penguinfaery: (Default)
Terra ([personal profile] penguinfaery) wrote2012-12-27 07:28 pm

(no subject)

So I spent my last round of watching The Hobbit thinking a lot about the play we did of the Hobbit. And there have been a lot of posts on tumblr about race in High Fantasy, and I was trying to solidly think of both side and IDK thoughts came out.

Our version of the hobbit was cast blind to races, as most of our plays were, and as such, Bilbo was a very talented black kid who did an awesome job. And I think doing casting and just totally ignoring race (like in the Brandy version of Cinderella) is something cool that should be done WAY more often, but it does give something a certain feel. It worked marvelous for that version of Cinderella (And, more recently, Thor, although they didn't go as far with it as they could have), but I don't know if it would work well for, say, The Hobbit as it was translated to screen.

I think the issues, with high fantasy, is that groups are not as mixed as we are currently. Middle earth* is not a melting pot. The races live separate, and even the tribes within the races live separate. And everyone in an area looks alike. All hobbits look like angry little celtic people, and to have, say, an Asian Hobbit, they would stick out. And feel like a token character just stuck in there to have a non-white character, which I don't think is what anyone wants.

And that's where most people seem to go "OK, all the people in Middle Earth are white." because idk. They are dumb and it is easy and it doesn't bug them because their mom looks like a hobbit.

Which is dumb. If the rules of the world are that all tribes look alike, than you need whole tribes of people who are not white. You need to bring diversity in in a way that bring the whole world diverse, not just one or two characters. The elves of Mirkwood are tall and blond, fine. The elves of Rivendell are less fair, why did it only apply to their hair? Why not a tribe of darker skinned dwarves or as many have pointed out, a group of humans cast from the Maori tribes.

And then, had we seen that there were dwarves who were not lily white under all their drawf grime, when the hobbit came around, some more variety wouldn't have stuck out. You wouldn't have to explain why one drawf wasn't like the others, because he wasn't one single drawf, he was just from tribe XXXX (or his parents were, or whatever). Use the world rules for more diversity instead of using them to cut it out, and you no longer have to explain why there's a minorities, because it's built in.

Hopefully I haven't stuck my foot in my mouth here.

*I know very little about LotR world so it I am getting some details mixed up, forgive me. I am going for ideas to the genre not tolkien specific correctness.