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Old 11-01-2022, 08:49 AM   #1
Victariongreyjoy
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Expectations VS Reality with Rings Of Power

When I heard Amazon had acquired the rights to make a new Lord of the Rings show, I was overwhelmed with joy and excitment. When the first picture of the second age map, the excitment bar reached to a higher level. I always envisioned in my head the show tone and design would be similar to PJ Lotr movies.

When the show aired, I was completely immersed without thinking of any of my expectations, because I was happy to return to the show. Now that it has ended, thoughts of how I envisioned the show came back. ROP still has taken strong cues from Lotr trilogy. Mordor looks basicially the same as from the movies. Same things with the orcs, balrogs, landscapes, elvish structures, weapons, somewhat the armor etc. But I wished it could have been much more?

Like I envisioned the elves would still retain long hair, so I was a bit taken aback when suddenly we see them as high-fantasy versions of Vulcans. Galadriel and Celebrimbor are characters I was surprised they took a completely u-turn with. Sauron disguising himself as a low-man and not a angelical being Annatar.

I don't want to talk about so much the criticism surrounding the show, but I do think if some of the stuff I mentioned about the elves, Galadriel and Celebrimbor were closer to PJ films, like Galadriel being the wise and ethereal, Celebrimbor was much younger looking(Charles Edward did a good job though)and elves had long hair, the negativety against the show would be much lesser.

Overall, I really enjoyed the show and just happy we get to return to the world of ME.
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Old 12-16-2022, 09:07 AM   #2
William Cloud Hicklin
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The estimable Bret Devereaux weighs in on why ROP's rendition of Middle-earth feels - and falls - flat. Excerpt:

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Speculative fiction – be it fantasy or science fiction – is a genre where a great deal of the weight is carried by the fictional world being constructed.

We want the fictional world to feel real or at least like it could be a real world, with internally consistent rules and clear lines of effect and consequence. In part that is because the deep, rich real-ishness, as it were, contributes to the sensation (be it joy or horror, depending on the work’s tone) of exploring and discovering a new fictional world and in part it is because a world that feels real and bounded by rules, the way our world is bounded by rules,2 makes the stakes of the story itself more engaging. The plausible link between causes and consequences, bound by those rules, is what encourages us to invest in characters and to care about their decisions and internal struggles.

One may easily contrast a story set in a world unbounded by rules of logical consequences, like a dream. Anything can happen in a dream, unrelated to what came before or after. Dreams can break their own rules and they can exist in unreal or surreal spaces. And they also, famously, make for extremely boring stories. Nothing is quite so tedious as having someone narrate a dream to you, because nothing in the dream actually matters for anything that comes before or after. Of course nothing in a fictional story necessarily matters in the real world, but nothing in a dream actually matters even in the dream world. Thus the consistency of the rules and the setting are essential for allowing the audience to engage their emotions with the characters and story because they make the events in the story matter by making them feel less arbitrary.
https://acoup.blog/2022/12/16/collec...th-feels-flat/
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Old 12-16-2022, 01:54 PM   #3
Mithadan
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We tend to seek consistency between RoP and Tolkien's writings. As I commented in other threads, such consistency may be difficult considering what rights Amazon has and does not have. This is not to say that I find RoP to be consistently in line with "canon." I do not and find many of the deviations to be jarring and distracting.

Perhaps a question that is fairer under the circumstances is whether RoP is, itself, sufficiently consistent internally to allow "the audience to engage their emotions with the characters and story."
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Old 12-16-2022, 04:18 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mithadan View Post
We tend to seek consistency between RoP and Tolkien's writings. As I commented in other threads, such consistency may be difficult considering what rights Amazon has and does not have. This is not to say that I find RoP to be consistently in line with "canon." I do not and find many of the deviations to be jarring and distracting.

Perhaps a question that is fairer under the circumstances is whether RoP is, itself, sufficiently consistent internally to allow "the audience to engage their emotions with the characters and story."
I think that the article in question does not imply consistency with Tolkien's writings, but exactly what you are referring to - an internal consistency. And not even consistency of the story, per se, but of the natural laws of the world. Is it believable. Does it feel real. That doesn't even scrape the surface of storyline consistency and character consistency. And I think to some of the sillier (IMHO) scenes with ridiculous fight scenes, or the eruption of Orodruin, I would argue that No, the laws of physics don't really feel real. Then you have all the questions about numbers, geography, and proportions. How big is a Numenorian ship? How far away is Mount Doom from the coast? How big is the kingdom of the Southlands? And the realism of RoP breaks on those questions, again you have to forcibly suspend disbelief, because the answers don't make internal sense. So - several examples of internal lack of consistency or realism, and I did not even get to character inconsistencies, and it all relies purely on show material without referencing any additional Tolkien lore. So I would say the article statement is valid in the general sense and applicable to RoP - now, whether or not you believe RoP demonstrates sufficient consistency and realism is another question, but the criticism is applicable and I can think of several points to back it up. There will be people saying that this is fantasy, it's not supposed to be realistic - but the key here is in recognizing what basic rules of physics are you altering and what are the new rules. If you are traveling by horse, you can only travel as fast as the horse goes. If you are going faster, you need an explanation for why. Unless you are traveling by warp drive or wormhole or teleportation device, you shouldn't be able to traverse distances faster than your horse can run. In a way this goes back to some of the comments people made on the Fanfic thread, and it can be applied to fantasy/sci-fi as a "fanfic of the real world" - you can change ANYTHING, but you need to know exactly what you are changing and change ONLY that, leave the rest of the world as it was.
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Old 12-17-2022, 09:25 AM   #5
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There will be people saying that this is fantasy, it's not supposed to be realistic
But Tolkien himself would not be among them. His theory and practice of fantasy was founded on establishing the "inner consistency of reality" in the subcreated world- or as he once put it, "Days are days, miles are miles and weather is weather."

If you throw that out, you get Alice in Wonderland... or William Burroughs.
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Old 12-18-2022, 11:51 AM   #6
William Cloud Hicklin
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
If you are traveling by horse, you can only travel as fast as the horse goes. If you are going faster, you need an explanation for why. Unless you are traveling by warp drive or wormhole or teleportation device, you shouldn't be able to traverse distances faster than your horse can run.
And in fact, Tolkien was willing to blow up multiple timelines and rewrite several chapters leading up to the Pelennor, just because he realized that (offstage!) Aragorn and the Grey Company were moving "faster than a horse can run." He was really, really serious about this stuff.
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Old 12-22-2022, 06:34 AM   #7
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Having witnessed the way the BBC, Netflix, and Hollywood retell old stories to and... hm... "update" them for "modern" audiences, I was already pessimistic about Amazon's Ring's series.

The first preview confirmed my fears and added even more.

The clips of action scenes (i.e. Galadriel vs the troll, Galadriel vs prison guards) imprisoned me somewhere between hysterical laughter and a feeling of despair that this... this... was going to be entertainment until I'm dead; "If you want a picture of the future, imagine the worst of wire-fu and waifu stamping on a human face - forever," to rephrase Orwell.

This Quora reply sums up my feelings on the series to the point that I don't have to rephrase anything:
https://tolkienlegendarium.quora.com...et_type=answer
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Old 01-20-2023, 04:24 PM   #8
William Cloud Hicklin
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I hadn't seen this screenshot before, but when I did, I had to post it, just to reinforce the question, How could the most expensive entertainment production in history put out costumes both so ill-designed and so cheap-looking?



This is worse than most sword-n-sorcery B-movies. And not on an extra, but a major character (both for the series and the legendarium).

Shall we count the sins? That cuirass has no moulding at all in the y-axis, save where it curves over the shoulders. There isn't a hint of globular, peasecod, taper, whatever- it's basically a cylinder, making it a very, very poor defense, not really designed to deflect at all, and certainly not remotely up to historical standards; it's practically flat over his chest. And, while it correctly ends at the waist, not the hips- there is then no additional defense for the lower abdomen! What? Orcs don't go for the low thrust? Add to that arm cutouts which are too restricting, there is no way he could reach significantly across his body; and the complete absence of arm or shoulder defenses (don't tell me he just took them off for everyday wear- in that case he wouldn't be toting 20 pounds of bronze on his back). Dear Lord, didn't anyone on this project know anything about armor, or even do the most basic photographic research???? Oh, and then it is SO OBVIOUSLY plastic. Cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap.

Aule help them!

PS, here's a legit cuirass

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Last edited by William Cloud Hicklin; 01-20-2023 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 01-27-2023, 01:53 PM   #9
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William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Prof. Devereaux weighs in again, to devastating effect:

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And this bit made me actively angry with the show... The show did not ‘subvert expectations’ here, it did not ‘surprise’ you, it just lied to you. It showed you one thing and then told you later that another, entirely different thing happened just moments later. I cannot communicate how damaging this is for viewer investment because now nothing we see matters because at any moment the showrunners might just decide that the thing they just showed us didn’t actually happen and some other thing did. Infuriatingly bad.
As he points out in his preface, a movie battle does not have to be historically accurate, but it does have to be plausible. "because for the audience to care about the outcome of the battle, that outcome needs to feel like a product of the decisions characters made leading to it. The moment the audience feels like the battle’s decision depends entirely on the whim of the storyteller, disconnected from anyone’s actions, those actions stop mattering and the audience loses investment in the battle."

Read it all for a blow by blow fisking of the moronicity of Episode 6: https://acoup.blog/2023/01/27/collec...alling-towers/ The Rings of Power isn't simply bad Tolkien, it's bad television, period. It practically defines "hack work."
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Old 01-28-2023, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
Shall we count the sins? That cuirass has no moulding at all in the y-axis, save where it curves over the shoulders. There isn't a hint of globular, peasecod, taper, whatever- it's basically a cylinder, making it a very, very poor defense, not really designed to deflect at all, and certainly not remotely up to historical standards; it's practically flat over his chest. And, while it correctly ends at the waist, not the hips- there is then no additional defense for the lower abdomen! What? Orcs don't go for the low thrust? Add to that arm cutouts which are too restricting, there is no way he could reach significantly across his body; and the complete absence of arm or shoulder defenses (don't tell me he just took them off for everyday wear- in that case he wouldn't be toting 20 pounds of bronze on his back). Dear Lord, didn't anyone on this project know anything about armor, or even do the most basic photographic research???? Oh, and then it is SO OBVIOUSLY plastic. Cheap cheap cheap cheap cheap.
The patrician and inifinitely snooty high-society Noldor created plastic due to their reluctance to mine metals like the degraded plebian Dwarves. Plastic molded readily to their immortal pecs and gave the illusion of strength and alchemical acuity (what Galadriel might refer to as "magic" to the ignorant Hobbits).

Unfortunately, while the plastic was quite haute couture early on for the decadent Elves, and de rigeur for feasts and parading about in prancing Noldorin fashion, it did not (as you can readily guess) suit them well in battle. Eventually, they had to acquiesce and deal with the grungey Dwarves to provide their metallic accoutrements.
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