A Defense of Tauriel: Fan Reaction

So yesterday I posted an opinion piece on Evangeline Lilly’s character, viagra Tauriel, in the Hobbit movie. To say that I got a visceral response would be an absolute understatement.

But I love that. Look, I tend to have unpopular opinions and I’m used to that. Just the other day, I pointed out that while I think John Green is a fantastic writer, I do think that he gets overrated a lot, and that there are tons of authors that are way better than him.

That didn’t go over too well.

So because of that, I feel like I’m more open to differing opinions than most because I’m usually the one with the different opinion. A dear friend of mine (one of my BEST friends though we’ve never met in person) and follower of this blog, Chloe, wrote her own response to what I wrote (which you can read here). She was so worried I’d be offended but honestly, I loved it. I could see the points she made, and while I still stick to my own opinion, I do love hearing others opinions, mostly when they back it up.

I’m posting Chloe’s response to my post today, because its fun, and its a different opinion than mine and I think that’s awesome. So enjoy!

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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (2013)EVANGELINE LILLY

Ahh this is one of my favourite topics for discussion – females in fantasy, the concept of female hero versus heroine. I have no real firm opinion on the matter, but I do enjoy discussing it. I do see your point Sara, but I think there’s more to it than that.  Tauriel as a created character, yes. One could easily see her as being a purely commercial creation, since she is involved in a love triangle and happens to be amazing eye-candy. However…

However, I find it equally annoying to have female characters who are basically men with long hair and female names. Captain of the Guard would usually be a male role – making the role female for no reason is not really doing anything for feminism, in my opinion. It’s just creating a token female to make a lazy attempt at avoiding being labelled sexist.

I’m not saying that female characters should not be able to have martial skills, but I think real feminist characters are ones that still have ‘feminine’ qualities that are represented as strengths, rather than weaknesses. Everyone knows women can be as physically skilled as men. That’s nothing new. But not every woman is physically strong, and that does not make her any less of a worthwhile human being than a strong man. I think what we need now are more female characters who use classically feminine qualities and traits as strengths.

For example Luthien, an Elvish woman featured in the Lay of Leithian (and mentioned in Lord of the Rings) escapes from a prison by weaving her long hair into a rope. Long hair and weaving are both female traits, but are here used as strengths. Bam! Awesome character.

If this was an original movie not based on a book then I would have no issue with it being populated with more female warriors. But it is a book, and Tauriel is a deviation from the original. Creating a character like this is a significant dramaturgical choice, and I am certain that the writers and Peter Jackson, being the wonderful storytellers that they are, were well aware of the fact. There has to be a reason for making this character a female other than commercial interests. Take away Tauriel’s love interest and she’s basically a male. She would add nothing to the story but a female who can kick-ass. Good, but it’s not enough. Tauriel is a warrior, but she is also a woman.  She is a woman who allows herself to love (female trait) , and allows her love to overtake her pride (usually a male, warrior trait). Her femininity is a strength, as I will explain.

You said that Tauriel “knew what the right thing to do was, whatever her king said.”

 Is letting giant spiders go off to multiply in other lands when Tauriel and her fighters have the skills to protect these other people really the ‘right’ thing?

Is letting a dwarf go off to die when Tauriel has the skills to save him really the ‘right’ think to do?

In this day and age people resist the idea that a monarch is absolutely correct in everything, and that anyone who does anything apart from displaying unquestioning, blind loyalty is a traitor. Thranduil is not a perfect king. That is made quite clear. He is calculating, cruel and interested only in protecting his own, yet feels happy to allow the dwarves to go off and risk waking a dragon if he can take a share in the treasure.

Tauriel uses her love – a trait usually presented as female and often as a weakness – to allow her to see and do (what I would consider to be ) the right thing.

I think it’s worth noting that Legolas goes through much the same thing as Tauriel. He only follows Tauriel because of his fondness for her, much as Tauriel follows the dwarves for her fondness for Kili. Is it a weakness in him? I would rather argue that Legolas’s love for Taurie and Tauriel’s love for Kili is what allows them both to see what the ‘right’ thing. Previously both Legolas and Tauriel had used their loyalty to their king as an excuse to hide away from the world that they could help, to take the coward’s way out. Here, love is presented as a positive quality. Legolas is given love, a female trait, and it makes him a better person.

This is also explored when Fili and Oin stay behind from their mission to try to help Kili. The love their share makes them forget their pride and their lust for wealth. They will gain nothing by staying behind, but they do because they love Kili.

Are these men’s actions, which are the product of love, weakness? Or is it nobility? Why then is a female allowing romantic love to drive her – as opposed to a male being driven by familial or romantic love – a weakness?

Selfishness is a large theme in this film – selfishness and a lust for wealth. The love-triangle is not an isolated, tacked on addition to the film. I see it as another aspect of the exploration of these themes.

Is Tauriel necessary to the story? Is her romance necessary to the story? No, not really. But then again since when have movies ever been about economic storytelling? This film is much more than a simple narrative, and Tauriel’s charcter, her sub-plot and her influence on other characters are all part of what makes it so rich and beautiful.

I’m sure some people with have issues with this discussion. I am NOT saying that love is feminine and pride is masculine, for one thing. I would just argue that this is often how they are presented in literature, especially sword and sorcery fantasy. I am also not saying that there is no other way that Tauriel could be an awesome strong character without having a love interest. I am simply saying that this is how I see her as working within the plot to provide a strong, female character, and that having a love interest is not intrinsically anti-feminist. I also hope that this post will make people realise that there is more to being a feminist and being a worthwhile woman than possessing physical strength.

Thanks for reading my discussion, and I’d love to hear some responses!

A Reaction to The Hobbit’s Tauriel: Strong but Still Not as Strong as a Man

So the Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug has been out for a couple weeks now, decease and yes, it took me this long to get to a point where I had the free time to write this. Starting TWO new jobs, around Christmas time (which is also boyfriend and dad birthday times), just kept me busy. I swear, I’m going to try and get back to posting often, like usual.

Moving on though.

Warning: the following has major spoilers for The Desolation of Smaug. Proceed with caution.

I was going to write an actual review for the movie but…I think I need to reread the book before I can do a fair review. I felt…well, I just am not sure how I feel about the movie yet. But I do feel very strongly about the character of Tauriel, and that needed to be said.

When I first heard they were adding a character, a brand new made-up character to The Hobbit movies, I was extremely skeptical. I knew they were adding Legolas in. Now, while Legolas does not actually make an appearance in The Hobbit, his father does, and he is a pivotal character in the Middle Earth world. So that didn’t bother me. But a whole brand new character? That was weird to me.

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (2013) EVANGELINE LILLY

But then I learned about Tauriel, and why she was created, and it made a lot of sense to me. The fact is, nerd is cool now. And while that irritates the hell out of my sixteen-year-old self (seriously…the teasing, the bullying…), I appreciate that girls, especially, are being introduced to fantasy and science fiction and all that. It makes me incredibly happy. And with that has come a plethora of strong, badass female characters.

Now Tolkien wrote DECADES ago, and so he only has a handful of female characters in his novels: Arwen, Eowyn, Galadriel. Galadriel has a tiny baby part in The Hobbit Part 1, but other than that…its a meat factory. Its all men. In this day and age, and with the fans that The Hobbit has garnered, it just made sense to make a female character. Tauriel, an elf living in the Mirkwood kingdom, was created.

And I’ll say this: Evangeline Lilly rocked this part. She’s a beautiful woman, seriously. I had a major crush on her while she was on Lost. So they definitely had that going for the character of Tauriel.

But they also made Tauriel SUPER badass. Seriously, I was blown away from the beginning at how awesome they made her. Like Legolas, she wields a bow and arrow and two short swords, and she rocks them. She’s quick, clever and brave as hell. She’s a perfect elf warrior, and I would find her completely intimidating in person. She’s a fighter, and an incredibly clever and loyal one, and honestly, Tauriel could have easily become a favorite for me, until…until they introduced her storyline and I felt disappointed, and cheated.

I really liked Tauriel, and the introduction of her character, especially when I learned why they did it. But when I actually watched the movie, and got her storyline…I felt incredibly cheated. Like “here you go…sort of”. I don’t understand how its possible that the directors, producers, writers, whomever, said they created Tauriel in the hopes of creating a strong female character for the female audience in a story that didn’t have one, and then give her a love story.

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Yeah, a love story. Because god forbid a female not have a love story.

They couldn’t just let Tauriel be super badass, wielding her weapons, and being a great fighter, who knew what the right thing to do was, whatever her king said. I don’t know why they felt it was necessary to introduce a love story to the movie, in the first place. The Hobbit is a full story already, and with adding the back story to the leading up to the LOTR, with the extra stories from The Silmarillion and the various appendices, there was just NO need to introduce a love story. It was unnecessary and incredibly stupid. And the fact that they gave it to the female character within five minutes of her being introduced just angered me to no end.

And okay, I love love stories. Fine. I really do. I ship pairs together, and I have my OTPs, and I have yet to write a novel that didn’t have romance in it. Hell, my novel A Little Less than Famous, is all completely a love story. I do love a good love story.

But I don’t feel like a love story was necessary in this movie. It just wasn’t. It detracted and was annoying and unnecessary. It just didn’t fit.

And here’s my thing: if you really wanted to argue for a love story, fine. If they felt like it was so “absolutely, totally, positively necessary” (so much sarcasm in my voice right there) to give Tauriel a love story, all right. Maybe I could have handled that.

But they didn’t just give her a love story. They gave her the most annoying and frustrating of love stories in the whole wide world, one that has been driven into the ground and makes me want to throw things: a love triangle. I mean, seriously? You HAD to make it so both Legolas and Kili were attracted to her, and vice versa. Why? Why?

It just makes me so incredibly frustrated and mad. I felt incredibly cheated. I felt like the filmmakers dangled this seriously badass, strong female character in my face but then were like “mmm, just kidding, she’s not THAT strong”. Because again, how dare we create a female character who is strong on her own, without any outside influences of romantic love, but just because she knows its the right thing to do. They should have made it so Tauriel chases down the Orcs because it was the right thing to do…and not alluded that she was doing it for Kili and his safety too. It just made me gag.

I feel like…Hollywood creates these strong female characters but they can’t seem to do it 100%. There is always a little bit of anti-feminism going on, just enough to show that the females are strong, but are not as strong as the males, and just enough that it won’t be noticed by most people.

Its like Carol Marcus in Star Trek Into Darkness. She is incredibly intelligent, and sneaks aboard the Enterprise because she knows something is amiss and she’s determined to figure it out. She is integral to some crazy moments in the movie. She gets the missiles open, she is an extremely strong character.

CAROL-MARCUS

And yet, they felt the need to undress her in the movie. Why? Seriously, it was completely pointless. Why couldn’t she just be the incredibly intelligent, beautiful and strong female character WITHOUT taking her clothes off?

Or Uhura, Zoe Saldana’s character in the Star Trek movies. She is also another incredibly strong female character, who is a great fighter, and is fiercely intelligent as well. And yet, while her, Spock and Kirk are heading down to the Klingon planet (an incredible danger that likely would have resulted in death had they not been saved), she feels the need to pull the whole “I’m-fine-but-not-really” stereotypical female reaction when she’s mad at her boyfriend. Seriously? Uhura is NOT like that at all; she is strong and dedicated to her job, and she’s going to do her job, whether she’s mad at Spock or not. And yet, they have her having this pissy, “female” reaction.

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Don’t get me wrong: I do think Tauriel is a very strong female character, and I liked her a lot. I liked her a lot as a character. I think she’s a great warrior and incredibly intelligent. I think we sometimes equate actual strength and fighting for strength in a female character but I also attribute strength to intelligence as well. An intelligent female character is also something that makes me happy.

 But I was incredibly disappointed in her storyline. I thought they sort of negated her purpose of being the strong female character that the movie needed by giving her a soft storyline. I know that even Evangeline Lilly was not into the idea of Tauriel having a love story, and they gave her a love triangle. Its incredibly disappointing to me.

Now, you don’t have to agree with me. I think there are plenty of people who won’t agree with me, but I do think that you should pay a little more attention to the portrayal of women in movies. Because even if you don’t necessarily agree with me, you have to admit it a little bit. Hollywood IS starting to make stronger female characters (like Katniss Everdeen…but really, we have to thank Suzanne Collins for that more than Hollywood), but if you look hard enough, you’ll see that its like “Here’s your strong character…but just not as strong as the boys”.

I hope in the last Hobbit movie that Tauriel will make a return, and in a warrior capacity more than the object of two male’s affections. She has so much potential to be an amazing character, and like I said, I honestly liked her a lot. I thought she had some incredible fight scenes and I think she could have a big impact in the third movie, as a fighter, and as the loyal, caring elf that she is.

But I really hope they phase out that love story nonsense, especially the triangle part of it. It was unnecessary, and frankly, insulting to me. I wanted to watch Evangeline kick ass, and while I did get that, I got an added storyline that had me leaving the movie theater with a sour taste in my mouth.

Take note, Hobbit filmmakers, you have a year to fix this. Don’t continue this baffling love story, especially if you’re doing it just to fill time. I want to see Smaug, and Bard, and the dwarves and Bilbo. I want to see the epic battle. That’s what matters to me.

What about you? What did you think of Tauriel? Share in the comments!  

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Los Angeles Premiere!

I am exhausted, view sunburnt, and still covered in sharpie runes all over my arms. But it was worth it more than you know.

Sunday afternoon, Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels and I drove to the Arclight in Hollywood, off of Sunset Blvd, to get in line for the Los Angeles premiere of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We went in search of tear down posters first, and spotted them pretty quickly.

me and posters

Keep an eye out for a giveaway soon :) You could win one of these!

Now, of course, when we got there, there was NOTHING there. We got there about one in the afternoon and we had no idea if there was a place to go, or a line, or anything so we just kind of hung out in front of the theater for a bit. We tweeted at Cassie to let her know we were there, and she retweeted us :) That started it all!

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Eric Paquette, who is the senior VP of Sony, and is married to Jessica Postigo, who wrote the script, came by to make sure that me and Sylvia, and three others, Cher, Karen and Ally (who had joined us in line and became our new friends) were okay, and that the theater was going to let us camp.

jessica postigo and family

He made sure they had a space for us, that they wouldn’t kick us out, and that we were taken care of. He called the Los Angeles Police Dept. and made sure they would patrol often in order to keep us all safe, and him and Jessica brought us pizza and cookies for being the first people in line! How sweet is that? They were SO awesome!

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So there we were, me, Sylvia and Magnus as the VERY first people, waiting in line for the premiere. Both Sylvia and I were lucky enough to win tickets for the actual movie part, now we were just camping out to try and get into the fan section of the red (er, black) carpet.

That night, at about midnight, we had a special guest! Harald Zwart, the director of City of Bones, came by the camp to bring everyone waiting out in the cold night soup! He personally unloaded soup from his car, and started passing it out! It was delicious, and SUPER awesome of him :)

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We also were finally able to meet our friends from twitter, from Colombia and Venezuela. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was to meet them. Shout out to Lilo and Ale! You ladies are beautiful and wonderful!

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Now, I don’t know if you’ve camped out for premieres yet, but its uncomfortable haha. I slept a little bit in my car and a little bit in my chair on the sidewalk. NOT comfortable. However, it was totally worth it. A lot of the people who had shown up the night before had left after they got tickets so there were only about 20 of us who stayed to camp. And we got a surprise visit in the morning by Kevin Zegers, who came by to bring the campers his favorite cookies.

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It was HILARIOUS, because we saw on twitter that he was heading over in five minutes, and we went into recon mode, trying to get our hair and stuff into place, since we had JUST woken up, and it wasn’t even 7 am yet. My friend, Jane, passed around some mouthwash, and we all had our mouths full of it when he walked up, SUPER awkward status. As soon as his back was turned, we all spat it out in the bushes. It was so funny!

We waited all day long for the red carpet, patiently, and were so excited when it was time. From what I kept hearing, there wasn’t originally supposed to be a fan section, but they made one, and I thank Sony BIG TIME for that, especially since me, Sylvia and Jane were first in line, we got to be right at the barricade :)

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The premiere was absolutely amazing. I enjoyed it so MUCH. I was able to meet EVERYONE and take pictures with EVERYONE. Check it out below!

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Its hard to tell, but this is Harald Zwart‘s wife, Veslemoy, who also was a co-executive producer, giving me a HUGE hug. She was super sweet at the LA Times Festival of Books, and I was able to chat with her the night before as well. I felt SO lucky to get a hug from her :)

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This is me with Harry Van Gorkum, who played Alaric, the werewolf second in command to Luke, in the movie :)

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myself with Nathan Sykes from The Wanted. I know, so random, but they are SOOO catchy!

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me and Jared Harris, who plays Hodge Starkweather in the movie.

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It is a seriously blurry picture but its one of my absolute favorites. Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays Jace Wayland (my number one fictional crush!) has the BEST face in this picture and I look so incredibly happy, because I most definitely was!

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This photo credit goes to the official Mortal Instruments Facebook page. I am pretty much freaking out while Jamie is signing our books. He just was the sweetest, and that accent would make anyone fall in love haha. He was the perfect Jace.

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This was a serious fangirl moment for me. Not only does the absolutely gorgeous Aidan Turner play Luke Garroway in the City of Bones movie, he also plays Mitchell on the UK’s Being Human and Kili in The Hobbit. I DIED.

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Cassie and I for the millionth time. She remembered me, which pretty much made my whole life. I love this lady, and I adore her books. I also got to meet her husband that night as well, who was SO cute.

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I was finally able to meet the gorgeous and talented, Robbie Sheehan, who plays Simon Lewis in the movie, but also plays Nathan Young in Misfits! I know he’s a huge flirt, but I couldn’t help but sigh a little when he said “Of course, love” and had his arm around me. My goal was to meet him, and I did :)

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There is SO much win about this photo. I kept yelling at Godfrey Gao, who plays Magnus Bane, to come over because I had the doll and his publicist noticed, and guided him straight to me. He signed the doll, saying that it was SO cool, and the grabbed my cell phone and took this picture. It was SUCH a happy moment for me. Later, I noticed Jane had photobombed in the best way possible!

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After the movie, Sylvia and I ran into Leigh Bardugo, Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi and Margaret Stohl, which was SO cool. You all know how I am about my authors!

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My movie tie-in edition that I took to the red carpet. On the front, its signed by Aidan Turner. The first page (on top) is signed by Jamie Campbell Bower, Jessica Postigo, Kevin Zegers, Harald Zwart, and Jared Harris. The second page (on bottom) is signed by Cassandra Clare, Harry Van Gorkum, Lily Collins and Robbie Sheehan.

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Then, of course, I was able to go inside and watch the WORLD PREMIERE of the movie. I have to do a HUGE shoutout and thanks to Natalie at TMI Examiner for hooking me up with these tickets :) You rock so much. I will be doing an actual movie review of this VERY soon, but I can tell you that this movie was truly truly amazing! Of course there were changes, but they were done very well and I was highly impressed with this movie. I ran up to Harald after the movie (I may have scared him a bit…) and was like, “Harald, you rocked it! This movie was beautiful!”

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So I know that I’ve written a ton and posted a ton of pictures, and there are even more pictures on my facebook page, at this link here.

I had such an amazing time, and will post a movie review of the movie (spoiler free, of course) soon, as well as a post all about the TMI mall tour stop that was the next day too, so look for those! Love you all!

Shout outs to:

Natalie at TMI Examiner for getting me the tickets!

Sylvia from FanGirlFeeels for being my fangirl bestie. She is such a HUGE reason this was so awesome. This was my first real premiere and she was my premiere tour guide. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you there! Love you!

Every single person that I met! I wish I could name you all  but that would take too long and you know who you are! You are my TMI Family, and we get together and bond over a love of this fandom, and I can’t wait to see you all next time, at the City of Ashes premiere!

Thanks to Harald Zwart for being SO amazing to the fans, and bringing us soup! That was so wonderful and such a thoughtful thing to do!

Thanks to Kevin Zegers who stopped by in the early morning for the few of us who were tough and camped all night and brought us his favorite cookies. Again, what a wonderful, thoughtful thing to do.

Lastly, to Eric Paquette and Jessica Postigo Paquette. You two are AMAZING! Without you, we couldn’t have camped out. You found us a spot to camp, you made the police kept us safe, brought us food and even came by in the morning to check up on us. You two are such angels, and the fact that you kept coming by us, over and over, through the premiere and mall tour stop, was wonderful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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