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  • Accidental Innuendo: Durin's "Give me the meat and give it to me RAW" has essentially become this show's "Give it to us RAW and wriggling!".
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The mainstream interpretation of Sauron's offer to make Galadriel his queen is that it was a deception, and Galadriel understood what Saruman didn't in the Third Age: Sauron doesn't share power. He is after all, canonically a master manipulator and deceiver. However, an alternative view postulated by some is that perhaps Galadriel's light would have unified with Sauron's dark and they would have brought balance and peace to Middle-earth. This would then be Galadriel making the same mistake she did when she befriended Halbrand, perpetuating the darkness she sought to defeat. This theory is obviously popular with Galadriel/Halbrand shippers but it is by no means just them who have suggested it.
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    • How much of "Halbrand's" claim that I Just Want to Be Normal was sincere. It's possible that he did just want to spend a while pretending to be human and making things on Númenor until Galadriel's determination gave him a reason to think he could return to power after all. On the other hand, he was carrying the emblem of the "lost king" from the start and wore it openly, indicating that he wanted it to be recognized.
      • Word of Saint Paul, Charlie Vickers, states that Halbrand was Sauron at his lowest, straight after begging Eönwë to let him rejoin the Maiar and fleeing after being refused, repenting "because of fear" and trying to rebuild himself from scratch after his fiasco in Angband and no one could tell if Sauron's repentance was genuine. Sauron was in a bad mental place and Galadriel unwillingly got him back on track, explaning both his sudden surge of activity and his obsession for her. Additionally he has stated that any relationship he would have had with Galadriel would have ultimately been for his own benefit and not out of any genuine affection.
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  • Angel/Devil Shipping: The Lady of Light and the Dark Lord are shipped together by a good chunk of the fandom, being by far the most popular pairing. People went as far as comparing the scene between Sauron and Galadriel to Anakin asking Padme to join the dark side and Kylo Ren asking Rey, and rooting for Galadriel to accept Sauron's offer, many expressing that this was the only break from the lore they would be absolutely on board for, despite all the critics for the rest.
  • Anvilicious: The portrayal of the Númenóreans as biased against the elves because they fear they will take over their "trades" is both a significant departure from the books, where suspicions about the elves are driven by fear of the Valar and a desire for deathlessness (though this plotline is primarily from Akallabêth, which was published as part of The Silmarillion, it is also explicitly stated in Appendix A), and is seen as a pretty clear allegory for real-world arguments against immigration.
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  • Captain Obvious Reveal: In the Season 1 finale with "The Stranger", as he is confirmed to be an Istari, which fits his displays of magical power. While it was initially toyed that he could be Sauron, him being an Istari, wearing grey, his ability to speak to insects and his advice to "Always follow your nose" all point to Gandalf, though the showrunners have yet to actually confirm if it is truly Gandalf.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • Criticism of Galadriel's role as an Action Girl clad in armor and fighting with a sword tends to assert her as being a powerful magic-user who didn't need them, as shown by Cate Blanchett's portrayal, especially due to the Adaptation Expansion in the Hobbit movies where she fights with magic as part of the White Council. Within the book The Lord of the Rings itself, she takes down the dark fortress of Dol Guldur with magic. In contrast, some versions of her past in other writings describe her as Amazonian in some way and do involve her fighting in a conventional manner. Further lore suggests that Elf women in general were trained in self-defense. But at the same time, Tolkien only wrote about her explicitly fighting in one battle like this and considered having Galadriel stay out of the subsequent war, and the Amazon comparison is limited to athletics and such in the context of it being akin to a phase in her "youth". And much later in LOTR, Dol Guldur is first captured by an army led by her husband Celeborn before she destroys it, though it's not said if she was present for the battle or not. It's not helped by the fact that according to many materials Galadriel already was married to Celeborn, had a daughter (Elrond's future wife Celebrian), and ruled Lórien as a queen during the Second Age, when the show takes place, while the show mentions only Celeborn being missing in action.
    • The predominance of Elves with short hair leads to unfavorable comparisons with the movie trilogy, where literally all Elves had long hair. In contrast, it is pointed out that Tolkien never outright gave a blanket statement that "all" Elves had long hair. But at the same time, he did give such blanket statements for major Elven groups (Noldor and Teleri) and strongly gave the impression that it was the norm for Elves in general, tending to describe their hair as being long, though he never specified exact lengths, and wrote that they had beautiful hair which naturally favors longer interpretations.
  • Complete Monster: Waldreg is introduced as a lowly barkeep, but is in truth a treacherous fanatic of Sauron. Believing Adar to be the coming of Sauron, Waldreg convinces half of the population of Ostirith to betray their fellow men and ally with the Orcs. Waldreg later proves his loyalty to Adar by murdering the young Rowan. Having hidden the sword of Morgoth for years so as to one day use it in Sauron's service, Waldreg swears allegiance to Adar purely for his own ambitions and uses the sword to activate Mount Doom on Adar's command, decimating the Southlands' population and terraforming the land into Mordor.
  • Creepy Awesome:
    • The Digger Orc has received praise for making Orcs terrifying by being a skull-masked monstrosity fit for a horror film, who takes way more punishment than the cannon fodder of previous Legendarium stories.
    • Adar has received praise from many for being an Affably Evil and sympathetic antagonist whose actions and personality are nonetheless disturbing, the ominous sway he holds over his minions also extending to much of the audience.
    • When Halbrand realizes that Galadriel is on to him, he gives her a soft Evil Smile and proceeds to transform from a charming rogue to a powerful sorcerer with just body language, no CGI needed. His response when asked his name: "I have been awake since before the breaking of the first silence. In that time, I have had many names."
  • Cry for the Devil: Surprisingly, the Orcs and Uruks get this treatment in the sixth episode, when Adar explains that he and his kind just want a home after feeling their previous master, Sauron, failed to protect their interests. While their means are extreme — displacing hundreds of people and killing hundreds more in the process — it's Galadriel who comes across as unsympathetic during this scene, having become so fanatical over her obsession to find Sauron that she claims that their existence is a mockery of life as she vows to kill them all.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Waldreg is very popular among the viewers, thanks to his unwavering devotion to the dark lords, his memetic quotes, and his adaptability to the events.
    • Prince Durin IV and his wife Disa have been cited as highlights in most reviews because of their endearing mix of comedy and genuine pathos. Since the plotline they are involved with is more focused on Elrond, they get less screen time by comparison, but steal the show when they do appear.
    • Elendil is a fan favorite even among the haters, who consider him to be the most Lotr-like character. That, and the actor's good looks enough to be called "Elendilf".
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Halbrand has huge question marks above his head. Since his appearance and the revelation that he is of royal seed, people debate if he is Sauron during his time in Númenor, or one of the future nine kings that will become one day the Ringwraiths.
    • Prior to the reveal of his backstory in Episode 6, Adar's real identity was another wild guess. The show blurred his appearance at the end of Episode 3, hinting at his identity being very important. This led fans to speculate that he was either a a fallen Elf or Sauron himself, with the former eventually being confirmed.
    • The meteor man could be one of the Blue Wizards, Radagast, Sauron, Gandalf, or even Tom Bombadil. The Season 1 finale confirms him to be an Istari and while it doesn't specify which one, it's heavily implied that he is Gandalf. "The Stranger" also has elements of the Blue Wizards, two Istari very scantly mentioned in the whole Legendarium who eventually traveled to the Rhûn in the far east, never to be heard of again. In some mancuscripts, Tolkien wrote they arrived before the other Istari, in the Second Age.
  • Evil Is Cool: Adar has gotten this reaction for his enigmatic and creepy but also oddly charming performance.
  • Evil Is Sexy: As should have been expected, Sauron's real identity turns out to be this with him keeping the handsome visage he had as Halbrand while tempting Galadriel to rule Middle-Earth with him.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation:
    • The explanation of what mithril is in episode 5 quickly earned criticism. Instead of just being a very strong, yet light metal the Dwarves found in Khazad-dûm like the books and other adaptations, it apparently comes from a Silmaril being hidden in a tree atop the Misty Mountains, and during a battle between an unnamed Elf and a Balrog, lightning struck the tree and essentially "imbued" it with properties of "good and evil". Not only does it seem to be trying too hard at making mithril far more magical than it needs to be, but it directly contradicts The Silmarillion in a pretty significant way (insofar as the location of each of the Silmarils is well documented throughout the First Age), and comes across as a completely unnecessary change to the setting except to justify why Dwarves are in the story at all.
    • As something of a follow-up to this, the fact that the titular rings of power being made from mithril explains how they are able to preserve and heal the decay the elves are experiencing earned criticism from viewers, especially book fans, for being not only another unnecessary change to the lore, but also robbing the magical nature of the ring's forging. Considering in the original source material it was the process by which the rings were made, not the materials, that made them special, some felt it was an unnecessary choice to explain the powers of the rings.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Due to the nature of both works being Prequel in the Lost Age adaptations based on popular fantasy franchises that already have an existing rivalry beforehand and the fact that both of them were released only two weeks apart from each other, it's no wonder that The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power fans have a rivalry with House of the Dragon fans. Both works are mostly praised by critics, but the latter has a much better user review score than the former.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Only days after the airing of Season 1, Episode 8, fan fiction portraying Galadriel saying yes to Sauron's proposal appeared.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The Stranger is often referred to as "Meteor Man" by some fans due to his means of arrival. Others jokingly referred to him as "Baby Gandalf" based on speculation over his identity (which was essentially confirmed by the end of the season) and a reference to a Fan Nickname from another popular streaming series.
    • "Guyladriel" is a typically-derogatory one aimed at Galadriel, on account of the show's depiction of her in a more martial and masculine light compared to her book and film trilogy appearances. It's also ironic, as one of Galadriel's other names, Nerwen, literally means "Man-maiden" in reference to her height and athletic pursuits.
    • Elendil has, of course, been dubbed Elendilf.
    • Fans theorized that the unidentified "Southlands" were the lands of Mordor before Sauron took over (they were correct), dubbing them "Before-dor."
    • The show's version of mithril, on account of the overly-involved, canon-contradicting explanation of its formation, has been dubbed "mithrilchlorian".
  • Fight-Scene Failure: The scene in the fourth episode comprising an unarmed, unarmored, not much over five foot tall Galadriel easily overpowering four armed Númenórean prison guards wearing full heavy plate armor. She somehow throws them all into her cell and locks them inside in the span of a few seconds, without them even putting up a fight, with them running inside the cell on their own accord, and with the camera conveniently and quickly cutting to Halbrand and Ar-Pharazôn watching it so the audience doesn't see how exactly she managed to accomplish the feat without using magic. All happens in a jarring way.
    • In the Orc attack on the Southland village, a big orc, winds up fighting Arondir in hand to hand combat, because this orc has no weapon, but there is a moment where he goes to punch Arondir in the face, Arondir leans into it and the force of it knocks him...forward.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Older adaptations that took great liberties with Tolkien's work such as Middle-earth: Shadow of War also received their fair share of criticism. Unlike The Rings of Power, however, the Shadow games were never marketed as "the novel Tolkien never wrote" and instead took after the Peter Jackson trilogy more than anything. They also treated the story as part of its own continuity rather than taking place in the film or book continuity, which dampened criticisms concerning continuity issues.
    • Galadriel is not the first major Tolkien character to be given an Adaptational Angst Upgrade, an implied Age Lift, and a more combat-oriented and brusque characterization; Thorin Oakenshield underwent the same transformation for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. Moreover, even the well-loved Peter Jackson adaptation of The Lord of the Rings wasn't above making extreme characterization changes, most notably with Denethor, Gimli, Faramir, Aragorn, and Elrond. However, since most fans today were introduced to The Lord of the Rings through the films and the characters still follow the same plot between book and movie, the changes are far less noticeable.
    • This criticism was already in effect as the LOTR movies progressed and even more so with the Hobbit movies, but criticism of Galadriel's showy and acrobatic battle feats are often countered by pointing to Legolas's increasingly showy and acrobatic feats in the Jackson movies as well.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Given Galadriel's personal obsession with Sauron, and the reveal that her close friend Halbrand is Sauron in fair form there is tons of this in the fandom. There's also some Sauron/Adar that imagines their closeness, prior to Adar's rebellion, as romantic.
  • Hard-to-Adapt Work: The series is based on the appendices of The Lord of the Rings and exploring the events that lead to the creation of the One Ring and Sauron's defeat, which was lightly touched upon in the book and forms a five-minute prologue in the movie. Thing is the appendices has a little bit of overlap with the Silmarillion and Legendarium as a whole, which is off-limits from the Tolkien Estate. This all makes it near impossible to adapt this story without an absurd amount of Adaptation Expansion that has to deviate from the actual canon not included in The Lord of The Rings.
  • He Really Can Act: Many of the people who speculated that Charlie Vickers might be Sauron in disguise, doubted that he could pull off such an iconic character, especially when he doesn't have an extensive portfolio. Most were surprised by his versatile acting and think he nailed the intimidating factor while switching from the intriguing yet Lovable Rogue Halbrand to the Dark Lord Sauron only with his body language. The reveal worked because for all the suspicions regarding Halbrand, Charlie had the same effect on parts of the audience as Sauron had on Galadriel.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: All of Galadriel's conversations with Halbrand become hilarious knowing he's Sauron. She repeatedly encourages the Dark Lord to be more ambitious and seek power.
  • It's the Same, So It Sucks: While it was advertised as a completely unique product with its own continuity, the series' tendency of repurposing quotes and scenes verbatim from Peter Jackson's Third age trilogy has being perceived as an excessively derivative resource detrimental to the series' own style, aiming to evoke the nostalgia and quality of the films and making some scenes feel like a rehash. Galadriel hiding from the orcs under a tree root - just like the Hobbits do in The Fellowship when hiding from a Nazgul - is an often-cited example.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Sure, show Galadriel is borderline Ax-Crazy and has dangerous behaviour, is willing to risk innocent lives for her selfish goals, and threatened Adar to make him watch while she massacres his "children", but in the end she is just an emotionally broken woman by the death of her brother and the disappearance of her husband. The death of Finrod pains has so much that after confessing to Halbrand her painful memories, even he seems to feel genuinely sympathetic toward her on hearing this. And as if it wasn't enough, the very man she bonded with emotionally, whether it was romantically, cosmically, or both, turns out to be Sauron taking human form. Poor girl is even in denial for a few seconds.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The show is set in the Second Age of Middle-earth which has never been depicted in live-action before (apart from the prologue of the Fellowship of the Ring movie), including stuff like the island kingdom of Númenor that is supposed to predate the flat world being made round, so some book fans are tuning in just because of that stuff. Since the previews also seem to hint at snippets of stuff from the even earlier First Age which also has never before been in live-action, like the Two Trees that predated the Sun and Moon, some of those fans are tuning in just for that stuff in turn.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The show doesn't manage to create intrigue about characters surviving or dying because a combination of some characters being canonically alive at the end of the Second Age and characters shown surviving grave wounds after a short time of uncertainty like Bronwyn or incredibly deadly events like a pyroclastic flow.
  • Memetic Mutation: See here.
  • Misaimed Marketing: The now infamous Superfans review of the teaser trailer. This featured a group of alleged Tolkien "Superfans" (consisting of various social media influencers) discussing the teaser trailer and framing it in a very positive light. Many Tolkien fans immediately noticed that most of the comments were superficial and the participants seemed to lack the basic knowledge of Middle-earth lore that even casual Tolkien fans were familiar with, at one point even asking why the One Ring was forged. A large number of viewers proceeded to vent their frustration about this and generally mocked the video on various social media outlets. Amazon subsequently unlisted the video.
  • Moe: The Harfoots are very cute despite their disheveled appearance.
  • Narm: The resolution of the Meaningful Rename of "The Southlands" to "Mordor", well set up with a dialogue with Adar at the end of Episode 7, is resolved non-diegetically by superimposing in the screen the actual letters of the former words becoming the latter. This has been met with derision, being regarded as a kitsch resource that ruins the seriouness of the moment while spoon-feeding the viewers, considered more suited for post-modern works such as videogames, and out of place in an adaptation of a solemn literary work.
  • Narm Charm: Galadriel's sudden line "there is a tempest in me!" during her dramatic clash with Queen Miriel is usually singled out as an offbeat chuckle-inducing remark, instead of the intended Badass Boast initially invoked in the trailers. However, the tantrum is cut short with a Smash Cut to Galadriel locked in a cell, so the whole scene works underscoring her Small Name, Big Ego.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Southland warg doesn't look nearly as frightening as its buildup implied, resembling a crazed chihuahua-poodle hybrid more than a wolf.
  • Obvious Judas: Fans began to speculate that Halbrand "the smith" and Sauron were one and the same since his introduction in Episode 2. After repeated clues of it, they were proven right in Episode 8.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Unlike other changes, Galadriel being a warrior and war leader can be taken to have some basis in or similarities to the source material, though it's still an extrapolation from scanty statements, and the rights issue with the texts may complicate things. For instance, two versions of her backstory in Unfinished Tales have her fight in the first Kinslaying in the First Age, Elves against Elves, though this is the only time she explicitly fights physically. The latter of the two versions further says that she stayed out of the Elven wars against Morgoth.note Tolkien also wrote in a letter that in her youth, she was "then of Amazon disposition" and distinguished herself in athletic feats, but this is in peacetime in the First Age before all the Elven wars started. The thing is that regardless, the show does not actually have the rights to these writings, being limited to what's in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings only.
    • This is of course not the first time Tolkien's elves have been depicted with shorter hair than his descriptions would indicate, as seen in various book illustrations and Celeborn and Elrond's designs in Ralph Bakshi's animated The Lord of the Rings, let alone fan art.
    • Some of the divergences to the source material taken by the show have been previously present in the MMO The Lord of the Rings Online
      • Sauron took on a different name than Annatar to deceive the elves. To the game's credit, Sauron's Second Age Form in that game is that of an elf and he had the similar-sounding name of Antheron
      • Hobbits played a role in the Second Age, participating in the War of the Last Alliance. This is somewhat backed up by the claim in The Silmarillion that all living things, save for the Elves, were divided on either side.
      • Gandalf was revealed in game to have intervened in the Second Age during the War of the Last Alliance, albeit in a different form
    • The Rings of Power is not the first work outside of Tolkien's text to portray Sauron as a deluded Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist thinking his evil actions were for the good of Middle Earth rather than a simple Evil Overlord. Sauron's Appendix entry in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor claims that he is trying to avert the slow death of the world caused by the withdrawal of the Valar, who has been repeatedly betrayed by friends and allies such as Celebrimbor. It is heavily implied that this appendix entry was written by Sauron himself, and it was how he saw things.
  • Opinion Myopia: Despite the belief of many that this show would flop, the new flagship of the streaming service reportedly achieved 25 million viewers worldwide within the first 24 hours, making it the largest premiere in the history of Amazon Prime. After the release of the sixth episode, Amazon stated that 100 million viewers watched at least part of the series, although they did not clarify how these numbers broke down.
  • Padding: In the season 1 finale, the Harfoot subplot gets some dragged on farewell scenes that are given the same amount of narrative time and focus as the age-defining events happening in Eregion.
  • Platonic Writing, Romantic Reading: The nature of relationship between Galadriel and Sauron is one of wild mass guess, and it doesn't help that the creators don't make any clear statement about them. Producer Gennifer Hutchison cowrote the famous We Can Rule Together scene between Galadriel and Sauron and declared that "it was really about trying to balance his genuine pitch and her feelings of, "This is the person I've been looking for, but this is also the person I've become closest to over this last amount of time." . There is also Morfydd Clark's comment on Galadriel and Sauron which still muddles the waters: “I don’t think it was necessarily romantic, but whatever connection they had was enormous. Whether it was power, friendship, whether it was romance, it was just completely beyond what they felt before. And it shows with people shipping them.” And the third party, Charlie Vickers completely denies anything romantic between Galadriel and Sauron, and doubts that Sauron meant proposing marriage to Galadriel, because he is evil and evil loves only itself. He interpreted their relationship as Sauron just deceiving Galadriel the whole time, and in later interviews he calls what the characters felt as "a cosmic connection". A lot of fans didn't buy any declaration about Sauron/Galadriel not having at least some romantic subtext, and believe the Foe Romance Subtext was intentional from everyone involved, otherwise the producers wouldn't have had Charlie and Morfydd screentest three times to make sure they have chemistry, nor have the characters drawn holding hands in the official concept art or have Sauron getting angry in the moment some nobody taunts him about not being good enough for Galadriel.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Why yes, that is Benjen Stark leading the orcs and looking like an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette yet again.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • While the orcs retain most of their perennial villains status, the show aims to avoid Black-and-White Morality, so when Adar is interrogated by Galadriel and reveals that he was once a regular Elf corrupted by Morgoth, it is very easy for some viewers to see him as a victim and Tragic Monster in the grander scheme of things, especially as Adar genuinely claims "We are creations of The One, Master of the Secret Fire, the same as you. As worthy of the breath of life, and just as worthy of a home" to which Galadriel replies harshly, advocating for genocide. The nuanced, tortured performance and delivery of Adar's actor Joseph Mawle certainly helps his cause.
    • The people were rooting for repentant Sauron in the Season 1 finale. According to them, Sauron just wanted to be a blacksmith and get laid.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Even before the show aired, the Balrog scene from the trailers became incredibly popular due to almost exactly being a Reused Character Design from The Lord of the Rings.
    • Orodruin's eruption was a sight to see. It becomes even better when you know that the method of using water to cause a volcanic eruption is scientifically possible, and known as a Phreatic eruption.
    • The watery illusion that Sauron shows to Galadriel of their futures selves as king and queen ruling Middle-earth together.
    • Sauron simply walking into Mordor.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: A common criticism of the show is how slow it is during the first several episodes. The first four episodes are largely establishing the characters and setting, but it takes so long to do so that the show feels like it isn't really moving forward, not helped by the choice to jump between four different storylines that aren't really connected to each other, with one having no impact on the narrative at all until the last episode. Since the first season was only eight episodes long, this translates into basically half of the run-time being overly slow build-up. A Nielsen report done after the first season ended even mentions that the first few episodes had a sharp decline in viewers as it went on, an indication of how just slow and boring some viewers felt about the show's starting.
  • Special Effects Failure: If one looks carefully at the group of villagers listening to Bronwyn's speech in episode 5, you can see that quite a few of them appear to have been copy-pasted several times on the background during post-production.
  • Squick: In "Udûn", Arondir fights a large orc who has recently had his eye gouged out by a stake. The orc subsequently removes it from his own eye while pinning him down in a chokehold. As a result, a lot of pus and blood from the orc's eye lands directly on poor Arondir's face.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • When the first promotional materials started coming out, some fans felt that the adaptation would be missing the point of the setting and several of the characters, such as describing Elrond as "politically ambitious" and Galadriel as "angry and brash" or depicting Galadriel in armor with what appears to be the Star of Fëanor on it, when she canonically hated Fëanor.
    • The names for several new characters also met with a tepid response, with some feeling they're either just uninspired or poor remixes of actual Tolkien names that are in some cases outright inconsistent, which is a particular sore spot considering how the study of names and languages was literally Tolkien's professional career and a primary part and major motivator of his world-building.
      • The main Harfoot character is named Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot, an obvious mash-up of Sam Gamgee's daughter Elanor, the dwarf Nori of Thorin & Company, and the hobbit surnames Brandybuck + Proudfoot, but in ways that don't make sense together. Sam named his blonde daughter "Elanor" in Sindarin Elvish after a unique golden flower he saw in Lothlorien in basically a hobbit version of Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, "Nori" is an actual Old Norse masculine name which Tolkien used specifically for his Dwarves as an in-universe Translation Convention to represent an unrevealed Northern Westron dialect, and "Brandybuck" derives specifically from the Brandywine River where Bucca ("Buck") and his clan settled upon reaching the Shire thousands of years after events of this series. note  So what we end up with is a female Harfoot with an out-of-place Elvish name, an anachronistic Hobbit surname, and a masculine Dwarvish nickname.
      • The dwarf queen Disa is named after Dís, the sister of Thorin and mother of Kili & Fili, the only female dwarf mentioned by name in Tolkien's writings, just with an added A. As with Nori, the name Dís is actual Old Norse (representing Northern Westron), so applying outside grammatical conventions like the apparent assumption that Dís requires the Latin-based feminine "-a" or that "Nori" is diminutive or feminine because it ends in a long-E sound can come off as odd or uninformed.
      • The human woman Bronwyn has a superficially similar name to Éowyn but the language backgrounds are completely different. "Éowyn" is a constructed name derived from Old English words for "horse" and "joy" and representing an unknown Rohirric name of the same meaning, while "Bronwyn" is a real name derived from Welsh "Bronwen" if not the more well-known "Branwen", meaning "white breast" or "white raven" respectively (though "Bronwyn" is not actually used in Wales itself because the ending "-wyn" is considered masculine).
      • Bronwyn has a son named Theo. His name is superficially similar to Théoden (and his son Théodred and sister Théodwyn), but as with Bronwyn, the language backgrounds don't match up. The common Old English element in those book names is actually theod or þeod, meaning "people/nation", and "Théoden" is a straight lift from the word þeoden, "people-ruler" i.e. "king" etc. In contrast, "Theo" feels rather like a modern nickname, most often short for Theodore, and in that context it ultimately derives from the Greek word theos or θεός, meaning "god".
      • The human male Halbrand has a name that looks like a mix of separate Elvish and Mannish(-representing) ones, i.e. Sindarin "Haldir" and Rohirric (Old English) "Erkenbrand", or even just a slightly remixed "Halbarad", after one of Aragorn's Rangers.
      • Complicating things is that all three humans are stated to be from the "Southlands", a vaguely defined region whose population represents those humans who are not Edain or "Western Men" (from which come the Númenóreans), making some feel that the in-and-out-of-universe Western-flavored names don't make sense for them.
      • Arondir the elf's name seems to be garbled Sindarin, properly "Orondir".
    • The first promotional articles also contained statements by the people behind the show that raised some fans' eyebrows, like their aim to show "the novel Tolkien never wrote" about the Second Age. Snarky fans felt this was being too flippant, considering that Tolkien labored for virtually all his adult life on his fiction, and in the end left most of it unpublished and not polished enough by his standards.
  • They Changed It, So It Sucks: To be expected in a Tolkien adaptation. The creative liberties taken with material from the Second Age are usually deemed more tolerable, given the series' lack of rights and the sparse details known in some areas. Changes concerning established facts and events presented in LOTR are usually received with more belligerence.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The forging of the three rings and Sauron's infiltration of Eregion is done in a bunch of scenes that last for a grand total of roughly 20 minutes in the Season 1 finale.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: The Harfoots subplot has next to nothing to do with the main plot, while the other subplots are tied together in the finale episode of Season 1. The Harfoots are the only characters who are completely isolated from the rest. They are followed and attacked by The Dweller and her fellow Sauron worshippers, who end up mistaking The Stranger for Sauron, but this still has no bearing on the main plot, except for the Harfoots and the viewers learning that The Stranger is one of the Istari, possibly Gandalf himself.
  • Ugly Cute: The orc slavers' warg looks more like a pug than the terrifying creature from the Peter Jackson films.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Galadriel's brash nature, bluntness, and impatience have caused some viewers and reviewers to deem her as being bratty and unlikeable. An often cited example is her instant dismissal of Elrond's opinions and experience with the line "You have not seen what I have seen"; when he responds that he has seen his share, she simply repeats this line in an aggravated tone rather than explaining further. Other commonly cited examples include her lack of concern for her own soldiers and her swiftness to threaten violence on people with minimal provocation. Some viewers have stated they would've found Galadriel's attitude easier to accept as a side effect of youth... except by this stage Galadriel is already thousands of years old, yet characters with a fraction of her life experience show more maturity and wisdom.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The orcs are among the most praised parts of the show, even among its detractors. When the official posters for orcs were leaked, they were unanimously well-received for not being CGI-ed, but actually people in well-made costumes and prosthetics.
    • The eruption of the Orodruin and its transformation into Mount Doom is quite stunning, easily matching or surpasing equivalent scenes from disaster movies.
  • Woobie Species: The Orcs are tragic to the point where both the fans and the haters of the show are rooting for them. They are introduced as the Always Chaotic Evil race like in the movies and books, seeing other races as animals to exploit and enslave, but as the show goes, they are developed to be more of Tragic Monsters. The show goes with one of Tolkien's idea for their origins, where they are Elves corrupted by Morgoth. After Morgoth's defeat, they followed Sauron hoping to be better treated only for Sauron to use Blood Magic on them for his own ambitions. Adar, getting tired of seeing the Orcs constantly exploited, kills Sauron and does anything in his power to make sure the Orcs have a home, too. Sure, their treatment of the people they kidnapped is not nice; they are just as guilty of Fantastic Racism, but they had to resort to such methods because they cannot stay in the sun. And when the other races think you are only capable of evil, need to be exterminated no matter what, and would more likely refuse any sort of cohabitation, you can only make a place for yourself in the world by using force and taking their home if necessary. What's even more tragic is that Sauron is back in the game, ready to subjugate them again, right when they finally got a home without any other master to corrupt them to even more evil, crushing any hope for them to develop into a proper society or even civilization.
  • What The Hell, Costuming Department?:
    • Gil-Galad's seemingly Roman-inspired headpiece has been the subject of a great deal of mockery, as have Celebrimbor and Elrond's hairstyles, with some noting the strong resemblance to Steve Harrington's hair in Stranger Things.
    • The Three Rings of Power look more like something you can buy on Etsy than the pinnacle of Noldorin craftsmanship. Even the metal and stones appear noticeably cheap in the closeups.
    • The armor worn by the Numenoreans (specifically Miriel's) is a visible mix of some plate armor and undershirts with the armor design printed on them.

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