A show as big as 'The Rings of Power', based on such a beloved franchise, was always going to receive some harsh criticism from unforgiving fans.
However, Amazon may have gotten even more negative feedback than expected after the series aired, and become the most expensive television series ever made. The $715 million show has faced much backlash on its interpretation of the Tolkien universe. Including how it has adapted Tolkien's work to make an original story of its own. But what is it about the series that fans dislike so much? We've listed the top five reasons according to Reddit, that viewers are revealing is bad about the show.
The show goes against the lore
One of the main gripes which comes especially from fans of Tolkien's original works is the lack of consistency and continuity with the original lore and novels. This is mainly due to Amazon only purchasing the rights for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Meaning anything they include in the show cannot reference Tolkien's other works which went into much greater detail about the histories and lore of Middle-Earth. To avoid any legal dispute the series has had to adapt established details set by Tolkien himself; much to the dismay of lovers of his original works. Considering that the series was mostly created for Tolkien fans, it is unfortunate that the producer's creative decisions have ended up alienating a dedicated fanbase from becoming committed viewers instead.
Because the show is set a long time before the events of the Third Age, and including the events of the novels, The Rings of Power includes the ancestors of the Hobbits of the Shire, known as the Harfoots. The inclusion of the Harfoots within the series was likely done to replicate some familiarity of Hobbits within the story. However, it seems the characters have instead had an opposite reaction from viewers, who dislike the representation of the halfling wanders for multiple reasons.
The aversion to the Harfoots originates from their new appearance. Seeming quite different from a Hobbit's appearance in the films, these characters look much more rural and considerably less kept. With bushy hair, soiled-looking clothing, and Irish accents, these are far from the Hobbits we have met before. Some Reddit commenters have taken offence to their more rugged appearance. Finding the use of faux Irish accents potentially offensive. Others have questioned why the Harfoots are included at all. A race that was considered by Tolkien to have achieved little of consequence in respect to the greater world, before the events of his books. And yet they clearly have an important role within the storyline of this original series. It is almost as if they have been shoehorned into the plot for no other reason.
The dialogue is poor
One of the first criticisms of the show focused not on the differences between the books or the series, but on the original dialogue that had been written for its characters. Many flooded to Reddit to comment on the unimaginative conversations between its characters which ultimately offered a major letdown for the show. One major example was from the series' first episode, in a conversation between Finrod and a young Galadriel. In a moment of distress, Finrod attempts to cheer up his sister by asking her the difference between a rock and a ship. He ends the adage by revealing the answer is 'a rock looks downwards'.
Naturally, Reddit users slated this supposedly touching exchange. Pointing out that not only did the comparison not make any sense, but it felt much like an attempt to replicate the deep and meaningful tone of Tolkien, yet ultimately failed to achieve it. Viewers have argued that this plagues the show's delivery, ultimately making it unwatchable throughout. And considering that the start of this initial episode was meant to capture the imagination of its audience, it may have done quite the opposite.
Something that goes hand-in-hand with the dialogue is of course its delivery. Viewers have noted that the show, although has some rather good performances from much of the cast, falls flat for some of its characters. This has been especially targeted at Galadriel, portrayed by Morfydd Clark. Reddit users have mentioned they consider her delivery bland and wooden. Unable to portray the complicated range of emotions necessary for the part, and instead seems to provide 'random inconsistent face twitching' throughout. Of course, not everyone seems to think of her acting as poor. Some have instead praised the actress, finding her portrayal of Galadriel as interesting and true to the character. When it comes to assessing an actor's abilities, it seems to depend very much on personal preference.
Last but not at all least, some viewers of the series have expressed maybe the most damning of all criticisms, they simply find it boring. Reddit users have posted among many threads asking others to confirm their own judgements about the series, finding the plot uninspiring, the pace slow, and the whole thing generally just bland. One user in particular even came up with an explanation for the show's lacklustre performance. Suggesting its continuing focus on the mystery behind several of the main characters and the show's plot leaves little to feel enjoyable or relatable.
Nevertheless, maybe it is all of these reasons combined which have given The Rings of Power such a negative response. It is clear that for a show based on such a familiar franchise, the fans hold it to higher and higher expectations. Maybe expectations are so high that even Amazon's millions of dollars can not reach them.