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Despite Fan Fears, the LOTR Changes In Rings of Power Are a Good Thing

Some are apprehensive that Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” will diverge too much from Tolkien’s writings after the release of a trailer and character posters, but these alterations are beneficial to the series. The forthcoming Amazon series, which has been kept under wraps, concluded filming in August 2021, with the first episode planned to debut on September 2, 2022. Rings of Power will replace the fantasy need left by the end of Game of Thrones, and it has a similarly large budget, with the studio reportedly investing $1 billion to secure the show’s success.

The show will be set in Middle Earth, which was previously thought to be impossible to film. In the early 2000s, this was disproved by Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which introduced fans to the author’s renowned settings such as the Shire, Rivendell, and Mordor. When Peter Jackson returned to Middle Earth with The Hobbit trilogy over ten years later, many of these were revisited. Despite not being as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, Jackson’s second trilogy of films shows a continuing interest in the Middle Earth narrative, which will be bolstered with The Rings of Power.

The plot of the impending Amazon series has remained a mystery, but the teaser, which looks strikingly similar to Jackson’s original LotR films, suggested some narrative elements that have alarmed some Tolkien fans because of how the source material appears to have evolved. These adjustments, on the other hand, are beneficial to the series and should not be viewed as a burden to the future episode. Given how previous adaptations of Tolkien’s work have varied from the source material as well as the constraints of different mediums, The Rings of Power is correct in not attempting to recreate the source material to the letter.

The Rings of Power must not rely too heavily on the “Lord of the Rings” books.

Many people appear to be concerned about the planned series’ alteration of Tolkien’s timeline and the creation of new characters. Despite rumors that the Amazon series would be based on Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, the studio has verified that it has the rights to the appendices from “The Lord of the Rings” and The Hobbit series. These sections outline the basics of what happened in Middle Earth’s First and Second Ages in bullet point form, leaving the show with the basic events of the time and room to fill in the details.

Tolkien’s study of the Second Age, the time period in which the Amazon series will be set, spans thousands of years, but the show will condense the events into a much shorter timeframe. To follow Tolkien’s timetable, each series would have to span hundreds of years, with important characters dying off at an alarming rate. This could alienate people who haven’t read the novels and put too much emphasis on the series’ difference from the “Lord of the Rings” films. The show has a lot of information to cover, even if it simply uses the appendices, and condensing it into a shorter time period with new characters would help favor clarity and storytelling over direct fidelity.

Changing Tolkien’s Text Has Previously Worked For LOTR

“The Rings of Power” will not be the first adaptation of Tolkien’s work to make adjustments. Peter Jackson and authors Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens used a similarly abbreviated timeline in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, in which Frodo departs the Shire after a year of receiving the Ring from Bilbo, as opposed to the 17 years the Hobbit spends in Bag End in the books. Changes were made to emphasize the film’s tempo. Rather than waiting with Frodo while he determines what to do, the chronological shift guaranteed that the film stayed engaging and didn’t lose steam.

Some people are concerned about the new characters in “The Rings of Power”, claiming it is an unneeded extension of Tolkien’s work. In the new series, Charlie Vickers will portray Halbrand, an original character, and speculations say that Emma Horvath will play Isildur’s sister, Carine, who is not mentioned in the novels despite her brother’s major involvement in the One Ring’s campaign. Though such severe character shifts have never been seen before on this scale, Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy made similar character arc and screentime selections.

On the one hand, Jackson’s trilogy places significantly more emphasis on Arwen’s part than the novels do, and Saruman’s grisly death atop Orthanc is totally manufactured for the screen, omitting the character’s original finale of conquering The Shire. In contrast, significant characters from the books, like Tom Bombadil and Glorfindel, were eliminated from the films. This is to argue that the introduction of new characters in “The Rings of Power” will not be detrimental to Tolkien’s work, but rather a benefit to the episodic medium.

It Is Impossible To Create A Perfect Adaptation Of The LOTR Books

The concerns of Amazon’s possible adjustments ignore the underlying problem with adaptation: the influence of words on a page is unmatched by the usage of moving visuals. Jackson’s two trilogies perfectly encapsulated this sentiment, altering “The Lord of the Rings” books to benefit the filmmaking medium and condensing the timeline to maintain a cinematic pace – an ostensibly different process than reading a book, where the reader can choose how fast they want to experience the narrative. Because these sequences are difficult to make cinematic, the films have far fewer songs than the books – notable exceptions include Pippin’s song to Denethor, which is kept cinematic by close-ups of Denethor’s grotesque eating habits and crosscutting to Faramir’s sacrificial attempt to retake Osgiliath.

The popularity of “The Rings of Power” cannot be based just on Tolkien’s literature. It is critical that the show make adjustments to the original appendices in order for it to stand on its own. The program may keep Tolkien’s origins of the Rings while avoiding being mired down in needless material by emphasizing storyline, character development, and action over historical truth. “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is not dishonoring Tolkien’s work by making these alterations to the text; rather, it is striving to convey the Second Age in a way that is both exciting and approachable.

How is Middle-earth in “LOTR: Rings of Power” Different From the Movies?

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