Lord of the Rings Races: What Do They Represent?

Now I have to start this article off with a disclaimer and state that I am not accusing Tolkien or Peter Jackson of practicing racism consciously, but there can be little doubt that racial and ethnic stereotypes are represented in Lord of the Rings through the various racial groups. Herein, what those groups represent and how they represent them will be discussed.

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Hobbit

The Hobbits are basically Irish from an ethnicity perspective. They are small folk who enjoy parties and never really leave the ‘shire’. Furthermore, they often speak in accents very reminiscent of general Irish stereotypes as well as have hair and clothing styles very clearly associated with the Irish.

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Dwarves

The dwarves are the Scottish people and represent them heavily. They have large beards and fairly wild hair and enjoy their alcohol. To add more to this representation they also speak in a manner reminiscent of the Scottish and generally behave in a coarse way, which is stereotypically a Scottish manner of behaving.

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Elves

Humans in Lord of the Rings are actually very specifically English in their appearance, clothing and mannerisms. As such, they do not really represent the spectrum of humanity but rather represent British society. Boromir, for instance, is a very British personality with

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Orcs and Uruk Hai

The Orcs are basically representative of the Middle East, which is a troubling representation given that they are portrayed as being evil. Arguably, they are attempting to industrialize under Sarumon the Wizards leadership. As such, they are seen tearing down trees and building structures. An interesting scene in the second Lord of the Rings movie is that one of the orcs charges into the side of a keep with explosives, essentially suicide bombing the structure.

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Mercenaries

The Mercenaries only really appear as adversaries, but they are very clearly representative of Asia and specifically Asia Minor. This can be seen with their use of war elephants and the design of their ships being very similar to Chinese Ming Dynasty sailing ships.

Lord of the Rings and Races: The Wizards

While not strictly a race they do represent the social group of ‘Intelligentsia’, which in layman’s terms means those that sell their mental work as labour. The wizards are planners and have great knowledge of the world, as well as the ability to use this knowledge to manipulate forces beyond the comprehension of the others. As such, they clearly represent Intelligentsia.

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