Boy, am I dipping my toes into a pirahna pool here.
I can remember picking up a copy of Empire magazine all the way back last year and reading an article on actors who were going to be big in 2013. One of whom was Aidan Turner who, in the small snippet he was given, made a joke about his character’s interactions with a certain Elf lady, name of Tauriel, and I quote:
Kili’s part has been expanded from the novel; as well as chasing treasure, he’s also pursuing female elf Tauriel. But is he setting his sights too high? ‘I guess he knows nothing can ever happen,’ he explains. ‘She’s about 20ft tall and he’s only two!”
I can also distinctly remember shaking my head and whispering ‘You poor poor fool!‘, thinking of the fanbase. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was kicking himself even now for that comment.
I also felt very sorry for poor Evangeline Lilly. I feel even more sorry for her now because she’s actually stated how worried she is that everyone’s going to say her character ruins everything, when I’m sure she’s done a really good job in her role and tried her best to please the audiences.
Do people have a reason to be apprehensive about Jackson’s addition of a female Elf? Well, on the one hand – gah, it wrenches my heart from its sockets to say this, but having seen ‘An Unexpected Journey’, I’m a bit worried too. Whenever a character who wasn’t in the book showed up, the flow of the film wavered. The reason for me that the last third of the film was the best? Was because it was both the most action packed and the least narratively altered, relatively speaking; even if Azog showed up at the end, it still tied in with the events of ‘Out of the Frying Pan’.
Jackson is good. The Hobbit is good. Tolkien’s appendices and legendarium are good. That doesn’t mean that they can be mixed together and create a winner every time.
Now, of course, it is well known Tauriel is a fully Jacksonian creation; not even a side note in the appendices to justify her existence. And, horror of horrors, IT IS FEMALE.
(The Mary Sues. Beware the Mary Suuuuuuuues.)
I hate to break it to you, people, but Elves don’t exactly reproduce by parthogenesis; inevitably, at least some population of the Wood Elf kingdom, and therefore its armed forces, is going to be female. So why not take the opportunity to give a female character something to do, other than miming using the hoover and mentally invading other people’s thoughts? Galadriel, I’m looking at you here.
And yes, she’s also beautiful. All Elves are beautiful. (Well, maybe except Elrond.) It’s kind of their schtick.
She’s a fearsome fighter with ‘a strong will and unyielding passion for what she believes is right’, but who has rarely ventured beyond the forest. I will grant you, that one is ripe material for Disney Princess parodies, but, guess what? Fili and Kili are sort of in that boat too as young, bold dwarves, determined to reclaim their homeland and setting out on an adventure for the first time!
So apparently it’s not as much fun when the girl does it.
Tauriel has the potential to be something that disrupts the flow of the film. I’m not going to deny that it’s a possibility, even if it’s not what Jackson intended. She also has the potential to be a really great addition to the story. She might be a minor character. She might be a deadpan snarker. (Oh, how I hope she is a deadpan snarker. Women are so rarely allowed their snark in media.) She might be a Pollyanna-esque figure, who remains positive and hopeful despite the trouble that’s looming on the horizon, which admittedly could be annoying. She might steal the show, in a bad way or a good one.
She might be anything.
She might be. Those three words are very important. She might be anything. She has the potential to be anything. What might that be? You don’t know. I don’t know! We won’t know until the film arrives and we have the chance to actually see her in action.
And Kili has a crush on her!!!!!
I repeat, so what?
It’s a crush. A crush. There’s no evidence of it being reciprocated. There’s no flat out statement saying it’s a doomed romance. There’s no one who’s saying it’s going to be an epic love story, the end of which being that they’ll die tragically together. It’s a crush. Kili gets a crush on an Elf woman who’s about 20 foot tall, while he’s only two foot, and knows nothing can ever happen, because of reasons. It’s a crush. A crush. A crush.
Also possibly a joke on Mr Turner’s part. Personally I hope it’s going to be hilarious, with some added poignancy and tentative gestures of friendship and solidarity across the species barrier. I don’t know yet if that’s going to happen. Nobody knows yet.
Let us give Jackson, Lilly, Turner and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ the benefit of the doubt. Yes, this whole character and her arc could be a disaster. Not saying it won’t be. Those who worry have perfectly valid reasons. We’ve seen female characters often reduced to mere plot devices before now, stuck in only for the sake of a romance. It’s a real concern, although I’m hoping Jackson will have steered far away from that.
I’m not saying it’ll be utterly perfect either, despite my previous explanation of How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tauriel. But let us not prophesy doom, gloom and the ruination of absolutely everything because of the addition of a character with an extra ‘x’ chromosome.
Or whatever it is that Elves have.
Bring me that next trailer 🙂