Forced diversity or just a nicely working story? Let's find out.
Long before its premiere, 'The Rings of Power' was scrutinized for what many have deemed "woke agenda" and "forced diversity". With the show introducing dark-skinned elves and hobbits, as well as a handful of female leads, it immediately drew accusations of being progressive for the sake of being progressive, and not for the sake of a good story.
However, some initial reactions to episodes 1 and 2 address this issue directly, and it seems that fans are satisfied with the way progressive ideas intertwine with common sense and storytelling rules.
One of the most prominent female characters in 'The Rings of Power' is surely Galadriel, portrayed by Morfydd Clark. Also known as the Lady of the woods of Lothlórien, Galardiel is one of the greatest Middle-earth's elves, whose mission in the show is to hunt down Sauron and defeat him, even though she risks losing her home Valinor forever.
While some LoTR fans argue that this version of Galadriel messes up Tolkien's canon and canonical view of the elves, others praise 'The Rings of Power' writers and Morfydd Clark, whose performance is "outstanding", according to the early viewers. It seems that as the show's progressing, the debate on whether this Galadriel is better or worse than Cate Blanchette's version will become more and more acrimonious.
Another prominent female character is Elanor Brandyfoot, a hobbit of Harfoots. She is played by Markella Kavenagh. Her nickname is "Nori", and she is the one who discovers a mysterious person wandering around the scene of the meteorite fall. Nori is an original 'The Rings of Power' character, who was not introduced in the John R.R. Tolkien books.
"Elanor "Nori" Brandyfoot is even more precious than I thought she'd be – I love the scrappy, adventurous, curious energy, I love that finally I can relate to a female character in this universe," one of the LoTR fans posted excitedly on Twitter.
Finally, there is Bronwyn, portrayed by Nazanin Boniadi, – a healer from Tirharad who falls in love with the Silvan Elf Arondir. She is also a non-canonical character created specifically for 'The Rings of Power'.
"Human, mother, healer, outcast. Bronwyn is a woman with incredible tenacity and will who I'm so proud to bring to life and excited to finally introduce to the world," the actress herself said about her character.
Amazon's LoTR prequel is streaming on Prime Video, with six more episodes to premiere through October, one per week. The new episodes arrive every Friday.