I’ve been watching The Rings of Power on Amazon, and I’m afraid it’s done nothing to shake my firm belief that Tolkien is unfilmable. The stuff of Middle-earth can be put on screen - the battles, the cities, the monsters - but the budget required to do so means the resulting film or show has to be a mass-market, all-action fantasy, in which all the quieter, odder, and more profound aspects of Tolkien’s work are sidelined or left out entirely. But at least the Lord of the Rings films were made by people who knew and loved the books. The Rings of Power has clearly been designed and art-directed by people who know their stuff - the layers of detail in the sets and costumes of the Númenor sequences alone are quite extraordinary. But the storylines which have been invented to try and breathe some Lord of the Rings -ish life into the rather dry history of the ‘Second Age’ as told in the book’s appendices seldom rise above the level of bog-standard sword and sorcery. You might as well be
Reviews and ruminations by Philip Reeve, author of the Mortal Engines series, the Railhead trilogy, Here Lies Arthur, Goblins, and The Legend of Kevin, Pugs of the Frozen North, etc, with Sarah McIntyre.