The two most popular series in this year’s fall TV series are prequels to very successful fantasy films. However, although these shows have similarities, “Rings of Power” and “House of the Dragon” differ in intensity. The head of Amazon Studios, the streamer that produces ROP, explained that they wanted to make a lighter show, and the fans actually asked for it.
Social media has clearly pointed out the differences. In one of the episodes of the Lord of the Rings prequel, we can hear some good songs, a conversation about the food of the day and this gorgeous warm fantasy lighting. Whereas in the prequel “Game of Thrones” we should get incest, violence and dark scenes both literally and figuratively. Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, told Variety about this, explaining:
“There is so much darkness in the world. Leaning into the light was another thing that really attracted everyone — bringing our global customer base something hopeful, filled with light and something a family can look at. So many people have grown up with this literature, and we wanted this series to repay the new generations of Tolkien lovers. We used the phrase, “If you’re old enough to read books, you’re old enough to watch shows.” We knew from the very beginning that this was not our “Game of Thrones”. In fact, fans have been talking since the deal was closed, saying, “Please don’t try to insert sex and a level of provocative violence,” things that don’t seem true to the stories Tolkien wanted to tell.”
I agree, “The Lord of the Rings” and “Rings of Power” are objects that can be watched by the whole family. I would love to watch it with my parents and my younger brother. However, “Game of Thrones” and subsequently “House of the Dragon” are not series that I want to watch in communication as a family activity. Incest in Westeros is certainly more intense than watching a couple of Hobbits chatting with trees.
Both properties have one thing in common – their vast worlds and massive acting ensemble. Both prequels also involve different actors. Although critics praised them, both shows were criticized by viewers for their diverse cast. Especially “Rings of Power”, reviews of which were sharply criticized after the first few episodes were released. However, the cast of OG LOTR as well as the cast of Rings of Power defended the casting, such as Nazanin Boniadi, who said it reflected Tolkien’s “portrayal of camaraderie.”
This image of camaraderie is what distinguishes “Rings of Power” and “Lord of the Rings” from the “Game of Thrones” franchise. As Salke explained, adding a lot of sex and violence to the series “doesn’t seem true” to Tolkien’s vision. Fans also spoke out about the series fitting into Tolkien’s world, so they asked for less violence. Personally, I appreciate how different these two shows are and their different approaches to tonality.
If you want to check out one or both shows, you can do that. “Rings of Power” can be watched with a subscription on Amazon Prime, and new episodes are released every Friday, while the original trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”, “Game of Thrones” and “House of the Dragon” (new episodes are released every Sunday at 21:00 Eastern time on HBO) can be watched with a subscription HBO Max.