On a day like today, in 1973, J.R.R. Tolkien, my favorite writer. An Amazon Studios series that premiered today is inspired by his work.
The series, entitled "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power", is set in the Second Age of the Sun in Middle-earth, and its main protagonist is Galadriel, elf of the clan of the Noldor. Unsurprisingly, much of what appears in the series is only inspired by Tolkien's work, but does not appear in Tolkien's books. This is the first major production on Tolkien's work that is not based on any of his books, but instead takes pieces of some of them to create a totally invented andintertwined story, yes, with events that are told in "The Silmarillion" and in other posthumous books by the British author.
Something like this has already partially happened in the film trilogy of "The Hobbit" directed by Peter Jackson, in which the New Zealand filmmaker took three films from a single book, adding many things that did not appear in it. Just as I liked his film trilogy "The Lord of the Rings" a lot, I can't say the same about "The Hobbit" movies: they let me down. I'm sure many viewers won't share this assessment, but keep in mind that I read Tolkien's work when he was a teenager, years before Jackson made it into a movie. I can accept that Tolkien's work is taken and things are added that he did not write, as long as the spirit of the original is respected, but I find it hard to accept that things are added that Tolkien would never have written(just read his letters to understand the meaning he had about his work).
It has to be said that the Amazon series is getting mostly good reviews in the media, but this doesn't tell me anything. What that can mean is that we are facing an entertaining and well-done cinematographic series, but I expect something more from a series based on Tolkien's work. Does this series provide it? Before I continue writing, I have to warn you that I will give some details about the first two chapters of the series below, so if you haven't seen them yet, you may prefer to stop reading at this point.
It must be said that the series begins in a very similar way to the film trilogy of "The Lord of the Rings" by Peter Jackson. There are spectacular shots of the Undying Lands and the Trees of the Valar, something we expected from the images that had already been previewed before the premiere. Unfortunately, that part was too short for me. I don't know if more will come out in successive episodes, as flashbacks. Hopefully that's the way it is. When it comes to locations, they respect the original work a lot. It's the minimum. In Middle-earth there are splendid sights of the elven kingdoms of Lindon and Eregion and the dwarven kingdom of Khazad-dûm. I liked all of that.
As for the characters, they deviate quite a bit from Tolkien's work. Starting with Galadriel, what we are shown in "The Rings of Power" is an elf who doesn't have much to do with with the Galadriel that Tolkien described in "The Lord of the Rings", who was a tall and majestic woman, very well represented by Cate Blanchett in Peter Jackson's films. In this series, Galadriel is a warrior on a par with a Navy SEALs operator. In the books, Galadriel does not appear in any combat like the ones in this series. In addition, Amazon skips the literary canon in many aspects.
As for the towns shown, the presence of the hobbits is striking, specifically the hairy ones, who do not appear in the books until the Third Age. But above all, what is striking about the presentation of the different peoples is that Amazon has not only not respected the literary canon, but has also projected here the ideal racial scheme of our current society. Let's have Keep in mind that Tolkien was specific when describing the towns that appeared in his works, and especially when it came to distinguishing them. In this aspect, Tolkien's work is a reflection of humanity itself throughout the centuries, when racial diversity was not remotely as common as it is now (and now it is in certain countries, not in all).
Today we are used to people of different races living together in the same environment, which is very good. But it hasn't always been that way. Historically, phenomena such as the racial miscegenation of the Spanish Empire have been something exceptional. It must also be taken into account that Tolkien's work is based on European mythology. It is certainly strange to see hobbits with different skin colors (yes: none Asian, for example), a dark-skinned elf (nothing like that appears in Tolkien's work) and a a black dwarf woman who, curiously, does not have a beard (dwarf women did, something that Jackson captured well in his "The Hobbit" movies).
The same goes for the role of women in "The Rings of Power". In Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" films there is only one female warrior: Éowyn, and not because the New Zealand filmmaker invented it, but because it appeared that way in Tolkien's work. But Éowyn was the exception. In Tolkien's work, women had a more traditional role. Tolkien never talks about armies involving elves, but in the Amazon series there are women warriors (or at least one woman) in the company accompanying Galadriel, who also plays a warrior role. This is not inspired by Tolkien's work, but by today's society, which has nothing to do with what the British author wrote or with the history of humanity itself.
Thus, the Amazon series incurs in a very frequent confusion today, derived from political correctness: thinking that what we consider ideal today should be projected in all cinematographic work, even if it is set in a past or in a literary work that has nothing to do with that current ideal. I understand that they wanted to make a series in such a way that women and people of certain races do not feel discriminated against, but in addition to being a way of distorting Tolkien's work, it is also a useless effort. As much as they try to subject Tolkien's work to the filters of political correctness, there will always be someone who complains, either because too many white people appear in the series, or because homosexual relationships do not appear (at least in the first two chapters none of this has been seen) or for any other reason.
What series like Amazon's do with those nods to political correctness is as unfortunate as it is absurd. Tolkien's work has been very successful because in it we can feel identified with certain characters because of their way of being, regardless of their race, height, sex or their role in the work. For example, my favorite character is Samwise Gamyi, and not because of his physical characteristics (I am not a gardener with hairy feet who goes barefoot everywhere), but because he is the representation of the friend loyal, and this is understood by anyone from anywhere in the world.
Anyway, for my part, I'll continue watching the series, because I found it entertaining and interesting, but so far it hasn't managed to make the impression on me that the "Lord of the Rings" movies made on me. by Peter Jackson the first time I saw them. And yet, it has left me with that bitter residue, that pity that having so many means, they have not been able to be more faithful to Tolkien's work and have also gone through the filter of political correctness, spoiling it in some respects. A pity.
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