The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hate elves for all the wrong reasons

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hate elves for all the wrong reasons ...

The first episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power depict a culture conflict between the southlands men and the elves who watch over them. The conflict is different at different times: to the elves, the conflict has just begun, but to humans, the struggle has lasted hundreds of years.

It's a fascinating contrast, one that Tolkien never really highlighted, but we're all transported to the land of Numenor, where we're all watching a group of wolves thrash against elves for the most mundane reason.

[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for episode 4 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.]

Rings of Power travels to a bustling Numenorean square early in the Great Wave, where a guild craftsman who was killed in the previous episode engages in the old custom of enthusing a crowd.

Elf workers, take your trades! he prognosticates, based on the presence of one elf and one (already jailed) human ally. Workers who dont sleep, dont tire, and dont age! Galadriel and Halbrands' presence on Numenor is apparently a slippery slope towards a complete takeover of the Numenorean... economy? By... thousand-year-old low-wage workers?

His words sway his listeners into a derogatory chant of Elf-lover! against their own queen, until they are quieted by an equally brief speech for the other position and the sudden appearance of a glass of wine. So much for the people so righteous the gods gave them a whole blessed island.

This is a choppy stance, and racism should have no safe haven in human society. I do not support hating elves or anyone.

If you were to despise elves, there are far more obvious, present, and logical reasons than they would take your job.

Elves are pretty hateable, actually

The fantastical powers of Tolkiens elves have been a topic of much debate lately. And as a Polygons Tolkien expert I keep waiting for someone to ask me why have elves gotten it so much better in the Tolkiens legendarium?

Here are a few things to know about yourself if you are a man (or a female man, commonly known as checks notes a woman) in Middle-earth.

  • Elves are more physically adept than you in basically every way
  • The gods made a special paradise for elves that you are not allowed to visit
  • Elves are immortal and you have to die. Like, soon!

It's important to keep in mind that elves aren't just beautiful, they're also graceful animals.

Elves are Vulcans

Star Trek's emotional detached, pointy-eared racial metaphor with mysterious psychic abilities can be drawn from Tolkiens elves and Age of Aquarius thinking.

In early Star Trek, there is a lot of prejudice against Vulcans. Spocks human heritage makes him the focus of childhood bullying by Vulcan classmates who believe it will make him unsuitable to Vulcan standards. In Starfleet, he again becomes the inflection point of bigotry, but from humans rather than by them because they think Vulcans will take their jobs.

Characters who find Vulcan mannerisms so unfamiliar that they may be interpreted as offense or disdain have a tendency to express their prejudice toward Vulcans. People who believe humanity and Vulcans are incapable of finding a common cause. Vulcans who believe the same about humans.

This is the exact rift between men and elves that should exist: a cultural conflict that leads to a lack of trust.

Why do humans have it so bad in Middle-earth?

In his essay, Tolkien never portrayed human mortality as a negative feature. It was part of the unfavorable intent of the creator of the universe that those who died would be known to him and the god of the afterlife. For a deeply Catholic man, it is a major step to present human fallibility as a blessing from a creator rather than as punishment for sin.

Elves have a lot of advantages over humans, but you lowkey do not have free will. Elves all elves are afflicted with a divinely inspired longing for Valinor that eventually eclipses all other desires in their lives. And what they have in physical stamina is balanced by emotional durability.

The gods of Middle-earth are something completely different. Nobody in The Lord of the Rings goes to church, we never meet a priest, and the concept of prayer is simply not discussed.

The gods of Middle-earth are neither sought out nor required worship, even though they dont appear very often. Humans must have faith, not that the gods exist, but that their work is a blessing, and that there is something for them beyond the living struggle of Middle-earth, even if the gods havent stated what it is.

Elves have no need of trust in the gods. They can always feel their divine work within them. And for a story written by a deeply rooted Catholic man, that might be the most alien thing about them.

A man who despises elves for having clear and concrete blessings where he only has faith is a man who despises the gods, as we know from The Silmarillion. Sauron will manipulate the most blessed nation of men into despising their gods and retaliating against their own immortality with force.

It's not about financial worry, but about anger towards the creator who made elves and humans so different. And that's where elves will take your job fails to suspend belief. Because why would an elf want to flip burgers when he can simply go farther west and go to heaven?