Twitter War Erupts Over The Race Of New Aragorn Card - MTG Fans Divided
The Universes Beyond products in Magic: The Gathering meld the world of MTG with that of other fantasy franchises. There have been crossovers with The Walking Dead, Street Fighter, Stranger Things, Warhammer 40K, Doctor Who, and more. The most recent is a Lord of the Rings set called Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, which features many iconic LOTR characters on cards.
One such charter is Aragorn or "Strider," who is generally believed to be a light-skinned or white character who appears on several cards as black or dark-skinned. Race is a sensitive topic for many people, and the card immediately stirred up controversy and division among LOTR and MTG fans. Many believe this version is unfaithful to Tolkien's original works, while others question whether his color was ever definitively mentioned.
Fans on both sides of the argument have taken to social media and Reddit threads to post their opinions, thoughts, and qualms about the depiction of the classic character. As with any charged political or social topics, there are differing points of view and those who express their opinions with respect and class and those who don't. Today, I want to present an unbiased general overview of the situation and the feuds it has created. So, let's jump right in.
The New Aragorn Cards And Art
The art here was posted to Twitter by WOTC and spawned a lengthy, often heated Twitter debate amongst fans of both Magic: The Gathering and Lord of the Rings. For the record, there are a few more cards that people reference as well. They areand . This is undoubtedly a difference in skin color from how the character is depicted in the movies from the early 2000s, where actor Viggo Mortensen plays Strider.
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This leads people to many social, political, and moral questions where opinions among fans differ, often significantly. So, let's look at arguments from several different viewpoints.
The Change Is Disenginous To The Original Works
Many loyal Lord of the Rings franchise fans are upset that these changes go against the author's original work. Other people question whether the books ever definitively mentioned his skin color. The fact that he's depicted as white in the movies isn't up for debate. However, some question if that was loyal to the books or not. I've blurred out screen names to maintain everyone's privacy, but you can see the original Twitter threads here. I'll also link to all other sources when possible.
Here are some different discussions of the source material:
Here are the opinions of a few Facebook users who seem to have reached some common ground.
Others went on to say it was the "bastardization" of the story that bothered them. While many take this point of view, other people see it as a perfectly reasonable "reimagining of a fictional character.
The last Tweet in that chain brings up the idea of similar things happening with different race changes, and others continue to discuss their opinions on how the situation would be different if other races were at play. You can see that (not directly related) continuation here:
Here another person suggests that his color is not mentioned in the book, and again, someone quotes from the book with what they believe to be evidence to the contrary.
This topic also leads people to debate the race of other characters in the book as well. These sections are about the character Sam:
These come from Facebook users with very strong feelings on the matter. Usually, I would link to the whole discussion so readers can read things for themselves and with context for everything. However, this is a from a Facebook group. The group's name is "Magic: The Gathering MTG" if you're interested in sleuthing down the original post.
Of course, some players are indifferent or favor the new interpretation.
From a Facebook user:
Another person had asked this of their peers.
I'm no expert on the works of Tolkien, and it's been a very long time since I've read any of the books. That said, I'll let you research the books and form your opinion on whether the descriptions there lean one way or the other. Moving forward, let's look at different views on diversification and the possible motives of WOTCs interpretation of the character.
Questions On The Proper Way To Diversify And WOTC Motives
Why did Wizards of the Coast change what was generally (correctly or incorrectly) believed to be white to black? I think most people agree that representing all cultures and races is good. No one race or culture should be excluded. Do you feel WOTC has diversification in mind with the change? If so, do you think they achieved their goal with the card? Here is what the internet has to have on the matter.
Let's start with a passage by a Reddit user voicing their opinion on diversification in Magic: The Gathering and what they perceive as Wizards of the Coast's motives. Again, all of the statements written here are the opinions of those who wrote them, and you can find the full post and all comments here.
They went on to say this:
A Facebook user seems to have a similar point of view that diversification for the sake of diversification defeats the purpose.
Other people had more unique ideas for the thought process behind the change.
Some appreciated the art without much mention of the character's race at all.
There you have it, my friends. Generally, I'm not fond of drama, but I felt like these topics were worth covering. I'm a big proponent of open discussions and free speech. So, feel free to comment and let me know where you land on the matter or your views. All comments and sides are welcome; however, I ask people to respect those with different opinions.
I look forward to hearing from you all.