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We Wants The Gay Hobbitses! And We Wants It Now!

gayhobbits.jpg

While there have been a number of gay-rights issues in MMOs over the past few years (remember that gay guild that got banned in World of Warcraft?), apparently the possibility of homosexual and interspecies marriage in the upcoming Lord of the Rings Online game was a topic of immense debate for its developers. Apparently the issue was so controversial for the development team that the producer finally solved it by yanking the marriage feature out of the game entirely.

The fact that gay marriage could cause such a stir seems, to be perfectly blunt, ridiculous, even with the developers' reasoning:

"The rule that we tried to follow across the board was: if there's an example of it in the book, the door is open to explore it," Nik says. "Very rarely will you see an elf and a human hook up, but it does happen; the door is open. Dwarves don't intermarry with hobbits; that door is shut ... Did two male hobbits ever hook up in the shire and have little hobbit civil unions? No. The door is shut."

More than that, Nik says, it seemed as if same-sex marriage would simply not have fit with Tolkien's vision for the worlds he created.

"Tolkien was a conservative Catholic," Nik says. "He went out drinking with C.S. Lewis every night, and the two of them had a worldview that was -- well, let's just say it clashes a little bit with the sensibilities of East Coast liberals who make up the largest population of Turbine."

Personally, I think that's a giant cop-out. While Tolkien was a devout Christian, no one really knows how he felt regarding gay rights (probably because they weren't a public issue when he was writing his books). Now that such a feature's been banned, I worry that the decision will help foster homophobic comments and behavior within the game's universe. Not that I was really planning to play the game, but it's the principal of the thing.

Why can't gay dwarves get married in Middle-earth? [Salon]

26 Comments

Rayo said:

GOD DAMN IT.

HERE I AM TRYING TO ENJOY A FICTIONAL VIDEO GAME, AND WE HAVE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS GETTING MARRIED.

How the hell am I suppose to slay orcs and fight the horde when I have elves marrying other male elves. and Wizards kissing other Wizards. Its just gonna be a distraction.

It makes perfect sense to me

Bluebreaker said:

It's a video game. There's no REAL need to get married. Won't stop me from making the cutest hobbit in the age though so he can get picked up. (For quest and stuff, of course)

Rob said:

What a bunch of idiots

The Tek Guy said:

Are you roleplaying in a fantasy world or are you trying to recreate your dream reality, that is the big question here.

Clearly, as stated above, the fiction does not indicate any wizard on wizard action (nor, in its E for Everyone fashion, any other kind of action in the same vein). There may just be a universe where such things don't exist or don't matter. And out of fairness, the entire marriage feature has been taken out. I think this is as much as anybody can ask of them.

If I want to recreate the middle ages faithfully, I won't give women voting rights. No railguns for Ramses. No Starbucks on Aiur. No exchanging "The One" in LOTR.

Do you really think cancelling marriage for everyone (also, please point out the 2 straight gamers who were looking forward to that feature...) will be a spearhead for homophobic discussions?
Have you read your site lately? Have you seen the impact you have made for us, your devoted readers? For the thousands who have enjoyed your features on gay content in video gaming, and your and our view of it? Do you deny that you, that we all are a force to be reckoned with, that is considered when making decisions, asked our opinion? Gay Gaming is here for the win, baby!

SkorpyoBrat said:

They can go to hell. No LOTR MMO for me.

motordog said:

Well, this is one game that I certainly won't be playing...of course, I wasn't going to play it before I read this, either, but now I feel good about not playing!

Steven said:

This is my "this game is boring and no one will play it in the first place" face:

`_____`

Righty said:

Personally, Im glad that they decided to yank marriage altogether than put in a system that blatantly disallows same sex and interracial marriage.

Let people roleplay marriage like they always have. Or if you put in a system, make that system open-ended and allow it all.

Nexus said:

Never was into LoTR, so I had no intention of playing it.
This is just ludicrous though. Following their logic, this game should not exist, because none of the character players will create have been character from the books.
At least I assume they are not going to let players name their characters after book characters.

motordog said:

Will the game allow characters to travel to places just mentioned (but not actually visited) in the books? I hope not, because if Tolkien had intended for those places to be visited, he would have written scenes taking place therein.

Eric D said:

And here I am still trying to get into Tom Nook's pants.

The_French_guy said:

You know... I'm not 100% sure but (OK i might be wrong...), Tolkien was a soldier for the British troop in WW1 right?
In Erich Maria Remarque's book "All Quiet on the Western Front", the hero/narrator fell in love with one of his comrade on the front which, I'm sorry for the spoiler, he dies in his arms (In the movie it was cut out Dam you Hollywood!). Also veteran and artist Otto Dix was rumored to be homosexual. I made some research in the many San Franciscans libraries and LGBT rights movements group that the homosexual population has greatly increased, forming the first pro-homosexuals rights in Europe (Who were persecuted by the nazies but another story here...) So with all this in mind, I was wandering if Tolkien, a veteran of The great war had, I'm saying maybe, none -Threating thoughts toward the homosexual community. Not that he was part of them, just not an homophobic. He would be the one who would say "Live and let live". Well like at say at the beginning, that's what I think...

Nexus said:

@The_French_guy

So um, are you saying you think he wouldn't have been homophobic, because there were homosexuals around in the circles he frequented?
Because, you know, that doesn't stop people in the present (or anywhere in history) from being homophobes.
From what I've read, Tolkien was quite the racist. And I find that people who discriminate against something like race generally discriminate against other things as well. Case in point the nazis, as you mentioned.

The Tek Guy said:

OK, I'm soon gonna start deducting tolerance points here.

I can understand that in a game like the sims, which features the life of a family from cradle to grave, marriage, same-sex and other, is a given.

But in an MMORPG? People have played romances and even marriages and that's all fun and fair, but shunning it because marriage is not a feature (admittedly because it couldn't be decided whether it should be normal or straight-only, but at least they discussed it) is ricockulous.

It's not like Gay gaming isn't on a steep rise. How can this be a setback?

Erin said:

Fine, I guess me and my saucey little she-hobbit will have to remain "roommates"

waterfiend33 said:

The other confusing thing about their logic, marriages of any kind notwithstanding... I think most of the events they're planning to create for this world didn't happen either right?

If you only go by what's explicitly stated in the book, then you can't make up cultures or traditions or quests either, because anything not explicitly stated in the book shouldn't be allowed.

The developers are already making some allowances and assumptions, and allowing for many others by creating quests, clans/groups of people and the like that were never mentioned in the book. Even if it is their game, I think their logic is poor.

Whether marriage should be included is up to the developers. But Nik wasn't upfront about the fact that the game's developers are making allowances and assumptions about "what's true enough" to Tolkien's world. I suppose he realizes that if he did, he would also have to defend his logic that developers, not players, should get to decide what choices to make about what behavior is "fit" to be part of Tolkien's vision.

The games that succeed are the ones that err on the side of liberty, not authoritarianism. So, even if it is their game, here's hoping this one fails! :)

Nathinian said:

My Tolkien knowledge is limited, but isn't there a "possible" same-sex elf relationship thing in the Silmarillion? Hmm and check this Wikipedia article. While I loath to trust Wiki, it does raise some questions... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queer_literary_interpretation

Dantalion said:

@Nathinian: Interesting thoughts in the Wikipedia article.

Question @all:

How will be decided about the Ents? The poor guys lost their females, none left, but yet - also a treeherd has got emotional needs, I guess, being a living and thinking creature that cares about things (well, trees for the least, not so much for the hasty & childish chit-chat rabble that goes on among the other races ...)

I don't think there would be a marriage or other intimate contact between Ents and, say, female Orcs (grrrumdidumm!!)(by the way ... are there such?) or Elves (hmmm ...)or Hobbits (yikes ... size DOES matter, in some parts and in some constellations at least!).

So: Are The Ents allowed to have gay relations? Okay, there's nothing mentioned in the books, but logic tells us that IF they want to they'd HAVE to hook up with another male :-)

=> I usually don't play MMOG's, but if I'd ever join in at some Middle-Earthian game, I'd sure as hell be an Ent, and then there would be some rustling in the branches, I can tell you!

Wooden greetings,
Dantalion

jeffco said:

s'okay.

MMORPG marriage destroys the sanctity of RL marriage anywho.

Ducky said:

What a bunch of rubbish. I might understand if they said something like there is no marriage in the books, therefor we're not going to bother writing any marriage logic. But to pretend this game is nothing but a book on rails is stupid. The guy from Rockstar said it best....
"...the Rockstar team thinks of their games not like films, with static storylines, but as worlds that allow players to make their own choices".

Why would I pay $15/month to read and reread a story I've already read?

Nukie said:

Well, if they were to put in marriage, then they would have to add divorce. Then second marriages and second divorces. The madness would never end.

Don't even get me started over the custody battles. With so much fighting over ONE DAMN RING, I don't even want to think what the custody battles would be like.

robeatnik said:

I'm neither gay nor a mmorpg player, but I am an rpg gamer and a fan of Tolkien's work and plan to work in games eventually so I think this is a really interesting issue. Normally I believe strongly in advocating gay rights especially gay & interracial marriage, if the Sims allow for it that's awesome because it's based on real life (sort of) but LOTR on the other hand is a construct of Tolkien's mind and his knowledge of myth and etymology and should be treated as such. The Hobbit & the Ring trilogy are only a small fraction of his writings on the history of middle earth, many names and places exist that are never mentioned in the 4 main books, I know of at least 12 other collections of middle earth history other than the Silmarillion, so if this debate really matters these texts need to be referenced as to weather or not there are open gay relationships and intermarriage between specific races (obviously not Ents & Orcs, hahaha) if these aspects are mentioned in any of the history then they should be included and there is indeed an issue to petition the designers to include it, if on the other hand there is no mention of it then the issue should be dropped rather than become a new and fairly invalid topic to debate human right upon (which could likely cause more homophobia). Personally I think there had to be gay & interracial relationship in middle earth because we see them in our world, within various species such as the transsexuals clown fish (percula, look it up) and middle earth is based on many aspects of this world but just like our world, it's not always in the public eye.

LanciePants said:

Has anyone considered the idea that Turbine is not the sole proprietor of the Tolkien intellectual property, merely a licensee? With most licenses the actual owner of the property has complete authority over content and the introduction of new themes or elements. Chances are high that it was never Turbine's call to introduce gay marriage into the Tolkien fantasy setting.

raindog said:

What timing. Here I am in my "If Marriage Is So Sacred, Ban Divorce!" t-shirt and LOTRO goes and does me one better by banning marriage itself.

Can't imagine playing their game, but they're truly visionaries.

SkaD said:

Truly horrible decision. The developers are projecting their own intolerance in abstentia of info in their sacred fantasy. The books never mentions toilet practices or birth control either. Plus this is a game 50 years after the book was written, this is supplementary. Some one should remind these assholes you can't truly become a hobbit and enter LOTR. And the strangest thing is that the LOTR trilogy was more homoerotic than arthouse movies about boys discovering their gay sexualtiy.

YesYou said:

Most of the players don't mind.

It's just the bloggers of your ilk that are making a big issue out of it.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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YesYou on We Wants The Gay Hobbitses! And We Wants It Now!: Most of the players don't mind. It's just the bloggers of your ilk that are making a big issue out...

SkaD on We Wants The Gay Hobbitses! And We Wants It Now!: Truly horrible decision. The developers are projecting their own intolerance in abstentia of info in their sacred fantasy. The books...

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