15 Jul, 2022 Everything WRONG with Amazon’s New ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series
What’s the scoop on Amazon’s newest Lord of the Rings Series? Let’s find out!
By Katrina Cheshire
Lord of the Rings is loved and appreciated by a LOT of people, and it’s little wonder why!
J.R.R. Tolkien, a staunch Catholic, was arguably one of the most influential writers of modern fiction, and possibly THE greatest fantasy writer of all time. His many works (over 29 books!) include a story that has changed lives, whole languages that he wrote himself, and a history whose detail rivals actual human history.
As an avid Lord of the Rings lover myself, I’ve read nearly all of Tolkien’s works multiple times. I’ve memorized many of his poems. I’ve even read the Silmarillion 3 times, all the way through, and all the appendixes and notes. Just a few words of his poetry can get my blood racing a little more quickly (“Gil-galad was an elven king,” anyone?).
What’s so bad about the new series, then?
With all of this love for the Lord of the Rings, imagine fans’ excitement when a new series was announced that attempted to retell the story! Amazon’s new series, The Rings of Power, is estimated to cost $1 billion for five seasons. Hopes were high that the series would be as good (and as true to the heart of the story) as Peter Jackson’s retelling, which won 17 Oscars.
(I’d like to state here that I love Peter Jackson’s Lord of Rings movies, but I love the books a whole lot more. I believe his movies capture the heart of the story, with extreme attention to detail, but the more I’ve pored over the books, I’ve come to realize that no movie will ever completely capture the essence of the books, and that’s okay.)
However, I will not be watching the new television series, and here’s why.
The Problem: It’s Totally Woke
The executive producer of the series, Lindsey Weber, said, “It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like.” However, Tolkien’s work is NOT an adaptation of our modern world. It’s another world entirely, heavily influenced by ancient Norse epics and meant to be a fantasy history of England. Tolkien put an insane amount of work and effort into the history, language, and details of his created world.
Trailers of the series show a black elf with a buzz cut (they could easily have given him longer hair! Where’d he get a razor?), as well as completely made-up characters that don’t fit the heart of Tolkien’s world, such as a single-mother-healer (And yes, I know Tauriel was made up too, and I don’t think the Hobbit movies were nearly as true to the book as the Lord of the Rings movies!).
Anyone who has pointed out that these details above aren’t true to Tolkien’s extremely detailed world has been immediately labeled a racist. Head here to read Will Witt’s thoughts on the show. The Instagram insults have really gotten out of hand. Plenty of hard-core fans are upset that they are doing this to Tolkien’s work – and no, they’re not all conservative fans, either!
Some have said that, “Creating yet another tale out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s source material smells of money-hungry businessmen.”
It’s true that it smacks of another Game of Thrones. The short trailers that have been released don’t even look or feel like Lord of the Rings.
To top it all off, some who support the new series are calling Tolkien an “institutional racist.” Hmmm. If you really believe that, then why would you want to remake his work?
They’ve also said that fantasy is notoriously marginalized when it comes to different people groups. That very well may be true, if you’re looking at the fairy tales and fantasies of Europe, which is where most of the fairy tales come from that we know of today in America. Wouldn’t the obvious answer to the problem be to write more diverse fantasies? Don’t try to remake the originals!
No One Is Trying to Rewrite Traditional African Tales…
While diversity is a great thing, are they only trying to do this because of a “woke” mindset?
You wouldn’t (and shouldn’t!) turn a traditional African or Chinese tale into a movie with white actors, or cast a white Aladdin, or a European in the Arabian Nights, just for the sake of diversity! Lord of the Rings is high fantasy, influenced by Norse mythology, and is meant to be a history of England. Those old Norse stories belong to Europe, in a sense. If someone took an African folk tale and tried to remake it with white actors, don’t you think people would be up in arms about it? Not to mention that Tolkien literally has other nationalities in the Lord of the Rings that they easily could have included in the series but didn’t (the Haradrim and Southrons, for example).
However, having characters of other colors definitely doesn’t destroy the movie, if they weren’t doing it just for the sake of being woke. I would totally watch the series with a diverse cast, and enjoy it, if they’d kept the series true to the heart of the story!
The Worst Part
Far more concerning for parents is that casting calls asked for actors who were comfortable with nudity and sex scenes. This is not accurate to Tolkien’s work in any way whatsoever, and certainly not appropriate for families. This news about the sex scenes has since been disputed, so no one will really know for sure if there will be explicit content in the show until the series comes out.
Why Your Children SHOULD Read Tolkien
One of my favorite works by J.R.R. Tolkien is his essay, On Fairy Stories. I’d encourage every teenager and adult to read it – it’s free HERE. In it, he says,
“Since we do not appear to possess a word that expresses (the opposite of catastrophe) — I will call it Eucatastrophe. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief…in the ‘Eucatastrophe’ we see in a brief vision that the answer may be greater—it may be a far-off gleam or echo of evangelium in the real world.”
What does all this mean? Tolkien is pointing to fairy tales as a type of “evangelium” – a type of good news that never ends. Fairy tales are easy to understand. They’re enjoyed by both children and adults. Tolkien believed that they could be used as a way to point to the “real” fairytale – the story of the Gospel.
I’ll leave you with one more quote from Tokien’s essay: “The Birth of Christ is the Eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the Eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy…there is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true.”
That’s the heart of Tolkien. That’s the beauty and truth behind The Lord of the Rings.
It’s too early to say for sure just how this series will turn out. Use wisdom – your children may love Lord of the Rings, but you might want to screen this one and do some research before letting them watch it – and reconsider whether or not you really want to support Amazon!
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Katrina Cheshire is a home school and Bible college graduate and the author of Seller of Dreams. She is passionate about good stories and the power they can have in shaping a life.
With seven siblings her life is full of adventure and excitement! She loves to design and sew clothing. She enjoys writing endless stories and read even more of them. You can find her making music with her brothers and sisters or dancing for the glory of God.
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