The war of Gondorean aggression

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
30 November, 2018

Desperate to turn away from trivial controversies here in New Zealand about Santa’s true gender, I looked to the British press and found The Times and The Telegraph reporting on claims of racism in J.R.R. Tolkien’s depiction of orcs in The Lord of the Rings.

The case is stronger than it might first appear. For that stronger case, we must turn to the truly excellent work of historical fictional reconstruction undertaken by Kirill Yeskov.

Yeskov’s 140,000 word analysis of what really happened in The Lord of the Rings was first released, in Russian, in 1999. It was translated into English in 2011 as The Last Ringbearer and is freely available online.

Russian scholars were used to deciphering the true story that lay behind Soviet government official accounts. Yeskov took The Lord of the Rings as history written by the victors hundreds of years after the events. Is it really plausible that orcs were a different evil species? How could they even be of a different species than humans if the Uruk-Hai were meant to be the children of men and orcs? It’s these little tells that helped Yeskov figure out what really happened.

There’s no use hiding the truth of it. The peaceful Orocuen people of Mordor were on the cusp of an industrial revolution. Gandalf saw the threat that technology posed to the wizards’ continued domination. He urged the invitation of elves back to Middle Earth for the genocide of Mordor. Only Saruman stood against him in the wizards’ White Council – and was cast out.

The war was harsh. The Nazgul – Mordor’s greatest scientists who took up the mantle of magic to shield their oasis of reason from the dark ages that lay beyond in Gondor – were defeated. In the end, the Elves scoured Mordor of anyone with an education to push them back into the stone age. The genocide ended, along with the Elves and magic, but I do not want to spoil the tale for those yet to read the true history.

In Yeskov’s telling, Tolkien’s orcs were orcs only because men could not bear for them to be otherwise, having been complicit in their killing. Dehumanisation of the enemy comes hand in hand with atrocity and can continue as rationalisation long after the fact.

And for the truth about Santa, Hayden Donnell’s case at The Spinoff that Santa is neither man nor woman, but a genderless eternal demon, is more than a little compelling.

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