Getting it Hobbit-on
October 14, 2020 5:31 AM   Subscribe

The forthcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation, with five series on order and a budget over $1billion, may, like Game of Thongs, contain nudity and "scenes of a sexual nature". The original Tolkien books, and Peter Jackson adaptation, were bereft of elf-on-orc and similar action (maybe not). However, an intimacy coordinator may have been hired, plus requests for actors 'comfortable with nudity'. Some are not happy, but others are up for a "never before seen" story. Speculation and more and desire.
posted by Wordshore (186 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite


 
There’s so much in those books already, and there have already been excellent movies made, there are so many other stories out there worth telling.
posted by mhoye at 5:44 AM on October 14 [47 favorites]


May every last one of them be cast through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World.
posted by darksasami at 5:47 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


were going to see tom bombadils dick arent we
posted by um at 5:48 AM on October 14 [72 favorites]


If you want to tell a different story, is it so much to ask that you write a different story?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:50 AM on October 14 [75 favorites]


were going to see tom bombadils dick arent we

Well, he did sing "Hey dol! merry dol! Ring a dong dillo!"...
posted by Wordshore at 5:53 AM on October 14 [12 favorites]


Game of Thongs?
posted by jozxyqk at 5:53 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Game of Thongs?

Freudian-typo but {shrugged} seemed apt so kept it in.
posted by Wordshore at 5:54 AM on October 14 [26 favorites]


That said, my immediate mental image of an “intimacy coordinator” is somebody standing just offscreen in an orange safety vest waving two Hitachi Magic Wands like an airport runway marshall steering a plane to its gate, so we have that going for us.
posted by mhoye at 5:55 AM on October 14 [77 favorites]


Freudian-typo

Don't you mean "Frodo-ian typo"?
posted by touchstone033 at 5:58 AM on October 14 [34 favorites]


Heard an interview with an intimacy coordinator on NPR a few years ago and it was super interesting. A big part of what they're doing is insuring that all parties have informed consent and aren't being pressured into doing something they're not comfortable with. Also to supply knee pads.
posted by octothorpe at 6:02 AM on October 14 [23 favorites]


"Some claim that this ordeal has left me blue-balled," he declared, casting his robe to the ground with a flourish. "But as you can see, I am Saruman of Many Colors."
posted by delfin at 6:06 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


A big part of what they're doing is insuring that all parties have informed consent

That’s important, I feel bad about making the joke now.
posted by mhoye at 6:14 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


After rescuing them from the Barrow-wight, Tom Bombadil urges the Hobbits to "run naked on the grass". Nudity is canon.
posted by Mogur at 6:18 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


Pretty fucked they decided to do this after Tumblr banned porn.
posted by saladin at 6:20 AM on October 14 [21 favorites]


This just turned the project into a hard pass for me.
posted by Billiken at 6:20 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


This just turned the project into a hard pass for me.

trrrrrrrying not to make double entendre
posted by lalochezia at 6:22 AM on October 14 [10 favorites]


Hiring an intimacy coordinator suggests that they are trying to do things right in terms of actor safety and comfort, which means that jokes about it are actually funny since no one is getting hurt. (Jokes about a situation where people are at risk or get hurt aren't so funny.) So personally, I am on the side of more jokes.

On the one hand, this sounds like something I would try watching because it has the potential to bring out adult themes in the books (over and above whatever nudity they are planning), which to me is much more interesting than the past adaptations which have felt more YA focused, or somewhat comic-book-ish, to me.

But on the other hand, there are so many ways this could go wrong and create an unwatchable hot wet mess. And, I hope that they will be able to navigate the author's racial characterizations with more nuance than the original.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:24 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


Maybe they could have two slightly different versions. You could watch the "we're British" version, where two attractive elves lie down exhausted and wavy lines and wake up the next day, or watch the racier version, where two attractive elves lie down exhausted, catch their breath, get elven on each other, flop back, and wake up the next day.
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Going with the Very Secret Diaries version, I see. Have they put Cassandra Claire on retainer for this project?
posted by notoriety public at 6:31 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


Just thinking about this tires me out. I mean, yeah, it's cool that it won't be the sausage fest with occasional female characters wandering through the frame in the background, plus Galadriel of course, of the books. (I think that Jackson did a pretty good job of mitigating this as much as he could; the most posted GIF from the trilogy that I've seen is Eowyn proclaiming that she was no man.) But I can already hear the endless, tiresome fanboy bitching in a thousand YouTube videos. That's probably why I noped out of The Hobbit after the first movie. Plus, yeah, they'll probably end up having Tom Bombadil (whose excision was another great Jackson decision) and Goldberry banging.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:33 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


The sheer idea of adding sexuality to Tolkien. It's hilarious.
posted by Nelson at 6:38 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


Amazon Presents: The Skinmarillion.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:41 AM on October 14 [22 favorites]


Is this Tolkien in any serious way? Aren't they just going to do new stories with various Second Age characters wandering in here and there?
posted by skewed at 6:42 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Asked my ex-, a Tolkien scholar, about this and her eyerolling response was "For fuck's sake, it's Bombadil not Bombadildo".

(And if there's a spin-off merchandise adult toy called a "Bombadildo", she wants 10% of revenue).

Maybe I should grab the domain bombadildo.com just in case...
posted by Wordshore at 6:45 AM on October 14 [35 favorites]


Not sure if I hate this more because it’s as bad a tone shift as anything in Jackson’s second run of Tolkien movies, or because it’s $1BN that could have brought so many other stories to the screen. I’d wish cancellation on the entire thing if it weren’t for the potential unintended consequences of a frigging billion dollars going down the toilet, from jobs lost to studios’ future adaptation choices.
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:52 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


Insert your own Legolas - Gimli "That only counts as one!" joke here
posted by delfin at 6:54 AM on October 14 [8 favorites]


1. As soon as I read "Some are not happy" I somehow knew it was a Wordshore post.

2. I am not into this idea. Partly because it's cheesy and cliched and rooted in the idea that somehow a story isn't "real" if it doesn't have sex, violence and romance based on contemporary norms, partly because I dislike how everything is either superheroes or Tolkien or otherwise recycled mega-properties now, partly because I have disliked every adaptation of Tolkien that I've ever seen except the 1977 version of The Hobbit. (The Last Ringbearer is also good but for different reasons.)

But I think primarily because it all strikes me as a misunderstanding of the books. They're not failed mimetic novels in which Tolkien either neglected to write or suppressed all the sex/grimdark/whatever. They're very flat, stained-glass sorts of books. What's there is what's supposed to be there; the world is sufficient to itself. Contrast with the Harry Potter books which are in fact supposed to be sort of mimetic, at least about feelings, and are as a result full of holes.

And then also I, a child of the nineties, assume that any mainstream production of anything will be stupid and bad, so I assume this will also be stupid and bad. (Bear in mind that I really hated the movies.)
posted by Frowner at 6:57 AM on October 14 [50 favorites]


As someone who isn't a prude but has loved Tolkien since I was eleven, I can honestly say that forcing nudity and sexuality into a Tolkien work seems completely artificial and missing the point of what makes the original work good. Tolkien's sense of the world, his enchantment and detail, treated romantic love as something special and rather elevated, and to be pursued offscreen and in privacy by the characters. I don't want a Lord of the Rings spinoff that makes us confront the gritty reality behind the epic story. Tolkien himself started writing one and decided that it wasn't something he wanted to do. I think fans are rightly disturbed by it because it's the first signal that the creators don't appreciate Tolkien in the way the fans do.

(There's a deep irony in The Lord of the Rings, where Tolkien used tropes about friendship that - very much contrary to what is certainly his stated intent - make it so Sam and Frodo can be read as a closeted gay couple. But this is the result of Tolkien having absorbed these tropes without, I think, having fully understood the implications.)
posted by graymouser at 6:58 AM on October 14 [27 favorites]


The sheer idea of adding sexuality to Tolkien. It's hilarious.

Me at the age of 12 just discovering fanfiction.net: I BEG TO DIFFER
posted by fight or flight at 7:01 AM on October 14 [18 favorites]


oooh, oooh! Now do Narnia! [no please don't that's not a real suggestion]
posted by chavenet at 7:02 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Oh fight or flight sweetie why didn't you just read Piers Anthony like the rest of us? (In the 80s, before we figured out what a horrible creep he and his writing are)
posted by Nelson at 7:03 AM on October 14 [8 favorites]


I can already see how they're gong to try to force various elements into this series. Adding sex/nudity is dumb and obviously unnecessary, but we can probably expect more added features that make it less Tolkien and more just simply modern Fantasy.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:03 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Oh fight or flight sweetie why didn't you just read Piers Anthony like the rest of us?

Funnily enough, I had an entire collection of his books (Night Mare was my fave)! I still have them somewhere, but I've relegated them to the Bottom Shelf of Shame and turned their spines to the wall so nobody can tell.

The centaur boobies set me up well for a lifetime of depraved Legolas/Gimli smut.
posted by fight or flight at 7:05 AM on October 14 [12 favorites]


It seems like I probably should have read further, because I came in expecting lockdown-horny monsterf*ckers getting their Orc thirst on.
Once you go Ent, it tends to stay bent?
Dwarves do it on the down low?
Um, this was great, but I think maybe it's time you diminished and journeyed into the West? Can I call you an Eagle?
and
-huff-huff-huff- ~spasm~ THE BEACON IS LIT! GONDOR CALLS FOR AID!!!
posted by bartleby at 7:09 AM on October 14 [8 favorites]


There is quite a bit of male nudity in The Lord of the Rings but very few woman. And the story takes place during a period where all the main characters have more important things to do than jump into bed. Apart from Tom Bombadil and his wife - those two are probably at it all hours.

I do have one suggestion for the producers, although it might be a tough sell. Hear me out - two words - sexy orcs.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:12 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Hear me out - two words - sexy orcs.

It's always been a mystery how Orcs breed-Where are the females? I don't want to know.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:14 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


From that first "five series" link:
"the platform will be airing a prequel to the famous story, taking place during Middle Earth’s Second Age.

For reference, the Second Age occurs several thousand years before the events of LOTR. This is the time during which Sauron forged the One Ring. Smeagol will not even encounter the ring for another 2,000 years — so fans can rest assured they’ll be enjoying previously untelevised content.

“Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, who is supervising the show’s development, told German fansite Deutsche Tolkien that the estate has refused to allow the series to be set during any period other than the Second Age of Middle-earth,” reported The Guardian."
Which frankly makes this all seem even dumber. There are seriously like 1 bazillion other properties with actual living authors that could use the dough and that already have sex built into the story.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:19 AM on October 14 [14 favorites]


Frowner has said it well. I'll likely watch it (and likely hate myself for it) but I am disappointed that I can't watch this with my young kid.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:20 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, Tom Bombadil & Goldberry getting the hot fantasy that fucks treatment ( to quote Lindsay Ellis) has a legitimate appeal. Maybe some Beorn cock, like Dr Manhattan or something. Middle Earth isn’t populated by Barbie and Ken dolls, and Elf/Human hybrids weren’t grown on trees and plucked when ripe.

OTOH, it’s a little like asking What was Aragorn’s tax policies as King, and did he go on a pogrom to be exterminate all the orc babies?

As in, Yeah… you can go there . That’s a thing that can be done.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:23 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


why didn't you just read Piers Anthony like the rest of us? (In the 80s, before we figured out what a horrible creep he and his writing are)

Do you seriously think I’d explain my masterstroke reading plan if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:23 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


You know Rose Cotton and Sam were downright frisky. The hobbits as a whole seem to have heathy libidos. Humans seem lusty enough as well. Dwarves we never see enough of to really get to know. The Elves for the entire Third Age are in full-on PTSD and occupied mostly with thoughts of their own deaths/passing west. Sexy times seems the last thing on their minds. Except for maybe Galadriel. And stupid sexy Aragorn.

Stained Glass is the right way to describe it though. Stuff Happens between paragraphs and after the chapter ends of the LoTR and the Hobbit, but it's not on stage. Even the passion of the most famous lovers, Beren and Luthien is only mentioned in passing, is never never directly written about.

It's an authorial choice. Any additions are going to feel forced and inauthentic.
posted by bonehead at 7:24 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


oooh, oooh! Now do Narnia! [no please don't that's not a real suggestion]

Narnia won't work because children, but C.S.Lewis made the ending of That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy) pretty sexy and surprisingly pagan.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:24 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


There was a LJ fan fiction back in the day which I’ve read parts of and my partner read all of. It was mostly a joke fic but the conceit was that everyone in the Fellowship was after Frodo not fit the Ring but because they were sexually or romantically attracted to him. And San will kill them if they try anything.

Anyway that’s the only LoTR modified story I would support making a show about ... but $1 billion seems like kind of a high budget for a farce.

On preview: ah! the grim dark is going to come from Numenorean men showing up in middle earth and enslaving the natives and falling for Sauron’s pretty words. That part is at least pretty canon — think about how the Stone of Erech came to be! But still no sex except implied due to marriages and jockeying of bloodlines.
posted by R343L at 7:25 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


oooh, oooh! Now do Narnia! [no please don't that's not a real suggestion]

OTOH, adding some "R-rated" content to those seems like a pretty fair way to subvert the "Christian propaganda" element.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:25 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


missing the point of what makes the original work good

I had the same feeling about Jackson's overemphasis of the humans' external actions over the hobbits' internal drama.
posted by fairmettle at 7:27 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


I am disappointed that I can't watch this with my young kid.

Yeah WTF? Why eliminate most of the kid audience just for some unrequested "adult" material? Everyone will watch it without sex in it. And probably like it more.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:27 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


I just want to put "Orc Intimacy Coordinator" on my LinkedIn.
posted by phong3d at 7:29 AM on October 14 [7 favorites]


I do have one suggestion for the producers, although it might be a tough sell. Hear me out - two words - sexy orcs.

Probably a comedy/satire/sex farce would be fine, actually, because it would totally write over the logic of the books.

The thing is, what Tolkien does in the books doesn't fit with a sexy-grimdark-soap opera treatment. Like, the characters aren't full people because they are archetypes of noble kingship or or tragic jealousy or proletarian obliviousness or loyal servantness. The places don't make sense because they're mythic places - there's no scullery in Lothlorien, there are no fireworks factories even though there's obviously a pretty developed fireworks industry, etc etc. If you want to have the aura of the books, you can't have, eg, Aragorn's hiLARious teenage hijinks in Rivendell.

And I think this carries over to fanfic for the most part - fic that really dispenses with the aura of the books tends to be AU or comedy.

I think that a sexy-grimdark-soap opera TV series is particularly likely to be terrible - far more likely to be terrible than an analogous fanfic. TV leaves less up to the imagination and thus has more potential to seem off/weird/stupid/crass/corny - when I read, I fill in the corners with whatever seems best to me, but when I watch TV I have to put up with whatever predigested ideas they stick in. A TV show will also be trying to maintain the aura (for the fanboys!) and the sexy-grimdark so it will do neither well. A big-budget TV show will also be subject to all the intellectual and ideological constraints of prestige television, so it'll be full of bad/mainstream/"commercially viable" ideas that a fanfic would tend to jettison.
posted by Frowner at 7:30 AM on October 14 [14 favorites]


And San will kill them if they try anything.

You're thinking of the Very Secret Diary series by (in)famous New York Times bestselling author Cassandra Clare, preserved for posterity here for anyone who wants a glimpse into the halcyon "pervy Hobbit-fanciers" days of the early '00s in LoTR fandom.
posted by fight or flight at 7:31 AM on October 14 [14 favorites]


oooh, oooh! Now do Narnia! [no please don't that's not a real suggestion]


You might want to check out the Magicians book series.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:33 AM on October 14 [12 favorites]


I think that a sexy-grimdark-soap opera TV series is particularly likely to be terrible

I'd rather see a full on Mary Gentle Grunts! adaptation, honestly.
posted by bonehead at 7:33 AM on October 14 [12 favorites]


The forthcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation, with five series on order

Just in case anyone else was a little distracted by the first sentence as I was, I gather Wordshore, as a Brit, is using “series” for what North Americans term “seasons.” Five different shows set in the Second Age seems a lot more than anyone would commission or watch.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


I'm on board, as long as it reflects a fantasy version of real-life sexual diversity. As in, if there's human sex, there should be elf sex. And dwarf sex. And orc sex. And hobbit sex. And I'm talking a deep exploration of sexual norms in their various cultures, because you know for sure they're not having sex exactly like humans do. I want it to be revealed that dwarves are much more gender fluid than humans assume. I want hobbit group marriages. I want the orcs' sexuality to be complex and ritualized and kinky and non-binary. I want to see how people combine magic with sex. And I want to see relationships between various genders and races explored in depth, because that's fascinating stuff.

But we'll probably just see sex between conventionally attractive humans of opposite genders.
posted by MrVisible at 7:42 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


Thank you fight or flight! I had no idea that fic still existed anywhere on the internet!
posted by R343L at 7:43 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Now hobbits are a peace-lovin' folk you know
They're never in a hurry and they take things slow
They don't like to travel away from home
They just want to fuck and be left alone
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:46 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


That's probably why I noped out of The Hobbit after the first movie. Not because it was garbage?

The Hobbit was the only one of the books that didn't feel completely joyless and interminable to me. So whereas the film adaptations of the other books seemed to mostly edit out the dull bits, The Hobbit felt like it was actively adding dull bits (and bad acting) to stretch out what was otherwise a comparatively concise and neatly contained work of young adult fiction.

I can't really hope that this adaptation won't do the same thing and add tits. Picturing an Andy Sidaris movie but with orcs.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:48 AM on October 14 [9 favorites]


No, just NO.
posted by mermayd at 7:51 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


I want the orcs' sexuality to be complex and ritualized and kinky and non-binary.

If this were an honest and textually-faithful reproduction, it could not help but be incredibly tragic and heart-breaking. Orcs were enslaved and degraded elves, and perhaps other peoples, if the inferences made from Tolkein's works are true.

An exploration of orc sexuality would be a horror-show where lack of consent and humiliation are the entire point and purpose of their reproduction. In the world of JRRT, rightly or wrongly, moral degradation is a biological force. This would be almost impossible to watch, given the lack of any redemption or salvation for these peoples.

This would not be sexy grimdark if done faithfully, it would be simply horrific. I don't see how such a depiction could possibly have redeeming artistic value.
posted by bonehead at 7:53 AM on October 14 [28 favorites]


Based on the nearly unanimous fan community response, I have a feeling they're going to massively scale back or entirely drop the sexually-focused content. They haven't done The Expanse wrong, so I'm thinking A) the fan response is appropriate, because if Tolkien wanted super sexy sex in his books 'onscreen' it would've been there, it's not like all the creatures (Dwarves excepted of course) just sprang fully formed from the ground, and B) Amazon is likely to listen to it.
posted by tclark at 7:56 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


As an example, I thought the way the Jackson movies handled the Uruk Hai "births" was a sensitive and reasonable approach that stayed textually true (born in filth), while eliding the actual sexual implications of cross breeding humans with orcs. No one wanted to see Saurman's rape camps on screen.
posted by bonehead at 7:58 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


I have a feeling they're going to massively scale back or entirely drop the sexually-focused content.

I mean, I feel like it would be pertinent to remember that we don't have any official confirmation there's going to be any sexually-focused content at all. Nudity perhaps, but there's nothing here (IMO) that suggests it's going to be the NC-17 no-holes-barred fuckfest that certain people seem to think it's going to be.
posted by fight or flight at 8:01 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


> “Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, who is supervising the show’s development, told German fansite Deutsche Tolkien that the estate has refused to allow the series to be set during any period other than the Second Age of Middle-earth,” reported The Guardian."

what the ever living. the second age is dull af. buncha boring-ass numenoreans being emo. give me the first age of the sun or gtfo. fëanor! beren and luthian! túrin fuckin' turambar! galadriel all lurking around in the background being like "i'm gonna copy melian's whole deal some day!" hella interesting people in the first age.

no, wait, you know what, fuck the first age too! the ages of the trees or gtfo!

and if you don't like that well then time to make a series about the damn hell ass lamps of arda how about that then? nothing but giant gods having magic fights, all wrecking the landscape left and right. now that's a series. the second age, though? get out of town. worst age by far.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:03 AM on October 14 [20 favorites]


Isn't Bored of the Rings essentially cannon by now? Kinda recall it had some pretty racy parts.
posted by sammyo at 8:05 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


I don't envy anyone who has to wrangle with the Tolkien estate over any sort of creative decision, to be honest. Those guys make the Conan Doyle estate look like a fluffy bunny.
posted by fight or flight at 8:05 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


Amazon signed on for a Tokien-themed Game of Thrones dupe, and by God they're going to make one no matter how intensely people beg them otherwise. I think they also understand that GoT's culture-capturing appeal was because non-fantasy fans liked it. So shut up virgin nerds, Elrond fucks and you'll like it, etc.

I had actually been a little excited about the Amazon show because I thought the first one was going to be a First or Second Age series (did I imagine this? if you go to all the expense and effort of getting the rights why wouldn't you??). Now I think it'll be like HBO's plans for a dozen different GRRM shows, where they spend a bunch of money on development and then cancel everything when they realize they've salted the ground with a bad first showing.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:06 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


I suppose I might watch some of it if I hear it's worth the trouble from people whose taste in televisual media I respect. But nothing on the surface of this compels me. And no, it's not the sex. But it is the imposing of current market norms/demands on a body of work that already has an entire other world (present, past and distant past) well mapped out.

I do think there is another Lord of the Rings adaptation wanting to be made. But it's a million miles from what this appears to be. It would be a thorough and, as long as it needs to be, complete telling of the original three books. To include much more in the way of music and myths of the past (already in the books) and much less of the various Hollywoodisms* that Peter Jackson and his crowd felt compelled to inject into things.

The adjective that comes to mind is elegiac.

: of, relating to, or comprising elegy or an elegy especially : expressing sorrow often for something now past an elegiac lament for departed youth

I do look forward to the perhaps distant future where mankind has finally annihilated all the balrogs and whatnot of the blind-idiot-so-called-free market and a new age of poetry has assumed its rightful place at the heart of things which is, I believe, required before such could ever hope to come to pass.



* not that I really fault Mr. Jackson and his team -- that was the only way they were ever going to make the whole vast thing work for a modern pop audience of 2001-4.
posted by philip-random at 8:06 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


though also let it be known that if they make a series about the sexy adventures of bombadil and goldberry i am here for it.

this dude? here for it.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:07 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


what the ever living. the second age is dull af. buncha boring-ass numenoreans being emo. give me the first age of the sun or gtfo. fëanor! beren and luthian! melian! túrin fuckin' turambar! hella interesting people in the first age.

Aw. I had seen rumors that they were gonna do Beren/Luthien. GTFO here with that Ar-Pharazon fanfic.

Side note, it is crazy that Galadriel has been around since the First Age. Could make a LOTR series revolving around her several-thousand-year journey. *Shakes fist at Tolkien estate.
posted by ishmael at 8:09 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


maybe that's their game. like, the tolkien estate is like "fine! you want to make a show about lotr? sure, okay, but you gotta make it about the worst age, the age no one cares about cause it's dumb and sucks. have fun with that."
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:14 AM on October 14 [9 favorites]


Looks like meat's back on the menu, bois.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:15 AM on October 14 [12 favorites]


I'm not sure where this will go but the Second Age is probably the era where you can get away with GoT-like machinations, since it's all about pride, arrogance, seduction, wealth, power, subjugation, all writ large as an entire island kingdom that literally goes Atlantis because of hubris.

I know I'll end up watching it, but I've kept my expectations real low, even lower than when I found out The Hobbit was going to be a trilogy.
posted by linux at 8:16 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Oh wait, so it IS set in the 2nd Age and all this "Lord of the Rings" series stuff is because the PR people thought it wouldn't be buzzy enough to call it a Tolkien show? WHEW. I really thought they were making a TV-show version of the Lord of the Rings movies, which would've been infuriating.

So...call it, the first season is sexy Sauron, creeping on the elves and making rings.
posted by grandiloquiet at 8:17 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I watched only season 1 of GoT. Had no desire to see the rest. This may be the same, but it'll get a fair shake.
posted by linux at 8:17 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


There's a joke to be had here somewhere using the word "ringpiece", but I can't quite put my finger on it...
posted by Paul Slade at 8:21 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


is this where we get to argue about what tom bombadil's deal is cause i'm always on the lookout for arguments about what tom bombadil's deal is.

hot take: tolkien himself was wrong about what tom bombadil's deal is
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:21 AM on October 14 [8 favorites]


Those of you mourning not being able to watch this with your kids: how do you balance sex vs. violence in terms of what your kids watch?

LOTR is pretty violent.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:22 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


[ heaves a huge, the biggest, an absolutely massive sigh ]
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:22 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


i'm always on the lookout for arguments about what tom bombadil's deal is.

Like David S. Pumpkins, he's just his own thing.
posted by fight or flight at 8:22 AM on October 14 [23 favorites]


omigod david s pumpkins is tom bombadil
posted by solotoro at 8:24 AM on October 14 [14 favorites]


Based on the nearly unanimous fan community response, I have a feeling they're going to massively scale back or entirely drop the sexually-focused content.

The "fan community" is going to watch this anyway, so there is no reason to change on their behalf. If randos off the street who vaguely remember there were movies are more likely to watch this show with sex, there will be sex. Chasing the wants and the demands of the superfans if bad for business.
posted by sideshow at 8:25 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


I'm sure they'll go ahead with the racy stuff. Fans of "authentic" Tolkien will watch it (about 17 times per episode, many of them) and people who don't particularly worship Tolkien will watch it for the adventure, action, and sex.
posted by pracowity at 8:25 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


TBH I worry a lot more about violence in what we show the kiddo than sex per se (assuming consenting, joyful, etc and not some horror show of sex). It’s kind of a sickness that so much media we watch sees nothing wrong with casual murder and serious violent injury but god forbid there be titties. She’s still young and I wouldn’t want to show her the Jackson films.

(I am not saying anything many haven’t said. I even thought it was bizarre before we had a kid. It’s just so much more frustrating now to realize how ubiquitous violence is in film & tv.)
posted by R343L at 8:26 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


> Like David S. Pumpkins, he's just his own thing.

he's eru he's eru iluvatar tolkien wrote in eru iluvatar by accident and then tried to take it back but couldn't, he's eru he's eru he's eru.

and the reason tolkien had to walk it back is because having an incarnate eru in the third age would have messed up his idea of the fifth or sixth age, since having jesus as the marker between two of the later ages doesn't work if eru's been singin' songs with goldberry all this time

yes i already know this is an arby's, sheesh
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:27 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


"the platform will be airing a prequel to the famous story, taking place during Middle Earth’s Second Age."

I feel like these guys are ignoring the spirit of our times. In the middle of an apocalypse, I want peaceful Hobbiton with lush green and gentle flute music. Maybe a baking show in a little tent where hobbits, elves, orcs, wizards vie to make the perfect scones, interspersed segments giving a glimpse into their other hobbies and family life. A romantic comedy or two. Frodo in Paris. Renovations at the Green Dragon. Gandalf as David Attenborough. There are a lot of options for new properties set in the LOTR world.
posted by trig at 8:28 AM on October 14 [23 favorites]


apparently i have feels about the lotr deep backstory that i don't really have about lotr itself, but, like, the actual silmarillion? the whole curse of the noldor arc that defined the first age? that right there is a super, super solid skeleton for a long-running high production value fantasy show. first few episodes are in valinor before morgoth and ungoliant do their thing to the trees, then we get like seven seasons of the noldor and their allies getting put through absolute 100% shit, then finally the last few episodes of the last season follow eärendil back to valinor. that's a very satisfying resolution to a very long story — it's basically the same structure as lotr itself, but writ huge. and the various seasons in-between the exile and eärendil's return can be radically different from each other, since there's so many different people to follow.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:35 AM on October 14 [10 favorites]


Seriously. If you're going to give me Tolkein content, make it like My Neighbour Totoro. Beautiful, placid, peaceful journeys through the richest fields of imagination with the lowest possible stakes to keep the plot ticking along.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:35 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


The "fan community" is going to watch this anyway, so there is no reason to change on their behalf. If randos off the street who vaguely remember there were movies are more likely to watch this show with sex, there will be sex. Chasing the wants and the demands of the superfans if bad for business.

Yeah, I mean if someone really is into Tolkien, this will be the only game in town. The Tolkien hook is just to provide some lure of familiarity to the series, which is set at a point most people know nor care about, so it's mostly just in the use of the character/creature types based on Tolkien's books and some general guidelines of events that Amazon is buying so they can better expect some return on the billion dollars they're spending. Expecting studios to spend lots of money on spectacle without there being some hook of familiarity as a guarantee isn't likely to be rewarded often because those two wants are in opposition to the business of making shows/movies. Something completely new is not where studios want to risk their money when people are so much more eager to repeatedly lap up the same things over and over again because they already have opinions and feelings about it.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:36 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


I have just come here to say "hobknob." That is all.
posted by jordemort at 8:41 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of options for new properties set in the LOTR world.

There's a throwaway line in The Fellowship of the Ring that I've always thought could be the springboard to a whole new set of stories. The hobbits have just set out on on the road and are bedded down for the night:
A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed.

'Hobbits!' he thought. 'Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping of doors under a tree. Three of them! There's something might queer behind this.' He was quite right, but he never found out any more about it.
What was this fox's business, exactly? Was he off to Fox-moot? Coming home from a hunt? On an errand of diplomacy to the stoats? And so on.
posted by jquinby at 8:41 AM on October 14 [26 favorites]


Five different shows set in the Second Age seems a lot more than anyone would commission or watch.

Here's a start:
Istari! - Allatar and Pallando, the two "lost" wizards, drift from dusty town to dusty town in the arid badlands of East Middle Earth. They have sworn not to use their powers unless someone really pisses them off. Inevitably someone always pisses them off. The last twenty minutes of each episode are a ballet of beautifully choreographed magical mayhem.

Drunken History of Eä - Galadriel and Elrond get smashed on cheap miruvor on a platform high in the tallest tree in Lothlorien and tell lies about the good old days. Each episode ends with them drunkenly throwing bolts of pure magical hatred at a portrait of Fëanor. As they are drunk they always miss.

I have more. Many more. Drop me a line Bezos.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:42 AM on October 14 [22 favorites]


at this stage, it is hard to know what this really means except there will be some sex - could be anywhere from a few scenes spread out over the series to GoT series 1 level!
posted by piyushnz at 8:43 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Just a note, it's not five series it's five seasons in progress.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:49 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


So, there's this guy... and his sword is broken. He cannot be recognized as the proper King until his sword, his FLAME OF THE WEST if you will, is fully reforged and resplendent.

But in the meantime, he's gotten _very good_ at compensating with all kind of herbal preparations.
posted by delfin at 8:54 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I keep coming back to the choice of the Second Age as the setting. Sure, it has interesting moments like the forging of the Rings, but a lot of it feels like dry history. Heck, even Tolkien treats it as such, relegating it to appendices and that part of The Silmarillion that everyone skims through. Sexying it up might be the most direct way of capturing and holding viewers' attention, or at least focusing on more personal, and intimate, storytelling points. If the show opens with a sweeping vista shot of a lush fantasy landscape, with the label "E R E G I O N" in ornate Elvish script, my eyes are going to glaze over already.

The First Age has so much more going on: primal conflict between good and evil, supreme heroic moments, and terrible tragedy too. I still want the tale of Turin Turambar turned into a Wagnerian operatic cycle, dammit!
posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 8:57 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Just wait until you see the Baby Smeagol character they've come up with. He's ADORABLE!
posted by briank at 9:00 AM on October 14 [17 favorites]


Those of you mourning not being able to watch this with your kids: how do you balance sex vs. violence in terms of what your kids watch?

A bit of a derail and YMMV obviously but gory, or personal, or glorified warfare, or sexual / gender based violence are all big no nos in our house. Non-fatal, comic book, slapstick or bloodless violence are fine if it is not excessive (this is contextual). Sexual content is context dependent but rule of thumb we use is if there are graphic simulated sex acts or overly sexualised nudity we skip it. Our kid has a fairly well developed aesthetic taste so generally we don't need to police them much. They are especially turned off by prejudiced content in tv or film particularly racial caricatures or where genders or ethnicities are treated as butt of a joke or mistreated in general. Oh and jump scares & children lost or in peril - those are guaranteed nopes for them.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:16 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


This is going to be so much slow moving luke warm trash.

the actual silmarillion

Right? What's with studios telling stories in stuttering reverse order?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:21 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


If y'all aren't watching Robert on the In Deep Geek YouTube channel, you're missing out.
posted by maxwelton at 9:22 AM on October 14 [8 favorites]


that part of The Silmarillion that everyone skims through.

All of it?

*ducks*
posted by soundguy99 at 9:23 AM on October 14 [33 favorites]


My initial reaction is a big nope, but I'm going to wait to hear Colbert's take on this.
posted by blurker at 9:25 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


On a first skim there’s no William Morris fanfic on AO3, though there’s at least one Charge of the Light Brigade one. Huh. (Just thinking of other stories that could be retold that could more naturally show sex than Tolkien.)

Seconding the preference for peaceful tales set in the development of the Shire - including some endowment-sized dollars paid to the Weald and Downland museum and all its equivalents.
posted by clew at 9:33 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


> It's always been a mystery how Orcs breed-Where are the females? I don't want to know.

I figured it was like with Smurfs or bees where there's one egg-laying female.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:35 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Great, more utter tripe produced rote without a single shred of creativi--

were going to see tom bombadils dick arent we

I mean I guess there is artistic potential in a more grounded and earthy Lord of the Rings
posted by Lonnrot at 9:37 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


And also

I have disliked every adaptation of Tolkien that I've ever seen except the 1977 version of The Hobbit

My people! Brother Theodore is the best and only Gollum, thank you and good night.
posted by Lonnrot at 9:38 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


is this where we get to argue about what tom bombadil's deal is cause i'm always on the lookout for arguments about what tom bombadil's deal is.

The first few chapters of LOTR, before Bombadil appears, keep the feel of The Hobbit — there is a birthday party, there are fireworks, there is a fox going about his business (as jquinby cites above), there are distantly glimpsed elves in the forest, there is Farmer Maggot annoyed at youngsters pilfering his mushrooms. The hobbits face peril in the Old Forest, and Bombadil rescues them, revives their spirits, and sends them on their way into the darker and more treacherous world of the rest of the book, reframing their world.

He is explicitly the only character the Ring has no power over, and he predates everyone in the narrative — the elves call him “first and fatherless”. During the Council of Elrond, there is speculation that in the event of calamity he will outlast them all (I think the words used are “last as he was first.”)

Bombadil is Tolkien.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:42 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


like with Smurfs ... where there's one egg-laying female

All I can remember about the Smurfs is that they were blue. I do not remember any mention of their reproductive cycle or mechanisms. Heck, my childhood was so innocent.
posted by Wordshore at 9:43 AM on October 14


Right? What's with studios telling stories in stuttering reverse order?

Tolkein as an adaptation of Memento.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:43 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


What was this fox's business, exactly? Was he off to Fox-moot? Coming home from a hunt? On an errand of diplomacy to the stoats? And so on.

That line has always jumped out at me as well. It's one of the only instances where the narration jumps from 3rd person limited to semi-omniscient I think, and it's the only evidence of sentience in another species outside the specified races. I'm sure it was just a bit of English pastoral whimsy, but it's wild to me that it made it through the drafts.
posted by Think_Long at 9:44 AM on October 14 [10 favorites]


I've puzzed on it for years, and half-toyed with the idea of fleshing out a story, but I don't how to avoid it turning into Watership Down meets Narnia and that's where it stops. :|
posted by jquinby at 9:46 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


As a child, my father promised me that I would love the LOTR books, but even at nine, I found them kind of self-righteous and lacking any interesting naughty bits (though I wouldn't have known to realize I was missing sex, exactly). When I reread them at thirteen, I thought, "man, this dude has some real issues with women and he doesn't seem to know how to feel about sex." When I saw the movies, I thought, "man, this dude has some real issues with women and he doesn't seem to know how to feel about sex, but the way these films are shot give the story some appealingly just under the surface queer subtext which is kind of cool, but also it seems like he's also kind of racist? "

(That whole "men of the West " thing, to date, makes me cringe whenever I rewatch the movies, which I do because Viggo Mortenson is so much hotter as a brunette and I can fantasize about the better version of the story where it ends when Eowyn hooks up Cate Blanchett and the unseen women from the East and they're like, "Seriously, shut the fuck up, men of the west" and dissolve the patriarchy and turn the rings of power into fabulous statement earrings, perma ban lengthy ballads about whimsical forest dweller and tragic elf maidens and maybe try to set up a a more equitable government that is broadly representative of all middle earth, responsive to the needs of its human and non-human citizenry, and not based around, like, folkloric divine right. And incidentally Amazon: I am available. Call me)

All of which is to say, I am pro sexy, messy Lord of the Rings, and will probably watch this, even though they will invariably do it wrong .
posted by thivaia at 9:53 AM on October 14 [15 favorites]


The whole thing about Smurfs was explained in Donnie Darko. They actually got the OK from the company for the scene bc Donnie schools his knucklehead buddies on the canon re: Smurf-xuality.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:54 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Seriously. If you're going to give me Tolkein content, make it like My Neighbour Totoro. Beautiful, placid, peaceful journeys through the richest fields of imagination with the lowest possible stakes to keep the plot ticking along.

(OT and possibly spoilers for Totoro, but in that movie their mother is slowly dying and for most of the final day everyone thinks the toddler drowned to death. It's great children's show because most of that goes right over their heads, but it's not actually low-stakes!)

Re LOTR and sex, I side with those like MrVisible who would prefer, if they are going to do it, something more diverse than just the usual hetero sex plus one gay couple. We all agree that the Tolkein world either needs to be abandoned, or needs fundamental revision in order to fix its deep-seated racism and only slightly milder misogyny, so fundamental changes are inevitable. Adding in genuine love stories and, concomitantly, genuine sex and nudity would be a serious but necessary improvement. Whether they can do it right -- or more accurately, do it in one of the huge diversity of right ways vs the same stereotyped way of doing it wrong -- is a open question, and one I'm not too optimistic about. But as with fixing the racism and misogyny, it's probably necessary that they try.
posted by chortly at 9:56 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


But as with fixing the racism and misogyny, it's probably necessary that they try.

Nothing needs to be "fixed" exactly, they can easily avoid minor aspects of the story that might offend some people. None of those things are integral to the stories.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:11 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Seen on reddit: Sam Gamgee - "If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest from Tolkien's intention that I've ever been."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:18 AM on October 14 [13 favorites]


I think that's why the Second Age was chosen. Because Tolkein never really dramatized it, it can be "fixed" in ways that don't directly contradict Tolkein canon. The broad outlines are there, but you can (for instance) decide whether to portray Sauron as a slick seducer or as a hateful Trumpalike cult leader (probably the first). In fact, I fully expect it to really focus on Sauron as the main character in a sort of Darth-Vader-is-the-hero-of-Star-Wars fashion. Ugh. That said, it's a place where storytelling that fits both Tolkein's plan and a more modern sensibility COULD happen. I just think it's 99% likely they'll fuck it up.

Also, someone upthread praised Amazon based on The Expanse. That is a great show, but Amazon only picked it up in season 3: it's produced by Alcorn Entertainment, not Amazon directly.
posted by rikschell at 10:19 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


That line has always jumped out at me as well. It's one of the only instances where the narration jumps from 3rd person limited to semi-omniscient I think, and it's the only evidence of sentience in another species outside the specified races. I'm sure it was just a bit of English pastoral whimsy, but it's wild to me that it made it through the drafts.

It reminds me of Dunsany’s The King of Elfland’s Daughter — at one point a viewpoint character, a troll on an errand, comes upon a hare “lying in a comfortable arrangement of grass, in which he had intended to pass the time till he should have things to see to.”

Incidentally, a page or two later, the troll encounters a fox. Much like the LOTR fox, he is sentient and has his own quizzical view of the upright races. At the risk of a derail, here is a bit of Dunsany:
And the troll went gaily over the tips of the buttercups.

Presently he saw rising up all white over the flowers a fox that was facing him with his white chest and chin, and watching the troll as it went. The troll went near to him and took a look. And the fox went on watching him, for the fox watches all things.

He had come back lately to those dewy fields from slinking by night along the boundary of twilight that lies between here and Elfland. He even prowls inside the very boundary, walking amongst the twilight; and it is in the mystery of that heavy twilight that lies between here and there that there clings to him some of that glamour he brings to our fields.

‘Well, Noman’s Dog,‘ said the troll. For they know the fox in Elfland, from seeing him often go dimly along their borders; and this is the name they give him.

‘Well, Thing-over-the-Border,’ said the fox when he answered at all. For he knew troll-talk.

‘Are the haunts of men near here?’ said the troll.

The fox moved his whiskers by slightly wrinkling his lip. Like all liars, he reflected before he spoke, and sometimes even let wise silences do better than speech.

‘Men live here and men live there,’ said the fox.

‘I want their haunts,’ said the troll.

‘What for?’ said the fox.

‘I have a message from the King of Elfland.’

The fox showed no respect or fear at the mention of that dread name, but slightly moved his head and eyes to conceal the awe that he felt.

‘If it is a message,’ he said, ‘the haunts of men are over there.’ He pointed his long thin nose towards Erl.

‘How shall I know when I get there?’ said the troll.

‘By the smell,’ said the fox. ‘It is a big haunt of men, and the smell is dreadful.’’

‘Thanks, Noman’s Dog,’ said the troll. And he seldom thanked anyone.

‘I should never go near them,’ said the fox, ‘but for...’. And he paused and reflected silently.

‘But for what?’ said the troll.

‘But for their poultry.’ And he fell into a grave silence.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:25 AM on October 14 [19 favorites]


Nothing needs to be "fixed" exactly, they can easily avoid minor aspects of the story that might offend some people. None of those things are integral to the stories.

I think a lot of people feel that the racism at least is not minor and is deeply integral to the story. I don't think it's fixable for the original stories, but a spin-off that is willing to rework some of the racist typologies might succeed -- but it's more than a minor tweak. But I don't want to start a big argument about that here in the midst of nice conversations about Bombadildos!
posted by chortly at 10:27 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]



Nothing needs to be "fixed" exactly, they can easily avoid minor aspects of the story that might offend some people. None of those things are integral to the stories.


Do you really think so? I feel like the whole Tolkien thing is predicated on ideas about racial difference that are very difficult to remove without writing an entirely different set of books.

The lighter the story, the less true this is - The Hobbit really doesn't depend too much on racial essentialism because we don't really encounter dwarves as a race or goblins as a race, and the absence of female characters is really only misogyny-by-omission - we don't get any language about how women should do this or that, we don't get a giant disgusting spider-vagina lurking in a cave, we don't get a stereotypical chattery old woman, etc etc.

But in all the other books, the races (and the sub-races of Men) have hard-wired racial characteristics that determine much of their history. Dwarves may or may not even have souls*. To undo that, not only do you have to minimize much of what Tolkien actually wrote about the races but you would also have to create, eg, counter-dwarves who live hippie lives in the country caring nothing for gold, Orcs who have escaped from Sauron and made isolated societies on their own terms, etc. That would definitely be interesting and worthwhile and doubtless is already the subject of many fanfics, but it steers you well away from the books themselves.

really focus on Sauron as the main character in a sort of Darth-Vader-is-the-hero-of-Star-Wars fashion. Ugh.

Ugh is right. I am so wretchedly tired of sexy/"interesting" villains, Satan-but-actually-hot-and-intriguing, poor-woobie villains with unrealistic redemption arcs, etc. For Reasons that are boring, I feel like these stories come from the general political and economic decay of the period and are philosophically and morally impoverished plus extremely unrealistic/false about history. I have zero interest in Hot Sauron seducing people into villainy because that's not why people commit villainy. It's sort of morality porn, and porn is fine but people take Tolkien seriously.

*I think they have souls, because it goes against the logic of Tolkien's worldbuilding to create a race of creatures who live like ensouled beings but don't have souls - it does moral harm to everyone involved.
posted by Frowner at 10:30 AM on October 14 [10 favorites]


We all agree that the Tolkein world

no we don't
posted by philip-random at 10:31 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


well I think this sounds like a terrible idea and I almost certainly won't be watching it, but I gotta say, I already have a fairly detailed sexual fantasy involving the head Uruk Hai, Lurtz. no, really...
posted by supermedusa at 10:32 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


If the show opens with a sweeping vista shot of a lush fantasy landscape, with the label "E R E G I O N" in ornate Elvish script

EREGIONOUS ZONES
posted by oulipian at 10:49 AM on October 14 [11 favorites]


They can't do the Silmarillion because they don't have the rights to adapt it. The family sold the rights for LOTR and The Hobbit, but the Silmarillion rights are (I believe, not sure if things have changed since Christopher passed away) still held by the Tolkien estate. Crucially, though, the LOTR rights include the rights to the Appendicies, which is the material that they're adopting/expanding here.

This was sort of talked about when Jackson was, way back when, discussing making a bridge film as part of the Hobbit movies--again, they would have been pulling stuff from the Appendicies to make that happen.
posted by damayanti at 10:49 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


I have disliked every adaptation of Tolkien that I've ever seen except the 1977 version of The Hobbit

Since that's not the one with "Where There's a Whip, There's a Way", I have to assume you've made a small typo.
posted by hanov3r at 10:50 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


...but the Silmarillion rights are (I believe, not sure if things have changed since Christopher passed away) still held by the Tolkien estate...

Peter Jackson To Honor Christopher Tolkien With 578-Film Adaptation Of 'The Silmarillion'.
posted by Wordshore at 10:54 AM on October 14 [10 favorites]


Tolkein as an adaptation of Memento.

A gold ring with an inscription on the inside, in Quenya: "Don't Believe His Lies"
posted by gimonca at 10:58 AM on October 14 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I keep coming back to the choice of the Second Age as the setting. Sure, it has interesting moments like the forging of the Rings, but a lot of it feels like dry history.

The entire pitch that got this green lit was certainly: "What if Game of Thrones, but Middle Earth?????", with perhaps a quick 10 min search afterwards to see if the rights were available from the Tolkien estate, or whomever owns them these days.

I would not be shocked if "Second Age" doesn't even enter the conversation until long after contracts had been signed, since the actually "story" part of this transaction was very low on their minds as the deal was getting done.
posted by sideshow at 10:59 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


If this is what Amazon need to sully in order for their Culture project to stay buried, then I am ok with it.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 11:06 AM on October 14 [2 favorites]


When sex scenes popped up in GoT I would get bored. They just seemed dull and shoe-horned in. And the adding-boobies-just-because thing became ludicrous, especially in the Cersei shaming scene where Lena Headey's body was replaced by a double who had no resemblance to a forty-ish woman who'd borne three children. So mentioning GoT as a model doesn't fill me with anticipation.

On the other hand, Lovecraft Country has been crushing it. The sex scenes feel organic to the story and a variety of bodies are shown.
posted by LindsayIrene at 11:11 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


I dunno, there's a ton of stuff in the 2nd age: the whole story of the fall of Numenor, basically. And Numenorean colonialism in Middle-Earth, which would be good for some critical analysis.

Plus, of course, Sauron and Celebrimbor, the war between Sauron and the Elves, the development of Moria, the founding of Gondor and Arnor...

Here's the wiki summary.

My concern would be how to structure a story that would convey some of the scope without getting too darned enormous. And who would be your viewpoint character? I hope to hell it wouldn't be Sauron.
posted by suelac at 11:23 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Hear me out - two words - sexy orcs.

CTRL-F "boot-cut jeans"

(if you know, you know)
posted by atoxyl at 11:37 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


If one were going to go all GoT on the Tolkienverse for some reason, the Second Age --zenith of human arrogance and cupidity -- would seem like a pretty good choice. With a few mercifully unpublished exceptions, it's a period that Tolkien mostly only sketched the vague, dry outlines of, so there's a lot more room to come up with fresh story lines without trampling on existing ones.

OTOH it seems high time for the Tolkienverse to go off somewhere it can take a nice long rest in peace and quiet.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:38 AM on October 14 [5 favorites]


aspersioncast: Not because [the first Hobbit movie] was garbage?

Well, I didn't think that it was, really. A bit padded-out, sure, but I've certainly had worse times at the movies, and might get back to the other two if the mood strikes me.

The Hobbit was the only one of the books that didn't feel completely joyless and interminable to me. So whereas the film adaptations of the other books seemed to mostly edit out the dull bits

See, I'm with you on that; in fact, seeing the LotR movies helped me finish the book, which did bore me as a teenager--in fact, I think that I noped out when, facing the potential loss of the Ring and therefore basically everything, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas pause to compose an extemporanous elegy for Boromir, who was clearly a dickweed. The movies eliminate that, plus Tom Bombadil, whose explanation above as a Tolkien self-insert might indeed be true, because he serves no other real purpose that I can see.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:46 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


The only thing Tolkien wrote about Elvish sex was that they found it hard work:
Also the Eldar say that in the begetting, and still more in the bearing of children, greater share and strength of their being, in mind and in body, goes forth than in the making of mortal children. For these reasons it came to pass that the Eldar brought forth few children; and also that their time of generation was in their youth or earlier life, unless strange and hard fates befell them.
(From "Of the laws and customs among the Eldar pertaining to marriage and other matters related thereto: together with the statute of Finwe and Miriel and the debate of the Valar at its making.", in The Lost Road.)
posted by cyanistes at 11:47 AM on October 14 [3 favorites]


unless strange and hard fates befell them

Phwoar!
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:49 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


About the only upside for this is we might get more nautical Tolkien.

There's a lot of boats in Tolkien backstory but they barely feature in LotR. I always wanted more sailing around, salt air instead of green grass, oceans instead of mountains, and to actually see Dol Amroth.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:50 AM on October 14 [4 favorites]


The family sold the rights for LOTR and The Hobbit

JRR sold those rights himself, to UA in 1969. I very much doubt CJR Tolkien, who was far more obsessed with the works than his father ever was, would have ever allowed them out of his control. I must admit that I, personally, would have preferred it that way. I've no interest in Tolkien on-screen.
posted by howfar at 11:57 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


In the books, they're singing all the time. I hope at least in this new series that there is enough musicality.
posted by Quonab at 12:23 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


My guess is that these will be Tolkien-inspired stories set during the Second Age. As MeFite "Not as Thing" just mentioned, the Second Age is more of an outline, a history told like a history text. The LotR books had specific characters saying and doing very specific things. JRR's Second Age stuff is not like that, as far as I know.

So my take/guess is this will be "Stories from the World of JRR Tolkien's Second Age of Middle Earth" and WILL include parts by Saruman, Sauron, etc. But will be new stories starring new, non-canon characters that live —and breathe, eat, kill, sleep and screw each other and get topless and show their buttocks— during that time frame.

Will it be good? Who knows? But I think if it's like my take here, there's a chance for some good stuff.
posted by SoberHighland at 12:24 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]




I should definitely not mention the fact that the "bombadildo" already exists . . .

Well, not really. It's just that . . . well, look for yourself.

Most definitely NSFW
posted by kaiseki at 12:26 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


I hope at least in this new series that there is enough musicality.

I am 10000% here for Galavant II: The Second Age
posted by hanov3r at 12:41 PM on October 14 [3 favorites]


The only Tolkien sexytimes I’d be remotely interested in is the Ents. What happens when the Entwives reappear? It’s earthshaking! And very slow! In real time it might take a whole season and all you see are shaking branches!

It is such a shame that there is only one fantasy epic in the universe and it has to be remade over and over. (eye roll emoji) I worshipped Tolkien as a child but that was a long time ago. There will always be a copy of LOTR on my bookshelf but I doubt I will ever crack it open again. The world has changed. There are thousands of really exciting fresh new voices out there. I’m so sick of the endless remakes and reimaginings and reboots, not just Tolkien but everything.

ps John Varley’s Titan, Wizard, Demon trilogy would make incredible TV plus it has sex & violence & space & magic please please I’ve been thinking about it for years and years
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:43 PM on October 14 [11 favorites]


I for one would very much be here for Lee Pace as “Thranduil; Hot Elven King of the Woodland Realm Who Fucks!”.
T;HEKotWRWF pt 2
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:44 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


The only thing Tolkien wrote about Elvish sex was that they found it hard work

All the movies so far have played on violent spectacle, without getting too deep into the symbolism of the conflicts. So it is. Like Scott Thompson said, we're good with watching blood get spilled, but not so comfortable with other bodily fluids. Spectacle will still be on the menu, but a good producer could maybe do something interesting by examining this post-Victorian aspect of morality, perhaps even to lend some insight into who Tolkien was a human being, or even shed some light on our level of discomfort in 2020.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:47 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Can we just have a Radagast spinoff?
posted by thelonius at 12:58 PM on October 14 [8 favorites]


What was this fox's business, exactly? Was he off to Fox-moot? Coming home from a hunt? On an errand of diplomacy to the stoats? And so on.



I'm sure it was just a bit of English pastoral whimsy...



‘I should never go near them,’ said the fox, ‘but for...’. And he paused and reflected silently.

‘But for what?’ said the troll.

‘But for their poultry.’ And he fell into a grave silence.




RE, the Fox’s business that night...
(SLYT)

posted by darkstar at 1:01 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Did Radagast/Aiwendil become Mark Trail? I feel like we're onto something here.
posted by Not A Thing at 1:10 PM on October 14 [3 favorites]


I think the Tolkien estate let Amazon have the Second Age because they don't trust anyone to do the First Age justice. A lot of those stories could support their own movie because they are better developed, Second Age is more of a sketch except for the end. There's less someone can mess up with compromises.
posted by InfidelZombie at 1:31 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


Young, sexy Radagast, who rolls tight, easy-smoking spliffs to pass around with the skinny-dipping River-children and stuff. Maybe a River-MILF or two like the beard. Partying with T;HEKotWRWF.

Before he took that EPIPC dose of 🍄 and went a bit... funny.

But only the Blue Wizards came to Middle Earth during the Second Age, and they went to the East; the Istari of the West didn’t come till the Third Age, according to The Professor’s late-in-life notes adjustments

Ok, so it’s young and sexy Aiwendil, Maiar of Yavanna, wandering and partying in Middle Earth and not paying attention to anything resembling responsibilities and doing TOO MANY GORRAM 🍄.

Why did Yavanna BEG Curumo to take Aiwendil with him to Middle Earth, and so become the Istari known as Gandalf and Radagast?

Because Aiwendil had become “The Dude of Aman”, just freakin “abiding” everywhere, and name-dropping Yavanna to anyone who got up in his grill about it.

“Just fucking drop him in a forest and let him... abide. Keep the badgers safe or something. Just get him out of The Undying Lands, Curumo.”



I have zero expectations for this production, so at this point I’m just paddling the barrel downstream with my head out the opening like a dog in a Buick.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:51 PM on October 14 [6 favorites]


If they really wanted to be ambitious they should have tackled a piece of the legendarium that's truly never been touched upon (not even by Tolkien himself):
The Dagor Dagorath or "Final Battle" is the end-times event described and alluded to in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The published Silmarillion ends with the recounting of the voyage of Eärendil the Mariner, but this is due to an editorial decision by Christopher Tolkien. The Silmarillion as Tolkien originally wrote it ends with a prophecy by Mandos about the Dagor Dagorath, often referred to as "The End". The remaining clue to this prophecy is found at the end of Akallabêth, where "Ar-Pharazôn and his mortal warriors who had set foot in Aman were buried by falling hills, imprisoned in the Caves of the Forgotten until the "Last Battle and Day of Doom". The account is clearly inspired by and bears many similarities to the Norse legend of Ragnarök, but also that of the Biblical Armageddon. It is important to note that the final, published version of the Silmarillion contains no direct references to this prophecy (though there are still indirect references including the 'Last Battle', 'Day of Doom' and 'end of days'.

Tom Bombadil once referred to this future time as when "the world is mended", in a song.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:03 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


ps John Varley’s Titan, Wizard, Demon trilogy would make incredible TV plus it has sex & violence & space & magic please please I’ve been thinking about it for years and years

EVERYTHING Varley wrote would make a great screenplay. Except Mammoth, which is a screenplay. Sadly, I think producers will always go, "Oh, the Millennium guy? I don't think so. You got anything else?".
posted by mikelieman at 2:15 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


I don't how to avoid it turning into Watership Down meets Narnia and that's where it stops. :|

But Watership Down meets Narnia would be awesome. What’s the problem? Please write it soonest!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:59 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Pitch: Ophiuchi Hotline has great pre-'total recall' brain-in-a-box stuff. Also, sex, violence, aliens, corruption, and symbiotes. I think fairly perfect for the GOT crowd. But yeah, everything.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:40 PM on October 14 [3 favorites]


I would just like Celebrían to be given actual characterization.
posted by rewil at 3:45 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


But Watership Down meets Narnia would be awesome.

This is basically Redwall, no?
posted by oulipian at 4:13 PM on October 14 [8 favorites]


Well if we're doing that I'm gonna reiterate my desire for a grimdark Buck Rogers. Buck has ptsd for obvious reasons, Earth Directorate is yeah better than the Draconians but very morally grey. Especially the people he works for, who are halfway to being SC. Maybe make the society kinda creepy, maybe Brave-New-World-ish.

Can still have a birb dude in a birb rocket though. Hawk4eva.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:08 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


Well, thought I'd run out of energy to be freshly enraged about more stuff but apparently I haven't, yet. Possible tapping a large hidden reservoir there...
posted by Coaticass at 5:11 PM on October 14 [5 favorites]


Nthing Feanor/Simirils/Sons of Feanor as an amazing group of story lines to adapt. As mentioned upthread, that would fuel several seasons of pretty amazing personal stories, the curse, the age of heroes theme, absolutely amazing battle scenes (as amazing as the balrog was in FotR, imagine the battle scene where they were all unleashed at the height of their power) the Beren/Luthien storyline, the fall of Gondolin, give me that, with Shakespearean levels of "great things are happening" heft, and I'd be ecstatic.

I mean, we've already got the trope of opening the LotR movies with short recaps of history, they could do a similar thing to get to the crafting of the silmarils, and start the show from there. The only thing is, that show could easily run for 10-15 seasons.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:53 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


> Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey, who is supervising the show’s development
That's right, folks, from the same shitty timeline that brought you characters like Reality Winner, Chuck Harder, and Jessica Ditto: the man whose job is to canonize Tom Bombadil ships is named "Tom Shippey".
posted by Syllepsis at 8:12 PM on October 14 [4 favorites]


It's Always Sunny In Hobbiton.

You're welcome.

"Carry the Ring to Mordor? ... That's Frodo work."
posted by delfin at 8:30 PM on October 14 [7 favorites]


Wow, a lot of outrage about something that isn't even confirmed.... Yep, that's the internet.
posted by Pendragon at 1:14 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I mean, it's been confirmed that something is happening, right? This is something, therefore it is happening. QED
posted by Not A Thing at 7:13 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


I don’t think there’s any way to tell the First Age stories without it just being a bunch of superheroes. Which I guess is popular, but I have no interest in. What made LotR work, IMO, was that it was a heroic story told from the point of view of the least important and powerful people in the world (hobbits).
posted by rikschell at 9:30 AM on October 15 [6 favorites]


Oddly enough, Tolkein actually did, in a desultory way, do some work on showing the First Age from a personal view point - the trial of Hurin after his release from Angband is a good example. It's just a couple of dozen pages but shows the human consequences of the large events in the Silmarillion and is also a really good pseudo-Anglo Saxon courtroom drama.
(It's in The History of Middle-earth, Vol. XI: The War of the Jewels - yes, I read them all. There's the occasional hint of what might have been, like the above)
posted by thatwhichfalls at 9:58 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


Isn't Bored of the Rings essentially cannon by now? Kinda recall it had some pretty racy parts.

Indeed.
"Do you like what you doth see...?" said the voluptuous elf-maiden as she provocatively parted the folds of her robe to reveal the rounded,shadowy glories within. Frito's throat was dry, though his head reeled with desire and ale. She slipped off the flimsy garment and strode toward the fascinated boggie unashamed of her nakedness. She ran a perfect hand along his hairy toes, and he helplessly watched them curl with the fierce insistent wanting of her. "Let me make thee more comfortable," she whispered hoarsely, fiddling with the clasps of his jerkin, loosening his sword belt with a laugh. "Touch me, oh touch me," she crooned. Frito's hand, as though of its own will, reached out and traced the delicate swelling of her elf-breast, while the other slowly crept around her tiny, flawless waist, crushing her to his barrel chest. "Toes, I love hairy toes," she moaned, forcing him down on the silvered carpet. Her tiny, pink toes caressed the luxuriant fur of his instep while Frito's nose sought out the warmth of her precious elf-navel. "But I'm so small and hairy, and...and you're so beautiful," Frito whimpered, slipping clumsily out of his crossed garters. The elf-maiden said nothing, but only sighed deep in her throat and held him more firmly to her faunlike body. "There is one thing you must do for me first," she whispered into one tufted ear. "Anything," sobbed Frito, growing frantic with his need. "Anything!" She closed her eyes and then opened them to the ceiling. "The Ring," she said. "I must have your Ring." Frito's whole body tensed. "Oh no," he cried, "not that! Anything but...that." "I must have it," she said both tenderly and fiercely. "I must have the Ring!" Frito's eyes blurred with tears and confusion. "I can't," he said. "I mustn't!" But he knew resolve was no longer strong in him. Slowly, the elf-maiden's hand inched toward the chain in his vest pocket, closer and closer it came to the Ring Frito had guarded so faithfully...
I'll be in my smial.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:04 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I remember reading that there was a Tolkien quote about young Elves being rather "vigorous" in their physicality and some interpreted it that they fuck like bunnies. So much to my wife's disappointment, Legolas was well past his prime boing years when he teamed up with Strider.
posted by Ber at 10:20 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Just as a note, per the LOTR_on_prime subreddit, the casting call in question is actually for the live action Cowboy Bebop rather than LOTR. Don't know how reliable that is.
posted by tavella at 10:21 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


live action Cowboy Bebop

Wait, what?? Who the fuck asked for that?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:32 AM on October 15 [5 favorites]


Sorry, it was me, I wished on a monkey's paw for more Cowboy Bebop in 2003 after I watched the movie. Weird that it's taking so long, though.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:00 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]


Yeah Keanu Reeves had been talking about getting it made with him as Spike, but that was before John Wick. It's a bad idea regardless.
posted by lkc at 3:54 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


just wanted to observe that thanks to this thread i am going to henceforth be on the lookout for chances to use the phrase “Elrond fucks.”

Because Elrond?

Elrond fucks.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 5:07 PM on October 15 [4 favorites]


I figured it was like with Smurfs or bees where there's one egg-laying female.

"I WON'T TELL YOU THIS AGAIN! PAPA SMURF HAS A F*CKING BEARD! THEY'RE MAMMALS!"
posted by The Tensor at 5:28 PM on October 15 [3 favorites]




mygothlaundry, you are of my tribe. The Titan trilogy is still some of my favorite science fiction.
posted by lhauser at 8:32 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


if amazon really want a fantasy action-adventure series with canon nudity and sexytimes they should just adapt the fafhrd and gray mouser series and do whatever they wanted with the stories, get gwendoline christie to play fafhrd idc
posted by um at 8:56 PM on October 15 [7 favorites]


Wow. So much to say to say in a thread that is moving towards monster status.

1) Second Age setting: I f this means I get the "The Cats of Queen Beruthial" story told, I'm all for it. Also, kind of interested to see Moria & Dwarves at what is arguably their apex in Middle-Earth.

2) Tom Bombadil. I'm in the "he's Tolkien" school, and that has a lot to to do with the change of the story from a children's book sequel to The Hobbit to a more complex story that Tolkien uses to get as much of his Lengendarium into print by grafting it into the world of the Hobbit. Those Tom Bombadil chapter echo in tone "The Cottage of Lost Play" that was his original framing device for his Legendarium (see the Book of Lost Tales volumes in the HoME series for more details). The Tom Bombadil sequence is basically Tolkien saying goodbye to his original plan for his Legendarium (which he always considered his life's work).

Unfortunately, after LoTR became a genuine worldwide phenomena, that was when his publisher finally relented on publishing his Legendarium, which meant that Tolkien had to spend the last year's of his life having to finish stories that he had largely abandoned decades earlier AND making them conform to the the world of Middle-Earth that he had created for LoTR (his Legendarium was originally meant to be a mythological prehistory of England).

3) As a friendly tip, if you find the The Aillmarilion a difficult, boring read (don't sleep on the Ainulindale chapter, though. It really is one of the most beautiful creation stories ever told), pick up Unfinished Tales. You get two of the three Great Tales of the First Age (Turin Turambar and Tuor's Coming to Gondolin. If you dig those, you can give Beren and Luthien a shot (and complete the The Three Great Tales)..
posted by KingEdRa at 8:58 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


if amazon really want a fantasy action-adventure series with canon nudity and sexytimes they should just adapt the fafhrd and gray mouser series

Mmmmm. . . Maybe in a few years when the GoT craze has died down some more, and there's a better chance of executive producers & show runners not completely missing the humorous elements.

get gwendoline christie to play fafhrd

Here, take my money.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:25 AM on October 16 [3 favorites]


if amazon really want a fantasy action-adventure series with canon nudity and sexytimes they should just adapt the fafhrd and gray mouser series and do whatever they wanted with the stories, get gwendoline christie to play fafhrd idc

I'm sure that they'd get the tone of those stories wrong; they're often goofy buddy adventure stories more akin to Hope/Crosby movies than to grim stuff like Conan.
posted by octothorpe at 6:26 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


Maisie WIlliams as Grey Mouser, or GTFO.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:32 AM on October 16 [5 favorites]


Millie Bobby Brown is also a correct answer.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:48 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]


the tone of the fafhrd and the gray mouser stories is all over the place, and I'm surprised they hasn't been adapted for film or television before given how malleable they are. there's room to change things without alienating people - the books aren't that well known despite being the origin of so many tropes; there's no rabid fanbase, no cosplay tradition, no wiki, no gatekeepers. done well it could be a fun series, like an MA+ version of xena warrior princess.
posted by um at 9:02 AM on October 16 [4 favorites]


Rami Malek could make a decent Grey Mouser.

But weren't Arya and The Hound basically Fafhrd and the Mouser?
posted by jquinby at 10:19 AM on October 16 [2 favorites]


Elves being rather "vigorous" in their physicality and some interpreted it that they fuck like bunnies. So much to my wife's disappointment, Legolas was well past his prime boing years when he teamed up with Strider.


Do you want ants Legolas/Aragorn slash? Because this is how you get ants Legolas/Aragorn slash.
posted by darkstar at 1:07 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


MA+ version of xena warrior princess

Here, take my money!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:18 PM on October 16 [3 favorites]


Oglaf is 105% the BEST NSFW high fantasty that we are never going to get a TV series made of because haters gonna hate and don’t want people to have nice things.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:48 PM on October 16 [4 favorites]


I insist that any Fafrhd/Grey Mouser adaptation build up to this:
In 1972, Fafhrd and the Mouser began their comics career, appearing in Wonder Woman #202 alongside the title character and Catwoman in a story scripted by award-winning SF writer Samuel R. Delany
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:51 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


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