IO9 recently reported that Amazon has hired a director to make the first two episodes of their big-budget Lord of the Rings series.
At this point in time, that’s about all that has been confirmed. Rumours are elusive and contradictory. I’ve heard that the series is to feature Aragorn, in the years before the events in Lord of the Rings.
I’ve also heard that the series is based upon the stories in The Silmarillion, which is a loose collection of tales from the Second Age of Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings was about the events that ended the Third Age). In the Second Age, the Elves were the power-houses of Middle Earth.
The IO9 article (link above) mentions the Second Age, but not The Silmarillion. If Amazon have hired a director now, it means the scripts are written. Does that also mean that the stories are set in the Second Age, but have nothing to do with The Silmarillion?
It is, perhaps, understandable if this is the case. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Silmarillion as an exercise in archaic languages, a sort of series bible to guide the history behind Lord of the Rings. The language is passive, florid and absolutely gorgeous poetry upon the page, but a story has to be chiselled patiently out of the words. It takes dedication to read the full volume. I doubt anyone would read it in one sitting. It’s just not that type of book. Storytelling comes last in a long line of other ambitions Tolkien had for the volume.
All this obscurity surrounding the Amazon series makes me nervous. I have historical reason for my fears, too. Until Peter Jackson came along, there had been three or four attempts to make a version of The Lord of the Rings that didn’t suck and they all failed. With bells on.
Still, I will be among the first to watch it, because I love Middle Earth so much I just can’t stay away. Even if it is a train wreck.
Perhaps that is what Amazon is counting upon.
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