Once upon a time, the only people who got to judge content on television and films were qualified critics. But now, with the ever-available internet and social media, everyone has become the judge. The ‘woke’ and the ‘un-woke’ have their opinions on everything. As it is rightly said, you cannot please everyone.
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Woke used to be a term used in a positive sense for people aware of the injustice, but now it has become a term to slam anything and everything a part of the society does not agree with. And there are quite a few shows available that are “too woke” but slamming diversity in a show as ‘woke’ always is a little too much.
Are The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon ‘woke’?
The thing is both The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon are based on fantasy and fantasy can be anything. Both the shows are prequels to a franchise that previously only had a white cast. And these “purists” somehow assumed that – that was way to the tale is. But now with more awareness, shows are including a more diverse cast, and they did so too. But the “real” fans do not seem to like it.
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In The Rings of Power, the inclusion of diversity bothers J.R.R. Tolkien’s “purists” as he did not include that in his book. But the thing is he wrote about Middle Earth that does not end with Europe and is a land where wizards and elves and dragons are found, so it could also have a diverse cast. The show can include dark-skinned magical creatures.
In the House of the Dragon, the showrunners and the writer, George R.R. Martin himself included a house that has a different origin from the Targaryen – House Velaryon. Its leader, Lord Corlys, and his family are from Old Valiria, which is different from Westeros. They have darker skin but silver hair like the Targaryen.
The “purist” fans need to stop
This isn’t new that the self-proclaimed real fans have come up yelling “woke” over a diverse cast. Just earlier this year, the casting of Moses Ingram in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cynthia Erivo for playing Blue Fairy in the upcoming Pinocchio live-action movie, faced similar backlash. It is hard to understand why for a certain people it is a little hard to accept diversity.
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As for The Rings of Power and House of the Dragon, as already said, they are fantasy, and a land with dragons, elves, and magical creatures, can include people of color. The “purists” need to stop considering these shows as the real history of Europe, which by the way, did include people of color as well. Also, nowhere in these stories was it mentioned that they were based in Europe, they are based on fantasy.
House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.