The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is finally here and, in a development that is depressing in its inevitability, the Amazon Prime Video show has found itself review-bombed from — let’s call ’em what they are — sexist and racist so-called “fans” accusing the show of being too “woke.” Even Elon Musk has outed himself as part of this crowd, tweeting out his belief that the series would leave J.R.R. Tolkien “turning in his grave.”
So thank the gods for Neil Gaiman, who has spoken up against the dissenters’ thinly veiled arguments with some cold-hard facts that prove just how far off the mark Musk and his ilk really are.
In response to Rings of Power actor Lenny Henry hitting back at the backlash against the prequel series — “They have no trouble believing in a dragon, but they do have trouble believing… that a Black person could be a hobbit or an elf,” Henry pithily put it — angry “purists” attempted to argue that casting people of color as Middle-earth characters went against Tolkien’s depictions.
All-round fantasy expert Gaiman rolled into the conversation, though, and shut them up with a direct quote from the legendary author. “Tolkien described the Harfoots as “browner of skin” than the other hobbits,” Gaiman pointed out. “So I think anyone grumbling is either racist or hasn’t read their Tolkein. Your mileage may vary.”
At this point, Gaiman obviously has no time for folks such as this as he’s been having to field a similar reaction to his own Sandman TV series over the past month, in the face of certain characters being reimagined as a different race or gender from their comic book counterparts. He’s also obviously going to support Henry in this matter, as the pair are close friends — Henry himself had a voice-over role as Martin Tenbones in The Sandman. Thank you for your service, Neil.
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues this Friday on Amazon Prime Video.