rings of power racist backlash neil gaiman
Image: Amazon Studios

Rings of Power Critics ‘Racist or Haven’t Read Tolkien,’ Says Neil Gaiman

Sci-fi author Neil Gaiman has spoken up against certain critics of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which debuted earlier this month on Amazon Prime Video. Alongside valid criticisms of the new show, there have been a vocal minority displeased with the casting of Black actors as the Harfoots, a breed of Hobbits. This criticism has caused Gaiman to speak up, schooling these commentators on J.R.R. Tolkien’s works.

How did Neil Gaiman react to Rings of Power casting backlash?

Taking to Twitter, Neil Gaiman described how The Lord of the Rings author had described the Harfoots as “browner of skin,” saying that this means that anyone complaining is “either racist or hasn’t read their Tolkien.”

Gaiman’s point was simple: Tolkien had always written the Harfoots as they have now been portrayed. In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien said that this Hobbit breed had browner skin than the rest, along with a lack of facial hair, and no shoes. He added that “their hands and feet were neat and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hillsides.” Not the most in-depth history that could have been given, but enough to prove that the Rings of Power’s Harfoots casting is in line with Tolkien’s original vision.

When one Twitter user responded to Gaiman’s point by saying that Tolkien “clearly meant tanned or even of a more Mediterranean complexion,” Gaiman replied simply: “Tolkien says they were browner of skin. Not that they spent longer in the sun.”

Whether it be due to racial bias, or a lack of education when it comes to Tolkien’s writing, the backlash against the casting of Black actors in Rings of Power has dampened the conversation about the new series as a whole. Some disgruntled viewers have even taken to review bombing the show, to the point where Amazon has turned off their review system entirely. Over on websites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, where reviews are still enabled, Rings of Power is being slammed.

The past few days have seen the average audience review score tick upwards from where it originally sat on premiere day, but it may take some time before the real problems people have with the series are properly weighted, and stacked against the love that a lot of other people have for it.

In other news, House of the Dragon episode 3 introduced Rhaenyra Targaryen’s future husband, and Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel advent calendars for 2022 have been made available.

Upcoming Releases

No content yet. Check back later!