Creators: Patrick McKay, John D. Payne
Stars: Nazanin Boniadi, Peter Mullan, Benjamin Walker
In response to the trailer for Amazon’s new Lord of the Rings series, there has been a backlash based on the fact that not everyone in the series is white male. Sure, there have been other negative reactions as well, but they have been trampled underfoot by the rage of the review bombardment. In particular, many people have been posting a quote attributed to Tolkien to highlight his disgust: “Evil cannot create anything new, it can only distort and destroy what has been invented or created by the forces of good.”
The Rings of Power is an adaptation of the written word to a visual medium made in the third decade of the 21st century. It’s not going to match the books written in the mid-20th century in the same way that the Peter Jackson movies don’t match the books. Adaptations are affected by the change of medium and the context in which creative decisions are made. They do not alter the original text and often increase its availability.
Twenty years ago, there was a similar reaction, even from a teenage self, when the Jackson movies made Arwen a more prominent character than she was in the books. Looking back, I realize that my objections were based on ignorance, unexamined sexism, and entitlement.
Fan reactions have certainly gotten more extreme since Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was released, and they started out aggressive. The positives that can come with fandom don’t outweigh its negative sides. Ignoring the increasingly destructive elements with a kind of toxic positivity amounts to a suspension of critical engagement and an unwillingness to process difficult truths.
Watch The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power 2022 Official Trailer: