Or, The Hobbit: The Dearth of Handrails.
Or, The Hobbit: The Deluge of 3D Insects.
Or, The Hobbit: The Devastatingly Unnecessary Love Triangle That Came From Nowhere.
As I mentioned last year, Tolkien stuff is just… not my province. I’ve read The Hobbit twice, but both times for school so I didn’t have a chance to really sit back and enjoy it, and the fact that it has no women prevented me from ever caring to go back to try again. Because I am a horrible fictional misandrist and full of that double-standard and whatever, I admit this.
So instead of talking about the movie regarding the details that I’m sure other people can get into much more intelligently, knowing much more about the subject matter, I’m just going to use this for a little while as an excuse to rant about the love triangle.
Here is a quote from Evangeline Lilly, who played (the lovely and necessary) Tauriel:
“For the record, when I took this job, in 2011, I made one stipulation. That’s it. I just said… I swear to God, I said, ‘I will not do this film if you will not guarantee me one thing. You have to guarantee me there will be no love triangle.’ And there wasn’t. For the whole time I shot. For a year of shooting there was no love triangle, and then, I came back for reshoots in 2012 and they were like, ‘Well, we made a couple of alterations to some scenes and we added a couple more scenes,’ and all of a sudden manifested a love triangle before my very eyes and the film was shot and I’m in and there’s no getting out and there was no escaping it.”
I snagged this off tumblr, but I’m putting it here because it’s part of this whole mess. It sums up this mess a lot.
One: I remember people counterbalancing the wank that surrounded Tauriel’s existence when it was announced. Oh she’s an original chaaaaracter she doesn’t belong, but as a lot of people pointed out, including Lilly herself, she is totally important.
“…to not have a female character show up on the screen in nine hours of entertainment suggests that we are irrelevant.”
And of course you have Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) in the first film (and maybe the third? I don’t remember the end of the book very well, and I don’t know any of the extra material so I honestly don’t know what the third film is going to cover) but still, that’s not enough. Having a cool, fierce, skilled lady elf warrior is a totally legitimate thing and could have been valuable.
But this is The Hobbit. It does not need a pointless love plot. I was already cringing when in the trailers Thranduil (Lee Pace) said to her “Legolas has become fond of you” or whatever the line is, because why couldn’t Tauriel and Legolas just be friends? Since the other option that would be earthshaking (pre-established, stable, committed romantic partners, a la Wash and Zoe or something) was probably ruled out by Legolas’ pre-existing state in the trilogy and also would take up too much time in the story, perhaps. So when I heard love triangle, I outright screamed. Or at least said “no” out loud to myself.
Mind, I am not opposed to romantic plotlines. Female characters can be just as strong when in a romantic relationship, the two things do not correlate. But when an original female character is added in for what appears to be the sole purpose of partaking in a romantic plotline that wasn’t there to begin with, when she very much could have served a different purpose and be given more time to develop as a character independently of the dude(s) she was surrounded by, I sigh. I know it would be too much to expect after Pacific Rim this year (and The Avengers last year) that I’d get another woman in an action movie who didn’t have a love plot, but I am an idealistic pessimist, a melioristic misanthrope, and I still hoped.
I mentioned this love plot to the person I saw the film with, but I didn’t tell him which characters were involved aside from Tauriel. Regardless, he called it just based on the (painfully obvious) facial expressions. I still kept hoping that maybe we’d get a chance to see Tauriel develop beyond that, but we didn’t, not enough. (Lilly did what she could. I still really liked Tauriel a lot, kind of on principle. But still.) Then again, I still can’t keep the majority of characters in The Hobbit straight, because very few of them have highly developed personalities that I can tell.
One of these days I might try to read the trilogy, but I just… Tolkien is not where I live. I get why it works for other people, and I respect it, but that’s probably as far as it’s going for me.
–your fangirl heroine.