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What It Feels Like Watching ‘The Rings of Power’ as Someone Who Likes ‘Lord of the Rings’ a Normal Amount

Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Rings of Power

Lord of the Rings is the fantasy series that I enjoy and know a lot about, but I am by no means a scholar, and many of you may be in the same boat with Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. I leave the expertise to Stephen Colbert. But I know enough. I know what characters I love (shoutout to Merry and Pippin), and I know what parts I don’t know enough about. I know that if asked, I can quote Samwise Gamgee’s iconic lines to Frodo in The Return of the King. But I also know my limitations.

So when The Rings of Power was announced, I knew that I would continue my tradition of enjoying this world as a regular fan (which is rare for me, as someone who knows too much about most all nerdy things). So, I was shocked, as the series made its debut last night, by how instantly I was reminded that I do, in fact, love Middle Earth and the world that J.R.R. Tolkien built because seeing as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) came into her own, with a strength to her that we already saw in Cate Blanchett’s performance in the Peter Jackson movies? It made me more emotional than I thought.

And maybe it is because I do know more than someone who just watched the films once and moved on with their lives, but this world building was something that interested me from the jump, and getting to see Galadriel and the search for Sauron prior to the creation of the rings? It’s all fascinating and informs The Lord of the Rings in a way that we didn’t know much of beforehand.

Not being a Tolkien expert

Tolkien isn’t the easiest to unpack, so it is no wonder that people are considered experts when they do understand his work. I admittedly never tried to read the book series because it came into my life at a point in my adolescence where I was frankly exhausted from being an English kid and reading for my classes, and couldn’t add another fantasy world to my lineup. I enjoyed the movies, and that was okay for me.

I didn’t even try when The Hobbit came out because I was into Thorin and Kili and I knew my limitations. But not knowing everything and anything about this world hasn’t ever stopped me from enjoying it. In fact, I just rewatched the Peter Jackson trilogies and had fun revisiting them despite knowing that parts of this series would definitely be better if I knew the source material outside of just the adaptations.

Can casual fans enjoy the series?

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power logo on Amazon Prime Video

I believe that I am proof that you can. Again, I do admit to knowing more than someone like my mother, who has maybe watched one of the movies because her kids forced her to, but I am by no means someone who feels like I am an authority on this world. There are plenty of other people in this world who can do that a lot better than I could.

But the new series does a pretty good job of letting you know what is going on, giving you a story you’re into regardless of whether or not you know every single reference that makes its way into the dialogue of characters like Elrond (played by Robert Aramayo in the series).

So, go into The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power knowing that if you know more about this world, it would probably have an added bonus to you, but you can also just enjoy the show without knowing everything.

(featured image: Prime Video)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.