[Ed. note: This post contains light spoilers for the end of episode 2 of Rings of Power.]
In the first two episodes of the The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, our view of Orcs is quite limited. But even so, they’re like nothing like what we saw about them on screen before. While they are still a threat, they are no longer a swarm. Instead, the Amazon show is showing how scary either of them can be.
Lord of the Rings has turned into horror beforebut Ring of Power create its own niche here. When Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) goes to warn the townspeople that a neighboring town has fallen into the hands of who knows what, it feels more like a horror movie, as the neighbors dismiss her concerns. It’s like fancy flights. But it also marked a distinct relationship with the Orcs: These people were several generations away from the last time anyone had seen Orcs around. And the mere idea of it seemed unbelievable to them; They fear more of an occupying force than the whispers of a myth.
And so, Ring of Power treats its Orcs in these early episodes differently. They are no longer the crowd introduced in The fellowship of the ring, they hastily fall off the cliff to attack their enemy, but a strange, terrifying monster is quietly creeping into Bronwyn’s house. The orc’s intro has all the hallmarks of a murderous villain, getting it bit by bit: an eye peeking through the floorboards, a hand clapping as it hits the ground, a close-up of a mouth and its weird tongue. We can make its skull mask translucent, but we only see its full monstrosity when it is found Bronwyn hiding in a cupboard.
The orcs here remain the same standard – it’s a virulent creature that looks like a shaken one, and an enemy whose fighting skills are still bested by a mother and her son. that. But its threat feels real in a way that a lot the rest of the Ring of Power can’t come true. While a swarm of them might feel threatened in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a single Orc here is still potentially lethal. In a word, it’s the difference between Alien and AlienUnravel the vulnerability that comes with each version of the monster.
It was certainly enough to get Bronwyn and her townsfolk to step into the first light to seek help from the elves. And even though there’s a lot we still don’t know about how Ring of Power will (or won’t) change Tolkien’s law, this seems like a step in the right direction. The most interesting thing you can do with a prequel is find a way to deconstruct what makes a thing and then explore deeper aspects of the story that felt familiar. It allows us to see something in a new light so that we understand it better. With the threat posed only by an orc – the way it moves and what it is – it sheds light on the bone-chilling horror of being faced with an army of them, and the stakes of every confrontation. of the upcoming Orcs.