“The Rings of Power” isn’t bad, despite what some would have you believe


Photo courtesy of Pexels

Beau Sansom, Staff Reporter

Now that it’s had a chance to breathe, we need to address the elephant in the screening room: the Lord of the Rings: the Rings of Power is actually a good show. I know that’s hard to believe after countless articles, YouTube rants and angry tweets condemning the show as the worst thing since Nickelback, but I swear it’s true. Angry commenters have even gone as far as harassing the actors for their portrayals of certain characters in the show.

For anyone who’s unaware, the Rings of Power is a series based on the appendices and popular novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. The series is set roughly 1,000 years before the events of Lord of the Rings and has attracted more than its fair share of controversy since before it even came out. Numerous elements of the show have received backlash from fans, including a lack of beard on Sophia Nomvete’s dwarvish character Disa, deviations from the source material and Amazon adding a 72-hour delay on user ratings of the show. 

However, standing atop this mountain of controversy is the one hot-take to rule them all and that’s the “anti-woke” and racist sentiments that’s been polluting Hollywood for years now. Right from the release of the casting list of the show, some fans have been lighting up the internet with harsh and angry reactions to certain people of color playing the roles of elves or dwarves, roles that have been held almost exclusively by white men until recently. 

The war against wokeness in the Rings of Power escalated to the point that a dedicated review-bombing campaign of the show took place across basically every site that allows for user reviews. The review-bombing outbreak is what led Amazon to place embargos on the user reviews of the Rings of Power.

In “The backlash to rule them all? Every controversy about The Rings of Power so far” author Stuart Heritage defines the factors contributing to the situation with the review embargo.

The delay was brought about so that a team of moderators can parse all the reviews and weed out those deemed to have been written in bad faith,” Heritage said. “The hope is that this will create a more honest picture of how the show has been received.”

Perhaps the most frustrating part of the drama that is surrounding this series is the fact that many of those making these racist remarks and performing these insane actions are using Tolkien’s legacy as an excuse to voice their extreme opinions. 

In “Does it matter what Tolkien would’ve thought of The Rings of Power?” author and chair of the Tolkien Society Shaun Gunner explains the folly of being hung up on what Tolkien would think of the show.

Tolkien fandom need not sit in judgment over Amazon – or indeed anyone – based solely on “what Tolkien thought,” not only as he is not around to explain his own musings, but also because he also could be prone to prejudices and inaccuracies as the rest of us, and that might even extend to adaptations of his own works.” Gunner said.

The Rings of Power is just the latest in a long line of Hollywood productions to be bashed for extending its casting call beyond white males. In fact, just before the Rings of Power came under fire for its casting of House of the Dragon actor Steve Toussaint, he received relentless harassment online for his role as Corlys Velaryen. 

In “‘Rings of Power’ draws racist backlash and threats, but Amazon and Frodo stand behind it” author Kelly Lawler explains how the unfortunate trend of race-fueled backlash occurs even beyond television.

“This is not the first instance in which actors of color cast in traditionally white roles in genre TV and film has resulted in harassment and racism,” Lawler said. “John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran have experienced harassment for their roles in the newer ‘Star Wars’ films.”

While this trend is unsurprising, it is very sad. What’s worse is that there’s no end in sight for these controversies, as the announcement of a new “The Little Mermaid” film was met with the online harassment of the leading actress, Halle Bailey. The Rings of Power is a visually stunning, well written and especially well acted show that won’t be seen by as many viewers now due to its wrongfully poor public perception.