There’s a topic with The Lord of the Rings that can be glossed over, or not even mentioned. There’s not much diversity. Now before everyone freaks out, let us explain. We’re not suggesting that the story needs to be changed just to fit in diversity, we feel inclusion of diversity should be purposeful and meaningful.
At Of Blades and Kings, we built our foundation on The Lord of the Rings, and we’d like to state that we’ll do nothing to disparage the story, or the work Professor Tolkien put into crafting it. For me, personally, the story holds my strongest passion in life, outside of my family. Therefore, I’m not going to say it needs to be changed, but some stories could be expanded, as long as the people working on them have the same care and passion that Tolkien had.
It’s also important to point out, there’s not a lot of liberty you can take with the story of The Lord of the Rings. The men of the Western regions are going to be predominantly white. That’s the way he wrote it, in his mind he was writing what could be a mythology for the UK. It is what it is, there’s no changing it, and I don’t think anyone should try. I am also not saying a character needs to be rewritten to be diverse, but I do think there are unique and important stories to be told for diverse characters in Middle-earth. Stories where these characters can call them their own. Here’s a few of my ideas.
The Blue Wizards
One of my favorite ideas for expanding on the world that Tolkien wrote is to introduce the Blue Wizards, Alatar and Pallando.
These wizards were a part of the five Istari tasked by Illuvatar to help the free peoples of Middle-earth. Ultimately, Gandalf was the only one to really succeed this mission; Saruman turned evil, Radagast took to his woodland home and cared more for animals, and the Blue Wizards? Not much is known about the Blue Wizards except they disappeared into the East. In that respect, whatever happened, they seemed to fail their mission too.
For those not that knowledgeable of Middle-earth, the East is Sauron’s realm. Mordor, Rhûn, Harad, Khand, and Umbar are all in the east/southeast and under his dominion. He’s created a strong foothold in this area and corrupted the races of men who dwell there. This creates a dilemma, how’re the Blue Wizards going to defeat Sauron in a region where he has the most support? I think there’s a great story to be told here. For me, the most logical explanation is that the Blue Wizards got into Rhûn and were ultimately defeated by Sauron, or they forced themselves into exile because they failed. We won’t ever really know for sure because Tolkien never put pen to paper on their story, and I’m sure he had his reasons, I won’t speculate. I think we can change that though, something happened, there’s a story that includes a civil war in the East as the Blue Wizards try to rally an army against the greatest foe. Why wouldn’t this have been written about already? Well, one could argue that since this moment in Middle-earth history happened outside the realm of the free people’s it wasn’t chronicled by them. Therefore, the only ones to really know what happened would be the Blue Wizards and those who were involved.
I think Ben Kingsley and Taika Waititi would be great choices to play the Blue Wizards. Both are incredible actors and great storytellers. They’re perfect choices for two wizards trying to change the world. Here’s my quick sketch of what they could look like.
I have an idea, it’s less thought out, but still interesting, it’s a story that would focus on the Haradrim.
The land of Harad is vast and expansive, after Sauron is defeated Aragorn must spend his time keeping the peace between lands and he creates his new regime in Gondor.
However, in the cruel lands of Harad there are men who do not want to relinquish their rule to anyone from Gondor.
In those same cruel lands, there are those who long for peace and realize that Gondor is offering it.
Thus begins a campaign for peace to spread out from beyond Gondor into the East. Is Gondor trying to set up their own regime in these lands? No, that’s not how Aragorn works, but they are the new chief power in Middle-earth and it’ll be difficult for the Men of the East to give up their warring ways.
Conflict and wars may be waged over it, civil war may breakout as the lands in the East try to figure out what side they want to be on now that Sauron is gone.
A story of a strong culture being forced into a new stance due to political forces shifting power could resonate with audiences.
Ridding the World of Orcs
Even though King Aragorn’s rule has been beyond reproach, there are still Orcs bands in the mountains wreaking havoc and evading his armies. The races of Men are also at a divide, relations with the East have been growing, but Gondor is still a target for attacks. His emissaries have made progress with some individuals, but the change is slow and difficult if these lands are to avoid a civil war. An effort needs to be made to promote unity against the greater enemy and provide peace throughout Middle-earth.
King Aragorn, decides that in the Age of Man, it needs to be men who bring about this peace. He has his emissaries send word to those most friendly with Gondor, “Send us few of your strongest men, for together we will track down and hunt the remaining Orcs. In doing so, man will finally wash the face of evil off of Middle-earth.” These companions will consist of individuals from Gondor, Arnor, Rohan, Dale, Harad, Khand, Umbar, and Rhûn. The time of the Elves is over and the time of Men has begun. These companions will usher in a new age of man and fellowship.
The main plot will focus on discovering the locations of the Orc bases and leading an effort to eliminate their presence. While this is going on, men from the West and East will be forced to work together as they try to accomplish this difficult task. When faced against a larger foe, these companions will have to decide whether they work together or fall apart. The races of Men are watching and waiting to know if unity can truly be achieved.
Thanks everyone for your time, your patience, and your care.
Let us know what you think, are these unique and meaningful stories? What other potential storylines are there that can utilize diversity? Let us know your thoughts.
Thank you, again, for your time and remember, from the ashes a fire shall be woken.
– The Wandering One