Opinion: Amazon’s Rings of Power Series vs The Books

What are the differences between books and films?


Dawson Patterson, Staffer

On Sept. 2, 2022, Amazon Studios released the first two episodes of their new spinoff TV series based on Tolkien’s middle-earth called The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. They were backed by New Line Cinema, the producers of the early-2000’s- era Lord of the Rings movies, along with countless other supporters, including the Tolkien Estate itself.

This sparked a frenzy of excitement among fans of the movies and books alike, with everyone rushing to watch the brand-new Lord of the Rings TV show on Amazon Prime. Although, when some fans of Tolkien’s original books watched the series for themselves, they were not very satisfied. These hardcore fans of the writer’s literary masterpieces noticed that there were a lot of things that were inaccurate to Tolkien’s description of the parts of Arda that the show was portraying.

Now, while I might not have watched the series on my own yet, I still believe that it is inaccurate to Tolkien’s description because of the clips and snippets I  have seen of it. I will be going over the key differences between the TV series and the books and giving my opinion on why I think it matters that things are accurate to the original description given by Tolkien.

My first reason as to why Amazon’s new series is inaccurate is that there are many locations in it that are non-canonical to Tolkien’s lore. Take Norfield Glen, for example, this location is a valley in the vales of the Anduin River where a group of Harfoot hobbits is migrating through in the show. This location, along with the lore associated with it, is not once mentioned in any of the books. The main reason that I think this is such a big deal is that it totally confuses first-time viewers of the Lord of the Rings, who may have never read the books, and therefore don’t know about the origin of the hobbits.

Another big reason I’m going to point out is the Characters. While there might be a decent amount of characters that are in the books, there are still many that are not. Take the Stranger or Marigold Brandyfoot; These characters are non-canonical, and therefore, might be unfamiliar to first-timers who only know about the more famous characters in LOTR.

The final reason that I think Amazon’s Rings of Power series is inaccurate is the sheer amount of things that Amazon left out of the first season, and, in particular the first episode.  If you look at the maps in the opening sequence of the first episode, you might notice that they completely forgot to mention how Beleriand fell into the sea after the War of Wrath, as well as also forgetting to mention the kinslaying of the Noldor. This, along with the other two aforementioned reasons, causes many hardcore fans, myself included, to become irritated with how the show sets a foundation for the Second Age.

As shown above, Amazon’s new TV series has a lot of key differences from Tolkien’s actual books, with many locations, characters, and events that are non-canonical. This is a problem because diehard Tolkien fans such as myself have started to get irritated with the setup and layout of the show. I think that there’s a simple solution to making this show more appealing to fans of both the books and the movies: just add a good blend of canonical and non-canonical lore into season two so that both groups will be able to get the same amount of enjoyment out of it.