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Tolkien wanted new minds to excavate Middle Earth: ‘The Rings of Power’ creator JD Payne

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New Delhi, Aug 26 (PTI) With his high fantasy books “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, celebrated author JRR Tolkien left ample room for contemporary storytellers to further explore the fictional realm of Middle Earth, says writer JD Payne.

Payne, along with co-writer Patrick McKay, is on a quest to prove the late author right with his upcoming Amazon series “The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power”, set thousands of years before the events described in Tolkien’s books.

The writer believes Tolkien intentionally left several clues in the books that could be used to draft a whole new story.

“We had such a wide canvas to paint on. Tolkien’s imagination is boundless, so to be able to collaborate with him is a dream of a lifetime,” Payne told PTI in an interview.

Quoting a letter Tolkien wrote to editor Milton Waldman, the showrunner of the upcoming series said the literary great wanted to create a cycle of myths that could be explored by new minds.

“He wrote in ‘Tolkien letter 131’, that he had this ambition to create this cycle of myths, some of which he would sketch out as a whole and some of which he would leave only sort of like designed. And he said he wanted to leave room for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama, to continue excavating Middle Earth,” Payne added.

“The Rings of Power” takes place during the Second Age of Middle Earth, which covers the rise and fall of Numenor, the creation of the titular rings and the formation of the Last Alliance.

The show will introduce new characters as well as bring back some familiar names like Galadriel and Elrond.

With the books, Payne said, Tolkien built an immersive world, which never felt fictional.

“Middle Earth is utterly immersive and that’s what makes Tolkien so special. He was a linguist and he came to this work with a kind of an academic rigour. He developed multiple languages in his world and traced their morphology and syntax as they developed over centuries,” the writer said.

“When you’re in Tolkien, you have the feeling of being in a world that wasn’t invented, but one that was discovered or one that was sort of excavated. It feels like a real place. Like if you had a time machine, you could actually travel to middle earth and because of that, you are immersed in it when you go there,” he added.

What made Tolkien’s work popular are the themes and topics such as good vs evil, environmentalism and the perils of excessive industrialism.

Payne believes the author never liked the idea of “allegory” but he wanted his work to be applicable.

“Tolkien didn’t want you to be able to say, ‘Oh, well, this thing represents this political figure.’ Or this thing represents that country or that nationality or whatever. He wanted his work to be timeless so the people of any country, any time and any background would be able to find themselves in these stories.

“They transcend any one kind of place and because of that people around the world for decades now have been picking up his books and having a really special experience.” Before Payne and McKay, New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson tried his hand at Tolkien books — starting with his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, comprising “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001), “The Two Towers” (2002), and “The Return of the King” (2003).

A decade later, Jackson returned to Middle Earth with his “The Hobbit” movies — “An Unexpected Journey” (2012), “The Desolation of Smaug” (2013), and “The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014).

In the age of social media, an argument can be made that Jackson never had to worry about the fandom around Tolkien’s books when he made his films.

But now fans have the tools to voice their disapproval for a certain film or a series, something that many directors believe is not conducive for the filmmaking process.

Payne said he is aware of fans’ expectation and is looking forward to the audience reaction to the series.

It is his hope that the fans will engage with the show and its team in a respectful manner.

“I’m grateful that they’re all going to be able to express themselves and have conversations with each other. I hope they’ll do it respectfully. I hope they will be especially respectful of my collaborators with each of them. They are beautiful human beings.

“I want them to be treated with respect that they deserve, but I’ll be glad when people will talk about the history and the different nuances of Tolkien lore, like what happened, where, how and why. As people get into that kind of discussion, I’m excited to see their engagement,” he said.

“The Rings of Power” will feature an ensemble cast of Morfydd Clark, Robert Aramayo, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Charles Edwards, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh and Joseph Mawle.

Actors Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Lloyd Owen, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, Daniel Weyman and Sara Zwangobani round out the cast.

The show will start streaming on Prime Video from September 2. It will be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. PTI RB SHD SHD

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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