BY DANIEL JUPP
It’s actually heart-warming to read through the comments on an Amazon Prime ad for their Lord of the Rings (The Rings of Power) series. People are ripping the piss out of it.
The ad features what I suppose is meant to be either a wizard or a hobbit, maybe Gandalf, maybe Bilbo’s great grandfather. It’s hard to tell because the actor is black and sort of half bald, half wild haired. And short.
Like a tramp or a hunched up black Christopher Lloyd.
The decision to black up the Shire is not going well for them. It’s almost like people don’t want modern demographics (or a massive exaggeration of modern demographics) shoved down their throats at every opportunity. The Amazon series features a wide range of diverse stars in Middle-earth. There’s the silvan elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova, the first person of colour to play an elf in a Tolkien screen project. There’s Bronwyn, a human healer played by British-Iranian actor Nazanin Bonjadi; Sophia Nomvete as the first Black woman playing a dwarf in a “Lord of the Rings” project; and more.
I’d actually probably watch a high production value fantasy series based on African folklore in an imaginary version of Africa. They could have every single character played by a black actor and it would make sense. I’d watch it in the same way I’d watch a Yakuza film with only Japanese people in it, or a Chinese martial arts movie set in some mythical analogue of China.
It’s interesting to encounter things you don’t know. I’m sure there are lots of African myths that would be entertaining. Anansi the trickster god seems pretty cool and perfect for something like that.
But it’s off-putting to encounter things you do know made ridiculous to push an agenda.
Not one fantasy series that does this blackwashing seems to know or care that medieval equivalent societies everywhere would be pretty homogenous just because of travel times, poor infrastructure, the fact that most peasants wouldn’t travel except to the nearest market, how long it takes to get anywhere walking or on a donkey etc.
You have to put some reality into your fantasy to make the fantasy believable. If you don’t, it’s as absurd as putting dragons in New York in 2022 with no explanation of why nobody noticed them before. That’s why fantasy writers research how a blacksmith made a sword before writing about it. Let alone that Tolkien wrote hobbits as a metaphor for the (then exclusively white) English yeoman.
But we are supposed to be so crazed by modern ideology that we don’t laugh at a black hobbit and a white hobbit from the same tiny village and no other hobbit ever saying ‘where’s Dildo Baginsoto from originally then?’.
It’s nice to see woke projects tanking on the strength of their own absurdities.
They deserve nothing more.
Daniel Jupp is the author of A Gift for Treason: The Cultural Marxist Assault on Western Civilisation, which was published in 2019. He has had previous articles published by Spiked, The Spectator and Politicalite, and is a married father of two from Essex.