So it has come to this: Wizards upcoming release for Magic: the Gathering is a tribute to The Lord Of The Rings, which is one of the greatest fantasy stories of all time and which infamously has almost no women in it whatsoever. Forget the Bechdel-Wallace test, we’re miles away from even thinking about it–we’re not on the same end of the pass of Caradhras as the Bechdel-Wallace test. What to do, then, as a queer woman who plays Magic almost exclusively for the delightful Vorthos texture of both arguably gay and (these days) explicitly gay cards?

Have hope. Just as Gandalf saw the hand of something greater guiding Bilbo and Frodo on their adventures, so too do we have a greater power on our side. The creative teams at Wizards have done quite a good job including as many women as possible, including even some that are queer-coded, and pushing against our expectations of what women do in Tolkien’s world. And in some cases, intentionally or not, they have left the door open just a sliver for us to picture gender diversity beyond the binary in Tolkien’s world–and you know I’m here to kick that door in.

Join me, then as we journey the lands of Middle-earth to find cards to fire the hearts of queer women, and those in community with them. (And if you missed it, you can check out my article doing the very same thing for March of the Machines.)

Hey, maybe if I’m lucky, I can even distract the olog-hai of our benighted realm from their charming preoccupation with Aragorn.

Eowyn, Fearless Knight

As is tradition, a Pride Parade should open with gay ladies on a means of conveyance, so here she is to lead the way and keep us safe: the shield-maiden of Rohan herself. Of the characters on this list, Eowyn is undoubtedly the only one who’s actually had a great deal of ink spilled on her gender identity and sexuality. Let that all go by: what we have here is a remarkable woman, gender non-conforming in important ways, risking everything and riding fearlessly into battle in pursuit of what she wants most. Take strength and inspiration from her, because she belongs to you as much as to anyone.

Mirrormere Guardian

I think Wizards released this card on the last day of previews just to screw with me. The Mirrormere Guardian almost slipped by me thanks to her lovely beard, but look closely: on the one hand her breasts are subtly visible under her armor, but on the other she has gone all out with her contouring, which I actually love. Forget your narrow human standards of femininity, this bearded beauty is serving high femme and she is killing it.

Arwen, Mortal Queen

This card is just so romantic, thanks mostly to Miranda Meeks’ stunning art (although the card has a surprisingly romantic mechanical ability as well). We know, of course, that she’s marrying Aragorn, and good for those two kids, I was rooting for them. I’m still including her here because queer women deserve this dream too: a beautiful bride filled with love and hope on her wedding day, offering her hand to her new spouse.

And really, who knows how many elf-maids Arwen banged before Aragorn put a Ring of Barahir on it?

Easterling Vanguard

MtG:LotR does something I really respect, and Easterling Vanguard exemplifies it beautifully: carefully putting women into positions that expand our traditional understanding of what women can do in Tolkien’s world. Why not Easterling women charging across Pelennor Field? The Easterling Vanguard is unapologetically fierce and unapologetically muscular, with her snarling expression and her massive weapon. The Easterlings and other “Low Men” get a raw deal sometimes in Tolkien’s worldbuilding, but he also acknowledges their fundamental humanity; at one point, Sam wonders what lies a fallen soldier a Haradrim soldier must have been told to come so far from home. The Easterling Vanguard, I believe, must have come to Gondor with the dream she was making a better world for her very own Rosie Cotton back home.

Elanor Gardner

Pretty sure this is just a portrait of someone I dated briefly in early 2020 just before the pandemic hit. It wasn’t the right fit but they’re amazing and I think of them fondly. If you ever see this, Jules, I’m sorry I was such a mess at the time!

Wose Pathfinder

What can I tell you, I’m a sucker for the “Low Men”. Having a destiny and an ancestral tie to Atlantis is cool and all, but give me a character like Bronwyn from the Rings Of Power series: some working stiff in a small town who isn’t favored by the gods in particular and still has to make a go of it. The Wose, an insular human culture of nomads (possibly hunter-gatherers), play a small but crucial part in the Lord of the Rings when they guide the Rohirrim along an unknown road so they can reach Minas Tirith in time to save it. This card, therefore, shows a strange moment in the life of the Wose Pathfinder and the female Rider of Rohan (!!!) standing behind her. The Wose Pathfinder is serious and focused, thinking hard on her woodcraft to avoid having to deal with the fluttery feelings she gets when she looks at the hottie from Rohan.

Ioreth of the Healing House

We love a silver fox here at Prismatic Vistas. In the books, Ioreth is dismissed by her male peers in the House of Healing, and chastised by Aragorn himself for her long-winded recollections (women be talking!), but it’s still her knowledge of healing traditions that lets Aragorn save Eowyn and Faramir. In Wei Guan’s remarkable portrait, Ioreth looks wise, but I think there’s also a wilfulness there; she may look up from her work either to say something remarkably sage and to the point, or to tell a long story about her aunt who taught her a rhyme about the many uses of spearmint. Aragorn may find it tiresome, and I imagine so does Ioreth’s wife, but she also loves Ioreth for her knowledge and dreaminess and her refusal to fit into any man’s mold.

Dunedain Rangers

Has this happened to you? Your straight and bi friends are cooing over Strider, Ranger of the North and how hot he is, and you’re happy for them but getting bored so you quip “does he have a hot friend for me?” Well, guess what–he actually does and she’s riding out of the North to join the War of the Ring. Listen, babe, I know the Battle of Pelennor Fields was tough for you, hiding behind the walls all through the siege, but you have to admit that it was a nice plus when you were clearing rubble after the battle and this 10 pulls up out of nowhere to help you shift an especially big hunk of stone of the street. A Elbereth Gilthoniel, those arms!

Second Breakfast

I have one word for you: cottagecore. Get on this lovely couple’s cozy wavelength!

If you want to get at me that one of these Hobbits is a man, I will roll my eyes at you and say you clearly don’t follow his tiktok, he uses he/him pronouns but isn’t a man, and as far as I’m concerned he’s still a part of the lesbian community if he wants to be.

Goldberry, River-Daughter

Mommy thicc? Mommy thicc.

No, seriously, my jaw dropped when I saw Goldberry. Marie Magny’s art is stunning, of course. But beyond that, the decision to make Goldberry a gorgeous, feminine fat woman is a beautiful and loving one–I hope she’ll be the first of many in coming sets.

Goldberry is the third inclusion on the list who we know marries a man at some point (or, you know, at the moment portrayed in the card). Of course, that doesn’t mean she isn’t queer. And ask yourself this, though: can you imagine Tom Bombadil being jealous? Dude is literally so un-jealous that THE ONE RING has no effect on him. Also, very easily distracted by the joy of walking around the forest singing songs. I’m sure Goldberry keeps busy while he’s away and I’m sure she’s left many a wandering elf-maid or lost young Took woman breathless and wondering: did I just have the best sex of my life with a magic woman married to an unknowable being who may even be God?

Dora Rogers (she/her) is a writer, game designer, and heart-eyes lesbo from Montreal. She is one half of Gal Pal Games, and you can find her solo TTRPG and interactive fiction projects on Follow her in all the places, or catch her on Arena playing questionable Vorthos decks in Standard.

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