If some of the devils talk about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power sounds familiar, that’s because we’ve heard it before. In recent years, more campaigns have brought back popular franchises, especially when the projects are inclusive. However, the digital trolls seem to have stepped up their attacks in the weeks leading up to the release of Power Rings this week. What’s good? Outside of that small group of fans, the effort doesn’t seem much to lower the high hopes for the series.
You might be tempted to think of these fights on social media as a fight between loyal fans who want to keep the integrity of what they love and a multinational corporation that wants to make money off that loyalty but doesn’t know much about the work inspired it.
Some of that is true. Everyone agrees that the Power Rings series is the most expensive one ever. Amazon wouldn’t have put down an estimated $1 billion (that’s not a joke) for a five-season order if they didn’t think it would be worth it.
Jeff Bezos, who used to be the CEO of Amazon, wanted it to have its own Game of Thrones. As if a big fantasy series was just like any other. Let’s not act like the main point of this production isn’t to bring in more money. It would not be genius to think otherwise.
Quite A Task For The Showrunners
It’s also true that Amazon Studios has made things hard for the people who make the show. They were accused of trying to make a Lord of the Rings series that would appeal to the most people without turning off the most dedicated fans. Also, the show had to be at least somewhat true to Tolkien, who was famously against changing his writings while he was alive. This was true even though the show only had limited rights to his works and a short amount of Time to tell the stories that happened. and play for a very long time. That’s a tall order for anyone, but showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay thought of putting stories from the Second Age of Middle-earth in the appendices at the end of The Return of the King.
Even though Payne and McKay have said in interviews that they are fans of Tolkien, some fans were skeptical from the start. With each new piece of news about the new show, the gap between those looking forward to it and those who have already decided it will be a disaster grows. Criticism was all over the place and had different levels of truth. Fans of Tolkien’s books who know a lot about them have seen a lot of changes in Middle-characters’ earth and history.
What they’re arguing about is the question of Theseus’ ship: how many parts of Tolkien’s text can you mix up and still say it’s from Tolkien? The discussion is even more complicated because the author died almost 50 years ago. How can anyone know what he would have thought or wanted now? These are valid, reasonable arguments, and there’s nothing wrong with having them. But there are also critics whose reasons are not as clear.
Some Not-So-Veiled Hate Speech
Unsurprisingly, some people have used their criticism to hide their racist and sexist attitudes. Since February, when Vanity Fair published the first images from Power Rings, which were a series of richly shot and detailed character portraits and posters, there has been a steady stream of complaints about the use of black actors and the portrayal of the elf Lady Galadriel as a warrior in armor.
Lady Galadriel is one of the few characters from the books Peter Jackson used in his movies. Even though these critics may not think racist or sexist, their opinions show they are. They say, “I’m all for diversity in the media, but black dwarves and dark elves don’t belong in Middle-earth.” Or, “Why do they let Galadriel act like a man when she should be the epitome of feminine energy?”
What’s most telling is that people in this group often see any criticism of the more obvious biassed fans as a personal attack on them. When Morfydd Clark, who plays Galadriel in the new series, sent a message on Instagram supporting her “black cast mates,” she was criticized by many people. Then, producer Lindsey Weber told Time that she and the rest of the creative staff were open to criticism, but “We’re not up for racism.” This was seen as an attempt to silence people who didn’t like the show by making false accusations. Yet these statements were not made in a vacuum. Scrolling through the comments on these critical posts or videos is all it takes to see how toxic a particular part of the fanbase is.
Reasons For Inflammation And Hidden Agendas
Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the “outrage brokers.” These people use emotional manipulation to boost their channels or push their agendas, like making alt-right ideas mainstream or using anger to gain power.
They get a lot of attention already, so the less you talk about them, the better. Some people from this group and the last group are in this one, but it’s easy to spot the real peddlers. Look for things written in ALL CAPS and words like “wake,” “SJW,” and “normies” that are used in the wrong way. That’s a good sign that the rant you’re watching has nothing to do with what it seems to be about under the Ring’s spell. The people who make content for this space not only want the show to fail, they need it to forget. One YouTuber said with glee, “It’s going to be a train wreck.” “I can’t wait,” she said.
With each new project they try to sink, there are signs that this plan to bring it down is losing its power. Even though Netflix’s version of “The Sandman” was criticized for putting black actors in the roles of white characters from the comics, the show quickly rose to the top of the streaming service’s “Top 10” list. As of this writing, it is the fourth best. Campaigns to make fun of Marvel movies like Captain Marvel, Shang-Chi, and the Legend of the Ten Rings have also failed.
Ironically, the same algorithm that helped these critics do well in the first place is now holding them back. In this ecosystem, being original isn’t rewarded, so all social media accounts that work the same way start to merge after a while. And trolls have less effect when everyone’s channel looks and sounds the same.
How Does This Affect Power Rings?
There is no evidence that this negative campaign has made fans less excited about Power rings. Stephen Colbert, a big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, led this year’s San Diego Comic-Con panel. Hall H was packed with people who wanted to hear what the cast and creators of the show had to say. And if last week’s record-breaking ratings for House of the Dragon indicate, people still love fantasy stories on TV.
Already, reactions to previews of the first two episodes of Rings of Power are coming in, and most of them are positive. Journalists have called it “spectacular,” “a total joy,” and “big, daring, and beautiful to look at.” Early buzz like this usually means good reviews, at least early on, when people tend to watch to see what all the fuss is about.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens when the show premieres for the rest of the world on September 1 and when more episodes air, but it looks like Amazon’s big gamble will pay off, despite the best efforts of the usual poisonous suspects.
Stay tuned for more updates, Venturejolt.