Prime Video’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power took September by storm, and with global fame comes its share of criticism. Sometimes, it’s constructive, but 99 percent of the time, it’s review bombing hogwash. Think, a bunch of whiny white manbabies crying foul that an IP has gone “woke” and is pushing a “leftist agenda.”

Unfortunately, The Rings of Power has been the target of racist vitriol, with emboldened trolls taking to social media to decry the show’s diverse cast. They claim it’s in the name of “authenticity” and adhering to J.R.R. Tolkien‘s vision. However, they’re outing themselves as discriminatory, racist and hateful. 

Receiving the brunt of the bigoted trolls’ diatribe is Ismael Cruz Córdova, who plays the Silvan elf Arondir. Córdova portrays Arondir beautifully, seamlessly inhabiting the immersive world of Middle-earth. And as this Mashable article states, “fantasy is for everyone,” and the abhorrent backlash for the series is wholly against the spirit of The Lord of the Rings.

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Thankfully, Córdova and the other cast members of color have found tremendous support from rallying fans, creatives and the Peter Jackson LOTR trilogy cast. Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan wore t-shirts by Don Marshall stating, “You Are All Welcome Here” in Elvish.

Córdova basks in the glow of his much-deserved success as a beacon of representation in a world where he didn’t see himself growing up. Now, his dream has come true — he’s an elf in one of the most enduring, storied IPs of all time. 

The actor shared a few photos on Instagram alongside captions expressing how much this role means to him. In the first one, we see him standing in front of a building with Arondir plastered on it. In the second image, Córdova stands with his parents in front of a Times Square billboard featuring Arondir. They all hold imaginary bows.

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The pics are powerful and an important reminder of why representation matters. As Córdova notes in the image with his parents, “We are here. And we have been here.” People from all walks of life are welcome in Middle-earth. Their stories are worth telling. They’re worthy of inspiration and tugging at our heartstrings. 

To Ismael Cruz Córdova, I’m thrilled to have you play Arondir in this enchanting universe. Your talent knows no bounds, and you deserve all the success in the world. To the trolls perpetually spewing hate, well, you’re not worth our time or words.

May these images brighten your day as they did mine. 

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power drops new episodes every Friday on Prime Video. 

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Melody McCune
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