YouTuber Living Anachronism declared that Amazon Studios and Prime Video’s goal with their new The Lord of the Rings: The Rings Of Power TV series is to corrupt Tolkien’s lifelong work.
The YouTuber made his assertion in a video titled “Defending Tolkien! Amazon’s the Rings of Power Trailer is a DISTRACTION.”
He began the video sharing a clip of his predictions for the trailer. He says, “If I were Amazon and I was trying to push through something that I know was going to upset people, I wouldn’t really share any information with this trailer.”
“I would tease just enough that people will be like, ‘Okay. Okay. It looks interesting. It looks cool. It’s flashy.’ Maybe a minute tops. Not give anything. Not give anything about the story. Not really say anything so that I can delay the huge amount of backlash and prevent anyone from boycotting the show as much as possible until it’s released,” he stated.
Living Anachronism explained, “Because then once it’s released and people see it and then we go, ‘Yup, it’s exactly what we though it would be. It’s absolute trash. I can’t believe they’ve done this. How could they do this? Now, we’re gonna have to wait like another decade until the IP cools down enough again that we can get another shot at it.'”
“But by that point, once we’ve all seen it, everyone’s all complaining in their little isolated echo chambers, and it’s not as effective as if they just say, ‘Hey, this is what we’re doing,’ and then everyone goes, ‘No, we’re not doing that,’ and then they lose a whole bunch of money at the box office. Not that Amazon even cares about losing money at the box office,” he opined.
The YouTuber then asserted, “The whole ‘Go Woke, Go Broke’ thing doesn’t work because people pursue that which is most valuable, not that which is most profitable. So it’s much more valuable for them to corrupt Lord of the Rings than it is profitable for them to corrupt Lord of the Rings. And they are doing it anyway. That should tell you something. These people aren’t stupid.”
The YouTuber would then detail the reaction to the trailer, which saw The Lord of the Rings fans criticize Amazon using a paraphrase of Tolkien’s dialogue from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King where Frodo tells Sam, “The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them; and if they are to live at all, they have to live like other living creatures.”
However, he believes criticizing the trailer is a distraction saying, “The trailer is literally a distraction. Criticizing it is a red herring. It does not tell us everything and that is on purpose.”
Instead, he argues that the show should be criticized from a lore respective. He explains, “The only argument that cannot be refuted and therefore the one that we must make is that Amazon blatantly disrespects the lore and by extent Tolkien’s legacy. Their marketing arms in the media are openly hostile. And like almost every other subverted IP in the entire past decade, they hate you and they want to see you replaced.”
He continues, “This is bigger than the show itself. Whether or not it is good or bad is secondary to the fact that there is a war being waged to demonize fans and oust them from their own fandoms. And because Amazon itself has not come out and openly denounced the hit pieces put out by the media, we can only assume that they are complicit.”
The YouTuber eventually outlines the purpose of his video, which is to defend The Lord of the Rings and its fandoms.
He begins, “This is a defense of Lord of the Rings and of fandoms who in good faith accepted all into their clubs out of love and then slowly found themselves pushed out and then mocked by the Shadow, the very people who used inclusion as a Trojan horse in order be invited in in the first place.”
He later reiterates his idea that you shouldn’t attack the show for being woke saying, “I want to warn you that it is not the best tactic to attack the show for being woke.”
He then defines what he believes “woke” means, “For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means to have an injected or fourth wall breaking sociopolitical commentary generally reflective of post-modern thought.”
He further elaborates, “While the prediction that the show is going to be woke garbage is perhaps a correct point, it is not a strategic one because many people who might have otherwise agreed with you don’t understand the terminology and are going to be alienated.”
“It is possible, however unlikely, that the goal is for us to swing at the woke target and then miss if the script itself is not explicitly so. Leading to comments of, ‘Oh, well, see, you actually are racist because you thought that the show is going to be woke and it isn’t. You’re paranoid,'” he explained.
He then provided an analogy, “It might sound crazy, but do consider the bully who goads and prods you into swinging at him first just as the teacher happens to be walking around the corner and that only you get in trouble. The world is watching. This is a trap that we must be wary of. There is no reason that this should be a divisive topic because the diversity of the people that are taking a stand against Amazon is ironically more diverse than the cast of the show.”
“And we have to entertain the idea, at least for now, the show may actually be good. That both sides, those calling everyone all sorts of ists, phobes, and isms, and also those complaining about the show are both completely overreacting and the show itself is just caught in the middle,” Living Anachronism stated.
Later in the video, he details what he believes is Amazon’s strategy and goal with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, “What Amazon seems to have done with the privilege of creating a new screen adaptation of The Lord of the Rings is literally the equivalent of receiving the ring because they think that they have the power to control it.
“They like The Lord of the Rings not because they actually like the story of the world or the characters, but because they like the potential it has to package and market a certain ideology,” he asserts.
He adds, “And this is not even controversial to say. They don’t like The Lord of the Rings. They like the idea of liking The Lord of the Rings. And if anyone calls it out they just gaslight us by calling us toxic fans, say there is no place for us, etc…”
He then questions, “So why are we so forgiving of them? Making preemptive excuses for why we should lower our expectations or why we’re wrong for demanding excellence that if it’s bad is actually our fault. Abusive relationship check.
“Instead of expanding an olive branch being transparent with the fans who are raising perfectly valid concerns about contradicting the lore, they attack us because they can’t help themselves. They have contempt for us. And that should be the biggest red flag,” Living Anachronism proclaims.
“They know that what they have isn’t going to be good,” he says. “That it’s going to upset a large portion of the fans. What I would consider to be the real fans. Yeah, it’s gatekeeping. So what?”
He then recalled, “Remember the Trojan horse? They don’t even need one if we just leave the gates wide open. When your enemy stands before your walls and demands that you open the gates for them otherwise you’re being mean, you should tell them, ‘No, I’m not an idiot.'”
He elaborates, “Just read about subversion tactics. Read Sun Tzu. It’s literally textbook. They infiltrate with small numbers masking their intentions with kind words and fancy gestures and assurances and plausible deniability and then they wait til the last minute and open the floodgates and then dominate the opposition. It happens literally every time. ‘Oh we love Tolkien. We love the lore. We have Tolkien activists, sorry, Tolkien experts on our team.’ ”
“They tease out trailers that are designed to mitigate backlash and tell you absolutely nothing about their intentions,” he went on. “They create hype and then boom a consumer class of viewers is created which completely washes out the voices of the fans and then another IP is conquered. Literally happened to Star Wars and J.J. Abrams recommended the two writers that are writing the Amazon Rings show. It’s so obvious.”
He then paraphrased The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers saying, “Orcs roam freely across our lands unchecked, unchallenged, killing at will. And then Grima deflects. ‘Nothing is happening. Your friends are your enemies Theoden King. Why are you warmongering?’ And then he removes Éomer with a clearly bogus signature using the king who is unable to speak for himself like a puppet.
“They literally have to wait until Gandalf and all of his cool friends arrive to solve the problem because everyone is too afraid to do something because they can’t prove that Grima is evil,” he recalls.
“I wonder if that reminds me of anything that the showrunners have done, twisting Tolkien’s words when now he’s departed into the West and unable to defend himself. So weird,” he says.
He goes on to provide more details on what he believes Amazon’s strategy is, “They need to avoid any grassroots boycott of the show because they know if they allow enough time for a resistance, a last alliance of Men and Elves to build that they don’t stand a chance.”
“Amazon can’t come out right and say what their agenda is. They have to do it through proxies like Vanity Fair because if they are too on the nose, if they lose their plausible deniability then the fans are going to snap harder than they already have.”
“They need you to trust them in spite of your instincts,” he states. “All press is good press unless the press is so bad that nobody actually watches the show. Bad ratings don’t hurt nearly as bad as no viewers at all. Even if you watch it just to see the dumpster fire burn they’re still going to get paid and you’re teaching them that they can do whatever they want and get away with it.”
“Because the only consequence is going to be a couple of people complaining online,” he declares. “And so they say that anyone who has a problem with the show is just threatened or racist or sexist or whatever.”
Living Anachronism then asserts, “And I don’t need to defend myself from that because I literally don’t care what you think. You have no power here. All we want is for things to fit the story and lore and make sense.”
He goes on to point to The Shadow of War video game, “The Shadow of War messed with the lore an awful lot but Baranor, formerly of Harad was captain of Gondor’s army in Minas Ithil. Eltariel was the Blade of Galadriel and she kicked ass and both were woven into the story in a way that was believable.”
From there, Living Anachronism addresses thirteen different arguments used to attack The Lord of the Rings fans.
After going through these arguments, the YouTuber states, “Their marketing tactic is to literally attack anybody that criticizes the show. They are purposefully withholding information that they are privy to just so they can point at you and laugh when you were angry and confused by the thing which was literally designed to make you angry and confused.
“They have the power to end this controversy right now, but they’re not doing it,” Living Anachronism says.
He later adds, “They want the controversy. They are artificially creating the illusion that there are racists and sexists and bigots everywhere. They are spending a billion dollars on a propaganda campaign literally designed to cause division thus further justifying the changes to the lore in the first place. Am I supposed to just trust these people?”
As he concludes the video he states, “Should we wait? Should wait until the armies of Mordor are already on our doorstep before we decide to take up arms? The orcs haven’t killed any of us yet so maybe they won’t. Let’s just wait and see. Should we look into the Palantir and see the inevitable destruction of our world and then simply give up?”
“If we don’t put a stop to the scorched earth tactic, the fires of industry burning everything that we love, all that is good in this world, here, at Lord of the Rings, the grandfather of all modern fantasy then when are we going to do something? This is literally the last bastion,” he declares.
“There is zero difference between the forces of Middle-earth uniting to beat back the forces of darkness to stand their posts in the face of an army bred to destroy the world of Men. Zero difference between defending the last city of Men, Minas Tirith, in the face of certain death and defending Lord of the Rings,” he proclaims. “I will die on this hill. You will not take my son from me. You shall not pass.”
“Stories are more important than anything. We know that and they know that. It’s why they’re trying to take them from us because our history is what makes us worth remembering,” he concludes.
While I agree with his assertion that this The Rings of Power is a vehicle or Trojan horse to push the current dogma and ideological worldview, I disagree with the idea that you cannot criticize the show for being woke.
We might only have the teaser trailer and a handful of images, but it’s already a ton of evidence that the show is indeed woke. And the show’s producer confirmed the whole point of the race swaps was to inject sociopolitical commentary reflective of post-modern thought.
Producer Lindsey Weber explained the race swaps were made in order to “reflect what the world actually looks like.” She would add, “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”
Living Anachronism’s belief that criticizing the show for being woke is a bad strategic decision because it might alienate some people doesn’t make any sense either. It rejects the possibility that criticizing it for being woke might draw others in to lampoon.
Criticizing the show for being woke and criticizing it for it’s massive lore breaking injections are not mutually exclusive. You can do both and there is plenty of room to criticize the show from both points.
Finally, the idea of Get Woke, Go Broke might not literally apply to Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power due to the way Amazon structures its business, but the idea of the meme still applies.
If you go woke like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Powers is clearly doing, you do go broke, it might not just be financially. In this case, the show is going broke culturally.
What do you make of Living Anachronism’s comments on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?