For nearly two years, J.R.R. Tolkien fans awaited the arrival of Amazon Prime's new series, The Rings of Power. The show, which was announced in January 2020 and released this past September, is a spin-off of the lore of Tolkien's Middle-Earth and covers a span of Middle-earth's history in the Second Age, more than 3,000 years before The Lord of the Rings. Source material for this period includes Appendices A and B (The Númenórean Kings: Númenor and The Tale of Years: The Second Age respectively) of The Lord of the Rings, as well as stories from The Silmarillion and Tolkien's Unfinished Tales.
The show is the most expensive ever made. According to an article on TechRadar.com, Amazon paid $250 million to obtain the rights to the series in November 2017, and the production for the first season cost around $462 million, or roughly $57 million per episode. (For reference, this year's Top Gun: Maverick and The Batman cost $355 million combined.) With a budget that large, one would expect breathtaking show, and Amazon did not disappoint. Each episode plays out like a movie. The costumes, setting, score, and visual effects are stunning.
I do not wish to comment on the accuracy of Rings of Powers as compared to Tolkien's work. I loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I read them years ago, and I recently finished The Silmarillion. I am no Tolkien expert, though, and based on everything I've read, the show is more a spin-off than a true adaptation of Tolkien's work. This is largely because, while Amazon does have rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, it does not have rights to The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales, meaning the screenwriters hands were somewhat tied when writing the screenplay. (This article provides more information, if you're interested.)
That said . . .
I'm not typically a big TV watcher, but I have been watching this show. And I'm loving it. I love that it brings attention to Tolkien's lore and the storyline that led up to The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings. I love that it highlights the battle between good and evil (which was a strong theme in Tolkien's own life). And, perhaps most of all, I love that it demonstrates humanity's (or elves', or dwarves', or harfoots') capacity for love and goodness in spite of evil. Maybe I'm a softy (okay, I am), but at several points in nearly every episode I've stopped the show and written down a quote (or a few) from some of the characters. Life can be hard, but sentiments like these give me reason to press onward. Don't you agree?
If we didn't do everything we weren't supposed to do, we'd hardly do anything at all. Without friends, what are we surviving for? . . . There's head-sense, Poppy, and there's heart-sense. — Nori Brandyfoot to Poppy
"I admire all who can see into the mystery of things, who can divine from the plainness of what is, the beauty of what could be." — Celebrimbor
"Where there is love, it is never truly dark."
"Loyalty to a friend out to be expected, regardless of his race."
"We do not say goodbye. We say 'Namárië.' It means more than simply ‘farewell.' It means ‘go towards goodness.'" — Elrond to his dear friend, Durin
"A mountain is like a person. It’s a long and ever-changing story made of countless small parts." — Disa
"Beauty has great power to heal the soul." — Arondir
"Choose not the path of fear, but that of faith."
"Sometimes to find the light, we must first touch the darkness."
"Every war is fought both without and within. Of that, every soldier must be mindful."
"There are powers beyond darkness at work in this world. Perhaps on days such as this, we've little choice but to trust to their designs and surrender our own." — Galadriel
"Hope is never mere, even when it is meager. When all other senses sleep, the eye of hope is the first to awaken, last to shut." — Gil-galad to Elrond
"In the end, this shadow is but a small and passing thing. There is light and high beauty forever beyond its reach. Find the light, and the shadow will not find you." — Bronwyn to her son, Theo
"What's the good of living if we aren't living good?" — Malva
Which quote is your favorite? Can you guess mine?