This post was republished on 9/5.
Amazon is not amused about the fanboy wars that have surrounded its billion dollar Lord of the Rings series, Rings of Power. Unlike its rival House of the Dragon, Rings of Power has become the latest front in the review bombing wars, the most recent since uh, She-Hulk. This happens a lot, okay?
The Rings of Power is getting slammed essentially everywhere that accepts fan reviews:
On Rotten Tomatoes, while its critics score is 84%, it has a 36% audience score.
On IMDB (which Amazon owns) it has a 6.2/10 with 25% of reviews being 1 star.
On Amazon itself, it has…nothing, because Amazon has disabled reviews of the series entirely. Normally when you watch an Amazon show or movie, whether it’s an original or not, it will have user star ratings there. But Rings of Power has zero reviews listed because Amazon didn’t want to be broadcasting its premiere with a low score right next to it, no doubt.
Why are fans mad this time? Take your pick of reasons. It’s a combination of racism, misogyny, and supposed unfaithfulness to Tolkien’s original work. Sometimes all three of these reasons are the same.
Among the reasons for the negative reviews:
- Some fans are upset Galadriel is now a warrior instead of the sword-free sorceress she was in the LOTR trilogy. In general, the show has let its female characters slay out, including both Bronwyn and Galadriel.
- There have been long, long running controversies about how the show has included black elves, dwarves and humans in this adaptation, as opposed to the overwhelmingly white original trilogy. Complaints are that this clashes with Tolkien’s original work and has led to debates about “whether dwarves can be black because they live underground.”
- I read that the Harfoots having Irish/English country accents have offended some people in that region because they’re depicted as dirty, gypsy types.
- Then just…take your pick of any number of things that die-hard Tolkien devotees see as the show departing from the source material, or skipping over parts that should have been adapted instead. The general idea is that Jackson’s trilogy was faithful to the work while this is not.
Again, I’m not saying any of this is correct, or even the majority opinion of fans, but all of it feeds into the reasons for the flood of low scores for the series. This does seem to be at a level that House of Dragon managed to avoid, even as it faced similar controversies (cast members faced racist abuse for playing black nobles on that show). But we haven’t seen the same level of backlash compared to what’s happening with Rings of Power.