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Big News in the Tolkien Fandom


Amazon is putting together a miniseries set before LOTR, most assume the gap between 2941 [The Hobbit] and 3019 [LOTR]. With no justification that I can see, but it does seem natural. My first impulse was that I thought it would be neat to see, but that I was really struggling with how you'd create a standalone story arc out that time period. But then miniseries and series generally can be more episodic.

I'm curious: if you were coming up with a miniseries based off of those years, how would you structure it? What events would you zero in on, and how would you give it a conclusion of some sort? My fantasy version would focus on the hunt for the Ring, building on Gandalf's friendship with Bilbo, the Dwarves of Erebor's unwillingness to give up his identity, maybe Bilbo's adoption of Frodo and even a kind of time-compressed Gandalf guiding Aragorn through the Thorongil years and searching the archives himself, with some nice Denethor tension. But I still can't see how to give it a good conclusion.

Of course, there's nothing that says they have to be telling that kind of story, an adaptation of canon at all. One idea I've seen floated is it will be the Shire and Rohan and Mirkwood and all that, but a totally new adventure involving original characters. Maybe television's answer to LOTRO or something of the sort? Can't say I'm overjoyed at that idea. Could be well and good, but all I can think of is how my least favorite parts of the Hobbit movies involved them going off script.

Maybe we're going to have more of that in the future, though, because of the other big news:


Christopher Tolkien's stepping down from the Tolkien Estate! I'll admit, my first thought was "it's about time," and I owe him more respect than that. Speaking as a Numenor fangirl - I owe him for the Akallabeth's existence in a big way. But at the same time, I've always found his more obvious editing to be heavy-handed, and I do think he's a bit stuffy when it comes to JRRT's legacy and proper respect for it - which means he'll want adaptations to be more canon-compliant, traditionally interpreted.

Personally I'd love to see a miniseries adaptation of The Silmarillion if it was done right (a big if!). Not a film or even film series by anyone, it's just not structured that way. But I think it could be really interesting, and if the new "Thor" movies teach us anything (I'll be vague and spoiler-free here), it's that the heart of myths can still play well when you modernize it the right way. Not that I want a Marvel version of Turin or Maedhros, but certainly this assumption that the Silm is hard to get into doesn't have to be true. And the thing is, right now the Silmarillion is completely off the table for adaptations, and obviously it's a very personal story for Christopher and the family generally - Beren and Luthien as JRR and Edith and all that.

Interested in folks' thoughts here. About Silm adaptations, but more about CT stepping down. Do you think it's a good thing or not?

PS - If re in a fic mood, maybe check out my story Bronwe Athan Harthad. It's a look at how JRRT might have been affected if Christopher had died in World War II, written through letters to his dead son. Interspersed with lines from John Mayer's "Say," of all things. It really shouldn't work, but I have it on good authority (not my own!) that it really kind of does.

This entry was originally posted at https://marta-bee.dreamwidth.org/11162.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2017 06:56 am (UTC)
I just want Luthien in all her badass glory, dammit!!!
Nov. 16th, 2017 12:48 pm (UTC)
Christopher stepping down was only a matter of time - hopefully it won't result in a commercial free for all with zero respect for the source material.

As for the Amazon series - Born of Hope has set the bar fairly high there, and they had very little budget. Who knows what can be done... My other thought was 'it can't be as atrocious as the third* Hobbit movie' and I hope that isn't seen as a challenge.

*if you must know *g*, I thought the first one was about 50/50 okay, the second had its moments, the third I couldn't bear to watch more than the two times I watched it in the cinema with others.
Nov. 16th, 2017 01:05 pm (UTC)
I am... cautiously optimistic, I suppose, but not ready to flail with glee just yet. I would echo very nearly verbatim what Nath said about The Hobbit movies... surely it can't be as bad as the 3rd ended up being. I just hope the series remains faithful to Tolkien and doesn't get derailed trying to be all grimdark and edgy in order to capture a "new audience" or whatever excuse they could conceivably give. I think as dark as our current times are, it's high time entertainment offered up something with hope.
Nov. 16th, 2017 11:04 pm (UTC)
Fanfiction. It's just more fanfiction, only authorized and more expensive than what we produce. All of us will bring our own expectations and headcanon with us, as we do when we read other people's fanfic or watch PJ's movies (which I also consider fanfiction). To the extent that they follow our own ideas, we will like them or not.

My trepidations come from some of the pre-announcement speculation that Amazon was looking for something like "Game of Thrones"--an overwhelming hit with many, with all the sex, violence and conspiracies that drew such a big audience. It's not Tolkien, not even the violence; he didn't kill characters off randomly. If they died it was for reasons. And definitely not the sex and the backstabbing politics, which he abhorred.

I also wonder at the timing of Christopher's stepping down. Perhaps, at his age, he did not feel like fighting with the rest of the Estate anymore.

We shall see what we shall see. My hope is that they will at least move forward with the attention and dedication to visual detail that PJ gave us. And that they will show lots of the Shire. Lots and lots of hobbits...but preferably not naked violent hobbits. *shudder*

ETA: Oops! It's me, Dreamflower. I am still signed in on the other account, apparently.

Edited at 2017-11-16 11:06 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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