In response to this image, Morgoth’s Review says:
“The desecration of Tolkien reveals that modern script writers have no understanding at all of power which isn’t purely material and physical. All they know is ”Galadriel is powerful” and think ”That means she can fight like a man”.
This then undermines the crass feminism of the new show because they’ve made Galadriel both weaker and less feminine at the same time!”
The script writers may or may not understand power that isn’t purely material and physical, but the Zeitgeist certainly does. The trend of the “strong woman” in media does in fact undermine the power of women, but it is a reaction to the radical disempowerment of women through the celebration of ugliness. It takes an extraordinary amount of propaganda to convince women that assuming the form of a bulbous gelatinous blob, or piercing their face and discoloring their hair, for that matter, is just as beautiful as being healthy and well-groomed.
Even for those women who don’t believe this, women are disbarred from using the power of beauty. The only acceptable female power is that of the hermaphroditic masculine woman. It should be obvious why this is acceptable, as it clearly facilitates transexual propaganda. The “strong woman” ultimately serves as the handmaiden of transsexuality and not as a genuine expression of female power. It is literally the opposite.
The strong woman is appealing to script writers because women do not want to be ugly and men do not want ugly women around. In a way, the strong woman is reactionary. Galadriel, in the picture, is not ugly. The viewer knows that she is very beautiful, but her beauty must be hidden by grime and masculine armor because genuine beauty is shame. It is a literal instantiation of the caricature propagandists make of the right-wing, such as in “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The script writers are not allowed to present true beauty to the viewer. Beauty is the true power of women, and not this facsimile of a man.
Beauty is so dangerous to The Party because people long for it, and the The Party exists as a product of the denial of difference, which requires the denial of beauty. Beauty is so dangerous to The Party because every woman has the ability to access it, if she rejects evil. The story in The Lord of the Rings is the same. Ultimately, as we are shown several times, evil is not finally defeated through grandiose exploits, but by rejecting it. The Ring of Power is evil, but it gives you power. The Party is evil, but it gives you power. This power is enticing because it is easy. Good can give power too, but good is difficult. Beauty is difficult to achieve, but it is ultimately a better form of power. Morgoth is correct that the script writers do not understand this form of power. Because of this, no matter what alternatives to ugliness they choose to express their characters, they will never be able to successfully rebel against it. Only a woman who utterly rejects the false depictions of female power as one utterly rejects The Ring of Power can escape the grip of evil. Unlike in The Lord of the Rings, this choice is available to a woman at all times (although it may require an analogous “journey” or “quest” to make it). This is why there can be no revelation of the power of beauty in TV shows likes this one. It’s why Galadriel’s form must be masked by dirt and metal.
Now that I’ve got you hooked, the above was all preamble to lean into this collaboration with Morgoth on his Morgcast about this article, where we pick it apart in detail:
The title alone is revealing: “Lord of the Rings: debunking the backlash against non-white actors in Amazon’s new adaption”
It’s not the director’s adaptation, or the actors’—it’s Amazon’s. Right off the bat, we have the admission that this is not the creative vision of a director or actors, but of a mega-corporation, and it’s right to “adapt” must be defended by these two broads:
“J.R.R. Tolkien’s much-loved fantasy The Lord of the Rings is a work of epic scale, portraying races of imaginary beings in the medievalesque setting of Middle-earth, culminating in a battle of good against evil. Peter Jackson’s film adaptations in the early 2000s established the iconography and aesthetics that many fans grew up with and consider almost sacred.”
True, and it is important to point out that not all “fans” are happy with Peter Jackson’s adaptation. It’s important to distinguish between Tolkien’s actual work and that film series. Neither is sacred in a literal sense, but Tolkien work itself must always be the source that grounds what LOTR is, and not a given (albeit extremely popular) adaptation. I also reject the concepts of “fans” and “fandom” as anything that describes a right-wing appreciation of Tolkien. I am not a “fan” – I respect the great works of civilization, which is an idea foreign to Amazon and its lackeys.
“But it is the diverse casting, which includes non-white actors playing an elf and a female dwarf, which has caused uproar in certain quarters of Tolkien fandom. Some fans argue that Tolkien never described elves, dwarves or hobbits as anything but white, and claim that the casting is disrespectful to his books. But this argument is flawed in two ways.
“the diverse casting, which includes non-white actors” – Is there a meaning of “diverse” that means anything other than “non-white” that I am not aware of?
First, these are imaginary creatures which are not always clearly described in the original books – Tolkien was more interested in metaphysical than biological questions. Still, there is some evidence of dark-skinned elves and hobbits in drafts of The Silmarillion and the prologue of The Lord of the Rings.”
This first argument is the most pathetic cope you see lobbed by cultural terrorists like the authors of this article. It is pure, distilled pomo-brain. Nothing matters, it’s all just make-believe, anything can be anything. Everyone knows that Tolkien world is not just “imaginary;” it’s rooted directly in the real world and specifically in the history of The West, especially that of Great Britain. The skin color of most of the creatures is a given. The demonstration of this is that the depiction of Elves in virtually all fantasy settings gives them white skin.
“Second, even if Tolkien had specified that all elves, dwarves and hobbits were white, it still wouldn’t matter. Adaptations are original cultural products that can imitate, question, rewrite or interpret source material in various ways. Each adaptation is a new text. And each is an opportunity to update outdated and unacceptable tropes, and find ways to represent and normalise non-white characters.”
Lol. The first argument is thereby rendered irrelevant because the second argument says it doesn’t matter. This seems funny but it’s actually quite insidious. I wasted my time debunking the first argument only to be told that it doesn’t matter. This is classic motte-and-bailey. The first argument is the bailey, and when it fails the motte stands instead. Although the tactic is more like motte-and-bailey-and-bailey-and-bailey-and-bailey. Leftists will simply spam points at you until you fail to make a clean sweep of one of them, and then fortify themselves in that position. Each point is simply a test to probe your weaknesses.
As far as the second argument itself goes, it’s essentially the same point – the past doesn’t matter. Anything can be anything. You can just do whatever you want with no respect for what came before. There isn’t really an argument to be had here. Either you are of the fundamentally conservative temperament that says that the past matters, we should respect the past, and in fact, it’s evil to distort and warp the past. We can’t actually engage with the second argument in any meaningful direct way—it must be settled on the higher level of morality. It is important to note that when you are having these arguments, you aren’t really arguing about the thing (the “thing” here being the treatment of Tolkien), you are having a proxy-argument of morality and therefore metaphysics.
“As adaptation theory scholar Linda Hutcheon has shown, adaptations offer “the pleasure of repetition with variation”. For example, in 2005 the Nigerian-British actor David Oyelowo was cast as Prometheus in the Greek tragedy, Prometheus Bound.”
“Adaptation theory.” Lol. Lmao.
“But as disgruntled fans might reason, if Amazon must have a diverse cast in this drama, why not stick to having actors of colour playing the characters who are dark-skinned in Tolkien’s texts? But that would perpetuate and reinforce the racialised view of good and evil in Middle-earth. Despite Tolkien’s overall message of friendship and co-operation, and despite his raging against the Nazis, the face of evil in Middle-earth is invariably non-white/non-European.
Tolkien’s portrayal of the Orcs (legions of evil creatures) and the men who ally themselves with Sauron (the arch-villain of LOTR) uses many stereotypes associated with orientalism and the language of prejudice often found in literature from the era of British imperialism (Tolkien was born and grew up in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods). Reproducing this white/non-white divide along moral lines would endorse a very old fashioned and harmful equation of physical characteristics with moral choices.”
Again we see a contradiction that is just as revealing as to the true motives. The article complains that there is a racial association with good and evil; therefore, black people must be cast as good characters to avoid associating race and morality.
The article is clear: race and morality is connected. White is bad. Associating physical characteristics with moral choices is harmful. Therefore, blacks will be cast in good roles in order to harm whites.
‘But Tolkien would have hated it!’
Even if we somehow knew what Tolkien would have thought about the new Amazon series, it wouldn’t matter. The author sold the rights to The Lord of the Rings during his lifetime and signed away his right to have a substantial influence over any new adaptation.
This is the perfect summation of the spirit of the age. Everyone is a potential prostitute to be paid to perform however you like. If you pay for it, you’re in the right. It would be funny to see this leftist defend capitalism to its very core if the idea of paying off Tolkien for the “right” to debase and degrade his memory wasn’t so sick.
“But some believe Tolkien was writing a “a mythology for England”, and used myths and texts from Germanic cultures that had nothing to do with people of colour. However, Tolkien never actually referred to his own work in this way. This phrase was introduced by his biographer, Humphrey Carpenter.
In a 1951 letter to a potential editor, Milton Waldman, Tolkien stated that he had intended to dedicate his work to England, but in the same letter also wrote that he wanted to leave space for “other minds and hands” to contribute to his mythology.”
While Tolkien’s statements do say that Middle-earth is not particular to England as a matter of intent, it is impossible to disentangle the Englishness of the story and setting from England. The Lord of the Rings is inextricably linked to England regardless of what Tolkien claimed to the contrary.
“But why would audiences these days think of England as white anyway? The country has become a vibrant melting pot of which people of colour are very much a part. Why would an contemporary adaption not reflect that?”
The idea of “you’ve already been conquered so stop complaining about it” is probably the most reasonable argument raised so far; but England is not yet conquered and should keep England white.
I also note the grammatical error of using “an” before a word that starts with a consonant.
Of course, the article has the tired ready-made response to the fact that England is white prepared as well:
“In any case, the idea that people of colour were not part of Britain or Northern Europe in the ancient and medieval past is false. There is plenty of evidence of diversity in Roman Britain, for example. As for the Vikings, they were not a homogenous or “pure” racial group (especially due to trade and raids).”
“England was never white.” – I guess the left now uses the “one drop rule” characteristic of some white nationalists.
“More recently, films such as Thor, based on the superheroes from Marvel Comics show figures of Norse mythology played by black actors Idris Elba and Tessa Thompson. Why should an adaption of Tolkien’s literary work not do the same?”
“We’ve already abused you and gotten away with it, so there’s no point in resisting now.” Again, I reject that idea that criminals ought to continue getting away with their bad behavior just because they’ve gotten away with it many times before.
“Once it airs, the new Amazon series will be critiqued by academics and fans alike for many of its choices regarding plot, characterisation and setting. But judging the casting based on skin colour and claiming Middle-earth as exclusively white is not just misguided, it clearly exposes what researcher Helen Young has called fantasy’s “habits of whiteness”.”
Another lie. No one is saying that Middle-earth is exclusively white. As the article already mentioned, there are people in the east who could be regarded as asiatic. Fantasy as a genre will take on the characteristics of the people who develop it. The Japanese their own fantasy genre that is Japanese. The Lord of the Rings is a European fantasy. It will have European characteristics and there’s nothing wrong with that.