Not least because, not only did they engage in ‘free adaptation’ of the ‘base material’ to create new ‘content’, but also New Line Cinema just bought the rights off somebody else and the Tolkien estate never got to see any of that money.His estate has been far more reluctant to sell rights than he was
Oh yes! Annatar, the gift-giver!Sauron did pretend to be nice in the Second Age.
There are specific descriptions of hair-colour in the books. The Noldor, the Teleri and the Vanyar each have their specific hair-colours (black, gray and gold) and specifically Galádriel is blonde and Lúthien (like Tolkien's wife) was dark-haired and gray-eyed. The rest of the elves (and humans) are mostly not described, except for some of the men from Harad and Rhûn, specifically, being described as slant-eyed and other vaguely Orientalist stereotypes (same for some descriptions of the corrupted-deformed Orcs).Plotinus said:And it doesn’t matter what colour elves are.
The “anti-woke” gatekeepers who fancy themselves as such Tolkien purists don’t understand the whole point of Tolkien’s work, which is that it is meant to be *mythology*. That means that people can tell and retell it as they see fit, because that’s how mythology works, as Tolkien himself knew perfectly well and indicated throughout his works. If people want to reinterpret his stories and settings with non-white characters they’re perfectly entitled to do so.
So yes, all the hair-pulling about black elves has nothing to do with any real concern for Tolkien and everything to do with white fragility. I notice, for example, that these people never complain about dwarves being portrayed as European, even though Tolkien gave them a Semitic language!
I know, they’re the only works for which *Tolkien himself* made any money from the rights! Personally I don’t see why anybody’s “estate” should have any rights to works that they didn’t produce themselves, but what do I know?Not least because, not only did they engage in ‘free adaptation’ of the ‘base material’ to create new ‘content’, but also New Line Cinema just bought the rights off somebody else and the Tolkien estate never got to see any of that money.
Ehhhh, it gets messy. The people from who the Northmen descended, Rhovanion, when Tolkien gave us their names, had a very strong Gothic heritage.Actually, they are explicitly speakers of an old West Germanic tongue if you check their vocabulary. They are even called the Northmen.
All we really know about the Easterlings is that they are described as "swarthy and short", traveling in wagons and chariots, while fighting on foot with great axes, and there are 'Variags of Khand' who fight on horse with bows.The first Men to enter Beleriand are not described tacitly but the later arrivals are described as the Swarthy Men, so by contrast the Dúnedain would be white.
Your analogy isn’t appropriate, and there are three reasons for this.I would certainly think it was nothing but idiotic, if someone (for whatever reason) made Joseph K. to be specifically Greek. It wouldn't be inclusive or meaningfully pro-Greek to me, just dumb and anti-Kafka. And that's even when the setting for The Trial isn't specified (and one at least can infer it's not in Austria-Hungary, unless -eg- in Trieste, since someone in the story has a yacht).
I don't have issues with trying to help marginalized people. However I am of the view that art should not be altered for purely political reason.Your analogy isn’t appropriate, and there are three reasons for this.
First, no existing characters had their ethnicity changed. The producers created new characters with diverse ethnicity.
Second, as a white Greek man you are not subject to the negative social forces facing non-white people. As a Greek you can hardly complain about voices like yours being marginalised - Greek literature is at the very beginning of the traditional western canon. In literary terms, you speak from a position of utmost privilege. Your imagined reaction to the changing of a story to include somebody like you is therefore completely irrelevant to how (say) a black woman should react to the changing of a story to include somebody like her. Your experience of the world is not like hers, and the inclusion of people like her is an attempt to put right an injustice that you have not suffered. Neither you nor I know what that is like. We are not the intended audience for such changes.
Third, as I said before, Tolkien wrote his stories with the explicit intention of making a mythology for the English. The very nature of mythology is to be reinterpreted afresh by every generation to be made relevant to that generation. Nobody complains when people retell (say) the Arthurian legends and add their own spin; nobody complains, for example, that T.H. White made Merlyn into a pacifist in a way that he never was in Mallory, because they recognise that adjusting the character to be newly relevant is a legitimate thing to do. Tolkien - himself a rewriter of Arthurian myth - knew this perfectly well. Hence you find reworkings of myths in his works: the story of Numenor is explicitly a retelling of Atlantis, but with a very different moral; Bilbo’s encounter with Smaug is a reworking of the thief’s encounter with the dragon in Beowulf; and Eriol, the main character in the Book of Lost Tales, is the father of Hengist and Horsa, tying the whole thing explicitly into existing Anglo-Saxon mythology and pseudo-history. Nobody complains about Tolkien rewriting Plato, so why get het up about people rewriting Tolkien?
Tolkien’s works are meant to be a mythology for the English people. The English are more diverse today than they were when Tolkien conceived his stories. It’s entirely appropriate to rework his mythology to be relevant to the English as they are today. This isn’t a consideration that applies to Kafka, who wrote in entirely different genres.
I don't see how that is all - if it was, it wouldn't explain how ubiquitous this particular type of "creative change" (using black actors in those roles) has been in recent years. In other words: it can't realistically be said that all those people doing the adaptations had a theory of how to creatively change things that boiled down to this. It's far more logical to accept it's a political change - for better or worse.Much as a painting of a pipe is not a pipe, the adaptation of a work in a different medium is not the original work.
Arguably, even the translation of a work is not the original work.
It’s new work by a new creator that seeks to represent their vision or understanding of the original work. It may be good, it may not be good, it may be for you, it may not be for you, but the one thing it absolutely is, is it’s own separate creation, with its own vision.
Much of fandom tends to forget that