Friday, January 30, 2015

Wrapping Up The Hobbit, Part 2

So, continuing from my post a couple of weeks ago, today I have more thoughts to share with you about The Hobbit trilogy of movies.

First of all, I have to add to my last post, under Things I Loved. Somehow, I completely forgot Bard, one of the my favorite characters in the entire story! Cue my gasp of horror. I’m so glad one of my readers reminded me. So, when I read the book, Bard the Bowman was possibly my favorite single character. I loved Bilbo, of course, but somehow Bard stood out to me. Seeing him brought to life on screen was one of the greatest delights of the films for me. Side note: Am I the only one who thought he was played by Orlando Bloom at first?

He wasn’t, of course. It was Luke Evans who brought the character of Bard to life for us. He was so perfect! Now, I do believe he was darkened a bit from the book. However, I don’t think it was a bad change. And it was certainly balanced out by his interaction with his family. I loved the development the writers gave to Bard and his children. It added a very Tolkien element to the story, in my opinion: something worth fighting for.

I wasn’t entirely happy with Bard at Erebor, though. His motivation for demanding a share of the treasure was to protect his people. In that, I believe he was completely justified. His attitude just seemed unexpectedly harsh. Still, what would you do if faced with a stubborn, greedy dwarf-king? And, ultimately, Bard didn’t want the treasure for the sake of treasure. I think that was made clear. He and his people were promised a share of the treasure in return for helping the dwarves, and, with Laketown destroyed, they desperately needed that share in order to rebuild. Bard is a character who cares deeply about his family and his people, who can’t stand for injustice, and who deals fairly with others. He leads the people of Laketown when their world is destroyed, and, even in battle, his focus is on keeping those he loves safe, not bringing glory to himself. Bard the Bowman was fantastic, and I’m so glad I got the chance to see him on screen.

Since I’ve mentioned Laketown, I’m going to talk about Alfred for just a moment. *shudders* I highly dislike slimy sidekicks with no morals, which is exactly the description of Alfred, assistant to the Master of Laketown. He’s conniving, rude, cowardly, greedy, and malicious. I don’t exactly know why Bard seemed to take him at face value during Battle of Five Armies; he didn’t exactly trust Alfred, but neither did he seem to realize what a danger the man presented. Maybe I read that all wrong, but, watching the movie, I kept wondering what Bard was doing. Perhaps he was giving Alfred a chance for redemption? That could fit with his desire to unify his people. Anyway, Alfred reminded me too much of Wormtongue, and my opinion on his inclusion thus flip-flopped. Sometimes I was annoyed that the writers created another Wormtongue-like character for these movies. Then I would think: it just proves people like that exist everywhere, which is true. Ultimately, I can’t decide what I thought of his role in Battle. I dislike the character, of course, but whether he should have been included or not… I don’t know. Your thoughts?

Now I shall move on from the humans to possibly the single-most controversial aspect of the entire trilogy: Kili and Tauriel’s romance. I know that a lot of people didn’t like it. I don’t fall under that category, exactly, though I don’t think it was perfect. Overall, I liked them together. I loved the idea of a dwarf and an elf finding a way past their racial prejudices. And, yes, I’m a pretty big romantic, so it was hard not to like it. Still, their relationship didn’t feel entirely realistic to me. First of all, they barely interacted. And, of course, attraction doesn’t take long to develop, but the feelings they seemed to have for each other appeared in a rather short amount of time and with relatively little basis. Second of all, it was just a bit cheesy at times. Overall, I liked it. I just wish it had felt more real. I have no problem with an elf-dwarf romance. Had it been better developed, though, I would have truly loved it. Tauriel was pretty heartbreaking there at the end, though, in my opinion.

As for Tauriel as a character, I liked her.  The picture we saw of the Woodland Elves was somewhat hard and closed-off, but Tauriel gave a contrasting picture. She’s curious and kind toward outsiders. She has a different perspective than that of both Legolas and Thranduil. And I appreciated that contrast. I’m afraid her character was somewhat lessened by the love triangle, but it was a strong character who had a lot of potential. Partially unrealized potential, I think, but still real. And my personal headcanon is that Tauriel greatly influenced Legolas’ perspective in LotR. Just because Tauriel wasn’t in the books doesn’t mean she couldn’t have been a real part of the Woodland Realm. I personally feel that she was a very Tolkien-esque character.

That’s where I’ll end today. I still have to tackle the expanded story, Fili, and the climax of Battle, so I definitely have at least one more post to write on this topic. For now, what are your thoughts on Tauriel? I promise to be nice, even if we disagree, but I am curious about why you like or dislike her.

Next week: “Do You ‘Ship’ Your Characters?”


  1. I like these posts! I still haven't seen The Battle of the Five Armies, and so it's nice to hear someone actually writing out their entire thoughts instead of just making sarcastic comments about it.

    Can I just mention that, before you start the next paragraph, I shudder at the name "Tauriel." Be prepared.

    Perhaps she got better in the last movie; I don't know. Starting at the first thing--her name. *shudders* The name Tauriel belongs to the language Sindarin, which was not spoken by the Elves who lived in Mirkwood; they spoke Silvan Elvish. Even if she did exist, she shouldnt' have had that name.

    The "romance" between she and Kili seems to be a major topic for conversation. This, to be honest, is the main thing that bothers her (other than the fact that, with the type of character Peter Jackson set her up to be, she should have showed up in the Lord of the Rings--or at least been mentioned by Legolas). Since practically the beginning of time, the elves and the dwarfs have been serious enemies. It's a long-running thing between them, that wasn't broken until The Lord of the Rings, in which Legolas and Gimli were the first elf and dwarf to not want to tear each other's throat out. It was important. Nothing like that had ever happened before - for so, so very long, the elves and dwarves had been enemies. When Peter Jackson added Tauriel, he lessened the impact of the friendship between Gimli and Legolas. Suddenly, it had happened before, and the two didn't actually get over the massive feud: they had someone else do it for them.

    (Also, if you grew up being told over and over again, "The dwarves are monsters. The dwarves are creeps. Avoid the dwarves. Hate the dwarves. Dwarves are not good;" your immediate response upon meeting a dwarf would be, "Ugh, a dwarf!, not, "Oh, isn't he so cute?")

    In an interview, Peter Jackson stated that he created the character of Tauriel so that young girls would have someone to relate to (clearly, he was never a young girl. Little girls don't want strong female characters; they want cool guys! xP) The subtext behind that, if you look, being that he created a new character, not to help the plot, but to try and reach a larger audience. He never said he thought she would be a good addition to the story; he simply wanted the movie to make more money.

    I feel as though, character-wise, she also wasn't a very well developed character. This may be just my opinion, but Peter Jackson tried so hard to make a "strong, warrior-like female lead" that she ended up being flat. She was defined by her fighting skills, and was nothing beneath. Not female anymore. Not a person. Just a fighter.

    Anyway. That's probably quite a long enough comment by now... xP Great post!

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts! I've wanted to write them for a long time. :)

      Hmm, you bring up some interesting points that I didn't know. I'll probably come back to this later, because I've got something that I really need to stop procrastinating on. However, you do have good points. :)

    2. Oh, good - that means I wasn't just ranting. :p (I must admit, though, that I wrote that comment while procrastinating on editing... Thanks for reminding me of what I should be doing.)

    3. *laughs* Well, procrastination does happen to the best of us...

      Question: How do you know that "Tauriel" is from Sindarin? I haven't studied much on Tolkien's languages, so I'm curious where you found that.

      Also, who says that Tauriel would have just accepted what everyone told her about dwarves? I'm not saying her reaction was perfectly realistic, but she still strikes me as someone who would be curious and not just take everything said about the dwarves as gospel.

      I can see how you get the money theory, but, at the same time, who says Peter Jackson didn't honestly want to create a good female role model? Whether or not it was perfectly realized is less of a problem in my mind at the moment, but saying he was just grabbing for money feels unfair to me. Tolkien's world, at least the part that's been adapted for screen, doesn't have very many female characters that we see a lot. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that he would have wanted to change that. Do I think he should have? I don't know. The fact is that he did include her. His motives may be have been more positive than you're suggesting, though.

      Anyway, we obviously disagree. But I appreciate you taking the time to comment!

  2. Personally, I'm not a big fan of Tauriel either. She wasn't in the books, and because of all of Athelas' reasons above. :p
    Alfred. I think his personality was a bit believable in 'The Desolation of Smaug,' but in 'The Battle of the Five Armies,' I feel like he was too silly, and not creepy like he could have been. I think Peter Jackson wanted to have some comic relief with him, but I just groaned instead of laughed. It was a bit too cheesy for me.
    And when I first saw the trailer for the second movie, I pointed Bard out to my mom, "Isn't that Legolas?" I thought Orlando was going to play two roles in the same movie. Impressive... :p

    1. I agree with you on Alfred. A bit too cheesy. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I'm so sorry to both of you for taking this long to answer your comments! I've basically ignored everything related to my blog and the blogs I read for the past week and a half, because I've been pretty busy. Anyway, I'm sorry for ignoring you. :(


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