I was seven years old when I first saw The Lord of the Rings. As I grew older, my appreciation for the movies and the books got deeper. I am always amazed by how much new things I find from this epic written decades ago.
I grew up with the Harry Potter hype. I watched the movies and read the books. But after reading the sixth book, I felt cheated as it strayed too far from the style and themes of the first book. I also didn’t like that the Author was writing the book while being aware of the fan’s reactions. Somehow that made it seem impure. I didn’t read the last book and only got around watching the last movie two years ago. In parts.
The same is true when Game of Thrones gained popularity. People who endorsed it to me said that it was a more realistic Lord of the Rings. And I get the draw. But still, I didn’t feel like the series has earned the comparison. I don’t like that, like Harry Potter, this was an unfinished series. I don’t like that, like J.K. Rowling, G.R.R. Martin would absolutely write the succeeding books with the hype in mind. And true enough, the producers of the shows bit more than they can chew in adapting this unfinished series.
While themes and motifs emerge from different parts of a story, it is only in the conclusion that the author’s thesis is revealed. And it is this thesis that determines whether a story is worth reading or watching.
LOTR was tested by time as a story that resonated through decades of fluctuating sensibilities. It was written at a time when the Author had significantly more control over his time and direction. It doesn’t beckon to us as consumers, but almost as children, starved for stories that would help us make sense of the world and not just thrill or excite us. It spoke to us at a deeper level. And we understood because the thesis was clear. Its soul was not malleable. Nor was it a copy of another. It simply was, and we took it as nourishment because it is food.
I used to think that this was just romanticizing older stuff. But as I grew older and read and watched more things which absolutely holds up for many reasons, I understood better. There is no such thing as an “instant classic.” I think this world needs to understand that, now more than ever. We are fed a lot of content by hollow industries which impart no wisdom of the ages and seek only profit. It takes time and purpose for good things to come about.
I do not know much about the Amazon LOTR remake, but considering that their source material was well-thought out and made with purpose and care, I trust that it will be leagues better than the generic franchise fodder fed to us by feckless philanderers.