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‘Lord of the Rings’ Ambitious Prequel Hopes to Slay Dragons

NEWYORK –

The return of dragons on the small screen has been a big hit. Now is the time for the return of the elves and dwarves.

Amazon Studios is launching “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” an ambitious, multi-year-old and very expensive movie that will confront a costly online fantasy epic. more: “The Game of Thrones “spinoff” House of the Dragon, recently became the most watched series in HBO history.

The series is based on the works of JRR Tolkien and his entourage on the Second Age of Middle-earth, prior to the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” films and books of the Third Age. Tolkien’s grandson, Simon Tolkien, is a creative consultant.

JD Payne, a showrunner and executive producer.

Amazon Prime Video will premiere both the first two episodes of “The Rings of Power” on Friday. After that, the remaining six episodes will air every Friday.

The hour-long episodes are full of action and humour, but rest assured: Payne and co-host Patrick McKay plan to use the 50-hour frame to explore their nuanced characters and complicated histories. . These first eight episodes are like an appetizer.

The first people changed across different regions of Middle-earth, the imaginary mythological past of our planet. Here, some 4,000 years ago the “Hobbits”, are elves involved in royal intrigue, dwarves mining the interior of the mountains, hobbit-like hounds ministering, humans who seem to unusually prone to violence and cruel orcs.

Although set centuries before Tolkien’s books and movies have made Tolkien classics, “Lord of the Rings” fans will notice some familiar characters, based on his long lifespan. several creatures, including Galadriel, Elrond, and Isildur. Sauron, the evil force, is not seen in the first two episodes but is present full of evil throughout.

Morfydd Clark grew up in Wales with parents who loved Tolkien’s epic series and her father read “The Hobbit” when she was 9 years old. The movie came out when she was 11, accelerating the obsession. Now, she finds herself playing the young Galadriel, a powerful elf played later in Cate Blanchett’s films.

“I think there’s a lot of hope in Tolkien’s world, and with hope that comes with the courage to stand up and the courage for what you consider valuable,” she said. “The world needs to be safe enough for the smallest and most vulnerable. And I think that’s important to remind yourself – just because something works for you, it doesn’t fit all. everyone.”

That sense of hope is what distinguishes the series from “House of the Dragon,” which offers a cynical and bloody look at humanity. McKay notes that Tolkien emerged from World War I with a complex fairy tale, unlike many of his literary writers who wrote about wasteland and darkness.

“Middle-earth is basically a place of optimism and hope,” McKay said. He’s writing about positive values ​​and friendship, brotherhood, and underdogs. “He is telling you that in the darkest, deepest part of Mordor – in his wasteland – friendship can triumph that day and good can triumph over evil.”

The tune of the show changes depending on the location visited. Harfoots, who have an Irish accent, are whimsical, community and intelligent, while dwarves have a Scottish accent, enjoy drinks and are a bit rough. The elves were elegant and elite, with accents of the British upper class and fond of long robes and elaborate rituals.

The cast – a huge ensemble of 22 actors – is multi-ethnic and includes actors of all ages and backgrounds ranging from Tony-nominated Benjamin Walker to soon-to-be drama graduate Charlie Vickers. 2017.

“It’s a very strange world and if it weren’t for that, we’d have to deal with astigmatism,” said Trystan Gravelle, who plays the royal advisor in an Atlantis-like kingdom. “I think it’s very relevant in 2022 that we reflect that as well. And I think it enriches everything. The world is a richer place for it.”

The cast filmed in New Zealand during the pandemic and away from loved ones for almost two years. The actors rarely visit the sets of rival fictional races, but all gather for lunch and holidays, often at Walker’s house, which serves a maligned fried chicken. “I had a bunch of babysitters out of it,” he joked.

“What that did was force us to rely on each other and it was a bonding experience like no other,” said Nazanin Boniadi, who plays a healer and single mother. “The friendships you see on screen have been forged a lot behind the scenes.”

The production – rated TV-14 for violence compared to the “Game of Thrones” prequel which was a TV-MA about violence, language and nudity – was among the most expensive in the series. history, with Amazon spending at least US$465 million on the first season in New Zealand, where the series employed 1,200 people directly and 700 others indirectly. In total, the season was reportedly worth $1 billion.

The choir’s music resonates in breathtaking panoramas and engaging and generous dialogue. “There can be no friendship between hammer and stone. One will surely break,” said a dwarf leader. In another scene, a house elf advises a confused person: “Sometimes we can’t tell unless we touch the darkness.”

The new series debuting in Peter Jackson’s long shadow, Tolkien’s trilogy of book adaptations, won critical and commercial acclaim in the early 2000s and won the Academy Award for Best Picture for the film. “Return of the King”. As for the series, there’s more creative freedom as long as it’s true to the author.

“We really tried to go back to Tolkien,” says Payne. “That was our mantra from the beginning: ‘Just get back to the books, back to the books, back to the books.'” Tolkien at the base of what we’re doing.”

The new series has lots of big themes to consider, including overcoming racial differences, environmentalism, the power of friendship, the power of women, and how the smallest person can change the world. gender.

“A show like this certainly has dark themes – the darkness within yourself, the battle to do the right thing, the battle with forces greater than you – but it also only has themes of friendship, loyalty and love and hope,” said Sara Zwangobani, who plays the new character Marigold Brandyfoot.

The series will have to thread carefully by enchanting Tolkien’s die-hard fans who will seek out connections to the universe, attracting those who have hazy memories of the books and don’t want to be ripped off. burdened by tons of new material, and young people whose ultimate epic adventure series is probably “Harry Potter”.

“It’s a gateway for new fans because it’s like the first, teenage chapter of Middle-earth, where the movies you can imagine are middle-earth adulthood,” Walker said. “So we’re seeing all the characters we know and love – and some of the characters we’re being introduced to – take the first steps on the journey to becoming the destined selves. their.”

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