I’ve always been a Tolkien fan, having been exposed to The Hobbit when I was young and then reading The Lord of the Rings as a jr. higher. No, thank you for asking, I wasn’t a nerd.
But I did fall head over heals for Arda and Tolkien’s mythos so much so that
I didn’t go on a date until I was 25 memorized Elvish language and devoured The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales. So imagine my cautioned interest when I heard that Russian paleontologist Kirill Yeskov penned “The Last Ringbearer,” a re-imagining of Tolkien’s trilogy. Translated by Yisroel Markov, Yeskov’s vision of Middle Earth does away with what he perceives to be a romanticized and naive morality in Tolkien’s yarn, and instead speculates from a Mordor-centric understanding. Here, Gandalf is a war-monger who is trying to hold back the civilizing and modernizing effects of Mordor’s innovation.
All this makes me as equally intrigued as suspicious. What do you think? Is such fiction harmless and good for the franchise? Or can such a retelling with such a strong anti-Tolkien lens bear any fruit?