The new long-awaited Prime Video show finally came to fruition on 1 September, after Amazon paid Tolkien’s estate $250m (£211m) in 2017 for the rights to set a fantasy series in the world of Middle-earth.
Since its release, it’s generally received a positive critical response, with The Independent’s Kevin E G Perry writing in his four-star review: “The most expensive TV show ever made rummages around in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings appendices and comes up with gold.”
“So many people have grown up with this literature, and we wanted this series to pay it forward for new generations of Tolkien lovers,” Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Variety in a recent interview.
“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,” she said.
While its release coincided with HBO Max’s highly anticipated Game of Thrones spinoff, House of the Dragon, which is well-known for its portrayal of sex and violence, Salke said LOTR had a different motto.
“The line we’ve been using is ‘If you’re old enough to read the books, you’re old enough to watch the show,” she explained. “We knew from the beginning that this was not our Game of Thrones.”
She further added: “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.”
Responding to its success, Salke revealed: “We really anticipate, with these last three episodes, a huge turnout, because it’s all coming together and curiosity is at a fever pitch.
“These last few episodes are the strongest in the season, because they’re not just about the setup. They’re excellent.”
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power premieres Fridays on Amazon’s Prime Video.