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IPFS News Link • Entertainment: Television (TV)

Why 'Rings of Power' Is So Terrible, and Why It Doesn't Matter

•, By Bretigne Shaffer

No, what lifts "Rings" to the heights of thundering mediocrity is something else entirely.

It's challenging to find examples that adequately illustrate this "something else". Yes, there is dialogue that lands like cold slop in every episode ("Why do you keep fighting?" "Because I cannot stop!"), yes the Harfeet are more noxious than the orcs (I found myself begging, at the beginning of each episode, that I might be spared their appearance. Just this once…), but none of this captures the – truly epic, in this case – failure of this enterprise.

And then I realized why: Because what is most wrong with this show is not anything that is in it. It is what's missing.

Every once in a while, in "Rings", a character will utter a phrase that sounds as if Tolkien himself might have written it. The experience is so jarring that it makes suddenly real the fact that, for the most part, the writing sounds nothing at all like Tolkien. It is like listening to a tinny replication of a grand orchestral production, hammered out on a mechanical toy.

"Rings" is a spectacle that includes all of the outward manifestations of Tolkien's work: Elves, dwarves, Hobbits, wizards, and lots of battles and fighting. But nothing at all of what made that work so special and so compelling.

A necessary feature of great literature is that it comes from the hearts and souls of individuals. Each individual writer has his or her own perspective on the world, his or her own point of view. Great literature, almost by definition, is not "inclusive." Indeed, it is just the opposite – it is the expression of the vision of a single individual, of what he or she sees with their unique heart and soul. The folks who put together "Rings of Power" have absolutely no appreciation of this simple fact.