(not in order) Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Pippin Took, & Merry Brandybuck in Return of the King. Image: New Line Cinema.

Original Hobbits Send a Clear Message to Bigots About Who’s Welcome in Middle-Earth for ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’

There’s been a loud minority of people, online and off, complaining about who’s allowed to appear in adaptations of anything written by J.R.R. Tolkien, especially with the arrival of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Most of these people are nameless anons, but some are internet infamous for successfully transitioning from calling the existence of non-white men “sjw” to “woke,” and at least one person is among the richest people in the world. (Yes, Apartheid Clyde.) Despite this wave of hate, many members of the original cast of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films are speaking up against that.

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In tweets put out today by actors Elijah Wood (a.k.a. Frodo) and Sean Astin (a.k.a. our boy Sam) they show themselves with fellow actors Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan donning the shirts “You are all welcome here” in the iconic elven script.

This wasn’t just a random post but a coordinated effort by these four, and many more, to affirm and welcome the inclusion of more women and people of color in The Rings of Power. LOTR content creator Don Marshall sells the shirts (and stickers), and non-binary artist Kris, who describes themselves as “TolkienTok’s Resident Elf-Boi,” designed it. I love this illustration, and especially the various ear shapes signifying this message represents elves, hobbits, dwarves, and humans (a.k.a. man).

I don’t need any validation from these actors, but I love to see it. It’s very important for them to show solidarity, just as it is for other actors in famous franchises (like Ewan McGregor defending Moses Ingram for Star Wars’ and Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series) and creators of these worlds (like Neil Gaiman with Sandman) to use their platform to speak up. This vocal pushback against bigotry shows even their faves aren’t on their side, and can make fandom more welcoming, especially to newer fans.

(featured image: New Line Cinema)

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Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.