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Is Amazon Prime’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ series OK for kids?


The premiere of Amazon Prime’s big-budget bet on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is less than a month away.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” premieres Sept. 2 on the streaming video service. Amazon, owned by billionaire and Tolkien enthusiast Jeff Bezos, paid $250 million at auction for the rights to portray the Second Age of Middle Earth.

Since then, the highly anticipated series has been frequently compared to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which set an incredibly high bar for success for fantasy on television and was also decidedly adult for its depictions of violence, sex and nudity.

So will “The Rings of Power” — like “Game of Thrones” and numerous other television series — carry a TV-MA rating for mature audiences?

In February, Vanity Fair gave a close-up look at the series and interviewed showrunners Patrick McKay and JD Payne.

“So will there be (‘Game of Thrones’) levels of violence and sex in Amazon’s Middle-earth? In short, no,” Vanity Fair answered.

McKay told Vanity Fair that the objective was “to make a show for everyone, for kids who are 11, 12, and 13, even though sometimes they might have to pull the blanket up over their eyes if it’s a little too scary. We talked about the tone in Tolkien’s books. This is material that is sometimes scary — and sometimes very intense, sometimes quite political, sometimes quite sophisticated — but it’s also heartwarming and life-affirming and optimistic. It’s about friendship and it’s about brotherhood and underdogs overcoming great darkness.”

The show will carry a TV-14 rating.

What is ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’?

The eight-episode first season is expected to be one of five. It takes place in the Second Age of Middle Earth, several thousand years before the events of Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books, and the six Peter Jackson films upon which they are based. (Jackson, whose “Return of the King” won a Best Picture Oscar in 2004, is not involved in “The Rings of Power” project.)

  • The foundation for the stories and characters in “The Rings of Power” are taken from the “appendices,” which appear in six parts at the end of Tolkien’s “Return of the King” and which his family auctioned off the rights to in 2017, with Amazon paying $250 million.

It’s “based not on a Tolkien novel per se but on the vast backstory he laid out in the appendices to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy,” explains Vanity Fair.

Media coverage has also cited that inspiration was taken from Tolkien’s “The Silmarillion,” which was published after the author’s death by his son Christopher in 1977 and chronicles the First Age of Middle Earth.

  • The first season is reportedly costing $465 million, and estimates have the entire project surpassing the $1 billion mark.

The cast is made up of 22 regulars, including familiar characters like Galadriel, Elrond and Isildur.

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ trailer

Sauron, however, was the subject of much of the talk after the official trailer debuted at San Diego Comic Con in late July. No actor is credited yet with playing the evil one, but he has an unmistakable presence.

The trailer begins with Galadriel reflecting on the end of a war that ushered in a time of peace. But she foresees the approaching evil, and we get a glimpse of orcs, a sea monster and some other scary creatures, including what most interpreted to be a balrog.





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