Why The Second- Age Aesthetically & Tonally Will Feel Different From the Third: Francesco Lionetti
One of the biggest problems related to the acceptance of the Amazon project by the world fandom lies in the appearance that Middle-earth will have in the show. The teaser trailer of “The Rings of Power” and the photos by Vanity Fair have left many in a sense of bewilderment, due to some aesthetic elements that have deviated from the Peter Jackson Film trilogies, such as the presence of short-haired elves and primitive styled hobbits. Obviously you can’t judge a product based on a few photos and a one-minute teaser trailer, but the question arises: how will Middle-earth be presented in the series? Patrick McKay and J.D Payne have already amply answered this question in the interview with VF, declaring their intention to get very close to Jackson’s works, but at the same time to deviate from them. The presence of WETA within the project clearly indicates the desire to give visual continuity to the Jackson’s Arda, and we found this element in some scenes of the teaser, including the Lindon ceremony and the view of one of the ports of Numenor…
As anticipated by the showrunners there will also be a “new” feeling compared to what we saw in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and the reason for that is quite simple: the Second Age is a far cry from the Third, not only from a historical point of view, but also an aesthetic and cultural one. During the exploits of the Fellowship of the Ring we were projected into an era of great decadence, in which Middle-earth is consumed by the evil of Sauron and the weakness of free peoples, increasingly alone in the face of the Dark Lord’s reprisals. The Second Age, on the other hand, is a much more flourishing period, rich in grandiose realms, including Lindon, Eregion and, above all, Numenor. The mighty kingdom of blessed men has greatly shaped the political geography and history of Middle-earth, through wars, alliances and various trade routes, bringing its immense civilization to the whole world. In Jackson’s films we have not had the opportunity to admire, obviously for temporal reasons, this magnificent side of history, which we will instead be able to touch on the show.
The wonder of the elven realms will be a decidedly more impactful aspect than the cinematic trilogies, given the presence of places and characters that we could never have admired in the Third Age. Lindon and Ost- in- Edhil are only very distant memories during the reign of Elessar, while in the Second Age they represented an essence of great beauty, power and magic. It is also not entirely true that elves all had long hair. This stylistic choice was brought exclusively by Peter Jackson in his films, but several images by the greatest Tolkienian illustrators show many elves with short hair. Furthermore, the “professor” never says that the Eldar all had long hair, so it is time to dispel this annoying myth.The controversial theme of hobbits will be debated for a long time, but we are focusing on the aesthetic sector, and that the Harfoots were decidedly more primitive in appearance and in customs is absolutely consistent. The halflings appeared in the films represent the “final phase” of the evolution of their species, and everything coincides perfectly with the descriptions given in the writings.
Another very important factor lies in the exploration of places and lands never seen in Jackson’s films, an element that could stun general fans who don’t know the writings. In fact, in the show we will have stories from Harad and Rhun, lands inspired by the Middle East and North Africa, and which obviously feature characters with a darker complexion than other races of Middle-earth. The Lossoths shown in the teaser trailer are the Eskimos of Arda, and represent another people never shown in the films of the past. Tolkien’s world is not only made up of Elves, men of the west and Rohirrim, and it is necessary to understand that there are other peoples that the transpositions have never explored, and the hope is that they can be admired in their full coherence.