Should I Watch Rings Of Power Before Lord Of The Rings?

by Barbara

The sprawling landscapes of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth have captured the imaginations of readers and viewers for generations. At the heart of this vast and intricate world are two epic sagas—The Lord of the Rings and The Rings of Power. As fans eagerly anticipate the release of The Rings of Power, a prequel to the beloved trilogy, the question arises: should one delve into this new series before experiencing the timeless masterpiece that is The Lord of the Rings? In this exploration, we dissect the pros and cons, navigating the intricate web of Middle-earth to guide you on your cinematic journey.

Setting the Stage: The Lore of Middle-earth

Before diving into the cinematic debate, let’s set the stage by delving into the lore of Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings, originally a trilogy of novels, was adapted into a groundbreaking film series directed by Peter Jackson. The narrative centers around the One Ring and the perilous quest to destroy it, bringing together a fellowship representing different races and cultures of Middle-earth.


The Rings of Power, on the other hand, is an upcoming television series set in the Second Age, long before the events of The Lord of the Rings. This prequel promises to explore the forging of the Rings of Power, the rise of Sauron, and the events that shape the world as we know it in The Lord of the Rings.


Pros of Watching The Rings of Power First

Fresh Entry Point:

For those new to Middle-earth, The Rings of Power offers a fresh entry point into Tolkien’s universe. With a narrative set in a different era, viewers can ease into the complexity of Middle-earth without the baggage of prior knowledge. This makes the prequel an enticing option for newcomers seeking a contemporary introduction to Tolkien’s world.


Expanded Lore:

The Rings of Power promises to delve into the rich history and lore of Middle-earth, providing a deeper understanding of the events leading up to The Lord of the Rings. Watching the prequel first may enhance the viewing experience of the original trilogy, offering context and insights into characters, locations, and the intricate web of relationships that shape Middle-earth.

Visual Spectacle:

Advancements in cinematic technology since The Lord of the Rings film trilogy allow The Rings of Power to present Middle-earth in a visually stunning and immersive manner. For those who appreciate cutting-edge cinematography and special effects, starting with the prequel may provide a more contemporary and visually satisfying experience.

Cons of Watching The Rings of Power First

Spoilers and Anticipation:

One of the primary concerns of watching The Rings of Power first is the potential for spoilers. The prequel’s narrative is intricately linked to the events of The Lord of the Rings, and watching it beforehand might reveal critical plot points that could diminish the element of surprise in the original trilogy. Anticipating the outcome of certain characters or story arcs may alter the viewing experience of The Lord of the Rings.

Changing Perspectives:

The Rings of Power, being a prequel, might introduce characters and events that reshape perspectives on key elements of The Lord of the Rings. While this can enhance the viewing experience for some, others may prefer the unaltered journey through the original trilogy before exploring the nuances of the prequel.

Legacy Appreciation:

The Lord of the Rings has left an indelible mark on popular culture and cinematic history. For those who have not experienced this iconic trilogy, watching The Rings of Power first might mean missing out on the opportunity to appreciate the legacy and impact of The Lord of the Rings in its original, unaltered form.

Pros of Watching The Lord of the Rings First

Classic Narrative:

The Lord of the Rings is hailed as a classic in both literature and cinema. Watching this trilogy first allows viewers to experience the story as it was originally presented by J.R.R. Tolkien and adapted by Peter Jackson. The emotional and narrative journey of Frodo Baggins and the fellowship remains a cornerstone of fantasy storytelling.

Chronological Unveiling:

The Lord of the Rings offers a chronological unveiling of Middle-earth, allowing viewers to discover its vast landscapes, cultures, and conflicts in the order intended by the author. This chronological progression enhances the storytelling experience, gradually revealing the depth and complexity of Tolkien’s world.

Preservation of Surprises:

By starting with The Lord of the Rings, viewers preserve the element of surprise. The twists and turns of the narrative, character developments, and the fate of the One Ring unfold organically, contributing to the emotional impact that has resonated with audiences worldwide. Experiencing The Rings of Power afterward may then offer a fresh perspective on the lore without compromising the original trilogy’s impact.

Cons of Watching The Lord of the Rings First

Potentially Daunting:

The Lord of the Rings, with its three extended-length films, can be a substantial time commitment. For those with limited time or attention spans, the prospect of investing in a lengthy trilogy might seem daunting. The Rings of Power, with its episodic format, could be a more manageable entry point for those seeking a shorter and more digestible introduction to Middle-earth.

Technological Evolution:

Some viewers, particularly those accustomed to contemporary cinematic advancements, might find the visual effects and technology used in The Lord of the Rings somewhat dated. While the trilogy’s impact is undeniable, those who prioritize cutting-edge visuals might be drawn to the more modern cinematography of The Rings of Power.

Potential for Overanalysis:

Given the fervent fanbase and scholarly discussions surrounding The Lord of the Rings, there is a risk that newcomers might become overwhelmed by the extensive lore, interpretations, and analyses that accompany the trilogy. Starting with The Rings of Power could offer a gentler introduction to Middle-earth without the weight of existing scholarly discourse.

The Middle-earth Conundrum: Striking the Balance

In the grand tapestry of Middle-earth, the decision to watch The Rings of Power before or after The Lord of the Rings is a personal one, influenced by individual preferences, prior exposure to Tolkien’s works, and the desire for a cinematic journey unspoiled. Striking the right balance requires careful consideration of the pros and cons outlined above, along with an understanding of one’s own expectations and inclinations.

For those new to Middle-earth, the choice might hinge on whether to embark on the classic journey first or to opt for a contemporary entry point. Die-hard fans of The Lord of the Rings may find solace in preserving the chronological narrative and appreciating the impact of the original trilogy before delving into the prequel.

Ultimately, both The Rings of Power and The Lord of the Rings contribute to the rich tapestry of Middle-earth, offering distinct but interconnected experiences. As the cinematic landscape of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world expands, viewers are invited to navigate the realms of fantasy with an open mind, savoring the magic of Middle-earth in whichever order they choose. Whether you choose to start with the classic or embrace the new, the journey through Middle-earth promises to be an unforgettable adventure.


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