Lord of the Rings fanfic writer sues Amazon for $250 million

Morfydd Clark (Galadriel)
Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) /

Here’s something to give you a lift heading into the weekend: per PC Gamer, a fanfic writer named Demetrious Polychron (great name) has sued both Amazon and the Tolkien estate for copyright infringement, claiming that they ripped off his Lord of the Rings fanfiction novel The Fellowship of the King when Amazon made its Lord of the Rings prequel show The Rings of Power. He’s demanding $250 million in damages.

Does Polychron have a case? At first glance, very much no. If you’ll remember, The Rings of Power is set thousands of years before J.R.R. Tolkien’s original Lord of the Rings story, during the Second Age of Middle-earth. Polychron’s opus, on the other hand, is set in the Fourth Age, and features Sam Gamgee’s daughter Elanor as its main character. Here’s the description of the book from GoodReads:

"Long before Sauron, the original Rings Of Power were forged by the Elven Lord Celebrimbor and Dwarven smith Narvi in Eregion, near the Misty Mountains. These first magic Rings were far more powerful than those that came after and were corrupted by Sauron to be fought for in the War of the Ring.Elanor, daughter of Samwise, is nervous before her debutante party in the Shire. In the 22nd year of the reign of the High King Elessar, the Blue Wizards return from out of the East bearing grave and perilous the rest of the Rings of Power have been found and they are in deadly danger. Thus begins the War of the Rings to End All Wars of the Rings. Before it is over Elves, Hobbits, Dwarves, Men and magical races long forgotten or never seen before will join the Quest to find Celebrimbor’s originals and the last of Sauron’s corrupted Rings of Power.Elanor, two Hobbit friends, the Crown Prince Eldarion, his Elvish uncles Elladan and Elrohir join the Wizards Alatar and Pallando in a war across Middle-earth fighting for their lives. If they fail, they will witness the return of the Vala Morgoth, the source of Evil and former Master of the long-defeated Sauron. With all the Rings of Power at his command, Morgoth will enslave the whole of Middle-earth – forever."

I do like the phrase “the War of the Rings to End All Wars of the Rings.” Polychron’s having fun.

Lord of the Rings fanfic writer wants $250 million from Amazon and the Tolkien Estate

According to his complaint, Polychron registered his book with the U.S. copyright office in 2017. He sent a letter to J.R.R. Tolkien’s grandson Simon, requesting a review of the manuscript. Shockingly, he didn’t get a response.

But Polychron would not be dissuaded. In 2019, he hired a lawyer to contact the Tolkien estate; this time he got a response: please stop calling us. So then Polychron dropped a copy of the manuscript off at Simon Tolkien’s home, which raises a new set of questions (you didn’t break into his bedroom and leave it on his pillow while he slept, did you?). And would you believe it? Polychron still didn’t get a response. So he self-published The Fellowship of the King in 2022 (the first of seven planned books, naturally), the same year that Amazon debuted The Rings of Power.

Although the plots don’t have much in common, Polychron points out that his book revolves around a character named Elanor and there is also a character named Elanor in The Rings of Power; that’s worth $250 mil, right? Brace yourselves for the trial of the century.

The Rings of Power season 2 will be “absolutely mind blowing”

Meanwhile, production on the second season of The Rings of Power continues. According to Sophia Nomvete, who plays the Dwarven Princess Disa, things are “going beautifully.”

“I cannot tell you how excited I am. Because there’s just more of everything,” Nomvete told Deadline. “Season 1 was this glorious introduction. We want to know, the world, the culture, how are we bringing this amazing story and this infrastructure to life. And that’s what we see, the peaceful phase, the introductory phase.”

Given that season 1 culminated with some serious revelations about main villain Sauron, it should come as no surprise that season 2 will spend quite a lot of time exploring how his reappearance effects the peoples of Middle-earth.

"How does every single world navigate his time, his reign and his force? And it is absolutely mind blowing. I hope I’m allowed to say that but it’s so desperately exciting. Disa is currently being described as a kind of joyful Lady M at the moment, which is amazing and really exciting to play. There is a lot to play for. There is a lot coming and I cannot wait to see it."

The second season of The Rings of Power is expected to air on Amazon Prime Video sometime in 2024.

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