Brandon Morse I’ve read JRR Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” series, and I’ve seen Peter Jackson’s extended The Ring trilogy so often that I can “quote almost every line.”
But Morse fears new additions to the Middle-earth canon that he says will “pervert and corrupt” Tolkien’s mythical medieval world.
They are trying to “awaken” Amazon’s new series “The Lord of the Rings: The Ring of Power.”
Morse is the Deputy Editor of RedState, a conservative news site. He says the producers of “The Rings of Power” cast non-white actors in a story based on European cultures and look very different from how Tolkien first described them. It is said to be an attempt to embed the “politics of social justice” in Tolkien’s world.
“If you’re focused on introducing contemporary political sentiments, such as the Left’s obsession with identity issues that are only sarcasm, then you’re no longer focused on building a good narrative.” is effectively creating propaganda, or art intended to fit a message rather than a message that fits art.”
The makers of The Rings of Power, which premiered Friday, promise viewers plenty of epic battles. increase. Middle-earth fans and scholars like Morse clashed on online forums, dueling editorials over the question:
Also, ‘Lord of the Rings’ fans are notoriously split on all things Middle-earth, so the debate could heat up. Some fans even question whether Tolkien was racist.
To Reverend Michael Coren, author of ‘JRR Tolkien: The Man Who Made The Lord of the Rings’, casting non-white actors in a new series would undermine the medieval world Tolkien built. I told him there were people complaining that he would, and here’s his response: Concise.
“My wisest response is it’s a complete bull**t,” he says.
Coren says Middle-earth is a fantasy, not a history. Coren says he grew up in England at a time when it was common for popular shows to offer blatantly racist and anti-Semitic portrayals of blacks and Jews.
“Saying no isn’t happening. It’s no longer acceptable,” says Coren. “It’s just about being sensible, polite and empathetic.”
This clash is part of a larger debate about the inclusion of non-white, LGBTQ, and other non-traditional characters in fantasy and science fiction stories. has long normalized the idea that only one can be a hero and take responsibility.
Black actor Steve Toussaint, who plays a wealthy naval commander in the current Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, has recently been criticized for being white because of his appearance in the HBO series. I spoke to this debate when I made it clear that I was being criticized by fans.
“They are happy to have dragons flying,” said Toussaint. “They are content with white hair and violet eyes. But rich blacks? That goes beyond pale.”
The producers of “The Rings of Power” have cast several actors of color as the show’s major characters. One is Latino actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, who plays the warrior elf Alondi. Another is Cynthia Addai Robinson, her mother is from Ghana and her father is from the United States. She plays Queen Regent Myriel.
Cordova said he grew up in Puerto Rico as a fan of Tolkien’s work, but never saw anyone in Middle-earth that looked like him.
“And when I said, ‘I want to be an elf,’ people said, ‘Elves don’t look like you,'” he said in an interview. It felt like a mission.”
But critics of casting non-white actors in “Rings of Power” say their objections have nothing to do with racism. .
Others have also pointed out that the show’s portrayal of white characters, such as the elf Galadriel, who has been criticized for lacking femininity, is criticized.
Louis Markos, author of From A to Z to Middle Earth with JRR Tolkien, says that using black and brown actors in The Rings of Power threatens the narrative’s authenticity. For example, he said, Tolkien described elves as “fair-skinned.”
Having non-white actors play elves makes it more difficult for audiences to sustain their willing pause in faith, he says.
“This isn’t organic coming out of Middle-earth,” Marcos says of casting brown and black actors in the show.
RedState editor Morse says in an essay that “diversity is not a bad thing in and of itself,” but when it becomes the main focus, the story falls back to the ideological agenda. .
“If someone created a story about a great old African kingdom, but one of the royals was white, people would naturally find this very out of place,” says Morse. “This is especially problematic when the story was previously established with all characters having dark skin.”
Other critics use the political correctness argument to challenge. They described Amazon’s casting choices as a positive act befalling Middle-earth, using terms like “forced diversity” and warning that the Amazons would “wake up and break”. I’m here.
There is even disagreement about what it means to be “awakened.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “awake” as being “aware of and actively paying attention” to systemic racial injustice and prejudice.
Morse has another definition. He describes “Awakening” as an extremist group that focuses on “a shallow form of identity to create victims and oppressors” and that elevates a person’s racial, gender, or sexual identity over other issues such as character. viewed as an ideology.
Amazon Studios did not make anyone involved with the series available for comment. But the show has plenty of defenders.
Mark BurroughsThe critic and comedian thinks it’s ironic that some Middle-earth fans have no problem accepting giant walking tree men and fire-breathing dragons, but “more A dark-skinned dwarf is a bit of an exaggeration.”
Some say the ancient world was not as white as some “Lord of the Rings” fans believe. They say that ancient Europe, which influenced Middle-earth, was filled with more racial diversity than is commonly understood, due to foreign trade, conquests, and migration. increase. Scientists have recently discovered that the first modern Britons, who lived 10,000 years ago, were not Caucasian, but “black to black” skin with curly hair.
Defenders of the series say Amazon Studios is savvy, not awake. The all-white cast has become unacceptable to modern audiences. “The Rings of Power” is streaming in over 240 countries for him.
“They want as many people as possible to see it,” says Coren, a Tolkien biographer. “So on every level, morally, economically and culturally, it[the diverse casting]is the right thing to do.”
Some say Amazon Studios did a public service by erasing some of the implicit racism in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Acclaimed black fantasy and sci-fi author NK Jemison criticized Tolkien’s depiction of “orcs”, the dark-hued, malevolent foot soldiers who terrorize hobbits, elves, and other pale-faced heroes . She said she was portrayed as a “faceless, barbaric dark horde” that existed so that good people could “slaughter with glee”.
“Think about it,” Jemison wrote. “Creatures that look like people but aren’t. Little people who are worthless even on the most basic moral considerations, like their right to exist. The only way to deal with them is to turn them into slavery.” to control it completely or wipe it all out.
Jemison’s wilting critiques have been directed at Tolkien’s work for years. The heroes of his stories tend to be white, and the villains are often portrayed as grunting, dark-skinned people.
An essayist asked a question that has been around for years. Was Tolkien really racist?
According to John Garth, author of “The Worlds of JRR Tolkien,” some racists think so.
“The Far Right has long misinterpreted Tolkien as representing their own racist views,” says Garth. “In the last few years, with the rise of populism and the collapse of taboos about what we are allowed to say, they have really come out of the closet.”
Tolkien was an Anglo-Saxon professor in early-to-mid-20th-century England, a white man living in a tweed, almost-all-white world. However, his background can be deceptive, as Tolkien wrote of the enigmatic Middle-earth hero, “Not all who wander are lost”. says he was not racist.
Tolkien spoke out publicly against racial and ethnic hatred, Garth says. He hated Nazi Germany, which was built on racial and ethnic hatred (Tolkien called Hitler a “ruddy ignorance”). .
Tolkien was also a Roman Catholic in mid-century Protestant England and would have known what it was like to be treated as a persecuted minority, Garth says.
“He was born in South Africa and said, ‘I have a hate for apartheid in my bones,'” says Garth.
Tolkien’s embrace of all mankind can be seen in the premise of his beloved fantasy series, says his biographer Coren.
The plot is driven by the ability of various groups (elves, humans, hobbits, dwarves) to band together and see beyond their superficial differences. And two of the most adorable characters in the book are Legolas the elf and Gimli the dwarf. They become close friends, he says, despite the mutual distrust that has divided the group for thousands of years.
“Tolkien certainly wrote about good and evil, but he never attributed this to race,” says Coren.
Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” series is reportedly the most expensive TV show ever produced.
But what is the price to pay for casting a non-white actor in the lead role? Fan reaction will be one of the most interesting intrigues in the coming months.
But whatever happens, the debate over diverse casting has overshadowed this long-awaited series.
One of the reasons people become aficionados of fantasy books, movies, and TV series is that they provide an escape from the bitter divisions of our mundane, everyday world.
But Amazon’s response to the new series makes it clear that even the enchanting world of Middle-earth is no longer subject to political divisions.
Elves, dwarves and humans in “The Rings of Power” can finally unite to defeat their common enemy. But fellowship among Tolkien fans is as fragmented as in the real world. try to leave