YouTuber Auron MacIntyre recently asserted that the reason why Amazon Studios and Prime Video created The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power was to call Tolkien fans racist.
MacIntyre made his opinion known while reacting to an article from The Hollywood Reporter written by Richard Newby and titled, “A Racist Backlash to ‘Rings of Power’ Puts Tolkien’s Legacy Into Focus.”
In the article Newby writes, “The only reason folks have to complain about the casting choices is purely a result of bigotry, despite attempts to cover their own asses with claims of ‘bad acting’ and ‘not enough experience.’”
“What the discourse over Rings of Power has made clear is we’re living with the rationalization of racism,” he adds. “People who constantly consume corporate media to give their little smooth brains some character, while boasting profile pictures from popular IP, are now crying that fans of Rings of Power are supporting the ‘evil’ ethics of Amazon and Jeff Bezos.”
Newby continues, “So-called Tolkien purists are using Jackson’s films as armor to support all-white casting, despite the fact that Jackson and co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens made many significant changes to Tolkien’s novels when adapting them to film, including playing with the timeline and adding new characters, just like Rings of Power.”
Not only does the article claim fans of Tolkien are racists, but it also makes the false assertion that Tolkien was somehow progressive.
Newby writes, “Even though Tolkien’s early 20th century progressiveness was not analogous to the progressive attitudes of today, it has no bearing on an adaptation or extension of his works. Things change.”
MacIntyre tweeted, “The entire series was created so someone could write this article.”
Not only has the show generated plenty of hatred from people like Newby attacking Tolkien and his fans, but in the show’s fourth episode it includes a blatant allegory on racism when a blacksmith begins talking about how the elves are coming to take their jobs.
Numenorean blacksmith goes on anti-Elf tirade. pic.twitter.com/pEzg6XDn24
— Rosary Warrior John F Trent (@jftrent) September 20, 2022
The speech doesn’t really make any sense given the context of the actual show. Galadriel arrives on Númenor with a human named Halbrand. It is Halbrand who attempts to steal a guild crest, but is thwarted in doing so and thrown in the brig. However, before being detained he does beat up the smith who then gives his speech.
The smith is also a witness to Galadriel asking to depart Númenor as soon as she arrives. She says, “All we ask is that Númenor continue his mercy and grant us ship’s passage to Middle-earth.”
Given the show’s actual continuity provides no logical reason for the inclusion of the speech given the Elf he seemingly so despises wants to leave and it’s a human that steals his crest not an Elf, it’s abundantly clear the speech is a direct allegory for modern American politics that revolve around race and identity.
And this speech is more than likely foreshadowing of how Númenor will eventually fall in Prime Video’s complete and utter butchering of Tolkien’s actual writings. It will be because the Númenoreans are racist.
In a letter to Milton Waldman, Tolkien explained why Númenor falls writing, “The Downfall is partly the result of an inner weakness in Men – consequent, if you will, upon the first Fall (unrecorded in these tales), repented but not finally healed. Reward on earth is more dangerous for men than punishment! The Fall is achieved by the cunning of Sauron in exploiting this weakness. Its central theme is (inevitably, I think, in a story of Men) a Ban, or Prohibition.”
He then points out it is their desire for immortality and to be god that leads to their undoing, “The Númenóreans dwell within far sight of the easternmost ‘immortal’ land, Eressëa; and as the only men to speak an Elvish tongue (learned in the days of their Alliance) they are in constant communication with their ancient friends and allies, either in the bliss of Eressëa, or in the kingdom of Gilgalad on the shores of Middle-earth. They became thus in appearance, and even in powers of mind, hardly distinguishable from the Elves – but they remained mortal, even though rewarded by a triple, or more than a triple, span of years.”
Tolkien makes it clear, “Their reward is their undoing – or the means of their temptation. Their long life aids their achievements in art and wisdom, but breeds a possessive attitude to these things, and desire awakes for more time for their enjoyment. Foreseeing this in part, the gods laid a Ban on the Númenóreans from the beginning: they must never sail to Eressëa, nor westward out of sight of their own land. In all other directions they could go as they would. They must not set foot on ‘immortal’ lands, and so become enamoured of an immortality (within the world), which was against their law, the special doom or gift of Ilúvatar (God), and which their nature could not in fact endure.”
Tolkien goes on to list out three different stages of their fall, “There are three phases in their fall from grace. First acquiescence, obedience that is free and willing, though without complete understanding. Then for long they obey unwillingly, murmuring more and more openly. Finally they rebel –and a rift appears between the King’s men and rebels, and the small minority of persecuted Faithful.”
This letter would bear fruit in Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, which was edited and published posthumously by his son Christopher.
In The Silmarillion, Tolkien wrote, “Thus the fleets of the Númenóreans moved against the menace of the West; and there was little wind, but they had many oars and many strong slaves to row
beneath the lash. The sun went down, and there came a great silence. Darkness fell upon the land, and the sea was still, while the world waited for what should betide.
“Slowly the fleets passed out of the sight of the watchers in the havens, and their lights faded, and night took them; and in the morning they were gone. For a wind arose in the east and it wafted them away; and they broke the Ban of the Valar, and sailed into forbidden seas, going up with war against the Deathless, to wrest from them everlasting life within the Circles of the World,” he continued.
Clearly, the sin of the Númenóreans is the same sin that Adam and Eve committed in Genesis. If you recall Genesis 3:5 states, “God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.”
Like Adam and Eve, the Númenóreans desired to be gods and were willing to marshal a vast army in order to obtain everlasting life from the Valar.
Not only is it the same sin that Adam and Eve commit, but it’s also a violation of the First Commandment: “I am the Lord Your God: you shall not have strange gods before me.” The Númenóreans desire to be themselves gods and thus put strange gods before Ilúvatar. They abandon their faith and begin to worship Morgoth and even perform human sacrifices to him.
In place of this profound writing that warns of pride, greed, idol worship, human sacrifice, and more, it looks like it will be replaced by a fake racism meant to moralize based on corrupt American politics and ideology.