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Kili: A Love Less Ordinary

Photo by http://layerpaint.tumblr.com/

Photo by http://layerpaint.tumblr.com/

When Kili the dwarf falls for Tauriel the elf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, he knows things will not be easy. As Aidan Turner, the actor who plays Kili joked, ‘I guess he knows nothing can ever happen. She’s about 20 feet tall and he’s only two!’

Aidan was not aware that he would be part of a romance when he auditioned for the role of Kili. Asked at the Berlin premiere of The Hobbit:DOS if he knew about it beforehand he enthusiastically told Flicks and the City, ‘It was unexpected and I was so on board with that!’ It seems Evangeline Lilly was too, as she told Middle-earth News that her favourite scenes were those filmed with Kili in his cell.

It comes as no surprise that Peter Jackson should turn to Aidan to play the part of a love-struck dwarf. Apart from his obvious good looks, Aidan’s previous roles have often included that of the unconventional lover. In the biopic Hattie, Aidan played the roguish John Schofield, a young man who wooed the older, large, successful woman and moved into the marital bed whilst her husband moved into the attic. As the artist Rossetti in Desperate Romantics, he pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, even among his own bohemian set. And then, of course, there’s the vampire, Mitchell, in Being Human, who looks to love to save him from his addiction to blood. On stage, too, Aidan was cast as the unconventional lover. In the play Cyrano his character, Christian, pursued a much older woman, with some help from his rival in love.

kili-after-fill-the-air-lighting silver petticoats

via silverpetticoats

But what of romance in The Hobbit? Some reviews have praised the love story for bringing a little humanity to the tale, while others have slated it for being irrelevant and badly written. Many have praised the actors for doing a good job with what they were given. Along with others, I groaned at Kili’s schoolboy humour when he quipped, ‘Aren’t you going to search me? I could have anything down my trousers.’ Surely, Peter and Fran could have come up with something less juvenile than this? It took me right back to Aidan’s first job on leaving drama school when, at the age of 21, his chat-up line in an advert was something like, ‘I can see you’ve got yours out.’

But then, perhaps, being juvenile is the point.

Kili is, after all, only 77 years old. It’s quite hard for humans to imagine 77 as young, but once you know that dwarves seldom marry before the age of 80, the youthfulness of 77 becomes apparent.

Kili also may not be used to talking to females. He has a brother but no sisters or, indeed, any female family members except for his mother. In addition, in the dwarven world, it is calculated males outnumber females two to one.* As young male dwarves spend much of their time honing their skills in the company of other males, it’s not unreasonable to believe that, up to now, Kili has never had the opportunity to fall in love.

This idea is backed up by the extended edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and by Kili’s runestone. In the extended edition, when the dwarves are at Rivendell, Kili shows his naivety by being unable to distinguish between the male and female elves, whereas the difference is clear to his companions. And Kili’s runestone with the Dwarvish words ‘Return to me’ carved on it was given to him, not by some lover, but by his mum!

If Tauriel is Kili’s first love then, perhaps, there is a poignant point to this love story. One of the many sad things about war is that youngsters are killed before they have the chance to experience much of life, including what it is to love. The three youngest dwarves going into the Battle of Five Armies are Fili, Kili and Ori. Fili is 82 and so old enough to marry. As Thorin’s heir, it is important for him to continue the line of Durin, so it is quite conceivable that his family has ensured he has the opportunity to meet female dwarves and he may well have a sweetheart back home. Ori is the youngest dwarf of the company in Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit. Crucially, he has to survive the Battle of Five Armies as he has a role to play in The Lord of the Rings. But time is running out for Kili. One would not wish for him to die, but if die he must, then one hopes he has experienced many facets of life. Yet, without his romance with Tauriel, he could well be facing death not knowing one of life’s greatest joys: what it is to love and be loved. And I, for one, would not wish that to be his fate.

 

You can read more about Aidan in our articles ‘Aidan Turner: Acting the Hero‘ and ‘Aidan Turner Turns Thirty’

*Heirs of Durin Essay: Dwarven Demographics July 2013 http://thorinoakenshield.net/2013/07/07/essay-dwarven-demographics/

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2 Comments

  1. lisa gelinas says:

    I love Aidan Turner/Kili! Aidan has so many great works under his belt, and as mentioned in the article, it was a shame he could not be given a better line than that referring to his trousers (although the thought gave way to a nice visual).

    Hope to see Aidan soon in another project!!

  2. Tauriel IS his first and only love. Dwarves mate for life; they only have one love in their lifetime. This is canonical. I guess it’s silly to talk about canon when it comes to a totally non-Tolkien situation and character (Tauriel), but this is all we’ve got. Dwarves are very jealous and protective of their mate and if their spouse dies, they won’t take another (yet another reason that their population increases very slowly, despite the fact they live about 250 years on average).

    So, while Kili is in many ways an atypical dwarf (he shows a great interest and attraction to elves), there is no reason for us to believe he’s any different when it comes to falling in love. As a dwarf, he only gets to have one love in his life (if he’s lucky), so obviously, Tauriel is his first and only.

    And then he dies in the Battle of Five Armies.