TV series “Lord of the Rings”: What happens when the word “wokeness” comes to Middle-earth


Brandon Morse Read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” series, “The Lord of the Rings” and watch the extended editions of Peter Jackson tri-episodes so often that “I could quote them all a line.”

But Morse fears a new addition to Middle-earth law, he says “Perverts and spoilers” The mythical medieval universe of Tolkien because TV show planners committed this crime of storytelling:

They’re trying to “wake up” the new Amazon series, “The Lord of the Rings: “Rings of Strength. ”

Morse is deputy managing editor at RedState, A conservative news site. He says the producers of “Rings of Power” have cast non-white actors in a story based on European culture who sound very different from the way Tolkien originally described it. He says it’s a try inclusion “Social Justice Politics” in Tolkien’s World.

“If you focus on presenting modern political sentiments, like the left-wing obsession with issues of identity that only go deep into the skin, you are no longer focused on building a good story,” says Morse, who has written. emotional article about his doubts. “You are effectively doing propaganda, or art intended to fit a message, not a message to fit art.”

The makers of The Rings of Power series, which premiered on Friday, promises plenty of epic battles. However, some of the biggest fights surrounding the Amazon Studios series have erupted offscreen. Middle-earth fans and scholars like Morse have clashed in online forums and competing opinion articles over this question: Does casting non-white actors advance the new series, or is it a betrayal of Tolkien’s original vision?

And since “Lord of the Rings” fans are known for their opinion of all things Middle-earth, the controversy could become heated. Some fans even question whether Tolkien was a racist.

Tells Reverend Michael Corinne, The author of “JRR Tolkien: The Man Who Created the Lord of the Rings,” some people complain that the non-white actors in the new series will destroy the medieval world that Tolkien built, his response is laconic.

“You’d be my smartest response,” he says, “that’s total bulls**t.”

Corinne says Middle-earth isn’t history – it’s fiction. Corinne says he grew up in the UK in an era when it was common for folk performances to present blatantly racist and anti-Semitic depictions of black people and Jews.

Actors Markella Kavenagh (Elanor 'Nori' Brandyfoot), Sara Zwangobani (Marigold Brandyfoot), Dylan Smith (Largo Brandyfoot), and Megan Richards (Poppy Proudfellow) play the Harfoots, the primitive Hobbit characters.

“It’s no longer so awkward to say no, it’s just not acceptable anymore,” Corinne says. “That’s simply being rational, kind, and emotional.”

This clash is part of a larger debate about including non-white, LGBTQ and other non-traditional characters in fiction and science fiction. Critics say that the world of fantasy and science fiction has long developed the idea that only white men can be the hero and in charge.

Steve Toussaint, the black actor who plays a wealthy naval captain in the current “Game of Thrones” prequel, “House of the Dragon,” spoke into this debate recently when he revealed that he had been criticized by white fans for his participation in the HBO series.

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“They are happy with a flying dragon,” Toussaint He said. “They are happy with white hair and violet eyes. But a rich black man? This is beyond just pale.”

The producers of “Rings of Power” cast many colorful actors as main characters on the show. One is the Latin actor Ismael Cruz Cordova who plays the elf warrior, Arundi. else Cynthia Addai Robinson, His mother is from Ghana and father is from the United States. She plays the role of Queen Regent Merrill.

Latin actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, who plays the warrior Arondir, says he's never seen people like him in previous films set in Middle-earth.

Cordova said he never saw anyone like him in Middle-earth while growing up in Puerto Rico as a fan of Tolkien’s work.

And when I said, ‘I want to be an elf,’ the people said, ‘Elves don’t look like you’ He said in an interview. “When I heard about the character on the show, it felt like she was important.”

But critics of the casting of non-white actors in the “Rings of Power” say their objections have nothing to do with racism. It is about fulfilling Tolkien’s vision.

Some also have condemn photography Of the white characters on the show, such as Elf Galadriel, who has been criticized for not being feminine enough.

Luis Marcos, The author of “From A to Z to Middle Earth with JRR Tolkien” says the choice of black and brown actors in “The Rings of Power” threatens the credibility of the story. He said that Tolkien called elves, for example, “the fair face”.

Benjamin Walker plays Jill Glad, the leader among the elves, in

He says that choosing a non-white actor to play a dwarf makes it difficult for audiences to keep their faith suspended.

“It’s not something organic that comes out of Middle-earth,” Marcus says of the show’s casting of brown and black. “This is really an agenda being imposed on it.”

“Diversity is not a bad thing in itself,” Morse, editor of RedState, said in his article, but when it becomes a major focus, the story takes a back seat to the ideological agenda.

“If someone made up a story about a great ancient African kingdom, but was a white member of the royal family, people would naturally find that out of place,” Morse says. “This would be a particular problem if the story was created earlier because all the characters have black skin.”

Other critics use arguments about political correctness to advance their objections. They describe Amazon’s Choice Options as a positive action that hails from Middle-earth, using terms like “forced diversity,“And a warning that Amazon” will wake up and go bankrupt. ”

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There is even disagreement about what it means to be “awake”.

Orlando Bloom as Legolas, a heroic dwarf, in

Merriam-Webster Dictionaryy . defines “Wake up” as “aware and actively concerned” with systemic racial prejudice and injustice.

Morse code has a different definition. He sees “Poke” as a hard-left ideology that focuses on “shallow forms of identity to create victims and oppressors” and elevates a person’s race, gender, or gender identity over other issues such as personality.

Amazon Studios has not made anyone connected to the series available for comment. But the show has a lot of defenders.

Mark Burrowscritic and comedian, sees it as sarcastic That some Middle-earth fans have no problem accepting is giant tree people and fire-breathing dragons, but “dark-skinned dwarves are a little out of reach.”

Others say the ancient world was not as white as some “Lord of the Rings” fans believe. They say the ancient Europe that inspired Middle-earth was full of more ethnic diversity than is generally understood due to foreign trade, conquest, and immigration. Science supports them. Modern British scientists, who lived 10,000 years ago, were not white but had “dark to black” skin with curly hair. recently discovered.

Defenders of the series also say Amazon Studios hasn’t woken up — it’s smart. All white casts are no longer acceptable to modern audiences. “Rings of Strength” is broadcast in more than 240 countries.

“They want as many people to see as possible,” says Corinne, Tolkien’s biographer. “So, morally, economically and culturally on every level,[selecting diverse representatives]is the right thing to do.”

Others say Amazon Studios has done a public service by erasing some of the racism implicit in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Orcs, as shown in

NK Jameson, A famous black science fiction and fantasy writer has criticized Tolkien’s depiction of “goblins,” vile, dark-colored foot soldiers who terrorize hobbits, elves, and other pale-faced heroes. She said they are portrayed as “dark, savage, faceless hordes” who exist so that the good guys can “joyfully exterminate them.”

“Think about it,” Jameson wrote. Kinda-sorta-people, who are not worthy of even the simplest moral considerations, such as the right to exist. The only way to deal with them is to control them just like slavery, or eliminate them all.”

Frayed criticisms such as Jameson have been directed at Tolkien’s work for years. The heroes in his stories tend to be white, while the villains are often depicted as snarling, dark-skinned people. This has naturally led to speculation about the author’s opinions.

One author asked a question that’s been circulating for years: Was Tolkien really a racist?

Some racists think so, according to John Garthauthor of “The Worlds of JRR Tolkien.”

“The far right has misread Tolkien as representative of its views of racial superiority for a long time,” Garth says. “They’ve really come out of the closet in the past few years, with the rise of populism and the collapse of taboos about what to say.”

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Tolkien was a white man who lived in a world of tweed, almost all white professor Anglo-Saxons in the early to mid-twentieth century in England. But just like Tolkien He wrote, “Not everyone who is lost is lost.” About a mysterious hero in Middle-earth, his background can be deceptive. His autobiography says he was not a racist.

In the new Amazon series, Tyroe Muhafidin plays Theo, a poor villager with a father whose disappearance remains a mystery.

Tolkien spoke out against racial and ethnic hatred, says Garth. He berated a German publisher who asked him if he was Jewish, saying he regretted not having Jewish ancestors. He hated Nazi Germany, which was built on a foundation of racial and ethnic hatred (Tolkien called Hitler “a glowing little ignorant”).

Tolkien was also a Roman Catholic in mid-century Protestant-dominated England who would have known what it felt like to be treated as a persecuted minority, Garth says.

“He was born in South Africa, and he said, ‘I have a hatred of apartheid in my bones,'” Garth says.

Tolkien’s embrace of all humanity can be seen in the prologue to his beloved fantasy series, says Corinne, his biographer.

The plot is driven by the ability of different groups – elves, humans, hobbits, and dwarves – to band together and see beyond their superficial differences. Two of the books’ most beloved characters are Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf, who have become dear friends despite the mutual mistrust that has divided their groups for thousands of years, he says.

“Tolkien certainly wrote about good and evil, but he never attributed it to race,” says Corinne.

Sophia Nompheter, right, plays Princess Desa, the first female black dwarf in Middle-earth.  She stands alongside Prince Doreen IV, performed by Owen Arthur.

The Lord of the Rings series from Amazon It is said to be the most expensive TV show ever produced.

However, what price would she pay to feature non-white actors in her lead roles? Fan reaction will be one of the most interesting plot twists in the coming months.

No matter what happens, the variety casting controversy is casting a shadow over this highly anticipated series.

People become loyal to fiction books, movies, and TV series in part because they provide an escape from the bitter divisions of our mundane everyday world.

But the reception to the new Amazon series reveals that even the enchanted world of Middle-earth is no longer immune to political divisions.

Elves, dwarves, and humans in the “Rings of Power” may eventually band together to defeat a common enemy. But the fellowship among Tolkien fans is now just as divided as the real world is like many of them Try to leave behind.

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