I have been busy and tired about it, but I have gotten a bunch out so far for September over at Teen Vogue. All of it, so far, has been centered around Rings of Power. I’m also about to talk about the series on my newsletter – which I’m a little behind on as well because life keeps happening – so stay tuned for that and also my She-Hulk hate (because wow I do not like that show).
“If we didn’t do everything we weren’t supposed to, we’d hardly do anything at all,” is the dialogue that introduces Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power viewers to Nori, the impish Harfoot played by Markella Kavenagh. Like the character she plays, Markella is brave and curious; while her adventures look different from that of her character, their journeys aren’t as far apart as you’d think.
Long before landing in Middle Earth as the wood elf Arondir in Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, Ismael Cruz Córdova made previous stops on Sesame Street and popped into a galaxy far far away for The Mandalorian. Born and raised in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, Ismael made his film debut in the 2003 film Stray Bullet and has been performing across film and television ever since. With this role as Arondir, he’s succeeded in hitting what he calls an “unshakeable” goal: “To get to where we were told we couldn’t be.”
Each reboot or spinoff or expansion triggers a new wave of nerds decrying racebending or complaining that showing women or queer people in main character roles or positions of power is in some way “pandering” or potentially ruining the source material. It never stops being annoying. Especially because these complaints — they’re not genuine criticism — often start with the casting announcements or the first bit of footage in a trailer or sizzle reel. Before we see these characters in action for more than a second, the performers’s social media accounts are inundated with hate, media outlets have to lock comments to stem the overt presence of racism, and more logs are hauled over into the cottage industry that is grown adults making dozens of videos about how crappy a piece of media must be solely because it’s added some diversity to an established canon.
So far, I like Rings of Power. There are weak points in the plot and the elves aren’t as ethereal as I want – but Ismael’s Arondir is a sensitive babe and Galadriel is a Middle Earth girlboss – but it’s shaping up to be a very engaging series. I’ll try to cover the series more consistently across my newsletter but I’m not sure how long that’d go.