Home » Amazon » Amazon to Adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s Globally Renowned Fantasy Novels, The Lord of the Rings

Amazon to Adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s Globally Renowned Fantasy Novels, The Lord of the Rings

13 November 2017

From the Amazon Press Room:

Amazon today announced it has acquired the global television rights to The Lord of the Rings, based on the celebrated fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, with a multi-season commitment.

. . . .

“The Lord of the Rings is a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of generations of fans through literature and the big screen,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series, Amazon Studios. “We are honored to be working with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line on this exciting collaboration for television and are thrilled to be taking The Lord of the Rings fans on a new epic journey in Middle Earth.”

. . . .

The upcoming Amazon Prime Original will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Prime Video app for TVs.

Link to the rest at Amazon Press Room

Amazon

41 Comments to “Amazon to Adapt J.R.R. Tolkien’s Globally Renowned Fantasy Novels, The Lord of the Rings”

  1. How much porn do you think Amazon will have to add to this series to get people to watch it?

  2. None. You are seriously underestimating the number of Tolkien fans shrieking in glee, “FINALLY! We’ll get to see Tom Bombadil!”

    • YES! I hope it’s a more faithful adaptation than the Jackson movies.

    • Richard Hershberger

      There are two types of LotR readers: those who think it is an action adventure novel and are mystified by all the boring bits they skim over; and those who realize that it is a literary novel with Themes and Stuff, like those books your high school English teacher tried to get you to read, with some action adventure sequences as part of said T&S. Talk with a LotR reader and there is a simple test to determine which sort they are. Ask them about The Scouring of the Shire. The first sort find it a particularly mystifying weird little anticlimactic addendum. The second sort realize that it, every bit as much as The Grey Havens that follows, is the culmination of those T&S. It is only anticlimactic if you think that the climax has to involve piles of dead orcs.

      Peter Jackson is firmly in the “action adventure” camp. He studiously avoided Themes and Stuff, instead giving us shield surfing.

      So yes, those of us in the T&S camp have long wondered what a faithful adaptation would be like. I am only cautiously optimistic, but it is obvious that the only hope for a faithful adaptation is as modern Prestige Television.

      • “I am only cautiously optimistic, but it is obvious that the only hope for a faithful adaptation is as modern Prestige Television.”

        Considering this adaptation is in DIRECT RESPONSE to Bezos being pissed that Amazon Originals have focused on prestige shows and not had a hit like “Game of Thrones” (Bezos exact words, mind you), I wouldn’t get my hopes too high.

        As far as the rest of your post, The Lord of the Rings is many different books depending on the age at which you come to it. I can’t remember who said it, but there was a quote regarding the Lord of the Rings, likely in an introduction within one of the various editions, that you should read it at least three times in life to truly appreciate it. Once as a child, for the wonder and the mystery, once as an adult, for some of the themes, and once as an elderly person, for the comfort and hope it offers.

        I’ve mangled it, and couldn’t find the quote, but you get the idea. The point is, the Lord of the Rings is all of these things, not just one or the other. Which is something a film or TV show can never provide. So, I appreciate that Jackson made the films he did, as lovingly as he did. They took what film does best, even better than books at times, and focused on that. Spectacle and emotion. I don’t see anything wrong with that. Its not like it takes away from the experience of reading the books.

      • Yeah… as someone who thoroughly enjoyed The Silmarillion and loves to discuss the themes and symbolism of Tolkien with my writing friends, I still find the scouring of the Shire to be anticlimactic. Also, not a huge fan of Tom Bombadil. Themes are good and all, but plot and story structure still matter.

        • Also, not a huge fan of Tom Bombadil. Themes are good and all, but plot and story structure still matter.

          Ho! Joe Vasicek, Joe Vasicek-o!

          Agree with you on this one 🙂

          Bombadil was reverse-merchandising – the toy came first.

        • A lot of guys who were busy fighting WWI had thoughts about how they would really change things when they got home. The same thing is true of a lot of guys who have fought wars. It can be as simple as wanting to add cool things from abraod, or as complicated as wanting to make a new political party and clean house.

          More to the point, it is true that stuff is always happneing at home while you are busy saving the world. It isn’t a pleasant part of the book, but it is a very realistic part of the book.

          It also fulfils the Victorian imperative for three volume novels — all the loose ends have to be tied up, and we have to find out what happens to all the heroes. 🙂

      • Dexter von Dexterdorf

        My biggest issue with the end of the Lord of the Rings books wasn’t necessarily the scouring of the Shire or the Grey Havens, it was the finality of it all… I remember being just a young boy and then basically reading, “And then everyone died.” Like, I get it… Aragorn couldn’t live forever, but I didn’t need to know what year he died in that story.

        • Haha, that was my reaction too! I mean, I love LOTR, but I also love happy endings, and telling us exactly how everyone eventually died was not the kind of ending I wanted.

          Having been unimpressed with Amazon’s original programming, not to mention the way adaptations are usually unimpressive, I’m more skeptical about this series than I want to be. I probably will wait to read some reviews about it before watching any.

      • There are two types of LotR readers: those who think it is an action adventure novel and are mystified by all the boring bits they skim over

        Two of how many types?

    • Looks like it isn’t an adaption of The Lord of the Rings specifically. According to the linked press release it will be “bring[ing] to the screen previously unexplored stories based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s original writings”, and “Set in Middle Earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring”.

      So, possibly it will be drawing from The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales, etc. That has the potential to be really cool or a complete train-wreck, depending on how much they try to “interpret” or “reinvent”. I would love to see Fingon’s rescue of Maedhros or the Lay of Leithian or the coming of Men into Beleriand, or any number of stories from all those works.

      • Dude, it would be so awesome to see the Children of Hurin or the Tale of Beren and Luthien on the screen!

        • I know right! I would watch the heck out of that if they managed to stay true to the stories. And really, those stories are probably better suited to TV than LotR could ever be, because there is so much going on and so many story arcs to work with.

        • As long as they don’t try to make the Children of Hurin into a kid’s movie.

          A dark, dark tale that is.

      • Dexter von Dexterdorf

        I just read it’s supposed to take place between the events of Hobbit and LOTR… so if that’s true that sort of rules out that theory?

        • Fair enough. I can see how that could be an alternate reading of the press release. They mention both “previously unexplored stories” and “new storylines”, so who knows. It’s clear at least that it isn’t an adaptation of LotR, but that’s the only certainty. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, and I’ll try to keep my geeking out to a minimum 😛

    • Amen, amen, amen !! Just bring it on!!

    • Amen, amen, amen !! Just bring it on!!

  3. Hopefully they’re going to re-imagine it for the diverse modern era, recasting a few traditionally male characters as female, casting a lot of “diverse” actors (i.e. non-“Caucasian”), throw in the now-obligatory LGBTQ relationship (or two or three; didn’t you know that Elrond and Aragorn were in a relationship? Not to mention Sam and Frodo), add a lot of F-bombs. And let’s not forget, make it a bit “darker and edgier.” Also, Sauron needs to be a more sympathetic villain, as he’s just doing what he deems to be right in overthrowing the oppressive established order of Middle-Earth, which is racist against Orcs. Or maybe not. Sauron and the Orcs represent Trump and his supporters.

  4. The problem with Jackson’s LOTR was he gutted the story.

    Frodo was not some kid dragged along because the Riders were looking for the Ring. He was in his 50s when he left. Merry and Pippin were the kids, in their “tweens”, their 20s.

    – Frodo knowingly left his home and walked into the darkness, knowing that he would have little chance of returning to all that he loved. And then there was Sam, who followed him into the darkness.(Wow, that makes me tear up.)

    Jackson’s LOTR is like the CliffsNotes of LOTR, leaving out the heart and spine of the story, keeping only the visuals.

    To paraphrase:

    “Death,” cried the riders of Rohirrim as they charged into battle.

    “I am not a Man,” said Éowyn as she thrust the blade into the face of the Lord of the Nazgûl, as Merry thrust home with his blade.

    I have to read the books next.

    • The trainwreck that was the absurd Battle of Helm’s Deep was bad.

      The deep, deep defect of Jackson’s understanding of military and battle mechanics was worse.

      But what I really can’t forgive him is what he did to Faramir, pointlessly gutting a noble character. Whenever Jackson decided to modify an original character, he made the person worse.

      (Oh, yes, and the indefensible “set pieces” of The Hobbit. And its romances. And just one more word: Radegast.)

      Jackson had terrific scenery and mise en scene, but no sense of the interlocking nature of character and plot that so informed Tolkien’s work.

      • Re: Faramir. Yeah, that was the most WTF moment of the whole movie series for me. It’s like Jackson entirely missed the point of the character.

        Though a close second is when he had Sam leave Frodo, however temporarily it may have been.

        I liked Jackson’s movies a lot, but they got a lot wrong. I’d love a more true adaptation, but I don’t have high hopes that this TV series is it.

  5. There are two types of LotR readers: those who think it is an action adventure novel and are mystified by all the boring bits they skim over

    Two of how many types?

  6. Well … this is going to be … interesting to watch as it pans out.

  7. Amazon’s original content so far has been consistently horrible. Maybe the ownership of one of the great intellectual properties will elicit a better effort.

  8. And we have a winner!

    https://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2017/11/14/563909344/10-great-perfect-solid-mithril-ideas-for-lord-of-the-rings-tv-spin-offs

    1. The Tom Bombadil Mysteries

    Everyone’s favorite immortal forest-spirit and his wife Goldberry caper through The Old Forest solving animal-on-animal crimes while singing tra-la-la-la!

    It’s … it’s less annoying than it sounds, the singing.

    2. Hangin’ With Mr. Bombadil

    Everyone’s favorite immortal forest-spirit and his wife Goldberry kick it with some of Arthedain’s surliest, most hardened teens. They provide straight talk, and tough love … and singing. Lots of singing. So, so much singing.

    • Ok, that was hilarious! 😀

      My favorite was:

      5. Survivorman: Rhovanion

      Test your survival skills against the Ranger men call Strider, or Longshanks. How does he survive in The Wild? Where did he learn so much Elvish lore about herbs and berries? And why does his hair look so good when he hasn’t showered in months? Is that the Numenorian genes or what?

    • Richard Hershberger

      We can add to this list. My contribution is Real Housewives of Minas Tirith, with Arwen and Eowyn catting it up.

      • Awesome, but you have to add ordinary human housewives and Arwen and Eowyn as utterly confused, non-ordinary players trying to figure out what on Middle-Earth the other women are talking about–and then trying to fit in.

        • Can there be frequent guest appearances by Ioreth the healer and her sister from the country?

          • Richard Hershberger

            Ioreth is the only named character I can think of who might reasonably qualify as an ordinary human housewife, so I think she is going to be a regular. And very, very annoying.

  9. Everyone’s excited and a lot of people are speculating about possible adaptation of Silmarillion material, but there is as yet zero evidence that they will have any access to any material outside the realm of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Those are the only two properties that rights were ever sold for. The Silmarillion (or any other Tolkien writings) has never been licensed for adaptation and it seems highly unlikely that this would change now. I can’t imagine Christopher ever selling those rights.

    So this pretty much means Amazon’s production “pre-FOTR” production is coming either from The Hobbit or material in LOTR’s appendices. It’s impossible to tell what direction they’re going to take this. But if it were up to me I’d pitch an Action/Drama series to rival GOT (but with a lot less sex and depravity): the rise and fall of the Kingdoms of Arnor. Of course, it would be hard to flesh out from the dry facts we get in the appendices, but in the right hands it could totally blow GOT out of the water.

    Though I would seriously love to watch any Bombadil related show.

    • Dexter von Dexterdorf

      But if it were up to me I’d pitch an Action/Drama series to rival GOT (but with a lot less sex and depravity): the rise and fall of the Kingdoms of Arnor.
      This is actually probably the best idea (and most likely) I’ve heard on this. One would expect Hobbits to have to make an appearance, so it rules out some of the other story lines (the exodus from Númenor for instance).

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