‘Rings Of Power’ Is Getting Review Bombed So Hard Amazon Suspended Reviews Entirely

This post was republished on 9/5.

Amazon is not amused about the fanboy wars that have surrounded its billion dollar Lord of the Rings series, Rings of Power. Unlike its rival House of the Dragon, Rings of Power has become the latest front in the review bombing wars, the most recent since uh, She-Hulk. This happens a lot, okay?

The Rings of Power is getting slammed essentially everywhere that accepts fan reviews:

On Rotten Tomatoes, while its critics score is 84%, it has a 36% audience score.

On IMDB (which Amazon owns) it has a 6.2/10 with 25% of reviews being 1 star.

On Amazon itself, it has…nothing, because Amazon has disabled reviews of the series entirely. Normally when you watch an Amazon show or movie, whether it’s an original or not, it will have user star ratings there. But Rings of Power has zero reviews listed because Amazon didn’t want to be broadcasting its premiere with a low score right next to it, no doubt.

Why are fans mad this time? Take your pick of reasons. It’s a combination of racism, misogyny, and supposed unfaithfulness to Tolkien’s original work. Sometimes all three of these reasons are the same.

Among the reasons for the negative reviews:

  • Some fans are upset Galadriel is now a warrior instead of the sword-free sorceress she was in the LOTR trilogy. In general, the show has let its female characters slay out, including both Bronwyn and Galadriel.
  • There have been long, long running controversies about how the show has included black elves, dwarves and humans in this adaptation, as opposed to the overwhelmingly white original trilogy. Complaints are that this clashes with Tolkien’s original work and has led to debates about “whether dwarves can be black because they live underground.”
  • I read that the Harfoots having Irish/English country accents have offended some people in that region because they’re depicted as dirty, gypsy types.
  • Then just…take your pick of any number of things that die-hard Tolkien devotees see as the show departing from the source material, or skipping over parts that should have been adapted instead. The general idea is that Jackson’s trilogy was faithful to the work while this is not.

Again, I’m not saying any of this is correct, or even the majority opinion of fans, but all of it feeds into the reasons for the flood of low scores for the series. This does seem to be at a level that House of Dragon managed to avoid, even as it faced similar controversies (cast members faced racist abuse for playing black nobles on that show). But we haven’t seen the same level of backlash compared to what’s happening with Rings of Power.

Will Amazon turn reviews back on eventually? I don’t know, probably not for a while. But if you’re seeing these scores and questioning the quality of the show, I’d…take into consideration who is submitting these reviews and why, and make up your own mind once you see it.

Update (9/5): After a few more days, things are trending upward at least a little bit, with user scores ticking as more people have seen the show, but they’re still a lot lower than Amazon would like to see, no doubt.

On IMDB, the show has gone from a 6.2 out of 10 to a 6.8 out of 10, which is still not great, and a far cry from House of the Dragon’s 8.8 out of 10, but it’s still an upward trend. I have also noticed that while Amazon is still not listing the show’s “star review” on Amazon Prime, which was the genesis for this article, they are still showing the IMDB score in some listings. Again, Amazon owns IMDB, but they do not appear to be fiddling with the score too much there, if at all.

On Rotten Tomatoes, things have not moved quite as much, as the show has gone from a 36% to a 39% even as five times as many reviews are now in. That’s still miles below where Amazon would want it to be, and yet again, most of this seems to be coming from fans whose complaints…may not be as valid as they think, whether it’s misinterpreting Tolkien’s own characters, or just old-fashioned sexism and racism when it comes to the storyline. Though again, even though House of the Dragon has faced similar issues, much of this seems to be coming from the century-old roots of the Tokien fanbase, whereas fewer people are complaining about House of the Dragon’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s Fire and Blood. Still, Rings of Power has broken every Amazon viewership record there is, so it’s doing what it needs to do for them.

We’ll see how things play as more episodes air and fans may warm up to the concept in time. For now, I would not read too much into these audience scores, as ever, and make up your own mind when it comes to the quality of the show itself (personally, I do like House of the Dragon a bit more!).

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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