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Anticipating The Hobbit

I’m not excited for The Hobbit.

I’ve been trying to avoid this for months. Telling myself that I am excited, really. That I’m just nervous it won’t live up to wonder that was Lord of the Rings, and that I should have faith. Because what ex-Lord of the Rings teenage fangirl, who counted down to the release of each movie, and watched Fellowship so many times she could probably still recite it from memory, wouldn’t be excited about the release of three new movies?

This one, apparently.

The Lord of the Rings is mostly a boys’ club, but (at least in the movie version) Eowyn is a pretty kickass figure, and one of my favorite fictional characters. They built up Arwen’s role in the story, and Galadriel is one of the Elven ringbearers, so at least there are women there, doing things, even if they are only a small fraction of the visible population.

Not so for The Hobbit. It’s been a while since I read the book, but I think I’m right in saying that there are basically no female characters in the story. Perhaps one of the elves or villagers is a woman? I’m not sure. But women don’t play a named, significant (or even insignificant) role in the story. They don’t matter. They basically don’t exist.

Of course, Peter Jackson can’t put out a film that is 100% male characters, so he’s put Galadriel into the story, and invented a new elf called Tauriel. But unless Jackson diverts quite dramatically from the books (and, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind), these characters can’t be much more than window dressing. They can’t play an integral part in the story. And I think these character posters make it clear: with the exception of Galadriel, it is male character after male character after male character, adventuring together and doing their white male things.

So now my past, Lord of the Rings-loving self is clashing with the new self, who hates “boys club” epic fantasy. And I have no idea who is going to win when the first film is finally released next month.


Rhiannon Thomas is the author of A WICKED THING and KINGDOM OF ASHES. She lives in York, England.

8 thoughts on “Anticipating The Hobbit

  1. There is no sense to judge the story of ‘The Hobbit’ for having only male characters. That’s simply the point of the story, it is about males.
    I don’t have much of an interest in an all female character story but there are not many men complaining that there should be male additions…

    ‘The Lord of the Rings’ really suffered as a film where it delved into the romance between ‘Aragorn & Arwen/Eoywn’…It slowed down the pace of the film and did not fit the rest of what was going at stake in the film…’Eowyn’ was awesome fighting the witch king, a great part of the book. But ‘Arwen’ saving ‘Frodo’ from the ‘Nazgul’, and then becoming so frail and helpless towards the other two made no sense…wasn’t part of the book…’Galadriel’ was one of the best in the films as she was intersting in the book…

    My point being, the additional female character arcs created for the film adaptations were weak and irrelevant to the environment of the rest of the story. The ones that were from the book were wonderful..

    If someone wants a film where there are leading female heroines that’s good, but instead of complaining about it, and changing good material they should write some of their own.

    1. How many all-female fantasy stories have you seen for men to complain about? Although there are now some great stories that give equal weight to male and female characters, I can’t think of anything that is all women. And in fact, when Pixar’s Brave came out and focussed on the mother-daughter relationship without giving her father or brothers a lot of depth, many people complained that the male characters were flat.

      I’ll get right on writing a classic, bestselling fantasy series all about women, and making it into one of the most anticipated movies of the decade. Of course, the reason that it hasn’t existed before now is simply that no-one has ever thought it would be a good idea or bothered to try.

  2. As a LotR fan who is very excited about The Hobbit, and yet absolutely recognises the legitimacy of the complaint that it is a boys’ club film, I will at least speak up in defence of Galadriel. I don’t know how much you know about what Jackson is doing, or how familiar you are with the Middle Earth legendarily outside its primary texts (LotR and The Hobbit), and I don’t want to presume, but the presence if Galadriel is because he’s including in the film the other things going on in Middle Earth whilst the Dwarves and Bilbo are off on their adventure, including the meeting of the White Council– of which Galadriel is a key member– and their conflict with the Necromancer in Mirkwood. Which I am excited about, at least, because Galadriel is a BAMF, and there can never be too much of her. Tauriel I just hope they don’t turn into the Token Female. Because sure, absolutely plausible that the Mirkwood guards should include men and women, but I’ve heard rumours of a romance suplot with Fili, and… oi, no, just no.

    1. I must admit, my knowledge of Middle earth legend outside of the Hobbit and LOTR extends to Luthien, and… that’s about it. I knew they were including the conflict with the Necromancer, but I didn’t know the extent that Galadriel was involved, so that’s exciting!

  3. I’m excited to _look_ at The Hobbit. The visuals are just wonderful and that’s an awful lot of what attracted me to the first movies.

    Those advertising posters are a serious sausage fest aren’t they? It doesn’t turn me off the movie (and it sounds like Galadriel will play a more than token part) but I just wish there were more fantasy movies which, hell, passed the Bechdel Test.

    1. I wonder how they’re going to handle all of the dwarves… it seems like too many characters to keep a handle on, even just in the posters. I think the problem is that four or five main male fantasy characters just seems “normal,” whereas about fifteen mostly-bearded men really starts to stand out.

      You’re right that it’s going to be visually stunning, and I loved what they did with the singing in the first trailer. Hopefully I’ll end up loving it, and then it’ll just feel even better compared to my expectations.

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