Pausing Nowhere and Back Again this week for some words on this Amazon thing. We’ll be back with Lake-town next week.
Well, that was inevitable, even if knowing what to call a show is apparently a spoiler these days. It’s a less Tolkienesque title than Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, but it scans, even if the existence of a series title with a subtitle is a moral atrocity.
As The Rings of Power is a prequel show, the title indicates a focus on the Three, Seven, and Nine rings. Showrunners J. D. Payne and Patrick McKay (let’s hope they won’t be the next Benioff and Weiss) give the impression The Rings of Power will cover the Second Age, from “the forging of the rings, the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, the epic tale of Númenor, and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.” Akallabêth stans rejoice, I suppose.
The period Payne and McKay describes lasts anywhere from 1941 to 2231 to 3409 years, depending on where The Rings of Power starts. That could be the founding of Númenor, Sauron’s time in Eregion, or the Rings of Power’s creation. It seems unlikely that the series would depict any events that happen after the siege of Barad-dûr or Isildur’s death.
The Rings of Power apparently sticks to Tolkien’s overarching story and filling in the blanks, per the Tolkien Estate’s guidelines. It has unprecedented licensing to adapt portions of The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, so the Tolkien Estate is clearly pleased with the series. This raises some concerns, as it may mean The Rings of Power is more traditionalist than its predecessors, Peter Jackson’s double-trilogy. At the same time, adapting Tolkien’s conservative mythology in the tedious Marvel Cinematic Universe era should be an interestingly strange sight.
I’m almost wholly unfamiliar with the show’s creative team, so I can’t predict their approach to Middle-earth. The job they’ve inherited, however, is fascinating. They have to work with Tolkien’s plots (outlines, really), which span millennia and contain scarce details. This will give the team ample room to concoct new stories within Tolkien’s framework. I wonder if each season will cover a particular era. Certainly there will have to be an almost anthology-like approach to it: characters will inevitably die between seasons. Maybe we’ll get The Lord of the Rings as True Detective. There are worse ideas than “Nic Pizzolatto writes elves.”
If the tone of this piece can accurately be called “cold,” there are a couple reasons for that. The rampant spoilerphobia of contemporary pop culture is a killer on enthusiasm. Before I watch a series or a movie, I like to know something of its story. As of now, we know basically nothing about The Rings of Power‘s creative approach. I’m not going to go ga-ga over this stuff unless Amazon lets its creators show they have an interesting story to tell.
There’s also Amazon’s involvement. If you’re reading Eruditorum Press, or if you’ve paid any attention to the world these past few years, you know Amazon is one of the most evil and destructive organizations in the world.…