Discover more from Jokien with Tolkien
💣💖 The Barbenheimer TOM Talk
My "Tales of Middle-earth" Talk about the One Double-Feature to Rule Them All
This weekend, the long-anticipated simultaneous release of Barbie and Oppenheimer finally occurs.
The juxtaposition of Christopher Nolan’s historical psychodrama about the development of the atomic bomb with Greta Gerwig’s bubblegum fantasy comedy about the Mattel toyline opening the same weekend has produced a cultural phenomena dubbed ‘Barbenheimer.’
The internet has had a field day with this phenomenon and it has led to all sorts of memes and discussions about the pairing. I’ve contributed some of my own, but instead of rounding those up or making more of them, in today’s newsletter I’d like to address the following question:
Who are the Barbie and Oppenheimer of Middle-earth??
My theory? Galadriel is Middle-earth’s Barbie and The Dark Lord Sauron is its Oppenheimer. Welcome to my TOM1 Talk.
Don’t see it? Allow me to elucidate.
She’s married to a Ken. Celeborn looks pretty but doesn’t have much going on personality-wise and is defined by his relationship to his lady. Just as Ken is primarily known as Barbie’s beau, Celeborn is mostly known as Galadriel’s husband. Sauron, on the other hand? He’s obsessed with developing the most powerful weapon history has ever known and using it to dominate his enemies into submission.
But wait…actually, in both his Maia form Mairon and his fair form Annatar, Sauron is babygirl.2 And if Galadriel got what she truly wanted she would be a Queen, destroyer of Worlds. Not dark but beautiful and terrible as the Dawn! Treacherous as the Seas! Stronger than the foundations of the Earth!
So…he’s Barbie? And she’s Oppenheimer.
Ok, so maybe they are both Barbie AND Oppenheimer.
But we need a great portmanteau for the two of them. Gauron? No. It has to be…
And whichever way you look at it, like Barbenheimer’s battle for box-office-supremacy this weekend, Saurladriel’s battle for Middle-earth was the stuff of legends.
But what if…what if they were to join each other, working together to rule instead of battling each other…3 She could bind him to the light. And he could bind her to power. Together, they could save this box office. Or rule? Is there a difference?4
No, they cannot join together. Just like Barbenheimer, one must reign supreme. We’ll see which one it is in the coming weeks. Until then, nothing is stopping us from enjoying and appreciating both.
Nine tickets to a Barbie/Oppenheimer double feature, please.
Who do you think is the Barbie/Oppenheimer of Middle-earth? Let me know in the comments if you agree or have your own better suggestions!
Farewell, friends. Go towards goodness!
Shout-out to tinfanggelion, who upgraded to a paid subscription this week!
Also special shout-out to Molly and Nicholas C., who both referred a friend to Jokien with Tolkien and earned a free month of a paid subscription in doing so. If you’d also like to earn a free month of full access to every post, share this newsletter using the ‘share’ button above. You’ll get credit and rewards for any referrals as well as join the leaderboard!
This is a reader-supported newsletter so if you enjoy these updates each week, please consider some of the following ways (free and paid) to support Jokien with Tolkien:
(Free) ‘Like’ this post here on substack or where I share it on social media so others can discover it
(Free) Forward this newsletter to someone who might be interested. Get a free month of a paid subscription for your first referral if they subscribe!
(Free) Share links to this newsletter or my Substack on social media. Also earns you rewards for referrals!
($) Upgrade to a paid membership of Jokien with Tolkien (includes Discord access)
(Free) Keep reading this newsletter!
All typos are totally on purpose. Links may be affiliate, which is a free-to-you way to support this newsletter where I earn a small commission on items you purchase.
TOM = Tales Of Middle-earth. Also obviously means Bombadil
‘He’s so babygirl’ or ‘he is babygirl’ is a term of endearment used by fandoms ironically or sincerely about attractive, problematic, and/or powerful characters. From an explainer article at Daily Dot: “One popular TikTok argues that a babygirl should have two of three things: ‘Eyes, cries, and war crimes. They have beautiful eyes, they’ve cried onscreen, they’ve committed atrocities.’”
Thanks to Twitter follower Ryan Marotta (@RyanJMarotta) for making this connection to this image in the replies to the thread that inspired this newsletter!
This paragraph is based on Hallbrand’s offer to Galadriel, which is itself based on Jackson’s version of Galadriel’s monologue from “The Mirror of Galadriel” in The Fellowship of the Ring. Basically I’m playing a game of telephone with The Rings of Power writers, Peter Jackson, Tolkien, and now you.