The Lords of the Rings TV Show
Amazon have begun pre-production on their big-budget TV series based in Middle-Earth, so naturally enough the rumour mill is at full tilt!
There’s not much in the way of concrete information on Amazon’s upcoming Lord of the Rings TV show. What little info we do have relates mainly to the financial deal brokered between Amazon and The Tolkien Estate. The rights were sold for 250 million dollars, with Amazon then ponying up another 500 million for the first 2 seasons, of a possible 5.
The rumor mill, however, has coughed up a few more, very interesting, nuggets of information. First, the show will possibly(!) take in Aragorns youth. This makes sense; it gives the series context within the most well known of Tolkien’s works, and it also relates the new show with fans of the movie franchise.
Secondly, and most importantly, we have location scouting rumours. Two articles, from the courier.co.uk, and tweaktown.com, have popped up, proffering locations in Scotland that have been visited by Amazon scouts. The articles claim that these scouts posed as tourists, and visited several areas of great natural beauty, and some historic ruins. “But Brian,” I hear you ask, “Why is that so interesting??”.
Well, dear reader, its because I’m a map guy. And so, I took my map brain, my immense knowledge of Tolkien’s’ works, and a search engine, threw them all in a blender, and came up with several instances in Aragorn’s life which may well feature in the upcoming show! Lets begin!
Real World Location: Dunskey Castle/ Balloch Castle
Middle-Earth Location: Annúminas, first capital of Arnor.
Reasons: A ruined castle/ citadel beside a large body of water. Both castles visited by the Amazon crew have that one thing in common; water. If we look at Aragorn’s time spent in the northern lands, its unlikely he wouldn’t have spent time in Annúminas. The former city was a place of historic significance to his people. Established by High King Elendil, the first King of Arnor and Gondor, Annúminas also housed the sceptre held by all kings of Arnor, as well as one of the three Palantir. The city fell in the second Age, and was abandoned for over two millennia before the events of the Lord of the Rings. And, if it wasn’t clear enough, Annúminas is beside a lake; Nenuial. Also of note, Annúminas was re-established by Aragorn after Sauron’s destruction, and became a place of emotional significance to him.
Real World Location: Callander/ Perthshire
Middle-earth Location: North-Downs/ Weather Hills/ Fornost (See map below)
Reasons: Aragorn’s rangers travelled far and wide across Middle-Earth, but a lot of their efforts focussed on the region north of The Shire, and West of the Misty Mountains. The former kingdom of Arnor, and the Witch-Kings realm of Angmar bordered at the North Downs. This area was a flare point for hostilities between good and evil for centuries. After Annúminas fell into ruin, another capital, at Fornost, was established. The North Downs provided a barrier to attacks from Angmar to the north, while the Weather Hills provided refuge, if needed to the south. Callander and Perthshire are both areas of spectacular natural beauty in Scotland. Both were visited by the crew, and both consist of dense mountain ranges, rolling hills, open grass land and enough forestry to hide a battalion of rangers.
Real World Location: Isle of Skye
Middle-Earth Location: Umbar (See map above)
Resson: A large, mountainous island, the Isle of Skye, is the perfect locale for the fortress like Umbar. While serving under the name of Thorongil, Aragorn fought as a soldier of Gondor. He did, in fact, lead a raid on the rebellious state of Umbar, located far south of Gondor. At the head of a small fleet of Gondorian ships, Aragorn led the assault, slaying the Umbarian lord in the process. Umbar was once a province of Gondor, but fell to the wayside. First, falling to the “Black Numenoreans” and later the men of Harad. Aragorn’s raid takes place in 2980, about 30 years before the events of the Lord of the Rings.
So there ya have it. A big load of possible nonsense? Or, an impressive prediction? Only time will tell my friends. Of course, all of this is merely speculation. Recently, we had this tweet, followed by this tweet, both featuring an interactive map of Middle Earth. The second map is the same as the first, but with a few place names added. What I found most intriguing, is that the picture is of an actual, physical map; i.e. one that has been used. There are fold lines down the middle, and the edges are slightly frayed and worn. Could this be young Aragorn’s first map of Middle Earth? As he sets out on his debut adventures from Rivendell? Perhaps, having learned of his lineage form Elrond, he must now explore the lands over which he claims kingship.
Middle-Earth historians are quick to point out the name “Calenardhon” in place of Rohan. Calenardhon was the name of those lands before Rohan was established under Eorl the Young. Which could place the map at least 400 years before Aragorn was born. So does this mean the show will be set in the second age, or early third age? Or instead, that the map is old, and the name Calenardhon was written by an elf, as it’s the Sinadarin name for those lands? Questions abound!
Other places/locations possibly scouted but not covered:
Loch Lomond = Gulf of Lhun/ Mithlond/ The Grey Havens.
Aragorn most likely visited these elven lands to the west. It’s also the place for elves to depart Middle Earth, and home of Cirdan the shipwright, holder of one of the rings of power.
Firth of Clyde = Tolfalas.
A large open bay complete with an island, the firth could well be the site for Gondorian battles against the Corsairs of Umbar.