Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin recently offered his opinion about Prime Video’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series describing it as “kind of a weird deal.”
Martin, who spoke with The Independent at the Santa Fe Literary Festival in New Mexico back in May specifically pointed to the fact that Amazon Studios did not purchase or acquire the rights of any of the main Tolkien works on the Second Age despite setting The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power in the Second Age.
Martin said, “Amazon bought Tolkien but they didn’t actually get any of the books. They didn’t get The Lord of the Rings. They didn’t get The Hobbit. They didn’t get even The Silmarillion. I don’t even think they got Farmer Giles of Ham or Leaf by Niggle, but they got the appendices, I guess.”
“And they are constructing a Second Age story about that. There is a lot of myth about that. So, it will be interesting to see what they did,” he added.
Martin then addressed the idea of the two shows competing each other, “I know a lot of people are — a lot of the articles, the minute that the dates were announced — we’re going on August 21st, they’re going on September 2nd — oh the battle for fantasy supremacy. It’s Rings of Power vs. House of Dragon. Who will win? I don’t know why they always have to do that. I hope both shows succeed.”
While decrying pitting the two shows together, Martin would do exactly that and hope House of Dragon wins more Emmy awards, “Yeah, I’m competitive enough. I hope we succeed more. If they win six Emmys, and I hope they do, I hope we win seven. But nonetheless, it’s good for fantasy. I love fantasy. I love science fiction. I want more shows on television.”
While Martin’s assertion that Amazon’s deal is strange definitely rings true, he does seem to be misinformed about what Amazon actually has the rights to for the Rings of Power show.
Rings of Power showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay explained to Vanity Fair that they actually do have the rights to The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. However, they do not have any of the books that primarily focus on the Second Age such as The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth.
Payne explained, “We have the rights solely to The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, the appendices, and The Hobbit. And that is it. We do not have the rights to The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, or any of those other books.”
McKay would later explain why they were bringing to live-action a Second Age story despite not having the key materials that document the Second Age.
“There’s a version of everything we need for the Second Age in the books we have the rights to,” McKay asserted.
He then revealed that the show can’t actually contradict anything in the books they don’t have the rights to.
“As long as we’re painting within those lines and not egregiously contradicting something we don’t have the rights to, there’s a lot of leeway and room to dramatize and tell some of the best stories that [Tolkien] ever came up with,” he relayed.
YouTuber European Lore reacted to Martin’s comments saying, “Honestly, I really do hope House of the Dragon will win. I know it will draw attention from the main series, from finishing The Song of Ice and Fire, which will probably not be finished at all.”
“I know that many people will have many problems with the show, but let me tell you something. I will much rather watch House of the Dragon with cheer and a smile on my face and I will gladly enjoy it much more than the desecration of Tolkien that Amazon is doing,” he explained.
What do you make of Martin’s comments about The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power?