#YouAreAllWelcomeHere: The ‘Rings Of Power’ Cast Condemn Racist Critics And Comments

Prime Video’s fantasy series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has forged new ground with its depiction of Middle-earth, bringing fresh life and power to Tolkien’s universe. But the show has recently been the center of controversy, with racism, hatred and abuse being directed at some of the cast.

The actors have peacefully retaliated now, releasing a strong statement on Wednesday condemning “the relentless racism, threats, harassment, and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis”.

In the statement, the cast writes, “Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. ‘Rings of Power’ reflects that.”

“Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white.”

The people protesting against inclusive casting have said they are fighting against “wokeness”. Others have said that people of color do not belong in Middle-earth, touting the need to stay true to Tolkien’s original work. Tolkien’s universe has been previously noted for its themes of hierarchy, undertones of prejudice, and bias. The comments targeted at the new adaptation clearly stem from bigotry.

Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Dominic Monaghan, and Billy Boyd stars from the original trilogy, also hit back at the tirade of racism aimed at Rings of Power cast members. The four actors, who played hobbits Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings were photographed wearing T-shirts and hats reading – in Elvish – “You all are welcome here”.

The original films featured less than a handful of people of color, while Rings of Power has cast a number of actors of color, several of whom play elves, dwarves and harfoots. Actor Nazanin Boniadi plays a central character, Bronwyn, the village healer of Tirharad and the love interest of the Silvan elf Arondir, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. Princess Disa the dwarf, played by Sophia Nomvete, is a role created for the show itself. Each of these characters have been the subject of racism.

In an interview with Mashable, Córdova said that the show has laid a foundation for the future of Middle Earth, one that is inclusive.

“We are here now, and there will no longer ever be a day in which people can say that elves don’t look a certain way, or people in Middle-earth don’t look a certain way. That chapter is sealed and closed,” the actor said.

The genre of fantasy continues to prove difficult for certain fans, who apparently believe in magic but not inclusivity. House of the Dragon, HBO’s prequel to Game of Thrones, has also recently faced similar backlash from some.


John Colin

I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. I have spent much of the last ten years, focusing on open source, tech gadgets, data analytics and intelligence, Internet of things, cloud computing, mobile devices, and data management. I'm a senior editor at Mashable's covering data analytics, venture capital, (SaaS) applications, cloud and enterprise software out of New York.

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