One Simple Trick Made Jackson's LotR Elves Superior to RoP's Mainstream Ones

Image credit: Prime Video, Legion-Media

Amazon's Rings of Power may feature more of the elves of Middle-Earth than we have seen on screen before, but Peter Jackson's version of the immortals still takes the cake (or at the least the lembas bread).

Jackson used several unique and skilful film techniques when making his beloved movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Including one in particular, which perfected how he interpreted one of Tolkien's most significant races.

Unfortunately, it is a method that RoP has yet to master for their show.

How Jackson portrayed elves in LotR

In his books, Tolkien describes elves as the most beautiful and fairest of people. Something that was not simple for Peter Jackson to achieve when his goal was to easily distinguish between various races. He turned to lighting and color schemes to help portray certain characters and their related characteristics.

The end result included very bright cold tones often used throughout his movies when depicting elves. It is easy to notice when observing the likes of Galadriel, Arwen and Elrond in different scenes.

The effect achieves an almost light glow from each character, indicating their relative strength and purity of spirit. This also does well in following the books. Tolkien described in one section of his novels that when Gildor and the woodland elves meet the hobbits, they appear to "shimmer" in the moonlight.

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Additionally, elves are not the only characters Jackson used lighting to portray a certain way. The Ringwraiths/Nazgûl are always depicted with a darker or gray tone. Suggesting their opposite nature to the other races; powerful but consumed by evil and bad will.

Jackson's technique of manipulating the color and hue of the film itself proved effective. The method helps deliver a profound impression of how the audience should interpret each character differently. Allowing the elves to appear on screen just as Tolkien described them.

How RoP does it differently

Unfortunately, it seems 'The Rings of Power' did not quite follow suit when constructing their series and interpretation of the races of Middle-Earth.

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Although the series certainly plays with techniques of tone and color, instead of lighter, colder tones, the show opted for brighter and warmer hues when depicting any of the elvish characters.

A few elvish locations are included throughout the show, including the land of Valinor and the region of Lindon. Both appear in a gleaming, almost heavenly glow.

These golden palettes may represent elves' angelic-like nature, yet Tolkien's elves were written as closely associated with the silver of starlight. To depict them consistently embellished in gold seems to miss a vital aspect of their complex nature and lore.

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The RoP still does a fantastic job depicting Middle-Earth, including its characters. For example, the show displays some stunning scenery of Númenor, along with the halls and people of Khazad-dûm. Therefore, its depiction of Tolkien's race of elves cannot be too heavily criticised.

However, it's hard not to compare them to their counterparts in Jackson's films. The movies included much detail and care in how they chose to portray every aspect of the books. Although RoP has clearly put much thought into their own interpretation, it can also be said the show has yet to reach the same level of intricacy as Jackson's films managed to do so well.

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