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On A ‘Hobbit’ Romance

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At Comic-Con last week, Julia, a female audience member explained that she made her dad change a number of the male characters in The Hobbit to women, including Gandalf and Smaug, because there were no other female characters. She asked the panel about the role of Galadriel in the films, and about the addition of the female elf Tauriel.

Philipa Boyens said that Galadriel “immediately brings a very powerful feminine energy into the film.” She commented on feeling “the weight of it being a bit of a boys own story” and writing the character of Tauriel to add another strong woman. Anticipating backlash from the purists, she explained, “We believe it’s completely within the spirit of Tolkien.”

Though it wasn’t touched on in the Comic-Con panel, an article in Total Film gave away the storyline of a Kili-Tauriel romance. “I guess he knows nothing can ever happen,” Aidan Turner, who plays Kili, said. “She’s about 20ft tall and he’s only two!”

As we sit around the Middle-earth News water-cooler, it’s obvious that there are widely differing opinions on the inclusion of Tauriel and the emphasis on romance in The Hobbit. Here to weigh in are the Middle-earth News reporters, themselves!

 

Rifflo – I think that having a “romance” in The Hobbit is a very good thing.

Now before I am strung up by the burly manly men or the people who may think that a female character cannot be a positive and strong presence just because of a romance…hear me out.

First, thinking like a fan or story lover. This expands on the story and gives a break in the darkness and lightens the scene. Not only that, a romance in a good way to see a characters personality deeper. I mean, we all act differently with our own “romances” then we do with our friends – ie: added story. After all, we are human. We have feelings. We love.

I remember my wife dragging me to see The Notebook, kicking and screaming, but I have to say….what a great movie! *fears “Man Card” will be taken away*

Second, thinking like a studio executive. The number one movie going demographic are women between the ages of 14-28. The majority of this age group and gender want to see a romance. We have to remember, when a studio makes a movie like this, they aren’t necessarily worried about the fans of the books, but of the non-fans. These are the people they are trying to attract. The book fans will come regardless.

Third, the addition of more female roles in The Hobbit would be a nice welcome. Like Peter Jackson did in the original trilogy, expanding the role of the female characters only added to the story and gives female fans a “connection” that may have not been there in the books. I sometimes watch movies and wonder what I will tell my girls when they get older what the reason is for there not being more woman heroes.

So embrace the romance! Not only is this good for character development and box office success, but the addition of more female heroes in the movie adds connection to the female audience.

ArwenAragornKissJoseph Bradford – I hate the idea canonically, but I do understand why the filmmakers are putting this into the movie.  On one hand, I do not want to see major story changes from the original books, and adding a love story element to the movie will do so. On the other hand, adding this character and the story she will bring to the movie will also garner a larger audience and get people to possibly read the books who might otherwise would never have done so.

Arguing against one of Rifflo’s points however, (Sorry Rifflo!), I do not think you need to lighten up a dark story. It does take away from the mood that the story is trying to convey. As far as I’m concerned she can be in the movie, BUT having her tied to a specific character’s love interest, a character who was in the original trilogy movies, can add some confusion to someone who watches The Hobbit and then LOTR for the first time. Unless something happens to the “love” interest in the Hobbit flicks that we don’t know yet, there can be a disconnect from The Hobbit to Fellowship of the Ring.

To be completely frank, I was all for Arwen getting a larger role in the movies, even after I read the books (which didn’t happen until I saw the movie for the corresponding book.). The main reason why the inclusion of Arwen’s character and the character in The Hobbit differs is because ARWEN already existed in the Canon! All they did was look at the Appendices and expand upon that. Tauriel is a character created for the movie, and the creation of her story and the love story between her and whichever character is totally new and independent of the Professor’s writing. I cannot see this as “expanding upon the story” because it’s the creation of a whole new story and putting in the middle of the main story. At the point in which this will happen, the book is dark and depressing. Mirkwood can be felt all around the party, and the captivity of the dwarves casts a shadow on the quest at hand. Bilbo’s ring adds the spark of hope, and that should be the focus. Not whether an Elf-chick is hot. I swear, if she in some way helps facilitate the escape from the Elf-kings halls, I think I might walk out of the theater.

Now I don’t mean to be overly negative. I understand, and at one time explained that the books and the movies are two separate entities and should be seen as such.  The reason why I feel so strongly about this is the story doesn’t need this! The story is already captivating and awesome to begin with. If Sir Peter Jackson feels this will enhance the story, he’s not talking about the book’s story. He’s only referring to the story that the movie will convey, and that should be completely separate from the books. The success from the first Trilogy will get people into the theaters, not a rinky-dink love story that can clearly be seen as a PR and female demo grab (no offense ladies.)

GimliGaladrielBritta – It took me awhile to become comfortable with the inclusion of a female character – especially where they’ve taken an additional step and made her a “warrior.” (I agree with Joseph’s remark about Arwen’s heightened role being okay since her character already existed; but the creation of Tauriel, I worry, could distract from the story as a whole. I, too, hope she in no way helps them escape from the Elf-king’s halls.)

Yes, I think it’s great to have strong female characters in a film. But romance among an Elf and a Dwarf? It just doesn’t seem very Tolkien. There is no romance in The Hobbit, so why bother writing it in? I honestly think they could do the film justice without creating new characters or material.

And where Peter Jackson’s Dwarves don’t even look like Dwarves, it feels as though they’ve just added in this love story to spotlight two of the film’s most attractive stars in order to attract more moviegoers. Maybe if they mirror Gimli’s attraction to Galadriel, rather than turn this into a mutual romantic attraction, I wouldn’t be as fussy about it. But I still don’t like it and I wish they wouldn’t mess with The Hobbit in this way.

I understand they want to appeal to those who have not read the books, but I also think that many people will see the movie, love the romance, and upon reading The Hobbit will walk away extremely disappointed that it never happened in Tolkien’s version, but extremely pleased that Peter Jackson took the liberty of making a version they like better. The purist in me is silently weeping at the thought of that happening.

Lily Milos – I was honestly ecstatic when I first heard about the addition of a female elf. When I recently re-read The Hobbit, I was really struck by the lack of women in the story. There’s a brief mention of Kili and Fili’s mother, who is also Thorin’s sister, and though the Sackville-Bagginses are present at the end of the book, Lobelia is never referred to by her name.

I love camaraderie movies – from 300 to The A-Team, from The Lord of the Rings to Saving Private Ryan. And there all about men. I don’t love them any less for it, but I would be delighted if a piece of that genre could be about female camaraderie (and I’m not talking about The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. I’m talking Amazons). So I’ll take two strong female characters being added into a story that’s still about the journey and adventures of 14, sometimes 15, men.

Since most of the elven characters in Mirkwood were not given names by Tolkien, I don’t think it’s necessarily out-of-context to make one of them a woman. But I agree with Britta about a romance between a dwarf and an elf not fitting in very well with Tolkien’s world. I really hope it’s an unrequited love that Kili has for Tauriel, and if she ever feels anything more than disdain for him, it’s more of a brotherly love, forged by battle.

Arwen Kester – The thought of a little romance between Kili and Tauriel in ‘The Hobbit’ films won’t bother me so long as it runs in the same veins as Peter Jackson portrayed Gimli’s attraction to Galadriel. What I always try to remember and set my mind to when watching PJ’s film adaptons is just that, it’s his adaptions. We all perceive what Tolkien wrote differently in our minds and I find it fascinating to watch the films and see the story through PJ’s eyes. There are parts that annoy the heck out of me. I would have loved to see more of Eowyn and Faramir falling in love, for instance, but there’s only so much you can put into a film. So, I’ll set my mind to a blank slate the first time I watch ‘The Hobbit’ films, expecting nothing but an adventurous story about a peculiar hobbit, a wise wizard,  a little romance, and some very hot dwarves. What could go wrong??

Now that we’ve given our perspectives, it’s time for you to weigh in. What are your thoughts about the inclusion of Tauriel and a romance between her and Kili?

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19 Comments

  1. I don’t think it will be a _bad_ thing; if they play it right, it has the potential to make several awkward and humorous situations. Yeah, I hope it’s closer to a Gimli-Galadriel relationship than a mutual relationship, where Kili is attracted to Tauriel but she looks down on him. However, at the end of the movie, I think she will reciprocate his love after he saves her during the battle.

    Which brings me to a really interesting idea: when Kili dies, his death will be even more heartbreaking because Tauriel will only then truly understand her feelings for him, and it’s going to be such a sad scene. I can already imagine it: everything will go in silent slow-mo, and you see Tauriel weeping over Kili’s dead body, then furiously avenging his death by killing a bunch of goblins.

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  3. I’m kind of in two minds about it. Yes, I think it could be done well, but I’m not sure I trust PJ not to take over the entire movie with it. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    Why yes, I am counting the days until December 14. What made you ask?

  4. Tauriel from the way she’s described in the article sounds like a Mary Sue. One of the things that gets a fanmade female character labelled that is having them falling in love with a canon character. Farthermore I believe female characters need to be written as people first not written because of gender. They do not have to be involved in a romance to be a strong character and relatable.

    Sometimes the romance angle seems out of place when it comes out of nowhere and feels unnecessary to the progression of the story itself. When it does that it seems to distract you from the main story line.

    If there must be a romance it needs to fit the story well and not written just to bring in a certain group of people.

    I must be weird because I’m in it for the story and the gender of the characters doesn’t matter to me as long as they’re written well and the story draws my interest.

    • What you said about wanting female character to be people first (instead of love interests and sex objects baisically) is exacly what Im worried about. If Tauriel turns out to be her own person, a real person who just happens to have some flirtations with kili, i will be beyond happy. But if the character just ends up being another stereotypical “sexy yet strong woman” im gonna shoot myself in the face.

  5. Eh…. I’m reserving judgement on this. I don’t want to see a romance because there was no romance in the story originally (it sounds like they’re trying to echo the
    Gimli-Galadriel relationship) and I reject the idea that women won’t identify with a story that has no romance with it. But, if they do it right, and it doesn’t get in the way of the story, I probably won’t mind.

    I’m still boggled at the idea that it’ll be 2 movies. It’s such a short story! How will they fill the time?

    • They’ll fill in the time with this pointless romance I guess.

      • For me what bothers me isn’t that they brought in more female characters, so that women would play a stronger role in the story. That I like. But bringing them in just to be love interests? That’s sloppy writing, and as a feminist, it annoys me.

        But, I haven’t seen the movie yet, so I don’t know how they will play it. Hopefully it will be subtle and not screw up the plot. Here’s to hoping.

    • I don’t understand this Gimli-Galadriel relationship thingy people are going on about…was that a romance? I thought it was an adorable way of showing that a Dwarf who hates Elves can find an elf wonderful and friendly and caring.

      • In part. Gimli did say that she was the fairest and that he will never call something beautiful again unless it is Galadriel. And based on reference, I do not think female dwarfs are all that pretty (coming with a beard and all) 😀

        So yes, I think there was a level of infatuation, like the love of a fan to a movie star. It can be debated.

  6. I… kind of threw a tantrum. There are some points I will give on, and of course by the time this movie has been out for four or five years, I will have become accustomed to it and it’ll be something that, like the severe edits to Denethor’s character, I still mention as disliking but have no real fire over it.

    I just don’t want to see it at all, unless it’s so subtle that it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. I’d be probably ok if PJ told Turner ‘By the way, play this as if you’re stricken with Tauriel’s beauty’ and we could see via his face and behavior and that was it. Dwarves aren’t Elves — maybe she wouldn’t even notice love on a dwarvish face, or maybe would notice but just assume it was a dwarvish expression for something else.

    That being said, I will sit in the theatre like a good little girl and watch the movie 😛

    • i completely agree! if he looks at her with admiration or they share one or two looks I would love it (kili fan here) however, if it turns into a whole different side plot i wouldn’t be happy! help i cannot take the stress of the wait!

  7. I can’t wait to find out what kind of romance is going to go into this film! I am really, really excited! I really respect Tolkien’s work (you all know that by now) but I also love romance when its done right – while have my worries over the Tauriel character I trust PJ and his team. Also, though I am all for male casts (throw me manly dwarfs any day!) I, as a lady, like strong ladies I can relate to…so I am really, really hoping I can find one in this film since I had Lady Eowyn in Lord of the Rings and as far as I can remember the Hobbit didn’t…really…have any girls… ^^;

    So, yeah…
    Um…
    I know I’m supposed to be upset or something.

  8. To me this is PJ adhering to the cookie-cutter Hollywood film recipe (there must be a love interest!). I am less forgiving for the Hobbit, where he is concerned, than when he upped the Arwen factor in LOTR. At the time marketing LOTR to production companies was a hard sell and he had no choice but to follow a structure that would improve the chances of acceptance by a mainstream audience. However, with the success of LOTR, I assume he had a lot more ‘carte blanche’ with the Hobbit and think the insertion of said love interest must be his doing alone. Hope I’m wrong. The Hobbit can hold its own without needing to prescribe to some standardized Hollywood model.

  9. But what about Tolkien’s own thoughts on romance? Tolkien himself suggests that fantasy romance and reality are at odds with one another. Fascinating.

    http://writingishardwork.com/2012/05/29/tolkiens-advice-about-relationships-writing-real-romance/

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  11. mr.thisismyopinion says:

    first I’m wondering when will Kili and Tauriel meet (unless they cut all Bilbo’s heroic acts in mirkwood and gives them to Tauriel), not sure Kili would have enough time to actually falls in love with someone, unless it’s just the puppy love at first sight….which maybe will be forgotten as soon as they leave mirkwood….and won’t be expanded….
    also with the age difference and how elves seem often laugh at other races, maybe even if Kili gives flowers to her, she’d be just like “LOLOLOL! you’re 1000 years too young for this! now, go and ask your bro or uncle to wipe your snort!”

    though I think it’d be funny when Kili is like having his first crush but it’s with an elf, who is disliked a lot by Thorin. He’d try to not disappoint and disgrace his uncle but on the other side curious about this new weird sensation. And when he asked advice from Fili or Bilbo, they’d just like “forget it! there’s more chance with you and Smaug than you with her”, and other dwarves are closing their eyes and ears from this matter because of afraid of Thorin’s wrath.

    but then….if later Tauriel returns his affection etc etc in the 5 Armies Battle because he saved her something…..then that is where PJ goes too far imo. We -or at least me- hopes that Kili would always by Thorin’s side, trying to impress but also protect him. If like he was guarding Thorin, then suddenly sees Tauriel in danger, then suddenly leave him for her…..it’s just…..disappointing.
    And I think it’d be more touching if it’s Thorin who weep over him in the silent+slowmo scenes. Seriously….I hope it’d be Thorin who is hugging Kili in the last moment telling how proud he is and sorry for dragging him into danger (with noone knows how the enemies give them time to talk their heart out in the middle of battle), than Tauriel doing so and telling that she finally likes him too.

    But well….just my opinions on this matter. Guess PJ will always surprise us…….his works always….so far so amazing

  12. I personally cannot stand this idea. Being a teenaged girl who’s read the books of

    Middle Earth, I enjoyed them being pretty much full of boys.
    People have this thought that just because there is romance, more viewers will come from it. I know several people who don’t know what the Hobbit is, don’t care if I explain it to them, and they don’t care if there’s romance in it. This won’t bring in more viewers, if anything, it’ll spark flames throughout the fangirl/fanboy community.

    I think it’s okay to add another strong character, but to have a romance between the new character and an existing character seems very Mary-Sueish, and will cause raves between fangirls such as myself, not to mention all the complaining on sites such as Tumblr.

    We’re jealous creatures, and we don’t want to see our eye candy be stolen by a non cannon character.

    I’d much rather have Tauriel be ‘one of the gang’, and not someone they drool all over.

  13. I don’t understand why romance of kili and tauriel is a big issues..for me it’s ok to have it in movie ( like admiration stuff )sure they’re not gonna be married because kili is gonna die in the third film..( or either way ) and also the Aidan turner said ” he knows nothing gonna happened elves are tall drawrf are small..he’s admioration to tauriel is just wishing for my understanding..
    but I can spot something also between legolas and tauriel being there partnership during the battle, even if Peter J said no romance for legolas and tauriel? I don’t think so.
    I also read in one site I don’t remember what is it or it is reliable the defition of the hobbit trilogy movie or plot or like something that..and at the end of the page the battle of five armies list the names of possible will dies it include thorin, kili, fili and by my surprise tauriel.