Were There Any LGBTQ Characters in ‘The Lord of the Rings’?

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One of the most beloved works of fiction in the world of literature is ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which was written by the fantastic JRR Tolkien. Of course, while the LOTR books have found a revival in the movies and shows that were released in recent years, fans can’t help but notice that the story and characters of the books tend to be quite limited in terms of their representation, particularly in the LGBTQ community. So, where there any LGBTQ characters in ‘The Lord of the Rings?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • JRR Tolkien wrote the LOTR books during the 1930s and 40s, which weren’t the best of times in terms of homosexuality.
  • As such, there are no homosexual or LGBTQ characters in any of Tolkien’s books, and the movies and shows seem to have followed the trend.
  • Despite that, the books, movies, and shows seem to have queer-coded characters who aren’t outright homosexual but still give signs of homosexuality.

There were no outright LGBTQ characters in LOTR

The books, writings, and other works of JRR Tolkien have always been impactful in today’s modern world due to the inspirational messages and amazing world-building present in his writings. Of course, the cream of the crop was always ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which is one of the most popular fantasy works of all time and has inspired a lot of different fantasy authors to write their own stories as well.

lotr book

LOTR has been adapted a few times, and Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy released during the 2000s seems to be the most popular of all of them. Of course, one of the things that we know in today’s world is that a lot of different film adaptations and original storylines often get modernized in terms of their message and representation. That means that the LGBTQ community has seen its fair share of different representatives in the world of movies, books, and TV shows.

So, what about LOTR and all of JRR Tolkien’s writings? Well, for starters, the LOTR books don’t have any LGBTQ characters at all, at least not outright. The movies and shows themselves also don’t have outright LGBTQ characters despite the fact that they were adapted into live-action productions during the more modern times.

It goes without saying that the LOTR books are quite ancient when compared to the other works of fiction that are popular today. JRR Tolkien wrote the books during the 1930s and 40s. For those who aren’t aware, homosexuality wasn’t well-accepted back then. In fact, it was only during the 70s that homosexuality was removed from the list of mental illnesses.

Of course, there were homosexuals and LGBTQ people back in the 1930s and 40s, but they weren’t accepted well by society due to the different understanding of that generation with respect to what homosexuality really stands for. Still, it can be accepted that Tolkien never wrote LGBTQ characters into his books due to the backlash that they would have gotten from more conservative people during his era.

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There’s also the fact that Peter Jackson’s movies and even the more recent ‘The Rings of Power’ series on Amazon Prime don’t have LGBTQ characters. It is possible that the directors, writers, and producers of those movies made it a point to stay as true as possible to Tolkien’s works, which have always been beloved by millions of people worldwide. 

There’s a strong chance that the adaptations of the books and other writings of Tolkien didn’t have LGBTQ characters to avoid backlash from Tolkien purists who know for a fact that Tolkien never wrote any of his characters to be homosexual. Of course, while we do know that homosexuality is now very openly accepted in today’s generation, there are still those who would rather watch a LOTR adaptation that stays completely true to what the books say. The movies and shows, of course, are loose interpretations and adaptations of Tolkien’s works, but adding LGBTQ characters would probably make them stray far from the true essence of the storyline.

Queer-coded characters were present

Despite the fact that there was no outright LGBTQ in any of Tolkien’s books and writings related to LOTR, it is still true that some fans have found queer-coded characters who were never confirmed to be queer but were still great representations of the community.

For one, Frodo and Sam have always been so close to one another that some fans see them as queer-coded characters. Sam, of course, is in love with a female Hobbit and eventually marries her. But the closeness that he shares with Frodo, who was also portrayed to be someone who was attracted to females, makes it seem like they form a special bond that’s beyond friendship.

are frodo and sam in love relationship

Éowyn is a character meant to represent the strength and independence of women. She was in love with Aragorn in what was a one-sided romance. However, she was also someone who didn’t conform to gender roles because she decided to join the Rohirrim during the War of the Ring so that she could fight for Rohan and protect those she cared about. War was portrayed to be the province of men in LOTR, but Éowyn broke boundaries and entered the world of men by proving that she was just as strong as any male warrior.

gimli and legolas 1

There’s also the duo of Legolas and Gimli. While these characters didn’t like each other at the start due to the common hatred that Elves and Dwarves had for one another, they eventually became the closest of friends and often engaged in friendly banters. The two were so close that Legolas allowed Gimli to go to the Undying Lands near the end of his lifespan.

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The more recent ‘The Rings of Power’ series on Amazon Prime has a similar friendship between Elrond and Durin. While Prince Durin was married, he was so close to Elrond that he was actually angry at him for not visiting him for years. Elrond himself eventually got married in the grander storyline of LOTR, but it was clear that he was extremely close to Prince Durin.

So, while the LOTR books, movies, and shows never had true LGBTQ characters, some of the characters have become queer symbols to a lot of different people in the LGBTQ community. The closeness, bond, and love that these characters share for one another make them strong cases for LGBTQ representation, even though they were never confirmed to be queer or gay.

Got something more to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

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