Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Elon Musk entered the pop culture war fray Monday with a pair of tweets about Amazon’s new Lord Of The Rings prequel The Rings Of Power.
“Tolkien is turning in his grave,” the Tesla CEO tweeted. “Almost every male character [in The Rings Of Power] so far is a coward, a jerk or both. Only Galadriel is brave, smart and nice.”
There are opinions and then there are facts. Musk is offering up an opinion that is not based on anything remotely like the facts of The Rings Of Power.
First of all, Galadriel is not the only brave or smart character. Nori the Harfoot is also very brave. Elrond has never acted like a coward. The elf soldier Arondir explores a terrifying tunnel dug out by some unknown monster because he’s courageous enough to go seek out danger to help protect a group of humans who despise him (other than Bronwyn, that is).
There is no indication that any of these male characters, from Durin the dwarven prince to Halbrand the human Galadriel meets—and is rescued from drowning by when she’s stranded out at sea—is a coward. Cowardly jerks don’t typically dive into a monster-infested ocean to save women they just met.
The bravery of Halbrand all by itself proves that Musk’s argument is objectively false. Have all the opinions you like about The Rings Of Power, but this one is simply not backed up by any evidence, and is directly contradicted by the facts.
MORE FROM FORBES’The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power’ Is Bringing Out The Worst In Tolkien FandomBy Erik Kain
That Galadriel’s stubbornness, meanwhile, causes her own company of elven Sauron-hunters to mutiny when she insists they keep pressing north into the frozen wastes. Indeed, she very nearly leaves one of her companions behind, so relentless is she in her drive to find Sauron. Galadriel is certainly smart and brave (normal qualities for a being who has lived for thousands of years) but she’s not particularly nice at any given time.
And plenty of other characters, from the diplomatic Elrond to the regal Gil-Galad to the elder Durin come across as smart and cautious and sober-minded. Finrod, Galadriel’s older brother, the first grown adult male we encounter, is both brave and wise—which makes me even more confused by Musk’s tweet. Even if he only watched the first fifteen minutes of the show, Finrod would make his point moot.
In any case, it’s awfully trendy right now to hate on The Rings Of Power and it appears that Musk is simply catering to his vocal fanbase and massive social media following, telling them what they want to hear rather than offer up an honest assessment of the show.
The Rings Of Power is not above criticism. It’s just a shame that so many of its detractors seem intent on making the worst arguments possible, focusing on manufactured notions of Amazon’s fantasy being overly-woke, anti-male or too diverse.
P.S. I have nothing against Musk personally. When people attacked him over his (admittedly strange) Elden Ring character build, I defended him, pointing out that this kind of criticism seemed an awful lot like gatekeeping. Not all criticism is created equal.
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