After months of photoshoots and controversial statements, Amazon Prime has premiered a full trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. This adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion has stirred up controversy by race-bending characters and cultures, turning the Lady Galadriel into a warrior, and its creators outright saying they want it to reflect our current world. Have a look at the new clip here:
Almost from this show’s announcement, I’ve had no hope or expectations for it. I find it astronomically unlikely that anything as good as the original live-action Lord of the Rings trilogy can come of Tolkien’s works. Beyond that, I’m not thrilled with Galadriel’s portrayal thus far, and this trailer highlights those problems. Galadriel is like a princess or an aristocrat, not a superhero or a warrior. She shouldn’t be wielding a sword and wearing armor.
Contrary to what people believe, Tolkien didn’t only write courtly female characters like Galadriel; Eowyn, who appears in the Peter Jackson LotR trilogy as well as the original books, is a shieldmaiden who takes part in a significant battle. I would have even preferred that Amazon’s team create a new female character rather than drastically change an existing one. I wasn’t pleased with Tauriel in the Hobbit movies (among other aspects), but at least they had the decency to create a new character to fill this role.
The race-bending is also perplexing and, frankly, unnecessary. Why not delve into the cultures of the East, which are canonically people of color? Show us the good side of these countries/groups to explore the diversity of Tolkien’s world. I can’t get my head around spending billions of dollars on a beloved series to change everything about it and alienate fans. But, hey, it worked for Star Wars, right?