‘House of the Dragon’ Vs. “The Rings of Power”

0

Remember two months ago when we were all talking about the next two big-budget TV series, postulating that this could be a new golden age of fantasy TV? How naive we were! We’re nearing the season finales of House of the Dragon on HBO and The Rings of Power on Amazon Prime, and the results are in. One of them is an all-time classic, thrilling trash soap opera melodrama. The other is pathetic, wooden and drab, the worst big-budget IP debacle since The Rise of Skywalker. I think you all know which is which. Let’s review.

house on fire

After its disappointing and divisive final season, people are all set to shove Game of Thrones into pop culture memory. So it’s quite surprising that House of the Dragon is one of the best TV shows of the year. A few of the secondary characters are a bit wooden, and there was this weird episode where the characters spent most of the time running around in the dark. But most importantly, the show did everything right.

If there were any complaints about House of the Dragon early on, it’s that the show seemed too focused on the Targaryen family dynamic and spent most of its time inside the walls of the castle. King’s Landing, the seat of power that defines the Game of Thrones universe. The only major battle scene involved defeating a guy called Crab Feeder, a grotesque weirdo who proved so important to the show’s dynamic that he didn’t have a single line until the show. turns it into lunch meat.

At its best, and often is at its best, House of the Dragon is like watching an untold Shakespearean tragedy. The stakes are so high, the mistakes so huge, the flaws of the main characters speaking out. And while the unfolding of a decades-long plot has some people saying the show is going too fast, I feel like it gives House of the Dragon a depth and scope that most TV shows , which dwell on the same storylines with a completely hazy timeline, is missing.

But in House of the Dragon, we know exactly how much time has passed. Twenty eight years old. Long enough that the show had to recast almost every main character, some of them twice. It has no precedent in TV history except for Me Claudius, who I’m old enough to remember and who remains one of the great TV shows of all time. But Claudius was definitely a cheap BBC studio production (with Shakespearean-level actors), while House of the Dragon is pure cinema.

Matt Smith, the most famous actor, received the most praise for playing the evil anti-hero Daemon, and rightfully so. But if Paddy Considine, as the pathetically deceived and eternally decaying monarch Viserys Targaryen, doesn’t win every acting award imaginable, I’ll eat my beloved garden gnome Tommy Lasorda. This scene alone, where, at the very end of his life and strength, he staggers one last time into the throne room to hold the kingdom together, is one of the most epic in television history. The other characters put aside their little quarrels to pay tribute to this act of incredible courage.

No character has ever been so well-meaning, or made so many tragically bad choices, than Viserys. The rest of the cast, at least the rest of the cast that matters, was also uniformly excellent. And in every episode, there’s at least one “oh shit!” moment. I find myself wanting to watch every episode as quickly as possible, to avoid spoilers. This is the sign of a successful show.

Tired of the rings

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, on the other hand, is a billion-dollar disaster unparalleled in television history, a turgid, heavy, and pompous meander through Middle-earth that no one can imagine. wanted, but was willing to try anyway because of the near-universal love for the source material. Unlike House of the Dragon, the series’ timeline is incredibly hazy. The first episode covers thousands of years in five minutes, while the others take place over a period of five years or five days, it’s hard to say, although nothing really happens until episode six .

With the exception of a dwarf prince who is really having fun and a captain who seems ready to call his agency to blame them for casting him on the wrong show, the rest of the cast is uniformly awful. They run the gamut of emotions, to paraphrase one of Dorothy Parker’s greatest lines “from A to B.” Morfyyd Clark, who plays the elven warrior Galadriel, seems eternally constipated, grimacing with a wry smile through a series of increasingly dire circumstances.

Despite all the twists and turns of La Maison du Dragon, the show leaves you wondering “what’s going to happen next”? The Rings of Power, on the other hand, constantly make you think, “What’s going on right now?” The scenes last forever and nothing happens. In House of the Dragon, an old king is seen in bed and his eye decays and he makes a tragic blunder. In The Rings of Power, we see an old king in bed and he whispers something absurd that leads the characters to make the exact same decision they were going to make anyway. Also, we have no idea who half of the characters are, their names, or what they do and why at any given time.

The Hollywood Reporter did a pathetic interview with ROP show runners Patrick McKay and JD Payne, essentially providing a smokescreen for some of the most crappy TV writing this year or any year. “It’s the most serious production,” said one. “It’s not paid work for anyone. It’s a labor of love. They also said that the Rings of Power get all their shit because they’re on the “front lines of the culture war.” But it’s a thick tree to hide behind. Nobody but the most troll trolls care that the show has dark elves and dwarves. If those dark elves or dwarves had something interesting to say or do, no one would care. Hell, half the cast of House of the Dragon is black. And no one cares. Because the characters are cool and well-acted and, like everyone else in this series, have compelling arcs that feed into the main storyline.

And just as the most recent House of the Dragon gave us one of the best scenes in television history, The Rings of Power gave us one of the worst. At the end of the penultimate episode of Rings of Power, the villain, Adar, wanders through the warm-colored day created by the explosion of Mount Doom, which itself was born because, apparently, of the activated hot water. underground rocks.

“Hail, Adar, Lord of the Southlands!” says a wandering man, in a line that looks like every other line in the series.

“No,” Adar said. “It’s a place that no longer exists.”

“So what shall we call it?” asks the man.

And instead of answering him, Adar looks at the mountain in the blood red sky. We see the words “The Southlands” in Gothic script. It fades and the word “Mordor” replaces it. As if we were all morons and didn’t know what was already happening. This might be the dumbest TV moment since Fonzie jumped on the shark.

Also, we didn’t need to see the creation of Mordor. Watching the Rings of Power, we were already in hell.

Share.

Comments are closed.