I was done with LOTR: The Rings of Power, but the season 2 trailer has won me over

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power season 2
(Image credit: Amazon)

Like many The Lord of the Rings fans, I wasn't exactly impressed by The Rings of Power when it came out back in 2022 — over eight episodes my interest plummeted to the point that I lost all interest in watching future seasons. That was, until the season 2 trailer came out.

On Tuesday, May 14, Amazon released a nearly-two-minute teaser trailer for The Rings of Power season 2, and also announced its release date of Thursday, August 29. If you somehow missed it, you can see it below.

The trailer centers itself on the revelation at the end of season 1 of Sauron's identity, returning us to many locations and characters from the first season (but with one major omission that I'll get to later).

And surprisingly, after watching it, I'm actually rather interested in seeing these new episodes.

My main gripes with season 1 weren't the dramatic backlash-related reasons that prompted some viewers to very publicly complain about online; I just found that it lacked narrative or dramatic thrust, with too much time spent on storylines or characters that I didn't find engaging. I'm looking at you, halflings. 

Plus, it felt tonally and narratively very different to the LOTR films that I grew up loving, and didn't have as much tension or action as genre TV of its type usually does. I didn't watch its contemporary rival House of the Dragon which everyone else compared it to, so this isn't reference to that show; Amazon has simply made better shows than this in the past.

So I didn't hate The Rings of Power, just found myself disinterested in it. There were highlights, particularly the entirety of the sixth episode Udûn; I thought this was fantastic and it would have revitalized my interest in the show if it wasn't for the last two episodes returning to monotony.

I'm not alone in this opinion, as the show's 38% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes shows. Lots of backlash to the show was for political, not artistic, reasons, but anecdotally I found that most people who watched it were also disappointed with the series.

Watching the Rings of Power season 2 trailer, you can already see that the tone is very different: much more action-heavy, and a lot more fantastical too. Throughout its two-minute run-time we're seeing many different kinds of creepy monster, horseback chase scenes, big battles, and apocalyptic magical spells. Was season 1 perhaps just a slow set-up for fantastic further seasons? Maybe!

It's worth comparing this to the first of the two season 1 teasers, which you can see below:

This minute-long video mainly just shows us sweeping establishing shots of mountains, waterfalls and cities, with the odd reaction or action shot thrown in for good measure. All accompanied by narration from one of the halflings, and I've already said what I thought about their storyline.

It was probably exciting for people who hadn't seen a new Lord of the Rings video in 10 years, returning to the world of the show, but in hindsight it was a fitting summary of the whole first season: pretty nothingness.

The season 2 teaser, then, hopefully sets up its whole season: action, drama, giant monsters, tension and, most importantly of all, not a single halfling in sight!

The Rings of Power teaser is 1:43 of action that's supposed to reflect eight hours of TV, so it's very possible that Amazon has just created a more dramatic trailer but season 2 will be the same. But the teaser makes me hope that season 1 was just an awkward phase that we had to get through in order to enjoy better things.

So, begrudgingly, I have to admit that I'll probably be streaming The Rings of Power's new season when it returns in August... even if just to see that crazy underwater creature shown at 0:54 of the trailer!

Tom Bedford
Streaming and Ecommerce Writer

Tom is the streaming and ecommerce writer at What to Watch, covering streaming services in the US and UK. His goal is to help you navigate the busy and confusing online video market, to help you find the TV, movies and sports that you're looking for without having to spend too much money.