The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power showrunner Patrick McKay recently addressed fan concerns that the show will embrace modern woke politics in favor of Tolkien’s actual writings.
RELATED: YouTuber Just Some Guy: “To Remove The Englishness Or Really The Whiteness From Tolkien’s Stories Is To Undermine The Very Purpose Of His Works”
Fans have made it abundantly clear they are extremely concerned about this.
For instance, YouTuber Just Some Guy took issue with the show’s casting saying in a YouTube video, “The point of Tolkien’s stories is to be English in design and effect. And Middle-earth reflects that in its cultures, languages, and the appearance of its races. To change this, to remove the Englishness, or really the whiteness from Tolkien’s stories is to undermine the very purpose of his works.”
RELATED: YouTuber Breaks Down Everything Wrong With The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Using Just One Image From The New Trailer
YouTuber The One Ring recently expressed his concerns about the portrayal of Galadriel and Míriel in the recently released trailer for The Rings of Power.
His criticism focused on a single image of Galadriel and Míriel meeting in what appears to Númenor. As part of it he noted, “Amazon is actively changing Tolkien’s work to reflect the world view that they want to create rather than what Tolkien created.”
“They believe that their world view is actually better than Tolkien’s,” he explained. “And Tolkien’s world view was of Middle-earth. It was influenced by who he was, but it wasn’t like he was trying to inject his politics into Middle-earth. He was writing what he knew and what he knew was based on him going to World War I and him marrying Edith.”
“His world view wasn’t to be a political activator. It wasn’t to be someone who influenced the times. He wrote Middle-earth out of the love of writing Middle-earth, and out of the love of mythology, and out of the love of the language,” The One Ring details.
He then points out that Galadriel and Míriel are taking on these roles in the trailer that they never did in any of Tolkien’s works and the reason for them to do this is to push modern day feminism
“You can bet they read what Tolkien wrote and they probably immediately knew that they thought it was better the way they wrote it,” he stated. “Because they could show the queen of Númenor and they could show Galadriel, the most powerful Elf, working together in a great singularity of girl power that they had to have based on Amazon’s own projections of what the world should have looked like.”
On top of these and other fan complaints, executive producer for the show, Lindsey Weber told Vanity Fair, “It felt only natural to us that an adaptation of Tolkien’s work would reflect what the world actually looks like.”
She added, “Tolkien is for everyone. His stories are about his fictional races doing their best work when they leave the isolation of their own cultures and come together.”
RELATED: The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Actors Confirm Show Aims To Erase Tolkien’s Work For The Sake Of Modernity
Multiple of the show’s actors also expressed this same view for the show. Sophia Nomvete, who plays Princess Disa, told PA Media, “We are redressing the balance within the film and television, television industry and of course, this franchise and I hope, lots of franchises moving forward.”
She further noted, “It’s their time and it’s so important and I hope many people will see this fantasy and be able to relate to it. This is a reflection of the world we live in, there are many and we are different and we will embrace and discover, and peel back, and learn, and educate, and be educated.”
Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays the original character Arondir, expressed a similar sentiment saying, “The awareness of [diversity with Tolkien’s original source material] has grown… the cinematic world that Peter Jackson created has immense value but we’ve shifted lenses since then.”
He continued, “The conversation is different right now, but going back to the source material, the world is diverse, not only in race but also in thought.”
“It is a diverse mix, and now we’re just adding people from diverse backgrounds,” Córdova added.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson, who plays Míriel also stated, “This cast is truly global…everyone sort of has their frame of reference in terms of their culture, their heritage, what it means to them, their language.”
“Part of the story we’re trying to tell is you have people of different races coming together to defeat a common enemy,” she explained. “You’re trying to look at this through a modern lens and the world is global and people now expect to see this kind of world globally represented.”
The Rings of Power director Wayne Che Yip also detailed to Entertainment Weekly, “Tonally, we wanted [Rings of Power] to reflect [Tolkien’s] main story points of friendship and good and evil. One of the ideas is: How far into the darkness are you willing to go to do the right thing?”
This idea was echoed by showrunner JD Payne during the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel at Hall H. He said, “It’s a human story. We want you to sort of step back from the bigger world and just imagine your home, imagine your family, imagine your job, imagine your cosplay costume, the things that matter most to you. And then suddenly imagine all that’s about to be taken away. It’s all under threat.”
“How far into the darkness would you go to protect the things you care about the most? That’s at the core of what this story is about,” he declared.
Tolkien rejected the idea of the ends justifies the means.
RELATED: The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Showrunners’ Façade For Their Respect Of Tolkien Completely Falls Apart At San Diego Comic-Con
Despite this, showrunner Patrick McKay told Total Film, “This was one of Tolkien’s debate points with C.S. Lewis, his friend and colleague. It was very important that what he was creating was not an allegory. He was not commenting on historical events of his time or another time.”
“He was not trying to transmit a message that spoke to contemporary politics. He wanted to create a mythos that was timeless, and would be applicable – that was his word, ‘applicable’ – the applicability across times,” McKay continued.
He elaborated, “Every single choice we’ve made at every turn of making this show has been to be faithful to that aspiration, because that’s what we want as viewers. We don’t want to adapt the material in a way that might feel dated. We aspire to being timeless.”
“That’s why these books still speak to people so much, because so much of what’s in them has not aged a day. And we aspire to do the same thing,” he claimed. “And I think we feel that once people see the show, and see what the stories and characters and worlds are in context, they’ll feel the same way.”
While it’s good to see McKay giving lip service to honor and respecting Tolkien, it appears that’s all it is. It’s just lip service.
The previous statements from the cast and executive producer directly contradict these comments. The actual footage and images used to promote the show also contradict these statements as he’s made Galadriel a warrior and general on the battlefield and turned Míriel into the Queen Regent, positions neither of these characters held in Tolkien’s works.
In fact, the casting contradicts this as well. If you just cared about the show being timeless, why the emphasis on “diverse” casting that is part on the modern identity politics movement? Why would you change the characters through casting if not to push that political messaging?
While McKay can spout all the platitudes he likes, the actual work paints a very different picture and I think McKay should take the advice of Tolkien when he wrote to Forrest J. Ackerman in June 1958, “I would ask them to make an effort of imagination sufficient to understand the irritation (and on occasion the resentment) of an author, who finds, increasingly as he proceeds, his work treated as it would seem carelessly in general, in places recklessly, and with no evident signs of any appreciation of what it is all about.”
NEXT: The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power Director Makes It Clear He Does Not Understand Tolkien’s Work