EPIC Vlog 04: Hobbiton (+ What I Want from the New LOTR Series)

During my recent visit to New Zealand, I made a quick detour to Middle Earth. While I was there, I found myself thinking about Amazon’s forthcoming Lord of the Rings series. I want it to be amazing, but I’m concerned it will be disappointing. Here’s what I want to see out of it…

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This video was made possible in part by The Inklings of Oxford by Harry Lee Poe.


Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved the world of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. When I was maybe seven or eight, my parents gave me a copy of The Hobbit and I read it, my mom read it to me and then I read it. And I read it to my children and they’ve read it. It’s been very precious to me. There’s a lot about Tolkien’s world that I love. I love the characters, I love the storylines, I love his concept of good and evil. Probably more than anything, I love the descriptions, I love the setting for his stories. I’ve always wanted to live in that world, to see that world, and I thought, well maybe today we can go and explore that world.

This video is made possible in part by Harry Lee Poe and his beautiful book, The Inklings of Oxford. Stay tuned, I’ll tell you more about it in just a couple of moments.

Welcome to Hobbiton. This is one of 44 hobbit holes in town. Why don’t we walk around, explore a little bit and see what we can see?

Amazon recently announced they’ll be launching this new television series set in the world of The Lord of the Rings. I’m a long time fan of Tolkien’s work. I feel excitement about this. I also feel some measure of dread. I want it to be amazing. I’m kind of concerned it’s going to be disappointing. So here from Hobbiton, let me tell you what I want from this new series.

First, keep it consistent. This show will tell new stories of course, but in a very familiar world. A world that Tolkien developed with very great care, from it’s language to its history to its mythology, all of it. He also embedded within that world a morality that mirrored his Christian ethic. So it was his conviction about the sheer evilness of evil. This is what made the ring of power so powerful, this is what made the ring bearer so heroic. If this new series is going to succeed, it will need to be premised on that same morality, and not some novel modern or post-modern reinterpretation.

Second, keep it clean, please. Shows today, they show more explicit sexuality and nudity than ever before and, you know, the most obvious comparison to this series is one that boasts and brags in the amount of sexuality and adult content it shows. But Tolkien was a family man. He wrote stories for everyone, not just for adults. So please, let’s keep this new series clean. Let’s let it be a show that I can watch with my kids.

Finally, create a great story. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, they have such longevity because they stand on the strength of their stories. The world is incredible, the characters are fascinating, the settings are amazing, but at the end of the day, it’s the stories that make it all work. I think a series like this may face the temptation to focus less on great stories and instead to compensate with huge production value, to pour tons of money into it, but to neglect the story. I want the series to be professionally made, I want it to be amazing to watch, but nothing will overcome a poor story. Make the story so good, we would read them, even if we couldn’t watch them.

Here from Hobbiton, just a few of the things I so desperately want in this new Lord of the Rings series.

I’m here in Hobbiton, in Middle Earth, the world created by J.R.R.Tolkien and forever immortalized in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I’ve completed a tour. I’ve seen Bilbo’s house, I’ve seen the green dragon, I’ve seen all the sites of this remarkable place, created for the movie, The Lord of the Rings and for The Hobbit. If you want to continue the journey through Middle Earth, there’s no better place to go than to Oxford. And a great resource to do that is the book The Inklings of Oxford. If you’re interested in the book, I’ve left a link down in the description. You can also go to Amazon and give a search for The Inklings of Oxford.