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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Relationships Appreciation Post

Laineth
Lorien

May 21, 3:42am

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Relationships Appreciation Post Can't Post

One of my all time favorite things about Tolkien's legendarium is the great variety of relationships. Tolkien understood and valued deep platonic love, which is an incredible thing, because our society usually overlooks and dismisses it.

One of my favorite things about the LotR films is that they didn't play down the deep emotions and relationships from the books. And with The Hobbit, they went far beyond the text and added many different relationships.

So my question is: what are your favorite relationships in The Hobbit?

These are my top three:

Kili/Tauriel and Tauriel and Thranduil

These two are tied in first place for my favorite relationship, and I know I'll never be able to pick between them (nor do I want to!).

Kili and Tauriel are not only perfectly matched soulmates (which they are!), they play a crucial narrative fundamental to Tolkien's legendarium – looking beyond differences, rejecting isolation, and coming together as one. Haldir summarizes it perfectly when he says, “Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.” While Gimli's deep bonds with Galadriel and Legolas and the bond of the Fellowship are probably the most well known, there are constant examples throughout the legendarium of this central theme.

No one else really does this in TH - Bilbo starts out being prejudiced, and has to be forced into things by Gandalf. Bard, while not greatly prejudiced, is still focused only on his family and their people. Tauriel and Kili are the only characters in TH who are naturally open-minded.

Tauriel and Thranduil. Thranduil is isolated and withdrawn because he has been tormented and traumatized by three Ages of tragedy. He clearly has strong PTSD.

Tauriel's parents were killed by orcs, and Thranduil takes her in. She is Thranduil's foster daughter and does not remember her parents death. Both Thranduil and Tauriel are analytical, fierce, blunt, muleheaded, rebellious, and confrontational. They believe they are right and don't care about the other side's viewpoint, they react to things by lashing out, and they have an innate drive to lead.

Tauriel felt the distinction of being the King’s foster child as she got older, and she is naturally independent. She is not a scholar, but is fierce and has a deep need to combat evil - this is the manifestation of her dedication to truth and justice. As soon as she came of age, Tauriel dedicated herself to training as a warrior. The combination of her passion with her innate strategy and leadership skills made her quickly rise through the ranks. She became the Captain of the Guard.

Time went on, their forest and the world continued to darken, and Tauriel and Thranduil steadily grew more at odds. She is furious that he is hiding and letting evil win. He is furious that she will not take no for an answer and do as he says. Things finally come to a head in Dale, when they both verbally lash out in an attempt to destroy one another. But then they both get their wake up calls.

Kili dies. Tauriel is young, and heartbroken, and doesn't understand why. She just wants the pain to stop. She cries out to Thranduil, confiding in him, pleading for him to save her and make it all go away. She is, in essence, a young child seeking her fathers comfort. When Thranduil says that her pain is because her love was real, she realizes this anguish is what he experiences every day, and the reason why he has made the decisions he has. It’s not about letting evil become strong, evil is strong. And it will hurt you without mercy. She finally understands this, and Thranduil.

Thranduil, on the other hand, finally understands and validates her. Because while Tauriel's actions weren't morally right, her point was. They do not truly live, locked inside the Woodland Realm. Yes, evil has always been present; but it will continue to grow, and to come after them. There is no way to truly lock the rest of the world out. Is a life that's hiding, and not truly lived, worth others dying? Is it worth letting evil win? 

Aragorn says to Éowyn, “A time may come soon when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defense of your homes. Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.” And Legolas later says, “Follow what may, great deeds are not lessened in worth. Great deed was the riding of the Paths of the Dead, and great it shall remain, though none be left in Gondor to sing of it in the days that are to come.”

Good deeds are good deeds. It does not matter what comes after. We are all a part of this world, and we all have an obligation to stand and fight for what is right. So while Thranduil's isolation is understandable, it isn't morally right.

In a heartbreaking yet beautiful scene, the films end with Tauriel and Thranduil finally understanding and supporting each other.

(for the evidence of all this I have my Tauriel Characterization essay: http://theseassong.blogspot.com/...-woodland-realm.html and its follow up post: http://theseassong.blogspot.com/...and-realm-essay.html)

Fili and Kili

Interestingly, Fili and Kili have a lot of similarities with Boromir and Faramir.

“Yet between the brothers there was great love, and had been since childhood, when Boromir was the helper and protector of Faramir. No jealousy or rivalry had arisen between them since, for their father's favor or for the praise of men.”

This quote fits Fili and Kili perfectly. Not only is Fili very protective of Kili, he has traditional dwarven prejudices and loves weaponry and fighting. Kili, on the other hand, is the odd one out in his society. His personality is more elven than dwarven (he isn’t emotionally invested in fighting, one of his two main weapons is a bow, and he ponders the nature of nature) and he is also seen as ugly and very 'elf-like’ physically (he only has stubble, is the least deep-chested, is the second slimmest, and is on the taller side). As the icing on this cake, he’s not even attracted to dwarven beauty standards. He also has a self esteem issue. And yet Fili and Kili are inseparable.

(for evidence of all of this I have my Fili and Kili Characterization essay: http://theseassong.blogspot.com/...1/fili-and-kili.html and a follow up post about Kili's low self esteem: http://theseassong.blogspot.com/...01/kili-is-enfp.html)

I would love to hear what your favorite relationships are!


Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 21, 9:50pm

Post #2 of 8 (2424 views)
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Thorin and Bilbo [In reply to] Can't Post

Was one relationship I quite liked. Very subtle in a way. But there definitely was some kind of relationship between them!


Laineth
Lorien

May 23, 1:55am

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Definitely! [In reply to] Can't Post

Theirs is actually my fourth favorite relationship - not only does it drive the plot, it changes both characters profoundly. PJ was spot on when he said Bilbo is the heart and Thorin is the soul of the films.


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 24, 8:14am

Post #4 of 8 (2244 views)
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In keeping with the Dwarvish narrative [In reply to] Can't Post

Beyond Bilbo's and Thorin's relationship, there are other relationships between the Dwarves that might not be as appreciated as they should. I'll take about two: one is quite straight-forward, the other - kind of meta; but both are very much at the heart of the story.

Thorin and his company
From the first few minutes of the prologue, I understood this to be Thorin's story: its he who needs to reclaim Erebor, to destry the dragon (and thank the gods of script-writing for letting him try to!), and settle all sorts of old grievances with Thranduil and especially Azog. And he is from the outset present as very competent (he spots the dragon, rallies the men, rescues Balin, his father and grandfather, leads his people exodus) and moral (even though not a word is spoken, its clear that he doesn't approve of the White Gems scam).

But as the members of the company started arriving in Bag End, I understood that it their story just as much. Out of the thirteen, our main cast comprises of six Dwarves, five of which arrive separately from the rest of the group: Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili and Thorin. The sixth, which arrives with the big throng of Dwarves but manages to stand out, is Bofur.

Nevertheless, the company is much more homogenous than, say, The Fellowship of the Ring was: they know each other prior to the quest, they are of the same species - they're effectivelly a family. This allows them to operate both as a collection of individuals, but also as the character of the group as a whole.

The relationship between Thorin and the group is summed up in his connection to two of the main cast: Balin and Dwalin; making Balin Thorin's senior allows for a father-figure/son relationship that's very effective indeed, while Dwalin is more like a younger brother, who is admiring, fiercly loyal, and indeed blindly so.

This admiration really helps to further uphold Thorin's character in the early parts of the journey: an important feat, given how morally-ambigious his choices would become later down the line. There's a great shot of the Dwarves looking at Thorin (and, due to the camera set-up - at us the audience) after the story of the Battle of Azanulbizar is told.

Furthemore, this blind loyality specifically on Dwalin's part is one which leads to one of my favorite character transformations in the trilogy: Dwalin learns to question and subsequentally confront Thorin, because his loyalty to his kin is being set against his blind loyalty to his king. Its very moving, and it propels Thorin's change of heart, and moves the plot forward, as well.

The company and their homeland
While I'm not a patriotic person, I found this very relatable, if only on the level of appreciating the Dwarves conviction. By transforming this into a Dwarvish narrative, we stray away from Bilbo's Hero's Journey and into a story that has an almost 20th centry patriotic undertone, which is quite a complex theme for this kind of film to dabble in, and certainly very usual, and yet very relatable, as well.

Its so interesting to find moments told and directed almost like a love story, not between two characters but between a character or group of characters, and an inanimate object (the mountain), and these are among the most cinematic moments of the trilogy. One of my very favorites is Gloin bickering, as we see the attention of the company being directed, one by one, off of the screen, before we are revealed to the silhouette of the mountain. Not a word of dialogue relevant to this revelation is uttered, but we understand what the Dwarves are thinking and feeling.

While their goal is a noble one, its also much more provinical to that of the Fellowship, and so it can be challenged by others in the story. By slowing down to allow us to know Bard and invest in him, we understand the argument he is putting forward against the continuation of the quest, and when we have not Thorin rebuttle him but rather the clearly-corrupt Master do so - and with little more than handwaving, at that - we understand that Bard may actually have a point. That's another complex storytelling choice: to morally undermine your own premise.


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 24, 8:18am)


Kilidoescartwheels
Tol Eressea


May 24, 4:58pm

Post #5 of 8 (2201 views)
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If I have a complaint about the Hobbit movies [In reply to] Can't Post

it is the missed opportunity to show these kinds of relationships. You certainly saw it in AUJ, how the Dwarves were so tightly bonded with each other, and not just the family groups. The relationship that Thorin had with Balin and Dwalin was one of trust and shared experience, and no other Dwarf could talk to him like they did. That scene where Thorin enters Erebor, then pauses to acknowledge a tearful Balin, yeah, that sort of thing! Of course, Balin confronts him about Bilbo being in danger, and Dwalin confronts him most forcefully over Dain's army being slaughtered. No one else dared, not even Fili or Kili (though I suppose Kili did later). Yes, you do have the wonderful "I belong with my brother" scene, too bad that Bombur doesn't display the same feeling about Bofur. I realize that was because of the script changes needed, but to me that's still a badly fumbled scene. And then you had BOT5A where the Dwarves fought together, but this was just a glimpse of what could have been. The funeral scene kind of makes up for that, the Dwarves are seriously grieving their lost kin.


The relationship between Thorin and Bilbo has already been mentioned, and that is probably the best depiction of a true friendship in these movies. I'd say it parallels the Legolas/Gimli relationship better than Kili/Tauriel (not that I have a major problem with K/T, but wish TPTB had left it as a friendship). No big surprise that the acorn scene is one of the most powerful scenes in BOT5A. But I would add Bilbo and Gandalf as having a strong bond, as demonstrated in FoTR. I thought the Hobbit movies greatly expanded on that, showing Gandalf being very protective of Bilbo ("Where is our Hobbit?"), encouraging him, comforting him at the end (you know the scene), seeing him home safely, and cautioning him about the ring. To which Bilbo replied that he quite liked having a wizard around. Anyway, that's my two cents: Thorin/Bilbo and Bilbo/Gandalf friendships that were defining & life-changing, and beautifully depicted in the Hobbit movies!

I'm not scared to be seen, I make no apologies - this is me!

from The Greatest Showman




Laineth
Lorien

May 25, 4:55pm

Post #6 of 8 (2153 views)
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I agree completely! [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
Beyond Bilbo's and Thorin's relationship, there are other relationships between the Dwarves that might not be as appreciated as they should. I'll take about two: one is quite straight-forward, the other - kind of meta; but both are very much at the heart of the story.

Thorin and his company
From the first few minutes of the prologue, I understood this to be Thorin's story: its he who needs to reclaim Erebor, to destry the dragon (and thank the gods of script-writing for letting him try to!), and settle all sorts of old grievances with Thranduil and especially Azog. And he is from the outset present as very competent (he spots the dragon, rallies the men, rescues Balin, his father and grandfather, leads his people exodus) and moral (even though not a word is spoken, its clear that he doesn't approve of the White Gems scam).

But as the members of the company started arriving in Bag End, I understood that it their story just as much. Out of the thirteen, our main cast comprises of six Dwarves, five of which arrive separately from the rest of the group: Dwalin, Balin, Fili, Kili and Thorin. The sixth, which arrives with the big throng of Dwarves but manages to stand out, is Bofur.

Nevertheless, the company is much more homogenous than, say, The Fellowship of the Ring was: they know each other prior to the quest, they are of the same species - they're effectivelly a family. This allows them to operate both as a collection of individuals, but also as the character of the group as a whole.

The relationship between Thorin and the group is summed up in his connection to two of the main cast: Balin and Dwalin; making Balin Thorin's senior allows for a father-figure/son relationship that's very effective indeed, while Dwalin is more like a younger brother, who is admiring, fiercly loyal, and indeed blindly so.

This admiration really helps to further uphold Thorin's character in the early parts of the journey: an important feat, given how morally-ambigious his choices would become later down the line. There's a great shot of the Dwarves looking at Thorin (and, due to the camera set-up - at us the audience) after the story of the Battle of Azanulbizar is told.

Furthemore, this blind loyality specifically on Dwalin's part is one which leads to one of my favorite character transformations in the trilogy: Dwalin learns to question and subsequentally confront Thorin, because his loyalty to his kin is being set against his blind loyalty to his king. Its very moving, and it propels Thorin's change of heart, and moves the plot forward, as well.


I'm not quite sure if it's a complete character transformation on Dwalin's part - it's only one scene, and Dwalin goes back to following Thorin immediately. But it's definitely a crucial moment for him. The only tweak I make in my head is I add back in the "Bilbo was right" line. Wink


In Reply To
The company and their homeland
While I'm not a patriotic person, I found this very relatable, if only on the level of appreciating the Dwarves conviction. By transforming this into a Dwarvish narrative, we stray away from Bilbo's Hero's Journey and into a story that has an almost 20th centry patriotic undertone, which is quite a complex theme for this kind of film to dabble in, and certainly very usual, and yet very relatable, as well.

Its so interesting to find moments told and directed almost like a love story, not between two characters but between a character or group of characters, and an inanimate object (the mountain), and these are among the most cinematic moments of the trilogy. One of my very favorites is Gloin bickering, as we see the attention of the company being directed, one by one, off of the screen, before we are revealed to the silhouette of the mountain. Not a word of dialogue relevant to this revelation is uttered, but we understand what the Dwarves are thinking and feeling.

While their goal is a noble one, its also much more provinical to that of the Fellowship, and so it can be challenged by others in the story. By slowing down to allow us to know Bard and invest in him, we understand the argument he is putting forward against the continuation of the quest, and when we have not Thorin rebuttle him but rather the clearly-corrupt Master do so - and with little more than handwaving, at that - we understand that Bard may actually have a point. That's another complex storytelling choice: to morally undermine your own premise.


Personally I think Bilbo and Thorin are equal in focus - even when Bilbo's not the one talking the camera stays with him. And then there was his presence for the beginning of Thranduil's and Tauriel's conversation.

Personally I think how they did the theme of greed and the different symbolism between Thorin, Thranduil, and Bard is amazing.


Laineth
Lorien

May 25, 7:22pm

Post #7 of 8 (2135 views)
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Films and time [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
it is the missed opportunity to show these kinds of relationships. You certainly saw it in AUJ, how the Dwarves were so tightly bonded with each other, and not just the family groups. The relationship that Thorin had with Balin and Dwalin was one of trust and shared experience, and no other Dwarf could talk to him like they did. That scene where Thorin enters Erebor, then pauses to acknowledge a tearful Balin, yeah, that sort of thing! Of course, Balin confronts him about Bilbo being in danger, and Dwalin confronts him most forcefully over Dain's army being slaughtered. No one else dared, not even Fili or Kili (though I suppose Kili did later). Yes, you do have the wonderful "I belong with my brother" scene, too bad that Bombur doesn't display the same feeling about Bofur. I realize that was because of the script changes needed, but to me that's still a badly fumbled scene. And then you had BOT5A where the Dwarves fought together, but this was just a glimpse of what could have been. The funeral scene kind of makes up for that, the Dwarves are seriously grieving their lost kin.


The relationship between Thorin and Bilbo has already been mentioned, and that is probably the best depiction of a true friendship in these movies. I'd say it parallels the Legolas/Gimli relationship better than Kili/Tauriel (not that I have a major problem with K/T, but wish TPTB had left it as a friendship). No big surprise that the acorn scene is one of the most powerful scenes in BOT5A. But I would add Bilbo and Gandalf as having a strong bond, as demonstrated in FoTR. I thought the Hobbit movies greatly expanded on that, showing Gandalf being very protective of Bilbo ("Where is our Hobbit?"), encouraging him, comforting him at the end (you know the scene), seeing him home safely, and cautioning him about the ring. To which Bilbo replied that he quite liked having a wizard around. Anyway, that's my two cents: Thorin/Bilbo and Bilbo/Gandalf friendships that were defining & life-changing, and beautifully depicted in the Hobbit movies!


Bilbo and Gandalf is definitely another great one. The depth and detail put into everything, like these relationships, is why the films continually blow me away. There is always something new to notice!

The EE's are of course much better than the theatricals, and give us plenty of great dwarf moments. AUJ is great for all the character set ups, but I understand why they became less - the stakes in the plot rose drastically. It's fine not to know much about Elrond because he doesn't have a large or important role to play. But Laketown and the Elves? They drive too much of the plot not to be fully fleshed out. But there are also lots of great details in the Chronicles and Movie Guides.

I've never really questioned Bombur's silence because he's always been the quiet follower type. Also, does he really want his brother going against a dragon? I know I wouldn't.

I really appreciate what they did with Bombur - they took away almost all the fat dwarf jokes, and no one insults his weight after the river incident. Really, the only fat dwarf gags are breaking the table in Rivendell and running at Beorn's. I know a lot of people don't like his barrel sequence, but it gives him a moment to shine and proves he can be confident and fat.

Can you tell I love these films? Wink


Chen G.
Rivendell

May 27, 9:20pm

Post #8 of 8 (1941 views)
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Fat jokes [In reply to] Can't Post

I used to think The Desolation of Smuag was a darker chapter, but that's only partially true.

It does set up a more ominous atmosphere with the opening scene: the color palette is more muted, the music is foreboding, there's a distant thunder rumbling effect over black and the use of rain and low-key lighting in the seedy set of Bree - all contribute to this.

However, the film really only takes a dark turn around the midpoint or so: essentially, between the original two films that were planned. That's not a bad thing: its common for films to change tone around the midpoint. Its a form of escalation in screenwriting.

As such, the barrell scene which felt more in-line with the humor of An Unexpected Journey than with the company finding the charred remains of their people, *is* structurally appropriate, to my mind.

In a way, that scene is the fat-man inside Peter Jackson providing a rebuttal to the way in which thin Peter Jackson made fun of Bombur up to that point!


(This post was edited by Chen G. on May 27, 9:21pm)

 
 

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