The streaming wars are heating up with HBO's House of the Dragon, but The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power finally just dropped its full official trailer. And if you can allow me some editorializing? Prime Video's show looks like the one to rule them all.
Yes, I'm writing this having seen the first episode of House of the Dragon not once but twice (not because I loved it, but because it didn't click), and in a state where I'm left wanting for something stronger. Instead of House of the Dragon's "more of the same" situation where we have humans struggling over succession, The Rings Of Power feels like a new and different story. That is, of course, with a shadow of a familiar villain lurking in the backgrounds.
Check it out for yourself:
The Rings of Power trailer impresses not because of any one character, but because Middle Earth looks fantastical in its big vistas. Ships with billowing sails cross through ports, giant verdant landscapes contrast with rocky seas, and underground kingdoms look ripe for exploration. Frankly, The Rings of Power looks like the $500,000,000 show (opens in new tab) it reportedly is.
The heart of the series looks to come from Galadriel (played by Morfydd Clark), on her way into battle to hunt the enemies who killed her brother Finrod (Will Fletcher) in war. Clark looks to be imbuing the character with a lot more than what we're getting from those vying for power in House of the Dragon (though its incoming time-shift will likely change things).
Two of Galadriel's key relationships looks to be with Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and Halbrand (Charlie Vickers). The former is seen as a bold warrior, and the latter is going through a lot of grief that Galadriel is helping him process. We also see Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh).
Analysis: Why The Rings of Power intrigues me more than House of the Dragon
Watching the The Rings of Power's trailer makes me think how The Rings of Power looks to be a more compelling series than House of the Dragon (at least so far — check out our House of the Dragon episode 1 recap for more detail about the HBO Max series).
Yes, there is intent behind Game of Thrones' prequel's narrower focus, but that has almost accidentally made it seem visually boring out of the gate. At best, you have the violent jousting scenes and the episode-starting dragon-riding from Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock). Oh, and that tree that she and Alicent Hightower (Olivia Cooke) sat under was a bit majestic.
Arguably, I'm just showing my preference for a wide world over back-room wheeling and dealing. But the biggest difference so far, at least to me, is that these characters — specifically, Galadriel, Elendil and Halbrand — feel a lot more compelling than the likes of Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) and young Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock).
This may be because I find their personal stories more interesting than throne chasing, but these House of the Dragons characters just seem a bit lifeless to me. Hopefully, that changes when the show jumps forward in time and Rhaenyra is going to be played by Emma D'Arcy.
That said, you don't need to choose one show over the other. It's just that their releases are quite near (The Rings of Power debuts September 2), and it just feels like these shows are locked in a true game of thrones, where the winner has a better chance to rule the best streaming services.
Next: Get ready for the Star Trek: Lower Decks season 3 release date and these are the 7 things you should know before you watch the The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.