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?”