The Tolkien Estate Gets to Veto Amazon

There’s apparently a trailer, or a teaser, or whatever, for the new Amazon series, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.

The important fact is, Amazon doesn’t get to hose this the way everyone expects they will.

Amazon has a relatively free hand when it comes to adding something, since, as I said, very few details are known about this time span. The Tolkien Estate will insist that the main shape of the Second Age is not altered. Sauron invades Eriador, is forced back by a Númenorean expedition, is returns to Númenor. There he corrupts the Númenoreans and seduces them to break the ban of the Valar. All this, the course of history, must remain the same. But you can add new characters and ask a lot of questions, like: What has Sauron done in the meantime? Where was he after Morgoth was defeated? Theoretically, Amazon can answer these questions by inventing the answers, since Tolkien did not describe it. But it must not contradict anything which Tolkien did say. That’s what Amazon has to watch out for. It must be canonical, it is impossible to change the boundaries which Tolkien has created, it is necessary to remain “tolkienian”.

The Time Span referred to is The Second Age, the period when Aragorn’s ancestors lived on an island in the middle of the ocean called Numenor. It’s also the time when the Rings of Power were forged. So it’s a giant LOTR prequel, really.

But if there’s an army of canon-experts making sure that canon isn’t violated, then I’m suddenly much more comfortable with this.

If only someone at Lucasfilm cared this much.

A Complete Map of Tolkein’s World

The news has taken up space in my brain and I’m working on finishing a short for the 7th issue of Unnamed Journal, but I just had to post this. (h/t Ace of Spades).

(Click to enlarge. Do it!)

It’s a map of Arda, Tolkein’s world. The Middle Earth you know from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is only a small portion of Tolkien’s realm. You have to read The Silmarillion to get the larger picture, but even so, I’ve never seen the whole thing.

It’s a slice of nerd with Awesome Sauce. Share and Enjoy.

Monarchial Legitimist Assails the Throne of Gondor

Thus demonstrating that it is not possible to reach a ne plus ultra of nerdiness. (h/t Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit)

Gondor’s own laws and rulers even recognized how ridiculous Aragorn’s claim was. Arvedui, the last king of Arnor before he drowned in a shipwreck, once claimed the throne of Gondor, but the Council of Gondor rightly rejected him, saying the royal line of Gondor was descended from Anárion, not Isildur. Aragorn, like a many an illegitimate dictator before him, was only able to seize power due to the breakdown of law and society during the great crisis of the War of the Ring. Even then, with the doom of Gondor looming, Denethor the Steward of Gondor told Gandalf he wouldn’t bow to Aragorn, “last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity.” (Denethor may have been Middle-earth’s Worst Dad Ever, but he had a point there: Aragorn came from royal stock, but the only thing his family had administered for a thousand years was a forlorn wilderness full of ruins, wolves, and trolls that talked like Victorian gutter urchins.)

This is, of course the claim of monarchial legitimists, who seem to think that monarchy depends upon nothing but descent. They miss the key point, that monarchy depends upon descent from divinely-favored persons. Monarchy is sacral. Always has been, always will be.

Continue reading → Monarchial Legitimist Assails the Throne of Gondor

On the Question of Human-Hobbit Interbreeding

Matt Yglesias asks an interesting question: “If Elves, Hobbits, and Men can interbreed in Middle-Earth, aren’t they the same species?

I’m not sure if the ability to breed entirely defines a species (as Yglesias mentions, we interbred with Neanderthals, and I still think they’re classified separately, though some say otherwise), but I’d call it a strong indicator. So let’s take a look at the interbreeding possibilities in Tolkein’s universe, one-by-one.

Continue reading → On the Question of Human-Hobbit Interbreeding