Amazon series:reactions and thoughts (Spoiler alert!)

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
I like the idea that Sauron is already in Eregion working on Celebrimbor. Celebrimbor seems so secretive and why would he have to have his furnace ready by spring? Sounds weird for an Elf to have such a time schedule. Someone else has a time plan I believe.

Halbrand probably is what he appears to be.

But who knows...
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Well I won’t say I’d love it wholeheartedly. We would miss out on Annatar arriving and doing his ‘sales pitch’.
 

Haakon

Administrator
Staff member
Question: Since there's a whole new subforum for this topic (Other Minds And Hands), should we perhaps start new threads for the actual series? This thread was started long ago (at least it feels that way) and is beginning to turn into something it wasn't to begin with, which could be a problem, potentially.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Except if we start to write our own fanfic on how we think it SHOULD be adapted... then it would be the work of yet other minds and hands..
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
After havung thought about it I do not think focussing on Galadriel and forcing her in a human-like character arc was a wise decission - elves are different and have other problems and life goals than humans - they do grow or degenerate - but most often slowly - their issues might to a certain degree appear similar when viewed and interpreted though mortal eyes - but at at their core there are still some differences which cannot be completely understood by humans. Tolkien had mostly mortal main protagonists in his worked-out stories and where he had not he still insited at the reports having been passed down via mortal writers. By making Galadriel being observerd directly by the viewer and not filtered through mortal eyes the show has to make her human-like to be understandable and as such all elves in the story get degraded to just long-lived strong humans with pointy ears. Which makes them kind of pointless imho.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I agree and disagree. I can understand why they chose Galadriel as a main protagonist.Galadriel is, even in JRTTs sketches, a much-traveling character... she maybe doesn't go to Numenor, but she travels all throughout Middle-earth... she interacts with most main characters

I might also add: to me the shows version of Galadriel is not a very relatable character at all, i am pretty much at odds with her! I can see how many people see her acting as "Feanorian".

Her being on a crusade against Sauron because of the death of her brother, jumping ship whilst going to Valinor, ending up on a raft... this is just weird pastiche! Everything about it feels just wrong, they don't sell me their narrative at all!

Her hiding her ears to pass as human is indicative of another misunderstanding:elvish aura doesn't exist, neither the "valinorian eyes" , which reflect the light of the trees... even as a human-with-pointy-ears she appears superhuman in body, but... very single- and quite simple-minded.
 
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Odola

Well-Known Member
But I think a possible way to achieve this would be to build her story in a way that we give her a mortal sidekick who can be both amazed at her stangeness at times and trying to rationalize her actions and motivation in a humanly understandable way for us - a "Translator from the Elvish" - like Bilbo was one.
 
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Haerangil

Well-Known Member
I agree. I remember Tolkiens scattered writings on the second Age...
At first his idea was that of Agaldor, a twilight-walker or Seer who lived among the wild men and who became friends with Amroth (then son of Galadriel and Celeborn).They ought to have had adventures, possibly in Eregion and Eriador, but then he would have been murdered by the Numenoreans. A tragic story! But he then eventually evolved into Elendil, the earlier ideas abandoned.

Or Tal-elmar, a man of mixed descend whose grandmother seemingly was northron, possibly born among the oathbreakers of later Gondor, he was to be caught by Numenorean explorers and eventually go to Numenor and travel to Rhudaur or even the sea of Rhun...

Fascinating stuff! Tolkien was, i believe, aware, a human main perspective would be needed for a second age story to be told.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
My main reactions at the halfway point through the season... (PART 1)

I watched the first two episodes with a group of 8 friends while staying in a convention hotel. Thus, I was then hanging out with the people I watched the show with over the next several days, and interacting with Tolkien fans, some of whom had seen it, and some of whom were waiting to go home to watch it. The night after watching the show, this photo happened: (costume contest at Evening at Bree at DragonCon in Atlanta)
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To me, by far the greatest delight of having a new show in the fandom is that there is new content to make jokes and memes about. Immediately, my friends started telling each other that they smelled of rotten leaves when we were wearing elf costumes, and doing the pep rally chant "I say Khazad, you say Dûm! Khazad! Dûm!" We had done the same thing with lines from Jackson's movies ("Get off the rooooooaaaaadddd" when a car went by, etc). And, honestly, with the Rankin Bass movies (did you know that almost any song can be turned into a rendition of "Rolling Down the Hole" from the Hobbit? and who doesn't enjoy bursting out into song with "Where there's a Whip there's a Way"?) To me, this is part of why hanging out with other people who love Tolkien is so much fun.

So, yes, I am happy to have:
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from Bakshi and Jackson, and thus I am fine with:
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from RoP. (Hey, getting on that horse in Episode 3 was the first real smile we saw from Galadriel!)

That is just to say...I am fine with the parts of this that are dumb if they are also fun. I did not like the pep rally chant for the dwarves, but I am fine with jokes about it after the fact. I am enjoying the experience of being part of this fandom.

I was surprised with the number of references/call-backs to Jackson's films. I was expecting zero. And yet, we get Elrond delivering a speech reminiscent of Gimli's before the (old) west gate of Moria (currently Khazad-dûm, naturally). We get an "it was deliberate" in Episode 4. And those aren't the only two. I am not sure why I thought this adaptation would pretend that no other adaptations came before it. But that clearly was my expectation, and I was surprised to find the case otherwise.

It was somewhat surreal to have the entire First Age summarized in just a few sentences. I suspect some of the content that was glossed over there will come out at a later time. We've revealed Elrond's family piecemiel - Elros on the tapestry in Episode 3, and Eärendil the Mariner in Episode 4. So, while Celebrimbor has spoken of Fëanor's beautiful craftsmanship...I have to imagine the Kinslaying will come up eventually.

Currently, my biggest concerns are centered around the concept and portrayal of "going into the west." It has always been treated as a metaphor for death. People often get to the end of Lord of the Rings and think, right, those people are all dead now. Those leaving Middle-earth are not returning. The song "Into the West" is often played at funerals/memorials...and was in fact written in memory of someone who had passed away. So, it's hardly out of character to think of going into the west as the end of someone's life....but....it's not meant to be. And it's not something bad or to be feared. The portrayal is (naturally) from Galadriel's point of view, so she is not yet ready and chooses another path. She's allowed to be scared or not want that yet. But...it is going to be difficult to walk this back to something good later! They've started pretty far over on the 'you don't want this thing to happen to you' side of the spectrum in their portrayal of going into the West, so we are going to have to follow someone there at some point to see that, well, actually, it's not bad at all - it is beautiful and everything they wanted and they're NOT DEAD. I liked the touch with the white birds, but I wish they looked more like...birds. The intense 'not a bird you've ever seen before' design came across as...well, weirdly fake.

But that can be fixed later. Making something scary in episode 1 doesn't mean it's scary forever. But those rather quiet veiled women who hang out with Gil-galad and act like priestesses or servants accompanying the elves into the West? That I DID NOT LIKE. Very little about that felt like it had any place in Tolkien's world. Can characters wear veils? Sure. But these subservient background elf women have a very strange vibe, and I can't really think of anything Tolkien wrote that would be like that. I mean, yes, Eöl the dark elf has his silent servants. I can see that. But honestly, I never thought his servants were all women. If they're not mixed male and female, then I would default to all male for his servants. I think what bothered me most about these characters was the mix of silent/veiled/subservient and the clear religious overtones of their role. Both felt out of place for female elves in Gil-galad's court.

The twist where Gil-galad was forcing Galadriel to accept the honor of going home to get her out of there was an interesting take and not what I was expecting at all. It made those stills of the elves accepting gold laurel crowns from Gil-galad better, but introduced some other issues.
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One thing that bothered me in the first two episodes but got better in the third was the sigil representing Sauron. I was annoyed that it was a pitchfork for the devil rather than something actually associated with Sauron - an eye, some rune or word associated with him, etc. I am very much okay with a map of Mordor meaning 'Sauron' and having it revealed by turning the perspective was fine. I would have liked the map to not have been altered to make a pitchfork, but, hey, at least we've got Mordor=Sauron now.

I have been enjoying the game of "Is this Sauron?" I figure introducing one character per episode who is potentially Sauron, and then revealing actual Sauron at the end of the season keeps things interesting for the audience. We know Sauron is there...somewhere. Certainly, he's already doing some important stuff. So, a hiding in plain sight Sauron that Galadriel doesn't know about will work out well enough. Is fandom taking this too far? Yes, but that's fun, and you can always troll back suggesting that anyone put forward as possibly Sauron is actually Tom Bombadil.

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Actual contenders seem meant to be: Meteor Man (no, it's Gandalf), Halbrand (no he's a king-in-exile character, so if he turns out evil it will be as a ringwraith), Adar (elf with delusions of necromancy?), Slim Shady (works for Sauron?)
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
(Hit the wordcount limit - PART 2)

I do wish the names were better. There is a lot of "baby's first fanfic" to the choosing of original names here. Some are fine. I like Eärwen as the sister of Isildur and Anarion. I don't like Disa or her son Gamli, because that just looks lazy. I am somewhat annoyed that the Harfoots have last names at all, let alone dumb ones like Brandyfoot. Elanor (Nori) Brandyfoot is probably my least favaorite name in the show thus far, though her character is fun. Strong contenders are Theo and Kemen. I do give them points for exploring the meaning of Elendil on screen in a politically charged way.

I was expecting them to use their diverse casting to establish different groups of people. Like, maybe Arondir looks different than other elves because he's from a different group of elves. But, no, he's from Beleriand, and he works directly for High King Gil-galad. Seems like there should be more elves without speaking roles who look like Arondir if he's just part of the same group as everyone else. So that was a bit confusing. They seem to have leaned into the 'color-blind' aspect of diverse casting, where some characters look different from one another, but no one ever notices or comments. The only physical trait we're paying attention to is ears.

Speaking of....it would be a lot less obvious there's a Significant Reveal coming with Bronwyn and/or Theo if they weren't the only two humans in their storyline who perpetually have their ears covered. Like, why not have the other boys have Theo's haircut, and only have the adult men with their ears out? This would make it more surprising when we find out what he's got under his mop of hair. I feel the show is telegraphing things very strongly. Like naming him 'Theo' (God). Making him irrationally angry (that is not how one deals with mice scratching under the floorboards....) Giving him Sauron's evil magic sword. I'm not saying this boy is going to grow up to be the Witch-king...but this boy is going to grow up to be the Witch-king.

Speaking of telegraphing...what's with Celebrimbor's deadline? "I need it completed by spring" is one of the least elvish approaches to a project ever. So...what's up with that? What's the hurry? I know that's what Durin is going to set out to find out. We know he's headed to Lindon and a dinner with the elf-lords (and Elrond) and those creepy veiled serving women. It would be interesting if Annatar is already in Eregion, and that's the secret that is revealed at the end of the season. So far, I like Celebrimbor's character well enough. He's not all "I am an idiot" or "I am clearly corrupted" or "I have ambitions of overthrowing the high king" or anything like that. He's an artist who appreciates great work, who maaaaybe has some blind spots. I do wish he looked like an elf at all. But the character is okay thus far.

I honestly do not know what people's issue with fantasy wolves is. I guess they don't look evil or scary enough if they look like a real wolf, because wolves are too close to dogs? But Peter Jackson's hyena wargs bothered me, and the RoP chihuahua warg is not better. I understand 'using trained dogs that are part wolf' only sorta worked in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but...has no one seen the Neverending Story's Gmork? Start there for fantasy evil wolf designs, please!

Final comment - I hate philosophical metaphors that get the physical world wrong. So, I very much do like the dwarf resonating idea, of having them sing to the stone, and having it talk back to them - because that is not counter to how sound works. I can accept that idea. Why do stones sink? though...no, it's not because they stopped 'looking up'. I was very disappointed by the reveal of what Finrod whispered to Galadriel. I wanted it to be meaningful, and make sense for them at that time. Light and darkness is very important in Tolkien's world, so I know we need metaphors for good and evil that bring in light and darkness. I am fine with that. Just...please...talk about light as light! It is so difficult to read medieval religious texts that try to use metaphors concerning light but get everything wrong. They have the excuse of doing the best they could with what was known at the time about how vision worked. A modern writer doesn't have that excuse to get things wrong for a modern audience.

I am very pleased that Middle-earth is beautiful. Looking at the different settings, there is a lot of 'I want to live there' going on. Even the scene in 'soon to be Mordor' when they stand in the open field looking back at the orcs in the trees. It's GORGEOUS. I wanted the Two Trees to last longer than they did in that opening scene, but then...don't we all wish the Two Trees would have lasted longer?

I feel like that's a good summary of where my thoughts fall halfway through the season. Carry on!
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
Interesting thoughts, i can relate to most of it.

The last episode left me baffled so bad was it. It really is a bad story and told very badly. Adar was bland and very unsatisfying, The Numenor plot with Galadriel convincing Miriel to go support Halbrand with a small personal guard of totally unexperienced recruits and dropouts... wow that was bad, really the low-point so far.

The Moria Story i liked somewhat better, the Durins were nice, despite that weird loretwist, yet i found much of the dialogue clunky.

Do they really want us to hate that poor kid Theo? Why? Or is it just bad writing, them not understanding they portray that child as so unlikeable?

So far i found the show mediocre but entertaining, episode 4 however changed everything, now i fear it is just a really bad very superficial show. Half a season yet to go and i predict the last episode will finish with an unsharp blurry picture of Annatar revealed... or Madriel hanging off some cliff.
 
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Ennikan

Member
"It really is a bad story and told very badly."

This is it in a nutshell. It has nothing to do with any character's race or gender, or even whether Harfoots "should" be there or not. It's just bad. Someone mentioned fanfic, and to me most of it has seemed that.

I was originally really interested in Corey's take on this - and then he accepted the invites and spent time with the creators. I work in UX (user experience) and work with researchers every day. It is extremely difficult to remain objective on something when you become engaged with the creators/makers - especially when you find you personally like them.

It becomes impossible for him to really criticize (critique/review) this in a way that he might want to. I'm sure he doesn't feel that way, but that is simply how we are as humans. They've done nice things for him and he feels a sense of obligation (realized or not). Now I can only see his remarks as "a friend of the show." It was a savvy move on the part of the show runners, especially when they are waging war on the Tolkien fandom for daring to question anything at all about the show.

While I think there are portions to appreciate - certainly the production values for one, and some of the actors are doing a very good job with awful lines - I just find it unwatchable. I just keep imagining if this had been done right somehow, possibly with more source material.

I am still marveling at Galadriel literally jumping out the boat and expecting to what - SWIM back to Middle Earth? My jaw literally dropped at the stupidity of it.
 

Odola

Well-Known Member
Strong contenders are Theo and Kemen.
Kemen means eath/soil in Primitive Elvish according to Parf Edhellen:
kemen P. noun. earth
Derivations ᴹ√KEM “soil, earth”
Derivatives
Q. cemen“the earth; earth, the earth; earth, [ᴹQ.] soil”
S. cevenEarth, earth; Earth”

Still the elvish way would be to add an alement like "man", "lover/friend" or "carer/worker" to it, elves seldom gave names of concete big entities to a person. They would not call anybody "Sun" or "Sea" alone.

[...] and those creepy veiled serving women.
Yes, those are weird - why depersonalising most elleths beyond Galadriel? And they do speak - the one then passed the notice to Elrond about Galadriel's retun EP1 did speak. Should we not notice they reuse those extras later, while they should have sailed? Or should none outshine Galadriel in her beauty?
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
If you want to tell a story... think it through, geography, societies, history, small scenes, how characters do behave and react to one another and why, and yes... race or culture... it is not some small superficial thing. It all adds up.
 
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Ilana Mushin

Active Member
"It really is a bad story and told very badly”

— I actually like the story they are telling - but there are uneven ways they are telling it (especially the writing) I think it is hard to judge though until we reach the end, at least of this season. I sometimes feel this way when reading a book. I think that is deliberate. The show runners said a few times that they hoped people would stick with it and withhold judgement and I think this is what Corey is doing. His primary adjective is ‘interesting’ these days. I can understand why people are seeing this story as slow paced - but then so is Lord of the Rings.

While I think there are portions to appreciate - certainly the production values for one, and some of the actors are doing a very good job with awful lines - I just find it unwatchable. I just keep imagining if this had been done right somehow, possibly with more source material.

— I think they are using lots of source material but not giving it to us at once.
 
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