I’ve been thinking a lot about that picture this week. A lot. Have you? You have? Well, that’s a good little Tolkien fan!

While we bask in the glow of the first APME (Amazon Prime Middle-earth) image, what’s going through your mind? You may have read some of our thoughts here, elsewhere, and certainly had your own. A few days later, where are we now?

Waiting. And waiting. And speculating. And lighting up the interwebs with lots of buzz.

In other words, we are right where Amazon wants us to be. Awoken, alert, attentive, and responding like puppies to treats. Personally, I’m okay with that, for now. It was truly inspiring to explore that tantalizing image of Valinor and let our Middle-earth wanderlust venture into the guesswork of what’s happening behind the curtains.

Yet, after the euphoria of that first taste dissipates, I find myself sobering up. This launch has returned to earth.

Friends, it’s way to early to get comfortable or overly excited about what’s coming from Amazon. I personally might be on guard until after the “Season 8” finale is complete for this first series. Nobody wants to be burned by another bad ending.

We are certainly impressed with the artistic chops, vision, and potential scope of storytelling demonstrated in this image. Yet, no matter how sumptuous the visual experience will be, what will mater the most about this series is the writing.

TORn staffer Justin asks, “Is it (the image) true to Tolkien?” Well, so far, it looks like it just might be. Funny thing about us old Tolkien fans, though: razzle and dazzle us, but don’t color too far out of the lines.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. It’s gonna be awhile.

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.

Anyone who tells you that they expected the first promotional image for the LOTR on Prime series to reveal an iconic panorama of Valinor — the land of angelic beings of Middle-earth — is either a liar or is inside the production.

Because I’m certain that there was nothing in previously teased material and maps that even hints at Valinor.

What’s more, this single image is as much of a statement as a certain someone recently flying to the very edge of space.

At first, you think: “Well, it’s another Middle-earth city. But, hey, it’s pretty cool.” You’re expecting, perhaps, Armenelos or Rómenna on the island of Númenór. After all, we know the series is supposed to encompass the rise and fall of the island kingdom and there does seem to be a glittering body of water even if it’s a bit small to be a bay, much less the ocean.

Then your eye is drawn inexorably to the background glow and it dawns that what you thought was merely the sun nearly (and neatly) conceals a pair of colossal trees.

And in an instant your whole worldview of the series just … changes.

Because, you know — if you’ve tried your hand at reading The Silmarillion or have delved into the pre-history of The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit — that these aren’t just any pair of trees.

It’s the Two Trees.

The tree of silver and the tree of gold that are the source of all light in Valinor. That provide the light for Fëanor’s Silmarils, and ultimately for the Phial of Galadriel. And whose destruction triggers a cascade of events that stretches all the way to the end of the Third Age.

If anything can be, this is the heart of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth mythmaking.

LOTR on Prime has enormous ambitions and it’s not afraid to declare as much.

It’s declaring that it’s here to challenge the Peter Jackson movies as the definitive visual depiction of Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

It’s declaring that it has the talent, technology and resources, and access to the necessary source material.

I think, above all, LOTR on Prime is declaring to Tolkien fans that it doesn’t want to be underestimated.

It’s declaring that it’s not simply making a Game of Thrones clone for the mass market.

And it’s declaring that they’re going to take us, the readers of Tolkien’s work, to places that we never thought would be possible in a film or a TV series.

Sure, we already knew some of that — intellectually. We knew we were promised 50-odd hours of telly over five seasons. And, we knew that the rights and production investment runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. But you just can’t /feel/ a series of numbers.

This, on the other hand… this is real. Real, tangible proof that we’re on a journey to somewhere special.

Strap in, kids, we’re about to blast off into space.

If you have a Tolkien/Middle-earth inspired poem you’d like to share, then send it to poetry@theonering.net. One poem per person may be submitted each month. Please make sure to proofread your work before sending it in. TheOneRing.net is not responsible for poems posting with spelling or grammatical errors.