In Which I Refuse to Leave Middle Earth

It’s weird. I listen to my coworkers talk about how Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies were huge part of their childhood and I get confused. That is when I remind myself that there is at least a 9 year difference between myself and most of them.

The Fellowship of the Ring was released my senior year of high school. I saw it on a whim. It was after a winter performance for our madrigal group and a group of us were out eating, in costume no less. We wanted to see a movie and someone suggested The Lord of the Rings. We went. It had already started. I don’t remember what part it was but we were there. I do remember seeing Elrond and whispering to my friend, “Agent Smith decided to go into an RPG”. They laughed. I also remember wondering when the movie was going to end moments before it did. I was in awe. We were asked if we had dressed up for the showing.

I was hooked. I don’t know what about the series did it for me but I was in love. I read the books soon after, read up on Tolkien, found out about the history of it all, delved into the history. The trailers excited me. I couldn’t wait for more. The battles, the heart break. Listening to others get excited about this scene or that battle. Lord of the Rings was a modern epic I had to see before I knew it existed. While it saddened me I hadn’t read the series when I was younger, I was desperate to catch up.

I have become a huge fan, if you couldn’t tell. For coming into the fandom a little late I have reached a point where I am comfortable with. There is much for me to learn but I am content with my pace .

Now it is time that I touch on my original point for this post: Battle of Five Armies. So, if you haven’t watched it don’t look under the cut. Though, I do suppose it doesn’t matter if you look at it if you have read the book. You know the gist of what happens.

Read ahead for personal opinions and slight ranting.

So, opening weekend I went out with Grendal and Divo to watch the last Hobbit movie. We all went in with generally neutral feelings, except for Grendal who said he was expecting the worst so he had the opportunity to be surprised. Gotta love that man.

Before I get to the nitty gritty I should say that, overall, we were pleasantly surprised. It went like the Lord of the Rings, as far as rating: first movie, third movie, and second movie. Despite that rating I have my gripes.

If hadn’t read the book or listened to the fans, perhaps locked myself away from any facet of media in conjunction with The Hobbit, I think I would have enjoyed the movie. Hell, I would have enjoyed ALL of them more than I have. I wouldn’t have known about the pitfalls and gotten excited about certain scenes. There wouldn’t have been the nervousness about Tauriel. In fact, it would have been better that way.

Ah, Tauriel. I have seen/read a lot of opinions on the character. People crying foul for her creation. Others being upset with you if you pin her as nothing more than a love interest. People loving her. Where do I stand now that everything has been said and done? If you ignore the love interest portion of her story Tauriel isn’t much of anything. In fact, she is a slight more expressive version of movie LotR Legolas. There isn’t much substance to her. She had awesome potential but, once again, Jackson and his team dropped the ball.

Tauriel was the captain of the guard. She longed to see the world beyond Mirkwood. She had the hots for Legolas until some beardless dwarf appeared with stories of the world. Noble ambitions but trying to fit a BRAND new character into a story of well-known, well-loved, and very established characters is tough. If she had been introduced before the movie, giving her a backstory and a foundation through a short film or story, it would have been better. She should have been setup properly.

So, in my opinion Tauriel isn’t much of anything without the forced love between her and Beardless the Dwarf. It was her whole reason for being there. Knowing that she had been added in made the entire thing painful. Like I said, if I had arrived completely blind and unknown to it all, it might not have been so bad. Then again, stories are rarely my thing.

Also, the deaths. THE deaths. Thorin, Fili, and Kili. Fili’s death could have been built up a bit more. Snatched, stabbed, and tossed. Kili runs to avenge his brother but ends up dying trying to save/get to/ thanks to Tauriel. Those two deaths should have been grand, noble, and heart wrenching. They were to fall defending Thorin who was mortally wounded. Brothers, together even at the bitter end.

Thorin’s death was a bit more heartfelt. The battle had a silly bit but, for the most part, it was well done. Those last moments with Bilbo. The hobbit trying so hard not to believe his friend was dying. “The Eagles are here.” What is this I’m feeling? Thorin dies, Bilbo begins to weep, and I

-Cut to Tauriel crying over dead Kili.

Talk about an emotional cock-block, if one can pardon the phrase.

Someone needs to learn a thing or two about pacing. Perhaps editing as well.

Oh! Speaking of editing, Smaug vs Laketown. Visually stunning. Smaug goading Bard. I liked it, except for the fact that it was so damn short and honestly should have been part of the previous movie. Seriously though, you jump straight into Smaug laying waste to Laketown. No preamble. BOOM! Fire and death, as Smaug is want to do.

He dies. Bard isn’t such a bad guy in this movie. Stephen Fry got smoshed and his weasel of a sidekick made it out of the movie alive.

Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel, and Elrond were awesome! Loved them all. Thranduil? Awesome armor and better as well!

I did end up in tears, which made me happy. Bilbo is saying farewell, all the dwarves come out to say their good-byes, and cue the tears. Yup. I was happy.

What could have made me happier? How they ended the movie.

Bilbo: “No thank you! We don’t want any more visitors, well-wishers or distant relations!”

Gandalf: “And what about very old friends?”

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