Posted at 7:00
Fantasy sagas are more popular than ever on the small screen. HBO is once again celebrating George RR Martin’s work with The house of the dragon – the first episodes launched on August 21st broke the audience records of the American broadcaster. Amazon, with the blessing and personal commitment of its boss Jeff Bezos, a fervent admirer of Tolkien, is therefore using excellent means to get its share of the pie.
If HBO can count on the author himself for the universe’s script game of Thrones, Amazon is facing a sacred monster by creating a new series based on Tolkien’s work. A colossal task not only because we are dealing here with the creator of modern fantastic literature, but also because the film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson had a following, winning dozens of Oscars along the way.
“Can you imagine having to return to this universe loved by all and having to take up the challenge of reaching the level of excellence set by Peter Jackson? asked co-producer Patrick McKay, in an interview with Vanity Fair.
We were always aware of the enormous expectations [que la série suscite].
Patrick McKay, co-producer
The first two episodes are reassuring from all points of view. The setting is rich and detailed, the special effects are more than convincing, we are immersed directly in the visual universe played by Peter Jackson. Unsurprisingly, you know that John Howe, forever illustrator of Tolkien’s work, is once again part of the adventure, mostly shot in New Zealand. We are also on the level of musical atmospheres, the talented Bear McCreary having been able to obtain help from Howard Shore, composer of the unforgettable plot of the trilogies of Lord of the Rings And Hobbit.
The music was composed for the occasion, but it awakens in us the same emotions that one feels when watching the original trilogy. Because creators Patrick McKay and JD Payne wisely chose to keep the tone of Jackson’s films, which showed great respect for Tolkien’s work. Dramatic intensity is provided by the Elves and the elusive menace of the forces of evil, the weight of darkness balanced by the good nature of the gruff Dwarves and cheerful Pievelus, nomadic ancestors of the Hobbits.
One could therefore blame the writers for having modeled a proven recipe, but that would mean ignoring the fact that the story, inspired mainly by the appendices of the Lord of the Rings, has far more ramifications than that of the trilogy, mostly because the writers allowed themselves a time warp by allowing them to focus certain key events over time. This serves the plot and allows for the integration of important characters, mostly human, unfortunately mortal, unlike the Elves. Purists might be shocked, but they were also shocked when Fellowship of the Ring arrived on the big screen in 2001, and history has shown that their complaints have in no way compromised the company’s success.
Yet, what is offered to us today on Prime Video is legitimately in line with the path traced by those who wanted to pay homage to the genius of Tolkien. The operation is ambitious and its deployment is extraordinarily cinematic. It’s almost a shame that the series is aimed at the small screen. So please do yourself a favor and don’t look at this on your phone …
Encamped in the Second Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before Lord of the Ringsthe events of power rings first focus on the rebirth of the dark Sauron threat. Everyone believes he will be destroyed forever, with the notable exception of young Galadriel, an energetic commander of the elven forces in the North, long before she became the great woman we knew as Cate Blanchett in the Peter Jackson films. Elrond, also much younger, establishes the foundations of his benevolent power as a close advisor to the high king Gil-galad, most notably by helping the famous blacksmith Celebrimbor, the same one who will shape the rings of power, unknowingly linked to the One Ring that Sauron will forge in the fire of Amon Amarth, the Mountain of Destiny.
A new episode on Amazon Prime every Friday (starting next Friday)
The key characters
Galadriel (Morfydd Clark)
An elven warrior, she chooses to stay in Middle-earth, against the will of her king, convinced that the threat posed by the wizard Sauron persists. She wants to continue the work of her brother Finrod, who fell in battle while chasing Sauron.
Elrond (Robert Aramayo)
Elven diplomat serving in Middle-earth under High King Gil-galad. Friend of the Dwarves, he tries to convince them to help him build the largest forge ever built, a work capable of creating objects of inestimable power.
Rotonda (Ismael Cruz Córdova)
An elven soldier stationed in the southern lands, supporting the human populations there. He abandons his garrison to be with the human herbalist Bronwyn, before realizing the threat is still pending.
Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi)
As Rounding investigates a mysteriously devastated neighboring village, Bronwyn faces a danger that has been dormant for many years. He organizes the flight from his village.
Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh)
A young Wood Slayer traveling with her nomadic clan in Rhovanion, a vast region east of the Misty Mountains. You will meet a mysterious character who has arrived in the most spectacular way.