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Rings of Power: Three Threads for the Elven Lords (book spoilers)


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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

Which are the great performances in RoP? There are none so far, and maybe the script hasn’t allowed it, but I see a clear difference already.

Owain Arthur as Durin IV has made the biggest impression on me so far. His interactions with Robert Aramayo's Elrond (whom I also find to be much better than ok in his role) are better than anything we saw from Dwarves in LOTR - an entire, nuanced personality shown, not just there to be the butt of a joke or a one-note act. People love to hate on Galadriel as a character in ROP but I know that Morfydd Clark is a great actor and I find her convincing in the role AND I know there will be much more to come - we are only three episodes in. It's early days yet for most of the characters - there is so much intro/build up/scene setting, that we haven't see all that much of anyone (other than Galadriel) yet.

The passage of time has allowed me to process my feelings about the Peter Jackson films and while I absolutely do have a soft spot for them I can see that they are not perfect. They brought those characters to the big screen for us and that is very meaningful. In some cases (e.g. Faramir and Denethor) characters were held back by the writing. Generally, everyone on screen did a good job. Did anyone put in an academy award-winning performance? I don't think so. 

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3 minutes ago, Isis said:

Did anyone put in an academy award-winning performance? I don't think so. 

I mean Ian McKellen literally won an academy award for this acting. So there is that. It really depends what you are looking for though, the LOTR had a very particular style and aesthetic, and a lot of the performances were bombastic and melodramatic and designed to produce as much emotion from the audience as possible. But a lot of them were also incredibly subtle and well observed. I think Viggo Mortensen is incredible in the role, he is a great actor but he really ran the range of emotions in those movies. Serkis does something as Gollum that is completely iconic and made his career, and maybe made Two Towers work. Sean Bean as Boromir is also brilliant, the moment he tries to take the ring from Frodo is a scene I watched over and over again, just for his performance, its that good. It just seems very strange to me to try and compare the performances in RoP to LotR, they seem to be a world apart.

Durin was... fun.. but so was Gimli, and I didn't love that. I didn't love any of the Dwarves in the Hobbit, and Durin is much closer in style and performance to that than anything else. It was fun, but that's about it.

I've seen Saint Maud so I know Clark is a very good actress, but she's had nothing to work with so far, and I really doubt there will come a point where she will be elevated to greatness in this show. The writing is simply too pedestrian. 

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9 hours ago, IFR said:

:lol:

I wouldn't go so far as to call it useless. Some people are enjoying it, so clearly it has a use.

But sure, it's disappointing. This is a thread dedicated to the show. I don't object to people liking this show and declaring so; I'm baffled why anyone would have a problem with those who do not like this show and declare so. This is a thread for discussion, not glowing praise. 

As I said earlier, I'm not going to continue watching it. I'm not someone who hate watches shows. I did want to like this show, which is why I stuck with it for three episodes.

Yes, I know. As I said earlier, it is not a matter of fidelity to the source material that is a problem. It is a matter of logic, character development, and narrative - which the show fails utterly in all categories. It's pretty, and that's it.

At any rate, I haven't read The Unfinished Tales. However, I do recall liking the Silmarillion far better than anything RoP has managed. So among that enjoyable material, that's 30 pages of a story being told in a far better manner than a multi-episode television show.

Here I think is a point of confusion, so I'll reiterate. In 30 pages Tolkien covered the Second Age in an entertaining manner. The television show has so far covered the Second Age in a mostly abysmal manner. This failure in quality is not a matter of loyalty to the source: it is a failure in storytelling itself.

If PT Anderson bought the rights to the Silmarillion and chose to adapt it by making There Will Be Blood, and of the material it was adapting only using the name of Elrond for a minor character, I would say that this is a fantastic adaptation because There Will Be Blood is amazing storytelling, no matter how unrelated to the "source material" it would be in this hypothetical.

I didn't say I could tell a better story - I said a better story could be told.

By the by, I don't think it's particularly arrogant to believe that one can improve on a show that one dislikes. I know what I like and what kind of expectations of a good show I have, and so it seems pretty reasonable to think that I could improve things to my preference over those who have demonstrated a nearly perfect incapacity to do so. I wouldn't suggest that I know how to make a show more to your liking, because such is the matter of different tastes.

Bye-ee!

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3 hours ago, Ran said:

the insane compression of the narrative, and so on -- have just confirmed that it's not for me.

I keep reading that the history of all this has been compressed and I’m struggling to reconcile with the fact that it’s been 3 hours now and nothing has happened. Our characters have moved around and uttered some place names in an overly breathy, reverential tone like we’re supposed to care. But all of this has yet to coalesce around any story. We’re still yet to get to the plot. Like I assume this is about the forging of the rings? Hence the name? But without the title to clue me in I would have literally no idea where this is going, because it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

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2 hours ago, RhaenysBee said:

100% this. I was just complaining about the CGI deer in HotD. Why. Is it truly cheaper to code a ghastly fake deer than to go to a wildlife park or forestry and film a real one which you can later computer manipulate to your purposes? GoT actually sourced a freshly dead deer for season one and it looked stunning. When I was on a GoT tour in Northern Ireland we actually visited real trees that the crew found specially for certain shots. So much thought, care and effort. Not just cheap-ass coding. (No offense to any cgi artists, I could never even fathom your skill and hard work, but it’s just a very different result than tangible reality)

I'm fairly certain the rules for working with animals in film productions are a lot stricter than they used to be, which is why you're seeing the majority of non-domesticated animals replaced by CGI pretty much across the board.  This doesn't appear to have had an impact on domesticated ones, as there were obviously real dogs on the second episode of House of the Dragon, and the horses are almost always real.

Edited by briantw
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1 hour ago, Heartofice said:

I mean Ian McKellen literally won an academy award for this acting. So there is that.

No, he was nominated for an award for best supporting actor. He didn't win. But I already said that he is a legendary actor. He's in a different league to the rest of the cast of the PJ films. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Isis said:

No, he was nominated for an award for best supporting actor. He didn't win. But I already said that he is a legendary actor. He's in a different league to the rest of the cast of the PJ films. 

 

Ok fair, I misremembered. However I have to disagree with you on the rest 

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1 minute ago, briantw said:

I'm fairly certain the rules for working with animals in film productions are a lot stricter than they used to be, which is why you're seeing the majority of non-domesticated animals (like horses, dogs, and cats) replaced by CGI pretty much across the board.

Possibly. In my narrow and limited experience regarding filming with animals, the people who work with them are incredibly skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate and would never agree to anything that harms the animals they are in charge of. At least all six individuals I know who (have) work(ed) with (wild) animals in film are like that. I’m sure there’s a good reason for those regulations, though, and there have been incidents of unfair or unskilled handling that brought it about. Either way, cgi deer make my eyes bleed, so maybe don’t have them in film at all? Or have them just stand around? Movement is the worst part of it. Props for dead animals are still better than cgi deers “running” through the woods, so showing only the “output” of the hunt is an option as well. 

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8 minutes ago, RhaenysBee said:

Possibly. In my narrow and limited experience regarding filming with animals, the people who work with them are incredibly skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate and would never agree to anything that harms the animals they are in charge of. At least all six individuals I know who (have) work(ed) with (wild) animals in film are like that. I’m sure there’s a good reason for those regulations, though, and there have been incidents of unfair or unskilled handling that brought it about. Either way, cgi deer make my eyes bleed, so maybe don’t have them in film at all? Or have them just stand around? Movement is the worst part of it. Props for dead animals are still better than cgi deers “running” through the woods, so showing only the “output” of the hunt is an option as well. 

I don't disagree that the deer looked bad.  It definitely wasn't great.  I'm just of the opinion that it's not that big of a deal for an animal that's in one scene.  I always thought the direwolves looked pretty bad on Thrones once they were full grown, as whatever filmmaking trick they were using to enlarge the wolves just looked off-putting whenever they moved.  But, at the end of the day, you have to suspend a little bit of disbelief and suffer some occasional bad effects to enjoy fantasy epics like this one.  Even the original Lord of the Rings movies had some godawful CGI, like when Legolas does his Flintstones slide off the mammoth.

The important thing, to me, is the intent of the scene.  The scene with Viserys was obviously meant to contrast the scene with his daughter.  Viserys is indecisive and ineffective at killing a deer that is helpless to resist, while Rhaenyra is literally fighting for her life and then willing to get her hands dirty.  I can suffer a little bit of crappy CGI if it facilitates some character moments.

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15 minutes ago, Isis said:

No, he was nominated for an award for best supporting actor. He didn't win. But I already said that he is a legendary actor. He's in a different league to the rest of the cast of the PJ films.

McKellen is a legend, but he is not in a different league to Cate Blanchett, one of the best actresses of all time.

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37 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

I keep reading that the history of all this has been compressed and I’m struggling to reconcile with the fact that it’s been 3 hours now and nothing has happened. Our characters have moved around and uttered some place names in an overly breathy, reverential tone like we’re supposed to care. But all of this has yet to coalesce around any story. We’re still yet to get to the plot. Like I assume this is about the forging of the rings? Hence the name? But without the title to clue me in I would have literally no idea where this is going, because it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

I think that this, paradoxically, is the fault of the time compression. If we were to follow Tolkien's chronology then the Rings would be forged by the end of season 1, Celebrimbor would get killed at the beginning 2, the elves would become barely important side characters when the new Numenorean characters take over in season 3, and Numenor itself would be destroyed at the end of season 4 with an entire season still left, where the Elves would then return in a greater role.

Obviously the solution would be to make two shorter separated series, but alas we will be getting one big series. So the forging of the Rings "must" be delayed until later, as too keep the Elves and Celebrimbor in the show for as long as possible. Numenor and its characters "must" be present throughout the entire show and will probably get destroyed only in season 5 together with Sauron. The Dwarves likewise "need" something to do for the entire run

The result is the first seasons being filler. Hence the Harfoots doing their stuff, the Southlands becoming Mordor, Celebrimbor starting his megaforge project instead and the Dwarves proabably getting Balroged much much earlier with some artificial drama regarding Mithril to keep them occupied until then.

Edited by ASOIAFrelatedusername
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24 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

I keep reading that the history of all this has been compressed and I’m struggling to reconcile with the fact that it’s been 3 hours now and nothing has happened. Our characters have moved around and uttered some place names in an overly breathy, reverential tone like we’re supposed to care. But all of this has yet to coalesce around any story. We’re still yet to get to the plot. Like I assume this is about the forging of the rings? Hence the name? But without the title to clue me in I would have literally no idea where this is going, because it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.

The Harfoots have met a mysterious man who has fallen from the heavens. He is looking for a particular constellation for reasons unknown. The Harfoots, or two of them at least, have agreed to help him search for that constellation.

Orcs have returned in force to the Southlands under the leadership of a charismatic new leader. They have destroyed several villages and elven outposts, enslaving the inhabitants for slave labour to help them dig tunnels and search for an unknown artefact.

The dwarves have made an amazing discovery in the Misty Mountains (probably mithril) and are expanding their search for more of the discovery, despite some concerns about digging too deep. The elves have requested their help for a special new project.

Galadriel believes that Sauron has returned but so far the other elves are unconvinced. Chance has brought her to the Island Kingdom of Numenor, an alliance with a Southlands leader who has confirmed orcs there, and the possibility of enlisting Numenorean aid against the orcs.

Elrond and Prince Durin used to be great friends but Elrond has let the friendship lapse because of the elven tendency to undervalue the passage of time. They are now reforging their friendship and Durin is torn between helping Elrond with his new project and keeping the new dwarven discovery secret.

Saying nothing has happened is something of an exaggeration. There is a concerning overreliance on mystery boxes at the moment, but that's a different criticism.

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Yeah as per above I’m not sure it’s so much that ‘nothing has happened’ but more that there seems to be a lack of focus and a bunch of loosely connected plots that don’t feel like coming together any time soon.

So if someone was to ask me what RoP is about, I could either reel off what Wert just said or just kind of shrug and say I’m not sure yet

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LOTR had a fantastic prologue which set up the MacGuffin which linked it to the series title, The Lord of the Rings, and established the state of the world. The Hobbit movies had a great prologue, too, beginning with Bilbo writing down his tale, hence linking with the series title, and giving us the premise of his adventure and the location of the upcoming story's climax, Erebor. RoP's prologue focused on the Elves's sorrows, which was good, and one character's obsession regarding those sorrows, but failed to connect with the series title.

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4 minutes ago, briantw said:

I don't disagree that the deer looked bad.  It definitely wasn't great.  I'm just of the opinion that it's not that big of a deal for an animal that's in one scene.  I always thought the direwolves looked pretty bad on Thrones once they were full grown, as whatever filmmaking trick they were using to enlarge the wolves just looked off-putting whenever they moved.  But, at the end of the day, you have to suspend a little bit of disbelief and suffer some occasional bad effects to enjoy fantasy epics like this one.  Even the original Lord of the Rings movies had some godawful CGI, like when Legolas does his Flintstones slide off the mammoth.

The important thing, to me, is the intent of the scene.  The scene with Viserys was obviously meant to contrast the scene with his daughter.  Viserys is indecisive and ineffective at killing a deer that is helpless to resist, while Rhaenyra is literally fighting for her life and then willing to get her hands dirty.  I can suffer a little bit of crappy CGI if it facilitates some character moments.

Oh I agree with you, it’s not like the deer makes or unmakes the episode. It’s just a minor example of the quality of cgi vs tangible props/sets/animals/etc, the deer scenes did their job perfectly, the ghastly cgi is just a nitpick. And yes, Legolas’s cgi oliphant acrobatics looked pretty awful too, as well as every single shot of Ghost padding through the snow.

With animals, it’s usually the movement. With buildings or nature it’s the grit and texture that’s never the same in a sterile cgi shot. Kinda the same with hand sewing vs printed fabric. It takes out the effort, the creativity of having to work with what you have or having to puzzle the pieces together, the care of manual labor. 

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Again, pointing out, that the overarching theme of Making, For Good and / or For Doom, has emerged strongly, and begins in the very first scenes of the first episode.  The adjacent theme that All have the potential to be seduced by the Doom side of things (Dark, Evil, Sauron) also emerged right then as well, as it is elf children who destroy something beautiful that was made, and destroy it for no reason other than to commit destruction.  The series title is Rings of Power, and it it is the story of the purpose for which they are made, the rings being made, who makes them, who has them, and what is done with them, and what happens. This seems quite a story to me, and worthy of five seasons.

 

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19 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

LOTR had a fantastic prologue which set up the MacGuffin which linked it to the series title, The Lord of the Rings, and established the state of the world. The Hobbit movies had a great prologue, too, beginning with Bilbo writing down his tale, hence linking with the series title, and giving us the premise of his adventure and the location of the upcoming story's climax, Erebor. RoP's prologue focused on the Elves's sorrows, which was good, and one character's obsession regarding those sorrows, but failed to connect with the series title.

Yup, but there is a difference between a story that's going to last 9 hours (or 11, in the director's cut) and one that's going to last 50.

Probably the single most successful example of the long-form serialised story arc is Babylon 5, and if you asked anyone what the long-term plot of the series was after 3 episodes they wouldn't have a strong clue either (even 6, accepting that Rings of Power will be less than half the length of B5's 110 episodes).

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I feel like there’s some kind of law of diminishing returns with big IP sequels/prequels (Star Wars and MCU) like this.  The originals start at a like A- grade (and can take big swings, and people attach to those), but will never quite capture anything new or interesting at the same scale, due to fan backlash or niche interest or corporate interference.  It feels like a B- was the maximum possible potential for this type of show, and it’s in that range for the most part.  It’s so “eh, let’s see what happens, and at least there’s no Gimli the comic relief dwarf”.

 I just don’t see how people have this much negative opinion about it, ongoing.  Maybe my baseline expectations were too low - it took me the whole first season of WoT to decide to “nope” out of more

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8 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Yup, but there is a difference between a story that's going to last 9 hours (or 11, in the director's cut) and one that's going to last 50.

Probably the single most successful example of the long-form serialised story arc is Babylon 5, and if you asked anyone what the long-term plot of the series was after 3 episodes they wouldn't have a strong clue either (even 6, accepting that Rings of Power will be less than half the length of B5's 110 episodes).

Babylon 5 came out at a time where long form story telling was rare on tv, there was no expectation that it would be anything other than episodic. 

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