Amazon has a plethora of material to cover if it wants to delve into the history of the Tolkien hero.
I was well-prepared to warily observe Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series from afar. Not because there is an assumption that it would actually be bad by default, but sometimes sagas are too special to be messed with. As someone who considers Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels an indelible part of my formative years, I’ve been trepidatious about the show since the news first broke. These days, Batman and Spider-Man have been rebooted way too many times in the name of indefatigable franchise potential and Game of Thrones is a gargantuan hit. So, it was only a matter of time before somebody came for the Tolkien classic.
However, Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings was eventually confirmed to be a prequel instead of a direct remake of Jackson’s films. The streaming service is pulling out all the stops too. Not only will the series apparently cost a billion dollars to make but there is already a five-season commitment and a spinoff planned. Jackson has reportedly been approached to be involved in the series, but we continue to wait in bated breath for his response.
In the meantime, with a legendarium as rich as Tolkien’s, where does one even begin when planning a show? Thankfully, nothing is more attractive than a fan favorite. It has since been reported by TheOneRing.net on Twitter that Amazon’s series plans to shine the spotlight on Aragorn, with at least part of the first season of the show centering on his younger days.
— TheOneRing.net (@theoneringnet) May 16, 2018
For the uninitiated, the Lord of the Rings is a sprawling fantasy epic set in Middle-earth. A fellowship of nine individuals comprising some hobbits, a couple of humans, an elf, a dwarf, and a wizard are tasked to destroy an omnipotent weapon called the One Ring. Aragorn starts the narrative as a nameless ranger but is not merely a member of the fellowship in question. He has a personal stake in other tangential events of the story too — including wars waged across the lands — as he is heir to the throne of one of the most powerful strongholds in Middle-earth.
Jackson’s films really laid the groundwork for a nuanced Aragorn to live onscreen. Recognizing his royal lineage is a huge dilemma for the character in the films. Viggo Mortensen’s portrayal of the hero stands the test of time for being conflicted but never whiny, measured but never cold, mature but never weary. To be able to turn back the clock and discover the character from an even younger, possibly more buoyant point in his life would be a treat.
There are different aspects of Aragorn’s identity that could be portrayed in the series, and he has a great number of aliases to go with each one. To single out a couple, it’s worth depicting Aragorn’s early days as a ranger, a man who would eventually be known as Strider to the hobbits. There are underlying political implications of his ranger identity which connects to his eventual ascension to the throne. Aragorn has also been an established but secretive warrior in his pre-Fellowship days. He went by the name of Thorongil, and fought undercover alongside kings, and he defeated pirates.
A suitable, if obvious, inclusion to Amazon’s series would also be Aragorn’s first meeting with the love of his life, Arwen, which would precede a deeper look into the dynamics of their relationship. Or perhaps, to keep it simple, the Lord of the Rings show could begin with Aragorn growing up in the Elf kingdom of Rivendell, still oblivious to his heritage.
Of course, TheOneRing.net’s announcement only confirms Aragorn’s inclusion in part of the first season of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings. Without a full season of stories centered on the character, not all of the above-mentioned plot points would feasibly make it into the series. Still, with multiple seasons locked in already, delving this deeply into Tolkien’s legendarium for the Lord of the Rings show is possible. If Amazon could even get away with dedicating each season to a new character, fans would definitely be allowed the full experience of Aragorn’s colorful past.
Have I changed my tune about Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings? I’m willing to concede that there are plenty of directions to take the series in thanks to the wealth of Tolkien’s saga. So, consider my interest piqued.