THE KING RE­TURNS

Mid­dle-earth ex­pert Ian Nathan on what Ama­zon’s Aragorn-cen­tric Lord Of The Rings show might look like

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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.

Easy Strider

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.

Apoc­a­lypse Then

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?

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