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Tolkien things too far? Fans accuse Lord of the Rings writer society of political correctness

JRR Tolkien fans have accused the writers’ literary society of trying to be too politically correct after it announced it would hold a series of seminars on ‘Transgender Realities’ and ‘Dwarf Women and the Feminine Lack’. 

The literary charity announced it would host debates paying ‘critical attention’ to issues of diversity at its annual summer conference, titled ‘Tolkien and Diversity’.   

Fans will be able to ponder questions on race, class, disability, gender, and sexuality in Tolkien’s works at the seminar series, due to take place on Zoom next weekend. 

Lord of the Rings fans have accused the JRR Tolkien society of trying to be too politically correct after it announced a series of seminars titled ‘Tolkien and Diversity’ 

The Hobbit, Tolkien's middle earth fantasy novel, was published in September 1937 with a first run of just 1,500 copies.

The Hobbit, Tolkien’s middle earth fantasy novel, was published in September 1937 with a first run of just 1,500 copies.

But, enthusiasts have claimed the planned seminars and papers warp and distort Tolkien’s works, arguing each reader will understand the books differently, the Times reported. 

Despite the backlash, society Chairman Shaun Gunner said Tolkien fans have flooded to sign up for the event.  

‘Tolkien’s efforts to represent [or ignore] particular characteristics requires further examination’, organisers said. 

‘Additionally, how a character’s identity shapes and influences its place within Tolkien’s secondary-world still requires greater attention. 

‘This seminar aims to explore the many possible applications of ‘diversity’ within Tolkien’s works, his adaptations, and his readership.’  

The decision to discuss the diversity of Tolkien’s work was spurred by recent interpretations of the writer’s creations and the cast list of the upcoming Amazon show The Lord of the Rings, organisers explained. 

A casting agency working for Amazon, they added, put a call out for ‘unusual’ or ‘funny looking’ actors for the new series, highlighting the need to open a debate. 

BGT Actors Models & Talent reportedly wrote in a casting call out: ‘Do you have an overbite, face burns, long skinny limbs, deep cheekbones, lines on your face, acne scars, ears that stick out, bulbous or interesting noses, small eyes, big eyes, any deformities, Skinny faces, missing limbs?’ 

The call was appealing to male and female actors between 18 and 65 based in New Zealand, where the series is being filmed. 

The organisation, founded in 1969, was set up to promote the life and works of Tolkien.

Organisers said attendees will discuss questions such as: ‘How do adaptations of Tolkien’s works [from film and art to music] open a discourse on diversity within Tolkien’s works and his place within modern society? 

‘Beyond his secondary-world, diversity further encompasses Tolkien’s readership and how his texts exist within the primary world. Who is reading Tolkien? 

‘How is he understood around the globe? How may these new readings enrich current perspectives on Tolkien?’ 

The Lord of the Rings series is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. It was also turned into a series of box office hit films (Pictured: Scene from the The Fellowship Of The Ring - 2001)

The Lord of the Rings series is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. It was also turned into a series of box office hit films (Pictured: Scene from the The Fellowship Of The Ring – 2001)

Brad Dourif and Bernard Hill starring in The Lord Of The Rings - The Two Towers

Brad Dourif and Bernard Hill starring in The Lord Of The Rings – The Two Towers

Papers titled ‘The Invisible Other: Tolkien’s Dwarf-Women and the ‘Feminine Lack” and ‘A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Ring’ will be presented during the two-day event.

A total of 16 speakers will introduce a paper. Other topics include ‘Indigeneity, Identity and Antiracism’ and ‘Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists’.      

The Lord of the Rings series is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. It was also turned into a series of box office hit films. 

The Hobbit, Tolkien’s middle earth fantasy novel, was published in September 1937 with a first run of just 1,500 copies.

Following its success, the Lord of The Rings trilogy was penned by Tolkien over the next 12 years and published in 1954 and 1955.

They are among the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold, later being turned into three acclaimed films. Tolkien died in 1973.

Who was JRR Tolkien? The Oxford Professor who fought in the Somme and was inspired to write The Hobbit while grading a paper

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa 1892 and moved to England when he was four

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa 1892 and moved to England when he was four

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in South Africa 1892 and moved to England when he was four. 

 He grew up in Sarehole, in Birmingham, and went on to became a Professor at Oxford University where he studied Old and Middle English.

 While working at the university, Tolkien invented languages of his own. But when World War I broke out, he enlisted as a second lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers and fought in the Battle of the Somme.

He was eventually released from duty due to illness.

When he returned to Oxford after the war he penned a line about a ‘hobbit’ while grading a paper. 

The line went on to become one of his most famous works, The Hobbit novel, and he later wrote The Lord of the Rings series.

The books contained stories from a fantasy land partially inspired by ancient European myths. The world had its own sets of maps, lore and its own unique language.    

He called it Middle-earth and the world was peopled by men, elves, dwarves, trolls, orcs, goblins and hobbits.

The Hobbit was published in 1937, before his famous trilogy. 

Part one of the series, The Fellowship of the Ring was published in 1954, while The Two Towers and The Return of the King followed in 1955. 

Tolkien had four children, three sons and a daughter, who all carried on his legacy after his death on September 2, 1973, at the age of 81. 

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