With Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: Ring of Power constantly in debates, mostly because of the addition of a Black elf, lack of beard for the dwarves, characters changing their personality, and other weird things, one of the arguments for all of this is that it is fantasy, therefore it is possible. However, although Fantasy is a realm for the impossible and possible, that realm is governed by a soft or hard rule of law, carefully crafted by its creator!
I say this because, Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. It’s a genre of literature that features magical and supernatural elements that do not exist in the real world. Thus, when a creator is creating a fantasy world, a lot of rules are set, which oftentimes are referred to as canon (conforming to a general rule or acceptable procedure)!
For example, in Harry Potter, it is generally understood that Muggles cannot use or learn magic! If a muggle in a new Harry Potter film or tv show suddenly started using magic after so many books have established that it’s impossible, and without a good enough explanation, you can’t explain it away with “it’s fantasy”! It’s a simple example, but one that should help understand why so many people took issue with some of the changes that took place in this fantasy world. A fantasy world needs rules and established canon to be believable. Once that rule is set, unless you are able to explain it well (as in use what has already been established) it breaks what is known as canon!
Now let’s get to the part where everyone gets a bit sensitive about, and that is race in the Lord Of The Rings! Many have argued that since this is a fantasy world, adding a diverse set of people in this world shouldn’t be a big deal, which in some cases would be true, if the creator allows for it. It all comes down to how the creator built the world, and in Lord of The Rings, it’s a bit more complex! Lord of The Rings has many races, human and non-humans alike! Each race is described in great detail in what they’re supposed to look like and be like.
Now, let me be clear, yes, there are other races of people in the Lord of the Rings, in fact, the race of Men would be the most akin to our real-world human race. However remember some Men in the Lord of the Rings are not equal due to events that have taken place, for example, the Numenors, a set of humans who were blessed with a longer life and are closer to elves than other humans. However, that can’t be said of the elves, the dwarves or any other mythical creature other than humans. They have a set of features akin to their race alone and for the elves in question, none are described as brown or dark. Fair-skinned is the only description that has been constant with the elves, and so unfortunately it would break the canon of the world. Interracial relationship was impossible with men or other races or at least extremely taboo for the elves as far as lore is concerned so mixed elves would not possible. That’s just what the world of Tolkien is all about.
In fact, if people want to make the argument that fantasy should allow for other races in different forms, then one could also make the argument argues that fantasy should allow for only one race, one skin to exist in that world. In short, Lord of the Rings is not a series where you can change every race in that world. The race of Men is the only one where a diverse set of people would be possible since Tolkien never specified the skin tone of said race, but he did with the other ones.