Dominic | Mar 20, 2015 | 15
5 Middle-Earth Series That Need to Be Made This Year
The infectious popularity of ‘The Hobbit’ has proved that the love of the good, the true and the beautiful still resonates with millions of people worldwide. J.R.R. Tolkien’s legacy of dwarves, elves, hobbits and men grappling with fantastic forces of darkness has proved to be such a draw, we at CatholicViral want to know why it should end?
EyeoftheTiber.com ran a spoof article recently claiming that Peter Jackson would produce a 70-part television series based on “The Silmarillion”. While it isn’t likely that the Tolkien Foundation will allow further dramatizations of the Middle Earth saga, we can still dream about regular returns to an epic world that has defined many of our childhoods.
With Netflix and Amazon competing to overwhelm viewers with new series and increase subscribers, 2015 will mark the rise of online mini-series. The prospect of adapting the Bible-esque “Silmarillion” seems to us to be too daunting for one adaptation, but here are five series we think would blow the competition away on the small screen, straight from the works of the great man himself.
#5: The Rings of Power
So, everyone knows that the Rings of Power changed the course of Middle-Earth’s history, and that Sauron forged the One Ring to control them all.
The “Lord of the Rings” though, never really says how they came about or details why they are so powerful. Even “The Silmarillion” glosses over their creation. It’s only in the appendix to “The Return of the King” that we learn there’s an epic story behind them.
Long before the time of the Necromancer, Celeborn and Galadriel ruled over a huge Elven Kingdom near Moria (one of their smiths made those magic doors). During their reign, Sauron came disguised as ‘Annatar’ (Lord of Gifts) and lived among them, hoping to exploit their one weakness. As immortals, Elves became obsessed with preserving Middle-Earth as they found it, and his offer to immortalize nature was too good a prospect to pass up.
The politics of collapsing empires, desperate alliances and Machiavellian intrigue would make for a brilliant series, with Sauron pitting the nations of Dwarves, Men and Elves against each other while trying to maintain his cover from a particularly heroic Isildur. We see this as a riveting combination of Loki from ‘Thor’ and ‘House of Cards’, and perhaps ’24’, with the main focus of pitting Sauron against Elendil and Isildur.
It would end with the forging of the One Ring, the hiding of the Elven rings, the rejection of the seven Dwarve rings and the subjection of the Nine, the rise of Angmar and conclude with the Last Alliance. Such a story would explore the poignant reminder that even well-intentioned actions can have serious consequences.
#4: Cirion and Eorl
In “The Lord of the Rings”, the relationship between Rohan and Gondor becomes a key element as two nations must overcome centuries of bad blood and broken promises to unite against a common enemy.
As it turns out, it’s not the first time these two nations have had issues and Rohan rode to the rescue, as seen in The Unfinished Tales.
In the Second Age, the people of Rohan lived far north of Mirkwood. Gondor is slowly being surrounded by Wainriders from the East (remember the ugly bison/wolf cross-breeds that orcs ride? Yep, those are Wains.)
This series would hinge around the personal friendship and diplomatic strain between Cirion and Eorl, young kings of Gondor and (eventually) Rohan. The series would explore the formation of the kingdom of Rohan, the training of new Rohirrim, the development of horse-riding against Wains, and the establishment of Gondor as a world power. We see this series as a combination of:
- ‘Never Back Down’ as Eorl tries to muster his men and ring together local leaders to a cause they don’t really believe in thanks to Gondor’s failure to keep its promises,
- ’13th Warrior’, as we explore Gondor and Rohan’s crusade to carve out a piece of home in hostile country, and
- ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ as team of Gondorian scouts are whittled down to a single survivor as they struggle to reach the budding Rohirrim army for aid.
With a cameo by Galadriel and sweeping themes of friendship and unification in the face of evil, this would make a pretty awesome mini-series.
#3: The Children of Húrin
A much darker work than “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Children of Húrin” explores the particularly edgy theme of Man’s struggles in the face of incessant bad luck and evil. We think that this show would be a great response to ‘Game of Thrones’ by combining the vigilantism of ‘Robin Hood’, the fiery intelligence of Smaug and the struggle for racial respect from ‘Amazing Grace’ amid multi-tiered border disputes.
The premise of Tolkien’s most contentious work is that a fierce warrior (Húrin) refuses to bow to Morgoth and is forced to watch helplessly as evil hounds his children. With epic battle scenes (Battle of Unnumbered Tears), a sadistic dragon (Glaurung), themes of political intrigue, and long periods hunting orc in deep woodland, all set against a background of resistance to a dragon’s manipulations, would make for riveting viewing.
#2: Rise of the Shadow
So, Frodo destroys the Ring, Aragorn and Company destroys the orcs at the Black Gate, Aragorn becomes king, and they all live happily ever after, right? Well, no.
In “The Peoples of Middle Earth” (History of Middle Earth, volume 12) there’s an excerpt of a book Tolkien was planning to write called “The New Shadow”, about satanic Sauron cults in Gondor during the reign of Aragorn’s son, Eldarion. Unfortunately, he abandoned it before it got very far.
In one of his letters, Tolkien explained:
“I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men, it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good.
“So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor II or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanic religion; while Gondor boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage.
“I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow — but it would have been just that. Not worth doing.”
Sorry, J.R.R., but we beg to differ. That would have been awesome.
We see this as a combo of ‘Deliver us From Evil’, ‘The West Wing’, and ‘Forever Strong’.
When “Lord of the Rings” was finished, many fans were disappointed that the entire ‘Scouring of the Shire’ was eliminated. This series would rope that back in after Frodo leaves for the Undying Lands and Aragorn’s death has sent shivers through the empire.
The appendix to the Return of the King tells us that Sam became the Mayor of Hobbiton, Merry became the Master of Buckland, and Pippin the Took and Thain (and eventually the administrator of Aragorn’s entire Northern Kingdom). They all had at least half-a-dozen children, many of whom played a major role in rebuilding the Shire to its former glory.
Considering how much fun it is to dwell in Hobbiton (Tolkien himself always seemed to leave it rather reluctantly), we’d love to spend more time with the Sackville-Bagginses, Scrubs, Chubs, Hornblowers, and Proudfoots (er, Proudfeet).
The idyllic Hobbiton would come under siege by invaders, and Sam’s children, brought up on the Legends of the Ring, would rise to the occasion and harry, hinder and raise hell for all evil.
Given the variety of social levels involved, this would be like mixing ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Red Dawn’, ‘Last Man Standing’ and ‘Survivor’ within a Hobbit paradigm, filled with plenty of discoveries of ancient ruins, forming and losing alliances with local races amid the enduring message of friendship and the importance of pursuing the Good Life.
Rachel Kujawa is a Tolkien enthusiast who has happily spent more hours than is probably good for her dwelling in the imaginative world Middle-Earth. When she finds time between teaching elementary school and church activities, she occasionally blogs about her obsession with Tolkien and other intellectually Catholic things at LightandHighBeautyBeyond.
Disclaimer: All artworks copyright their original sources. These are fan-art, and no intent is to infringe copyright.
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