The Lord of the Rings has a massive fanbase, so it wasn't a huge surprise that the Rings of Power TV series quickly set a record among shows on Amazon Prime, with 25 million people tuning in for the first episodes. However, with popularity comes scrutiny and the new LOTR prequel has faced a large amount of both, especially surrounding The Rings of Power’s diverse cast. Now, Whoopi Goldberg has entered the conversation and is calling out the viewers who are complaining about “Black Hobbits.”
Rings of Power has been positively reviewed by critics, but it has been review bombed by people who don’t like the show because they say the diverse casting does not fit within LOTR lore. The discourse around the show has also been massive. For example, billionaire Elon Musk criticized the show, while The Sandman creator Neil Gaiman slammed Musk, supporting TROP's casting choices. Gaiman and Goldberg have similar views on the casting. Goldberg recently said on The View:
The show features a Black Elf, Black female Dwarf, and several Black Harfoots (a.k.a. the Rings of Power's version of Hobbits), along with a woman as the protagonist. All these characters have been targets of racist and sexist remarks from people claiming that they don’t fit into the lore of the franchise.
The episode of The View also addresses the diversity in the new Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, where the richest man in Westeros is a Black man, played by Steve Toussaint. While neither the Lord of the Rings films nor Game of Thrones were particularly diverse, the franchises are now more inclusive with casting.
Whoopi Goldberg noted that both The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon take place in worlds that don’t exist in real life saying:
She went on to talk about how the new Little Mermaid will have a Black actress playing Ariel and how the sea creatures can be literally any color, from pink to blue to purple. Therefore, anyone can be a mermaid, or any fantasy creature for that matter. Goldberg blatantly called out those who don’t believe that.
Many have spoken out about the rude comments made by these trolls. This includes the original Hobbits from the Peter Jackson films. Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, and Sean Astin all posed for photos in t-shirts and hats that had ears of all colors and shapes with the caption “You are all welcome here.” These original Hobbits along with Goldberg have made it clear that whether it’s fantasy or real life, all should always be welcome and included.
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Riley Utley is a Weekend Editor and resident Swiftie at CinemaBlend. She also adores (and writes about) Ted Lasso, rom-coms and whatever streaming series is gracing our screens.