Amazon's #LotrOnPrime Is Looking Bizarre
#1
Because it's an "adaptation" I knew it wouldn't be long before Amazon would leave the reservation and start introducing their own ideas about Middle-earth. It's inevitable that they will make changes.

Of course, their lead up to the show itself has begun with a map. As of today they have published five versions of the map.

[Image: amazon-lotr-map-01.jpg]
Map no. 1 from the Amazon LoTR on Prime Website

The first version of the map is blank. The most distinctive thing about it is the inclusion of the mountains in the east. They don't appear on the maps published in the books. The dimensions of other features are a bit off, possibly because of the style in which the geographical features are drawn.

The most notable feature is the East Bight, the great indentation in the southeastern part of Greenwood the Great. That feature was only produced in the 3rd Age after the Northmen cut a large number of trees for their villages.

[Image: amazon-lotr-map-02.jpg]
Map no. 2 from the Amazon LoTR on Prime Website

The second version of the map introduces a few location names. Many fans wrongly concluded that these are all "Second Age names". According to J.R.R. Tolkien "Rhun" is a direction, not a place, but the Amazon map seems to indicate it's a place. However, they may be following Tolkien's use of "Harad" for "the South" (the southern lands of Middle-earth), even though "harad" is also the Elvish word for south.

For some inexplicable reason, people assumed that Khand is a 2nd Age name. It's only attested for the 3rd Age. The name "Calenardhon" was pointed out by some fans, too, as a 2nd Age name. In fact, the name probably goes back to the 1st Age but it was used for most of the 3rd Age.

[Image: amazon-lotr-map-03.jpg]
Map no. 3 from the Amazon LoTR on Prime Website

This map added names like "Minhiriath" and "Enedwaith". Except as noted above, all the named features on this map are found in the 3rd Age, although most of the names apply to the 2nd Age as well. And yet fans began assuming that the new show will be set in the 2nd Age.

[Image: amazon-lotr-map-04.jpg]
Map no. 4 from the Amazon LoTR on Prime Website

This map adds more named features. And as above the names were used in both the 2nd and 3rd Ages. "Gundabad" goes back to the 1st Age.

[Image: amazon-lotr-map-05.jpg]
Map no. 5 from the Amazon LoTR on Prime Website

They changed the landscape substantially with this map. They added Numenor to the sea off the coast of Harad. There is no point in trying to determine how accurately it is placed. The coastlands are subtly altered and the East Bight has been removed. Minhiriath is well-forested.

The Amazon LoTR On Prime Twitter account announced this map with "Second Age!"

Naturally, many people assumed that means the show will be set in the Second Age. It doesn't have to mean that at all. They may introduce more maps depicting later geography and historical place-names. They may also introduce more maps featuring 1st Age geography and names.

The use of certain names and features indicates that the Tolkien Estate has granted Amazon the right to look outside The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. That makes sense because the Saul Zaentz Company still controls the film rights. Whatever Amazon does will have to be differentiated from the movies in a number of ways, unless Amazon can strike a deal with the Saul Zaentz Company. I cannot find anything on that company's Website indicating they are connected to the Amazon production.

So far fans seem to be excited. They are leaping to conclusions right and left and I have done my best to bite my tongue, but have occasionally dropped a comment. Clearly Amazon is teasing people to build interest in the show without actually revealing anything about the show's format or main characters.
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#2
Certainly looks like they have put a lot of thought into the details though. Their conclusions and decisions may or may not be agreed on, but it looks as if they have done some serious research, moreso than you'd expect for a tv show.
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#3
You have a point there. But then, Amazon has reportedly sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into this franchise. I guess they can afford to hire some creative people. Inevitably there will be fan outrage about something. I may have to divide the Middle-earth blog into three sections: Books, Movies, and Amazon.
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#4
Numenor is definitely too far to the east. Reaching it was supposed to entail making passage almost completely across Belegaer. The Orocarni, if that's what they are, are way too close to the west of Middle-Earth. They were originally supposed to be east of the far end of the Sea of Helcar, which by the Second Age of Men under the Sun was probably mostly a great grassland, with the Sea of Rhun as a northwestern remnant.

It would appear the time is sometime well after the 1st voyage of Numenoreans to Middle-Earth (SA 600) and commencement of activities by Prince Aldarion beginning around SA 730, as Lond Daer and (I think, too fuzzy) Tharbad are depicted, but before the deforestation of much of Eriador nor the establishment of Eregion. Ost-in-Edhil (not shown) was supposedly founded in SA 750, the same year Aldarion formed the Guild of Venturers. It was probably sometime later that Tar-Meneldur (reign SA 740 - 883) decreed limits on felling trees in Numenor for shipbuilding (a rebuke of his son), which would have motivated Aldarion to ramp up a lumber industry and lumber ports (Lond Daer and Tharbad) in Middle-earth. So I would guess this to depict Middle-earth at c. SA750 just before Eregion was founded. No doubt some interesting tales can be set, or at least begun, in this time. I would think that the establishment of Eregion and the earliest Numenorean colonies, up to and beyond the First War of the Ring in Eregion, would be worth the telling by someone who respects rather than butchers JRRT's legacy.

I wonder if they'll use, or discount, statements made in "History of Galadriel and Celeborn", in which Gally & Kelly are the founders of Eregion? Nothing is depicted as having been built at Evendim, either.

Interestingly, Umbar is applied to a coastal region just south of the bay where the haven was located, but no haven is shown at this time, at the southeastern tip.
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