On Queering Middle-earth: Response to The Digital Fix’s Essay

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I’m feeling inspired to do a bit of a response to James Reynolds’s interesting article on the potential queering of Middle-earth in Amazon’s Rings of Power series. In a nutshell, he sees a number of ways in which Tolkien’s work can be read as queer coded and, thus, a lot of potential for overt queerness that feels in reasonably keeping with the source material. I agree with some parts of his case and not others. Overall, I think Reynolds’s reflections speak to a broader issue many of us are considering today: how to best adapt classic works. Thought I’d weigh in.

Disclaimer: I’m writing this as an informal spew from memory, so I got no citations, and please let me know if I’m misremembering text. I’ve tried to get the diacritical marks right on names, but I have not bothered to check them. Apologies if they’re off.

To begin with, how to adapt a text isn’t an easy question. It brings up several potentially conflicting interests:

* The original author’s intent/values.
* What the original text depicts/how to read the original text (a literary critical question).
* What long-time fans value about the text.
* What changes need to be made if changing media (film has different needs than books).
* What changes might draw in new fans, speak to current issues and sensibilities.
* What responsibilities the adaptation has to address social justice issues the original may not.Read more… )

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Arwen Spicer
Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

Arwen Spicer By Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

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