Why the Second Age? (Amazon Show)

(I would like to note that I wrote this post before the new teaser trailer came out, and I’m even less impressed than I was when I wrote this, which actually reads as kind of hopeful now because we’re really just doing Isildur vs Sauron, and I am not here for it.)

I will be the first person in the world to tell you that I’m excited about the new Amazon show set in Middle-earth. I’m always down for more Tolkien, and I’m feeling particularly good about the fact that they have a few Tolkien scholars onsite, and I’m trying really hard not to let the fact that they pulled away from New Zealand make me nervous, but I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that I was a little frustrated, too. Tolkien is my favorite author, and there’s always going to be the chance that they don’t do him justice. And I guess I should be grateful that they’re steering clear of The Silmarillion and just working with a story we’ve already explored, but, again, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wish they were doing the First Age and not the Second Age.

Here’s the thing. If you’re really that curious about the Second Age of Middle-earth, go watch the Prologue to the first movie. It includes everything you need to know in a condensed format because guess what! It’s the same exact story as the Third Age! Sauron is bad, there’s a last alliance between Elves & Men to do him ugly, Men are still idiots, and the Ring remains in power. Bam, that’s the Second Age. It’s literally the same story, except we actually defeat the bad guy in the Third Age.

You know what’s not the same story, and is way cooler? You guessed it, the First Age! I mean, we all know that I love The Silmarillion, that comes as absolutely no surprise, but I am going to kind of rehash the why here. The Second Age is boring. It takes a very short amount of time in The Silmarillion to get through because it’s just LOTR without hobbits and more gore. The Second Age doesn’t even include Sauron’s origins! And heck, who knows, maybe Amazon is going to write about Sauron’s origins, and we’re going to get to see Morgoth and the breadth of power that is the Valar, but I very highly doubt that.

And look, I know, we’re all oh my gosh the two trees of Valinor!!!!!! about the image that they finally released, but my dudes.

The new epic drama brings to screens for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. Beginning in a time of relative peace, thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth.

This is not the shift from Mairon into Sauron. We’re not going to see Morgoth seducing him to the dark side. Heck, we’re probably not even going to be able to see Angband. The Second Age begins after the destruction of Angband and the banishment of Morgoth because that’s a Huge Ass Event in the history of Middle-earth, much like the Third Age begins after what they believe is the final destruction of Sauron and the collapse of Mordor. Sure, the two trees of Valinor are in the far background of the promo pic that Amazon released, but you know what else is? Something that looks like Gondolin, but could be Tirion, but could also be Valinor, but could be–you see my point, right?

Sauron & Morgoth art by Phobs

Second Age is boring. I mean, it’s not, don’t get me wrong, nothing Tolkien ever touches is boring, that man is a genius, but comparatively? If someone was holding a sword to my throat, and I had to pick which Age of Middle-earth I’d want to see adapted on the big screen? First Age, hands down. Not even Third Age, are you kidding me, First Age is where it’s at. Not only do we have Morgoth, truly the best villain ever (LMAO at the people calling Sauron the worst evil Middle-earth has ever seen, ARE YOU KIDDING ME), but we’ve got the asshole that is Fëanor, the glory that is Fingolfin, THE BALROG SLAYING BOYS in Gondolin, just Gondolin itself and all its glory, freaking Beren & Lúthien, I cannot.

All of the good stories come from the First Age. And I know that I’m just speculating here, and that image leads us to believe that we are going to see the First Age, but I honestly don’t want to see it in a show that’s saying it’s set in the Second Age because that means we’re going to get a ten-minute prologue like Fellowship has that’s going to try to break down an entire book’s worth of information. The Second Age prologue to Fellowship works because it’s only got ten minutes of information! I promise you, we’re going to get so short changed if we get a ten-minute prologue on The Silmarillion. Don’t even give me an hour long episode. Hell, one season would barely touch the First Age. You need an entire episode just to introduce all of the Valar! And that’s not even me asking for all that and a bag of chips. There is so much that happens in the First Age, and to think that that promo image is Tirion with the Two Trees in the background? No thanks, actually!

You’re seriously going to tell me that we can just “so there’s this guy Fëanor, he’s the root cause of literally everything, the dude actually massacred his own people, set a fleet of ships on fire so his brother was forced to march through basically the Arctic Circle, and then burst into ash when he died because he was too dramatic to leave behind a body” in thirty seconds or less? Sure! Let’s do a show about the Second Age, but tease the First Age, that’ll be fun!

Fingolfin vs Morgoth art by Guillem H Pongiluppi

I think I’ve run away from my point, which was that a Second Age show was dumb because it’s literally just Elrond and Isildur going oh no! at Sauron for two chapters before we do a one-paragraph overview of the Third Age because about 80% of The Silmarillion is the First Age. (I’m definitely wrong, it’s at least four chapters.) I didn’t mean to get angry about Amazon promoting a First Age-looking picture for their Second Age show, but now I am because now I’m afraid we’re going to get a split second view of Morgoth with some ugly ass crown on where we can’t see his canonically beautiful face just so we can say this is the dude who turned Sauron gay. I SAID WHAT I SAID.

I’m starting to devolve into my usual Morgoth is the best let’s get silly shit, so I think I’m going to end this here. I’m excited about Amazon’s new show set in Middle-earth. I do really wish they’d stop calling it the new Lord of the Rings show because that’s very misleading, and Second Age Sauron is a bastard because he’s in mourning (canonically) and wants to fuck shit up because they just banished Morgoth to the never gonna see you again lands (except when Sauron finally dies, and they both return to Valinor, I’M FINE) and he’s sick of seeing everyone else get their way when he’s just constantly told to shut up and sit down. First Age Sauron is amazing, and I really wish we could see that. Even outside of the villains, I would give my entire soul to see Fingolfin marching alone across the battlefield to face off in single combat with Morgoth. To see Lúthien hair-flipping a fuck you at her dad while she rides off into the darkness to free Beren. To see Gandalf as his original crying because I want to go home Olórin self, OH MY GOSH I WOULD DIE.

Anyway. It’s fine. The Second Age is fine. The First Age is just so much better in all ways.

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