Peter Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series of films were excellent; I enjoyed all of them. Alas for me they also created a problem. I have very warm memories of me as a teenager curling up in a winter long ago and reading Tolkien’s wonderful and epic book. As I read it I formed my own mental image of the characters, creatures and locations in its sprawling world. Therein was the problem: the films destroyed my own imagination’s version of Tolkien’s fantasy world.
I remember using the Internet in the mid 1990s when there were several sites which featured the lands and occupants Of Tolkien’s books as imagined by artists all around the world. Every artist imagined Gollum, Galadriel and Boromir slightly differently and that was the fun of it. I spent hours browsing those websites in the early days of the Internet. A particularly popular scene for artists to paint was the riddling contest between Bilbo Baggins and Gollum in a dark ominous subterranean cave.
Unfortunately many artists who nowadays paint scenes from ‘Lord of the Rings’ and indeed the ‘Hobbit’ actually paint the characters from the film. Although these characters were superbly cast and played by actors such as Ian McKellan (Gandalf the wizard) or Cate Blanchett (Galadriel the elf queen), I’d rather see some new interpretations of them.
I hear now that Amazon is using some of its considerable resources to make a new series based on ‘Lord of the Rings’. This might help by redefining the characters so we can get back to a free for all for the imagination. That is how I would prefer it.