A user named, The Tolkien Fan, launched a petition aimed at HarperCollins, Amazon, and The Tolkien Estate to stop selling J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books with covers from Prime Video’s upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power series.
HarperCollins revealed The Rings of Power covers for Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings books back in the beginning of July.
They tweeted, “A new legend begins… The Rings of Power arrives on Prime Video on September 2nd, and these brand new tie-in editions of The Lord of the Rings are available now.”
“Add them to your collection and immerse yourself in Middle-earth,” they added.
Then a few days later they announced via Facebook an omnibus edition collecting all three of the books in one.
They wrote, “Begin your journey into Middle-earth. This new one-volume, paperback edition includes the three titles that comprise J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Available August 16th.”
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The Lord of the Rings fans lampooned both editions with one Twitter user describing the omnibus version as “bacteria attaching itself to healthy tissue.”
Twitter user Stig Kenobi wrote, “Amazon is at again. Sticking their fake fan-fiction crap on legit Tolkien work. Basically the book comes with a s**t-stain on it. This time on a paperback set to be released on August 18.
He followed that up in a subsequent tweet writing, “They are trying to sneak-market their travesty onto everything Tolkien now. Like bacteria attaching itself to healthy tissue.”
Now, The Tolkien Fan created a Change.org petition demanding Harper Collins, Amazon, and The Tolkien Estate to “stop selling ‘Rings of Power’ book covers.”
The petition states, “HarperCollins, Amazon, and, as a rights holder, The Tolkien Estate have unjustly co-opted Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings with covers from promotional material for Amazon’s The Rings of Power. This show is not an adaptation, rather, Amazon is making something new within a pre-established framework designed by Tolkien which Amazon is using creative license with.”
It continues, “Mostly, this show contains vastly more content from modern showrunners, writers, producers, and corporate executives. For example, many of the show’s characters, Disa, Halbrand, Arondir, Bronwyn, Theo, Eleanor Brandyfoot, Sadoc Burrows, Poppy Proudfellow, Adar, and more, are entirely original Amazon creations involved in their own originally embellished stories. That’s nine characters, a whole fellowship of original Amazon characters we know of from just the prerelease promotional material alone. Whatever anyone’s stance or opinion on The Rings of Power, it is a separate entity entirely from The Lord of the Rings.”
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Specifically addressing the book covers it notes, “There is a concern about the use of these book covers in question. With the likely inevitability of The Rings of Power’s iconography being incorporated into wide cultural use online, in videos, posts, communities, memes, in art, in stores, on posters, t-shirts, merchandise, games, book covers, theme parks, or whatever else may come, dressing Tolkien’s own original work, here meaning the bodies of text which contain his Legendarium as can be found in such texts as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Unfinished Tales, The Silmarillion, The History of Middle-earth, and elsewhere, is inappropriate as it aids in dominating the cultural consciousness’ acceptance of Amazon’s creation as part of Tolkien’s actual body of works.”
“It would be a tragedy to have his works scrubbed and colored over like a palimpsest, conflating and confusing them with Amazon’s upcoming original series.” the petition details.
It then quotes Christopher Tolkien in regards to the commercialization of his father’s The Lord of the Rings, “To quote Christopher Tolkien, ‘Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time. The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.'”
From there the petition lists off four demands. They are:
- Request that all Amazon tie-in covers for The Rings of Power be discontinued entirely
- That all e-book covers of The Lord of the Rings with Rings of Power iconography immediately be restored with different cover images, and that The Rings of Power tie-in covers be here entirely discontinued as well
- All printing and propagation of these covers by Amazon, Harper Collins, the Tolkien Estate, or any other body responsible in handling Tolkien’s works cease entirely now and henceforth
- All future promotional material or iconography for The Rings of Power remain entirely separate and never be used on or in the published texts of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, The History of Middle-earth, and all subsequent publications of works by J.R.R. Tolkien containing information on his Legendarium
At the time of this writing, the petition has received 165 signatures.
What do you make of the petition? Do you plan on signing?
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