Tesla owner and the world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has chimed in on Amazon Prime’s new Lord of the Rings series to pan it.
Musk shared his harsh criticism of “The Rings of Power” on Twitter, stating that author J.R.R. Tolkien is “turning in his grave.”
“Almost every male character so far is a coward, a jerk or both," the Tesla CEO wrote. "Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice.”
Galadriel is the main character of the show, a female warrior elf, who is a reimagined version of Tolkien’s original character and featured in the Peter Jackson movies.
“Those who claim any criticism of Rings of Power means you’re racist are outing themselves as closet racists,” he added, mocking the show’s defenders, who are largely film critics intent on shutting down any discourse relating to the show.
The show faces a lot of criticism for its casting of non-white actors as characters originally envisioned by Tolkien as being European-inspired.
Tolkien, who was famously a scholar and philologist, created Middle Earth based on real-world history, and his work demands accurate portrayals of Middle Earth’s demographics and representation not typically seen in fantasy novels.
Unlike other fictional universes, which play fast and loose with their portrayals of race, ethnicity, and culture, Tolkien’s Middle Earth places a strong emphasis on history – especially within the universe. There’s even a book called the Silmarillion, that goes over the setting's vast plethora of demographics and cultures.
Defenders of “The Rings of Power” argue that Tolkien’s world lacks diversity and that casting non-white characters into the show was a way to make up for the author’s apparent oversight of non-white people.
Beyond its portrayal of race, “The Rings of Power” fails to capture Galadriel in her original incarnation, instead portraying her as a warrior. The actress who plays Galadriel, Morfydd Clark, defended her portrayal of the character and justified it by claiming Galadriel’s stoic portrayal as a regent in the Lord of the Rings movies was justified by her badassery in this prequel series.
“I would say that her serenity [in ‘Lord of the Rings’] is hard-earned,” she told Variety. “I don’t think you get to that level of wisdom without going through things. She actually speaks about with wisdom, there is a loss of innocence, which was a really good thing for me to find in the lore. Because, like, how young are you when you’re still thousands of years old? So it was thinking of what innocence she lost during this time.”
While Musk’s views may be shared by many of the show's critics who are fans of the books, some writers like renowned author Neil Gaiman slammed Musk for not staying in his lane.
“Elon Musk doesn't come to me for advice on how to fail to buy Twitter, and I don't go to him for film, TV or literature criticism,” said the “Sandman” author.