“House of the Dragon” and “Rings of Power”: shouldn’t the imagination be diverse?

Updated on 09/14/2022 at 00:00

  • Even imagination has its limits – at least according to some fans.
  • Some viewers criticized the fantasy series “The Rings of Power” and “House of the Dragon”.

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Imagination knows no bounds. But in the genre of film and series literally named after her, this does not seem to apply from the point of view of many viewers. With “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and “Game of Thrones” spin-off from “House of the Dragon”, two fantasy series have emerged within a very short time.

Both productions feature massive battles, scheming power games, and powerful (visually) powerful mythical creatures such as dragons and trolls. What they also have in common: A portion of the audience expresses toxic criticism of gender roles and the diversity of the cast. Statements are being made that – let alone in the twenty-first century – have lost nothing in our society. But why isn’t fiction supposed to be diverse for many fans of the genre?

The “The Rings of Power” team is standing together on Twitter

House of the Dragon’s black actor Steve Toussaint couldn’t have articulated the contrasting features of this criticism more appropriately. Corlys “The Sea Serpent” plays the influential Velaryon in the series. According to Toussaint, there are people who are “happy with the flying kite.” “You’re happy with white hair and purple eyes, but you’re a rich black man? That’s not acceptable,” the actor told Men’s Health. In other words: in a medieval fantasy world, where there are dragons, undead, magic, and white straight teeth, there are rich black people who are simply too unrealistic.

The cast of Amazon Prime’s “The Rings of Power” also had to make something clear via Twitter due to several “racist hostilities”: Together we stand “in full solidarity against the merciless racism, threats, harassment and insults” against BIPoC (black Indigenous peoples and people of color).

Elon Musk is concerned about “rings of power”.

Due to the non-white actors’ commitment to the roles of elves and dwarves, the series has been targeted by opponents of the alleged “Wokeness dictatorship”. The fact that the woman embodies the energetic main character of Galadriel Morfydd Clark’s Galadriel has also upset some. Including the richest man in the world, Elon Muskwho was poisoned on Twitter against the Amazon chain — and perhaps primarily against main competitor Jeff Bezos.

You have to let this melt on your tongue at Orc: There is a story about camaraderie, synergy and love. A story that unites the peoples of Middle-earth to stand against the forces of evil. And then is it the skin tone and gender of the characters that some Tolkien fans are supposed to go for?

The main argument for this noisy group is clear: Even in the original “Lord of the Rings” series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), companions are human, dwarf, dwarf and hobbit – but also white and male.

Tolkien in the modern era

Yes, Briton Tolkien was an outspoken opponent of the “racial theory” of National Socialism. But he was also a kid of his time and would probably make some graphics differently today. Anyone who understands the Tolkien fandom, that everything should be as it was when the book was written, also voluntarily returns to the intellectual, moral, and social state of the 1950s. This is for a man born in 1892.

With the House of the Dragon, the situation is different. The series is based on the 2018 book Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin. Like the novel it’s based on, the Sky/Wow series shows incredible atrocities on and off the battlefield as well as sexual violence against women in the eternal plots of individual parties. But does the “fun” stop with blacks in positions of power, who have emerged as minor characters only so far?

Anyone who complains about disloyalty to the book template in “House of the Dragon” should also do so in “Game of Thrones” and its counterpart “A Song of Ice and Fire.” In the series, many of the characters are a few years older than the original – otherwise it would be difficult to absorb some of the already unbearable scenes. So sometimes it’s not bad at all if one artistic freedom or the other crept into the adaptive process.

A woman is to blame – a ridiculousness for some fans

It’s sadly ironic that “The Rings of Power” actress Morvid Clarke faces similar odds in real life as the fictional character Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) in “House of the Dragon.” One is told by the assembled masculine world of Westeros and the surrounding area that she can never ascend the Iron Throne as a woman. The other is briefly denied the ability to act as the main character of the most expensive series ever – sometimes even before the first episode of The Lord of the Rings airs.

Of course, all this does not mean that justified criticism of character drawings or acting performance is forbidden. However, to some viewers at least, it sometimes seems that underlying convictions that have nowhere to be found sometimes flow, sometimes less, into this criticism. Neither in Middle-earth nor in Westeros. And certainly not in our world.
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The Lord of the Rings prequel series “The Rings of Power” has been showing on Amazon Prime since last Friday. One didn’t leave out a good hair in the fantasy epic: Elon Musk.

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