Krishtotter

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About Krishtotter

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  1. I personally feel Season 5 gets unfairly maligned, primarily owing to the (literally unbearable-to-watch) Dorne scenes and the jarring changes to Sansa's storyline (in choosing to conflate her with Jeyne Poole from the books and marrying Ramsay Bolton). Otherwise, the dialogue was still on point (snappy, witty); the show remained character-driven; the political machinations were intriguing (I actually liked the High Sparrow and depictions of religious fundamentalism, which fit the medieval setting like a glove) etc. I started to have some more serious misgivings in Season 6 (the way in which Jon's resurrection was handled, for instance) but overall still enjoyed the show immensely, particularly BoB and Winds of Winter (a corker of a finale in my honest assessment). Season 7...now that was the definition of trainwreck. Characterisation and consistency went out the window. The plot (or, rather, the husk of a plot) made little-to-no-sense. The dialogue reached unbelievably terrible lows - all those silly, juvenile references to "cocks, dicks and penises" in an attempt to elicit cheap humor to compensate for poorly wrought character interactions. I could wax lyrical about its pitfalls relative to what came before but will spare you all the boredom. Needless to say, S7 didn't really feel quite like GoT/ASOIAF in the same way as seasons 1-4 or even 5-6, in a lot of places. There was this overall amateurishness and stilted quality to the writing which did not impress me in the least. What redeemed S7 (just) were roughly three episodes (four of them were dreadful. Just dreadful, especially Eastwatch & that heinous monstrosity 'Beyond the Wall' with the Wight hunt nonsense): the third, 'The Queen's Justice' while a bit flat in places had scenes in it that I found well-acted and competently written (i.e. Cersei tormenting the Sand Snakes and Olena Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns' "tart-tongued" exit from the show). 'The Spoils of War' was just so visually stunning, left me on the edge of my seat and had me very excited. The finale had a really good scene between Tyrion and Cersei, as well as between Cersei and Jaime. It also tied up loose plot ends (i.e. regarding Jon's paternity and right to the throne) and ended on another visually stunning note with the Wall collapsing courtesy of the Night King riding an undead Viserion spewing out blue fire. A bit crazy and very blockbusterish compared to the intricate fantasy political drama of earlier seasons but I can't deny, I did very much enjoy those three episodes. The show always 'looks spectacullar', in terms of the production values, which is a boon and considerable advantage in its own right- but unfortunately that, in itself, doesn't adequately cover up for clunky dialogue and plotting. IMHO Season 5 and 6 were nowhere near the abysmal travesties that so many frequent commentators on this forum depict them as being. But Season 7, no disagreement there. Just terribly, lazily written in many respects (with little finesse or attention to detail, timing issues, pacing all over the place etc.), the episodes (or rather parts of episodes) I've alluded to excepting of course. The ending to the series in S8 will essentially be based directly on the GRRM outline D&D are privy to. I have a certain faith it will be "good" for this reason but I'm not terribly optimistic about how well it can be executed. Should the worst mistakes of S7 get regurgitated all over again, the Season will be blah, apart from the special effects and visual display (which is always top-notch, better than anything else on TV). If they strive for a similar quality to S6, however, then it could end "ok" - not like seasons 1-4 in quality but not shambolic either, perhaps even passably 'worthy' as a conclusion to what came before in earlier seasons. I live in hope.
  2. Yes but in addition to Harad or "South Gondor" there was also the Lebennin region: http://www.councilofelrond.com/map/lebennin.html http://www.henneth-annun.net/places_view.cfm?plid=96 So contrary to the popular impression (as, for instance, derived from PJ's film trilogy), Gondor was actually described by Tolkien as a kingdom inhabited by a variety of ethnic groups with very different skin colours, including dark complexions, and cultures. A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society.
  3. Thanks Scott!
  4. I recognize this is an old discussion within the thread, so I hope you don't mind me raising the issues once more..... Christianity began as an aberrant, apocalyptic sect within Second Temple Judaism. The initial rift between the early Christians and the Pharisaic (basically Rabbinic) Jews must be appropriately contextualized as an intra-religious dispute among competing Judaic factions concerning the proper interpretation of the scriptures, which later Gentile Christians simply inherited and developed. The Gospel of John testifies to the fact that Christian Jews were facing expulsion from the synagogues in Palestine. So no, this was not a case of biblical "theft" and misappropriation of holy texts belonging to another faith. If the Temple had not been demolished by the Romans in AD 70, the Church might have remained much more identifiably Hebraic in character with its administrative centre in Jerusalem, the mother church led by the Apostle James (the brother of Christ), rather than in Rome. The attitude you refer to as being the child of Vatican II existed in the Catholic theological tradition long before the ecumenical council. Consider the following from Cardinal John Henry Newman (beatified since 2010): Undoubtedly, anti-Judaism long had currency as the dark underbelly of Christendom, with its genesis in the New Testament and misapprehension of the original context of intra-Jewish conflict. Nevertheless, it is not accurate to say that "nobody in the modern world would have had any prejudices against the Jews if there hadn't been centuries of mainly religious prejudices against them". A cursory glance at the reception of Jews within the Hellenistic kingdoms of the pre-Christian era, such as the Seleucid Empire, undermines your argument. They were a much vilified minority due to the simple fact that a good number of them wouldn't assimilate to Greek social norms and customs. Following the Jewish-Roman Wars, there was intense prejudice shown towards Jews by their pagan co-religionists, quite apart from anything Christian. From 135 AD onwards, Judaism was an illegal religion: Jews were forbidden, upon pain of death, from circumcision, reading the Torah and eating unleavened bread. A temple dedicated to Jupiter was constructed on the temple mount in Jerusalem while in the year 200, the Emperor Severus even forbade conversions to Judaism - and this was a good 70 years after the Bar Kochba rebellion. The Christians operated within this hostile anti-Jewish environment - both imbibing it and contributing to it. There is a good argument to be made that the most caustic statements about Judaism in the New Testament were in large part reactions to these secular developments, namely the First Jewish War against the Romans. They obviously didn't want the Roman authorities to view them any longer as a Jewish sect. Modern anti-Semitism is only in part attributable to historical Christian anti-Judaism. The other part stems from simple dislike of a numerous minority dispersed across different countries, which is one reason why the Romani Gypsies were also popularly despised (and murdered in the Holocaust), despite most of them being Christians. It is a common fixture of human socialization, unfortunately, to scapegoat perceived "outsiders" within communities riven by grave crises. This negative foisting of blame onto a hated "other" helps to foment group solidarity, at the expense of the scapegoated victims. You should also, therefore, no doubt be fully aware of the other side to that coin, I wager? Namely the parallel trend in medieval Catholic thought, which I'm sure Tolkien (a very learned Catholic man, as you note) would have been cognizant of: http://www.pravoslavieto.com/history/09/866_responce_pope_Nicholas_I.htm I find it rather ironic that in reproaching Tolkien for prejudicial scapegoating of entire ethno-religious or racial categories, you are yourself basically reducing practising Catholics - practitioners of a massive, ancient and varied faith tradition - to the same stereotypes. While it is certainly true that there have been many historic instances of pervasive intolerance from representatives of the Catholic denomination towards practitioners of other religions (from pogroms against Jews to suppression of paganism and destruction of native mesoamerican religious practices), I do feel that this is a bit of a sweeping simplification.Catholic attitudes towards non-Christians have varied enormously from age to age.Consider for example the attitude of the papacy towards non-Christian religions. The severity of some of its historical stances on heresy (Christians espousing heterodox beliefs, itself mutable throughout the ages) are well known from infamous institutions such as the Medieval Inquisitions. By contrast, the medieval and early modern papacy often acted as a moderating voice within Christendom vis-a-vis non-Christian minorities.With reference to Jews, for instance, most Popes firmly absolved them of blame for such anti-semitic myths (often resulting in massacres) as the "blood libel" and confirmed their right to practise their religion:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel#Papal_pronouncements Pope Innocent IV took action against the blood libel: "5 July 1247 "Mandate to the prelates of Germany and France to annul all measures adopted against the Jews on account of the ritual murder libel, and to prevent accusation of Arabs on similar charges" (The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p. 188-189,193-195,208). In 1247 he wrote also that "Certain of the clergy, and princes, nobles and great lords of your cities and dioceses have falsely devised certain godless plans against the Jews, unjustly depriving them by force of their property, and appropriating it themselves;...they falsely charge them with dividing up among themselves on the Passover the heart of a murdered boy...In their malice, they ascribe every murder, wherever it chance to occur, to the Jews. And on the ground of these and other fabrications, they are filled with rage against them, rob them of their possessions without any formal accusation, without confession, and without legal trial and conviction, contrary to the privileges granted to them by the Apostolic See...Since it is our pleasure that they shall not be disturbed,...we ordain that ye behave towards them in a friendly and kind manner.Whenever any unjust attacks upon them come under your notice, redress their injuries, and do not suffer them to be visited in the future by similar tribulations" (Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), Vol. 8, pp. 393–394). [1] Pope Gregory X (1271–1276) issued a letter which criticized the practice of blood libels and forbade arrests and persecution of Jews based on a blood libel, ...unless which we do not believe they be caught in the commission of the crime. .[69] Pope Paul III, in a bull of 12 May 1540, made clear his displeasure at having learned, through the complaints of the Jews of Hungary, Bohemia and Poland, that their enemies, looking for a pretext to lay their hands on the Jews' property, were falsely attributing terrible crimes to them, in particular that of killing children and drinking their blood. Concerning papal policy:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sicut_Judaeis Some examples from medieval papal documents: Another example would be the strong line that the papacy undertook against the Spanish colonizers of the New World in their enslavement of native Americans (on the basis that they were devoid of souls and lacked faith in the Christian religion):http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Paul03/p3subli.htm In 1695, the Vatican likewise censured missionaries that they were not to destroy or undermine the customs, cultural traits and heritage of the new peoples they encountered: For each of these policies, however, there are times when popes did enact legislation that undermined Judaism or other non-Christian religions. Yet the basic policy thus enunciated was one that accepted, as a basic doctrinal principle, that no one could be coerced into baptism against his or her will. This is something that the Church still fiercely believes, while admitting historic deviations from it:
  5. I don't think they do. That article alleged as much but you could literally strike me down with a feather duster before I believed that. Christopher Tolkien has vowed in the past that the Sil will never be optioned for adaption in his lifetime. It's his dad's most precious work - the character of Luthien was based on his wife, for instance, Christopher's mother. If they did have the Sil, then I could believe that they may have a decent shot of creating another GoT-style success.
  6. A matter of personal perspective perhaps but let's consider another tale from the Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin. Turin, son of Hurin, is a mortal man who has been raised in Doriath by King Thingol (Luthien's father) among elves. Túrin accidentally causes the death of the Elf Saeros - who has always despised Turin because he doesn't believe that mortal men should live among Elves (he's a racist, effectively). Turin essentially snaps, Saeros attempts to jump to safety over ravine while fleeing from Turin, as follows in chapter five: Turin said nothing, but turned his eyes upon Saeros, and there was a glint in their darkness. But Saeros did not heed the warning, and returned the gaze with scorn, saying for all to hear: 'If the Men of Hithlum are so wild and fell, of what sort are the women of that land? Do they run like the deer clad only in their hair?'Then Turin took up a drinking-vessel and cast it in Saeros' face, and he fell backward with great hurt; and Turin drew his sword and would have run at him, but Mablung restrained him. Then Saeros rising spat blood upon the board, and spoke as best he could with a broken mouth: 'How long shall we harbour this woodwose? Who rules here tonight? The King's law is heavy upon those who hurt his lieges in the hall; and for those who draw blades there outlawry is the least doom. Outside the hall I could answer you, Woodwose!'Then Mablung said to Saeros: 'What ails you tonight? For this evil I hold you to blame; and maybe the King's law will judge a broken mouth a just return for your taunting.''If the cub has a grievance, let him bring it to the King's judgement,' answered Saeros....In the morning he waylaid Turin, as he set off early from Menegroth, intending to go back to the marches. Turin had gone only a little way when Saeros ran out upon him from behind with drawn sword and shield on arm. But Turin, trained in the wild to wariness, saw him from the corner of his eye, and leaping aside he drew swiftly and turned upon his foe... He soon had the mastery, and wounding Saeros' sword-arm he had him at his mercy. Then he set his foot on the sword that Saeros had let fall. 'Saeros,' he said, 'there is a long race before you, and clothes will be a hindrance; hair must suffice.' And suddenly throwing him to the ground he stripped him, and Saeros felt Turin's great strength, and was afraid. But Turin let him up, and then 'Run, run, mocker of women!' he cried. 'Run! And unless you go swift as the deer I shall prick you on from behind.' Then he set the point of the sword in Saeros' buttock; and he fled into the wood, crying wildly for help in his terror; but Turin came after him like a hound, and however he ran, or swerved, still the sword was behind him to egg him on... 'Hold, hold, Turin!' he cried. 'This is Orc-work in the woods!' 'Orc-work there was; this is only Orc-play,' Turin called back. Before Mablung spoke he had been on the point of releasing Saeros, but now with a shout he sprang after him again; and Saeros, despairing at last of aid and thinking his death close behind, ran wildly on, until he came suddenly to a brink... Saeros falls off a ravine and is killed. Túrin's reaction to Saeros's death is cold: "Now he has laid a guilt on me undeserved." "I did not will it, but I do not mourn it." Túrin refuses to return to Doriath to face judgement and opts to leave Doriath, becoming an outlaw. Thingol tries Túrin in absentia and ultimately pardons him, because he loves him like a son. Túrin meanwhile joins a band of outlaws in the wild, he renames himself Neithan, "the wronged" and eventually becomes their captain. He seems to be adjusting to their way of life until they raid a local village and try to rape a young girl - which is a bridge too far for Turin: CHAPTER VI TURIN AMONG THE OUTLAWSNow the tale turns again to Turin. He, believing himself an outlaw whom the King would pursue, did not return to Beleg on the north-marches of Doriath, but went away westward... For in that time of ruin houseless and desperate men went astray: remnants of battle and defeat, and lands laid waste; and some were men driven into the wild for evil deeds....In winter they were most to be feared, like wolves; and Gaurwaith, wolf-men, they were called by those who still defended their homes...The hardest of heart was one named Androg, who had been hunted from Dor-lomin for the slaying of a woman... Now in the woods of Teiglin, as has been told, there were still some homesteads of Men, hardy and wary, though now few in number. Though they loved them not at all and pitied them little, they would in bitter winter put out such food as they could well spare where the Gaurwaith might find it; and so they hoped to avoid the banded attack of the famished. But they earned less gratitude so from the outlaws than from beasts and birds, and they were saved rather by their dogs and their fences... But on a sudden he heard cries, and from a hazel-thicket a young woman ran out; her clothes were rent by thorns, and she was in great fear, and stumbling she fell gasping to the ground. Then Turin springing towards the thicket with drawn sword hewed down a man that burst from the hazels in pursuit; and he saw only in the very stroke that it was Forweg.But as he stood looking down in amaze at the blood upon the grass, Androg came out, and halted also astounded. 'Evil work, Neithan!' he cried, and drew his sword; but Turin's mood ran cold, and he said to Androg: 'Where are the Orcs, then? Have you outrun them to help her?''Orcs?' said Androg. 'Fool! You call yourself an outlaw. Outlaws know no law but their needs. Look to your own, Neithan, and leave us to mind ours.''I will do so,' said Turin. 'But today our paths have crossed. You will leave the woman to me, or you will join Forweg.' Then the woman rose to her feet and laid her hand on Turin's arm. She looked at the blood and she looked at Turin, and there was delight in her eyes. 'Kill him, lord!' she said. 'Kill him too! And then come with me. If you bring their heads, Larnach my father will not be displeased. For two "wolf-heads" he has rewarded men well.' To me, this is both "dark" and "gritty", certainly on a par with anything in GoT. Having pillaged defenseless villages all winter, Androg and Forweg's thoughts turn to rape – or "their needs" as Andróg appropriately phrased it. The outlaws laugh about it, and Andróg jokes later on with Túrin about the woman he saved: "Maybe she hopes to meet with you again." Their views, actions, and speeches are sleazy, in my opinion. And even the girl whose life he saves is not your stereotypical damsal but a brutalized young woman who sees the blood of the slain on Turin, then invites him "with delight in her eyes" to decapitate Androg and bring his head along with Forweg's to her father for a reward. Umm, yeah. You just don't get stuff like that in LoTR. Dark yes but for me pretty gritty as well - like Turin stripping Saeros naked after he assaulted him from behind in a duel and running after the latter with a sword pointed at his ass through the woods, because he had earlier made a sexist, mocking remark about mortal women from Turin's hometown (that Turin took as an insult to his mother Morwen), which Turin saw merely as "orc-play!" only that it ended in Saeros' death when the Elf leaps off a ravine.
  7. As with Scot, fair point...but the themes are still darker and many of the characters seem far more morally ambiguous imho. Also there's the duplicity, abduction and attempted rape, backstabbing, kingdom-squabbling, kin-killing, brutality and selfish aspirations for political supremacy that isn't so pronounced in LoTR. I think that the tone, style and focus is distinctly darker - even if one doesn't consider it "gritty" (which is probably in part subjective anyway). The point I'm making is that if someone did adapt this material one day, they would have ample narratives offering up scenes of "power, and the savagery, cunning, deception, charisma or strategic brilliance that’s necessary to gain or retain it at a time when there are no bureaucratic or democratic institutions to take the place of brute force and fear", to quote that aforementioned reviewer's thoughts on GoT compared with LoTR. It's certainly not "wholesome" or Sunday school.
  8. Fair point but I still think it has a different vibe from LoTR.
  9. I agree with you inasmuch as "grit" is not inherently part of LoTR, which is where the rights are. But I must contend differently in terms of the Silmarillion and other material pertaining to the earlier ages in Tolkien's legendarium. They have a darker, more gritty tone in many quarters, consciously imitating the Old Testament of the KJV Bible (which Tolkien took as his "model" for the Sil). Consider the tale of the Sons of Fëanor. They are antiheroes who swear in the name of Iluvatar that they will not rest until the three Silmarils (jewels crafted by their father), are in their hands again, and to make war on any who withholds them. Their actions trigger the "War of the Jewels" and numerous kinslayings against their fellow Elves that lead to the brothers being cursed by the gods (Valar). The Oath itself is as follows: As a result of this oath, they begin their career of vengeance by slaughtering their fellow Elves in an event known as the "first kinslaying", because they needed ships to travel to Middle-earth, but their cousins the Teleri would not help them. Then two of the brothers called Celegorm and Curufin, driven by the oath and the curse of the Valar, are enraged when the Elvish King Finrod of Nargothrond (the kingdom where they are living), decides to help a mortal man called Beren in recovering a Silmaril to win the hand of the Elvish beauty Luthien (out of a debt to Beren's father, who saved his life in battle). They covertly oppose Finrod's mission, and after he has left their scheming causes the people to turn against their cousin Finrod and put them in power in his stead, thereby orchestrating a coup behind their king's back. Next, they take Lúthien, daughter of King Thingol of Doriath, captive after espying her passing through their kingdom en route to unite with her lover Beren and intend for Celegorm to rape her. Celegorm and Curufin are already positioned against Beren, but Luthien does not know this. Celegorm dissembles his true intentions towards Luthien: [Huan] brought her to Celegorm, and Luthien, learning that he was a prince of the Noldor and the foe of Morgoth, was glad; and she declared herself, casting aside her cloak. So great was her sudden beauty revealed beneath the sun that Celegorm became enamoured of her; but he spoke her fair, and promised that she would find help in her need, if she returned with him now to Nargothrond. By no sign did he reveal that he knew already of Beren and the quest, of which she told, nor that it was a matter that touched him near. (203) Holding Luthien captive is indicative of the twisted brothers' intent, partly sexual and partly so as to force a mercurial alliance of kinship with her farher King Thingol, the most powerful of the Elven lords, and this is made explicit in the Silmarillion, "they held her fast, and took away her cloak, and she was not permitted to pass the gates or to speak with any save the brothers Celegorm and Curufin" (203). Celegorm and Curufin's purpose in capturing Luthien is certainly made explicit, as is their treachery: "they purposed to let the King [Finrod Felagund] perish, and to keep Luthien, and force Thingol to give her hand to Celegorm. Thus would they advance their power, and become the mightiest of the princes of the Noldor" (203). But our wily heroine Luthien escapes from Nargothrond and rescues Beren from the clutches of Sauron, aided by Huan the Hound of Valinor and formerly faithful sidekick of Celegorm, who turns against his master over his abduction of Luthien. Celegorm and Curufin are subsequently ousted from power and expelled from Nargothrond after their deeds (trying to abduct, control and forcibly marry/rape the daughter of another Elvish king) are revealed, to wide dismay in the kingdom. They then vow to destroy Thingol, Luthien's father. But unfortunately for our lovesick herores, all four characters meet again in the forest of Brethil where they attempt to slay Beren and again abduct Luthien to cement the coveted alliance with her father's kingdom: Celegorm and Curufin rode up, hastening through the forest; and the brothers espied [Beren and Luthien] and knew them from afar. Then Celegorm turned his horse, and spurred it upon Beren, purposing to ride him down; but Curufin swerving stooped and lifted Luthien to his saddle, for he was a strong and cunning horseman. (208) Luthien manages to get down from the saddle and Beren duels with Celegorm, defeating him. But Curufin who, "being filled with shame and malice, took the bow of Celegorm and shot back as they went; and the arrow was aimed at Luthien" (209). The narrator spells out that the arrow was aimed at Luthien, and, were we in doubt as to that, it is confirmed that he aims at her again: "but Curufin shot again, and Beren sprang before Luthien and the dart smote him in the breast" (209) Later on, Celegorm himself dies in the Second Kinslaying, when the Sons of Feanor sack Luthien's father's Kingdom of Doriath to seize a Silmaril in the possession of his grandson and heir Dior, the Half-Elven son of Beren and Luthien. Celegorm had been instrumental in stirring up his other brothers and causing them to assault Doriath. Thus Doriath is destroyed and King Dior is savagely murdered, along with his wife Nimloth, in his own hall by Celegorm, as well as thousands of his subjects, as Celegorm had vowed years before after Dior's mother Luthien had escaped from his clutches. Celegorm’s servants then cruelly send Dior’s twin sons, Elured and Elurin on a death march and leave them to starve in a dark forest. The brothers emerge victorious, but Celegorm, Curufin and Caranthir are ultimately slain in mutual massacre at Doriath and the Silmaril is not recovered. Lovely, nice little fantasy Elves, eh? Surely, you can't say this has the same "tenor" as the hobbit and LoTR?
  10. Yes, the Children of Hurin for instance and the vengeance quest of the very morally suspect Sons of Feanor are both great examples of gritty.
  11. Oh yes, that's spot on. Tons of under-18s/16s are GoT fans.
  12. Oh yes, that's spot on. Tons of under-18s/16s are GoT fans.
  13. But consider this recent GoT viewer as a paradigmatic example of the contrary impulse among the general public.... https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/game-of-thrones-is-a-window-on-our-world-dqwc0k6kk It would be remiss, I think, to overlook the extent to which GoT has potentially changed the expectations people have of the genre in its adult manifestation. At least from where I'm standing it seems like a sort of Rubicon has been crossed. Already, viewers are missing the GRRM-style grittiness and intrigue now that GoT itself has passed beyond much of it post-book phase. There is a huge market there that many would love to be able to tap into, if they just had a means of doing so.
  14. Indeed but those are film franchises as opposed to episodic prestige TV dramas. They are somewhat different mediums. TV series' are more sprawling and complicated, for one. Also, it depends if your reaching for the adult market (like GoT) or family viewing with a leaning towards the kids end of the spectrum (like Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts). I think the latter work out better as single, couple of hours-long blockbusters. I'm not suggesting that he'd want a lame, unoriginal shadow of GoT, LoTR is an entirely distinct "beast". However, I do sincerely think GoT managed to become so successful a boon financially and in terms of its cultural footprint precisely for the reason that it combined fantasy with gritty political power plays in an intriguing mix that suited the episodic format of TV. It wouldn't have worked otherwise. And I think he does want to tap into a similar market with similar broad appeal. Think of the fantasy series' that have flopped, like Earthsea or Camelot.
  15. Well, the press releases and Bezos's direction to his team did make it clear that GoT was the benchmark/template they seek to emulate. I'm not certain what this means but I definitely feel that, as far as adult-themed fantasy goes post-GoT, public expectations have changed since the heyday of LoTR in the early 2000s. To fulfil the objective Bezos has put forward, they would need to satisfy a similar market to the very diverse GoT fanbase (a sizeable percentage of whom were hooked by the political-intrigue dimension to the franchise, as others have already noted) while staying true to the spirit of Tolkien's legendarium. I'm not persuaded that could be easily achieved.