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


Werthead
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2 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

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. 

Well, it was a very strong part of the marketing for the show that it would have long-form, serialised storyline from the start. To the very casual viewer, sure, they didn't know what to expect, but to those in the know, they did.

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36 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.

 

Honestly, as well-made as it was, I have mixed feelings about it -  I didn't think it necessary (and I my dad haaaaaaaaated it). Basically, because one of the big narrative features of LotR the book is that the tension and unease at the outset is quite low and rises as we find out more and more about what's going on and who the opponent is and the scale of the world folds out and out, but the films just put all that up front immediately and lose all that subtle stuff. 

I didn't think that was as hurtful as my dad did because the movies- probably necessarily- crank the focus on the epic action up a lot more than the books did and having the prologue be like that fits the tone there (he's not a huge fan of action movies in general so that was always going to hurt it for him), but I'd have enjoyed the original way too. 

 

 

Anyway, I don't think a show they know is going to be really long has to be clear and unquestionable about what it's about from the b of the bang, there's plenty that aren't (hell, we just saw the debut of Sandman, which succeeded despite being based on a book that even the author hadn't decided where it was going till after the first story arc and where I'm positive no non-comic-reading watcher is going to figure out the direction for a long while yet even as itk viewers can see ways it's straightened the path to it). But I don't think the scene-to-scene writing in this is good enough to carry it the way they're doing so far, at least for me. 

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42 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.

What's frustrating is that Elvish sorrow/yearning is deeply connected with the forging of the Rings, and but for their decision to make the focus be Galadriel's quest for vengeance, they could have used a broadly similar prologue to make that connection instead. 

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2 hours ago, TheReal_Rebel said:

Bye-ee!

:lol:

Don't get your hopes up too far quite yet. However much you may desire this thread to be an echo chamber of your tastes, I'm not quite ready to abandon discussion just yet. I'm curious how the discussion may proceed in future episodes, and may contribute my own occasional thoughts from that content.

Though I cannot hope to compare to the Voltaire-like wit and substance of your comment, I will, like others in this thread, do my meager best.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

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.

OK, I’ll give you the mysterious man. But his existence was the thrilling climax to episode 1, that he’s looking for a constellation episode 2, and then helping episode 3. It’s painfully drawn out.

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

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.

All of this is stuff anyone would assume would happen, we know Sauron is around and therefore orcs are around, we know dwarves are digging. It reads like a synopsis for a first episode, before you then get the story underway. There’s been nothing surprising yet. So yea I was exaggerating a bit, but still I don’t see how anything has been compressed here, unless it’s parts of the history that seem to be happening closer together than they should? 

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1 hour ago, polishgenius said:

 

Honestly, as well-made as it was, I have mixed feelings about it -  I didn't think it necessary (and I my dad haaaaaaaaated it). Basically, because one of the big narrative features of LotR the book is that the tension and unease at the outset is quite low and rises as we find out more and more about what's going on and who the opponent is and the scale of the world folds out and out, but the films just put all that up front immediately and lose all that subtle stuff. 

I didn't think that was as hurtful as my dad did because the movies- probably necessarily- crank the focus on the epic action up a lot more than the books did and having the prologue be like that fits the tone there (he's not a huge fan of action movies in general so that was always going to hurt it for him), but I'd have enjoyed the original way too. 

I'm actually rereading LotR now for the first time in ages and I don't think that's entirely right. The Prologue establishes the ring and the events of The Hobbit, and we're only a few pages into the book when Gandalf sits Bilbo (and then Frodo) down and we get the full dark story of the Ring and so on. I actually didn't remember the book cutting to the chase so far, so that was quite surprising.

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21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'm actually rereading LotR now for the first time in ages and I don't think that's entirely right. The Prologue establishes the ring and the events of The Hobbit, and we're only a few pages into the book when Gandalf sits Bilbo (and then Frodo) down and we get the full dark story of the Ring and so on. I actually didn't remember the book cutting to the chase so far, so that was quite surprising.

 

 

Kind of, but while he tells Frodo what the Ring is and what it does and that Sauron wants it back, I think the scale of that answer only means something to you because you already know- he pretty much literally says 'that's too much to mention now' when Frodo asks about how it was lost, and skates over the Last Alliance and the fall of Isildur. Like iirc 'Sauron' doesn't really mean much at that point in the story except that he's the bad guy.  

It's hard to say for sure now since it's so long since I didn't know, but I remember that building feeling from the first time, anyway. 

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I wonder if a better and more bolder story would have been to tell it, at least in most of season 1, from Sauron's perspective. Have him be around, slowly establishing his power base and manipulating various characters. You could have still had most of the main Elf, Man, and Dwarf (and sure Harfoot) characters around. Right now if feels that guessing if the Stranger or Halbrand could be Sauron is a lot like guessing who the Dragorn Reborn was in season 1 of WoT. 

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The comparison between actors in LOTR and ROP rings very hollow.  With LOTR you had literally legendary actors like Lee and McKellen, Blanchett who already at the time was considered one of the best actresses in the world, and everyone else was a very established star as well.  Like, I knew the names of almost literally the entire cast going in.

With ROP, it's just entirely different.  I've learned Clark's name, but that's about it.  Still, as mentioned by others, the acting is hardly what is objectionable about the series.  And some of the performances are starting to shine through - Clark in particular which is obviously the most important.  But, like I said, the guy who plays Elendil seemed really good in the third episode.  The guy who plays Durin is obviously pretty good.  Young Ned Stark as Elrond has given a fine performance even though I'm still uncomfortable with him as Elrond.  The dude who plays Celebrimbor may be too old and have the wrong hairstyle, but he was pretty damn good in his couple scenes.  The other actors of characters I'm still learning the names of all seem fine.

You can definitely say they haven't had much to work with, and you could certainly complain about Amazon spending way too much on CGI instead of getting an A-list cast - I guess.  But it seems weird to complain about this instead of the much more obvious issues like the plot hasn't done anything to grab you, the dialogue is either banal or heavy-handed, the compression of the timeline, etc.

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Sir Lenny Henry is probably the most well-known member of the cast, primarily as a comic but he's had a few serious roles over the years and is a writer and producer (he's actually the co-creator of Neverwhere, and came up with the basic premise although Neil Gaiman wrote the actual story). Most of the rest are reasonably obscure. Maxim Baldry (Isildur) might be vaguely recognisable as the young Caesarion in HBO's Rome. The actor who plays Celebrimbor is one of those British actors who turns up in loads of stuff in a supporting role but you'll never remember his name.

Other than that they're mostly obscure. With LotR I feel the only really obscure actors in the main cast were Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Miranda Otto and Orlando Bloom, everyone else was relatively well-established. Even Elijah Wood was relatively well-known from The Faculty, Deep Impact and a couple of other movies, Sean Astin had that Goonies cred going on. Viggo Mortensen wasn't a household name but he'd been in a supporting role in loads of movies people had forgotten about. Karl Urban was also relatively unknown to the larger audience but if you were a Xena fan you'd probably already seen him in several roles throughout that series.

Edited by Werthead
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3 hours ago, Werthead said:

I'm actually rereading LotR now for the first time in ages and I don't think that's entirely right. The Prologue establishes the ring and the events of The Hobbit, and we're only a few pages into the book when Gandalf sits Bilbo (and then Frodo) down and we get the full dark story of the Ring and so on. I actually didn't remember the book cutting to the chase so far, so that was quite surprising.

I reread the book a few years ago and felt the claims that Tolkien was 'very slow' and 'overly descriptive' pretty exaggerated. Even the Old Forest chapters, which are typically said to bog the story down,  I didn't feel really dragged and are actually pretty interesting in their own right. The main issue is Bombadil's a bit on the silly side. I think Tolkien should have toned down the hey-dol and leaned more into his mysteriousness. 

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31 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Even Elijah Wood was relatively well-known from The Faculty, Deep Impact and a couple of other movies

At the time I knew him by name primarily due to The Good Son, which creeped me out as a kid.

I didn't recognize Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards) from The Crown, but I guess I should've.

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I finished the 3rd ep.  This is an entirely mediocre show punctuated by some spectacular set pieces.  Numenor is gorgeous, but that isn't enough.  The writing and characterization is too weak to make this a GOT level success.  It may maintain enough viewers that Amazon is happy, but I cannot see this show ever becoming any kind of cultural event.  

There is also a lot of purely dumb stuff, and I'm not just talking about the dumb harfoots, who get more awful with each scene.  However, I'm not vested enough to go on any kind of detailed rant.  

 

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1 hour ago, Ser Drewy said:

I reread the book a few years ago and felt the claims that Tolkien was 'very slow' and 'overly descriptive' pretty exaggerated. Even the Old Forest chapters, which are typically said to bog the story down,  I didn't feel really dragged and are actually pretty interesting in their own right. The main issue is Bombadil's a bit on the silly side. I think Tolkien should have toned down the hey-dol and leaned more into his mysteriousness. 

The Lord of the Rings in its entirety is only slightly longer than A Storm of Swords, which is only ~25% of ASoIaF (actually a lot less when The Winds of Winter comes out and is reportedly ~20% longer). The entire thing takes place in moderately more time than one single volume of another series (Wheel of Time and Malazan have multiple volumes almost as long as LotR by itself and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn has a final volume that's almost 100,000 words longer). For all the complaints about his pacing, Tolkien does tell a huge amount of story in a relatively modest amount of space. 

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4 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

I wonder if a better and more bolder story would have been to tell it, at least in most of season 1, from Sauron's perspective. Have him be around, slowly establishing his power base and manipulating various characters. You could have still had most of the main Elf, Man, and Dwarf (and sure Harfoot) characters around. Right now if feels that guessing if the Stranger or Halbrand could be Sauron is a lot like guessing who the Dragorn Reborn was in season 1 of WoT. 

The problem there is Sauron's mindset is alien. He's neither human nor Elf, but the equivalent of a Fallen Angel. So you would be getting Paradise Lost: Middle-earth Edition, and that carries with it the associated issue of people actually sympathising with the guy.

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1 hour ago, Ser Drewy said:

I reread the book a few years ago and felt the claims that Tolkien was 'very slow' and 'overly descriptive' pretty exaggerated. Even the Old Forest chapters, which are typically said to bog the story down,  I didn't feel really dragged and are actually pretty interesting in their own right. The main issue is Bombadil's a bit on the silly side. I think Tolkien should have toned down the hey-dol and leaned more into his mysteriousness. 

I re-read it last year, and remember thinking "bloody hell, this is a fast-moving book." The bit that IMHO drags is the section between Mount Doom and the Scouring.

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I dunno guys, from what I’ve seen a lot of ordinary rubes like myself find the Harfoots charming. This show might be messy, but it does nail the atmosphere of the LOTR universe, which is why so many people still liked the Hobbit movies even when book fans didn’t.

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I think the consensus - as much as can be reached - on the Hobbit trilogy even by non-book-readers is that there is a very good and maybe even excellent 3-4 hour single movie in the trilogy, with the problem that the full trilogy is 8.5 hours long. I've found myself hoping that Amazon Snyder Cuts the Hobbit by giving Jackson ~$30 million dollars to edit the whole thing down and redo what CGI needs to be redone to accomplish that. I think you could make something decent out of that, and the various fan cuts that try that are promising.

There's a lot of bollocks in The Hobbit trilogy but there is some great stuff as well (Freeman as Bilbo, Armitage's Thorin, most of the dwarves, Lee Pace's frankly ludicrous but also glorious turn as Thranduil, Cumberbatch as Smaug). It's not a complete write-off.

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18 minutes ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I dunno guys, from what I’ve seen a lot of ordinary rubes like myself find the Harfoots charming. This show might be messy, but it does nail the atmosphere of the LOTR universe, which is why so many people still liked the Hobbit movies even when book fans didn’t.

Yeah I'd go as far as to say ROP nails the atmosphere of the Tolkien universe far better than the Hobbit films for my tastes, as the latter was much more childish/cartoonish.  I'm just reticent to emphasize this point because it sounds like I'm emphasizing the production values/CGI, but it's not the same.

15 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I think the consensus - as much as can be reached - on the Hobbit trilogy even by non-book-readers is that there is a very good and maybe even excellent 3-4 hour single movie in the trilogy, with the problem that the full trilogy is 8.5 hours long. I've found myself hoping that Amazon Snyder Cuts the Hobbit by giving Jackson ~$30 million dollars to edit the whole thing down and redo what CGI needs to be redone to accomplish that. I think you could make something decent out of that, and the various fan cuts that try that are promising.

You're certainly right that their stretching it out into three movies was a huge part of their lacking in overall quality and a blatant cash-grab - that was apparent pretty much before they even came out - but really what's the point of doing a "Snyder cut" around a decade later?  Like you said, if you really want that I assume you can find it on youtube.  Just seems like another cash-grab at this point.

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1 hour ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I dunno guys, from what I’ve seen a lot of ordinary rubes like myself find the Harfoots charming. This show might be messy, but it does nail the atmosphere of the LOTR universe, which is why so many people still liked the Hobbit movies even when book fans didn’t.

The Bard of Banefort -- I love this group the most (despite their amusingly sociopathic treatment of weakened members, as another poster mentioned). The writers introduced a non-existent group into the timeline very cleverly!

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