An apparently sensitive topic: Tauriel

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I’m about to state an opinion that may get me unfriended by several folks on FB.

I liked the character of Tauriel from the Hobbit movies. And I liked the addition of the romantic story line.

Before you freak out on me, let me explain why I have the opinion that I do. Please note that spoilers for all three movies will follow.

First, I have no problem with movies or books that follow primarily male characters. Or female characters. Maybe I’m weird, but to me, they’re characters in general. And if it’s a good story, I’ll become invested in it no matter what gender the characters are.

If characters are to be created for movies, or their roles amplified, I’m okay with that too, provided they are done well. I never liked Arwen from LotR. Not even in the books. She was just never someone that I could connect with. Eowyn, on the other hand, was my chicka. Galadriel is another favorite.

And now Tauriel gets added to that list.

Many of the folks I know are upset because they felt the romantic bit for Tauriel took away from her character. I’ve noticed this angry opinion coming up quite a bit when folks discuss movies. They say that a female character having romantic feelings for another character takes away from her own development. (Yes, I’m summing up the angry comments I’ve seen into one sentence.)

I have to politely disagree. To me, it allows me to relate to them on yet another level. I probably already liked the character. This gives me another aspect of them to ponder. Now, this may be in part because underneath this snarky sarcastic exterior, I’m a hopeless romantic. Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. It’s one, but not the only reason that I connected with Eowyn. I’ve been in love with folks who love another. So yeah, I could understand that part of her in addition to her desire to not be caged by the restrictions of her world and the role of women in it.

With Tauriel, I liked to watch her discovering a different aspect of herself that she hadn’t considered. Romantic love. She seemed to flabbergasted by it and unsure of how to deal with it. I loved that as again, I could empathize. No, there doesn’t have to be romance between every female character and another male character. But when there is, as long as it blends with the story, why the uproar?

Love and similar romantic feelings are a regular part of life. Okay, maybe not of everyone’s life, but definitely a part of mine. Falling in love, being in love, being swept up in the joy of a crush, feeling the pain of heartbreak and loss….how do those make someone less of a person/character? Why is it so wrong for a female character to deal with those feelings?

I also want to point out that we are only seeing a brief glimpse of Tauriel’s life. For an elf, it’s a mere moment of time. For Tauriel, she seems confused and curious about these feelings that are apparently very new to her. We don’t know what she was like before, nor do we know how the events of the movies changed her after they are over. So why judge the character solely on the moment we are privileged to see? Hell, if you judged me on such things, I’m fairly certain that most folks would freak out and run as fast as possible in the opposite direction.

Yet we get righteous in our anger over a female character falling in love. Because women in movies don’t need to have romance to make them strong characters!

And that’s true, they don’t. So many female characters in movie and books have no romance in their lives and are excellent written or portrayed. Having a romance doesn’t detract from that strength. It only adds a different aspect of their personality and lives that we get to add into the whole. It certainly doesn’t mean that a character becomes shallow or one-sided.

I think I understand the basic outrage. After all, female characters shouldn’t be added simply for sex appeal or just to further the interests of the male characters.

To me, Tauriel’s addition brought a glimpse of the woodland elves. She is Captain of the Guard. And with good reason! That girl can fight as well as Legolas and then some. And with some serious self control. Her love for Kili, that she had a hard time acknowledging to herself, made her less distant and more like someone I could understand. And it did something else that I found to be extremely important (SPOILERS FOR THE LAST MOVIE ARE COMING UP!!!!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

She made Thranduil real. Through her love for Kili, and Legolas’ loyalty and caring for her, we were given a chance to see past the icy and aloof exterior of the Elf King. And for a moment we could see the true love he felt for his son…and the pain and grief of his wife’s loss that never left him and probably even contributed a great deal to create the shield we’d seen till now.

It made him…..real.

So Tauriel didn’t just exist for a romantic storyline. She was created to bring a female into a mostly male world. She brought unexpected depth to several characters, while exploring her own personality and character, giving us a chance to relate to her and them on different levels.

All while bitchslapping the hell out of some orcs.

Judge away, my friends. My opinion is simply my opinion.

Love,
The Elf who takes Krav Maga and heavy bag classes, skydives, and doesn’t think that romantic parts of her life take away anything from who she really is. They just make her….more.

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~ by rumielf on January 2, 2015.

One Response to “An apparently sensitive topic: Tauriel”

  1. I agree, I don’t mind if they added the love story – just making us believe in a love story between a sexy dwarf and an elf, just making us say “sexy dwarf”, is a feat! Even if purists are probably raging. As a woman I can’t say I resent adding more female characters because Tolkien is really all male -except Eowyn as you said.
    The change I also liked is that this story makes us see Legolas in a different way. Up to now we always saw Legolas as the perfect one and adding Tauriel makes him a bit more flawed, so he becomes more interesting.

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