Rings of Power critics are “racist or haven’t read Tolkien,” says Neil Gaiman

Sci-fi author Neil Gaiman has spoken out against some critics The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which debuted on Amazon Prime Video earlier this month. Alongside legitimate criticism of the new show, there was a vocal minority unhappy with the casting of black actors as Harfoots, a race of hobbits. This criticism has prompted Gaiman to speak out and educate these commentators on JRR Tolkien’s works.

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

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

Gaiman’s point was simple: Tolkien had always written the Harfoots as they were now presented. In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien said that this hobbit race had browner skin than the others, along with a lack of facial hair and no shoes. He added that “her hands and feet were clean and nimble; and they preferred highlands and hills.” Not the most profound story that could have been given, but enough to prove that Harfoot’s casting of the Rings of Power is consistent with Tolkien’s original vision.

When a Twitter user responded to Gaiman’s point by saying that Tolkien meant “clearly tanned or even Mediterranean skinned,” Gaiman simply replied, “Tolkien says they have more tan skin. Not that they spent much longer in the sun.”

Whether it’s due to racial prejudice or a lack of education regarding Tolkien’s writing, the backlash against casting black actors in Rings of Power has dampened conversation about the new series as a whole. Some disgruntled viewers have even attempted to rate the show, to the point where Amazon shut down their rating system entirely. Over on sites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb where reviews are still enabled, Rings of Power is slammed.

Over the past few days, the average viewer rating has trended upwards from where it was originally when it premiered, but it may take some time before the real issues people have with the series are properly weighted and stacked against the love that many have others have for it.

In other news, Episode 3 of House of the Dragon introduced Rhaenyra Targaryen’s husband-to-be and 2022 Lego Star Wars, Harry Potter and Marvel Advent calendars were made available.

https://www.gamerevolution.com/news/714287-neil-gaiman-rings-of-power-critics-racist-havent-read-tolkien Rings of Power critics are “racist or haven’t read Tolkien,” says Neil Gaiman

Emma Bowman

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