Thoughts on Rings of Power – E01 and E02

You may have heard of a not-very-ambitious, small-budget thing happening at Amazon. Well, here are my rambly and disorderly thoughts about it, two episodes in. In an ideal world I’d like to write one short piece a week about the new episode, but that’s not a promise.

Watching the first two episodes of Rings of Power at Oxonmoot, in the lecture theatre along with a small crowd was an intense moment and I enjoyed every second of the experience. The opening sequence had me welling up with emotion – although to me it was more the dialogue between Finrod and Galadriel than the boat scene and him climbing the hill.

So, on the whole I enjoyed these episodes, but I do have reservations as well.

Spoilers ahead!

First and foremost, the imagery really is beautiful, but it’s the same kind of beautiful I’ve seen before. The light, the landscapes, the artistic choices. Few things on screen are original (yes, I’m kind of upset those antler-bearing folks don’t appear for more than 3 seconds). In the opening sequence I feel like the light should have looked completely different. Tolkien spends so much time describing the quality of light in the Years of the Tree, it’s so unique that it’s really a missed opportunity for me to have this slightly golden, but rather flat lighting throughout the first minutes.

These humans look like nothing I’ve seen before and I would have enjoyed more of them.

Elves

I’m not sorry to say the hair is still a big problem for me. Although it’s not preventing me from loving Elrond a little more each time he appears on screen because he’s very endearing, but why the wavy perm???

Arondir is perfect, and there’s that. Despite the fact that his name literally means “make round” in French (and don’t get me started on Medhor). Ok, he doesn’t have that many expressions, but he fully compensate with his intensity. And his armour. I am absolutely in love with his armour.

That chest plate… *chef’s kiss*

And that leads me to a point I’m actually quite disappointed about – Elven clothes. They look so cheap! In the promo pictures, I was eyeing Elrond’s shoulder-feathery things from the Khazad-dûm scene, but in reality it’s very disappointing. What I’ve seen of Galadriel’s outfits so far does not impress me. Her ceremonial armour is beautiful, but looks highly impractical. Speaking of Galadriel, her casting choice is SO on point. I’m not over the fact that the age differences between her, Elrond and Gil-Galad are all wrong, but this actress can act. The amount of emotions passing through her eyes captivated me.

Celebrimbor does not. Okay, part of that is because to me this actor will always be Downton Abbey’s villain, but still. I cannot imagine this Elf forging the rings at any point in the story. Give me the Jenny Dolfen version live, please.

I’m grumpy too, Celebrimbor.

Continuing with the visuals, I think the fireworks scene was a lovely way to pay homage to Tolkien’s newspaper doodles. I don’t have exact references to offer, but the shape of the fireworks, and the primary colours, reminded me of Tolkien’s doodles with his trusty ball-point pens.

That being said, I feel very strongly against Elves having fireworks. Elves are so close to nature, and wild animals are so upset by fireworks, that I can’t see how it would cross their minds as a good idea to party with lightning-like sparks and deafening sounds that would make all the wildlife flee miles around.

Hobbits & the Stranger

The Harfoots are very precious and I want no harm to come to them, thank you very much. This is an example of original design choices that I fully support.

Look at them! They are so cute!

Do you have an opinion on who the Stranger is? My best guess is Radagast, but I’d be happy with the Blue Wizards as well. The fact that he appeared at the time when the passage to Valinor opens makes it quite clear he’s coming from there.

Dwarves

So far I think the Dwarves have the best costumes, despite not being my favourite characters. Disa is imperial, and she makes a really endearing couple with Durin. I loved the emotional journey Durin went in just one episode. I do not understand the stone-breaking game, though. If Dwarves respect stone that much, how on earth (or under it) would they have such a game? I have to admit I stopped grumbling as soon as Durin’s children appeared playing with the war helmets because that scene is just so cute. Khazad-dûm is a place of beauty and I absolutely love how the designers played with light and made sure to include some greenery.

Humans

My biggest problem is with the humans. They look every bit like every medieval-inspired country village and have nothing original about them. I do love the character of Bronwyn, I think she’s fab, but why, why put her in a relationship with an Elf when such relationships are supposed to be purely exceptional in Tolkien’s legendarium? It can only mean that they don’t end up together, and I don’t like knowing how their story end when neither of them was written by Tolkien. I mean by that that I’m ok with knowing that Finrod dies because he also dies in the legendarium. But characters who aren’t canon should be complete surprises, and if the series is to be true to Tolkien’s spirit, then to me Arondir and Bronwyn can’t be together, or at least they can’t have a happy ending.

I do not trust this man. I repeat, I do not trust this man.

Sauron

Now, we haven’t seen much of Sauron to say the least, but it’s one of the many things I wish the production designers hadn’t copied from Peter Jackson. I know that it helps everything tie together neatly, but it felt very underwhelming. The one thing that would make it right for me would be to know that he’s played by Joseph Mawle because I’m sure this actor would make a perfect Annatar.

He seems to have all the danger & charm I associate with Annatar.

Conclusion-ish? Hopes?

After watching Production Designer Ramsey Avery’s interview at Oxonmoot, I’m really hopeful about the rest of season 1, at least as far as set decors and locations look. The man’s dedication and passion was really palpable. I’m very excited to discover Númenor, and have faith that it will look just as breath-taking as the first visuals suggest.

That being said, the show still doesn’t really feel “Tolkien” to me, but I’ve made my peace with it. It can be a good fantasy series to enjoy for those of us who can’t stomach Game of Thrones and its prequel (the costumes look fabulous, almost better than those for Rings of Power, but I do not want to put me through the pain of watching so much violence, thank you).

The design of these boats is spot on in my opinion.


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Marie Bretagnolle (8 septembre 2022). Thoughts on Rings of Power – E01 and E02. Tolkien & illustration. Consulté le 13 juillet 2024 à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/v8v5


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