It has been only days since the first episodes of 'The Rings of Power' aired, and reception to Amazon's most expensive show is already increasingly pessimistic.
'The Rings of Power' is an original story based on the much-loved works by J.R.R Tolkien. For this reason, devoted fans of Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings' works are highly critical of some of the show's decisions regarding the representation of Middle Earth.
A large recipient of the series' negative feedback is focused on the leading character Galadriel; played by Welsh actress Morfydd Clark.
"Am I really the only person who is unimpressed with Galadriel? I'm painfully aware that she's acting while watching her. And her eyes, while very active, rarely match the scene. But pretty blonde girl with sword make money machine go brrr I guess." – @_future_me_
The new series has re-imagined Galadriel, a recurring character who is featured prominently in the original novels, as a younger version of herself. Unlike the character's serene personality from previous depictions, Galadriel has become a steadfast warrior, committed to defeating Sauron at any cost.
For the diehard fans of Middle-Earth, this is too much of a drastic change from the original source material. Altering key elements of the original Galadriel's personality and upsetting the foundation of a story that ultimately builds to the much-loved franchise.
Galadriel may be the lead role so far, but other surprising characters have also appeared as the series focus. Elanor (Nori) Brandyfoot for instance is a Harfoot played by Markella Kavenagh. Also the village healer Bronwyn, played by Nazanin Boniadi, is another original character created specifically for the show. Some fans have questioned why such attention is given to female characters over others, and if it is an attempt by showrunners to actively display gender equality over keeping faithful to the source material written by Tolkien.
"Finished 1st episode in 'Rings of Power'. All male characters r cowards and only 1 female is brave: Galadriel. Did Tolkien write like this? Or is this Wokeism?" – @abyz112233
To make matters worse, Morfydd Clark's acting in the role has also come under some scrutiny. Morfydd, among other members of the cast, has been criticized for presenting bland performances. Unfavorable reviews have painted the show as slow-paced and difficult to appreciate with 'unlikeable characters' and 'poor dialogue. General disapproving reviews ask "how can the audience appreciate the show without a strong lead?"
Amazon has now received so many negative reviews of the show, they have removed reviews for the series altogether from Prime and Amazon indefinitely. IMDB has done something similar, erasing all reviews which have less than a 5-star rating. Considering IMDB is a subsidiary of Amazon, this is hardly surprising. Rotten Tomatoes displays 'The Rings of Power: Season 1' with an audience rating so far of only 39%; much lower than the 61% it started with.
Of course, like with every fandom, 'The Rings of Power' has not been perceived badly by everyone. Many still praise the show's visuals and design, admitting Amazon has certainly captured the look and feel of Middle-Earth, which lives up to the setting Peter Jackson so perfectly captured on screen in his movie trilogy, not to mention the show is only a mere couple of episodes into its run.
There is still a long journey to go for the series to potentially find its footing. Nevertheless, it seems it will be more than orcs Amazon will have to battle to win the approval of all its fans.