The Rings of Power: Why Galadriel Must Die!
The entire world is wishing that Galadriel would just die! Obviously, I don’t mean the poor actress, Morfydd Clark, who plays this, the most obnoxious character in Amazon’s Rings of Power. No! The ire of the world is firmly focussed on the characters created by, what nobody but Amazon could possibly call, ‘The Writers’.
Amazon have, so far, spent 715 million dollars on their Lord of the Rings spinoff ‘The Rings of Power’, but you would be hard pushed to say where that money has been spent. After five episodes of the first series, either Amazon are running this project as a massive tax write-off or some middle manager decided to save money on all the wrong things – things like writers, costume designers, props and sets.
In an earlier article (which you can read HERE), we demonstrated that the fault with this show was not with the actors but principally with the amazingly poor standard of writing. This, of course, begs the question, ‘What exactly do we mean when we say poor writing’, because it is obvious from recent interviews that the writers certainly don’t understand what the critics mean by the term, and have proudly said that Galadriel is, on screen, exactly as they wrote her. So what are they missing?
Let me answer that question with another question, ‘Why do writers today find it so hard to write characters that anyone cares about’?
Modern writers, bereft of original ideas, have even taken most of the characters we used to love (Luke Skywalker, Thor, etc) and turned them into something we all hate. So what changed?
To answer that specific question let’s first examine, why I want Galadriel to die? In fact, I also want the Half-Foots to be eaten by wolves. Why?
They are all horrible people!
Let me give you an example: In episode 1 of Rings of Power, Galadriel abandoned members of her own team to die in the snow. She is an obvious narcissistic sociopath, forever angry and violent but never suffers the price of her choices. She is, in short, a truly evil Mary Sue.
The Half-Foots are snivelling cowards who leave their own people to die at the drop of a hat and celebrate their own perfidy. In Episode 5 they were seriously considering stealing the wheels from the caravan of one of their own families in order to leave them to die. Why? Because the forest was unusually bare and abandoning Half-Foots is apparently something that Half-Foots do!
Even the sub-characters in this abomination of a show are not the kind of people anyone would respect. All of the characters are self-absorbed, weak and lacking any kind of objective sense of right or wrong.
Having established the problem with the characters on the Rings of Power, let’s go back to our example of the characters we used to love, let’s return to Luke Skywalker.
The original character of Luke Skywalker was driven by love and duty. It was in his nature to make sacrifices for the people he loves – to do the right thing; we all loved him and wanted to be him.
Until, that is, Disney got hold of the franchise. The new Luke Skywalker is (you guessed it) weak, self-obsessed and narcissistic. Today, nobody gives a fig what happens to Luke Skywalker.
Ironically, the same actor played both the successful Luke and the total flop Luke so he can be excluded from our investigation. The fault is clearly with the writers.
So why do modern writers create characters that are such horrible people?
Because the characters we write are a mirror of the emotional vocabulary of the writer. In other words, modern characters are a mirror of modern writers.
For the last fifty years or so, children have grown up believing that there is no such thing as good and evil. We have been brainwashed into believing that morality is relative. Since the mid-nineteen sixties, we have made a god of the self. Narcissism and self-absorption are now seen as virtues in a character rather than flaws. Loyalty and duty have become dirty words – forbidden words of the Far-Right.
Unfortunately, morality is part of our burnt in operating system – our BIOS – a product of millions of years of evolution. We have been woke for less than a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms. This is why, deep down in our bones, we want our characters to be driven by love of others (not self). Even our anti-heroes are more believable if their evil is driven by ruined love.
This is the reason that Joaquin Phoenix’s version of ‘The Joker’ is so much better – so much deeper and more memorable than Jack Nicholson’s or even Heath Ledger’s interpretation. Because, in Phoenix’s Joker we see a kind and gentle man turned into a monster by the crushing of his love.
So here is your take-away!
If you want to create believable characters, that people care about, you must give them a moral compass, which is true to their own inner world.
As writers, we must dig deep within to find our own connections to the world around us and make our characters bear the same light of hope and the same scars of life that we bear. And this is why we, at Libertad, want to tell your story. Because, no matter how many degrees you may have or how many producers you have slept with, if you have not really lived you will never truly be a writer.
Sadly, neither Patrick McKay and his ‘friend’ John D. Payne nor their colleague, Justin Doble, the writers of the Rings of Power thus far, have ever had to fight off more than a cold.
In fact, they have grown up in a culture that doesn’t want heroes, and here’s the rub, these young men have never been around people who are heroes. They have no idea how strong people behave so they write how they imagine strong people behave and all we get are bullies and self-obsession.
As a postscript, I should confess to being a Tolkien heretic. For me, Professor Tolkien was a great linguist but an over-rated writer. Admittedly, ‘The Hobbit’ was a great story for children but ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was maimed at birth by having cardboard cut-out characters and no coherent antagonist. In fact, we can apply the rules above to critique the characters in the Lord of the Rings to see why some characters worked and some did not.
Let me know what you think in the comments! Do you agree that Tolkien’s Sauron in Lord of the Rings was a cartoon character, a cardboard cut-out of an antagonist? Is it enough that Tolkien had books of backstory notes when the character was so badly drawn in the books?