- G1 ALREADY SEEN: ‘The Rings of Power’ is a worthy and stunning adaptation
Despite the brand of JRR Tolkien’s work, considered one of the most important of the 20th century, the production is a high bet for Amazon’s Prime Video streaming platform, as it believes in unknowns in the creation/command and in the cast.
The first two episodes will be available at 22:00 (Brasilia time), but the others will be released weekly, every Friday.
Morfydd Clark and Benjamin Walker, center, in a scene from ‘The Rings of Power’ – Photo: Disclosure / Prime Video
“I think we were the underdog, in a way. We had worked on a lot of different projects with some really amazing people who were mentors to us for about 10, 12 years before that. But things just didn’t work out for us. for some reason,” says series creator Patrick McKay in an interview with g1.
He shares the helm of production, as showrunner, with his professional partner, JD Payne. Despite working together for 25 years, “The Rings of Power” is the duo’s first credit – which didn’t stop the company founded by Jeff Bezos, another lover of the British writer, from betting on both.
“I totally understand people looking in from the outside and wondering ‘who are these guys’.”
“It was a long process to get the job. Six months of meetings and meetings. I think they talked to a lot of people. But at the end of the day, with a studio like that it’s a collaboration. And I think they thought and we thought this It’s the right story.”
Patrick McKay and JD Payne on the set of ‘The Rings of Power’ — Photo: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video
In this case, “the right story” takes place millennia before the one told in the “Lord of the Rings” books and adapted in the trilogy directed by Peter Jackson – which has no connection with the new production – in the early 2000s.
As the title implies, the series explores the time when the great villain Sauron develops the powerful gems in search of control over Elves, Men and Dwarves (the spelling is strange, but it respects the way Tolkien referred to the race of diminutive stature and great resilience).
In it, the noble warrior Galadriel (Mofrydd Clark) searches for the old enemy, while other characters, spread across different regions, find different signs that the threat may still resist after an apparent defeat.
Get a better understanding of where the plot of “The Rings of Power” fits into the general mythology of Middle-earth below:
— Photo: Wagner Magalhães/g1
Expanded world, compressed history
In addition to the books that have already been adapted for cinema, works such as “The Silmarillion” and “Unfinished Tales” help to expand the past of the world created by Tolkien. However, the approximately US$ 250 million invested by Amazon in the purchase of the rights to produce the series is limited only to the books of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.
To tell the story focused on the end of the Second Age, so many years before the adventure of Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, McKay and Payne looked at the appendices attached by Tolkien to his most famous works – some 150 pages that count, half over the top. , important moments of the more than 50 thousand years of Middle-earth.
“Tolkien’s writing is so rich. We really delved into the books and felt like absolutely everything we needed to tell the story in the best possible way is in them,” says McKay.
“Of course, there are many other books as well and there are his letters, and his biography. (But) We feel it is important to be informed about these things and to know them. At least in a sense of knowing what is important to him and making sure We really understand these themes so that – while we’re putting together all these pieces of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and the appendices and ‘The Hobbit’ – hopefully we’ll do it in a way that’s as worthy of your vision as possible.”
Caution is also necessary because the creators have taken some liberties with the source material. The biggest one is the decision to compress the narrative, which takes place over a few millennia in “The Silmarillion”, into a more limited period of time.
THE ORCHES IN ‘The Rings of Power’ — Photo: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video
‘And what didn’t you like?’
With the frank excitement of someone who knows he has his big chance in his hands, McKay doesn’t shy away from risks.
So much so that he asks the g1 report, during an informal conversation at the launch party after the airing of the first two episodes in a historic college in Mexico City, what was not working so well on the series.
After hearing that the chapters suffered a little from the sheer amount of narrative focus, which detracted from the overall pacing, he is not offended.
Valinor in ‘The Rings of Power’ — Photo: Disclosure
“I understand what you mean. We had so much that we needed to present at the beginning that we felt it was necessary. I feel that the series will really improve, it will really pack from the middle of the season”, defends the producer, with a glass of beer in hand.
With eight episodes released weekly every Friday this first year – out of the five scheduled – this means that “The Rings of Power” should reach its apex from about the fourth chapter onwards.
“Also, it was a bit on purpose. As a viewer, I prefer stories that challenge me. I don’t like shows that let the audience stare at their cell phones.”
Trystan Gravelle, in the center, in a scene from ‘The Rings of Power’ – Photo: Disclosure / Prime Video
The numerous narrative foci are explained by a gigantic cast. With more than 20 permanent actors, casting was a long and arduous process – and resulted, somewhat by accident, in lesser-known names.
“It was a global quest. Really, we saw hundreds, thousands of people for some roles. And the requirements were two things: people who were excellent actors and people who had Middle-earth in them. And that’s an ineffable quality, but one that you know when you see it,” says McKay.
Among them were several well-known names in the theater or in British series and films, but that the American audience and the rest of the world were not so familiar with.
Robert Aramayo and Morfydd Clark in ‘The Rings of Power’ — Photo: Ben Rothstein/Prime Video
Morfydd Clark, for example, was nominated for best actress at the British Independent Film Award for “Saint Maud” (2021) and even participated in another fantasy series, “His Dark Materials”, but wins in “The Rings of Power” her first major role.
Alongside her, fans of the genre are more likely to recognize Robert Aramayo, who plays the elf Elrond (played by Hugo Weaving in the films). After all, the 29-year-old Englishman is best known as the young Ned Stark from “Game of Thrones”.
“Midway along the way, we came to a more or less conscious decision. The real star is Middle-earth. With this first season in particular, all these gigantic characters, we wanted them to be fully present to the audience.”
“We wanted new voices, new faces, who have amazing resumes and who’ve done wonderful things but maybe aren’t as well known, and put them in a new context,” says McKay.
Morfydd Clark and Fabian McCallum in a scene from ‘The Rings of Power’ – Photo: Disclosure / Prime Video
The creators have always made it clear that they must tell their story in five seasons. For this, they already have a well-designed plan, but with room for change.
The biggest one is the transfer of the location of the recordings. After filming the first season in New Zealand, the famous home of Jackson’s films, the series was criticized by fans for announcing that the second year would be taken to England.
McKay talks about the decision and talks about how the British Tolkien thought of the islands of his land to write his work, but gives some clues that the future of “The Rings of Power” is not set in stone.
“We think it’s important to have a well-established plan, but also to know that we can change some things. It’s like a road trip. You know where you’re going and where you’re going to spend the night, but sometimes you like a place so much that you decide to stay longer. a night there, or go visit a friend”, says the producer.
“It will also depend on what new things we find. Sometimes an actor or actress comes along with some unexpected skill that we think is worth a detour. So it’s important to have a sense of beginning, middle and end, and know where we’re going in this world with these characters, but also leave room for a little improvisation.”
Megan Richards and Markella Kavenagh in ‘The Rings of Power’ — Photo: Disclosure/Prime Video