A Racist Backlash to ‘Rings of Power’ Puts Tolkien’s Legacy Into Focus

The ‘Lord of the Rings’ series’ inclusive casting has sparked social media vitriol from those who insist J.R.R. Tolkien intended Middle-earth to be populated by white characters only, yet this belief is not only faulty, it misses the spirit of the author entirely, writes The Hollywood Reporter contributor Richard Newby.


For a time, it seemed as though a great shadow had passed over the world, and then faded — still present, though not quite as ominous. There were those who could confidently believe they were seeing progress. A fantasy? Perhaps. But not one without value. Yet, there were those who sought the cover of that shadow to hide from their own insecurities, failings, uselessness.

They could not conceive of the endless potential of progress. Miserable little trolls left stewing in their own ugly ignorance and hatred, who sought regression, but proved too incompetent to succeed, even when emboldened by the lies from their weakened leader.

I could very easily be discussing Middle-earth, but I’m not. What I’m discussing is our very real world, and social media as an extension of that world. For the past week, I’ve been bombarded with messages of hate, called the N-word, told to go back to Africa, and called on to be executed.

The reason? The Lord of the Rings. It would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so profoundly sad. A wealth of stories, and a willingness to believe in wizards, Balrogs, giant spiders and magical swords. But allow people of color to exist in Middle-earth? Well, that is an affront to all that’s good and decent. At least that’s the primary argument for those ruinous trolls apparently review bombing and harassing fans of color over Amazon’s Rings of Powers series.

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2 thoughts on “A Racist Backlash to ‘Rings of Power’ Puts Tolkien’s Legacy Into Focus

  1. I loved these first two episodes and am looking forward to each new episode to come. I apparently was raised better because all I saw was beautiful cinematography, sets, costumes, actors and a story based on Tolkiens Middle Earth… I loved a dry minute and cannot wait for more.. I’m sure Tolkien is roiling in his grave at the nastiness of some of his followers..

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