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Jul 292017

BaranorIconThe First Black Hero!

Middle-earth: Shadow of War features The Lord of the Ring’s first Non-White Hero in Tolkien’s Legendarium.

The folks at Monolith Productions say it was a story driven decision.

In an article on Waypoint a sub-channel of VICE they have an interesting report on the new black hero character in Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

WB Games and Monolith Productions struck gold with 2014’s Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and now with Shadow of War coming in October, they are improving on the first game in almost all ways possible. New advancements in the Nemesis System, which now allows players to build entire armies and conqueror fortresses throughout Mordor. This is facilitated by the new Siege Mechanic, along with more advance weather mechanics and an improved graphics engine.  It seems that in almost every way, Middle-earth: Shadow of War will improve on it predecessor.


Shadow of will will also introduce a new first in the world of Middle-earth… the first black hero. Here is an excerpt for the article on Waypoint that examines this new character in the game.

People who watched the trailer for Shadow of War may not have noticed an important new element of the game: A black character among a sea of orcs and white men.
Although Baranor is the first significant character who isn’t white in the Lord of the Rings, Monolith didn’t release a lot of information on him—until now. “He will have his own story DLC in The Desolation of Mordor, where you’ll learn all about his story.” Until now, the only publicly known fact was that an expansion would be included in the game’s season pass.
Baranor isn’t just important for this story, but for the entire world of the Lord of the Rings. In the second edition of the Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien said that he hated when comparisons were made between his story and events that happened around the world, or between his characters and real historical figures. But it’s almost impossible not to notice that the narrative behind the Lord of the Rings echoes or reflect much that we see in our own society.

As we discover more about Baranor and the DLC expansion The Desolation of Mordor, we will report it here in Mordor!

Go HERE to read more of this article.

 July 29, 2017  Posted by at 8:23 pm
  • TroyTroodon

    I’m willing to bet he’s of Haradwaith origin in his family tree.

  • Roberto Took

    The Gondorians in general are supposed to be a bit darker toned. Not black exactly, but not like Peter Jackson shows. The Lord of the Rings Online, not Shadow of War, was the first to add racial mixes into the story. It was certainly more seamless too. In LOTRO, there are accurate skin tones in all of the lands based on where everything is located. Dunland was the first, with an Amerindian type of skin that worked well with its location between all white Eriador and mixed Gondor. Gondor has whites, blacks, and mixed people. This makes complete sense because Gondor lies in a region where trade and migration would undoubtedly meet between white northern areas and southern dark-skinned places. So far, this character is placed perfectly into the story because it isn’t just “virtue-signaling” of HEY LOOK! We are good 21st century people and we put a black person into a game! I never noticed even until you pointed out, because it works with location and established races in Middle Earth. I just hope the company keeps it chill and doesn’t use skin color as a marketing ploy.

  • From how they discussed it in the article in the link above, it looks like they built his inclusion based upon story not current cultural norms. However, even if that were the case it’s a smart idea because it make the game more palatable to a larger audience in todays world.