When assessing works of art, it is a sound rule of thumb to generously look for the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are the transcendental features of the world we live in. As J.R.R. Tolkien taught, artists are sub-creators and, therefore, channels of the “light of being” through their works. The artist is not a manipulator, but a pupil, of the real. Accordingly, Tolkien also taught that the sub-creator distorts his office and the good, the true, and the beautiful when he subordinates and instrumentalizes creation and sub-creation to his own will, purposes, or power. Such is the essence of tyranny.
Amazon’s “Rings of Power,” the multimillion-dollar adaptation of Tolkien’s stories about the Second Age of Middle Earth, was therefore fraught with antithetical possibilities.