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Amazon buys up Middle-earth, it searches the One Ring! (Rings of Power news thread)


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This... is cringe, to be sure. But to be fair, I know I'm not the target audience for this. I don't give a shit about influencers or the exclusive parties they get invited to (they really had to stretch out their obvious lack of content, huh), but I get that they're an important part of modern marketing (just look at Fyre Festival). I'm sure that if you already love these guys, you won't have a problem with it.

But I will say it's only a small part in a already weird marketing campaign. Surely, surely Amazon knows how famously obsessive the LotR fanbase is? I don't want to be elitist, but what baffles me about the trailer is that it has barely anything a LotR fan can instantly recognise. If you're not regularly on here, discussing every new article and leak, I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't see anything familiar in it. And even if you know that's Galadriel and Elrond, you're likely to then think "Hang on, did they even do anything important in the Second Age?"

If we had got a really interesting trailer with all sorts of Easter eggs for Tolkien nerds to point out, I would surely have hated this panel, all excited but saying exactly nothing of value. But with the one we got? Really, what other kind of "superfan" would be so egregiously amazed by it?

 

Though I really, really don't want to throw the show under the bus just because of a weird marketing strategy, I understand that more and more LotR fans feel increasingly alienated from this show. I've heard a rumour that studios intentionally bait diversity politics to start discourse and get a free-card against criticism, and this video is basically a smoking gun.

 

Also, the video has been unlisted now... 

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My main gripe is that they do not create diversity by lets say, saying that the dwarves, elves, hobbits, humans from this region or mountain are from this ethnic group, and then there can be a few from other groups mixed by marriages, visitors or diplomatic reasons....

 

no, they make mixed populations everywhere like if they were developed modern societies...

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1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

"Tolkien's work was always about being inclusive" is just a baffling sentence.  Obviously it's fine for any reader to take any meaning they want out of a work of literature, but it's quite different to say "[author born in 19th century] was always actually writing strictly about [my particular very contemporary political obsession]"

 

The whole thing with Amazon inviting some 'superfans' to give a reaction means that by circumstance they're going to say it looks awesome, regardless of whether they think it does. And yes, that's a pretty meaningless sentence - typical 'feel good' soundbite. You can draw any politically/socially relevant conclusion you want from a work of fantasy like this.

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On 22/02/2022 at 6:14 PM, Nick1Ø66 said:

Offered without comment.

 

 

 

 

Oh well. That's that's that then 👍

 

Edit:

Whoa whoa, hang on... these are just YOUTUBER reactions?? Fuck me, the whole time I was watching I assumed this was the new cast. LMAO. Fucking phew...? 

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15 minutes ago, Quintus said:

 

Oh well. That's that's that then 👍

 

Edit:

Whoa whoa, hang on... these are just YOUTUBER reactions?? Fuck me, the whole time I was watching I assumed this was the new cast. LMAO. Fucking phew...? 

 

I'm beginning to suspect I'm not among the audience Amazon is creating this for. Or at least, marketing it to. I dunno...just a hunch.

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6 hours ago, KK said:

I have zero issue with the racial diversity of this Amazon show, and would dismiss most of the fuss the media is clamouring about as typical Twitter fanboy trolls. There is more than enough space in Tolkien's work to do that kind of thing and still retain his spirit. The great classics tend to have that lasting power, so long as the "purists" don't get so myopic about it.

 

My reservations around what little I've seen are purely on aesthetic and cinematic merit.


I do have issues with the diversity, but you’re right. The issue with the trailer is definitely a cinematic one: I’m mostly thinking that weird-ass looking Troll but also the blokeish Finrod and the implications of Meteor-man (please don’t be Gandalf!).

 

14 hours ago, Luke Skywalker said:

My main gripe is that they do not create diversity by lets say, saying that the dwarves, elves, hobbits, humans from this region or mountain are from this ethnic group, and then there can be a few from other groups mixed by marriages, visitors or diplomatic reasons....

 

no, they make mixed populations everywhere like if they were developed modern societies...


This. And they still hadn’t revealed the Numenoreans: why anyone would put themselves into the situation where they need to explain how Cynthia Addi Robinson (Tar Miriel) and Trystan Gravelle (Pharazon) are first cousins, I don’t know.

 

But I hasten to say there are things I see great potential in: Galadriel, Elrond, Gil-Gaza’s, the entire dynamic in Numenore, Durin III and Durin IV, etc…

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On 23/02/2022 at 3:43 PM, Nick1Ø66 said:

I don't know, in my judgment it's an insult to say Tolkien needs "updating" to appeal to a wider audience. Isn't the phenomenal success of the films, and the popularity of all things Tolkien, evidence enough of Lord of the Ring's universal appeal?

Um, no. Considering that the movies were massively different to the books. Tolkien would never have recognized them as the same work. Adapting it to a new medium is inherently "updating" it. 

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Sure, but you do see how having Cynthia Addai Robinson (Tar Miriel) be Trystan Gravelle's (Pharazon) first-cousin would be a bit weird even in an original show, right?

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On 01/03/2022 at 2:44 PM, Chen G. said:

Sure, but you do see how having Cynthia Addai Robinson (Tar Miriel) be Trystan Gravelle's (Pharazon) first-cousin would be a bit weird even in an original show, right?

 

Are those castings confirmed?

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They hadn't been officially announced by Amazon (their recent news blitz seems to have been Elf-centric, and they're keeping most of the Numenorean characters for a later reveal), but its true. I have a list of the cast somewhere:

 

Number

Character

Actor

Role

Codenames

1

Galadriel

Morfydd Clark

Protagonist

"Eldien"

2

Young Galadriel

Lady Amelie Child-Villiers

Minor character

"Young Eldien"

3

Elrond

Robert Aramayo

Deuteragonist

"Beldor", "Neldor"

4

Gil Galad

Benjamin Walker

Major character

"Galanion?

5

 Arondir (Silvan Elf)

Ismael Cruz-Cordova

Major character 

"Calenon", "Everard"

6

Celebrimbor

Charles Edwards

Major character

?

7

Finrod

Will Fletcher

Minor character

?

8

? (Elf)

Kip Chpaman

Minor character

"Selwyn"?

9

Adar(Tortured Elf)

Joseph Mawle

Antagonist (Galadriel's brother?! Sauron alias?)

"Oren"

10

Durin III

Peter Mullan

Minor character

"Khain"

11

Durin IV (his son)

Owain Arthur

Major character

"Brac"

12

Disa (his wife)

Sophia Nomvete

Major character

"Eira"

13

? (Hobbit elder)

Dr. Sir Lenworth Henry

Major character

"Hamson"?

14

? (his wife?)

Sara Zwangobani? Thusitha Jayasundera?

Major character?

"Cora"

15

? (Hobbit, their daughter?)

Megan Richards

Major character

"May", "Hennah"?

16

Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot

Markella Kavenagh

Major character, comic relief?

"Tyra"

17

Bronwyn (Middle Earth native)

Nazanin Boniadi

Major character (Arondir's love interest)

"Kari"

18

Theo (her son)

Tyroe Muhaffidin

Major character

"Kyrin"

19

Elendil

Lloyd Owen

Major character

"Loda"

20

Carine (his daughter)

Ema Horvath

Major character

"Shay", "Ema"?

21

Isildur

Maxim Baldry

Major character

"Cole"

22

Nollon (his friend)

Alex Tarrant? Anthony Crum? Ian Blackburn?

Minor character

Hildrun

23

Ontamo (his friend)

Anthony Crum? Ian Blackburn? Alex Tarrant?

Minor character

Leofyn

24

Valandil (his friend)

Ian Blackburn? Alex Tarrant?Anthony Crum?

Minor character

Ferrin

 25

Tar Palantir

Goeff Morrell?

Minor character

"Sarador"

 26

Tar Miriel (regent)

Cynthia Addai-Robinson

Major character

"Asta"

 27

Pharazon

Trystan Gravelle

Major character, minor antagonist

"Welyn"

 28

Kemen (his son)

Fabian McCallum? Leon Wadham?

Major character

"Cadmon"

29

Halbrand (fugitive, Northman?)

Charlie Vickers

Major character, anti-hero?

Aric

30

"The Stranger" (Gandalf?!)

Daniel Weyman

Major character

Daric

31

Lara (Queen's Lady-in-waiting)

?

Minor Character

 

?

32

Cirdan ? (Elf)

 Simon Merrells

 Minor character

"Tervyn" 

33

?

 Dylan Smith

 Minor character

 ?

34

?

 Peter Tait

 Minor character

 ?

35

?

Beau Cassidy

Minor character

?

36

?

Augustus Prew

Minor character

?

37

?

Maxine Cunliffe

Minor character

?

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  • 4 weeks later...

It just tells me that the people in charge of this spend way too much time on Twitter and have convinced themselves the neurotic obsessions of the too-online reflect some kind of mass movement.

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1 hour ago, JohnnyD said:

Now, having seen what Amazon is doing, I am appalled. All they care about is making “another Game of Thrones.”

 

The teaser didn't seem very Game of Thrones-like, which is actually a shame: Tolkien sets the events of the Second Age up very much like Game of Thrones. Not in the trivial sense of the "guts-n'-tits" but in the more meaningful sense that its a political thriller: its about court intrigue, power struggles, coups and so fourth: its not yet another "group of characters on a mission go from A to Z via B-Y."

 

Of course, that will be an element of the show: the Vanity Fair writers who saw the first three episodes addressed this. The question is just how many concessions to the "Quest narrative" we will see with things like Galadriel going around looking for clues for Sauron's return, and whatever those Hobbits and "The Stranger" are up to. I'm not sure the two modes of storytelling - Machiavelian thriller and adventure story - sit together very well. We'll have to wait and see.

 

Quote

I have friends who are white, black and Latino, and they are disgusted by the fact that Amazon is trying to make Tolkien’s world reflect modern-day society

 

Jew here. I too am not crazy about the diversity here: its implemented very clumsily here. But by itself its not a deal-breaker to me: just the cause of occasional eyerolls.

 

1 hour ago, JohnnyD said:

Not to mention that the entertainment rights to Tolkien’s works are now quite literally divided, with Amazon having the rights to any adaptation of The Hobbit and Appendices and the Saul Zaentz Company owning the rights to The Lord of the Rings (which is licensed to WB).

 

This is inaccurate. The Saul Zaentz company holds the rights to adapt both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, appendices included, FOR FILM or for a miniseries of no more than eight episodes. What Amazon have are the corresponding rights to adapt the works to FOR TV OR STREAMING. They also, via their recent purchase of MGM, the rights to distribute a film adaptation of The Hobbit.

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8 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

The teaser didn't seem very Game of Thrones-like


I was referring to Amazon Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly having told his team of Amazon Prime executives, “I want my Game of Thrones” (according to Brad Stone via his book, “Amazon Unbound”). They are trying to cash-in on the fantasy genre and try to have for Amazon what Game of Thrones did for HBO. They seemed to fail with “Wheel of Time” (nothing from Amazon Prime interests me, so it matters not to me), and now they are trying to do the same with Rings of Power.

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8 hours ago, Chen G. said:

The Saul Zaentz company holds the rights to adapt both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, appendices included, FOR FILM or for a miniseries of no more than eight episodes. What Amazon have are the corresponding rights to adapt the works to FOR TV OR STREAMING. They also, via their recent purchase of MGM, the rights to distribute a film adaptation of The Hobbit.


Either way, it is a mess.

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Its really not: one company holds the TV rights, the other the film rights.

 

6 hours ago, JohnnyD said:

I was referring to Amazon Chairman of the Board and CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly having told his team of Amazon Prime executives, “I want my Game of Thrones” (according to Brad Stone via his book, “Amazon Unbound”). They are trying to cash-in on the fantasy genre and try to have for Amazon what Game of Thrones did for HBO. They seemed to fail with “Wheel of Time” (nothing from Amazon Prime interests me, so it matters not to me), and now they are trying to do the same with Rings of Power.

 

I think he meant in the sense of "event" fantasy show.

 

Anyhow, look at the finished product: the showrunners (although I think they're gussying it up to some extent) said the show is intended for "for kids who are 11, 12, and 13."

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Yeah I'm certainly not expecting any kind of "explicit content" a la Thrones, which would be just about as un-Tolkien as you could possibly get.  It's hardly controversial to say that most people who get into Tolkien's work start in that 11-16 range of ages.  I was 12-13 when I first read LOTR and 14 when the first movie came out.  Good time to be a nerdy teen :P 

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2 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

Yeah I'm certainly not expecting any kind of "explicit content" a la Thrones, which would be just about as un-Tolkien as you could possibly get

 

The way Tolkien set it, the show has incestual martial rape coming in future seasons, so I don't know about that...
 

I think the films would have been well-served by an R-rated version, and the same is true here. The showrunners "oh, its totally suitable for 11 year-olds" worries me as much as anything. Then again, I do think they're somewhat gussying it up: the show is currently rated "14" which is the same rating as Wheel of Time which I'm told was quite violent and explicit.

 

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3 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

Yeah I'm certainly not expecting any kind of "explicit content" a la Thrones, which would be just about as un-Tolkien as you could possibly get.

 

I never got into "Game of Thrones." I never was interested in that.

41 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

The way Tolkien set it, the show has incestual martial rape coming in future seasons, so I don't know about that...

 

 

What exactly are you referring to? I might be missing or forgetting something.

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3 hours ago, JohnnyD said:

What exactly are you referring to? I might be missing or forgetting something.

 

Spoiler

Pharazon and Tar Miriel....

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That’s right; I forgot about that. A contributing part of the Fall of Númenor. Thanks for the reminder.

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I decided to do some research and digging. Those “super fans”, those “social media influencers” are NOT actual fans of Tolkien. I saved myself from watching that whole promo to save myself from gouging out my eyes and ripping my ears out. None of their “content” make any reference to Tolkien and his works. No book reflections, no topics, no discussions, nothing. What is sad is that there are gullible people out there who will actually fall into this fake promo crap. Am I the only one who finds this whole thing sad and pathetic?

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1 hour ago, JohnnyD said:

Am I the only one who finds this whole thing sad and pathetic?

 

You are not.

 

But I tend to separate marketing from the film or the show. Marketing is by its very nature very often disingenious about what you're going to get: the only way to gauge of a movie or a show is by watching at least some of it and getting a feel for it and seeing if that feel is good and - if its good enough to keep you onboard - sustained through the work.

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1 hour ago, JohnnyD said:

Am I the only one who finds this whole thing sad and pathetic?

 

Just too checked out to feel anything, really. Just completely turned off.

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So... I'm starting to grow worried, too. Not to spoil Fellowship of Fans' reveal for him, but anyone ever wanted some Rienzi in their Numenore storyline?

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  • 4 weeks later...

They really released a trailer and then went full media-silence, it feels like.

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Technically, they did just confirm a new character. This bloke:

 

the-lord-of-the-rings-the-rings-of-power

 

He's called....Theo (why?!) and he's the son of the character Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) shown in the Vanity Fair article, a widow from Tirharad who starts an affair with the Silvan Elf Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova). You can see where its all going: boy is apprehensive about mum's new squeeze, rattles off to the village, village drives the lovers out, tragedy ensues.

 

I'm expecting more character confirmations and possibly some more footage soon: the previous one was very Elf centric but teased Numenore. I think the next one will be Numenore-centric, and tease more Elves. After all, Vanity Fair confirmed (but didn't show) Isildur (Maxim Baldry) and Celebrimbor (Charles Edwards).

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It's going to be a checklist TV series on a faux epic backdrop which does to Tolkien what George and Steve did to Indiana Jones in that episode of South Park. 

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Possibly.

 

I really don't want to be too negative about a show that's still months away from airing. There are some stuff thus far that I like, but I definitely also see the storm-clouds forming.

 

We shall see.

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Given how unrepresentative some trailers can be, it's incredibly unfair to judge the series based on just that one.

 

A colleague once tried to convince me that a trailer gave zero indication of the quality of a film because they're put together by a different team with a specific marketing brief. I don't know how accurate that is, but it's safe to say that compressing a season down to 90 seconds of barely related shots pciked for their visual interest, is not going to be representative.

 

In the same way, any judgement passed for the score is based on nothing whatsoever, especuially as we don't know the extent of Shore's involvement yet.

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I'd actually endeavoured to maintain as much personal optimism towards this even as fans began to break ranks upon the release of the first promo shots and then teaser trailer. But every time I see or read new material, I just feel like they're going out of their way to raise the ire/eyebrows of the more "traditionalist" point of viewership out there that really just wanted to see a bloody good fantasy epic set in Middle-Earth and literally does not give a fuck about woke distraction - the tiresome new equivalent of those really annoying tits and arse scenes in Game of Thrones. It breaks my immersion. 

 

I'm convinced now that a part of the agenda behind this whole venture is to stir controversy, even if it costs them viewers. 

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18 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

Given how unrepresentative some trailers can be, it's incredibly unfair to judge the series based on just that one.

 

Its not the trailer as such, its some of the avenues that we KNOW Amazon are exploring.

 

So they decided they need Hobbits because "it wouldn't be Middle Earth without Hobbits!" Okay. Fine (he said through gritted teeth). But do you really need to gild the lily by not just having Hobbits in there, but Hobbits living in a secret community, with two wide-eyed youngsters wondering about the outside world, and falling in with a mysterious, bearded individual? They even gave them cute Hobbit names: no Deagol for this Hobbit gal. Nope. No, sir. Why, she is Elanor Brandyfoot. You see, I took the name of Sam's daughter, the first bit of Brandybuck and the last bit of Proudfoot and its a new name now. Hurr, hurr, hurr!

 

I don't want to make too big a deal out of this, because I'm really not talking about this from the point of view of a Tolkien purist. I'm just talking cinematically: this is the sort of thing that, I'm convinced, even had I not known a word of Tolkien, I'd probably find incongorous with all the cutthroat politicing of the Second Age: amidst all the Celebrimbors getting a colo-cum-endoscopy-ed with a pike and the Pharazons doing coups and forcibly marrying their first cousins, to suddenly cut away to cute Hobbit girls on a crosscountry trek...

 

I do see things I like: I think Romenna looks sweet. The idea of giving the Lindon Elves an ersatz-Arthurian aesthetic could become overly picture-book-y, but for the meanwhile looks rather pleasing. Obviously the New Zealand countryside will be as raptorous as ever. Peter Mullan was meant to play a Dwarf, and I think Robert Aramayo is a solid choice for an Elrond. Ultimately, I think the show deserves just as much good faith as all the Star Wars shows that are getting so much attention on the General forum, and probably more than anything Marvel are churning out. But there are also some troubling signs that go beyond a one-minute teaser. The Hobbits and "Meteor Man" (WTF?!) are not the only issues, either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lots of talk about the LotR TroP event on Twitter today. I'm not gonna speak for those invited, but can we assume this is damge control after the disastrous response to their last influencer event?

 

https://www.theonering.net/torwp/2022/05/09/113105-the-vibes-of-power-amazon-shares-exciting-rings-of-power-insight/

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15 hours ago, Monoverantus said:

Lots of talk about the LotR TroP event on Twitter today. I'm not gonna speak for those invited, but can we assume this is damge control after the disastrous response to their last influencer event?

 

https://www.theonering.net/torwp/2022/05/09/113105-the-vibes-of-power-amazon-shares-exciting-rings-of-power-insight/

 

Given TORN have basically been banging the drum for this show from the off (on their social media accounts anyway), did we expect any other kind of response from them?

 

Call me cynical, but I expect any 'fan site', vlogger or 'influencer' who've been wined and dined (on Amazon's dime) to merely gush over what they saw.

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1 hour ago, Barnald said:

I expect any 'fan site', vlogger or 'influencer' who've been wined and dined (on Amazon's dime) to merely gush over what they saw.

 

I know of at least three whose responses were a bit ambivalent.

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1 hour ago, Barnald said:

 

Given TORN have basically been banging the drum for this show from the off (on their social media accounts anyway), did we expect any other kind of response from them?

 

Call me cynical, but I expect any 'fan site', vlogger or 'influencer' who've been wined and dined (on Amazon's dime) to merely gush over what they saw.

As I said, I'm not gonna try to mind read any of the attendees, but yeah, several of the invited people (including the TORN guys) have weirdly similar, uncritical compliments *wink wink*

image.png

 

What I'm trying to highlight is the difference in approach to the last influencer event. Much of the fan critique was aimed at how self-indulgent it was, and questioning the LotR street-cred of said influencers. Now, they've got popular/respected figures like Corey Olsen, Nerd of the Rings, Fellowship of Fans etc in Oxford, as if to prove "See? Legitimate LotR fans like the show!!!" without having to put out a video on their YT that can be downvoted or subjected to condescending reactions.

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  • 4 weeks later...
1 hour ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

Dear God.

 

pb5w7f2f91391.jpg?width=640&crop=smart&a

 

 

That looks like...Sir Lenny Henry in a bad Bach wig!

 

Their names are just as terrible, too, by the way: Elanor Brandyfoot, Poppy Proudfellow and Sadoc Burrow.

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9 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Their names are just as terrible: Elanor Brandyfoot, Poppy Proudfellow and Sadoc Burrow.

 

Those seriously sound like Harry Potter names.

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3 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

Those seriously sound like Harry Potter names.

 

Oh I agree. Everything about that storyline (and that's also the storyline that encompasses the man who falls from the sky, because why not) comes across so cloying.

 

The rest of this - minus the outlandishness of the Troll - I'm fine with.

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