Report: ‘Lord of the Rings’ Set for ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Card Game Makes Aragorn Black

New Line Cinema / Wizards of the Coast

Woke creatives are reimagining famed fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings through a modern racial lens as a new card game appears to depict King Aragorn as a black man, according to a report.

King Aragorn, who was played in the 2001 Peter Jackson movies by Viggo Mortensen, is described in Tolkien’s work as “lean, dark, tall, with a shaggy head of dark hair flecked with grey, and in a pale stern face a pair of keen grey eyes.”

But in the upcoming Magic: The Gathering’s new card game based on Lord of the Rings to be entitled The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, King Aragorn has been race swapped and depicted as a man of African heritage, according to the previews of the artwork reviewed by Bounding Into Comics.

The new artwork for the game was revealed by the company at its Wizards Presents showcase, a livestreaming presentation where the company reveals some of its upcoming releases.

The livestream host, Sydnee Goodman, insisted that the company had “worked closely with Middle-earth enterprises and dove deep into the source material to make sure to get it just right” and added that “the cards and art in the series will have all the flavor and history of the trilogy.”

Goodman then previewed some of the art being used for the game, chiefly a large set piece depicting the Battle of Pelennor Fields, a climactic battle in the trilogy.

One portion of the large artwork featured Aragorn fighting the forces of evil. And when host Goodman flashed closeups of the cards, several viewers wondered if King Aragorn had been race swapped.

Wizard went on to celebrate the new LOTR game on its website and proclaiming that the game is “going to be intimately familiar yet fresh and relevant for a wider audience.”

“The folks at Middle-earth Enterprises take their roles as stewards very seriously, and every decision about characters has been made with deep reverence to the original,” said Wizards content manager Adam Styborski. “With that in mind, together we set out to make a set that follows two guiding principles: diversity and originality.”

Styborski went on to explain the company hopes to make the LOTR story “relevant.”

The Wizard executive described the company’s first goal: “The Lord of the Rings is about the different peoples of Middle-earth coming together to fight Sauron, finding strength in their diversity. We want to make this appealing story fresh and relevant to an even wider audience.”

For a second goal, he added: “The goal of this set is to express the story and setting of The Lord of the Rings in cards for Magic: The Gathering,” noting that while “countless prior efforts have painted vivid pictures of this world, our goal is a modern take on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, lovingly crafted for a new generation of players and fans.”

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is set to be released next year. Wizards of the Coast has not responded to the controversy over the Aragorn image to confirm or deny the ethnicity of this depiction of the character.

This is only the latest woke reimagining of J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece. The new Amazon Prime prequel of the Rings saga also nodded to woke critics of Tolkien’s epic tale and was thrilled to tell fans that racial minorities had been cast to “reinvigorate” Tolkien’s work.

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