Lord of the Rings gets a female hero and heaps of hype for Amazon's new TV series
Seattle, Washington – Prime Video has embarked on a mammoth project, as it relaunches The Lord of the Rings as a prequel TV series. But after years of male-dominated narratives, women are now also taking the fate of Middle-earth into their own hands.
Time may have moved slowly in Middle-earth, but popular culture is like lightning. Is it really two decades since Peter Jackson made The Lord of the Rings films?
The trilogy, based on the book series, won 17 Oscars and wowed millions worldwide. Yet, many have complained that the films only starred white people and had no strong female characters beyond Miranda Otto as Éowyn.
The world of author John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who lived from 1892 to 1973, was shaped by Norse sagas and the culture of his time. Hollywood seemingly chose to give his books the full works without any significant wins for diverse casting.
It's been the hope of many fans, then, that progress would be made in Prime Video's latest project, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, debuting on Friday, September 2.
A record number of viewers have tuned into HBO Max's attempt at similar feminist fantasy with their Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, which has been renewed for a second season only two episodes in.
Amazon is now hoping to pull in Prime subscribers with their series of almost megalomaniac proportions - which is said to be the most expensive series ever made with a $1 billion budget.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has a whole new saga for Middle-earth
Much has gone into remaking the highly anticipated opus magnus.
The makers skipped over The Hobbit, the prequel that was much less successful than The Lord of the Rings at the box office. Instead, we go back even further, to the great battle of the Elves against Morgoth that lasted for centuries.
This era of the Middle-earth saga is familiar only to the most dedicated Tolkien fans who have delved into The Silmarillion, a work composed of fragments and published posthumously in 1977. It's less rigid than Tolkien's classic, with good and evil partially blurred among the characters.
The new series tells of young Galadriel, played by Morfydd Clark, who will also continue to star in the Tolkien cosmos later on, thanks to the longevity of elves. A fighter who has lost her brother in the war against Morgoth and then Sauron, she wants revenge. The dark hosts have long since retreated, but Galadriel does not trust the peace.
While her High King brings all the Elvish garrison troops from throughout Middle-earth back home, this fair-haired warrior is to be shipped off to Valinor, a kind of Valhalla for heroes.
But Galadriel jumps into the open sea and fights her way back towards the coast. Meanwhile, there are growing indications that an apocalyptic invasion is imminent for Middle-earth.
In the land of men, elf soldier Arondir (played by Ismael Cruz Córdova) falls in love with the graceful Bronwyn (protrayed by Nazanin Boniadi).
When the order to leave comes, he stays to investigate a series of dark omens, from cows whose milk is black, to disappearing villagers. What does this mean?
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power's trailers have touted it as dense and powerful, with battles, monsters and overwhelming landscapes. Viewers are bounced from one powerful trigger to the next as though they are in a computer game, in a story loosely based on Tolkien's work.
Visually, the series recalls a video game set in a Middle-earth world, with powerful female heroes and people of color as its stars. Whether it will live up to the hype will soon be revealed.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire