AS fantasy fans enjoy the biggest Tolkien exhibition for a generation at the Bodleian Library, subscription channel Amazon is planning to bring The Lord of the Rings to the small screen.

After defeating Netflix and HBO, Amazon Studios secured the rights to turn the JRR Tolkien novels into a TV series in a record-breaking deal with the author’s estate, reaching $250m.

Amazon is working alongside New Line Cinema, the studio behind Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, to bring it to the small screen for a ‘multi-season commitment’.

It is understood that the first season will not be focused on the War for the Ring and will instead zoom in on a young Aragorn, who was played by Viggo Mortensen in the movies.

The series will be derived from Tolkien’s extensive appendices and notes rather than being a direct adaptation of the novel and is expected to focus on a different character each season.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon Studios has committed to five seasons,with production scheduled to begin in the next two years.

Some actors from Mr Jackson’s trilogy may have ruled themselves out of appearing, including Andy Serkis who played Gollum but Sir Ian McKellen could be prepared to reprise his role as Gandalf.

He said earlier: “Are you suggesting that someone else is going to play it? Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old.”

Thousands of visitors have been flocking to the Bodleian’s Weston Library to feast their eyes on Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth and Blackwell’s Bookshop is hosting a Tolkien Day on Saturday to promote the author’s work, including a talk by expert John Garth at 11am, entitled How Tolkien first landed in Middle-earth.

Alex Pearson, Blackwell’s events coordinator, said: “It’s a good time for Tolkien fans right now.

“Interest in the films, and the new Amazon series, is reigniting a love for Tolkien’s books.”

On August 30 HarperCollins will, for the first time, publish The Fall of Gondolin, one of Tolkien’s ‘Lost Tales’ thought to have been written in 1917. It has been edited by Tolkien’s son,Christopher Tolkien, and illustrated by Alan Lee.

The Bodleian exhibition, which runs until October 28, features manuscripts, artwork, maps, letters and artefacts gathered from across the UK, the United States and France. Highlights include draft manuscripts of The Hobbit. In 1969 Tolkien sold the film rights to The Lord of the Rings to United Artists.