Anyone who knows anything about me knows I am a firm believer in the M-trinity – that is Metal, Manchester United, and Middle-earth. So when a friend sent me a reel of Kaia Kay being a huge Lord of the Rings nerd, I was so excited to interview her for She’s In Charge!
In the past, female authors used male pseudonyms so that their books would be taken seriously. Even today, some female authors opt to use initials instead of their full names because it is still considered less likely for a man to pick up a book by a female author and read it. The path for women in cinema wasn’t any easier. Leaping ahead of the time period when women were not allowed to play any roles in theatre, even today actresses face challenges such as the gender pay gap, underrepresentation, typecasting, etc. Therefore, an influencer who makes content related to one of the most successful works of literature that was made into one of the most successful works of cinema is definitely empowering to the younger generation of women who have dreams related to any of these two domains.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaia Kay, who shared her wonderful insight into the works of Tolkien, showing with her knowledge and analysis that she’s in charge!
Reuel: How did you become interested in The Lord of the Rings and J. R. R. Tolkien’s work, and what inspired you to create reels related to this franchise on social media?
Kaia: I became interested in Lord of the Rings at a very young age. Really all because of my dad. He read me the trilogy and The Hobbit. We watched the animated 1977 Hobbit, the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings (I was scared of red lights for a long time after that one because of the Nazgûl’s eyes). And of course he took us to see all the LOTR movies in theatres (I was 5 when the first one came out). And he eventually recorded himself reading the entire trilogy which my sisters and I now have saved on to USBs and hard drives now that he’s passed. So TLDR; my dad haha
The thing that inspired me to create my tiktoks/reels was really just from sitting next to my fiancé and telling her all these little tidbits that she didn’t know cause she had never read the books or seen the movies. And we both thought it was hilarious how insufferable I sounded but I thought that there’s no way I’m the only LOTR fan that does this, other people might think it’s funny, & I could give my fiancé a break from my info-dumping
Reuel: Yes you’re definitely not the only one haha
Online communities can sometimes be a breeding ground for toxic and sexist behaviour. How do you deal with misogynist or negative comments you might receive online?
Kaia: It really depends on what they say. If it’s threatening, gross, or insanely inappropriate – I’ll delete the comment and block them. But if it’s just them making a comment to get a rise out of me or to start drama/an argument, to be honest, I just go Drew Afualo on them.
Reuel: How does each of the following female characters from the Tolkien legendarium inspire you with her actions or wisdom?
Kaia: With these characters,, it depends if you mean movie character or book character. But to paraphrase: Arwen, like her father, has been through it. Losing her mother to the Undying Lands, the love of her life risking his own for the sake of Middle Earth, the dread of Sauron’s Wars in general. Yet she still holds hope and love and understanding in an evil world. She’s still 110% willing to give up her immortality because of the hope and love she carries for Aragorn. One of my favorite book quotes of hers is “Dark is the Shadow, and yet my heart rejoices; for you, Estel, shall be among the great whose valour will destroy it.” And my favorite movie quote is “Why do you fear the past? You are Isildur’s heir, not Isildur himself. You are not bound to his fate.” Shes always looking deeper into the situation at hand and pulling hope out of darkness.
Reuel: Brilliant! Éowyn?
Kaia: Oh god, Éowyn is the definition of a badass woman. Told she couldn’t go to war? Goes anyway and fulfills Glorfindels prophecy of the fall of the Witch King. The Witch King is like “no man can kill me” and she’s like “lol that sucks for them”. Her whole “No living man am I” quote just really hypes me up. I love that scene so much I got it tattooed on me.
Kaia: Galadriel is just so graceful and gentle, you’d never guess how powerful she actually is. Along with giving out wisdom and foresight in almost a creepy, unnerving way, she’s a good representation of knowing everything, having the confidence to back it up, and not caring about how it comes across to other people because that’s just how things are sometimes.
Kaia: The idea of Lùthien really makes me set the bar high when it comes to loving someone. If I’m not willing to give up my immortality for them, are they really worth it? And if they (my partner) aren’t willing to go into the fires of Morgoth to retrieve a silmaril for my dad in order to gain his blessing to marry me, how else are they going to show me I’m worth it?
Reuel: Wow! Really deep!
If, like Elros and Elrond, you had the chance to choose your fate to be that of the race of Elves or of Men, which fate would you choose and why?
Kaia: Elves. 100% everytime. To get to have a long, timeless life with my loved ones; to watch the world change; to have the time to learn everything I want to know and master the skills I want to have. What would be better?
Reuel: In your opinion, which lesser-known character from LOTR deserves more attention, and have you featured them in any of your skits?
Kaia: TOM BOMBADIL. I love that being with my whole soul. He’s known to those who have read the books, but he’s never mentioned in the movies (but his quotes sure are 😤). I have mentioned him many times in my skits and in my comment sections. I would go to war defending my man Tommy Bomby against those who say he’s an unneeded character. Even Tolkien himself.
Reuel: Usually, my interviews are with Rock and Metal musicians, and there are plenty of bands who are inspired by the works of Tolkien. (In fact, I received a promo email about a new single called “Morgoth Tales” while typing this question. What are the odds?) Why do you think a work that was created 60-70 years ago still influences musicians and other artists today?
Kaia: Probably because there are so many ways you can go about expressing creativity with LOTR Lore. The lore itself ranges from pretty mental situations, to adrenaline pumping combat, to pretty ballads or poems. There are definitely times I catch myself listening to my playlist and going “this vibe/genre would fit Sauron/Bilbo/Gandalf/Pippin/etc perfectly”. And some people are just gifted enough to translate that into new music.
Reuel:Do you have a specific music genre or musician that you love listening to?
Kaia: My music taste is really all over the place. But right now I’m really loving I Prevail, Peach PRC, and Steve Miller.
Reuel: Thank you for the interview, Kaia! Hope to keep seeing your amazing reels! Is there anything you’d like to add?
Kaia: Thanks for letting me geek out over my favorite thing! I love getting to talk about this stuff and it makes me really happy that people actually want to ask me about it.