Sorry, trolls. Most viewers SUPPORT casting of black actors as elves and dwarves in fantasy shows

Fans of hit fantasy television shows by wide margins support the casting of black actors as elves, dwarves and other characters — rebuffing online racist trolls who kicked up a fuss about such moves, a survey shows.

The poll comes in the wake of controversies over the casting of actors of color in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, and black actor Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon in the Game of Thrones prequel, The House of the Dragon.

Morning Consult pollsters found that half of respondents supported casting black and brown actors in Hollywood movie and television roles typically associated with whites, while 28 percent were opposed.

Significantly, those who read works by JRR Tolkien and George RR Martin — the novelist creators of the two fantasy realms — were even more supportive of casting actors of color in traditionally white roles.

Some 55 percent of readers of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga, and 59 percent of readers of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, backed the casting of black and brown actors, even when it ran counter to the source material.

House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint has rebuffed the racist trolls who said he doesn't match author George RR Martin's depiction of his character

House of the Dragon star Steve Toussaint has rebuffed the racist trolls who said he doesn’t match author George RR Martin’s depiction of his character

Tolkien's readers support the casting of black and brown actors in television adaptations, even when it runs counter to the source material.  Pictured: Sophia Nomvete as Princess Disa (right) and Owain Arthur as King Durin IV in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Tolkien’s readers support the casting of black and brown actors in television adaptations, even when it runs counter to the source material. Pictured: Sophia Nomvete as Princess Disa (right) and Owain Arthur as King Durin IV in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

The diverse casting moves in those shows sparked an ugly backlash from online trolls, who said the shows’ creators were deviating from the original texts. They harassed actors on social media and posted negative reviews about the adaptations.

‘It turns out those fans are part of a noisy, but very clear minority,’ Morning Consult said in a posting about their survey of some 2,200 US adults, which was carried out earlier this month.

‘Majorities of self-identified readers of The Lord of the Rings and A Song of Ice and Fire support diverse casting, even when that source material explicitly states the characters as white.’

Actors connected with the two fantasy shows and other celebrities have in recent weeks spoken out against the racist trolling.

Toussaint, 57, who plays the leader of the House Velayron in the Game of Thrones prequel series, remarked that angered fans were able to handle ‘flying dragons’ in the HBO Max show but not ‘rich black guys.’

Rebuffing his critics, Toussaint said he’s taking it all ‘in stride’ and feels ‘sanguine’ about the whole thing, adding that ‘for every toxic person, there have been so many others who have been so supportive.’

The show was adapted from a portion of Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood and takes place 172 years prior to the events in the original show. It dives into the history of the iconic Targaryen House, the then power brokers on the fictional isle of Westeros.

House of the Dragon is adapted from a portion of Martin's 2018 book Fire & Blood - and some people were unhappy with Toussaint's casting because they felt he didn't fit the writer's description of his character.  Martin is seen in July

House of the Dragon is adapted from a portion of Martin’s 2018 book Fire & Blood – and some people were unhappy with Toussaint’s casting because they felt he didn’t fit the writer’s description of his character. Martin is seen in July

Likewise, the debut of the first two episodes of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power earlier this month brought trolls out of the woodwork, with several cast members of color receiving mean-spirited messages.

The series features actors of color cast in lead roles, including Ismael Cruz Cordova as the elf Arondir, Sophia Nomvete as the dwarf Princess Disa and Nazanin Boniadi as the human Bronwyn.

There has been speculation that racist trolls have also been ‘review-bombing’ the show and lowering the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, a ratings website.

In response, actors from the original movie trilogy Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd took to social media, wearing garb with slogans written in the fictional Elvish language Neo-Sindarin that means ‘You Are All Welcome Here.’

The show’s official Twitter also sent a message, which began, ‘We stand in solidarity with our cast #YouAreAllWelcomeHere.’

Sophia Nomvete as Prince Durin IV's wife, Princess Disa, in Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Sophia Nomvete as Prince Durin IV’s wife, Princess Disa, in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Actor Elijah Wood posted a photo of him alongside Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, all wearing the shirts, which feature 'You Are All Welcome Here' written in a fictional Elvish script

Actor Elijah Wood posted a photo of him alongside Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, all wearing the shirts, which feature ‘You Are All Welcome Here’ written in a fictional Elvish script

Stand together: 'We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity against the relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis.  We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it,' the statement read

Stand together: ‘We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity against the relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it,’ the statement read

‘We, the cast of Rings of Power, stand together in absolute solidarity against the relentless racism, threats, harassment and abuse some of our castmates of color are being subjected to on a daily basis. We refuse to ignore it or tolerate it,’ the statement read.

‘JRR Tolkien created a world which, by definition, is multi-cultural. A world in which free peoples from, different races and cultures join together, in fellowship, to defeat the forces of evil. ‘Rings of Power’ reflects that,’ the statement continued.

‘Our world has never been all white, fantasy has never been all white, Middle-earth is not all white. BIOPIC belong in Middle-earth and they’re hearing to stay.’

Those surveyed by Morning Consult were even more supportive of broader efforts to get actors of diverse ‘races, ethnicities, religious beliefs and sexual/gender identities’ appearing in film and television.

Some 66 percent of those surveyed said diverse casting was important, against 20 percent who said it was not so. Black respondents and readers of the Tolkien and Martin books favored diverse casting more strongly still.

The Game of Thrones prequel series takes place 172 years prior to the events in the original show, and it dives into the history of the iconic Targaryen House

The Game of Thrones prequel series takes place 172 years prior to the events in the original show, and it dives into the history of the iconic Targaryen House

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