After the end of The Rings of Power: Bezos, fire the talentless writers!

There’s an image from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series that perfectly illustrates the connection between the Amazon Studios show and the work of fantasy writer J. RR Tolkien.

The image is of a leaf painted in beautiful autumn colors, on which a nasty black slime has slid.

Likewise, the beauty of Tolkien’s work is marred by the ineptitude of Patrick McKay and JD Payne, the main writers and showrunners of The Rings of Power.

The two incompetents, who somehow got from Amazon Studios the opportunity to work with the largest budget in the history of television series – 465 million dollars, clearly demonstrated why, as they themselves admit, they spent 10 years writing scripts for the big screen that never came to fruition. made into movies.

After the end of the first season of The Rings of Power, my sincere recommendation to anyone who has yet to watch it and is hesitant is to not do it.

Instead, read one of Tolkien’s books (and know that his style is not to everyone’s taste) or just re-watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. That way you’ll make a much more enjoyable use of your time and capture the true magic of the British writer (more so with the books, of course).

The eight episodes of The Rings of Power will try with their beautiful vision and beautiful music to fool you that you are watching something by Tolkien, while in fact minute after painful minute you will be tormented in places by the dull to sleep ineptitude of the screenwriters McKay and Payne.

The series they wrote cannot be called an adaptation, but more like fan fiction. At the same time, realized with a budget that continues to bring to the fore the question: “What if they had given this money to a full-time filmmaker?”.

Before we dive into this look at their inability not just to bring Tolkien to the screen, but to even write a passable screenplay, be forewarned – they follow SPOILERS for the entire first season of The Rings of Power.

Not knowing how to tell a story

Photo: Amazon Studios

The Stranger demonstrates how he probably watches a writer on The Rings of Power as he struggles to come up with a decent script.

Even if a person isn’t a fan of Tolkien’s books, but has just watched a few good series in their lifetime, they can pick up on the weaknesses in how The Rings of Power is constructed.

McKay and Payne’s script relies too heavily on the so-called mystery boxes – this is an element, be it a person, an object or an idea, about which not much is known at first, and the viewer’s interest is captured precisely by the promise that the mystery will be revealed.

We have too many similar stories here – who is the Stranger (the one who fell from the sky), who is Halbrand really, who and what is Adar, what is the mystery behind the keyblade that Theo finds, how will the elves be “saved”. .

What’s worse is that the story is subservient to the mysteries, not the other way around, ie. after one viewing of the series and unraveling the mysteries, the viewer no longer has a reason to repeat it someday.

This contradicts the expressed desire of the two main screenwriters to create a classic that will be “watched even after 60 years”. Pranksters.

Don't laugh! We laugh on your behalf too

Compare their approach to Tolkien’s books or even Jackson’s films, where the story is the driving force, not the mystery. The characters have a clear task and it’s interesting to follow them on their way to accomplishing it, read/watch how they deal with the challenges they encounter along the way, and how they communicate with each other.

The communication between the characters in The Rings of Power is sometimes soporific, despite efforts to make the dialogue more poetic, while regularly sneaking in a verbatim line from another story in the Tolkien books/Jackson films to sound familiar to the viewer. Yes, seriously, not only Tolkien references were used, but also lines and ideas invented by the Jackson team.

Beyond that comes McKay and Payne’s inability to build a series well.

They flood the viewer with several storylines – of Galadriel, of Elendil and Isildur, of Elrond and the Dwarves, of Norri and the Stranger, of Adar and the Orcs, of Arondir and Bronwyn, of Theo and the Blade… (so many, huh?) . Instead of skilfully interweaving them scene by scene, we now see an entire episode about what is happening in Númenor, and now almost an entire episode focusing mainly on the stories of Elrond and Norri.

On top of that, the sense of time and space is missing. Galadriel swam an ocean. Absurd. The Numenoreans loaded into THREE ships, from which a chamber of people disembarked, with horses and provisions for a considerable camp. Absurd. In no time at all, the Númenóreans passed from their island to Middle-earth, and at the exact second they found themselves where Adar was threatening Arondir and company. Absurd.

The impeccable timing of the Númenóreans (who in one place in Tolkien's work are said not to use cavalry, but come on...). All this (and more) came together in three ships. Photo: Amazon Studios

The impeccable timing of the Númenóreans (who in one place in Tolkien’s work are said not to use cavalry, but come on…). All this (and more) came together in three ships.

Jackson’s “The Lord of…” that even his much weaker adaptation of “The Hobbit” at least tried to create an idea of ​​the vast distances through which the characters traverse. Here the characters seem to master teleportation.

There are also illogical moments in the editing (it is especially evident in the last episode during the “battle” between the Stranger, the halflings and the fictional priestesses from Rune), and also in the behavior of some of the characters.

And so and so we set out to dig too deep, to reach the balrog in the depths…

It’s not an adaptation, it’s a gag with the history of Middle Earth

You may have already heard/read that McKay and Payne condense into one human lifetime a vast period of the history of the Second Age as described (albeit not in detail) by Tolkien.

Just for example: according to the books, the forging of the Rings of Power by Celebrimbor took place around 1500 of the Second Age. The first military aid from Númenor to Middle-earth – and not to some small human village, but to the Elves in their war against Sauron – came 200 (two hundred!) years later. Isildur, Elendil’s son, was not part of this help – he was born 1500 years after that.

You understand what a mess the writers of The Rings of Power have created, trying to tell as many events as possible at once and to drain the film rights that Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has reached so deeply for.

The gags don’t end here.

Galadriel – the impulsive heroine of the actress Morfid Clarke – has less and less in common with the literary prototype. Despite being one of the oldest elves in Middle-earth, she acts like a teenager reeling from hormones and youthful angst who can be easily fooled. Instead of showing restraint and wisdom, others often open her eyes to trifles.

Let’s not miss the sickening hint that there might be something between her and Halbrand, who was revealed to be Sauron, and that she would even pay attention to a human male. In general, the differences between elves and humans, so important to the history of this world, are here disconcertingly blurred or superficially examined – through the relationship of Arondir and Bronwyn or the wandering from one pole to the other attitude of the Númenóreans.

You may disagree, but it was as if the fictional (dark-skinned) elf Arondir was among the more acceptable things in this fanfiction series.Photo: Amazon Prime

You may disagree, but it was as if the fictional (dark-skinned) elf Arondir was among the more acceptable things in this fanfiction series.

Let’s get to the Stranger. Instead of at least trying to come up with something more original, McKay and Payne have taken the most predictable and straightforward approach possible, serving us a fictionalized version of Gandalf (as a last resort: Saruman).

For the uninitiated – Gandalf was sent from Valinor (let’s tentatively call it the island of the gods) to Middle Earth, but didn’t fall from a comet in the Second Age to act like Tarzan. He arrives by ship in the Third Age, when the events of The Rings of Power have long passed.

But not to take advantage of viewers’ memories of Jackson’s films, the show’s writers have decided to desecrate this character as well.

We could go on like this, but the truest creative impotence is seen in the storyline with the decaying elves who need mithril to survive.

What are they going to do with that mithril, huh? Will they take it in pills? Will they beat him intravenously? Will they put it where the sun don’t shine?

Elves discuss their addiction to mithril.Photo: Amazon Prime Video

Elves discuss their addiction to mithril.

It’s from there that Payne and McKay seem to have come up with this insane line, which suggests that the otherwise immortal elves will cower in a few months if they don’t get their hands on a precious metal (which, by the way, is not created in the way shown in the series at all). . This also forms the basis of the creation of the elven rings, which is shown very nicely, but like many other things it leaves you scratching your head and asking “Why did they do that and how exactly does it help?”.

The answers – in the second season (if the writers do not forget). And speaking of season two…

The suffering will continue

We are two years away from the next season of this torture, at the head of which is once again the talentless Payne and McKay. Unfortunately, the hopes that something will improve for the better are drowned under the waves of insanity that washed over us in the first eight episodes.

Jeff Bezos generally dislikes failure and has a habit of interfering with Amazon projects that he believes need to be improved. One of the richest men in the world may have saved some other ventures at his company, but he hasn’t shown that he understands series creation (otherwise he wouldn’t have approved these two as showrunners).

The best move on his part — or Amazon Studios’ management — would be to replace McKay and Payne with experienced and talented writers who, for the remaining four seasons of The Rings of Power as planned, would try to turn the messy mess into an over- below acceptable series.

There is no prospect of that happening at the moment. Worse, there is often another practice at Amazon – that failures are punished but glossed over when it comes to presenting them to the public.

Not an adaptation of, but an insult to, Tolkien

After all, after the first season of The Rings of Power, it’s still “Bezose, your money’s worth”. More modest viewers will probably find something to like in this costly failure.

But anyone looking for a logical and well-written script, anyone looking beyond the beautiful scenes and wonderful music, and most of all anyone who felt the magic of Tolkien’s work (and even Peter Jackson’s adaptations) will find it bittersweet. disappointment.

A $465 million disappointment.


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