Okay, about Rings of Power….



I do NOT mind that there are that are Elves who are not pale-skinned and golden-haired.  Doesn’t bother me a bit!  Why not?  Humans come in colors; why not Elves?  Tolkien didn’t have non-pale Elves, you say?  Meh.  If he lived and wrote today, he probably would have.  I do not consider this an issue.

I do NOT mind that Galadriel is swinging a sword and fighting battles.  Fine by me!  Sure, she wasn’t swinging a sword when Frodo and the gang met her in Lothlorien–  but that was, like, a thousand years later.  People get a little slower as they age, and trading fisticuffs for wisdom is a pretty good trend, as far as I can see.  (By the way, I also did not mind it in the Lord of the Rings films, when Peter Jackson kicked Glorfindel to the curb and gave all his derring-do to Arwen.  In the books she was a pretty non-entity; in the films, a person of power.)

Those are the things that most Rings of Power complainers complain about… But to me: no problem.

Here’s what bothered me:


Elrond to Galaldriel:  “…it is natural for you to feel conflicted.”

This is late 2oth, early 21st century pop-psychological lingo.  When it was uttered, I literally yelled at the TV: “What?  What? Are you serious?

Alas, they were.

Sure, Galadriel might actually be conflicted over events, and have some feels about them.   But it would never be said like this–  like some sort of psych diagnosis.

Want another one?

In the opening scenes, little-girl Galadriel makes a paper swan-boat,  and sets it sailing down a little brook.  Lovely!  I was charmed.   Then, little-boy Elf throws rocks at it, and sinks it, laughing all the while, saying scornful things, to Galadriel’s anguish…

I said to the TV: “But, but…”

These are not humans, these are Elves!   Any Elf who intentionally causes sorrow and distress to another Elf, and actually takes pleasure in the act, and in the other’s pain —

Well.  That Elf-child has obviously been TOUCHED BY EVIL, and seduced by some DARK POWER.   You’d think that everyone would rally around, and try to help this child, and try to find out how the kid’s soul became POISONED enough to come to love others’ pain.

But nope.  Yeah, kids will be kids — whaddaya gonna do, hey?

Elves are not like us.  The writers of Rings of Power have made them like us.  Elves have a sort of grandeur.   They are deep and mysterious.

In Lothlorien, Frodo asks Sam (who has always been fascinated by the idea of Elves), what he thinks of them, now that he’s seen them.

“They seem a bit above my likes and dislikes, so to speak,” answered Sam slowly.  “It don’t seem to matter what I think about them.  They are quite different from what I expected—so old and young, and so gay and sad, as it were.”

Okay, last one: not witnessed by me, but reported to me….

A Harfoot said, “Okay!”

If “okay” existed a thousand years ago, it would have persisted until Bilbo and Frodo’s time.  They’ve been okaying right and left.  Very useful word. Once it gets in your culture, it’s there to stay.  Used all over the world, nowadays.

But those-a-days?  I don’t buy it.

Right.  End of rant.

In happier news, I’m reading Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which is utterly charming.  And hair-raising.  A different take on the “school of magic” trope.


A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance Book 1) by [Naomi Novik]


4 Responses to “Okay, about Rings of Power….”

  • Sean Fagan Says:

    The peoples of that time also did not speak English. I am, ahem, ok with some liberties being taken with the translated language.

    That said, I haven’t watched the show yet.

  • RogerBW Says:

    We already know what happens when someone takes Tolkien’s wonderful invention and keeps writing after the good ideas are done. It’s called The Silmarillion. And the Books of Lost Tales, and…

    As far as I can see, there’s no artistic vision behind this series, purely a financial one: there’s an audience that wants “more Middle-Earth stories”. And that’s what they get.

    I have little interest in sequels by other hands.

  • H M Says:

    I’ve read all of Tolkien’s work and am a huge nerd for his languages, and I overall loved the show for its beauty and interesting character relationships. I especially liked that they didn’t shy away from the sheer weirdness that comes from immortal, literally legendary characters existing among others. And a resounding *hell yes* (Disa!!!) to the casting choices.

    HOWEVER, that scene with the elf children was a real annoyance. For one thing, you’re so right that schoolyard bullying that nasty would be below even very young Elves, and would have indicated something Terribly Wrong going on. For another, it’s impossible to believe that Galadriel, extraordinary and shining even among the elves of Valinor, would ever be its arget. If there were some wretched cliquey Elf school system, Galadriel would have been its queen bee.

    And I guess that leads directly into our other (Galadri)El, definitely **not** doing so hot in the magical teen social hierarchy. It’s such a fun series, I hope you like it! Novik’s *Spinning Silver* is a favorite of mine, and I loved how completely different — but similarly vibrant and satisfying and thorny — this world is.

  • Walter Underwood Says:

    This is an interesting and VERY detailed criticism of the world building in The Rings of Power. https://acoup.blog/2022/12/16/collections-why-rings-of-powers-middle-earth-feels-flat/