‘The Rings of Power’ creators reveal how Sauron hid in plain sight
McKay: What do you mean? [Laughs.]
Now that you have a full season’s viewership data, how do you track success? Do you see any notes? Do you watch the reactions online? What did you learn from the audience reaction that you found useful?
Paid : There are many ways to answer this question. I would say you should probably ask Amazon what success looked like to them from a business perspective of things. They have a very complex way of measuring audience impact on the platform, and what their goals are, and all of those things. For us as storytellers, success means people engage with the material in a way that impacts them.
We’re getting notes from people saying, “Hey, I got together and watched this with my family, and we haven’t had a reason to get together in a while, but it brought us together on Friday night.” And they say, “We all talked about it for hours afterwards.”
It’s something that brings people together, whether it’s families or friends or groups of people who love Tolkien, or who love fantasy, or just like television in general. There were moments that people found very emotional, that moved them in some way, or lines that they found meaning in. And each of those things was extremely rewarding.
Did all of this impact your work in shaping season two?
Paid : In terms of impact on season two, we wrote most of season two before season one was released. We’re refining the final elements now that we’re starting to shoot. But really, the cake was kind of done before the audience response arrived.
Certainly, you look at the audience response, and you see what characters people like and what kinds of storytelling move them. I wouldn’t say we over-correct for anything, but we certainly listen to people’s responses.
McKay: We are here for the long game. This show is a life project for us. We’re married there, and the bar couldn’t be higher for what we want to accomplish. Our blood, sweat and tears enter it every moment of our lives. We want this thing to be delicious and emotional and thrilling and thrilling and surprising and heartbreaking and romantic and all the things you want from The Lord of the Rings.
So, I think in a way, the audience response, we’re a year ahead of this because we saw it a year ago, and we were like, ‘Here it seems really work, and here it may not be working as well as we might have hoped or thought it would. So to the extent that there is course correction, it’s just that we’re relying on the strengths of the series and the strengths of our cast and designers.
Was there an answer that surprised you?
McKay: A little. Other than the extremes, which can be really loud, whether it’s people who love, love, love, or people who hate, hate, hate, generally when you sift through the noise, I think we have the impression that people see the same thing. show that we do. And the things we like, they like. And the things that we maybe know, ‘Oh, we got away with it there. We have to do better next time,’ were things that people were calling us on.