The Queering of J.R.R. Tolkien

By Jonathon Van Maren

It was inevitable that the LGBT movement would eventually claim J.R.R. Tolkien. Those cultural figures too towering to be toppled and too beloved to be cancelled must be co-opted to serve the new governing ideology: their work misinterpreted; their lives pored over for the slightest hint of anything that can be called “queer”; their work forcibly mutated beyond all recognition. In short, they must transition. Truth no longer matters because we can now identify things precisely as we choose.

Thus, the process of queering Tolkien has begun, especially as Amazon prepares to launch their new series based on his work (into which they have already sunk hundreds of millions of dollars). One journalist penned a lengthy essay last year insisting that Sam and Frodo were gay, which is perhaps inevitable in a society that is increasingly incapable of distinguishing intimacy from sex. (Sam’s marriage to Rose and their thirteen children is, apparently, irrelevant, as is the obvious truth that Tolkien would not have included, even covertly, a gay romance, being as he was, a traditionalist Catholic with views on sexuality are precisely what you’d expect them to be).

Over at The Guardian, Ben Child admitted that it was unlikely that Tolkien himself intended for anyone to read queerness into his canon—but this inconvenient fact, according to Child, simply doesn’t matter. The trilogy, he insisted, has “obvious queer connotations” despite the fact that Tolkien likely “saw hobbits as childlike innocents, mere sprites who lived long, long ago, in the mists of a sexless, Eden-like, ancient Faerie” and that “it’s hard to imagine that Tolkien had anything particularly carnal in mind.” Despite all that—and the fact that these lusty fan theories are easy to debunk—Child states that the “debate over just how gay the Lord of the Rings really is will no doubt be raging in another hundred years.”

The Tolkien Society, which has been colonized by LGBT activists, clearly concurs. Last July they hosted a conference called “Tolkien and Diversity,” an epic, two-day literary vandalization. Here are just a few of the included lectures:

  • Cordeliah Logsdon – Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Christopher Vaccaro – Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
  • Robin Reid – Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
  • Danna Petersen-Deeprose – “Something Mighty Queer”: Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien.

If these academics are to be believed, every closet in Middle Earth is absolutely stuffed with creatures eager to launch Pride Parades in Mordor and Drag Queen Story Hour in the Shire (the definitely gay Samwise Gamgee could take all of his children). This work is not simply academic navel-gazing—activists have petitioned Amazon to include LGBT characters in the new small screen adaption of Tolkien’s work, and the news that an ‘intimacy coordinator’ had been hired to oversee sex scenes spawned a counter-petition by those asking the media giant to respect the integrity of Tolkien’s work and to keep it clean. The smart money is on those in possession of the cultural capital—the LGBT activists.


2 thoughts on “The Queering of J.R.R. Tolkien

  1. Jerry Michels says:

    I am very late reading this letter. I can easily say, well done. This odd seminar and the growing queerness of the Tolkien Society has me very close to dropping out. The Society provides less and less competent coverage of Tolkien. I think that the major aspects of Tolkien’s writings have been covered and the Society is dredging the dregs searching for content to fill the pagers of Amon Hen. If the next publication of the Mallorn is ‘infested,’ for me the association with the Society will end.

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