have some good in him. Jackson’s movies never explored that side of Sauron. But do you know who did? Tolkien!

Tolkien’s Sauron Was Much More Nuanced Than We See in the Films

Before Sauron was a great big eye on top of a building, somewhere in Mordor, he was a person. Not a human person, but a Maiar – the same kind of being as Gandalf and Saruman. Yes, he was seduced by the power of Morgoth – the original dark lord – but he was still capable of more human feelings – feelings like fear.

In fact, in Tolkien’s own words, Sauron repented after the fall of his master (Morgoth), but unwilling to humble himself before the Valar (or gods of Middle-earth), he hid in Middle-earth for some time before falling into evil.

‘Rings of Power’ shows this time in Sauron’s life – a time when the things that were good in him could have gone towards the light, and not just the darkness.

Ultimately, ‘Rings of Power’ Fits in Well with the Middle-earth Cinematic Universe

After watching ‘The Rings of Power’ from start to finish, you can easily go and turn on ‘The Fellowship of the Rings – Extended Edition’ and gain greater insights into the Lord of the Rings. Suddenly, you know why Galadriel is so sorely tempted by the One Ring. You understand what she means about being a Ring bearer. You see why it is that she must overcome a test before she can return to peace in the West.

And you know why Aragorn shouts “Elendil” before jumping onto a bunch of Orcs.

While ‘Rings of Power’ the show may never be able to replace the works Tolkien himself created, it does a great job enriching and bringing color to people and events that greatly impacted the later course of events that we’re more familiar with. Not to mention explaining why a gray haired wizard has such an affinity for Hobbits.


Most Valuable Cards in Pokemon TCG Silver Tempest [Updated]


Ten Major Differences Between the Harry Potter Books and Movies