Did Amazon’s $715 million Lord Of The Rings prequel pay off?

What could you buy with $700 million dollars? In the case of Amazon, that would mean the film rights to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, as well as the rights to produce a prequel series that premiered in September on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming platform. The epic size of this purchase matches the scale of ambition that Amazon executives have to improve the offerings available on Prime Video, which has yet to produce a popular hit series like Netflix’s Stranger Things or the various Marvel superhero shows on Disney+. However, was it a blunder on the part of Amazon to produce this show?
Amazon spent roughly $465 million to produce season 1 of this LOTR prequel season already. This makes LOTR: The Rings Of Power, easily the most expensive show ever made. It approximately costs Amazon the same as 5,143,885 annual prime subscriptions. The question remains whether those hundreds of million of dollars are worth it for fans watching this show. The amount spent on computer-generated imagery is plainly obvious when watching this series, which has CGI on par with the best Hollywood blockbusters.
When Lord Of The Rings: The Rings of Power was released on September 1st, 2022, it attracted in 25 million viewers on its first day alone. Those numbers also mark history for prime video. It has the highest release day viewership, surpassing even HBO’s prequel for Game of Thrones, which had 10 million views on only its first day. We could see even more records set as LOTR: The Rings of Power season 2 begins filming. Not much is known about season 2 but we could continue to follow our main protagonists and their journeys.
The show is set thousands of years before The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings. It covers Middle Earth’s Second Age. It’s set years after the first Dark Lord Morgoth was defeated. After defeating Morgoth, the people of Middle Earth believe that Middle Earth is now a safe place and that nothing bad is about to happen, (Spoiler alert: The Orcs are not defeated and Sauron is still around.) By the time the show ends, we should see Sauron defeated. (This is only his first time) We should also see the titular Rings Of Power forged, the last alliance between the Elves and Humans, and the fall of the Human kingdom Numenor. The show is slated to have a 50-hour total runtime, which is roughly twice the length of all The Hobbit and LOTR theatrical versions combined
The first three episodes have done a lot of world-building, and have been building up to a big battle between the Elves and Humans against Sauron and his Orcs. Which hasn’t happened yet, I’m still hoping to see it and I’m excited to see this play out. While not each episode is not filled with action, each episode reveals the motivations of each character and usually has a major plot point that is introduced. An example is Halbrand, which I have suspicions about. More about that later.

The Rings of Power: How Halbrand's Origin Story Changes Lord of the Rings Canon | Den of Geek
Halbrand seems suspicious

The Rings of Power likes to take things slow, which is not necessarily bad but, it needs to start picking up its pace as we head into the final 4 episodes. In my opinion, episode 4 could be described as an hour-long recap of what happened in the 3rd episode. While it was a misstep, in my opinion, it showed the beginnings of the final alliance between Elves and Humans and a new ore, Mithril, which is what Frodo’s chainmail armor was made of in the original trilogy. Nonetheless, so far, it’s one of the weakest episodes thus far. If Amazon is going to continually make each season a success, they are going to need to learn how to keep this show interesting for everyone. It’s a battle that Amazon is going to fight and hopefully they learn their lessons from this first season.
However, I did find all the plot points interesting to watch as they develop. Even if the show is moving at a snail’s pace. The Rings Of Power have been building up to a battle, and I sincerely hope that the battle is going to be fun to watch. If something get’s built up this much, it better be good. Otherwise, I’m going to be severely disappointed, along with the hundreds of people who watched this every Friday.
I love all the slow emotional moments this show has. Every slow moment teaches us something about each character, whether it’s their motivations, thoughts, or anxiety. I loved the moment Galadriel and Halbrand had in episode 5. I loved the emotions they showed as they told each other what they went through. These actors poured emotion into this scene and it was very enjoyable to watch. If I’m honest, I think Halbrand’s tears were very much real in this scene. Each actor does their best to embody their characters and their hard work pays off in the end.
Spoiler alert for this paragraph. (You’ve been warned)Let’s talk about the ending of the 7th episode and the entire 8th episode for a second here. Halbrand being Sauron the entire time? I’m going, to be honest, and say I had suspicions this whole time. The show has been hinting that there was something that he was not telling us, which made him very suspicious. I do have to say that I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see much of the Balrog being awakened at the end of the 7th episode. Guess we’ll see more about what happens with the Dwarves there in season 2. Finally, it took a whole 7 hours, just to see the Southlands transition to Mordor. That took way longer than it needed to. It was exciting to see the three Elvish rings created, and I am personally excited to see what happens next and how the other kingdoms will react.

The Lord Of The Rings The Rings Of Power Trailer Teases Sauron & Balrog
The Balrog awakens in the 7th episode

Personally, I find The Rings of Power very enjoyable to watch. I love the scenery, and how realistic it looks. I love how this show fleshes out the elves. Not much is known about the Elves after watching The Hobbit and LOTR, but, you learn a good chunk about who they are as people after the first 2 episodes. The show has introduced characters such as Durin IV, in which Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy mentions “the day of Durin” multiple times. There’s also Elrond and Galadriel who are the main characters in the Rings Of Power. They are also featured in The Hobbit and LOTR. Elves can live for hundreds of years so that is why they appear in The Hobbit and look like they are 30.
While Peter Jackson’s trilogies are arguably the best compared to The Rings Of Power. However, for first-time showrunners Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne, it’s a pretty fun show to watch. This show adds a lot to the lore of the Middle-Earth. It tries its best to stay pretty faithful to the source material for the most part. It does change a few things here or there, but those who complain about those changes tend to painstakingly find what’s wrong with the show. For the most part though, when watching the first 5 minutes of LOTR: The Fellowship of The Ring, the facts seem to add up for the most part. Now I’m not a madman, I haven’t read the Silmarillion. (I will update this as more information comes, and my opinion of the show changes, as I read the Silmarillion)
So,did Amazon’s $715 million dollar Lord Of The Rings prequel pay off? For the most part, it has paid off. Although we’ve only seen one season of The Rings of Power, we’ve learned a lot about those who inhabit this world, and I for one am eager to see where the next steps of the show head. I’m excited to see this battle and see what happens as a result of it. This show hasn’t disappointed me thus far, and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t. For it to not fail, however, we need to pick up the pace, and I hope Amazon realizes that. I found my attention drifting from time to time, and to keep this show successful, we need to not depend on a scene visually exciting here or there. I hope Amazon learns its lesson and makes this next season better balanced in terms of pacing.