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Desolation of Smaug trailer

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

So, I finally got to see the new Hobbit trailer. Spoilery goodness below the cut.

First things first, as a fan of all things Gondor from before the movies, my deepest condolences to any fans of Mirkwood. It looks like PJ is pulling the same junk he did with Denethor, with the whole this-is-not-our-fight wibbling. And Tauriel. Wes thu FAIL on that one, PJ.

Beyond that, PJ seems content on aping Lord of the Rings yet again. That moment where Legolas trains an arrow on the Dwarves was entirely too similar to Haldir’s pulling the same move in Lord of the Rings. And this hatred of dwarves on sight. What the HECK? First we get Thranduil watching the dwarves slaughtered en masse in the first flick, and then Legolas comes across as an out-and-out racist here. Saying “I will kill you” is understandable, but adding the dwarf at the end makes it seem just mean-spirited, particularly as at this point in time we have no reason to understand why an elf would be so suspicious of a dwarf. And particularly as, canonically, Thranduil doesn’t have half the reason to hate dwarves that Celeborn did. (Marnie covers the latter’s all-too-justified antipathy toward dwarves in her essay “That Tall Fellow Next to Galadriel.)

On that same note, it really bothered me that Thranduil was willing to lock up Thorin to keep him from following through on his Quest. It’s one thing to catch people trespassing across your realm and lock them up until they will answer you questions, or escort them to the opposite border. But unless you’re claiming control over the Lonely Mountain, it seems the height of hubris to try to keep the rightful heirs from reclaiming their homeland, however ill-advised you think that is. This is the same thing that bothered me with Elrond, but it seems like it’s going to be much more central here. Along that same line, Legolas’s character in general just didn’t make a whole lot of sense, either with canon or with what we’ve seen in these movies or the Lord of the Rings. Legolas is too world-weary, too pessimistic to match up with the young elf eager to go off to Mordor in FOTR. It also really doesn’t fit with the whole idea we saw in An Unexpected Journey that Mirkwood was basically a woodland retreat until Sauron showed up directly before the quest began. I’m really struggling to match that picture of the region with the wargs and spiders we get treated to here – and also with the idea that a single dragon would present such an existential threat. Legolas’s characterization, and the picture of the situation in Mirkwood generally, simply don’t seem to match.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to love here. The baddies seem exciting, Bilbo’s wonder at the butterflies is refreshing, and Bard at least seems like a truly interesting take on his personality even if he does seem a little too Will Turner-ish for anyone not played by Orland Bloom. And if you can look at this as an exciting sword-and-sorcery flick rather than an adaptation of The Hobbit it has potential. This isn’t entirely surprising given the film’s length and the amount of written material PJ is working with. (In which case: what will we see in There and Back Again? *shudders*

Mainly, though, I just felt a bit sorry for Elliska, Daw, and other friends who have a real heart for all things Mirkwood. As someone who struggled through the perversion that was movie!Gondor, may you be moved to writing reparative fic rather than anger and tears. Because it really does kind of stink.

I’m interested in other peoples’ reactions, of course. Apparently TOR.n and other fannish sites are overloaded, which has me feeling a little nostalgic. But YouTube seems able to handle the load well enough.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2013 11:34 pm (UTC)
I just watched it and was coming over to LJ to see if anyone else had yet. I admit my first reaction to seeing Thranduil speaking and Legolas in action again was to squee. Just excited to see it.


I admit that the moment I started thinking about it, I did start fearing it. Legolas's line 'it's not our fight' seems to imply certain attitudes that just aren't canon. And Legolas's attitude towards shooting Thorin (I can see Thranduil hating dwarves for the same reason Celeborn does, since they are both from Menegroth), but Legolas? It makes no sense. And I agree that their antagonism doesn't jive with the Mirkwood was shadowed two days before Thorin started his quest depiction in the last movie (which I hated). And I so agree with you about Bard channeling Will Turner. That is the first thing I thought when I saw that.

Still, I am holding out hope. There was a lot of coolness, not the least of which was the butterflies. Loved that! Fingers crossed.
Jun. 12th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
I love your hope, Elliska. Your hope gives me hope, and I'm usually so analytical and critical, I have a hard time getting swept away in it all. I was very excited to see the butterflies and bard, and even the action in Mirkwood was fun on a visceral level if I don't think about it. So I shall try to be hopeful, too.
Jun. 12th, 2013 01:28 am (UTC)
I've been thinking a little more about your comment that I can see Thranduil hating dwarves for the same reason Celeborn does, since they are both from Menegroth. How old do you see him being at the time of the Kinslaying, Elliska? For some reason I have always thought of him as relatively young when that happened, so I always imagined him being a child perhaps traumatized by orcs, without really making the connection with the Dwarves (at least on a visceral level). But you're the Mirkwood expert, not me, so that head-canon may not be accurate.

Certainly when it comes to Celeborn, he had other issues that would contribute to that antipathy toward Dwarves. He seemed to distrust Khazad-dum back in the Second Age, and it was a balrog awakened by Dwarves that led to his son Amroth's death. Thranduil, on the other hand, had all those centuries of Erebor as an ally against orcs and spiders to dwell on. Be seems to have a history of living side by side with them, at least the way I read the Hobbit.
Jun. 12th, 2013 02:26 am (UTC)
Well, of course the only canon is that Thranduil is Sindarin. I believe it is canon that Oropher lived in Menegroth (I think that's a line in the Silm and not just something I believe). So, I think it is fair to say that at least Thranduil would hear his father's dislike of dwarves from the incidents in Menegroth. Personally, in my imagination I see Thranduil as at least being old enough to remember Menegroth. I see him getting the idea for his underground halls from those memories. So, personally, I see him as remembering the dwarves' sack of Menegroth and harboring some ill-will from that. (In my fanfic, Thranduil is just short of coming of age at the kinslaying in Menegroth and so a little younger at the death of Thingol).

It is canon again that Oropher moved his realm three times possibly to avoid Galadriel but possibly to avoid being so close to dwarves. Thranduil was definitely around to see that prejudice.

And Thranduil was king when the Balrog was awakened, so he was aware of the dangers they awakened (even though I doubt anyone knew what it was until the Fellowship saw it) and they certainly know in Mirkwood the havoc it created (since Legolas knows Nimrodel's song). I think that would anger Thranduil too, since Amroth would be his friend (they fought together in Mordor).

Finally, in my imagination, Thranduil would be influenced by Celeborn, since Celeborn is his elder and (again in my imagination) his distant kin. I see Celeborn as someone Thranduil respects. So, if Celeborn refused to go into Khazad-dum, Thranduil would take notice of that.

On the other hand, I do agree that Mirkwood had at least working relations with Erebor and certainly Dale/Esgaroth. The relations with Esgaroth are canon in the Hobbit, of course. And my impression is, when Dale was flourishing, all the kingdoms in Rhovanion enjoyed trade together. In my imagination, Thranduil is aware of the importance of those relations and so encourages them, but he is also cautious of them. After all, his people are, in canon, suspicious of outsiders.

(The whole turning away from the refugees of Dale/Erebor in the movie, on the other hand, made me yell at the screen--I cannot see that. After all, in canon, Thranduil turns away in his march to Erebor to aid the people of Esgaroth. If he had responded with an army to the first appearance of the Dragon--which I do not think he would have done, since Dale/Erebor would be at least a 4 day march from his Halls--I think he would have at least helped the people, if not fought the dragon.)

And it is certainly canon that Thranduil is traumatized by orcs in the Last Alliance. Canon says the light of the sun itself is dimmed whenever he looks south to Mordor because of those experiences.

So that is what I base my motivations for Thranduil on in my fanfic. Wow I am long winded! :-)
Jun. 12th, 2013 03:00 am (UTC)
Wow I am long winded!

... but fascinating. I love all these details.

I don't know about the Silmarillion, but I do know Oropher's move east is described in Unfinished Tales somewhere. I think it's in a rather substantive note on the history of Celeborn + Galadriel. At some point I could have given you a direct citation because I researched it for a ficlet I wrote about the decision to move to the Greenwood. But really, I haven't thought about it nearly as much as you have. I really enjoyed hearing your reasoning.

Jun. 11th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize that was Bard. My first thought was, "Orlando Bloom's playing two roles in this?"
Jun. 12th, 2013 12:26 am (UTC)
Hee! Another Tolkien person had the same reaction over at FB. I only recognized the difference because I'd seen screencaps like this one that have Leggie + Bard in the same shot.

Though I must say, it would be a lot of fun to see Orlando Bloom play two characters that actually might interact with each other. Just the thought is fun.
Jun. 12th, 2013 06:42 am (UTC)
I thought the same! Then, my second thought was - "hey, wait, it can't be". I didn't realize it was Bard, either, but I supposed that it had to be some actor who looked like Orlando.
Jun. 12th, 2013 08:23 am (UTC)
I had seen stills. Recognized the part (because I have a thing for dark, handsome ranger types whether they hail from Bard or the Angle or Henneth Annun or, apparently, Panem) but if I didn't already know that Bard was played by someone other than Orlando, I would have been fooled, too! He really does look like Bloom, doesn't he?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )



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