For as long as anyone cares to remember, folks have put J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth up against George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. Now, with only ten days separating their respective live-action adaptations, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and HBO’s House of the Dragon, the online community is almost guaranteed to draw comparisons between the two shows.
Martin is unsurprisingly rooting for his series to give Tolkien a run for his money, but it seems as though showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay aren’t worried about competing with the Targaryens and their dragons.
During a press tour at the Television Critic Association on Friday (per The Hollywood Reporter), the producers were asked to address the possible complications of the two shows premiering so close to each other, whereupon McKay said that they don’t care about what might be happening “in another realm someplace else.”
“We talked about this a lot. It comes up and we totally understand where the question comes from. We don’t think of the show in terms of what genre or other shows might be out there. We think about [Tolkien], his life’s work was creating this world. This is Tolkien’s Middle-earth and regions beyond Middle-earth and we just wanted to be true to that and sort of drown out and forget about what might be happening in another realm someplace else.”
Robert Aramayo, who plays Elrond in The Rings of Power but is also credited for his performance as a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, was at the press tour and explained that he doesn’t feel any sort of “rivalry” between the two shows.
“I don’t feel rivalry, the materials are so different. I love fantasy. So now we obviously get to watch more fantasy, which can never be a bad thing.”
Regardless of how you may feel towards either franchise, wiser words have never been uttered. Maybe instead of comparing the two, fans should just be glad that they live in an era where two of their most beloved stories are getting the live-action treatment at the same time, and by industry giants such as Amazon Studios and HBO, no less.
The Rings of Power premieres Sept. 2 on Prime Video.