One Major Request LOTR Fans Had About Rings Of Power, And Yes, Game Of Thrones Was Involved

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones and Morfydd Clark in Rings of Power
(Image credit: HBO and Amazon)

Two of the most popular shows on the fall TV schedule this year are prequels to highly successful fantasy properties. However, while these shows have their similarities what differentiates Rings of Power and House of the Dragon is the intensity. The head of Amazon Studios, the streamer that releases ROP, has explained that they wanted to make a lighter show and that fans actually asked for it. 

Social media has clearly pointed out the differences. In one episode of the Lord of the Rings prequel, we might get some nice songs, convo about the day's food, and that gorgeous warm fantasy lighting. While in the Game of Thrones prequel we are due to get incest, violence, and dark scenes both literally and figuratively. Jennifer Salke, the head of Amazon Studios, talked to Variety about this, explaining: 

There’s so much darkness in the world. Leaning into light was the other thing that was really appealing to everybody — bringing something to our global customer base that is hopeful and has light and that a family can watch. So many people have grown up with this literature, and we wanted this series to pay it forward for new generations of Tolkien lovers. The line we’ve been using is ‘If you’re old enough to read the books, you’re old enough to watch the show.’ We knew from the beginning that this was not our Game of Thrones. In fact, the fans spoke up from the minute the deal was closed, saying, ‘Please don’t try to insert sex and a level of provocative violence,’ things that don’t feel true to the stories that Tolkien wanted to tell.

I’d agree, Lord of the Rings and Rings of Power are properties that families can watch together. I would happily watch both with my parents and younger sibling. However, Game of Thrones and subsequently House of the Dragon are not shows I want to watch in communion as a family activity. The incest in Westeros is for sure more intense than watching a couple of hobbits chat with trees. 

One thing both properties have in common is their vast worlds and massive ensemble casts. Both prequels have also hired diverse casts. While they have been praised by critics, both shows have been criticized by viewers for their diverse casting. Especially, Rings of Power, which got review bombed after the first few episodes were released. However, the OG LOTR cast as well as the Rings of Power actors have defended the casting, like Nazanin Boniadi who said it’s reflective of “Tolkien’s image of fellowship.” 

This image of fellowship is what separates Rings of Power and Lord of the Rings from the Game of Thrones franchise. As Salke explained putting lots of sex and violence into the show didn’t “feel true” to Tolkien’s vision. Fans have also spoken out about making sure the series fits within Tolkien's world, which is why they requested less violence. Personally, I appreciate how different these two shows are and their different approaches to tone. 

If you want to check one or both shows out you can. Rings of Power can be watched with an Amazon Prime subscription and drops new episodes every Friday, while the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, Game of Thrones, and House of the Dragon (with new episodes every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO) can be watched with an HBO Max Subscription

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She spent many years working in local journalism across the country writing about art, news and sports. One of her favorite films is When Harry Met Sally and she walks around constantly quoting Ted Lasso.