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Author Topic: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?  (Read 980 times)

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #10 on: Tue, 14 Nov 2017, 23:24 »
So this is a thing that's really happening. The actual announcement is pretty vague. "Lord Of The Rings prequel" could mean literally anything. Mining the appendices for story ideas? Maybe. Redoing The Hobbit? Possibly. Adapting The Silmarillion? Potentially. Creating new stories based on Tolkien's writings? I daresay this is the most likely... but not necessarily a given.

Anybody fearing a trashy GOT ripoff... well, I don't have a crystal ball but I don't think we're out of the woods. Not even close.

But what the hay? What's one more show to put on my ignore list, right?

Now Iím even more confused about what this showís meant to be. But ultimately this is a literary property. Tolkienís writings are the canon. Anything else is apocrypha. If itís good apocrypha, like The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, then fans will embrace it. But if itís bad, weíll consign it to the reject bin along with Leonard Nimoyís ĎThe Ballad of Bilbo Bagginsí.


It's all the more impressive to me when I realize that Tolkien didn't really consider himself to be an author in the conventional sense. He understood storytelling, obviously, but language was his vocation moreso than narrative storytelling. People who are smarter than me believe writing The Lord Of The Rings was therapeutic for him for the very reasons you mention. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Frodo is Tolkien's alter-ego in the story. But what I know of Tolkien's biography certainly suggests he had a lot of sympathy for Frodo.

Tolkien always said he preferred applicability over straight up allegory, but it is hard not to see autobiographical elements in some of his characters. Frodo is certainly one of them. Another is Beren. Berenís wearied and battle worn state when he arrives in Doriath is often seen as representing Tolkienís own shell-shocked condition when he returned from the Western Front. Berenís spirits are rejuvenated when he sees Lķthien dancing in the woods, and this was apparently inspired by a real incident where Tolkienís wife Edith had danced while the two of them were out walking one day. The sight of her dancing had a rejuvenating effect on Tolkienís spirits, much like the sight of Lķthien has on Beren.


The suffering Lķthien endures after relinquishing her Elvish immortality to marry Beren is seen by many as representing the abuse Edith suffered from her family when she converted to Catholicism to marry Tolkien. But the biggest clue to the Beren and Lķthien story reflecting aspects of Tolkienís marriage can be found on Edith Tolkienís headstone.


A film is currently in production about the relationship between Tolkien and his wife, starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins. A local newspaper reported Collins had been filming scenes not far from where I live. The cynic in me wonders if this is just a way of getting around the Tolkien estateís reluctance to allow more films to be made based on his work. Hopefully it will be an earnest and accurate portrayal of the real man, and not simply a cheap way of making an unlicensed Beren and Lķthien film to exploit his fans. But as with the new Amazon series, weíll just have to wait and see.

Fair enough. I've heard that The Silmarillion is so dry that it could serve as kindling. I don't see that as much of an obstacle, frankly. I've read some serious drek in my time so I don't see how The Silmarillion could possibly be worse.

The first time I tried reading The Silmarillion was back when I was a teenager, and I gave up after about fifty pages. It was only many years later that I went back and tried again. By that point I was curious to read the book, not as a prequel to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but as a standalone work of literature. And I loved it. But it certainly is very dry. Tolkienís First Age stories are generally much darker and less humorous than The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and the prose in The Silmarillion has a very elevated, academic tone than can be intimidating at first. There are also an insane number of strange names the reader is expected to remember, and if youíre like me youíll find yourself repeatedly flicking to the index at the back of the book to jog your memory. But if youíre in the right mindset to enjoy it, itís a beautiful and epic work of the imagination.

Just donít expect it to be too similar to The Hobbit or The Lord Rings. Thatís the mistake I made the first time I tried reading it. The Silmarillion needs to be read as a standalone work of fantasy literature. It's a doorway to another section of the Tolkien mythology. And once you've passed through that doorway, you can go on and read the more detailed accounts of the First Age related in The Children of Hķrin and Unfinished Tales.

As anti-Orc sentiment rises, they can convene a special council to crack down on anti-Orc hate speech on town posters and books.

Amazon should make a sitcom about a group of 21st century SJWs who are transported to Middle-earth. They demand everyone refer to Hobbits as Ďvertically challengedí, whine about Orcphobia and lobby to end violence against Wargs.

Actually we shouldnít joke about this stuff. It might give them ideas.

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #11 on: Thu, 16 Nov 2017, 03:53 »
http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2017/11/14/104393-contents-of-amazons-lord-of-the-rings-series-not-so-mysterious-after-all

So you've got TORn suggesting that the Amazon show could be adaptations of Appendix A and Appendix B. I can't fault their logic. Tolkien sold the rights to "Lord Of The Rings the book", not "Lord Of The Rings the story". Anything between the front cover and back cover is fair game for adaptation. As such, it really says something about New Line Cinema, WB, etc, that this never happened sooner. The LOTR trilogy grossed over a billion worldwide so it's not like they weren't aware of the demand.

Is it The Silmarillion? No. And yet, with Christopher Tolkien's retirement, who knows what the future may bring?

Also, again, kudos to Christopher for keeping his ethics straight for all these decades. Again I suggest that he's been offered blank checks by everybody and his brother for the film rights to other Tolkien writings. The fact that he declined all of them really says a lot about the respect he has for his father's legacy.

Now Iím even more confused about what this showís meant to be. But ultimately this is a literary property. Tolkienís writings are the canon. Anything else is apocrypha. If itís good apocrypha, like The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, then fans will embrace it. But if itís bad, weíll consign it to the reject bin along with Leonard Nimoyís ĎThe Ballad of Bilbo Bagginsí.

I don't think most fans will struggle too much over it, tbh. The Hobbit trilogy is regarded as, ahem, something less than ideal. As you say, if something isn't up to snuff, people will just ignore it.

I must be honest. In spite of my open skepticism, the suggestion that this show could be based on the appendices has me a bit excited. It relates directly to LOTR but isn't necessarily derivative of it. Goings on with Gandalf and the ring of fire, the Numenorian kings, hell maybe even a more fleshed out story of the Last Alliance's first war with Sauron, so much is on the table here and most of it has a lot of potential.

I would imagine that most of the LOTR main cast isn't terribly busy. They could probably squeeze in the show if they wanted to.

Tolkien always said he preferred applicability over straight up allegory
True. And this is one of those issues about his public statements that people misconstrue. I view LOTR in particular through a specific metaphorical interpretation, the details of which I'll skip.

Mentioning my interpretative model to others is invariably dismissed by the wannabe literati on the grounds that Tolkien had an open distaste for allegory. But what that dismissive reaction misses is that allegory is typically what the author intends. A reader is welcome to form his own interpretation and metaphor figures into that. The applicability of a story to issues the reader is familiar with is something utterly outside the author's control, which is a good thing in most cases.

A film is currently in production about the relationship between Tolkien and his wife, starring Nicholas Hoult and Lily Collins. A local newspaper reported Collins had been filming scenes not far from where I live. The cynic in me wonders if this is just a way of getting around the Tolkien estateís reluctance to allow more films to be made based on his work. Hopefully it will be an earnest and accurate portrayal of the real man, and not simply a cheap way of making an unlicensed Beren and Lķthien film to exploit his fans. But as with the new Amazon series, weíll just have to wait and see.
The bio-movie thing, yeah. Forgot about that. Maybe it'll turn out well. But... eh.

But if youíre in the right mindset to enjoy it, itís a beautiful and epic work of the imagination.
I read the first few pages of it in the iTunes preview on my phone. I rather enjoyed what I read. I'm sure the entire book isn't written so eloquently but the preview was perfectly enjoyable. I'm looking forward to it.

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 18 Nov 2017, 22:50 »
I must be honest. In spite of my open skepticism, the suggestion that this show could be based on the appendices has me a bit excited. It relates directly to LOTR but isn't necessarily derivative of it. Goings on with Gandalf and the ring of fire, the Numenorian kings, hell maybe even a more fleshed out story of the Last Alliance's first war with Sauron, so much is on the table here and most of it has a lot of potential.

I would imagine that most of the LOTR main cast isn't terribly busy. They could probably squeeze in the show if they wanted to.

I could maybe see this working as an anthology series, provided it stays rooted in Tolkienís writing. There are plenty of interesting stories mentioned in The Lord of the Rings appendices that occur earlier in the Third Age: Isildurís death, the Witch-king of Angmarís war against the Dķnedain, the dwarves of Moria discovering the Balrog, Smaugís destruction of Dale, the forging of the One Ring, etc. These and other tales could potentially be expanded into hour-long episodes. But after what happened with The Hobbit film trilogy, Iím very apprehensive about the idea of other writers building on Tolkienís work. If the show's writers had access to Unfinished Tales of Nķmenor and Middle-earth then theyíd have a lot more material to go on. But if theyíre just using the appendices from The Lord of the Rings, they'll have to construct a lot of details from scratch. But it could work. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Also, again, kudos to Christopher for keeping his ethics straight for all these decades. Again I suggest that he's been offered blank checks by everybody and his brother for the film rights to other Tolkien writings. The fact that he declined all of them really says a lot about the respect he has for his father's legacy.

Absolutely. I wish every beloved IP had a guardian with as much integrity as Christopher Tolkien. Nobody can blame him for being protective of the rights to his fatherís work. J. R. R. Tolkien created one of the finest works of genre fiction ever published in the English language Ė in my opinion, one of the finest works of 20th century literature Ė and Warner Bros went and turned it into a casino slot machine. Christopher has every right to be pissed.

Now that heís retired as estate director, Iím fearful for his fatherís legacy. One of my concerns is that they might allow other authors to add to the legendarium, similar to what happened with Frank Herbertís Dune series. And I just know eventually some greedy lawyer or literary agent will whore out the rights for Tolkienís entire bibliography, with little to no regard for quality control. But again, the original books will always be the true canon. The purity of those stories can never be tainted. I like to think that from now on the fans will be the guardians of Tolkienís legacy. Weíll continue reading and appreciating his books, and we'll be there to throw down the glove to anyone who tries misrepresenting or corrupting their content.

Mentioning my interpretative model to others is invariably dismissed by the wannabe literati on the grounds that Tolkien had an open distaste for allegory. But what that dismissive reaction misses is that allegory is typically what the author intends. A reader is welcome to form his own interpretation and metaphor figures into that. The applicability of a story to issues the reader is familiar with is something utterly outside the author's control, which is a good thing in most cases.

Thatís a sound distinction to make. Iíve always held that authorial intent is not the only valid interpretation of a text. Obviously if you come up with a reading that runs contrary to what the author intended, or if you attempt to attribute a questionable motive to the author, then thatís a different matter. But if you can present a sustainable interpretation supported by the text, then your reading is as valid as any other. In Tolkienís case, he clearly didnít want to dictate interpretation so much as invite it. But as with any author, if you look at their life story, their political, social and religious beliefs, you can usually identify a value system inherent in their writing. With that in mind, your own theory about The Lord of the Ringsí subtext could well be what Tolkien intended. And even if it isnít, it may still be a valid interpretation.

Has anyone here seen the animated films based on Tolkienís work? I saw the Rankin-Bass film of The Hobbit (1977) a few years back. But Iíve never seen Ralph Bakshiís adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1978) or the 1980 film of The Return of the King. Are they worth seeing?


Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 18 Nov 2017, 23:09 »
I could maybe see this working as an anthology series, provided it stays rooted in Tolkienís writing. There are plenty of interesting stories mentioned in The Lord of the Rings appendices that occur earlier in the Third Age: Isildurís death, the Witch-king of Angmarís war against the Dķnedain, the dwarves of Moria discovering the Balrog, Smaugís destruction of Dale, the forging of the One Ring, etc. These and other tales could potentially be expanded into hour-long episodes. But after what happened with The Hobbit film trilogy, Iím very apprehensive about the idea of other writers building on Tolkienís work. If the show's writers had access to Unfinished Tales of Nķmenor and Middle-earth then theyíd have a lot more material to go on. But if theyíre just using the appendices from The Lord of the Rings, they'll have to construct a lot of details from scratch. But it could work. I'm trying to keep an open mind.
What I want to believe is that Martinez (or whoever the new head honcho is) is just as apprehensive as we are. So he's using LOTR as a test-case. If they screw up LOTR, no more of anything else for a while.

But if they do okay with the appendices (or whatever direction this thing takes), maybe we can start considering some of those Beren & Luthien or Silmarillion offers.

I believe we're all right to be skeptical. But, as risks go, this is a safer bet than, say, selling the rights to everything all in one go.

Since we're on the subject, there is some overlap between material in The Silmarillion and other volumes. And therein may lie an opportunity. In theory, the rights to Beren & Luthien (the novel) would be separate from the rights to The Silmarillion. So perhaps the estate can sell those rights to separate companies. Who knows? Maybe the competition will be over which of them can be more faithful to the text.


Now that heís retired as estate director, Iím fearful for his fatherís legacy. One of my concerns is that they might allow other authors to add to the legendarium, similar to what happened with Frank Herbertís Dune series. And I just know eventually some greedy lawyer or literary agent will whore out the rights for Tolkienís entire bibliography, with little to no regard for quality control. But again, the original books will always be the true canon. The purity of those stories can never be tainted. I like to think that from now on the fans will be the guardians of Tolkienís legacy. Weíll continue reading and appreciating his books, and we'll be there to throw down the glove to anyone who tries misrepresenting or corrupting their content.
Quite true. And I suppose it helps that Tolkien's is one of the more devoted fanbases going. Arguably they're the first organized fandom. Like, ever. They're the core audience of any Tolkien project. Yeah, the wide audience is much bigger but -- as with comic movies -- it isn't like movie studios WANT to upset their core audience. So that might be a decent firewall.

Looking back at it, I wonder if the comparisons to GOT are off-base. GOT was written to be trash and is, in fact, trash. There's really nothing there to "live up to", mostly, with a TV show. But that's not true of the legendarium.

But then I remember how everything Hollywood adapts get politicized somehow and... I just don't know.

Has anyone here seen the animated films based on Tolkienís work? I saw the Rankin-Bass film of The Hobbit (1977) a few years back. But Iíve never seen Ralph Bakshiís adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1978) or the 1980 film of The Return of the King. Are they worth seeing?

All the animated features are on my list of future projects. I want to read the books which means having to buy the books and those things take time. But those animated movies have a rep ranging from "worth watching" to "totally awesome". I'm looking forward to seeing them... eventually.

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 17 Dec 2017, 17:34 »
So the LOTR Amazon show is quickly becoming a case study in fake news. A day or two ago, Ian McKellan announced that he'd be willing to play Gandalf in the show, to the delight of Tolkien fans everywhere.

Crap-tier, click-bait web pages have cleverly rephrased his comment from "I would play Gandalf on the show if asked" to "I will play Gandalf on the show (if asked)", which is a completely different sentiment. Well-meaning but stupid fans have interpreted that as confirmation that he's in the show now and this whole thing will probably end pretty badly for them, especially if Gandalf isn't even in the show or if he's played by someone else.

I'm cynical enough about the LOTR show as it is. I don't need the extra disappointment.

*sigh*

Can't people just read the books and content themselves with that?

Offline Azrael

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #15 on: Sat, 23 Dec 2017, 14:44 »
What I find most infuriating is that for them only two Fantasy/S&S IPs seem to exist, Tolkien's LOTR and Martin's ASOIAF. Why don't they try their hands on something that has never been done, or never been done properly? Before 2011, most people didn't know or care who Eddard Stark was. In summer 2011, half the internet was screaming "they killed Ned". A good production made the audience care and brought success.

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 5 Jan 2018, 17:06 »
I'm cynical enough about the LOTR show as it is. I don't need the extra disappointment.

*sigh*

Can't people just read the books and content themselves with that?

^ This. I received a nice hardback edition of Beren and Lķthien for Christmas, and Iím getting a lot more pleasure out of reading it than I did from watching The Last Jedi.

Weíve discussed medium specificity numerous times on this site, and Tolkienís stories perfectly illustrate how some tales work better in one medium than they do in others. Thatís not to say there arenít some fine songs, paintings and films inspired by his writing. But at the end of the day, Tolkienís legendarium is a work of literature. And itís within a literary framework that his creations are best appreciated.

What I find most infuriating is that for them only two Fantasy/S&S IPs seem to exist, Tolkien's LOTR and Martin's ASOIAF. Why don't they try their hands on something that has never been done, or never been done properly? Before 2011, most people didn't know or care who Eddard Stark was. In summer 2011, half the internet was screaming "they killed Ned". A good production made the audience care and brought success.

Thatís a good question. But I fear we may be ascribing too much credit to the agents and lawyers running these production companies if we assume their literary diets include anything more diverse or sophisticated than Fifty Shades of Grey. Iíll bet a lot of the industry insiders pushing for this TV show have never even read any of Tolkienís books.

Offline thecolorsblend

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 5 Jan 2018, 22:28 »
Thatís a good question. But I fear we may be ascribing too much credit to the agents and lawyers running these production companies if we assume their literary diets include anything more diverse or sophisticated than Fifty Shades of Grey. Iíll bet a lot of the industry insiders pushing for this TV show have never even read any of Tolkienís books.
Is that really a negative though? A producer's role is, among other things, to identify properties for development. The Hobbit trilogy notwithstanding, the few Tolkien adaptations up to this point have mostly attracted uber-fans into key creative positions in the productions. And I'm even willing to overlook the Hobbit trilogy's many and varied weaknesses because of all the behind the scenes baloney that was going on.

I would expect movie executives to be a bit more hands-on. When word came out that Iger watched all the Star Wars movies, the then-current Star Wars shows, read dozens of comics and read a similar number of Star Wars novels as part of his research into the actual market value of the Star Wars brand, I was impressed. More impressed with that revelation, I'd say, than with Disney's Star Wars output heretofore. But it's logical since he's the guy signing off on these deals, he'd better know wtf he's talking about.

Offline Silver Nemesis

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Re: Lord Of The Rings Amazon Show?
« Reply #18 on: Tue, 9 Jan 2018, 15:39 »
Itís true that fan status doesnít automatically qualify someone to helm a franchise, but I think a deeper awareness/appreciation of the property should inform the business side of the process as well as the creative. At least in terms of establishing the correct format for the adaptation. For example, itís no good trying to turn a small scale IP (Ghostbusters) into an epic shared universe just because shared universes are in vogue. Anyone who is a genuine fan of the original IP Ė and not a facile poser fan for PR purposes (I'm looking at you, Paul Feig) Ė should understand the strengths and limitations of the given property.

My concern is that some corporate suit with zero imagination or creative talent will look at the success of Game of Thrones and wonder what other genre books might form the basis of a copycat production. This person Ė who has no broader awareness of the high fantasy literary genre Ė will then recall Jacksonís Lord of the Rings films and decide Tolkienís books are suitable for the HBO treatment, despite never having actually read them. Thatís clearly what happened behind the scenes with The Hobbit movies: some producers at Warner Bros wanted to repeat the success of The Lord of the Rings films and decided to try and fit The Hobbit into the same mould. When what they should have been doing was trying to find the right tone and structure to suit the book, not shoehorn the book into an unsuitable three-picture format. I assume the reason for this mistake was the bigwigs at the studio not having a sufficiently nuanced understanding of the books to appreciate the differences between them. Just because one business model worked for The Lord of the Rings doesnít mean it will work for The Hobbit. And similarly, just because one business model worked for Martin doesnít mean it will work for Tolkien.

Of course we donít know for certain that they are planning to turn this into a Game of Thrones clone. Iím just being cynical and playing devilís advocate. Warner Bros and Amazon might well have a completely different strategy in mind. But I agree with Azrael that if studios are looking to repeat the success of Game of Thrones, theyíd be better off taking a risk on a previously un-adapted literary series. Letís see some T H White, Gene Wolfe and Urusla Le Guin books get the screen treatment.

 

    
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