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OT: The Rings of Power

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Comments

  • pretty good so far- very expensive looking! 🤑

    I am a Tolkien fan but have no real problem with the changes to the back-lore- that stuff is cool +I have read it all- even the multi volume Christopher T stuff) but it's basically a lot of notes and nerdery -not part of the real story- so fair game IMO-

  • edited September 2022

    Rolling my eyes at people who accuse anyone who questions colour-blind casting (I think that's what it's called) as racist. Not surprised though. Some critics may be racist of course, that will always exist. Also interesting that in other contexts being colour blind is itself considered racist. Of course, being white I was born racist, according the higher levels of woke ideology, so the accusation has become almost meaningless.

    I find myself taken out of the story by it, when its a European historical show, or a fantasy that is based on that kind of background. LOTR is a an English-based mythological fantasy. It seems an indicator of moral superiority by the people who make these decisions. Would we expect a show based on Chinese or Indian or African or any other mythology to feature white people in any significant way? (Hint, the answer is, and should be, no). Yet we pat ourselves on the back for caring so little about anything of a broadly European heritage that we're happy to make decisions that suspend disbelief at the drop of a hat. I consider this basically white people trying to acting so morally pure that it ends up being some weirdly ironic form of white superiority.

    The history and evolution of being human is based on competition for resources between different lineages. Which is obviously something we don't want any more, but we also have no way to get rid of it, it is part of being human. Perhaps we could a WWII show where many of the English soldiers are German, and many of the American ones are Japanese. Would that production suffer in some way?

    There's also the question of making Galadriel stupidly strong in the face of her weak male companions but lets no get into that, It's just so lame, but a great opportunity for those who believe all the Current Correct Things to lash out at us unreconstructed mouth breathers.

    If you disagree with me or have arguments against what I say, I have no issue with that. I can think of some arguments myself.
    If you consider me racist (or misogynist) for saying any of this, I consider you a virtue signalling fool.

  • edited September 2022

    So for the females to appear strong the rest of the men have to appear weak. Is this how this id meant to work?

  • In the books LOTR is a bit of a sausage-fest, but the Silmarillion definitely hands over the reins to female characters from time to time.

    Glad to see this isn’t just another all male lead characters show.

  • edited September 2022

    @SimonSomeone said:
    Rolling my eyes at people who accuse anyone who questions colour-blind casting (I think that's what it's called) as racist. Not surprised though. Some critics may be racist of course, that will always exist. Also interesting that in other contexts being colour blind is itself considered racist. Of course, being white I was born racist, according the higher levels of woke ideology, so the accusation has become almost meaningless.

    I find myself taken out of the story by it, when its a European historical show, or a fantasy that is based on that kind of background. LOTR is a an English-based mythological fantasy. It seems an indicator of moral superiority by the people who make these decisions. Would we expect a show based on Chinese or Indian or African or any other mythology to feature white people in any significant way? (Hint, the answer is, and should be, no). Yet we pat ourselves on the back for caring so little about anything of a broadly European heritage that we're happy to make decisions that suspend disbelief at the drop of a hat. I consider this basically white people trying to acting so morally pure that it ends up being some weirdly ironic form of white superiority.

    The history and evolution of being human is based on competition for resources between different lineages. Which is obviously something we don't want any more, but we also have no way to get rid of it, it is part of being human. Perhaps we could a WWII show where many of the English soldiers are German, and many of the American ones are Japanese. Would that production suffer in some way?

    There's also the question of making Galadriel stupidly strong in the face of her weak male companions but lets no get into that, It's just so lame, but a great opportunity for those who believe all the Current Correct Things to lash out at us unreconstructed mouth breathers.

    If you disagree with me or have arguments against what I say, I have no issue with that. I can think of some arguments myself.
    If you consider me racist (or misogynist) for saying any of this, I consider you a virtue signalling fool.

    I have some sympathy with your post Simon. Definitely a show set in ancient Africa with white characters would come across as pretty weird. At the same time I understand the intention behind putting black actors into some roles here. A) It isn't history, it's fantasy B) Nothing wrong with artistic license, we've had black Hamlets and Black Othellos already C) It's a way of righting the wrongs that Western Imperialism has done.

    Overall it is an attempt to make society more colour-blind. It might seem a little weird at the moment because many are not used to it yet. But if we look back at Hollywood 70 years ago, even black or Asian actors were played by white people. Now - for most of us - that seems bizarre. It always takes a while for society to adjust to these changes. I'd imagine that people watching The Rings of Power 20 years from now won't bat an eyelid at a black hobbit or even a black Saruman.

    That said, no harm in stating your opinions, and feel free to speak them.

  • Although the criticisms of the casting have cherry picked from Tolkien’s writing.

    He certainly made the point that harfoots are “browner of skin”, and despite describing the elves of Valinor as “fair”, described the elves of Middle Earth as being different in appearance, specifically noting dark hair.

    I think way too much is being made of this with misinformation about Tolkien’s writing at the heart of it.

  • LOTR is not an English history show.

    All adaptations are reinterpretations of source material.

    One of has the right to feel like an adaptation doesn’t capture what one feels was essential to the original. At the same time, on also has to accept that many people don’t consider the same factors (such as the whiteness of the characters) essential.

    What one considers essential to a work of fiction is largely personal. The attempts to justify skin color as essential to LOTR seems superficial to me. Those that don’t find skin color essential to the stories have as much right to that sentiment as someone wishing otherwise.

    I wonder if those that are bothered by the skin color of characters in the LOTR story, feel the same outrage and hostility about the representation of biblical characters in European art (including representations of Jesus and the apostles) as being European?

    For all we know (and it seems likely to me based on what we know about Tolkien’s antipathy towards apartheid), Tolkien would completely understand why the visual adaptations of his work would be strengthened and relatable to more people if the interpretation didn’t hew literally to middle earth as Europe+dragons and was sensitive to the inequalities and prejudices of the modern world.

    I find it unlikely that he would be outraged by characters being played by non-white actors. That is speculation on my part, but it would be surprising to me given what we know of the man.

  • @espiegel123 said:
    I find it unlikely that he would be outraged by characters being played by non-white actors. That is speculation on my part, but it would be surprising to me given what we know of the man.

    Other than speculation on the part of those who object to progressive attitudes in just about any media, there is no direct evidence of him displaying outright racist tendencies.

    What is considered racism now was acceptable in the works of some of the world’s most successful authors at one time. It wasn’t because they were inherently racist - it was because prevailing attitudes at the time they wrote was that the language they used was not offensive.

    I think many people today would benefit from spending some time dwelling on that.

  • I haven’t watched the show but I feel like there is plenty in the writing material that could be the focus of criticism rather than worrying about the race of the casting. It’s a very good possibility the jobs went to the actors who they thought did the best at each role during auditions.

  • The fight choreography with the ice troll or whatever that was, was a bit off. I would have thought most elven warriors would fight like Legolas - leaping and flipping about with superhuman athleticism. Instead the showrunners treated that party like a Dungeons and Dragons party, where only the 20th-level or whatever officer warrior has the Legolas-level skills and all the others are just 2nd-level red-shirt elf fighters who can do nothing but stand around helplessly as if they were untrained civilians.

    Similar thing with the imprisoned elves on the chain gang. Only one of them can fight like Legolas. And he's a guy, so there ya go! But the others might as well be regular humans instead of elves.

  • edited September 2022

    @Gavinski The points you raise I have some agreement with too. I'm also not upset about it, there's so much weak acting and scriptwriting and dubious CGI to complain about too. It's just the knee jerk racist accusations that annoy me.
    I think for me it depends on the show. I was a huge Tolkien fan, I even read the entire LOTR books to my son as bedtime stories. So things that break the character of it annoy me. I mostly loved Peter Jacksons movie, but hated what he did to the Hobbit. That's quite a good point about Othello etc.

    @espiegel123 Those are valid points too. LOTR - and the Silmarillion which I also read - are fiction, but I tend to think of them as Mythology, which they are not. I believe Tolkien felt the lack of an English mythology, like the Norse mythology which was a big inspiration. For people who have nerded out over this stuff for years, some annoyance is gonna happen. It may be racist, but largely wont be IMHO.
    The white Jesus thing is an interesting point too. Christianity aimed to be universalist, Christ as 'Son of God' wasn't any race, as a man he was Jewish. I know here in New Zealand there's a well known image of the Maori Jesus which (I think) is widely liked or at least accepted. But I grew up Catholic, so I saw the white Jesus up there every week from an early age, it's not going to be cognitive dissonance in that sense, despite knowing intellectually that he wasn't all pasty like me.

    @GovernorSilver Yeh that was when when I thought I wasn't going to enjoy the show much. although it started right at the beginning when the boy elf was a stereotypical bully to the intelligent, sensitive girl elf. I'll probably still watch the rest of it at some point, there's bound to be some good bits.

  • I was underwhelmed upon watching the first couple of episodes (involving much eye-rolling), but it was beautiful and I’m a massive fan of Tolkien. I really wanted to like it so…I watched the whole thing two more times and (guess what) it worked! I’m actually enjoying it now so either I’ve brainwashed myself, gotten over my initial expectations, or it’s getting better as it goes….

  • edited September 2022

    Yeah, that's kinda me as well. I don't love it like I love the books (far from it) but it's watchable enough to get into. And it is beautiful to look at even if the storytelling brings towering literary majesty down to trivial conversations with weirdly modern use of language every so often.

    And strange rope holding.

    (she lets go of it at one point and nothing happens. She's not actually holding anything together)

  • @qryss said:
    And strange rope holding.

    (she lets go of it at one point and nothing happens. She's not actually holding anything together)

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who scratched their head over that.

  • Honestly the bow rope is the only thing that has truly bothered me. Maybe she’s working out.

  • @qryss said:
    Yeah, that's kinda me as well. I don't love it like I love the books (far from it) but it's watchable enough to get into. And it is beautiful to look at even if the storytelling brings towering literary majesty down to trivial conversations with weirdly modern use of language every so often.

    And strange rope holding.

    (she lets go of it at one point and nothing happens. She's not actually holding anything together)

    A shame Amazon couldn’t pay Peter Jackson to at least consult on the series. I’m sure it would’ve benefitted from his participation.

  • Any person with a vague idea of how to make a raft might have helped this episode anyway. :smile:

  • @cyberheater said:
    So for the females to appear strong the rest of the men have to appear weak. Is this how this id meant to work?

    Yep

  • Some of the casting complaints are hard to take when you had things like John Wayne playing Ghengis Khan, Jake Gyllenhaal playing the prince of Persia, etc. I see some of the same comments about a Black girl being cast as the Little Mermaid and it's hard not to raise an eyebrow.

    I can get behind the concerns about anachronistic language (or whatever it is that talking in a kind of modern way in what is supposed to be a past time period is called). Especially with Tolkien as he was specially careful about his language in LOTR.

  • @qryss said:
    Any person with a vague idea of how to make a raft might have helped this episode anyway. :smile:

    :lol:

  • They really need to combine Naked & Afraid with Rings of Power to make things more realistic.

  • One of the things about adapting books that people read as kids, is that there is both a lot of nostalgia for how one remembered/envisaged them and forgetfulness about how much we brought to them.

    This might seem sacrilege but those of us of a certain age remember the books as being better than they are. They were super important to me .. I read the hobbit and LOTR something like every other year from the time I was 11 till my first or second year of university. (I started uni in 1979).

    My son (now 14) read them at an even earlier age, mostly on his own, but we did some reading aloud together.

    I had the emotional recall and images from when I read them , but I found the writing clunkier than I recalled.

    Fantasy writing has come a long way. While there is a lot of crap, there are many prose writers that have taken things to another level.

    This isn’t to take away from the books, but I think we often have attachments based on our personal relationship and imagination (the reader does a lot of the visualization) of the book rather than the book itself.

  • Definitely. Herman Hesse for example is a writer whose works I loved as a young adult / uni student, but when I revisited them in my thirties I felt they lacked sophistication on multiple levels. I haven't read LOTR since my teens - when I probably read it a few times and haven't revisited as an adult. I wonder what I would think of it now.

  • Does anyone else think the direction could be better.
    For example when you compare the grace and elegance of the Elves in LOTR vs ROP. In LOTR they did seem otherworldly and walking with grace. Legolas even walking on top of the snow. In ROP they seem more like normal humans with pointy ears. You can hear them russling as they walk in the woods. That wouldn't happen in Peter Jackson's LOTR. It's the kind of attention to detail which is missing.

  • Yup, I brought up the fight choreography, and others brought up the raft as other examples of attention to detail that seems to be missing.

    BTW, I was just reminded of an adaptation of Mahabharata with an international cast. Can't deny that I thought Arjuna looked like a Viking wearing ancient Indian costume.

  • I’m so on the fence about watching it cos I think I’d enjoy a lot of the scenery but the lack of attention to detail and what seems like kind of meh writing would get frustrating.

  • I'm hardly an extreme Tolkien fan - as far as launching attacks on cast members or other nutty behavior - but I am enough of a fan to watch each new episode that comes out, no matter what. Kind of like when I watched Spaceballs, Hardware Wars, etc. when I was more of a Star Wars fan.

  • The casting should be a nonissue because it’s such a stupid thing to be upset about. The storytelling and dialogue are what breaks immersion for me. When GoT ran out of source material from GRRM besides outlines once they got past the books, it was just very obvious in the dialogue that they couldn’t really write the rest of it that well and really took me out of the story.

  • edited September 2022

    @qryss said:

    >

    And strange rope holding.

    (she lets go of it at one point and nothing happens. She's not actually holding anything together)

    Controversial personal theory: What if she’s just holding onto a rope to stabilize herself rather than trying to hold anything together?

    To be honest, I didn’t even notice the rope bit until you guys brought it up but it still bothers me a lot less than Galadriel swimming across AN ENTIRE OCEAN. :lol:

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