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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Middle-earth TV Series Discussion:
Is the 'Lord of the Rings' TV series ABOUT the Lord of the Rings? (Second Age spoilers)

Hanzkaz
Rohan

Oct 5, 4:43pm

Post #1 of 22 (1689 views)
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Is the 'Lord of the Rings' TV series ABOUT the Lord of the Rings? (Second Age spoilers) Can't Post

Just speculating here -

The Amazon Middle-Earth TV series is often being referred to as the 'Lord of the Rings' TV series. If this is accurate, I think it might be reasonable to assume it would be based around the events concerning Annatar, AKA the Dark Lord Sauron, in the Second Age (so, duh, but bear with me).

Now, the three most significant events (IMO) Sauron was involved in, in the Second Age, was the Forging of the Rings (1500-1600 SA), the Downfall of Númenor (3391 SA) and the War of the Last Alliance (3430-3441 SA). I suspect that the TV series will involve these events. My theory is that they'll keep the Forging of the Rings in the past (keep things mythical, though there may be flashbacks) and start the series in the time of Pharazôn and Amandil, who were originally good friends until the former usurped the throne (and married his cousin by force), and then things turn even more worse when Annatar/Sauron is 'captured'.

Concerning the 'capture' of Sauron by the Númenoreans, it would work better for me if it happens offscreen (leave the 'darker' parts of Middle-Earth for later). Instead, we have a triumphant Númenorean army returning home with a seemingly 'normal' looking and supposedly helpless prisoner. This, incidentally, gains Pharazôn quite a bit of public approval. (and makes things a bit more politically difficult for his former friend).

Sauron's 'Dark Lordship' will probably be downplayed at first, and we'll be seeing more of Tar-Mairon the wise advisor/charming schemer instead. (I really hope they show Sauron as a supposedly reformed, repentant and quite helpful individual (we may even get to see him as a 'hero') before things turn really dark). And considering the popular Númenorean mindset at the time, it wouldn't be too difficult to get many of them to start seeing things his way.

So, we'll be getting Númenorean politics involving all sorts of scheming and treachery. We'll probably see Amandil's (as well as the queen's) futile attempts to oppose the plans of the king and his new BFF. There may even be stuff about Sauron's continuing search for the Elven Rings. We may get the Nazgûl (even if they're not named) and various other 'horror' creatures and the eventual rise of the Cult of Melkor..

Along the way, we'll see Sauron/Tar-Mairon change as well - seemingly, now apparently harmless, 'human' prisoner, to wise, trusted advisor, to cult leader and powerful 'sorcerer', and also perhaps to some kind of shapeshifting horror. .

There is quite a bit to work with. It's just a matter of fleshing out the details into decent story.


Amazon's 'Welcome to the Second Age' should probably be 'Welcome to the end of the Second Age'

Personally, I would like there to be three 'Lord of the Rings' series.

Series 1 - about 'Annatar' and the Forging of the Rings.

Series 2 - about 'Tar-Mairon' and the Downfall of Númenor (the one I'd find the most interesting)

Series 3 - about the Dark Lord Sauron and the Last Alliance.






(This post was edited by Hanzkaz on Oct 5, 4:48pm)


squire
Half-elven


Oct 5, 4:59pm

Post #2 of 22 (1647 views)
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There's some good drama there [In reply to] Can't Post

Without getting into the larger structure of such a series, I very much like your emphasis on the captured emperor being charismatic and in some ways heroic, with his evil nature (and name, for those who do not know what's coming) concealed for a good long time.

I imagine it will be hard to avoid a general circulation of spoilers, though, by book fans who know their 'Akallabeth' or even their LotR Appendices.

"I love the show too, but did you know that that Mairon dude is actually the evil Lord Sauron, the guy who made the evil Ring in the LotR films?"
"What? Really? Wow, I had no idea. So he turns evil in this story?"
"No he already is evil. He's just hiding it, to get on Pharazon's good side."
"Man, what a spoiler. Thanks."



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Hanzkaz
Rohan

Oct 5, 5:46pm

Post #3 of 22 (1636 views)
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I'm hoping it's like Anakin/Vader (fake Anakin/Palpatine?) but better. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Without getting into the larger structure of such a series, I very much like your emphasis on the captured emperor being charismatic and in some ways heroic, with his evil nature (and name, for those who do not know what's coming) concealed for a good long time.

I imagine it will be hard to avoid a general circulation of spoilers, though, by book fans who know their 'Akallabeth' or even their LotR Appendices.

"I love the show too, but did you know that that Mairon dude is actually the evil Lord Sauron, the guy who made the evil Ring in the LotR films?"
"What? Really? Wow, I had no idea. So he turns evil in this story?"
"No he already is evil. He's just hiding it, to get on Pharazon's good side."
"Man, what a spoiler. Thanks."


There were a few kids back in the day who didn't know about the Anakin/Vader thing. And Game of Thrones fans who weren't expecting the Red Wedding. And many of those who did know still went to watch. (and, yes, I know, some of them regretted it Smile ).

The key is to get people interested and keep them interested.

Anyway, people will get to know Sauron as a person, and the (return) journey to Dark Lord mode might be interesting to see. That's why I want to skip all the Mordor-y stuff at the beginning of the series, and have him more as some sort of apparently 'normal' prisoner-of-war. I'm assuming the Númenoreans will have magic users of their own (like their distant kin the Elves), so he may come across as a bit out-gunned and relatively mundane (at first). The, by then, arrogant Númenoreans, were probably so flashy, that most folks wouldn't give the new guy in lock-up a second thought.

Except when he wanted them to.


Give me good writing (and acting), interesting dialogue and character arcs, and I'll watch everything..

We know the (possible) destination, but the journey matters, too.






(This post was edited by Hanzkaz on Oct 5, 5:47pm)


Althoun
Lorien

Oct 5, 6:43pm

Post #4 of 22 (1616 views)
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Late Second Age (Ar-Pharazon, Sauron in Númenor) had been my initial theory early last year... [In reply to] Can't Post

....long before we learned that the show would actually be set during the Second Age and everyone was still talking about Young Aragorn.

Here's my original thread from April 2018:

http://newboards.theonering.net/forum/gforum/perl/gforum.cgi?post=943287;search_string=Ar-Pharazon;

However, the actual maps released by Amazon Prime back in February significantly changed my calculus.

Neither of the two maps drawn by Howe and issued by Amazon are set in time-period of the reign of Ar-Pharazon over Númenor.

Based on the last map, the show must be set before the fall of Eregion and its capital Ost-in-Edhil in 1697 S.A. (because this is featured prominently) and prior to Sauron building Barad-Dur in Mordor (because it isn't there nor is Mordor even identified as a populated region with place-names, indicating perhaps much earlier Second Age i.e. Aldarion era, before Sauron had yet moved there for the East), so the ring-forging, rise of Sauron and war in Eriador would presumably be the key centrepiece of the show.

The first map (published in installments), shows the Second Age after Númenor has sunk beneath the Belegaer - because it's gone and the exiles have set up base with the colonies of Anuminas (Arnor) and Osgiliath, Minis Anor (Gondor) - meaning it is set just before the Last Alliance.

Since I highly doubt they would go to the effort of designing and publishing maps that had zilch to do with the timeframe of the show, I am inclined to think that it cannot be set in very late Númenor but rather a much earlier epoch.

Tom Shippey gave us the most important 'hint' as to the general shape of the series when he said: "the Tolkien estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenórean expedition, is returned to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenóreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same".

Notice his heavy emphasis upon Númenor, Númenor, Númenor. He mentions it three times. Looks clear to me that he has been told it is, perhaps, the central focus of the series.

The invasion of Eriador by Sauron is, of course, a reference to the events in 1693 S.A., when the war breaks our between the Elves and Sauron over the ring (i.e. Celebrimbor's death).

Shippey's remarks, though, flit immediately to a much later period. The timespan between the "Númenorean expedition" forcing Sauron back under Tar-Minastir in 1700 S.A. and him arriving in Númenor after being captured by Ar-Pharazon is over a thousand years, but Shippey mentions it seamlessly in one sentence.

So I'm not sure how they plan to handle this.

By the sounds of it, from Shippey's remarks, the Ar-Pharazon era when Sauron is a captive in Númenor will be covered and be an important part of the series but the show won't be starting there and nor do the maps suggest that period (indeed they explicitly preclude it as a possibility).


(This post was edited by Althoun on Oct 5, 6:50pm)


The Dude
The Shire

Oct 5, 7:17pm

Post #5 of 22 (1605 views)
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Doubt it. [In reply to] Can't Post

Let us assume for the moment that the Amazon series will indeed be called The Lord of the Rings, and based on what we know so far this seems rather likely, the main/initial reason for choosing that name will simply be brand recognition concerns. In comparison to other popular media behemoths, such as Harry Potter or Star Wars, there is no universally agreed upon catch-all term for Tolkien's legendarium. So the producers probably settled for the name The Lord of the Rings because a lot of people are familiar with it.

Now they will probably try to justify this name within the narrative of the series itself, so the most likely scenario is that (at least) Season 1 will be about the story of how Sauron became the "Lord of the Rings", i.e., how the rings were forged, how the One Ring was created, etc. Starting the series there also makes sense if you want to attract a large portion of the audience that watched Jackson's films. Most of them will still be somewhat familiar with the prologue of the first film and Galadriel's words. The same can probably not be said for the term "Númenor". From a marketing perspective this is also the best route for them to go ("Buy Amazon Prime to see how it all began!").

A second option is that they try to center the story around the character of Sauron himself. But as I mentioned in a previous post, this could very well doom the series. Now there are ways to portray Sauron as a complex and (initially) ambiguous character but the problem here is that 80-99% of all screenwriters have a completely warped sense of what these terms mean and in this scenario we could very well get a mentally unstable, boilerplate tragic, "anti-heroic", soap-opera version of the Dark Lord.


Hanzkaz
Rohan

Oct 5, 7:39pm

Post #6 of 22 (1592 views)
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Maybe Amazon are more ambitious than I realised.. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
By the sounds of it, from Shippey's remarks, the Ar-Pharazon era when Sauron is a captive in Númenor will be covered and be an important part of the series but the show won't be starting there and nor do the maps suggest that period (indeed they explicitly preclude it as a possibility).


It sounds like they want to do everything that involves Sauron in the Second Age, from the Forging, to the Downfall, to the Last Alliance.

Apparently they're committed to five seasons at least. I guess there'll be quite a few time jumps, with Elves, certain long-lived Númenoreans and Sauron himself still around from one time period to the next. I just hope they don't try to rush things (I kind of got that feeling from the final season of Game of Thrones).






Althoun
Lorien

Oct 5, 9:10pm

Post #7 of 22 (1561 views)
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It does look like they may intend to cover a big swathe of the Second Age... [In reply to] Can't Post

The two maps are perfect bookends:

Map 1 (revealed second) shows a relatively early Second Age - with Númenor, Eregion (and its capital Ost-in-edhil) and Khazad-dum still in existence, Lórinand (Laurelindorenan/Lothorien before Galadriel takes it over), no Númenórean colonies other than Lond Daer on the Gwathló, a forested Minhiriath and Enedwaith (not yet the barren lands because the Númenórean tree-felling and War in Eriador (1693-1701) have yet to take place) and most crucially no Mordor (no place-names, no Orodruin/Mount Doom tagged and no Barad-dur).

This map is certainly pre-1600 SA:


Quote
"c.1600 Sauron forges the One Ring in Orodruin. He completes the Barad-dur. Celebrimbor perceives the designs of Sauron." (Tale of Years, Appendix B)


But because Mordor is not depicted at all, nor even its foundations, the map may in fact be pre-1000 SA:


Quote
"c.1000 Sauron, alarmed by the growing power of the Númenóreans, chooses Mordor as a land to make into a stronghold. He begins the building of Barad-dur." (Tale of Years, Appendix B)


But Eregion and its capital Ost-in-Edhil are on the map, so this sets a litmus test for the earliest it could be dated - 750 S.A.:


Quote
"750 Eregion founded by the Noldor" (Tale of Years, Appendix B)


So I would surmise that the show has to start somewhere between 750 - 1600 SA.

The second map shows the Second Age as it is in the late fourth millennium, around the time of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (3430 SA) with no Númenor there any longer because it has long since sunk. But we have Númenórean cities in exile like Pelargir (2350), Minas Ithil, Minas Anor, Annuminas and Osgiliath - that is primitive Arnor and Gondor.

And Mordor is there along with Mount Doom/Orodruin and the Barad-dur.

In addition, Shippey also stated in his interview: "What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions"

The fact Amazon may be pondering such questions also suggests, perhaps, an earlier "start date".


Althoun
Lorien

Oct 5, 9:23pm

Post #8 of 22 (1558 views)
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Agreed - season 1 is sure to be about Sauron becoming "Lord of the Rings".... [In reply to] Can't Post

The fact that the Ar-Pharazon arc has little-to-no association with, or direct mentions of, the One Ring makes it a difficult starting off base for a show billing itself as The Lord of the Rings: Prequel.

Tolkien wrote the Akallabeth in 1936 as a self-contained great tale distinct from the story of LotR, which had not yet been conceived. Númenor was not even, at this stage, in the same universe as The Hobbit - it was backstory for a time-travel novel intended to bridge the modern world and the mythos of the First Age involving the Wars against Morgoth, as an Atlantis/destruction of the Ancient World concept.

That's why one finds practically no references to the Rings of Power in the Ar-Pharazon material, whether in the Appendices or the Silmarillion because the story of Sauron being taken hostage to Númenor and corrupting both its king and people into waging war against the Valar, originally had nothing to do with LotR.

As with the Silmarillion and the Hobbit, Tolkien skilfully wove the Númenor myth into his LotR pre-history later on, through Aragorn (in his original conception a hobbit but later on a Númenórean) and the Realms in Exile.

But he never quite worked out how to get the One Ring in Númenor with Sauron - the solution is found in his letters, where he tries to explain how Sauron would have taken the ring with him to Númenor and how it might have survived the Downfall with his spirit fleeing the disaster.

By contrast, the Celebrimbor and Eregion plotline was entirely contrived by Tolkien as essential backstory to LotR itself - while the Galadriel Second Age material was written post-LotR in an attempt to reconfigure the history to fit with her greatly important role in LotR (and thus, again, it fits what Amazon want to do like a glove).

Far better for Amazon Prime to hook 'casual' viewers of the original trilogies - who are familiar with the Second Age prologue, the ring forging, Elrond and Galadriel - straight away, than begin with a story that, while it makes perfect sense sandwiched between the tale of Annatar and the Elven-smiths on the one hand and the Last Alliance on the other, doesn't quite jive with the 'title' in and of itself.

The Downfall of Númenor is fantastic fodder for an epic drama but viewers need a more familiar 'hook' first before getting anywhere near that.

That said, Númenor - in an earlier era - is so far as I can tell going to be the centre of gravity, narrativewise, for this series. I don't think Sauron will be the 'main character' - in the sense of following the plot from his perspective.

If you consider the LOTRonPrime Twitter account, the image at the top of the page is one of Númenor - not Eregion.

It is also the part of the map that relies heavily on material outside the LotR appendices. Amazon have thus gone to great effort to design Númenor with intricate detail in terms of place-names, forests, rivers etc. No other region/kingdom has been given such attention, if you inspect it closely.

Three cities (Armenelos, Romenna and Eldalonde) and six provinces (Mittalmar, Orrostar, Hyarrostar, Hyarrnustar, Forrostar and Andustar) in addition to the great mountain of the Meneltarma, are depicted. Can the same level of detail be said for any other kingdom?

As others have noted, the creative team video homed in on both Eregion and Númenor. So these are our two main 'theatres'.

Notice Shippey's heavy emphasis upon Númenor, Númenor, Númenor. He mentions it three times. Looks clear to me that he has been told it is, perhaps, the central focus of the series.

With that in mind, the main protagonists are likely to be Númenóreans and Elves - only Númenor leading up to or in the period when the Rings are forged, contemporaneously with the Annatar in Eregion seducing the Elves arc.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Oct 5, 9:38pm)


Chen G.
Rohan

Oct 5, 10:44pm

Post #9 of 22 (1529 views)
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I think you're right [In reply to] Can't Post

The map - which Shippey and Howe stressed was made to be as accurate as humanly possible to the period they wanted to depict - seems to suggest the time of Eregion and the Forging of the Great Rings.

I guess it makes sense to build upon the prologue of The Fellowship of the Ring for intrigue by fans of the films.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 5, 10:44pm)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 6, 12:32am

Post #10 of 22 (1513 views)
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Making Assumptions [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
In addition, Shippey also stated in his interview: "What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions"

The fact Amazon may be pondering such questions also suggests, perhaps, an earlier "start date".


Tom Shippey is asking such quesitons but that's no guarantee that the producers are pondering them as well.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


Althoun
Lorien

Oct 6, 1:06am

Post #11 of 22 (1507 views)
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Operative Words [In reply to] Can't Post

The Operative Words in my statement were "may" and "perhaps". Wink


Hanzkaz
Rohan

Oct 6, 10:02am

Post #12 of 22 (1461 views)
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Protagonists and Three Rings sidestory [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To

With that in mind, the main protagonists are likely to be Númenóreans and Elves - only Númenor leading up to or in the period when the Rings are forged, contemporaneously with the Annatar in Eregion seducing the Elves arc.

I think we could get some 'new' Elven protagonists who knew 'Annatar' during the time of the Forging (presumably to their regret). We'll probably see a lot of the story from their POV. By the the time that story arc is over, they could be the ones initially hiding the Three Rings from Sauron. ('The Elves hid the Three Rings'. There's a story there.).

The Downfall and Last Alliance arcs will introduce the 'main' long-lived Númenorean protagonists - and antagonists. We know that Sauron turned the Númenoreans against the Valar and the Elves. I'm assuming he would have also used them in his search for the Three. (I mean the guy is something of a multi-tasker, isn't he?) That would bring back the Elven protagonists from the Forging arc. And the fact that Sauron was not wearing the One during his stay in Númenor might also give the then-bearers of the Three some scope to use their powers. There could even be an eventual alliance between them and the 'good' Númenoreans.

We could also get the rise of the Ringwraiths as well as the dire consequences of some of the Dwarven Rings.


As for the One Ring, that should remain in Mordor. There's actually potential for a storyline where Sauron is betrayed by one of his servants who were left to guard it, to that individual's regret. That's when we find out that the One Ring truly has only one master. (I've also got an idea for a Downfall arc end-credit scene where the sea near the shores of Middle-Earth starts to boil and a great cloud of black smoke and fire rises out of it, travels to Mordor where the Ring is hidden, finds it, surrounds it and when the smoke clears, there's the familiar Dark Lord we all know and love.

I'm assuming he'll need to vent, evil bad guy style, but once he runs out of nearby minions to kill, he calms down and realises that this dark cloud has a silver lining. Sure, Númenor didn't turn out quite the way he'd planned. But now there was no-one left who could get in his way. Right?).






(This post was edited by Hanzkaz on Oct 6, 10:04am)


Hasuwandil
Rivendell


Oct 9, 4:41pm

Post #13 of 22 (1290 views)
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Begin with Elves & backwards time skip [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been giving some thought to this. It has occurred to me that both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings start off with Hobbits (and Dwarves). In The Hobbit, if I recall correctly, there are no conventional Men until the company reaches Dale, and before Dale the only ones that I can think of offhand are Gandalf, who has the form of a Man, and was probably originally conceived of as a Man until he became part of the legendarium; and Beorn, who was a shape-changer. And before Dale there are two different populations of Elves. Likewise, in The Lord of the Rings there are no Men until the Hobbits reach Bree, although Gandalf, Tom Bombadil, and Goldberry apparently had the forms of Men.

My point is that it makes sense to begin the story in Eregion (and Lindon) rather than Númenor, especially since that is where Galadriel and Celeborn (and Elrond) are. Plenty of people are familiar with Elves, especially if they've seen the LOTR films. If that is the case, the story could begin with the founding of Ost-in-Edhil in S.A. 750, which is around Aldarion's time. However, not much is known to have happened in Eregion until S.A. 1200. In order to draw in more casual viewers, it would make sense to begin the series with the forging of the Rings, leading to the War of the Elves and Sauron, with the Númenóreans showing up at the end.

After the Númenóreans show up, I would expect the series to shift focus to the Númenóreans for a while. However, the series does not have to proceed strictly chronologically. With the focus on the Númenóreans, it would make sense to explain a bit about their history up to the end of the War. This backtracking could take up the whole second season or a smaller part thereof. If Amazon is planning to follow the example of Vikings, they could use a ten-episode half season to tell the Númenórean backstory before proceeding to events after the Númenórean victory.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


fantasywind
Bree

Oct 10, 2:08pm

Post #14 of 22 (1241 views)
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Elves in Eregion and Mariner's Wife [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I've been giving some thought to this. It has occurred to me that both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings start off with Hobbits (and Dwarves). In The Hobbit, if I recall correctly, there are no conventional Men until the company reaches Dale, and before Dale the only ones that I can think of offhand are Gandalf, who has the form of a Man, and was probably originally conceived of as a Man until he became part of the legendarium; and Beorn, who was a shape-changer. And before Dale there are two different populations of Elves. Likewise, in The Lord of the Rings there are no Men until the Hobbits reach Bree, although Gandalf, Tom Bombadil, and Goldberry apparently had the forms of Men.
My point is that it makes sense to begin the story in Eregion (and Lindon) rather than Númenor, especially since that is where Galadriel and Celeborn (and Elrond) are. Plenty of people are familiar with Elves, especially if they've seen the LOTR films. If that is the case, the story could begin with the founding of Ost-in-Edhil in S.A. 750, which is around Aldarion's time. However, not much is known to have happened in Eregion until S.A. 1200. In order to draw in more casual viewers, it would make sense to begin the series with the forging of the Rings, leading to the War of the Elves and Sauron, with the Númenóreans showing up at the end.
After the Númenóreans show up, I would expect the series to shift focus to the Númenóreans for a while. However, the series does not have to proceed strictly chronologically. With the focus on the Númenóreans, it would make sense to explain a bit about their history up to the end of the War. This backtracking could take up the whole second season or a smaller part thereof. If Amazon is planning to follow the example of Vikings, they could use a ten-episode half season to tell the Númenórean backstory before proceeding to events after the Númenórean victory.


I think the best way it could go would to be use History of Celeborn and Galadriel mixed with Mariner's Wife, so we could both follow events in Eregion showing Galadriel and Celeborn, and Celebrian (plus many a few glances at Lindon with Gil-galad, Cirdan and Elrond) and story of Mariner's Wife with Aldarion. It's all already connected, Aldairon meets pretty much everyone, meets High King Gil-galad (so most likely he would also meet Elrond, who was at the time probably a sort of right-hand elf-man :), well Elrond was herald of Gil-galad in later time of Last Alliance, earlier but already after war in Eriador, he was vice-regent of Eriador with setting up abode in Imladris, so I would guess Elrond should be close by as important member of Gil-galad's court) also Cirdan, with whom Aldarion spends lot of time, learning from him, of shipbuilding and engineering, building sea walls and quays, I could imagine it could sort of go back and forth between Eregion and Numenor.

Also meeting of Aldarion with Galadriel at around Tharbad location could be shown (also I would hope that they will use the conversation of Galadriel and Celebrimbor from UT, the section of Elessar origin), it would all lead steadily into events of Sauron's meddling arriving as Annatar in the 1200s with queen Tar-Ancalime still alive, daughter of Aldarion, from then on there could be some sort of time skip, or at least dealing mostly with Elvensmiths of Gwaith-i-Mirdain and elvish politics, forging the Rings including the One Ring at Orodruin and then on towards the War of the Elves and Sauron (new Numenorean characters would jump right in then, queen Tar-Telperien, her son Minastir and admiral Ciryatur, who would be ideal key Numenorean character in war). Of course all that doesn't take into account the possible changes done to lore or timeline, that could potentially happen during adaptation process. War of the Elves and Sauron would focus mostly on Elves (plus maybe showing dwarven involvement, characters would include all known Gil-galad, Elrond, Cirdan, Galadriel, Celeborn, Amroth takes part as well as his people marching together with Dwarves of Khazad-dum, king Durin III could be shown, and of course over all that Sauron, not only would he act as trickster, he would be personally taking part in action during war, leading from the front as per the account in UT). It can all work out even without changes, but that's just my take on that.


Althoun
Lorien

Oct 11, 12:50am

Post #15 of 22 (1205 views)
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Beginning with Elves......... [In reply to] Can't Post

While I can see the logic of opening the series in Eregion and Lindon (narrative-wise), Elves have thus far been depicted on screen as very distant, imperious, supramundane (and even) vapid beings, who speak slowly in an abnormally deep register....at least in the 'Jacksonverse', that is to say.

They are shown as standoffish and lacking in warmth - with pretty emotionless faces and voices, like woodland Vulcans. Jackson appeared to think that immortal grace and the weight of millennia of wisdom were best conveyed through bland expressionlessness.

In the books, Tolkien's Elves are - of course - much more expressive (laughing, singing merrily) and even cracking jokes. Gandalf rebukes them in the Hobbit for their “over merry tongues.” When Erendis lectures her daughter Ancalime on the restrictive patriarchalism of Númenórean society, she likewise notes derisively that: "Men in Númenor are half-Elves, especially the high men...The long life that they were granted deceives them, and they dally in the world, children in mind, until age finds them in their houses. They turn their play into great matters and great matters into play", her allusion doesn't really work with Jacksonverse Elves, since they are anything but 'playful' dalliers who delight in the world. Clearly, Tolkien's Elves are much less austere than in Jackson's interpretation.

If Amazon aim to stay 'faithful' to the Jackson trilogies' prototypes, as concept artist for the show John Howe claimed, however, then the Elves aren't exactly going to be the most relatable people.

So Amazon would need to seriously 'tweak' the Jacksonverse Elvish temperament if they are to be the show's initial centre of gravity. Otherwise, it will have a limp, dead atmosphere.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Oct 11, 12:55am)


The Dude
The Shire

Oct 11, 3:19am

Post #16 of 22 (1191 views)
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Don't agree necessarily. [In reply to] Can't Post

Jackson's elves can be called "distant" and "imperious" in some cases, but I find it rather difficult to characterize them as "vapid", let alone as "vapid and supramundane" (an odd combination of attributes if there ever was one).

While there are indeed major differences in demeanor between the elves of Tolkien and those of the films, the examples which you have cited are somewhat misleading. Most of that primarily or exclusively applies to the elves of "The Hobbit". The lament of Erendis must be read with a critical eye, and leaves open plenty of room for interpretation. Yes, she begins her lament by noting that the men in Númenor are half-elves (hence the long lives) but she then immediately adds that "they are neither the one nor the other". The elves are not mentioned again in the passage, so her later comments about men who "dally in the world" can not be read as an equation of elvish and mannish character traits. And besides, Erendis never saw a single elf in her entire life.

In both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit", the halflings, i.e., our main protagonists, serve as a bridge between our modern world and an ancient mythic past (Tolkien's modern world is, of course, not exactly "our world", but an idealized form of nineteenth-century rural England). Within these two narratives, the hobbits are the characters we can most relate to. After all, most of us will also find it easier to "understand" the life and circumstances of a Victorian-era farmer, for example, than those of Homer's Achilles.

All other characters in the books - even Gandalf and certainly all humans - are molded in myth. From the perspective of a modern reader, none of them are particularly "relatable people". In fact, a common criticism of the "Lord of the Rings" is that most of its characters "lack (psychological, etc.) depth". In a way, they are correct - but on a deeper level of course, their critique entirely misses the point (that is another topic however...).

One of the most striking differences between the books and Jackson's films is that the screenwriters partly tried to humanize, modernize, and de-mythologize many of these characters: Aragorn, Gandalf, Faramir, Theoden, and yes even Elrond - all of them become "more relatable" in the films. Leaving aside for the moment if that was a good idea or not (on a character-per-character basis they sometimes succeeded in what they set out to and sometimes they missed by a mile), Jackson's elves were impacted by this decision as well - but perhaps to a lesser degree than the human characters.

What remains to be seen is how the show-runners will handle this issue: Will they try to adopt Jackson's method of modernizing most characters, or will they try to adopt a different (perhaps far more extreme) model? Will they try to create a stand-in race/people for the hobbits, not so much in appearance but as a bridge between our world and a world of myth (I would eliminate the possibility of them creating just another crypto-19th century group of people, but maybe a group of pre-Númenoreans whose culture is pre-modern but not steeped in myth)?


(This post was edited by The Dude on Oct 11, 3:28am)


Otaku-sempai
Immortal


Oct 11, 3:29am

Post #17 of 22 (1187 views)
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Mostly [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
All other characters in the books - even Gandalf and certainly all humans - are molded in myth. From the perspective of a modern reader, none of them are particularly "relatable people". In fact, a common criticism of the "Lord of the Rings" is that most of its characters "lack (psychological, etc.) depth". In a way, they are correct - but on a deeper level of course, their critique entirely misses the point (that is another topic however...).


Well, not all Men in the books are "molded in myth". The major exceptions are probably the folk of Bree, notable for being adjacent to the Shire, and a place where common Men and Hobbits live peacefully together. That said, we only meet a handful of the residents of Bree-land, and no one in Bree more important than Barilman Butterbur.

"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional." - DRWolf (after John C. Maxwell)


The Dude
The Shire

Oct 11, 3:33am

Post #18 of 22 (1184 views)
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You are correct... [In reply to] Can't Post

...I forgot about good old Barliman Butterbur (and perhaps Bergil too; there are some who would also include Saruman here but that would be an over-simplification)


(This post was edited by The Dude on Oct 11, 3:34am)


Althoun
Lorien

Oct 11, 9:09am

Post #19 of 22 (1154 views)
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On Jackson's Elves.... [In reply to] Can't Post

Admittedly a bit of an oxymoronic combination on my part, but I really think he did make them both exceptionally otherworldly ("supramundane") and a bit lifeless at the same time. By vapid, I wasn't meaning 'uninteresting' - just a bit dull, really, which is not how the Elves come across in any of Tolkien's actual works.

Elves should be rather mystical characters but Jackson really cranked this up to the nines.

Consider how Tolkien portrays the first Elves we see in The Fellowship of the Ring in the chapter Three is a Company:


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They were now silent, and as the last Elf passed he turned and looked towards the hobbits and laughed.

‘Hail, Frodo!’ he cried. ‘You are abroad late. Or are you perhaps lost?’ Then he called aloud to the others, and all the company stopped and gathered round...

‘But we have no need of other company, and hobbits are so dull,’ they laughed. ‘And how do you know that we go the same way as you, for you do not know whither we are going?’....

...

‘Come!’ the Elves called to the hobbits. ‘Come! Now is the time for speech and merriment!’


The first thing the first Elf character does...is laugh and in jest refer to the hobbitfolk as "dull". And they greet Frodo in a very warm and friendly manner. Then they break into song and start getting merry.

Would you honestly say that Jackson's Elves with their bland, almost expressionless faces and sonorous tones, are like this?

Don't get me wrong, I think the effect with Jackson's Elves worked perfectly - they came across as this somewhat distant, otherwordly "fading" race, which is precisely what needed to be communicated to the cinema-going audience.

But Tolkienesque Elves they were not.

I'm just saying that I am not entirely sure how this same presentation would come across if the Elves were the leading characters, as they may very well need to be in this case.


(This post was edited by Althoun on Oct 11, 9:18am)


kzer_za
Lorien

Oct 11, 1:27pm

Post #20 of 22 (1118 views)
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A few thousand years can make a big difference [In reply to] Can't Post

By the late Third Age the elves have both faded more and grown more cautious due to learning from their many past mistakes. That should suffice to explain any differences. And we don't really know what degree of continuity with the Jacksonverse they're going for anyway.


fantasywind
Bree

Oct 12, 11:13am

Post #21 of 22 (1058 views)
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Elves in books vs Elves in films [In reply to] Can't Post

That's a good observation Althoun, I always noticed that about Elves in PJ's movies :), they always seem kind of aloof (though in The Hobbit films Elrond appears more...relaxed :)). In any case I hope that Amazon show will find the proper middle ground (though truth be told book Elves are as described by Sam in Fellowship in all varieties, to quote him:


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"Elves here, and Elves there! Some like kings, terrible and splendid; and some as merry as children..."


So in-universe you can see playful Elves and those majestic noble and serious ones, even warrior elves though can crack a joke or two as Lothlorien guards did (and Legolas translating :)):


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`Daro!' it said in commanding tone, and Legolas dropped back to earth in surprise and fear. He shrank against the bole of the tree.

'Stand still! ' he whispered to the others. `Do not move or speak! '

There was a sound of soft laughter over their heads, and then another clear voice spoke in an elven-tongue. Frodo could understand little of what was said, for the speech that the Silvan folk east of the mountains used among themselves was unlike that of the West. Legolas looked up and answered in the same language.*

`Who are they, and what do they say? ' asked Merry.

`They're Elves,' said Sam. `Can't you hear their voices? '

`Yes, they are Elves,' said Legolas; `and they say that you breathe so loud that they could shoot you in the dark.' Sam hastily put his hand over his mouth."

:)

The problem of portrayal of Elves in adaptation is nothing new, the films popularized certain version, of the most problematic aspects I would say is the notion that Elves are androgynous, while even Tolkien commented on that and Christopher notes:


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Ultimately, of course, the Elves shed all associations and qualities that would be now commonly considered 'fairylike', and those who remained in the Great Lands in Ages of the world at this time unconceived were to grow greatly in stature and in power: there was nothing filmy or transparent about the heroic or majestic Eldar of the Third Age of Middle-earth. Long afterwards my father would write, in a wrathful comment on a 'pretty' or 'ladylike' pictorial rendering of Legolas:
'He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgul, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.'


So, especially since the Noldor would be still the more dominant type of Elves in Second Age with their different trends and cultural traits and even somewhat 'grander' appearance than rest of elvenkind, the ephemeral 'pretty' or 'ladylike' portrayal of the great mighty Eldar would be off mark. But since John Howe is involved (and WETA most likely too) then we can expect visual continuity with Peter Jackson's movies.


Archestratie
Rivendell

Oct 13, 1:11am

Post #22 of 22 (990 views)
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Yeah [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved Jackson's elves. I thought the actors nailed their performances.

Amazon's elves will be different, though, because the writers and directors will be different. We'll just have to appreciate each for what it is.

Personally, I can't wait!

 
 

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