Reviews for Amazon's new Lord of the Rings series, The Rings of Power, have been mixed. Some have praised the incredible spectacle of the show and the world it has created, while others have been severely critical of a particular area of the show.
The area in question is the Irish accents used by the harfoot people, who are a hobbit-like community depicted in the show. Furthermore, the appearance of these harfoot people, with their raggedy clothes and twigs in their hair, combined with awful attempts at Irish accents, has been labelled as racist by some viewers on Twitter.
Comparisons have also been between the portrayal of the harfoot people and racist British cartoons from the 18th and early 19th century.
A lot of the criticism has been thrown the way of famed British comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry, and his questionable attempt at the accent.
You can hear a snippet of the accent at around the 1.30 mark in the trailer below.
Questionable Accents In The Lord Of The Rings : The Rings Of Power
Seriously these accents and costume and design choices for the hobbits have real mid 19th century Punch cartoon vibes pic.twitter.com/XD59CcSPek
— Conor (@conorconneally) September 3, 2022
So the settled, civilized hobbits of the third age are coded as English in "Lord of The Rings," but the primitive, peasant hobbits of the second age in "Rings of Power" are coded as Irish. Hmmmmm..... Where have we seen that kind of thing before? pic.twitter.com/lxhenEkNT7
— stephencass (@stephencass) September 2, 2022
Watching the Lord of the Rings show, is Lenny Henry trying to do an Irish accent?
— Agree to disagree 🍊 🍊 🍊 (@StefGotBooted) September 2, 2022
Watching the Lord of the Rings nonsense. The salt of the earth hobbit types are Irish. The stern Elves are English. The drunken fighty dwarves are Scots. No cliche left unmined.
— Eddie Barnes (@EddieBarnes23) September 2, 2022
"sure lookit, Sauron"
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) September 2, 2022
Ed Power of the Irish Times was particularly damning in his review of the show with a brutal takedown of the Irish accents on screen and the portrayal of the harfoots.
"The accents embark on a wild journey from Donegal to Kerry and then stop off in inner-city Dublin. The Harfoots themselves are twee and guileless and say things like: “Put yer backs into it, lads.
"One is portrayed by Lenny Henry, a great comedian and actor who deserves better than having to deliver lines such as “De both of ye, dis does not bode will” (in an appalling Irish accent). Scouring the internet, there is no evidence of any Irish actors having been involved."