Multicultural Laketown

The Hobbit is in production as 3 separate films, and will be released 1 year apart, with the first due December 2012. Head in to discuss your thoughts and reactions, and post any questions you might have about these films.

Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby IrisBrandybuck » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:10 am

Indeed they are, Frelga. They just hide it well. ;)
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Diamond of Long Cleeve » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:11 am

Wildwood wrote:Ya know what? I didn't even notice the various multicultural makeup of the people in Laketown! What in the world difference does it make???!!! That's just ridiculous!! It's acting, for crying out loud! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I have seen plays where a woman was playing a part of a male character, and I totally believed it, because she sold it!! (And movies too: Killing Fields, anyone???!!) In the end, its the acting that matters! And in today's world, now that we are finally - FINALLY - trying to get the globe integrated and thinking of ourselves as the human race, and not a collection of little stereotyped groupings, based on artificial barriers such as race or religion or nationality or orientation, I think it's a very fine thing, indeed, that Laketown would have so many different types of people in it! An even finer thing that I didn't even notice or make a mental remark about it to myself. People. Are. People.
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

(I will, however, raise a real ruckus over the color of elf hair! But that is serious stuff!
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D )

The world has moved on. Or at least it is trying hard to!!! Laketown is supposed to be full of people. It is full of people.
Well Done, PJ!! (And no, I did not say that.) :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

Oh - and believe you me, with all the other stuff I feel they messed up with Laketown, I am sure the multicultural diversity of the populace was the last thing in the world I was gonna notice!! All that seeming poverty and misery? The despot-like tyrannical control of the Master? Dwarves staying behind who were meant to go on to the mountain? ELVES doing stuff they were NOT meant to be doing? And Tauriel healing Kili with some sort of Elven hocus pocus???!!! The ethnicities of the actors playing the town populace didn't even register for me!!!
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

As my Mom is fond of saying, swallow a horse and choke on a gnat! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


I just want to say: Wildwood won the thread. :clap:

Oh, and:

Well Done, PJ!! (And no, I did not say that.) :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


I didn't hear ya. :lol:
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby RoseMorninStar » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:35 am

Are rural Englishmen typically between two and four feet tall? :? Do they have hairy feet and need no shoes? Are most of the males incapable of growing beards?


Well said Frelga. As I wrote earlier, Tolkien's Middle Earth was filled with a variety of races. Hobbits were not intended to be ancestral Englishmen but of a (dare I say it) fictional race. They share some behaviors and customs with the rural English, that does not make them Englishmen/women. If a hobbit were to appear today, I highly doubt the English would consider themselves of the same race. And Tolkien did actually include a race of men, which I am fairly certain he intended to be the 'ancestors' of modern men, with all their variations.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby The Heretic » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:29 pm

'The Shire' is based on rural England and not any other country in the world. The toponymy of The Shire is a 'parody' of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and by an Englishman. Hobbits are just rustic English people.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby solicitr » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:01 pm

How plausible is it that a middle-aged traditionalist Englishman, born in Victoria's reign and writing in the early-mid 20th Century, envisioned "hobbits of color?" Not at all What we have here I suspect is the retroactive imposition of a wholly anachronistic and inappropriate 'United Colors of Benetton" sensibility who are projecting their own 21st century right-on viewpoint on a man who almost certainly didn't share it.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:19 am

Brown is not a colour?
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Peremensoe » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:42 am

solicitr wrote:Is it really necessary to put together a list of a dozen or more cites of Tolkien declaring that his Hobbits were rural Englishmen?


I'm pretty sure Tolkien meant that in a deeper sense than skin color. If Sam and other hobbits 'were,' or were depicted as, dark-skinned, that would not conflict with their role 'as' rural Englishmen.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Mablung » Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:43 pm

I remember thinking Lake-Town seemed very 'contemporary' when watching the film. As I recall, Minas Tirith, surely more cosmopolitan and situated in a far less desolate place than Lake-Town, was not portrayed in a similar way. Nor was Bree, presumably populated by Middle Men.

The reason why I noticed this is simply because it deviated from what I imagined when reading the books; I remember visualising the presence of say Haradrim when Tolkien actually referred to them. Lake-Town, as Dale, was populated by Northmen and I reserved my mental image of Easterlings instead to the sections where Tolkien made reference of these. But it did make Lake-Town appear to be more of a bustling town.

So no, I'm not a racist :) Sad as it is, I feel the need to say this given the misguided tendency of Rodia and some others in this thread to unjustly associate racism to those with whom they disagree. Not cool to compensate lack of sound arguments with intimidation :nono:

Naturally a film director can use artistic freedom when depicting Tolkien's Middle Earth; as others have said it's a matter of interpretation. Which is why Jackson overrides Tolkien by omitting Glorfindel and changing Arwen into a shield maiden, and introduce lady ninjas such as Tauriel :roll:

Though I for one believe that the influence which made Peter Jackson revise his previous depiction of Middle Earth settlements populated by Middle Men does not come from the books. As said, his latest take on this seems to be a rather contemporary one, and in fairness it deviates from the books. It may not compromise the story, but I think we should be honest enough to admit that improvement of the story is not always the chief reason for making such revision.

And it's not uncommon; old books written in other times than ours are increasingly subject to censorship and revision by those who desire to 'correct' these according to current moral standards. Some people simply have a problem accepting Tolkien's lily white sections of Middle Earth, and they want it changed according to their preferences.

So while I still prefer Peter Jackson's storytelling to be as close as possible to what Tolkien actually intended, I eagerly await reactions to the final Hobbit instalment where 50% of all characters categorically will be female, the horizontally challenged Dwarves will no longer be portrayed as short (or referred to by the stigmatising term 'Dwarves'), and in the spirit of newfound Esgaroth the Elves of Mirkwood will consist of evenly distributed proportions of Noldor, Vanyar, Sindar and Silvan Elves.

And the Hobbits, of course, will be little persons of colour 8)
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Salmacis81 » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:08 pm

Mablung wrote:I remember thinking Lake-Town seemed very 'contemporary' when watching the film. As I recall, Minas Tirith, surely more cosmopolitan and situated in a far less desolate place than Lake-Town, was not portrayed in a similar way. Nor was Bree, presumably populated by Middle Men.

The reason why I noticed this is simply because it deviated from what I imagined when reading the books; I remember visualising the presence of say Haradrim when Tolkien actually referred to them. Lake-Town, as Dale, was populated by Northmen and I reserved my mental image of Easterlings instead to the sections where Tolkien made reference of these. But it did make Lake-Town appear to be more of a bustling town.

So no, I'm not a racist :) Sad as it is, I feel the need to say this given the misguided tendency of Rodia and some others in this thread to unjustly associate racism to those with whom they disagree. Not cool to compensate lack of sound arguments with intimidation :nono:

Naturally a film director can use artistic freedom when depicting Tolkien's Middle Earth; as others have said it's a matter of interpretation. Which is why Jackson overrides Tolkien by omitting Glorfindel and changing Arwen into a shield maiden, and introduce lady ninjas such as Tauriel :roll:

Though I for one believe that the influence which made Peter Jackson revise his previous depiction of Middle Earth settlements populated by Middle Men does not come from the books. As said, his latest take on this seems to be a rather contemporary one, and in fairness it deviates from the books. It may not compromise the story, but I think we should be honest enough to admit that improvement of the story is not always the chief reason for making such revision.

And it's not uncommon; old books written in other times than ours are increasingly subject to censorship and revision by those who desire to 'correct' these according to current moral standards. Some people simply have a problem accepting Tolkien's lily white sections of Middle Earth, and they want it changed according to their preferences.

So while I still prefer Peter Jackson's storytelling to be as close as possible to what Tolkien actually intended, I eagerly await reactions to the final Hobbit instalment where 50% of all characters categorically will be female, the horizontally challenged Dwarves will no longer be portrayed as short (or referred to by the stigmatising term 'Dwarves'), and in the spirit of newfound Esgaroth the Elves of Mirkwood will consist of evenly distributed proportions of Noldor, Vanyar, Sindar and Silvan Elves.

And the Hobbits, of course, will be little persons of colour 8)


Gotta say, I agree with just about everything you wrote, especially with this paragraph - "And it's not uncommon; old books written in other times than ours are increasingly subject to censorship and revision by those who desire to 'correct' these according to current moral standards. Some people simply have a problem accepting Tolkien's lily white sections of Middle Earth, and they want it changed according to their preferences."

Jackson caught quite a bit of flak over the portrayal of darker-skinned Men in his LotR films (when he was only being true to Tolkien in that regard), so I kind of took the diverse portrayal of Lake-town as Jackson's response to those accusations. It didn't affect the story one iota, which I guess is all that really matters. And there were much more annoying things in DoS than a few minorities with no speaking lines. But still, Lake-town certainly did not feel like the old-timey Anglo-Saxon settlement that I pictured when reading the book.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby AlatarVinyamar » Mon Jul 28, 2014 1:29 am

This reminds me of a discussion about PJ's remake of Dambusters. For obvious reasons the Stephen Fry version of the screenplay renamed Clarke's dog. The black labrador in real life and in the original movie, was called "Ni**er". Even though it would be the historically accurate thing to do, PJ and Stephen felt that using the dog's actual name would result in negative press. More importantly, it would make the movie publicity a nightmare because they would simply end up fielding loads of questions about this one minor historical fact. Sometimes its smarter to know which battles are worth fighting.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Mablung » Mon Jul 28, 2014 3:54 pm

Well, I honestly don't see why it should be necessary to fight a battle in order to portray the world of Tolkien as he himself intended it to be?

The example with the N-word is not even remotely comparable. Though originating from a neutral term, usage of the N-word has for a long time been unambiguously pejorative. On the other hand; when was it ever wrong to depict an Anglo-Saxon inspired village as Anglo-Saxon? It never was, and most certainly is not today. Multi-culturalism is not mandatory in any and all contexts, and you need to be way beyond the 'normal' political sphere to find this insulting or politically incorrect.

You should not fight battles with people like that, they should instead be ignored. Peter Jackson seems to have made a sudden swerve when opposed by people not finding his movies sufficiently politically correct, and it was a peculiar decision to transform Lake-Town into some sort of multicultural town on a whim. This change seems to have been made for the wrong reason (to appease some very touchy and misguided people, rather than improve the actual film), but fortunately didn't interfer with the line of events in the film. In my view it did however make the film deviate unnecessary from Tolkien's world.

Coloured hobbits have been mentioned, what's next? Should the Elves really be allowed to be all-white? How about revising Tolkien's original intent of the term Dark Elves, that should fix it.. :)
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Wed Aug 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Where does Tolkien state Laketown is Anglo Saxon? A citation would be appreciated. Until then I presume this is invented.

BTW I made the suggestion that the film elves be black many years ago in my tongue in cheek Hollywood cast list. 'Elves are the first born peoples, they are in exile over the Sea and have the coolest style and music....who else are you going to pick?'
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby oldtoby » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:12 pm

Shaft!! dam right
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Frelga » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:34 pm

Ah, the return of "I'm not a racist, I just don't want to see dark skinned people in MY movies" brigade.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Mablung » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:44 am

If the notion that Peter Jackson introduced multiculturalism to Lake Town after enduring years of baseless accusations of racism ever held any truth, it has been greatly substantiated by Frelga’s bold charge at the forefront of the PC brigade.

Discussing whether Peter Jackson should be true to Tolkien or not when depicting Middle Earth is all good, but playing the race card in every conceivable context will not contribute much to the debate.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ngaur » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:11 pm

This change seems to have been made for the wrong reason (to appease some very touchy and misguided people, rather than improve the actual film),


Couldn't it just be a question of what people Jackson had available for the shooting?

Wouldn't be much of a gesture anyway. There are no black hobbits, no black dwarves, no black elves and no black wizards in his movies.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Eucatastrophe » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:42 pm

I am not seeing anyone playing the race card here so as to curb any opposing arguments, to be honest. :)
But "depicting an Anglo Saxon village as an Anglo Saxon village" is not what is happening here.
Laketown is not an Anglo Saxon town but a town based upon the Anglo Saxons.
In the same manner The Shire is not the English countryside, but based upon the English countryside. The same way the hobbits are akin to English farmers but have a number of differing traits as well.
Since Tolkien does not expletively states that all the people of Laketown are fair skinned, there might very well be exceptions to this. Grima, for instance, was an exception to the golden-haired Eotlingas despite being a man of Rohan.
Exceptions in real life are bound to be. why not in a fictions world which tries to achieve as much believability as it can?
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Salmacis81 » Sat Sep 20, 2014 10:14 am

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:Where does Tolkien state Laketown is Anglo Saxon? A citation would be appreciated. Until then I presume this is invented.

BTW I made the suggestion that the film elves be black many years ago in my tongue in cheek Hollywood cast list. 'Elves are the first born peoples, they are in exile over the Sea and have the coolest style and music....who else are you going to pick?'


The Men of Dale, Lake-town, and the Woodsmen of Mirkwood were part of a group known in the lore as "Northmen", and were said to be close kin of the Rohirrim, whose culture and language were most certainly based on the Anglo-Saxons. So this is where the "Lake-town as Anglo-Saxon" thing comes from.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ToshoftheWuffingas » Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:58 pm

I have to preface this by saying this is a daft discussion but it exists so needs addressing. One: is Laketown a trading town? Do trading cultures have foreign contacts? (I speak from a region that calls someone from the next villafge a foreigner by the way) Are rivers highways? Consider the Viking penetration of the Danube basin. Consider that Mediaeval England had black residents and yes it was Anglo Saxon. 2,.000 years ago Hadrian's Wall on the edge of the Roman Empire was populated by people from Syria and the Balkans. People move around, more than you think...unless there is some colour segregation in force which maybe is what some people seem to think is the natural order. The Numernorians had a trading and maritime empire that strtched south beyond Umbar. One has to presume peoples moved within that empire. Movements of people are even described by Tolkien, coming up the Greenway out of troubled lands. The complaints about unexpected skin tones speaks more of a narrow world view...to say the least.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby solicitr » Sat Nov 01, 2014 12:59 pm

The complaints about unexpected skin tones speaks more of a narrow world view...to say the least.


Why is it that some people cannot deal with disagreement without snidely implying (or declaring) ugly motives to the other party? Is it some crying need to feel morally superior by casting others as morally impure? Or is it just that tactically for some the Race Card is always played as if it's high trump?

I haven't the least issue with "black people in my movies" (care for a list of some of my favorite films?) And I don't, in this current discussion, have any issue with a muthplicity of ethnic types appearing in Laketown, which was, as has been exhaustively pointed out, a trading port. I do however care about rendering Tolkien's world as he envisioned it, and that vision did not include African Hobbits. I would be just as opposed to a movie with a black samurai in sengoku Japan-- or for that matter a white Zulu in a biopic of Shaka.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Frelga » Sat Nov 01, 2014 1:28 pm

solicitr wrote: I would be just as opposed to a movie with a black samurai in sengoku Japan-- or for that matter a white Zulu in a biopic of Shaka.


The Only Black Samurai In Feudal Japan

That would've been a kicka$$ movie, by the way.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Peremensoe » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:42 pm

solicitr wrote:I do however care about rendering Tolkien's world as he envisioned it, and that vision did not include African Hobbits. I would be just as opposed to a movie with a black samurai in sengoku Japan-- or for that matter a white Zulu in a biopic of Shaka.


The latter examples are obviously wrong because they conflict with actual historical reality. There is no such thing in play with respect to Middle-Earth. There are no "African Hobbits" depicted in the films and never could be, regardless of skin-tones of actors cast, because there is no Africa.

As for "Tolkien's world as he envisioned it," well, that is open to considerable interpretation. You think that mapping the depicted skin tones of ME cultures to real-Earth ethnicities is essential to that vision. Others disagree. Tolkien left nothing, in text or in private writings to my knowledge, to be definitive here. But my interpretation of his vision, and character, suggests that he would be dismayed to see it interpreted so superficially.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby darthgandalf99 » Sat Nov 08, 2014 5:27 pm

ToshoftheWuffingas wrote:Where does Tolkien state Laketown is Anglo Saxon? A citation would be appreciated. Until then I presume this is invented.

BTW I made the suggestion that the film elves be black many years ago in my tongue in cheek Hollywood cast list. 'Elves are the first born peoples, they are in exile over the Sea and have the coolest style and music....who else are you going to pick?'


Erm, considering fiction and literature in general, there are many things that are not explicitly stated by the author, but that does not mean that they are wild inventions, or that they are not in fact suggested or implied by the author - so really your suggestion that the statement is invalid without a citation is really quite silly.

But following on from this discussion, I have recently watched the extra features to the EE DOS and they go into some detail about the design history and subsequent implementation of Laketown for the film. One of the lead conceptual designers mentioned that he had originally considered that Laketown would be visualised as an Ango-Saxon settlement, but that the team moved away from that idea. I think it was John Howe who went on to say that considering its proximity to water, Laketown's position as a trading hub and its situation between East and West (and presumably the fact it was a city-state) the team went on to consider medieval Venice a more appropriate model - hence its representation as a cultural melting pot in DOS.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby solicitr » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:45 am

Peremensoe wrote:
solicitr wrote:I do however care about rendering Tolkien's world as he envisioned it, and that vision did not include African Hobbits. I would be just as opposed to a movie with a black samurai in sengoku Japan-- or for that matter a white Zulu in a biopic of Shaka.


The latter examples are obviously wrong because they conflict with actual historical reality. There is no such thing in play with respect to Middle-Earth.


Then consider a remake of Moby-Dick with female whalers aboard the Pequod.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ngaur » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:38 pm

As for "Tolkien's world as he envisioned it," well, that is open to considerable interpretation.


Not that much. I think he was fairly clear that the NW of Middle-Earth represented some equivalent of Europe, and medieval Europe at that. Considering Lake-towns geographical placement within Middle-Earth you can make a fairly good guess at what kind of people where there. Not counting Elves and Dwarves. The rest is really up to how much you care about sticking to the same idea.

Then consider a remake of Moby-Dick with female whalers aboard the Pequod.


Surely the porn industry must already have attempted this?`
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Frelga » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:19 pm

I don't think Moby Dick could make any less sense if they made it with brown bears chasing a Texan named Dick.

See also The Handsome Cabin Boy. There almost certainly WERE female whalers on those ships.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby RoseMorninStar » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:33 pm

I think he was fairly clear that the NW of Middle-Earth represented some equivalent of Europe, and medieval Europe at that. Considering Lake-towns geographical placement within Middle-Earth you can make a fairly good guess at what kind of people where there. Not counting Elves and Dwarves.
I don't feel that it is fairly clear. If ancient/medieval Europe had also been occupied by Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, dragons, Shapeshifters, whatever Tom & Goldberry are, Ents, Trolls, Maiar, Wizards/Istari, Ringwraiths, wargs, balrogs, and probably a few I've forgotten, then perhaps we could presume what was 'fairly clear' about the men (and women) of Middle-earth. There is an excellent short essay on the subject which quotes J.R.R. Tolkien:Was the northwest of Middle-earth meant to actually be Europe?
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby Minardil » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:20 pm

Not that much. I think he was fairly clear that the NW of Middle-Earth represented some equivalent of Europe, and medieval Europe at that. Considering Lake-towns geographical placement within Middle-Earth you can make a fairly good guess at what kind of people where there.


If we consider that the populations of Europe have been ethnographically stable over several millennia, so that the cultural (and by extension, "racial" ) makeup of the local inhabitants have been constant throughout time, then I suppose you might make an argument that the position of Laketown within Middle-Earth might require that it have the same ethnic makeup of the current inhabitants of the same rough geographical location represented by Laketown. But then, isn't Esgaroth pretty far to the North and EAST of Middle Earth? If the Shire is England, wouldn't the Lonely Mountain and environs be somewhere around medieval Muscovy? In which case, wouldn't the inhabitants be the same mix of European and Asiatic cultural elements as represented in the film?

Not that I really care, of course. I just watched the Appendices for the DoS Extended Edition, and they had a fascinating documentary on the design and building of Lake Town for the movie. They said they envisioned the city as a center of trade and commerce, sort of like a Venice, but very strongly influenced by the traditional wooden architecture of Russia. I thought it was an interesting concept, and IF Professor Tolkien originally saw Esgaroth as an ethnically homogenous "white" city (and I'm honestly not that convinced that he did intentionally conceive of the town as being "white", though he may certainly have done so by default, if you know what I mean) then I find this version to be richer, more interesting, more believable, and a general improvement over the original.
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ngaur » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:11 pm

RoseMorninStar wrote:
I think he was fairly clear that the NW of Middle-Earth represented some equivalent of Europe, and medieval Europe at that. Considering Lake-towns geographical placement within Middle-Earth you can make a fairly good guess at what kind of people where there. Not counting Elves and Dwarves.
I don't feel that it is fairly clear. If ancient/medieval Europe had also been occupied by Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, dragons, Shapeshifters, whatever Tom & Goldberry are, Ents, Trolls, Maiar, Wizards/Istari, Ringwraiths, wargs, balrogs, and probably a few I've forgotten, then perhaps we could presume what was 'fairly clear' about the men (and women) of Middle-earth. There is an excellent short essay on the subject which quotes J.R.R. Tolkien:Was the northwest of Middle-earth meant to actually be Europe?


Surely Europe has enough legend to cover for that. Tolkien in any case contrasts the men of NW Middle Earth with the men from the south where the sun is hot, or something to that effect. What more do you need. Naturally you can assume that everyone is green-skinned if you wish as long as Tolkien doesn't specifically state otherwise. So it just comes down to how much one wishes to stick with the inspirations for his writings which I suppose comes down to variuos languages and legends.

The Lord of the Rings may be a 'fairy-story' but it takes place in the Northern hemisphere of this earth: miles are miles, days are days, and weather is weather.
We are not exploring the moon or any other improbable region.
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ngaur
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Re: Multicultural Laketown

Postby ngaur » Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:16 pm

I thought it was an interesting concept, and IF Professor Tolkien originally saw Esgaroth as an ethnically homogenous "white" city (and I'm honestly not that convinced that he did intentionally conceive of the town as being "white", though he may certainly have done so by default, if you know what I mean) then I find this version to be richer, more interesting, more believable, and a general improvement over the original.


Well maybe not more believable. It is a strange discussion anyway. I don't even recall more than one or two ethincally diverse people in movie Lake town, and none in any prominent role.
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