Gandalf would say a wizard arrives precisely when he means to but the same can’t be said for Episode 1 of “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.”
The first two episodes of Amazon’s $700 million series premiered Thursday night, but some viewers were able to stream only the second episode.
According to screenshots shared online, some Amazon Prime users experienced technical difficulties. The option to press play for Episode 1 of the series was nowhere to be found, with the play button missing altogether and text reading “This video is currently unavailable.”
Several would-be viewers took to Twitter.
“Ok, so episode 2 of The Rings of Power is available to watch but episode 1 is not. Has to be a mistake,” @therealmccaw tweeted.
@JayAreOliver wrote, “Amazon only released episode 2 of Rings of Power? Strange marketing plan.”
@moviesRtherapy was overcome by emotion, writing, “Only Episode 2 of #TheRingsOfPower is working right now. I am beside myself.”
“Yo @LOTRonPrime hopefully it’s just me but only episode 2 is available not episode 1 why!? That’s mean!” wrote @Franky_Boom.
It’s unclear how far-ranging the problem was, but the issues seemed to resolve within minutes. According to DownDetector.com, a website that compiles user reports on streaming services, within the first hour of “The Rings of Power” premiere more than 400 reports were filed, an 800% increase over the average number of reports filed daily at that time on the service.
Amazon did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.
“The Rings of Power” takes place during the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before the action of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy series “The Lord of the Rings.” Major events that occur during the Second Age include the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the creation of the Rings of Power, the final pact between men and elves and the fall of Númenor.
The Times’ television critic Robert Lloyd gave a measured review of the series.
“Well, I have seen six of the first season’s eight episodes, and ‘The Rings of Power’ is neither a disaster nor a triumph, merely television of a visibly expensive, fitfully inspired sort,” Lloyd wrote. “It looks good, has a few charismatic performances that sell the characters and is all in all watchable, if something less than compelling — predictable even in the suspenseful parts, occasionally exciting and sometimes sort of boring. Action scenes, which kept the movies lively, and do get your attention here, are relatively spread out, perhaps because they’re expensive and the season is long.”
“The Rings of Power” wasn’t the only fantasy epic to have streaming issues on its premiere date.
On Aug. 21, more than 3,400 viewers tuning in for the premiere of the “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon” reported experiencing an outage on HBO Max, according to DownDetector.com.
“‘House of the Dragon’ was successfully viewed by millions of HBO Max subscribers last night. A small portion of users attempting to connect via Fire TV devices had issues and we worked directly with impacted users to get them into the platform,” the streaming platform said in a statement provided to The Times.
The dueling sagas also shared a premiere date of sorts on Thursday night, with HBO conveniently making the “House of the Dragon” debut episode available for free on YouTube around the same time as “The Rings of Power” premiere.