Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is finally here, and with it, the people of Middle-Earth begin to confront the long feared re-emergence of evil across the land. Following Elves, Dwarves, Men, Harfoots, and more, The Rings of Power shows a world thousands of years before the final defeat of Sauron by the Fellowship of the Ring; as we trace the rise and fall of kingdoms and the forging of great powers, all while the hope of tomorrow hangs by the finest of threads.
The Rings of Power is awe-inspiring. I struggle to think of a more concise way to put it. There will be comparisons to Peter Jackson’s work on The Lord of the Rings, comparisons I found myself making. But this stands equal to the highs of what Jackson accomplished back in the early 2000s. With a main cast numbering in the dozens (yes, dozens, plural), The Rings of Power is a sweeping epic bound to thrill long-time Middle-earth fans and new viewers looking for their latest high fantasy fix.
Touted as the most expensive TV series of all time, The Rings of Power delivers upon this in every frame. The set design of everything, from dark, forbidden lairs of evil to the majestic forest cities of the Elves, is nothing short of spectacular. Be it location filming, practical sets, or digital backgrounds, all of it is beautiful to behold. This level of quality applies to creature effects too. Both the digital and the practical kinds are insanely detailed, all working together to heighten the viewer’s immersion into the world. Another area where this massive budget shows is costuming; from Elven robes to Harfoot rags, every costume is beautifully made, never seeming mass produced. A set of Elven armor worn by one of The Rings of Power’s leads is a particular highlight in the costume design.
There is one character I want to talk about a bit more in-depth. She is the future ruler of Lothlórien, the Lady of Light, the wearer of the aforementioned Elven armor. I’m of course talking about Galadriel, played by the incomparable talent that is rising star Morfydd Clark. Galadriel is the closest The Rings of Power comes to a main character. It’s her story we follow throughout the millennia-spanning opening into the present day of the show as she embarks on a personal quest to hunt down the remnants of the great evil that once plagued Middle-earth. Clark’s portrayal of Galadriel is wholly unique, vastly different from the elegant, almost ethereal character Cate Blanchett starred as in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This Galadriel is battle-hardened, consumed by her need to track down the great evil. I can’t wait to see what I assume will be her gradual transition into the Galadriel of Middle-earth’s Third Age.
As for the rest of the cast, I will avoid detailing them so that you can meet them in the show, but I do want to talk a bit about how The Rings of Power shows all the various vibrant cultures spread throughout Middle-earth. Being a TV show, The Rings of Power has more time to dig into these cultures than Peter Jackson’s films ever could. From the Elves of Lindon to the Dwarves of the Khazad-dûm, all the way across the sea to the Men of Númenor; we get to experience not only the politicking of kings and queens but the day-to-day lives of those not born into royalty, and everyone in between. All these characters are brought to life by committed, believable performances from the whole cast.
The Rings of Power is a must-watch for anyone even remotely interested. What showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have pulled off here is nothing short of magical, and I hope to see their full vision for the show come to fruition over the coming years. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres exclusively on Prime Video globally this Friday, September 2nd, with new episodes available weekly.