How ‘Lord of the Rings’ Inspires Italy’s Giorgia Meloni


But for Ms. Meloni, all of those took a back shelf to “The Lord of the Rings.” She said she had learned from dwarves and elves and hobbits the “value of specificity” with “each indispensable for the fact of being particular.” She extrapolated that as a lesson about protecting Europe’s sovereign nations and unique identities.

In the 1990s, after becoming the leader of the youth wing of the National Alliance, the party that succeeded the Italian Social Movement, Ms. Meloni started her own political festival, which she called “similar” to Camp Hobbit. But this time, she named it Atreju. “It was the symbol of a boy in battle against nihilism, against the Nothing that advances,” she said.

She joked that Italians could hardly pronounce Atreju, but she said that the annual conventions, including the first one, in 1998, which was about the dangers of globalization, had reach.

“We wanted to say that globalization, you have to govern it,” she said. “If you look around, we weren’t wrong, were we?” she added.

At the Atreju convention in 2018, the guest of honor, Stephen K. Bannon, walked by patriotic posters of “Italy’s heroes” and desks selling Evola-themed T-shirts and works by Evola. Ms. Meloni’s supporters have interpreted her calls to defend Italy from mass migration — and the replacement of native Italians by invaders — as a battle cry to protect Middle-earth. This month, at a rally in Sardinia, Davide Anedda, 21, the leader of the local youth wing of the Brothers of Italy, wore a T-shirt reading “Hobbit.”

“If you’re not from our world, it’s very hard to understand,” Mr. Anedda said, explaining that Hobbit was a post-Fascist far-right rock band and that Tolkien had written “a fundamental part of our history.”



Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/21/world/europe/giorgia-meloni-lord-of-the-rings.html