The Lord of the Rings series over at Amazon is going to be one of the most scrutinized shows in recent memory. The property has a strong fan following and is likely to be subjected to a number of criticisms before it even gets released, from casting to plot to everything in between. One such bit of scrutiny has popped up in response to a potential casting call for actors that are comfortable with nudity.
TheOnering.net on Twitter has the supposed scoop about the upcoming Lord of the Rings series:
If this is true, there is certainly an argument to be made that the Lord of the Rings series should try and reflect the intentions of the source material. There isn’t any explicit sexual content or explicit nudity in the original books by J.R.R. Tolkien, and it is fair to say that any new riff on the property should echo those sentiments.
However, there is some selective memory gymnastics going on when it comes to analyzing what the Lord of the Rings series is “allowed” to do in relation to what the feature films did. While the film trilogy is now viewed as a classic of cinema and a wonderful adaptation of Tolkien’s books, there were plenty of criticisms at the time towards the movies for being too violent or too horror-influenced. Those same arguments used the “it’s not like the books” point as the foundation of their criticism.
To be frank, the Lord of the Rings series can do whatever it wants with the material and it will be left up to audiences to decide whether they like it or not. Any pearl-clutching going on about the potential for nudity in this new iteration of the property is unfounded until the context of the entire work is available. TheOneRing.net immediately assumes that the nudity will be on the level of sexual excess that Game of Thrones became infamous for. Exactly what they are basing that assumption on is unclear.
Of course, it is dismissive to assume that the success of Game of Thrones won’t have some significant effect on the Lord of the Rings series. The HBO fantasy series changed the entire landscape of live-action fantasy in the same way that Peter Jackson’s original trilogy did. It is definitely going to be interesting to see what kind of tonal and visual style this new show will decide to play with. Will it lean more towards the grittiness of Game of Thrones or will it embrace the more fantastical elements and classical tone of the film trilogy?
It’s all speculation at this point and that includes however possible nudity could be integrated into the Lord of the Rings series. Maybe nothing will ever come of this! It is all mist and shadow at this stage of development. If we do end up getting nudity in this new series, we will have to judge its usage on its own merits. It is going to be interesting to see what kind of puritanical reactions certain sects of the Lord of the Rings fandom engage in if we do get explicit nudity. Meanwhile, we will be wondering if any of them have ever read (or even written) their fair share of Lord of the Rings slashfic.