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Tolkien devotees debate what ‘Rings of Power’ did better than Peter Jackson’s trilogy

The show's runtime allows for a far deeper examination of characters and locations.

The Rings of Power
Image via Prime Video

The first season of Rings of Power is officially over, but that’s not stopping fans of the series from dissecting its every detail on social media.

The latest topic to arise on Reddit’s LOTR_on_Prime sub saw viewers identifying the aspects of Rings of Power that they feel are superior to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Before any Jackson fans get up in arms—the original poster, EndlessDreamer1, acknowledges that the show, in its current state, pales in comparison to the trilogy of films, but is still able to acknowledge that the series did some things better. Their list of picks for the show’s superior attributes include the dwarves, “especially Durin IV,” the show’s youthful version of Elrond, and the orcs, who feel far more real and intriguing in the show.

They also note the locations, which in the series feel more fully-realized and lived-in. They note the difference between Rings‘ Númenor, a city that feels thriving and real, to the “empty and sterile” feeling Minas Tirith. Their final point revolves around Sauron, and EndlessDreamer1 acknowledges that this one may be “more a function of tackling the Second Age,” but the point stands none-the-less. They are correct in pointing out that “a more individualized and cunning Sauron is more interesting than just a glowing eye in a tower.”

Commenters quickly chimed in with their own notes—past a rare few detractors who complained about the “inaccuracy” of the orcs—and largely agreed with EndlessDreamer1. The orcs and dwarves are a huge draw for damn near everyone, it seems, as are Elrond and Elendil. Quite a few people voiced their excitement for the official meeting of “Elendilf and Gilgadaddy.”

The careful character development was a major theme across responses, as people noted how much more fleshed out and real a number of characters and races feel in Rings. The dwarves, orcs, and elves all got a shout-out, as people noted how the extra time granted by Rings‘ televised format allowed the series to properly examine and enrich its characters.

One fan even tempted the trolls by stating that their favorite aspect of the series was “The original stuff. The stuff they made up for the show.” User AndrogynousRain goes onto list several show-specific inclusions, like the Harfoots. “These proto hobbits walked right off a lost page of Tolkiens writing,” they wrote. “They’re wonderful, simultaneously familiar and new.”

Dwarven women, dwarven culture, and Númenorian culture were also listed as show-specific enhancements to Middle-earth, as was the Stranger. These additions, and many more, slowly cropped up in the comment section as viewers looked back on the first season and recalled all its finest moments.

The second season of Rings of Power isn’t expected to drop for several years yet, so fans have plenty of time to put toward re-examining season one. The show seems to get more popular every day, as fans digest what they’ve seen so far and look to season two with a renewed hope for what the series can truly offer.

Nahila Bonfiglio
About the author

Nahila Bonfiglio

Nahila carefully obsesses over all things geekdom and gaming, bringing her embarrassingly expansive expertise to the team at We Got This Covered. She is a Staff Writer and occasional Editor with a focus on comics, video games, and most importantly 'Lord of the Rings,' putting her Bachelors from the University of Texas at Austin to good use. Her work has been featured alongside the greats at NPR, the Daily Dot, and Nautilus Magazine.