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"I shan't call it the end, till we've cleared up the mess." — Sam
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The Fellowship of the Ring is a diverse group that subverts racial relations within the narrative. Art by Catherine Chmiel
"For years, Tolkien scholars have waged a fight on two fronts: against an academic establishment that for the most part refused to take the author's work seriously, and against white supremacists who have tried to claim the professor as one of their own."
― David Ibata, Chicago Tribune[1]

Some fans and critics of J.R.R. Tolkien's works could observe several ambiguously racist and race-based elements; these go further into stereotyping or the symbolism of good versus evil in Tolkien's legendarium. Though the latter is the more established and valid area of study, as early as the first edition of The Lord of the Rings the topic of 'race' has been discussed, including by C.S. Lewis.[2]

Tolkien denounced Hitler,[3] Nazi beliefs, "race-doctrine",[4] and apartheid,[5] and praised the Jews, calling them a "gifted people"[6]

In the Foreword to the revised edition of The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien cautioned strongly against viewing it as an allegory, stating that he cordially disliked allegory.[7] He reiterated this sentiment in response to suggestions of racial allegory in his works.[4] Therefore his intentions should be viewed as being set aside from the social-political domain and entirely focused within a fantasy-fiction context.

Christine Chism mentions the issue of racism in the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia, where she distinguishes accusations as falling into three categories: intentional racism, unconscious Eurocentric bias, and an evolution from latent racism in Tolkien's early work to a conscious rejection of racist tendencies in his late work.[8]

The Lord of the Rings (film series),[9] and more recently The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have done much to perpetuate recent popular interest in, as well as criticism of Tolkien's writings.[10]

Issues with claims of racism[edit | edit source]

Applying modern values to historical works[edit | edit source]

Many Tolkien scholars take issue with applying our modern values to Tolkien who lived from 1892 to 1973.

Tolkien scholar, Dimitra Fimi has stated that she believes that accusing Tolkien of racism is problematic due to analysis being within the framework of modern views on race while Tolkien lived during a time when race "was [still considered] a valid scientific term".[11]

Characters' point of view[edit | edit source]

Many seemingly racist descriptions in dialogue might represent the speaker rather than the author. For example, Gollum's description of the Haradrim, "Not nice; very cruel wicked Men they look. Almost as bad as Orcs, and much bigger"[12] has been described as "stereotypical and reflective of colonial attitudes". Sandra Straubhaar points out in Tolkien and the Invention of Myth that Gollum is known for having a hatred for others and his opinions should not be taken as necessarily representative of Tolkien's views.[13]

Racial ambiguity of characters[edit | edit source]

As Tolkien's legendarium is set in a fictional world, race does not work the same as in our Primary World. There are different races (eg. Dwarves and Elves) and groups within these (eg. Gondorians and Haradrim). None of these groups are a 1-1 match to any race in our world. Except for the few situations in which Tolkien explicitly states it, any claims as to the real-world race that a character or (Arda) race is based on is reader interpretation and cannot be definitively said to have been a result of racism, intentional or not.

Often the only clues we have to go on for which (real-world) race a character/race is most similar to or based upon, are short, often metaphorical descriptions that are subject to debate. For example Samwise Gamgee is twice referred to as having "brown hands",[14][15] leading some to argue that Sam is "non-white".[16]

Perceived racism in Tolkien's works[edit | edit source]

Men[edit | edit source]

Easterlings by John Howe

One potentially racist element in Middle-earth is that the majority of the Men who serve Sauron are the dark-skinned peoples of the Easterlings and Southrons. They come from the South and East of Middle-earth, corresponding with Asia and Africa in the loose connection between Middle-earth geography and that of the real world.

The Easterlings are aligned with Morgoth or Sauron with the exception of Bór's folk. They are described as being of fairly dark skin complexion, swarthy and exceedingly cruel. The Southrons (or Haradrim) are described as black-skinned, cruel and evil.

In some cases, people having the slightest blood relation to enemies, like Freca and Wulf, who are related to the Dunlendings, are presented as evil themselves,[17] further suggesting the idea that evilness is hereditary or inherent to the race. Some of these are also called "swarthy" (dark). Bill Ferny is said to be swarthy,[18] however the rest of the mostly benign and hearty Men of Bree are also descended from Dunlendings.[19]

While the Easterlings and the Haradrim are dark-skinned people in the service of the Enemy, the Woses are primitive, small, and alien compared to other peoples (their chief Ghân-buri-Ghân only wears a grass skirt) yet they are valuable allies. While Tolkien does not mention their skin colour, they were considered monsters by the Rohirrim who hunted them as animals, which the narrative explicitly condemns. However, in the First Age they were counted as Edain, or noble Men, and were allies of the Elves.[20]

However, not all enemies are non-white. Noteworthy examples are Gríma, and at least three of the Nazgûl. Indeed, while during the timeframe of the War of the Ring, those enslaved and serving Sauron were darker skinned people from the South and East, during the history of Middle-earth many of the white races of man and even some Elves were fooled and coerced by the Enemy.

In the War of the Ring, the human enemies are not truly evil, since they are described as deceived, enslaved or exploited. They are portrayed in a much more sympathetic light when Sam sees a dead warrior of Harad and wonders if he was truly evil — or rather deceived or coerced to go to war. The Dunlendings are persuaded by Saruman to attack Rohan, playing on their grievances due to Gondor giving what they considered their land to the Éothéod, the ancestors of the Rohirrim. Earlier, Sauron persuaded their ancestors to fight against the Númenóreans, the cause of their relocation from forests into the hills. Additionally, after the War of the Ring, King Elessar pardoned and made peace with the Easterlings and Haradrim.[21]

Tolkien also wrote that the Blue Wizards, were sent into the South and East lands to spread dissent and resistance against Sauron.[22] While he wrote on one occasion (as given in Unfinished Tales) that they failed, on another occasion (as given in The Peoples of Middle-earth) he wrote that they were successful, making Sauron's hold on these lands throughout the centuries significantly weaker than it should have been. This prevented Sauron from overwhelming the West with his armies and ultimately contributed to his defeat in the War of the Ring. This means that Southrons and Easterlings resisting Sauron were meant to exist, only that their stories remain untold.

Orcs[edit | edit source]

The Fighting Uruk-hai & the Orcs of Lugburz by Abe Papakhian

Stephen Shapiro, a cultural studies expert, has compared the small group of protagonists (the Fellowship of the Ring) against hordes of foreign enemies as representative of the long history of Anglo-European's fear of non-Europeans.[23]

Of the Orcs, the Uruk-Hai are described as "black"[24] and a smaller Orc, a tracker, is described as "black-skinned".[25] All Orcs are often described as "slant-eyed"[26] and the Uruk-Hai at least refer to the Rohirrim as 'whiteskins'.[27] Tolkien described Orcs as "...squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types"[28]

While Tolkien's statement comparing Orcs to the "Mongol-types" may be interpreted as racist, he does put a disclaimer, "(to Europeans,)" before "least lovely", recognizing Western cultural bias and also pointing out that they were "degraded and repulsive versions" of "Mongol-types", not actual "Mongol-types". Additionally, this was in a time period where racial stereotypes of Mongols were more acceptable and less questioned so Tolkien's use of the phrase "Mongol-types" may have been just a descriptor, separate from any views he may have held on Mongolia or Mongols. It is worth noting that some Orcs use crooked or bent swords (Tolkien also uses the term scimitar, which is historically associated with the Middle East).[29]

Orcs, however, are not Men. Unlike the wicked Men who serve the Enemy, who might have been enslaved or beguiled, Orcs are portrayed as irredeemably evil, or at least having a redemption outside the scope of the narrative. The origin of Orcs is not clear, but they may be products of Morgoth's sorcery or the descendants of tortured and ruined Elves or Men. Regardless of their origins, they are not presented as a natural race.[30]

Dwarves as Jews[edit | edit source]

The Long Lost Treasure Casatshok by Henning Janssen
See also: #Nazism and Judaism

Tolkien himself compared Dwarves to Jews:

The dwarves of course are quite obviously... couldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic obviously, constructed to be Semitic. [...] There's a tremendous love of the artefact, and of course the immense warlike capacity of the Jews, which we tend to forget nowadays.
—J.R.R. Tolkien to Denys Gueroult[31]

In another letter, he makes the same comparison, but this time it is explicitly about both peoples being dispossessed of their lands, forced to wander the world, and adopt the languages of other lands: both were "at once natives and aliens in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue…"[32]

Rebecca Brackman notes that although Tolkien was not a conscious antisemite, he was influenced by the popular perception towards the Jews, including by tropes and stereotypes considered "antisemitic" today; such tropes were found in classical and contemporary works including The Merchant of Venice or Oliver Twist, that portrayed the Jews as greedy, alien, and as cowardly comical reliefs. The Dwarves in The Hobbit display such traits at several points in the story and are portrayed as comical, unheroic, alien, and functioning under their own interests ("dwarves are not heroes, but calculating folk with a great idea of the value of money"[33]).[34]

In his later works, Tolkien paints a mostly positive picture of the dwarves (Gimli of course is brave and honourable, and "few Dwarves ever served the enemy willingly", contrary to the tales of Men[35]) and elsewhere he made explicitly positive statements about the Jewish people.[6]

However, one of the weaknesses of the Dwarves was their greed for gold and other riches, amplified by the Seven Rings.[36] Some see a connection between this and the stereotype of the Jewish usurer. It is also possible to draw a connection between the bearded Dwarves and the beards of Orthodox Jews. This, though, has more of an origin in Norse mythology than Jewish stereotypes.

Númenóreans[edit | edit source]

Tar-Míriel by Turner Mohan

Tolkien has divine beings blessing or gifting peoples or persons and their descendants, having thus the concept of the chosen people who differ from others — in Tolkien's case, the Dúnedain (literally "Men of the West") of Númenor. It should be also noted that according to Theosophy, Ariosophy and Nazism, the Aryan race is supposedly descended from Atlantis.[37]

Although gifted, many of Tolkien's Númenóreans are evil. In the Appendices to the Return of the King, Númenórean fleets sail to Middle-earth, where they conquer and subjugate native peoples in what may be a commentary on European imperialism. The Númenóreans ultimately cause their own downfall by following the teachings of Morgoth, conducting human sacrifices, and making war on Valinor. At least three of the Nazgûl are Númenóreans.

Light vs. Dark[edit | edit source]

Some critics have declared that there is racism in Tolkien's works through his use of words such as "light" and "white" vs. "dark" or "black". For instance, in 2002, John Yatt in The Guardian wrote: "White men are good, 'dark' men are bad, orcs are worst of all."[38] Other critics disagree with such clear-cut generalizations of Tolkien's "white" and "dark" men into good and bad.

The whole of Tolkien's legendarium contains a conflict between "light" (The Trees, the Silmarils) and "darkness" (the literal absence of light). Morgoth's standard was "sable unblazoned" (that is, plain black).[39] "Mordor" means "black land" in Sindarin.[40] If one were to analyse this through a racial lense, the ongoing clash may be interpreted as containing racial symbolism of light skinned versus dark skinned peoples, although Eöl, father of Maeglin was known as the Dark Elf,[41] and the Moriquendi were called the Elves of Darkness. Both these terms refer to remaining outside the light of the two trees, not to skin tone. The Black Númenóreans are likewise named because of the colour of their allegiance to Sauron and their heraldry, not their skin tone. Considering this, Tolkien's assignment of Good and Evil to "light" and "dark" cannot simply be dismissed as racial undertones within the broader narrative.

As Tom Shippey points out, it is important to view the context behind the writing. Tolkien wrote as if he were writing a medieval text from the perspective of a prescientific medieval people.

The mention in ‘The Battle of the Pelennor Fields’ of ‘black men like half-trolls’ certainly sounds racist. I think I would say here that Tolkien at this point is trying to write like a medieval chronicler, and when medieval Europeans first encountered sub-Saharan Africans, they were genuinely confused about them, and rather frightened. As Tolkien pointed out in his early scholarly works, the ancient English seemed to have a belief in fire-demons, who naturally enough had skin like soot – their word for them, ‘harwan’, is related to Latin ‘carbo’, ‘soot,’ or carbon. An Anglo-Saxon meeting an African for the first time might then really wonder (for a moment, from a distance) whether this was a demon from his own mythology. This doesn’t mean that Tolkien shared the mythology, or the mistake.[9]
—Tom Shippey

White is also not always associated with good. Noteworthy examples are Gríma, Gollum, and at least two of the Nazgûl. Lotho Sackville-Baggins and the ruffians are white-skinned characters who ravage and take over the Shire. Saruman the White and his symbol the White Hand are associated with evil and corruption. Orcs are described as "sallow" (pale).[28] Similarly black is not only associated with evil as Gondor uses a black standard bearing the White Tree, and the Guards of the Citadel of Minas Tirith wore black chain mail. In The Peoples of Middle-earth, three Númenórean ships are followed by a boat with black sails. One of the mariners explains to a native of Middle-earth, scared that the black sails indicate doom, that the blackness is in fact a thing of beauty, the night sky of Elbereth (who kindled the stars). Indeed, Tolkien states that one of Morgoth's (literally, the Black Enemy) victories was in associating darkness and night with fear and evil.

The symbolism of light as good and dark as evil is ever-present in much of literature, modern and historical. Light vs. dark is a prehistoric dichotomy present in a great many cultures, Western and otherwise. A common theme, it is seen in religion from all parts of the world,[42] including Christianity (John 8:12 Jesus Christ said, "I am the Light of the World, Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.")[43]

Moral geography[edit | edit source]

Moral geography of Middle-earth according to John Magoun

Tolkien wrote that Arda was not a different fantasy universe but a fictional era in Earth's history.[44] This has led to criticisms with some similarities noticed between the peoples in different regions of Middle-earth and their corresponding Earth location. It has also been pointed out that Aman, the Blessed Realm, is the westernmost part of Arda which areas in the South and East are often associated with evil.[45]

It should be noted that Tolkien only made precise geographic correspondences of Third Age Middle-earth locations to those in the real world. For example, Hobbiton was at the latitude of Oxford.[46] The Shire was based upon, but was not actually rural England, since "the lands [have] changed" since then.[47] Tolkien made no precise correspondences regarding the peoples concerned. Though the Hobbits were based upon rural English folk, they were not literally ancient Englishmen. He never said that Harad was Africa, nor the Eastlands Asia, nor their inhabitants' ancestors of Africans or Asians.

The Daily Telegraph Magazine suggested in a draft of an article that North was "a sacred direction" for Tolkien. He responded to this admitting that he did have an affection for it as he (and most of his ancestors) were from North-west Europe but that he did not have an exclusive preference for it and that this did not affect his writings, something that further analysis of his writings would show.[46]

The East and South are not the only places that are associated with evil, especially in earlier history. In the First Age, evil came from the North when Morgoth based himself in Angband. Also, all Men and Elves first awoke in the East. Boromir is introduced as a "man from the South"[48] without qualification (actually South-west).

Racial superiority[edit | edit source]

The differences between races and racial hierarchy have led to the claims of racism in Arda. This claim can also be taken a step further to say for example, "The Haradrim were based on Mongolians and were bad and morally inferior to Elves and other Men so therefore Tolkien viewed Mongolians as inferior."

Part of the controversy may be caused in part by the conflicting uses of the word race. When we talk about race in humans we most often mean ethnic or cultural subgroups of humans. In Tolkien's writings, race is more similar to different species. Saying that Dwarves are better blacksmiths than Men is therefore more akin to claiming humans are better blacksmiths than bears, a generally uncontroversial statement.

While no significant proof has been found proving that any (human) races are superior,[49] the different races of Middle-earth were created separately and in some cases by different beings. These differences are not due to failings of that particular group but to the goal their creator had in mind.

Additionally, while some beings in Middle-earth are objectively more powerful than others they are not necessarily portrayed as lesser because of it. Although in Middle-earth Hobbits were considered unimportant (by those who had even heard of them) and for most of history they were content to leave and be left alone by the world,[47] Hobbits had a massive influence on the events of the last Third Age, saving Middle-earth from the dominion of Sauron. In a book with wizards, kings and soldiers, Tolkien stated that Sam, a gardener of the Shire, was the chief hero of the book.[50]

All the "superior" people, be they Elves, Edain or Dunedain, have no direct analogues with peoples of the real world. If the Dunedain could be put somewhere, they would belong in Atlantis, since Númenor was Middle-earth's counterpart to Plato's Atlantis.[51] The Rohirrim, who have been parallelled to blond and fair Europeans, are "inferior" to them, being Middle Men, in their view.

Race mixing[edit | edit source]

Critics have noticed possible themes of scientific racism and eugenics in Tolkien's writing primarily due to actual or feared racial decline due to race mixing.[52]

Of the Orcs of Isengard, Treebeard states:

It is a mark of evil things that came in the Great Darkness that they cannot abide the Sun; but Saruman's Orcs can endure it, even if they hate it. I wonder what he has done? Are they Men he has ruined, or has he blended the races of Orcs and Men? That would be a black evil![53]

There were three marriages between an Eldar and Edain, Lúthien and Beren, Idril and Tuor, and Arwen and Aragorn.[54] Despite there being concerns from characters, primarily the fathers of the Elves, these unions are portrayed positively with the love story of Beren and Lúthien being inspired by his own wife, Edith.[55]

The blood of Númenor ran nearly true in the character of Faramir,[56] a man whom Tolkien described as "modest, fair-minded and scrupulously just, and very merciful",[57] yet he chose to marry Éowyn, who was a woman of Rohan and therefore undoubtedly of the race of Middle Men.[58][59]

Racism in Middle-earth[edit | edit source]

Tolkien portrays racism within the "heroic" races as unabashedly negative. Elves and Dwarves distrust each other. Some Elves hunted the Petty-dwarves as animals,[60] as did the Rohirrim to the Woses.[61] The friendship between Legolas and Gimli is portrayed as unusual but commendable,[62] and several scenes illustrate them learning to understand and respect each other's cultural differences. When Gimli meets Galadriel and hears her speak the names of Kheled-zâram, Kibil-nâla, and Khazad-dûm in his own tongue, he is described as feeling as if he had"looked into the heart of an enemy and saw there love and understanding."[63] Later, when he originally asks for nothing of Lady Galadriel, although she had given every other member of the Fellowship a gift, she says, "Let none say again that Dwarves are grasping and ungracious!"[64]

It is notable that there is apparently racism within the ranks of Orcs as the Uruk-hai held themselves as superior to the common Orcs, whom they called snaga (slave).[65]

The point-of-view characters of the book -- the hobbits -- are themselves of a race that is frequently described as being overlooked, under-estimated, and lightly regarded by the other races of Middle-earth, yet they often demonstrate far greater courage and nobility than the races who denigrate them. They are not without prejudice, however, and Gandalf is shown reprimanding Frodo for his comments on Barliman Butterbur.[66]

The Númenóreans of Gondor fell to infighting because of a supposed need for racial purity, especially concerning the ancestry of their king (the Kin-strife), and grew weaker as a result. In this affair, the villain was the pure-blooded Númenórean Castamir while the hero was the half-Númenórean Eldacar.

Counterindications[edit | edit source]

Tolkien's defenders assert that many criticisms of racism and elitism levelled at The Lord of the Rings and other writings are oversimplifications and generalizations, and do not take account of everything the author may have written concerning these matters.

While some of his views may be seen as outdated today, Tolkien was fairly progressive for his time when it came to race. It seems unlikely that Tolkien who opposed the idea that some races were superior to others would choose to consciously use that as an element in his writings.

Tolkien was English and wanted to make a mythology for England. Therefore he wrote The Lord of the Rings according to his people's point of view. He could not make his protagonists, say, Incan or Japanese, or even put the setting anywhere else than (an alternative) North-western Europe, in spirit if not in actuality.

Middle-earth has been praised for its diversity and polyculturalism.

Views[edit | edit source]

Nazism and Judaism[edit | edit source]

Tolkien's German publisher, Rütten & Loening, asked if he was of arisch (Aryan) origin. This angered Tolkien who complained of the "lunatic laws" and "wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine". He wrote that he was inclined to refuse to give proof of his Aryan origin, which would result The Lord of the Rings not being published in Germany.[4] Tolkien was staunchly opposed to, in his words, "that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler"[3]

Tolkien was friends with many Jewish people and had great respect for them.[4] In one letter he writes about a Jewish historian named Cecil Roth. He describes him as "charming" and "full of gentleness", writing that they stayed up until midnight talking.[67]

On the flip side, Tolkien was critical of anti-German (as opposed to anti-Nazi) propaganda during WWII.[3]

There was a solemn article in the local paper seriously advocating systematic exterminating of the entire German nation as the only proper course after military victory: because, if you please, they are rattlesnakes, and don't know the difference between good and evil! (What of the writer?) The Germans have just as much right to declare the Poles and Jews exterminable vermin, subhuman, as we have to select the Germans: in other words, no right, whatever they have done.[68]
Letter 81

Apartheid[edit | edit source]

Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State (now the Free State province of South Africa) and moved to England at the age of three.[69] Tolkien was outspoken against apartheid.

I have the hatred of apartheid in my bones; and most of all I detest the segregation or separation of Language and Literature. I do not care which of them you think White.
—From a Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford in 1959

As for what you say or hint of ‘local’ conditions: I knew of them. I don't think they have much changed (even for the worse). I used to hear them discussed by my mother; and have ever since taken a special interest in that part of the world. The treatment of colour nearly always horrifies anyone going out from Britain, & not only in South Africa. Unfort[unately], not many retain that generous sentiment for long.
Letter 61 — Written to Christopher Tolkien who was stationed in South Africa during World War II

Usage of Tolkien's works to defend racism[edit | edit source]

In Italy, The Lord of the Rings is considered fascist by some groups and Italian fascist organisations are allegedly using the book for recruiting.[70] Alleanza Nazionale, a right-oriented Italian political party, took a picture from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to promote a speech by his leader, Gianfranco Fini.[71] However, Tolkien himself stated in a letter to his son in 1943 that My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning the abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs)-or to 'unconstitutional' Monarchy.[72] Thus this makes any notion of Tolkien being fascist defunct.

Tolkien's works have also been embraced by self-admitted racists such as the British National Party.[73]

Helen Young, a historian studying the connection between medievalism and white supremacy, explains the appeal of Tolkien's works to racists and white supremacists:

In Middle Earth, [sic] unlike reality, race is objectively real rather than socially constructed. There are species (elves, men, dwarves, etc.), but within those species there are races that conform to 19th-century race theory, in that their physical attributes (hair color, etc.) are associated with non-physical attributes that are both personal and cultural. There is also an explicit racial hierarchy which is, again, real in the world of the story. Middle Earth is literally a racist's fantasy land.[52]
—Helen Young

External links[edit | edit source]


  1. David Ibata, "‘Lord’ of racism? Critics view trilogy as discriminatory" dated 18 August 2019, Chicago Tribune (accessed 26 February 2024)
  2. C.S. Lewis, The Dethronement of Power
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 45, (dated 9 June 1941)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 29, (dated 25 July 1938)
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 61, (dated 18 April 1944)
  6. 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 30, (dated 25 July 1938)
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Foreword to the Second Edition"
  8. Christine Chism, "Race and Ethnicity in Tolkien's Works" In Drout, Michael (ed.). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dimitra Fimi, "Revisiting Race in Tolkien’s Legendarium: Constructing Cultures and Ideologies in an Imaginary World" dated 4 March 2012, https://dimitrafimi.com/ (accessed 26 February 2024)
  10. Sam Thielman, "‘The history of fantasy is racialized’: Lord of the Rings series sparks debate over race" dated 20 February 2022, The Guardian (accessed 29 February 2024)
  11. Dimitra Fimi, Tolkien, Race, and Cultural History: From Fairies to Hobbits
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens", p. 646
  13. Jane Chance, Tolkien and the Invention of Myth
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Stairs of Cirith Ungol"
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Tower of Cirith Ungol"
  16. "Sam Gamgee’s Brown Hands", Ask About Middle-Earth (accessed 4 March 2024)
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl"
  18. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "Strider" p. 165
  19. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
  20. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  21. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Steward and the King", p. 968
  22. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "XIII. Last Writings", pp. 384-5
  23. "Lord of the Rings labelled racist" dated 14 December 2002, The Scotsman (accessed 26 February 2024)
  24. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Bridge of Khazad-dûm", p. 329
  25. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Land of Shadow", p. 924
  26. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai", p. 451
  27. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Uruk-hai"
  28. 28.0 28.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 210, (undated, written June 1958)
  29. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Departure of Boromir"
  30. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor"
  31. An Interview with J.R.R.T.; the second phrase was edited out of the broadcast but published in Zak Cramer's "Jewish Influences in Middle-earth", in Mallorn 44 (2006), p. 10
  32. J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 176, (dated 8 December 1955)
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  34. Brackmann, Rebecca (2010) "'Dwarves are Not Heroes': Antisemitism and the Dwarves in J.R.R. Tolkien's Writing", Mythlore: A Journal of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, and Mythopoeic Literature: Vol. 28: No. 3, Article 7
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