Fans spam The Rings of Power trailer with incorrect J.R.R. Tolkien quote

Image: The Lord of the Rings/Amazon Studios
Image: The Lord of the Rings/Amazon Studios /

The other day, Amazon Prime Video dropped a trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, its upcoming series based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien:

Specifically, the series is based on the appendices to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series; this is not the story of Frodo and Sam and Aragorn that we remember from Peter Jackson’s 2000s-era movies. The Rings of Power takes place in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before any of those guys were born. We don’t know as much about this period, which gives Amazon more room to do their own thing, for better or worse.

And a lot of fans seem to think it will be for worse, at least if you look at the YouTube comments on that trailer above, which has around 4 million views as of this writing. Pretty much every single comment reads like this:

"“Evil cannot create anything new, they can only corrupt” – J.R.R. Tolkien"

Many other commenters have written out that quote in different languages.

J.R.R. Tolkien never said what everyone is saying he said

To be clear, this is hilarious. Amazon spent so much money on this show and has such high expectations for it, and the first big reaction it gets is thousands of fans collectively calling the show “evil.” The internet is entertaining sometimes.

It’s also hilarious because J.R.R. Tolkien never said this. It’s a misattribution, kind of like people thinking that George Washington said, “I cannot tell a lie” (he didn’t); or that Darth Vader said, “Luke, I am your father.” (The actual line is, “No. I am your father.”)

The Tolkien “quote” seems to be a riff on a line from The Return of the King, about the nature of orcs:

"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."

This is an idea that crops up in Tolkien’s work periodically, especially in The Silmarillion. So the sentiment is right, even if the quote is invented.

As for whether The Rings of Power is actually an evil bastardization of Tolkien’s work, I have no idea. I mean, it’s Amazon; they’re creating this show with the expectation of making money, but so did Peter Jackson and those movies were pretty good.

We’ll see for ourselves when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres on Amazon Prime Video on September 2.

Next. Let’s break down The Rings of Power teaser shot by shot. dark

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