Book Adaptations: Unpopular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Opinions

Screenshot image of Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel in ‘The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’. Copyright goes to Warner Bros. Pictures and Weta Digital.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I haven’t made one of these “unpopular opinions” posts in a while, so I figured it was a good time to get back around to it! As we get more into Fall, I see far more posts about ‘Lord of the Rings’. Which completely makes sense! We’re getting to the time of the year where all I want is to dress in clothes that look elven and curl up in my very own hobbit hole. The ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ were all things that I grew up with. I started both reading the books and watching the movies, for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy at least, from a young age. And revisiting these movies occasionally has definitely given me a new perspective on several things. I’m honestly surprised I haven’t mentioned any of these before! So, I want to talk about my current opinions for the movies or books that might not be so popular. Let’s just get into it!

Tauriel:

I know that when the announcements for this movie came out, most people were not thrilled with the addition of Tauriel. And it feels as though most people still don’t like her. There’s definitely an argument to be made when it comes to movies adding unnecessary things not from their book adaptations. For example, Legolas being in ‘The Hobbit’ films was not necessary at all. But I do believe that there is something that was necessary to add to ‘The Hobbit’ story that wasn’t in the original book. A female character. If you’ve read the original book you are probably well aware that female presences in it were scarce. And having any movie without any female characters would have been absolutely absurd. Not only that, but it added to the amazingly badass list of female characters that LOTR has brought us. While I do understand that maybe Kili and Tauriel didn’t need a side-plot romance, sometimes it feels like people forget that this wasn’t all of Tauriel’s character. Tauriel was also an incredible adventurer, warrior, and healer. All of those skills were shown several times throughout the movies, and over-all I think she was one of the best and most explored female characters in LOTR.

Arwen Instead:

In the original books Glorfindel is the elf that saves Frodo from the Nazgul. In the movies, this was changed to Arwen. I was one of the ones who was originally disappointed with this choice. I really liked the character of Glorfindel and wished that I could have seen him in the movies, but now I’m glad that this role went to Arwen instead. Many forget that in the books, Arwen did practically nothing. We knew that she and Aragorn were a thing, but the most prevalent thing she does in the books is gift Aragorn with a flag. In the movies this scene was given to Arwen so that the only female character in the first film could have more screen time, action, and agency. This was another choice that I felt needed to be made for the benefit of female representation. It doesn’t matter how much I like Glorfindel; the focus on a female character was much more important.

Eowyn and Faramir:

I liked the few scenes they were given in the movie, and this isn’t to say that I don’t like the pairing at all. I know there are a lot of people who preferred the idea of Eowyn and Aragorn as a couple, but that was never appealing to me. I thought Eowyn needed more independence in the story than she would have gotten had she turned into the love interest for a main character. And I also think it is sometimes important in literature to portray the rejection of someone’s advances. But the issue is, I don’t like how the relationship between Eowyn and Faramir turned out in the books either. Many people forget that as soon as Eowyn married Faramir in the books she settled down and gave up her status as warrior. The book even claims that Faramir has “tamed” her. Obviously, this is absolutely awful and I’m very glad that the movie doesn’t even hint at this. But all things considered, I can’t count Eowyn and Faramir a favorite couple of mine in any capacity. Because they are either not explored enough or their ending is a little sexist. Which is disappointing to me because I like both characters and I like the idea of them together.

Pippin Hate:

There are a lot of people who irrationally hate the character of Pippin. And while Pippin isn’t my favorite Hobbit (because Sam exists), I actually really love the character of Pippin! Is he a fool of a Took like Gandalf describes? Absolutely! But he’s also a needed lightheartedness in the story and an incredibly kind and selfless individual. Though he’s very clumsy at the beginning, that’s to be expected from the youngest of the Hobbits who’s never been out of the Shire! And later not only does he save the life of Faramir, he also becomes a formidable knight of Gondor. His skills are battle proven and driven by his compassion for others. Of course, Pippin is a little annoying at the beginning. But he’s supposed to be! One of the major nice things about Pippin is that he grows throughout the story. He has one of the most complete feeling character arcs in my opinion, and I feel like that often goes overlooked. Besides, how can you hate a character played by Billy Boyd?

Balin is the Best Dwarf:

I know many people love Fili and Kili in ‘The Hobbit’ films. Especially Kili. But I feel like Balin often goes unnoticed. Balin is the most welcoming of all the dwarfs to Bilbo and by far the most compassionate. I know he’s one of the older ones and he’s also not as attractive as some of the others, but Balin is so nice. It’s his heart that really sold me on him and he’s definitely one of my favorite characters in both the book and movies.

Legolas:

This is an opinion that seems to become more popular as the years go by. Legolas for a long time was one of the most popular characters in LOTR. In fact, many would argue that he still is. And what’s not to like? He’s gorgeous, the elves are really interesting, and…. he makes funny faces. Legolas isn’t given much story wise. In either the books or movies. In fact, the biggest Legolas character moment I can think of is in the movies when he goes against the opinion of Aragorn in ‘The Two Towers’ and then apologizes afterwards. It’s an interesting moment…that doesn’t actually happen in the books. It seems like Legolas is given even less in the books than in the movies. Which sounds fake, but the books focus way more on the hobbits and description of the world. It does focus on the other characters as well, but it doesn’t really delve into their thoughts as much. The movie actually does much of the character plot development that we all know. That’s not to say that the movies are better. The description of the world is worth reading in itself even without the characters. But it’s worth pointing out that Legolas is one of the least explored of the characters in any version of the story. In fact, Legolas’s lack of lines is what made a bored Orlando Bloom pull so many of those hilarious faces in the movies. Legolas could have been more interesting but without a story arc of his own he feels a little half-baked. I love his stuff with Gimli though!

There you have it! Some of these are more unpopular than others and some of these feel a little bit more like fun facts, but I wanted to share these. Especially since we’ll have more LOTR stuff coming out in the coming years. I haven’t watched these in a while because it’s not great that there’s no POC represented here. I really hope that all of this new content will correct that oversight. But the Fall is definitely making me want to return to the Shire and Rivendell specifically. The cinematography in the LOTR movies is still unmatched.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: