Intellectuals, you can stop writing. I have the perfect phrase to sum up Irish identity – The Irish Times

From Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Hobbit, a trilogy longer to watch than read or write The Hobbit, nobody ever said, “It could have been longer.” The Rings of Power, the new TV prequel to this prequel to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, on Amazon Prime Video, will be at least eight hours long, but it will be even longer if Jeff Bezos, the Eye of Sauron from our dimension, has its way.

The Rings of Power is based on the endless appendices of the original books (Tolkien had quite severe appendicitis) and apparently not on the stuff he put in the Silmarillion. Which is probably just as well. The latter is a book in which Tolkien wanders endlessly in Old English over the backstory of various Lord of the Rings myths, while the reader begins to wonder if it wouldn’t be nice to have a boyfriend. /girlfriend, to play sports and give it up. nerdful drudgery life. They should have called it Look Who’s Tolkien.

He’s a fair cop. Harfoots are hungry all the time, buffeted by greater powers, oddly delighted with themselves, and in possession of a completely ridiculous accent. All intellectuals writing about Irish identity could simply replace their entire output with this phrase

So I really enjoy The Rings of Power even though after five episodes there are still a bunch of subplots hanging around an evolving master narrative.

My favorite subplot involves a tall, confused man finding himself among a group of whimsical little Irish-accented people called harfoots (they’re hobbits). He’s basically Darby O’Gill and these people are basically “the Irish”. Look, he’s a good cop. Harfoots are hungry all the time, buffeted by greater powers, oddly delighted with themselves, and in possession of a completely ridiculous accent that they obviously pretend to have. All intellectuals writing about Irish identity could simply replace their entire production with this phrase.

“Darby” is a lanky guy with a long beard who fell to earth like a shooting star, only to be discovered by Nori (Markella Kavenagh), a brave young Harfoot. The latter is instantly filled with questions. One of them is: What’s going on? “I don’t know! I just arrived!” said Darby, lying in a burning crater. Except he doesn’t really say any recognizable words – he just moans and grunts – so I’m extrapolating.

One of the mysteries to solve is: who is this gray-bearded magician with a strange affinity for hobbits? The obvious answer is, of course, that he’s Baby Gandalf, this franchise’s answer to Baby Yoda. Ah yes, Baby Yoda, the first acting talent of his generation, Dean, Brando and Hasselhoff of this era in one, a chatshow storyteller, a philanthropist, a leading man (or muppet). Frankly, I’m sad Baby Gandalf isn’t being played by Baby Yoda, such is the range of the latter. Unfortunately, I believe the talented sprog is currently playing Richard III at the Old Vic.

The dynamic around Baby Gandalf isn’t quite the same as the one involving Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian. This show involves a hunky bounty hunter who must juggle work and parental duties to care for and murder this little green angel. In The Rings of Power, Nori is a teenager and Baby Gandalf is a bearded man who sleeps naked in a fiery pit. Yes, the Second Age of Middle-earth was a very different time. Over the last five episodes, Nori is essentially taming Baby Gandalf, much like in the Kes or Call of the Wild movies, and she soon uses him as a pack horse to push her family’s wagon. I suspect he’s not Baby Gandalf at all. It seems too obvious. He may be Baby Eye of Sauron (although in my mind Baby Eye of Sauron would just be a really cute googly eye with big eyelashes…sponsored by Optrex).

The bigger and cleaner and grander the CGI city, the more I hear echoes of Terry Gilliam saying “He’s just a model” in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I love all the subplots so far. I like the plot about another elf (Ismael Cruz Cordova) and a romantically smoldering human healer trying to spread the word about a group of angry orcs who fight their way through Middle-earth while trying not to get sunburned. because of their delicate skin (another analogy for the Irish, probably). And I like the one about war-hungry Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) who decides not to go to elven heaven but rather stay in Middle-earth to kill people, which means being abandoned at sea, which means meeting serendipitously with a defrocked human king on a raft who hates her in a sexy way, then travels to a lost CGI island city of humans whose entire culture is built on wary elves. There’s a sitcom spin-off in there, and the theme is Paula Abdul’s Opposites Attract featuring MC Skat Kat.

There are flaws. The big CGI stylings of contemporary epic TV make everything feel a bit weightless. The bigger and cleaner and grander the CGI city, the more I hear echoes of Terry Gilliam saying “He’s just a pattern” in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The fact that the creators also decided to give different races specific Middle-earth accents – Irish (hobbits), Scottish (dwarfs), posh English (elves) and Northern English (humans) – is also a questionable decision. , although quite amusing. . But for the most part, the show works. Friendly heroes have clear goals and real obstacles to overcome and intriguing mysteries to uncover. He feels healthy and like he has a point. In contrast, the lackluster political storylines of the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon make me feel like I have a truly confusing and nihilistic new job with Paddy Considine as David Brentesque’s hapless line manager.

For some angry social media orcs the fact that some black actors were cast as elves and hobbits is a bad thing because – read this next clause carefully – there are no such things as dark elves and hobbits

And I haven’t even mentioned the friendship between the grizzled red-haired dwarf Durin (Owain Arthur), who made a discovery deep in the mines that will probably end up being shut down by Magic Thatcher (Sauron), and the foppish elf classy Elrond (Robert Aramayo), who plans to leave the Elvish civil service to set up a jewelry store making ornate rings. (I don’t see it anywhere.) These are the writers who sample the Gimli and Legolas relationship in The Lord of the Rings. For fans of The Lord of the Rings, such homosocial friendships between elves and dwarves symbolize how the different races of the world can transcend their differences and get along.

But do you know what apparently doesn’t do that for a minority of lunatics? Hire people of different real-world races to star in your Lord of the Rings spin-off. Yes, to some angry social media orcs the fact that some black actors were cast as elves and hobbits is a bad thing because – read this next clause carefully – there are no such things as dark elves and the hobbits. Yes, this is the sunless hill on which some have chosen to die: the relative realism of the Caucasian elves.

They get very angry about it on the internet, gossiping about how the long-dead Tolkien would make his anti-fascist parable less appealing to fascists. And that’s despite the fact that being more inclusive when it comes to make-up fantasy worlds is both fairer for everyone and also smart if you want access to a wider array of talented actors. I even advise not to argue with these people. Just say “Look Who’s Tolkien Too”, then put on your invisibility ring and throw away your phone.

About Bernice D. Brewer

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