The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy has had great success all over the world. Dubbed into various languages for non-English-speaking audiences, the movies generated fandoms worldwide and also sparked a renewed interest in the LOTR novels. But long before the movie craze, the Lord of the Rings novel had already been translated into over 40 languages, and became a key influence on fantasy writers in many countries. Works as diverse as Star Wars, Babylon V, and Japanese anime Record of Lodoss War incorporate LOTR influences on different levels.
While there is no doubt that people of different races and cultures enjoy Tolkien's works, there are also reasons for questioning ideas about women and human races as expressed LOTR and its companion works. Middle Earth has been a place of wonder for many, but real world biases also find their way into the fantasy realm. It is quite possible that female or non-white readers will not feel as welcome in this enchanted realm. In this issue, we take a look at the attitudes towards race and gender revealed in Tolkien's works.