One criticism levelled at Tolkien is the paucity of strong female characters in his works.This is unfair,as Tolkien's writings are about male combat fellowship based on his war experiences,a situation in which women are not well represented. But furthermore, when Tolkien introduces a female character she is definitely not a weakling. One of Tolkien's strong female characters is Galadriel. She has a role in the Lord of the Rings and is given a major role in the Rings of Power, with much new material wriitten for her character. Yet Galadrel is not a plaster saint, for her character in the Rings of Power is presented as determined to the point of obsession to fight Sauron, though she is eventually proven right. A flawed Galadriel is hinted by Tolkien, as in the Silmarillion she is included in the Noldor, who were collectively guilty of the kinslaying of Aqualonde, though she was not ascribed any individual guilt.
The first two episodes present few characters in the books. One of these is Gandalph, and the Rings of Power takes one of Tolkien's underdeveloped points and makes it into a larger part of the storyline. Tolkien says that the five wizards had to relearn much when they left Valinor for Middle Earth,and we see in the Rings of Power an early Gandalph, a good spirit sent from Valinor in embodied form, struggling to cope with embodiment.He does not disclose his name at this point, but his identity is clear to Tolkien readers. Certain other characters are introduced, but not too many. Elrond,the elf lord, seems set to play a major part in the story and Durin, the dwarf lord, provides some comic relief in the amusing interaction between him and his wife. But new characters enter the story, but again there are not too many of them. The script is therefore professionally designed and well-written.
The basic plot of the Middle Earth story is sustained, indeed it could be hardly anything else, as it centres on the eternal conflict between good and evil, and in this account of this age-old struggle Tolkien's masterpiece is unerringly on the side of righteousness. But what we are seeing is an episode in this eternal struggle. We are not seeing any of Tolkien's mythical accounts narrated in the Silmarillion, though later episodes may touch on some of the story told therein. .
Tolkien purists may take umbrage at the inevitable creative licence that the scriptwriter has necessarily taken with the story, but we must remember that the story narrated in the Rings of Power is based on Tolkien's appendices to his magnum opus, and these asides represent the fragments of a much wider mythological vision. Would Tolkien have objected if a writer took his vision and used it to develop an aspect of Middle Earth's mythology? I doubt it. Tolkien's Middle Earth writings were intended to form the basis of a mythology of the English people.It was never intended to be the exclusive possession of Tolkien. He did not claim to be the exclusive possesssor of the English-speaking mythopoeic imagination.
This was an enjoyable programme and I do not hesitate to commend it to readers.
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