‘The Rings of Power’ Fans Want Real-World Politics Nowhere Near Middle-earth

Image via Prime Video

There are not many parallels with reality in a fantasy series.

While many clearly fictional series take aim at real-world issues and attempt to reflect them through lore-friendly additions, most fantasies tackle social and political issues of a very different kind than viewers are used to. That’s not stopping many critical viewers from hurling accusations at Amazon Prime. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, making “awakening” claims and political messages thrown into their dialogue. These claims are tenuous at best, as one Redditor pointed out, and appear to be yet another attempt by the show’s ardent detractors to paint it in a negative light.

User Late_Stage_PhD took the officer power rings subreddit to explain how a reunion speech in one of the show’s recent episodes wasn’t very much an attempt to bleed real-world politics in Middle-earth. They provide three reasons why those people who are heaping real political messages into elf-deprecating speech “are the ones actively bringing modern politics into the show,” noting that these people are tapping into “a very weak parallel [to] force a meaningless performance on the show.” Critical viewers link a speech from the fourth episode with the eternal feeling of “they took our job”, and Late_Stage_PhD has none of that.

The Reddit user’s three reasons are laid out in detail, as Late_Stage_PhD takes it upon himself to explain why the original speech, followed by Ar-Pharazôn’s speech, are based on the politics of Middle-earth, rather than the politics of the United States. . The first point notes that “it’s a very weak parallel,” before diving into a full breakdown of Ar-Pharazôn’s words and what prompted them. The speech to which he responds relates directly to the elves and their presence as “workers who do not sleep, do not tire, do not age.” We’re a long way from discovering any path to immortality in 2022, so the parallels between the Númenóreans’ complaints and those of, shall we say, angry right-wingers are tenuous at best.

The second point further clarifies Late_Stage_PhD’s position, since it points out that xenophobia and nationalism were not born in the 21st century. These unfortunate mentalities have existed since society was formed, and “just because there are [is] xenophobia in modern times does not mean that it is exclusively modern”. The ability to see one’s experiences reflected in a show’s story doesn’t make those plots modern, it just shows humanity’s tendency to repeat our mistakes.

The third and most important point raised by Late_Stage_PhD emphasizes the importance of understanding Ar-Pharazôn’s speech in the larger context of the power rings history. It’s clearly a scene staged on purpose, and the political message that some viewers fixate on is not the point. Instead, Late_Stage_PhD urges them to see beyond the superficial dialogue, to the real purpose behind the original speech, and more importantly, to Ar-Pharazôn’s careful manipulation.

A clear behind-the-scenes purpose, according to Late_Stage_PhD, is to showcase Ar-Pharazôn’s ability to maneuver through the crowd. His skill in the art of speech is carefully presented in this introductory scene and is clearly laying the groundwork for future plot points. His clear familiarity with the original speaker is also hinted at, and indicates that the original speech, and Ar-Pharazôn’s reply, were carefully prepared to make Ar-Pharazôn look good.

Long time Lord of the Rings fans can see the story brewing beneath Ar-Pharazôn’s sweet words, but viewers not looking to the future may remain confused as to the true purpose of this speech. Late_Stage_PhD also has a message for them, pointing out that the show only has a few episodes in its history. We’re still a long way from the climax of both Númenór and Middle-earth as a whole, so it’s probably best to save any harsh conclusions for a bit later in the story.


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