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.

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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.

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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!  

Tuesday Top Ten-Favorite Romance Movies

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope you all are having great weeks so far. I know that there are many of you gearing up for San Diego Comic Con this weekend (so jealous!) and I am so excited for you guys. My best friend is getting MARRIED this Friday, sale which is just too crazy to even believe, doctor and I am so excited! I am in the wedding too, doctor along with my boyfriend, so it should be a seriously fun time!

And since there is so much romance in the air this week, at least for me, I decided to make this week’s Tuesday Top Ten with a little bit of romance. That and my dad said he’s tired of all the book top tens haha!

So here it is: my ten personal favorite movies with the best romances in them!

10. Dirty Dancing

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Come on! “Nobody puts Baby in the Corner”! One of my absolute favorite lines EVER. Francis, also known as “Baby”, goes to a swanky little country club type resort, where she runs into the bad boy with a heart of gold, Johnny. When Johnny’s dancing partner is under the weather (an illegal abortion), Baby steps in to take her place and summer love ensues, despite the differences in social classes. Its so cheesy, and ridiculous and one of those movies that gets over played over the years but I can’t…I love the dancing and the silliness of Jennifer Grey and the sexiness of Patrick Swayze, and the whole story of it. I am addicted to those kind of movies with music and dancing, and this has both of them. You really don’t get better than that.

9. Pride and Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice is one of the BEST romantic books ever to exist in the history of literature so it would only make sense that it would be one of my favorite movies. I know most people would mention the Colin Firth adaptation of the movie, and while I definitely enjoy that one, I was thoroughly impressed by the Keira Knightley one. I have watched that one so much, I could probably quote it, and I really enjoyed that they quote the book quite often at times. I think Keira makes a really good Elizabeth Bennet and the guy who plays Mr. Darcy whose name escapes me at this time is so hot and believable as Mr. Darcy. The story of two people who absolutely loathe each other falling in love is just so addicting and you’re cheering and blushing and jumping up and down when they both finally realize and they have that moment where you just know they are going to live happily ever after. The character of Mr. Darcy is especially my favorite too because he accepts his attractive WAY before Lizzie and you just watch him struggle with it, and agh, its just so GOOD.

8. Titanic

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I don’t care what anyone says, I know this movie is cheesy and dramatic but it has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it when I was 9 years old. One, I’ve always been ridiculously obsessed with the Titanic. I know, that’s kind of a morbid obsession to have but its true. I read every book, every article, watched movies and documentaries and all of that. I was obsessed with it. I wanted to write a novel set on the Titanic for a long time but I felt like I was just writing a rewrite of this movie. Granted I was thirteen when I was attempting this. I really wanted to try again but we’ll see. I do love the love story of the movie, rich and unattainable Rose, wanting to break out of her restrictive world, falling in love with the exciting but poor, Jack. You don’t get any cheesier than that. But I love the background of the Titanic and the history that they weaved into it. Of course, a lot of the history is exaggerated and embellished but still. I love this movie. I will watch it every time it comes on TV, even if it takes me five hours.

7. Sixteen Candles

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You know what I remember every time I think of this movie? I think of me and my parents getting in trouble because we watched this movie at my very first sleepover, when I was ten years old, and apparently it was rated R and yeah, my friends’ parents were all so pissed off. I don’t even know; apparently its Rated R because whats-her-face is naked in the beginning of the movie, in the locker room. Whatever. Anyway, this is the best teen movie ever made, and I loved that Jake Ryan (oh Jake Ryan) is totally smitten with dorky but super pretty Samantha Baker. The hilarity that ensues and the amount of actors in that movie that go on to do bigger things like Joan and John Cusack and Anthony Michael Hall, its just all great. I love that they are so many one-liners in that movie. I quoted this movie on a daily basis when I was about sixteen years old and it still remains one of my favorites :)

6. The Princess Bride

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The funniest, romantic movie that I have ever watched in my life. I watched this movie when I was a kid and it still remains a favorite. I finally got it on Blu-Ray this past Christmas (thanks dad!) and I’ve watched it so many times. This is actually, also, one of those few instances where I’ll say that the movie was better than book. I know, I know. The book WAS great, I’m not going to lie but this movie is just such a classic. I love the ridiculous fantasy element of it, and the hilarity of it, and all the actors that are in it. I like it because its a beautiful romance story but with the added awesome of humor, and action and all of that. Its a great movie for kids. Its got that fairy tale, the one we are all so familiar with because of Cinderella and Snow White or whatever, but with a twist. This is also a movie I tend to quote a ridiculous amount of times.

5. The Apartment

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I LOVE this movie. I watched this movie for the first time with Jon and it took us MONTHS to do it. We would always start watching it really late at night, and its a fairly long movie, and we’d always fall asleep. Not to say that its a boring movie, because it DEFINITELY is not. Its sweet, funny, and one of those romances that’s all about the build up. You don’t need overly sweet lines and over-the-top make out scenes to create a romance. The simple exchanges between John Lemmon as Baxter and Shirley MacClaine as Fran creates the brilliant romance between them, especially when Fran is staying in Baxter’s infamous apartment. The ridiculousness of all the managers taking their mistresses to Baxter’s apartment, and the way he really wins in the end, its so beautiful. Its such a classic and awesome movie. It won five Oscars for a reason, for many reasons. And Shirley MacClaine was such a beautiful woman, and a talented actress and John Lemmon was a comedic genius. Sigh.

4. Wall.E

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This is one of the most beautiful love stories that I have ever seen in a movie and its between two robots that barely say anything else besides their own names. Wall.E and EVE are ROBOTS for goodness sake, and yeah the movie is ultimately about the earth, and not abandoning it and taking care of it, and it does get a little preachy but I love that. But in between all that, is the beautiful love story of two robots, two very different robots who band together on a single mission and as this goes on, they fall in love. Its just such a beautiful thing. I think the simplicity of it is what makes me love it so much. And sure, the fact that its a movie my boyfriend and I both enjoy thoroughly does have something to do with it. We had been together…five months and he had come home from a tour with his band, and he was so incredibly tired, but he really wanted to see this movie with me. And we’ve seen every Pixar movie (excluding Cars 2) on the day its come out, as a tradition. So it sort of has an outside romantic connection as well.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle

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Before Howl’s Moving Castle, my experience with anime was very limited to basically Pokemon. My sister loved it, and I kind of scoffed at it. But for my sister’s 8th grade graduation, I believe, in 2005, I went with her and my mom to go see this movie in the theaters and I was blown away by this truly amazing movie. I basically went home and ate up all of the Studio Ghibli movies, which are all so fantastic. And my quiet love for anime grew from there. But Howl’s Moving Castle…its not just one of my favorite romance movies, or my favorite animated movies, its one of my favorite MOVIES, period, of all time. I love the fantasy aspect of it, with the moving castle and the wizards and different airships and all that. I love the simple romance of it, between Howl and Sophie, the build up of it, to the moment when they finally can admit it to each other and to themselves. Its such a beautiful story, and such a beautiful movie. Hayao Miyazaki makes amazing movies. When I first showed this to my boyfriend, I was so afraid of him not liking it but he loves it and it is another movie that I am so happy we get to enjoy together. Also Christian Bale as Howl? Josh Hutcherson as Markl? My nerd heart loves it.

2. Up

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I know, technically this is NOT a romance movie, since most of the movie is about the adventure that Carl and Russell have together to get the house to Paradise Falls. But I consider it in my top ten because this movie told one of the most beautiful, most heartwarming and heartbreaking love stories in a matter of minutes. The “Married Life” scene in the beginning of the movie, where you see Carl and Ellie meet for the first time, and become friends, and then marry and live their life together? I’m getting teary eyed just THINKING about it. Its exactly what a love story SHOULD be. Its exactly how a life with someone you love should be. It should be about this lasting love, a friendship that is strong, where you’re able to go on adventures, but also do simple things like clean the house and read together and still be so incredibly happy. Carl spends so much time in regret for not giving Ellie the adventures that she’s always wanted but in the end, her life with him was the best adventure she could have. How does that not make you tear up? That is just too beautiful for words and its the reason its one of my favorite movies, the reason that Jon and I have seen it so many times that we could quote it on a daily basis (and do!) and why its so high on this list.

1. Gone with the Wind

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I can’t even remember how old I was when I first watched this movie but it is such an important part of my childhood. My mom is a huge fan of the book and the movie, as well as her two sisters, and it was a huge part of my life. I first read the book when I was thirteen years old, all 1000+ pages, which was a hefty read for a girl that young. But I remember this movie, and continue to as one of the best love stories ever told because it is a love story that goes so terribly wrong, and gets so insanely messed up and isn’t that the truth? Scarlett O’Hara knows what she wants but what she wants is what is so precisely wrong for her. The man that was made for her, that will love her for her strengths and her flaws, for her attitude and her selfishness and her ambition and determination is Rhett Butler and she screws it up so badly. She makes all the wrong decisions and all the wrong moves and in the end, she is left alone, without the man she loves, because she has realized it way too late. She is heartbroken and you are heartbroken and you’re grabbing a pint of Cherry Garcia and you want to hand it through the television to Scarlett with a box of tissues while you yell at her, through your sobbing, for being so incredibly stupid and blind. It is also one of the most amazing movies ever made and remains the highest grossing movie of all time, when adjusted for inflation.

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s edition of the Tuesday Top Ten and don’t forget to check out previous lists!

Don’t forget to enter my Tammara Webber giveaway!

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I’d also like to say a HUGE congratulations to my best friend, Allison Holley, and her husband (on Friday!) Aaron Lane. I am so incredibly happy for you guys. Its been an up and down journey, a long journey but you guys have made it this far and you will continue to make it because you guys love each other, and you are best friends, and you have a wonderful relationship. I can’t wait to stand next to you two on Friday when you say your vows :) I love you guys!

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