Home Movies

‘The Rings of Power’ will build on ideas Tolkien left incomplete

The show's dialect coach talks about how the show will build upon Tolkien's linguistic legacy.

Image via Amazon Studios

Considering the fact that The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place in an era where J.R.R. Tolkien has, uncharacteristically, provided the least information, there are bound to be a lot of innovations and even deviations from the source material when the show makes its premiere in September. That said, there’s one thing Amazon Studios can easily draw upon without fumbling in the dark, and that’s the fully-fledged fictional language the legendary author came up with for the Elves, who happen to comprise a significant portion of this new adaptation.

Even then, apparently, dialect coach Leith McPherson had to take certain liberties and fill out the gaps, much in the same way as she did when working with Peter Jackson on The Hobbit trilogy. As she explains it in a new interview with Inverse:

“There are pathways, descriptions for sounds Tolkien set. We are honoring his work. We’re not venturing so far off the map that Tolkien himself hasn’t given scope for it. At the same time, we have flexibility to create, to be creative with the aural. Tolkien never really opened all of the doors and cupboards in the house. He himself, dare I say, was inconsistent. He would revise a word, it would have a meaning here and have a different meaning there. Even the most developed forms of his work are not complete. It eludes in ways. I was talking about this with the showrunners at one point, it’s like Tolkien was terraforming with language.”

Given how reverently McPherson talks about Tolkien’s linguistic genius and her own infatuation with The Lord of the Rings appendices, where most of the information is stored about the olden days of Middle-earth — including the language — we can safely say that The Rings of Power will mostly stick to what Tolkien has already laid out, making the language similar to what appeared in Peter Jackson’s work.

The show is making its way to Prime Video on Sep. 2.

About the author

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan is a religious consumer of movies, TV shows, video games, and speculative fiction. And when he isn't doing that, he likes to write about them. He can get particularly worked up when talking about 'The Lord of the Rings' or 'A Song of Ice and Fire' or any work of high fantasy, come to think of it.