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Old 01-11-2018, 06:59 AM   #1
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: The Fair City of Nargothrond
Posts: 575
Huinesoron is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Off-genre adaptations

Whatever our opinions of the Movies, we all know that no adaptation can live up to The Lord of the Rings novels as epic fantasy. The books are just too densely-packed with details for that to work, even in a TV series not limited by length. It doesn't matter where or when in Arda you set your adaptation - it won't match up to Tolkien.

But... what if you switch genres? The level and depth of detail that makes The Lord of the Rings so good also makes Middle-earth a setting which can support a lot of other stories. I feel like there's a lot of room for films or shows that stake out a section of the timeline away from the books proper, and do something entirely new.

Some ideas:

-Building off my satirical suggestion here, why not set a psychological horror in Moria? It could take place in the last days of the reign of Durin VI, when the dwarves 'delved too greedily and too deep'. We, the viewers, know what they awoke - but they wouldn't. You have a perfect setting for your characters (dwarf names are easy, you pluck them from the Norse lists) to be picked off one by one - some by a creature of shadow, some by 'a thing of slime, stronger than a strangling snake'. You get to explore the geography of Khazad-Dum, and rack up the tension until the moment when Durin confronts the demon that has been haunting his city, and out of nowhere flames flare up to show its true form...

-Or, if you prefer something more Mannish: medical drama in Minas Tirith. We have the Houses of Healing. We can follow the Gondorian tradition of plundering Sindarin names from the First Age. We have our own historical records of the ways medieval people managed to get themselves injured and killed, and Minas Tirith allows us to pair those with a genuine hospital, which wouldn't be very historically accurate in a period drama. You don't need to set it anywhere close to the War of the Ring - just show us the everyday life of Gondor, through its healthcare system.

-Or how about this: a political drama set entirely at the Mereth Aderthad, the Feast of Reuniting in the early days of Beleriand? It's the perfect setting for a story about leadership - Maedhros is still dealing with his abdication (I can't imagine his brothers were too pleased with that - and what about Maglor, who was presumably acting as High King in his stead while he was a prisoner?), Fingolfin is trying to cope with the fact that Maedhros and Finrod are both technically his subordinates but keep doing their own thing, Finrod is trying to take his father's place while (along with Turgon) also wanting to found his own realm... you've even got representatives of Thingol bobbing around, dealing with the fact that their king is essentially ignored by the Noldor. You could build a wonderful story around that.

I think there's a lot of potential there - ways to explore the Middle-earth setting (and make the Middle-earth money, this is capitalism after all) without trying to beat Tolkien at his own game so to speak. Also, I really want to hear other people's ideas for what a suitably forward-thinking media company could make, and am happy for any excuse to post this and ask.

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