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Despite Amazon’s media efforts to convince us that The Rings of Power has been a success, many analysts consider that it has not been such, and grant The House of the Dragon the victory in the streaming war.
The disconnection between professional critics and the general public is becoming increasingly evident. Beyond the numbers and opinions reported by the establishment media, we can get a more accurate idea of the success and quality of the productions thanks to pages like Rotten Tomatoes -where you can compare the score of both groups- and, above all, thanks to the proliferation of a multitude of podcasts and independent YouTube channels that do not need the advertising revenue of the big entertainment companies.
These fan communities are often accused of living in an echo chamber, even labeled as toxic or haters. What is not usually noticed is that these accusations are made precisely by the “pro-government” producers and media, who do live in an obvious ivory tower, completely disconnected from their audience. And they even brag about it.
The latest statements by the showrunners of The Rings of Power are the perfect example of this disconnection with the reality they suffer.
In an interview for Vulture, J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay, responsible for The Rings of Power, far from being self-critical and having the humility to listen to the arguments of the fans who love Tolkien and explain their discontent with the series, said that Season 2 has already been written and they will not take into account the opinions of the public.
J. D. Payne was quite ambiguous with his response, saying that “we´re certainly listening to the critics and to our audiences. You don’t want to give one voice too much weight, but figure out what people are responding to in the aggregate. I don’t know if I want to point to any specifics.”
Patrick McKay, however, developed his stance a bit further, letting it be known that they remain impervious to feedback received, at least when it comes to those who do not praise the series:
“It is not that we aren’t paying attention to the response the show is having; I don’t know how you could shut it out. But the second season has been written for some time now, and the storytelling grows and goes in different directions. That is informed by what we learned on season one on our own. There are things that seemed to really work and others that didn’t work as well as we might have hoped. The storytelling will be different next time, not because the of response to the show, but because of the experience of making the show for us.”
The contempt for the well-argued objections of true fans and connoisseurs of Tolkien’s work is only surpassed by the showrunners‘ obvious lack of humility. It is striking that two people with hardly any industry experience – they are only listed as uncredited writers on a mediocre Star Trek sequel – can afford the luxury of making for themselves the most expensive series in history, completely disregarding the opinions of one of the most devoted and informed fan communities about the work of Tolkien’s, the pinnacle of Western fantasy literature.
Payne and McKay’s apparent cognitive dissonance would be confirmed by what they declared to The Hollywood Reporter, where they dare to compare The Rings of Power to television and literature masterpieces.
In this interview they compare the character of Halbrand -who does not appear in Tolkien’s work and who has been invented by them for this adaptation- with the Satan of Paradise Lost by John Milton, considered one of the greatest literary works ever written, and which made its author one of the best poets in history.
Despite the criticism received for having pulled a questionable love affair between this character and Galadriel out of their sleeves, the showrunners compare their drama to that of none other than William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
As if these presumptuous literary comparisons were not enough to indicate the fantasy in which they live, their promises for the second season of The Rings of Power border on delirium.
According to them, in the second season, the character of Halbrand – who to no one’s surprise was revealed to be Sauron – will be “like Tony Soprano or Walter White.”
While the first season of The Rings of Power has been the laughingstock of many Tolkien experts who criticize the construction of their characters for following all the clichés of the woke manual, the creators allow themselves to be compared to the most acclaimed and best-built characters of two of the most lauded and applauded series in the history of television, such as The Sopranos and Breaking Bad.
In case there was any doubt that their narcissism borders on the pathological, they end the interview by saying that “the first season is like Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight is the next movie, with Sauron maneuvering out in the open.” Again, they compare their very weak production to iconic and almost foundational films of their genre.
The Rings of Power and the woke delusion
“The hearts of men are easily corrupted.” This phrase from Galadriel in the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring comes as a ring to the finger for what is happening with The Rings of Power. Faced with legitimate criticism, those responsible for The Rings of Power have decided to entrench themselves in their watchtower of woke moral superiority.
It is not surprising that their woke ideology is not only reflected in the series in a blatant manner, but also in their reactions to criticism, since one of the characteristics of this way of thinking is to believe themselves to be perpetual victims and, simultaneously, to attack relentlessly anyone who dares to question them.
On second thought, what The Rings of Power does resemble Breaking Bad or The Sopranos is in the quasi-Mafia-like techniques that Amazon is using to silence its detractors.
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm