THE KING RETURNS
Middle-earth expert Ian Nathan on what Amazon’s Aragorn-centric Lord Of The Rings show might look like
Past Times at Rivendell High
After his father fell foul of orcs, Aragorn was raised in Rivendell, left unaware of his kingly destiny until he was 20. Would Amazon dare a Middle-earth teen drama, as a callow Aragorn struggles with his identity, being an outsider at elf camp, and an inter-species romance with dazzling prom queen Arwen? Tellingly, Elrond attempted to hide Arwen from his human adoptee, sending her away to Lothlórien. There even exists unused Jackson footage of a beardless Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler frolicking between the trees of Lothlórien once due to be a flashback.
By far the likeliest route is Aragorn’s time in the wild. Burdened by his royal blood and tangled romantic life, Aragorn turned ranger. As noted in the Appendices, “for nearly 30 years he laboured in the cause against Sauron”. This includes becoming a regular at the Prancing Pony, patrolling the borders of The Shire, giving ample opportunity to make stuff up.
During his peripatetic days, Aragorn honed his battle skills by joining up with King Thengel of Rohan and Gondorian forces fighting the growing menace of Sauron’s ranks. Stretching the chronology pre-hobbit, the great northern campaign against the Witch-king of Angmar (later the leader of the Nazgûl) could provide a central dramatic thrust.
Very Old Friends
With all this in mind, the series could conceivably include a young Frodo and Bilbo. At this time, Aragorn bromanced Legolas and Gandalf (Ian Mckellen, for one, hasn’t ruled out taking part). Indeed, the allotted time span allows for versions of Galadriel, Théoden, Denethor, Boromir, Saruman and Gimli, and given Aragorn is mentioned as having tracked a certain snivelling wretch, why not Andy Serkis getting his mo-cap back on as Gollum?
New New Zealand
While there have been whispers of Amazon ‘reaching out’ to the director, there has not been a peep from Peter Jackson’s Wellington redoubt. Still, the fact Warner Bros. and New Line have partnered in the deal signals as clear as a flaming beacon that Amazon wants to occupy the same universe as Jackson’s trilogies. With Aragorn having backpacked through vast swathes of Tolkien’s continent, including far off locales such as the Sea of Rhûn where Sauron kept a fortress, there is ample opportunity to unfurl new areas of outstanding beauty provided by New Zealand and both wings of Weta.
Aragorn (played by Viggo Mortensen in Peter Jackson’s LOTR films): the possible focus of the LOTR TV show?