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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
TV show plot: downfall of Numenor and last alliance?
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Althoun
The Shire

Apr 13, 3:23pm

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TV show plot: downfall of Numenor and last alliance? Can't Post

This post consists purely of my own uninformed speculations.

According to the majority of online commentators (so far as I can tell), the safest bet for Amazon's upcoming Middle-Earth adaption is some manner of Young Aragorn yarn.

Granted, none of us are privy to information about the plot, other than a few oblique teasers in the official press release and media reports: i.e. it will be a "prequel" set prior to the events of Fellowship and will focus upon "previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien's original writings". If we can believe Hollywood Insider, Amazon's licence did not extend to cover the Silmarillion, which is the sole remaining piece of important trivia.

What the media reports haven't made clear, however, is whether or not Amazon managed to acquire the rights to any of Tolkien's other works (i.e. HOME, Unfinished Tales) which might help them flesh out the sketchy material outlined in the RoTK appendices.

Regardless, I really struggle to see how Amazon could possibly come up with a five-season extravaganza to rival the scale and epic quality of HBO's GoT, on the basis of Aragorn's scarcely detailed journeys and trials from Appendix A-B.

The key episodes amount in toto to the following:


Quote
(1) His childhood arrival at Rivendell (2) the subsequent discovery of his identity as the Dunedain heir (3) budding romance with Arwen (4) retreat to a life in the wilds (5) meeting with Gandalf (5) sporadic adventures in Rohan, Gondor and Umbar and finally (6) the Hunt for Gollem


How can the showrunners hope to compete with an epic fantasy like GoT - which has multi-layered, kingdom-spanning character arcs and intricate plotting - by having as their counter-blockbuster, something as positively unepic as the travails of Aragorn in his Strider days, before the real action of the War of the Ring takes place?

I just can't make out the contours of an overarching grand narrative here, least of all one which could be sustained over five seasons and justify a price tag of something approaching 1 billion $.

Looking at the appendices, a few other promising story-lines don't seem to fit the bill either. The Angmar War against the Witch-King in Arnor takes place over much too great a time-span and doesn't involve a consistent set of characters. On the contrary, the Kin-strife civil war in Gondor is very interesting in its own right but is rather disconnected from the backstory of the War of the Ring, which occurs many centuries later. Neither of these settings could viably act as a true "prequel" to LoTR, for these reasons.

Owing to various factors mentioned above, therefore, the appendices offer Amazon only one narrative framework which appears to meet their requisite criteria: the late Second Age saga concerning the collapse of Numenor, the exile of Aragorn's Dunedain ancestors to colonies in Middle-Earth and the War of the Last Alliance against Sauron.

This plot has considerable benefits lacking in the other contenders.

First, a Numenor-Last Alliance television series is worthy of the name 'prequel', as an "unexplored story" set prior to the events of Fellowship. It would show audiences the lead-up to the battle glimpsed during the famous intro of Jackson's Fellowship -- when the Last Alliance of Elves and Men marched on Mordor, and Isildur managed to cut the One Ring from Sauron's hand.

Second, a Numenor-Last alliance arc would be grandiose and ambitious enough in scope to justify the huge budget Amazon plans to fork out.

Seismic events requiring a good deal of CGI and expensively produced sets would be required, including: (1) Ar-Pharazôn's armed invasion of Middle-Earth and humbling of Sauron's forces (2) his Great Naval Armament in 3310 constructed to attack Valinor (3) the cataclysmic destruction and sinking of Numenor (4) the exile of Elendil and his sons from Numenor, to found the realms of Gondor and Arnor in Middle-Earth (5) Elendil and Gil-galad's formation of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men

Visually, the series would be challenging to pull off - as opposed to Aragorn strolling around the hills of the Shire!

Third, the Numenor-Last Alliance plotline would be a drama highly focused on a consistent group of core characters; with the main events described above actually taking place during the course of their lifetimes. This avoids the difficulty posed by crafting a narrative set around the time of the centuries-long Angmar War.

Fourth, the Numenor-Last Alliance story provides ample room for exploring court intrigue in the context of the "civil war" that erupts under Tar-Palantir. The first season, in particular, might chronicle the attempts by the latter to ameliorate the persecution of the Faithful at the hands of the King's Party. This culminates in the rebellion and coup d'etat of Ar-Pharazon, who forcibly marries the real heir to the throne, Tar-Miriel, so that he can seize power for himself - with disastrous consequences for the fate of his civilization. The colonial excesses of the Black Numenorians in their twilight years, prior to the downfall, could even become a plot element as well.

In light of the foregoing, I am inclined to think a story arc spanning the Downfall of Numenor, the foundation of Arnor-Gondor by the Faithful Dunedain exiles and the Last Alliance against Sauron, is the most fruitful plotline for the Amazon TV series.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 13, 3:38pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Apr 13, 4:31pm

Post #2 of 60 (4688 views)
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The problem with this tv show [In reply to] Can't Post

Scenarios fall into two camps:

1. Stories without compelling characters (or central emotional arc / throughline)
2. Characters without a compelling story

I haven’t seen some combination of both that isn’t just remaking Hobbit or LOTR.


(This post was edited by skyofcoffeebeans on Apr 13, 4:32pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 13, 4:53pm

Post #3 of 60 (4684 views)
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Third Age? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think that the Amazon series is going to go back to the Second Age and the Downfall of Númenor for its main plot (maybe for a spin off), though I won't entirely rule out the possibility.

My impression is that the show will be set late in the Third Age, but before the events of the War of the Ring. The focus might not be firmly set on Aragorn, although I suspect otherwise.


In Reply To
Regardless, I really struggle to see how Amazon could possibly come up with a five-season extravaganza to rival the scale and epic quality of HBO's GoT, on the basis of Aragorn's scarcely detailed journeys and trials from Appendix A-B.

The key episodes amount in toto to the following:


Quote
(1) His childhood arrival at Rivendell (2) the subsequent discovery of his identity as the Dunedain heir (3) budding romance with Arwen (4) retreat to a life in the wilds (5) meeting with Gandalf (5) sporadic adventures in Rohan, Gondor and Umbar and finally (6) the Hunt for Gollem


How can the showrunners hope to compete with an epic fantasy like GoT - which has multi-layered, kingdom-spanning character arcs and intricate plotting - by having as their counter-blockbuster, something as positively unepic as the travails of Aragorn in his Strider days, before the real action of the War of the Ring takes place?


You underestimate how much is represented just within your summary, which covers a period of sixty-six years. For my own outline for such a show, I was wondering if the scope should be limited to the fifty years between Aragorn's coming of age and Bilbo's fareweil party, entirely omitting the Hunt for Gollum. Using your own suggestion, entire seasons can be broken down into periods of several years each: 1) Aragorn in Wilderland (2951-2956); 2) Aragorn in Rohan (2957-2965?); 3) Aragorn in Gondor (2965?- 2980); 4) Aragorn in the distant East (2981-3001); 5) Aragorn in the far South (3002-3009). If there was a sixth season, that could cover the Hunt for Gollum. Individual events would include:

- Aragorn learns of his heritage
- The first meeting of Aragorn and Arwen
- Aragorn in the Woodland Realm?
- Aragorn meets and befriends Gandalf the Grey
- Aragorn in Lake-town and Dale?
- Rebellion in Rohan (discontented followers of the late King Fengel)
- Plots from Isengard (Saruman's fall must be kept secret)
- Intrigues in Gondor (Denethor guesses the true identity of 'Thorongil')
- Raid on the Corsair Fleet in Umbar
- Scouting the Mountains of Shadow
- Aragorn is reunited with Arwen in Lórien
- Elrond's challenge
- Aragorn in Dorwinion
- Pirates on the Inland Sea
- Adventures among the Men of Rhûn
- Gandalf first asks for Aragorn's help to find Gollum
- Aragorn in Moria?
- Aragorn among the Haradrim
- Aragorn's last visit with Gilraen
- Aragorn in Far Harad "where the stars are strange"
- Aragorn and Gandalf resume the Hunt for Gollum

The appendices are also pretty sparse on details of the events of the Second Age and would present just as much of a challenge as fleshing-out the years of Aragorn's journeys and errantries. I do agree that there is a great story or three in there somewhere!

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 13, 5:05pm)


skyofcoffeebeans
Rivendell

Apr 13, 5:27pm

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One thing the Aragorn hypothetical doesn't completely take into account [In reply to] Can't Post

It is very likely that this show will require an ensemble cast. I don't think whatever they come up with will be Aragorn-centric, though he could certainly be an A player in the cast.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 13, 5:55pm

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Cast [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
It is very likely that this show will require an ensemble cast. I don't think whatever they come up with will be Aragorn-centric, though he could certainly be an A player in the cast.


Yes, anything close to a regular cast would be a challenge. Aragorn (at least as an adult) doesn't meet Gandalf in canon until about five years into his wanderings. The wizard can wander in and out of the show as needed. And it's not like Aragorn should have a regular sidekick. There could be a series of traveling companions; it works for the Doctor (Who?). Angelic

Individual seasons would have their own regulars. For example: In Rohan we could have King Thengel and his queen Morwen, a young Théoden, Gálmód (future father of Gríma Wormtongue), etc. In Gondor we have: Ecthelion II, Denethor II, his wife Finduilas, and various Gondorian captains and advisors.

I do like the idea of Aragorn learning from various individuals in the legendarium (Gilraen, Elrond and his sons, Glorfindel, Beorn, King Bard, Thranduil, Dáin Ironfoot, King Thengel, Ecthelion, Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, Galadriel and Celeborn, etc.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


Althoun
The Shire

Apr 13, 6:01pm

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Re: Aragorn vs Numenor-Last Alliance [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I don't think that the Amazon series is going to go back to the Second Age and the Downfall of Númenor for its main plot (maybe for a spin off), though I won't entirely rule out the possibility.



Hi Otaku, many thanks for your reply!

You have put forward a strong argument in favour of the Aragorn-esque, late-Third Age setting.

The problem I see here, in envisaging your well-evidenced theory becoming the actual outcome of the deal (despite this being, I concede the most likely on the surface), is that there is no overarching, grand, epic purpose under-girding Aragorn's diverse adventures.

The Amazon show-runners, whomsoever they turn out to be, will not be seeking to imitate GoT in terms of content - but we already know for a fact that Bezos wants them to rival GoT's epic scale and cinematic-style ambitions, hence the colossal expenditure he is willing to plug into this production.

As such, I am arguing - and fully admit I may be woefully wrong about this - that Amazon may select a tale from the appendices that can act both as a meaningful prequel to LoTR and as a continuous, self-contained, coherent epic in its own right - rather than a meandering, relatively purposeless set of stories cobbled together from a disorganised set of historiographic-like notes about Aragorn's pre-rings life.

The only narrative from the appendices which fits the bill, to my mind, is the downfall of Numenor through to the Last alliance - which takes us full-circle back to Jackson's Fellowship prologue in which we witness the climactic Second Age battle against Sauron.

Don't forget that the Second Age, courtesy of the intro, has already been depicted (albeit briefly) in the LoTR films.

It isn't like filming the First Age, given that these events have a tangible connection to the books and films - hence why Tolkien gave the Numenorian saga significant treatment in the appendices, as a backdrop to the War of the Ring.


Quote
Using your own suggestion, entire seasons can be broken down into periods of several years each: 1) Aragorn in Wilderland (2951-2956); 2) Aragorn in Rohan (2957-2965?); 3) Aragorn in Gondor (2965?- 2980); 4) Aragorn in the distant East (2981-3001); 5) Aragorn in the far South (3002-3009). If there was a sixth season, that could cover the Hunt for Gollum.



But for a TV show, billed as prequel to LoTR and a new mega-saga in its own right to rival GoT, what would the overarching purpose of this series be?

To my eyes, these narratives are loosely connected plots rather than elements of a continuous storyline.

If one compares this to Numenor-Last Alliance, there is a clear and causal link between all parts of this tale; since it forms one grand narrative about Sauron's attempt to undermine the Numenorians both at home and in exile, by exploiting their division with the Elves - until they finally get their act together with the Last Alliance.

Consider how GoT has an overarching story about civil war in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and the desire of the previously ousted royal house to re-take the throne from exile, all of which makes the kingdoms of men negligent about the threat from the White Walkers beyond the Wall. Subsumed into this overarching narrative, there are numerous sub-plots.

But there fundamentally is an overarching narrative. What would this be for the Aragorn story, and how could this compete in epic scale with GoT, when the truly epic events actually happen during the War of the Ring?

I view the Aragorn tales as individually compelling but overall lacking in grand storytelling potencial.


Quote
The appendices are also pretty sparse on details of the events of the Second Age and would present just as much of a challenge as fleshing-out the years of Aragorn's journeys and errantries. I do agree that there is a great story or three in there somewhere!


From what I can tell, the essentials regarding the reign of Ar-Pharazon and all the grand events leading up to the Last Alliance, are there in the appendices. We also find references to this story within LoTR, especially during the Council of Elrond.

But, you may very well be right.

Provisionally, I could have seen a season order amounting to something like....

Season 1 - "Tar-Palantir attempted to amend the evil; but it was too late, and there was rebellion and strife in Númenor. When he died, his nephew, leader of the rebellion, seized the sceptre, and became King Ar-Pharazôn. Ar-Pharazôn the Golden was the proudest and most powerful of all the Kings, and no less than the kingship of the world was his desire" (Appendix A)

This would be the main narrative, alongside the growing threat of Sauron's influence in Middle-Earth, as relayed from the Numenorian colonies in his orbit, and the persecution of the Elf-friends "centered around leaders of the Faithful, Elendil and his sons" (Appendix A)

Season 2 - "Ar-Pharazôn resolved to challenge Sauron the Great for the supremacy in Middle-earth, and at length he himself set sail with a great navy, and he landed at Umbar. So great was the might and splendour of the Númenoreans that Sauron's own servants deserted him...Then Ar-Pharazôn in the folly of his pride carried him back as a prisoner to Númenor. It was not long before he had bewitched the King and was master of his counsel; and soon he had tamed the hearts of all the Númenoreans, except the remnant of the Faithful [Elendil and his sons], back towards the darkness." (Appendix A)

This would be the central plot points of Season 2.

Season 3 - "At length Ar-Pharazôn listened to this counsel...He prepared then the greatest armament that the world had seen, and when all was ready he sounded his trumpets and set sail; and he broke the Ban of the Valar, going up with war to wrest everlasting life from the Lords of the West...Númenor was thrown down and swallowed in the Sea, and the Undying Lands were removed for ever from the circles of the world. So ended the glory of Númenor.

The last leaders of the Faithful, Elendil and his sons, escaped from the Downfall with nine ships...and they were borne on the wings of a great storm and cast up on the shores of Middle-earth. There they established in the North-west the Númenorean realms in exile, Arnor and Gondor.
" (Appendix A)

Season 4 - "Elendil was the High King and dwelt in the North at Annúminas; and the rule in the South was committed to his sons, Isildur and Anárion. They founded there Osgiliath, between Minas Ithil and Minas Anor, not far from the confines of Mordor. For this good at least they believed had come out of ruin, that Sauron also had perished.

But it was not so. Sauron was indeed caught in the wreck of Númenor, so that the bodily form in which he long had walked perished; but he fled back to Middle-earth...He re-entered Mordor, and hid there for a time in silence. But his anger was great when he learned that Elendil whom be most hated, had escaped him, and was now ordering a realm upon his borders.
" (Appendix A)

Season 5 - "'Therefore, after a time he made war upon the Exiles, before they should take root. Orodruin burst once more into flame, and was named anew in Gondor _Amon Amarth_, Mount Doom. But Sauron struck too soon, before his own power was rebuilt, whereas the power of Gil-galad had increased in his absence; and in the Last Alliance that was made against him Sauron was overthrown and the One Ring was taken from him. So ended the Second Age. " (Appendix A)


Everything above is excerpted verbatim from Appendix A, without even consulting the Tale of Years and the information in the Council of Elrond chapter. To me at least, it has all the features of a truly epic narrative, even without access to any other material.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 13, 6:13pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 13, 6:43pm

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Aragorn vs. the Downfall of Númenor [In reply to] Can't Post

You are correct that the story of Aragorn's early years is not a grand epic. It does have an over-arching plot, but it is a more modest one as we watch the Heir of Isildur develop from a relatively callow and inexperienced youth to "the most hardy of living Men," worthy of becoming the King of the Reunited Kingdom and husband to Arwen Undómiel.

The greatest challenge that I see in a series based on the Downfall of Númenor, the founding of Gondor and Arnor and the Last Alliance of Men and Elves is that none of the characters are given much of an individual voice by Tolkien. The writers are going to have to work hard to make each of them distinctive and interesting. However, there are certainly epic struggles within the overall story: Sauron attempting to dominate Middle-earth as the King of Men while Ar-Pharazôn raises the greatest fleet ever assembled to oppose him; Sauron's subsequent surrender and his corruption of the Men of Númenor including their King; the destruction of Númenor; and finally the return of Sauron and the war of the Last Alliance. The devil is in the details, but it does not seem impossible to pull off. Even so, I would be hesitant to try this without being able to utilize the "Akallabêth" from The Silmarillion.

If you are right then Aragorn: The Legendary Journeys Wink could still work a a spin-off series.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 13, 6:46pm)


duats
Grey Havens

Apr 13, 11:11pm

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Excellent post [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm of the same mind. The Fall of Numenor/War of the Last Alliance makes perfect sense for what Amazon is trying to do.

1. It's a prequel to The War of the Ring, and is a mostly untold story (save for the nine-minute FotR prologue, which barely scratches the surface).
2. It offers the same type of grand scale and spectacle that Jackson's trilogy had.
3. While there are opportunities to explore subplots and various character storylines, there is still an over-arcing storyline with a centralized villain (Sauron).
4. It would require minimal effort to make it "in continuity" with the Jackson trilogy, should they choose to go that route. But they'd be able to borrow any number of design elements from Weta Workshop, so there's already some groundwork.

Personally speaking, I'm very lukewarm on the idea of an Aragorn-centric show. Especially now that we know that they've committed to five seasons minimum. Taking that into account, as well as the proposed budgets for these seasons, I just don't think the material is there for a show centered on that character.


(This post was edited by duats on Apr 13, 11:13pm)


Althoun
The Shire

Apr 14, 12:06am

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Thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks duats!

Glad I'm not alone in thinking that the Downfall of Numenor-Last Alliance saga is the best fit in terms of what Amazon are looking to get out of the series.

Excellent points, I concur with each of them.

In the Numenor story, Sauron - the actual "Lord of the Rings" let's remember - plays a far more prominent role than he does even in the original trilogy, since in this narrative he's actually embodied in charming, human form until the downfall.

Bezos is not paying upwards of a billion dollars and demanding it become "the next GoT," only to have acquired the rights to LoTR's poor, modest relation IMHO. He wants an absolutely epic mega-hit that will equal both the original Jackson film trilogy and the HBO adaption of GRRM's work in scale.

There is nothing to match the high-climactic drama of the Battle of Helms Deep, Pelennor Fields or GoT's Battle of the Bastards in the Aragorn tales, at least that I can see. By their very nature, they are the more sedate and smaller-scale prelude to the real action of the War of the Ring.

Everything about this upcoming production is designed to be BIG. The BIGGEST budget in television history requires a truly epochal setting and story to fulfil its potential. And the only section of the Appendices which deals in any depth with seismic events upon which hinge the very fate of Middle-Earth, is the part detailing the downfall of Numenor and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

It is a single, grand, overarching plot that underpins the later events of LoTR - which was precisely why Jackson began his franchise by recapping the history in his intro, however briefly.

From where I'm standing, it has all the qualities of the natural prequel.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 14, 12:11am)


Althoun
The Shire

Apr 14, 12:29am

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Interesting [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks again Otaku!

Once more, you raise perfectly valid points.

Undoubtedly, it would be better if they actually had access to the Akallabêth but the plot in the Appendices is, nonetheless, eminently do-able as the basic outline for a series, I would argue more so than Aragorn's adventures.

The phraseology used in the press release, "based upon Tolkien's original writings" struck me at the time as thought-provoking. We know (provided we can trust the report in Hollywood Insider) that the deal didn't cover the Silmarillion...but why did Hollywood Insider even care to mention that detail when the deal had to do with LoTR? And why say the rather ambiguous "original writings", rather than just the "trilogy"?

It may be that all Amazon has access to is the trilogy but there's a small chance the deal might have been a bit more expansive too - perhaps with access to parts of HOME or other works required to provide extra padding for the screenwriters.

What I am reasonably sure about is that, since the Tolkien Estate was the one shopping this project around to the highest bidder and stipulating they had to sign up to a five-season commitment; plus begin production by 2019 or lose the rights, there must have been a clear premise for this series from the offing.

In other words, the producers won't be combing through the Appendices as we speak, looking for a story to tell - the plan for a very specific story would have been present at the start of this process.

Do I think it's Young Aragorn? I just can't quite believe the Tolkien Estate and Amazon would go to such lengths for something lacking an epic narrative thrust and be confident enough in its potential as the next "GoT" to agree in advance to five seasons even before showrunners or scriptwriters or producers or anything else have been appointed. That's an insane level of confidence in the epic potential of whatever is in store here.

But I may be totally wrong. We shall see!


(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 14, 12:44am)


Althoun
The Shire

Apr 14, 12:49am

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The deal.... [In reply to] Can't Post

To sum up, a five-season commitment and agreement to begin production by 2019 at the latest, tells me that something pre-ordained has been shopped around here even before Amazon sealed the deal and that whatever it is must have the inherent capacity to sustain itself through those multiple seasons.

I mean, reflect on this: no matter the reception or ratings it ultimately receives, Amazon is legally obliged to roll out five seasons of this thing.

If I were a chief executive producer (a boy can dream!) and someone approached me saying that I'd have to commit to five seasons and a colossal budget even if the first one was poorly received....I mean, they must have a heck of a lot of belief in its potential to be willing to bank on such a risk.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Apr 14, 12:59am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 14, 1:17am

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Choices [In reply to] Can't Post

I will say that your Second Age story provides a stronger overall narrative than we might have for a series based on the last years of the kings of Arnor and Gondor.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 15, 2:41pm

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Doubtful. [In reply to] Can't Post

The problem with a series hinging on the downfall of Numenor to get going is that it would be difficult to present the underlying ideas of the separation of the world, without going into some details about Illuvatar, the Valar, Aman, and the events in Beleriand that led up to the creation of the Island. All of which would probably take them into forbidden material. At least they could do not more than to hint at it.


Quote
How can the showrunners hope to compete with an epic fantasy like GoT


I don't think their counting on it. They seem to have positioned themselves, time-wise in such a way as to be able to swoop in and pick up the crowd around when GoT comes to an end. Assuming they can get their stuff together of course. There's not much time available and it's getting less.


Quote
there is no overarching, grand, epic purpose under-girding Aragorn's diverse adventures.


Not sure that is necessarily true. On the one hand the creators of this series are under no obligation to follow Tolkiens established timeline to the dates. On the other the birth of Aragorn corresponds to within 10 years of Saurons discovery in Dol Guldur and his return to Barad-Dur. With Sauron as the primo mean-o the series would also nicely segway into Lord of the Rings.

Unless they are infact making Lord of the Rings, we can be more or less certain that they will have to invent a number of new main, and recurring characters that Tolkien never mentioned or envisioned, so I don't really see that they would have to go all the way back to Elendil for that purpose either.

Not saying it's impossible, and it would be more interesting than Aragorn vs Sauron I think, but it is doubtful.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 15, 3:57pm

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Wait, what? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
On the one hand the creators of this series are under no obligation to follow Tolkiens established timeline to the dates. On the other the birth of Aragorn corresponds to within 10 years of Saurons discovery in Dol Guldur and his return to Barad-Dur. With Sauron as the primo mean-o the series would also nicely segway into Lord of the Rings.


That's not true in either books or films. In Tolkien's legendarium Gandalf learned that the Necromancer was Sauron when he investigated Dol Guldur in the year 2850 (Third Age). Aragorn was born eighty-one years later in 2931. Granted, Sauron did withdraw from southern Mirkwood in 2941 in response to the (long delayed) actions of the White Council, so you are half-right.

In the universe of the films, Aragorn would have needed to have born around 2915, twenty-five years before Gandalf enters Dol Guldur in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.


In Reply To
Unless they are infact making Lord of the Rings, we can be more or less certain that they will have to invent a number of new main, and recurring characters that Tolkien never mentioned or envisioned, so I don't really see that they would have to go all the way back to Elendil for that purpose either.


Agreed. The show's writers are going to have to create new characters and specific situations no matter what is adapted or used for inspiration.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

(This post was edited by Otaku-sempai on Apr 15, 4:01pm)


InTheChair
Lorien

Apr 15, 7:30pm

Post #15 of 60 (4277 views)
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Not sure they need to adhere to the timeline of the films either. (They may want to though since they're talking to Peter Jackson) [In reply to] Can't Post


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Sauron did withdraw from southern Mirkwood in 2941 in response to the (long delayed) actions of the White Council, so you are half-right.


That's what I meant. Gandalf my have discovered it sooner, but it took until 2941 before he convinced the others and Sauron once more became a factor in the minds of the people of Middle-Earth.


(This post was edited by InTheChair on Apr 15, 7:31pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 15, 10:02pm

Post #16 of 60 (4257 views)
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Sauron in Mirkwood and the White Council [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think that the White Council, in Tolkien's legendarium, doubted the truth of Gandalf's report. They didn't act in 2851 because Saruman as head of the Council declared that Sauron did not pose a threat in his weakened state and that the Master Ring was lost forever. Even then Saruman had his own agenda, secretly sending his agents to search the Gladden Fields for the One Ring.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


uncle Iorlas
Bree

Apr 18, 4:56am

Post #17 of 60 (4071 views)
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suppose only LOTR [In reply to] Can't Post

My understanding was that strictly the Lord of the Rings is in Amazon's pocketses--cover to cover, so prologues and appendices are fair game, but nothing that isn't mentioned in those pages. That, to me, makes the Second Age impracticable; while much of the story is mentioned in one place or another through LOTR, the most complete account of it is in the Silmarillion, and the Amazon crew would have to be terribly careful which they're working from. I do agree that this is the arc with the most epic potential.

But what all is in those pages? The fortunes of Elendil's line, Aragorn and Arwen (probably the most cohesive story available but would need a lot of padding out, maybe along Otaku-sempai's lines), the House of Eorl, a good bit about Third Age dwarves, some linguistics and a bunch of hobbit genealogies. That last, I'd love to play with if it were me--adventures of the Tooks, or the deep forgotten history of the hobbit-Rohirrim connection, comedies of manners set in Hobbiton and Bywater, any number of things. But none of that is epic. None of that pays off an investment on the scale of a billion dollars. They need a blockbuster.

I don't know if anybody knows yet, but I tend to suspect we're looking at young Aragorn. Or they'll just change course and do the trilogy itself because they can.

Maybe we need an anti-hero. The saga of the Witch-King. Or the Mouth of Sauron. Or the Shakespearian morality tale of the Fall of Saruman.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 18, 2:59pm

Post #18 of 60 (4031 views)
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An Antihero Story? [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Maybe we need an anti-hero. The saga of the Witch-King. Or the Mouth of Sauron. Or the Shakespearian morality tale of the Fall of Saruman.


Out of the three above, I think that only Saruman might be counted as an antihero. The others are outright villains (unless maybe we could go back to the original corruption of the Witch-king; but we know nothing of him as a Man except that he was probably once a Númenórean of high rank.

Boromir becomes an antihero at the Breaking of the Fellowship only to ultimately redeem himself through self-sacrifice. However, I can't see how one would get a five-season Middle-earth series out of Denethor, Boromir and Faramir--or out of any other semi-villainous characters.

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 18, 10:31pm

Post #19 of 60 (4002 views)
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exactly [In reply to] Can't Post

Agreed, there are many good stories to take up, but few that can offer five seasons' worth of material.

Also yes, of course, anti-hero was the wrong word. i hang my head in shame. But as to your story of the Witch King starting when he was a mortal--or any other Nazgul, for that matter, or any dwarf king of a line other than Durin's, or any poor sucker who happened to cop hold of one of the uncertain number of minor rings they all practiced on in the good old Hollin days--the fact that nothing is already established about those things means, to somebody in Amazon's position, that you have a free hand to invent. The white page can be overwritten. The white light can be broken.


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 18, 11:18pm

Post #20 of 60 (3994 views)
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That's okay... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I certainly never meant to imply that Faramir is a semi-villainous character. That would be overstating the case even for Boromir. Wink

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock


squire
Half-elven


Apr 19, 2:03am

Post #21 of 60 (3987 views)
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Anti-hero is the wrong word, as you noted [In reply to] Can't Post

Because Tolkien doesn't do anti-heroes.

But the entire angle - maybe we should portray Evil sympathetically, because there isn't enough story material about the Good guys 1) with gripping conflict 2) in the LotR appendices 3) to fill five seasons of TV - is so completely against everything that Tolkien stands for, that the mind boggles.

Yes, it's modern. It speaks to the 2020's and all that. It's good TV and good drama. The Evil characters are there for the taking. But it ain't ain't ain't Tolkien. He writes Romance. And he writes Heroes. And he writes Fate, and Death, and Failure in a great Cause, that of Good.

They bought it. Now make it work the way the author wants it to work and the way the author's fans expect.



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daemoon
Rivendell


Apr 20, 2:41pm

Post #22 of 60 (3858 views)
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Great post, I wish you worked for Amazon. [In reply to] Can't Post

In my opinion a Second Age/Fall of Númenor/Last Alliance series is the way to go. A Young Aragorn Series or a "Bridge" series between the Hobbit and LotR would be a mistake and a lazy effort in my opinion.

A Second Age series distances itself enough from the LotR/Hobbit Era but its plot is still pretty much vital to the things that happen later on the movies that the casual folk are familiarized with. The Fellowship of the Ring's prologue is still my favorite moment of the trilogy.

I also love your suggestion about the seasons but I would also add a plot about the Forging of the Rings of the Power and the War of the Elves and Sauron.


(This post was edited by daemoon on Apr 20, 2:44pm)


uncle Iorlas
Bree


Apr 20, 4:27pm

Post #23 of 60 (3842 views)
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Fair enough. [In reply to] Can't Post

I was speaking offhandedly, really; I didn't so much mean to suggest a sympathetic portrayal of villains, per se, but just to flesh out what their stories are, at all. If indeed Amazon is to turn back to the Second Age, for example, they'll be obliged to deal with Sauron's development over time; in the Second Age he traveled about and had conversations with people, so he must needs be a reified character rather than a distant rumor of menace, even if they must call him Annatar. (Except I think they can't call him that, if they only have rights to the trilogy and not the Silmarillion.)

To quibble just a tadge in two ways (so two tadges I suppose): first, centering a story on a villain is by no means exclusively modern. Richard III is proof enough of that. And secondly, if Tolkien most often keeps his heroes and his villains at a clear remove from one another, still some of his most interesting characters are those in which he pauses to examine conflicted motives--as Gollum, Denethor, Thorin, Feanor, and Turin. indeed those latter two may be considered not so terribly far from anti-heroes.


Eldorion
Gondor


Apr 20, 5:49pm

Post #24 of 60 (3828 views)
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Setting aside what we might *want* to happen: [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
What the media reports haven't made clear, however, is whether or not Amazon managed to acquire the rights to any of Tolkien's other works (i.e. HOME, Unfinished Tales) which might help them flesh out the sketchy material outlined in the RoTK appendices.


There is no evidence that this has happened and the few comments Amazon has made imply the series will be more directly tied to LOTR than to earlier history.


In Reply To
How can the showrunners hope to compete with an epic fantasy like GoT - which has multi-layered, kingdom-spanning character arcs and intricate plotting - by having as their counter-blockbuster, something as positively unepic as the travails of Aragorn in his Strider days, before the real action of the War of the Ring takes place?


There's no reason that a Young Aragorn series can't include the stuff you mention. If it focuses on Aragorn's time as Thorongil, which is what we know the most about, then the source material already includes multiple-kingdom-spanning action and politics. Regardless of what tack the screenwriters take they will have to invent a great deal of material, and I see no reason to think they wouldn't do so with a Young Aragorn series in order to flesh out the information in the Appendices with character arcs and a greater supporting cast.


In Reply To
Visually, the series would be challenging to pull off - as opposed to Aragorn strolling around the hills of the Shire!


According to the Appendices Aragorn spent little time in Eriador, period. It's doubtful he had much of anything to do with the protection of the Shire since his main purpose was "labour[ing] in the cause against Sauron", both in the service of Rohan and Gondor, and later traveling "alone far into the East and deep into the South, exploring the hearts of Men, both evil and good, and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron."


(This post was edited by Eldorion on Apr 20, 5:49pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Apr 20, 6:35pm

Post #25 of 60 (3809 views)
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Great Journeys and Errantries [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
According to the Appendices Aragorn spent little time in Eriador, period. It's doubtful he had much of anything to do with the protection of the Shire since his main purpose was "labour[ing] in the cause against Sauron", both in the service of Rohan and Gondor, and later traveling "alone far into the East and deep into the South, exploring the hearts of Men, both evil and good, and uncovering the plots and devices of the servants of Sauron."


Before he started this discussion, I'm not sure that Althoun had much knowledge of Aragorn's travels from the time that he came of age to shortly before the War of the Ring. At least that's the impression I get from his comments. You are right, he seems to have spent very little time in Eriador in those years--much less "strolling around the hills of the Shire". I think he knows better by this point. Wink

"I may be on the side of the angels, but do not think for one second that I am one of them." - Sherlock

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