[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first image of Evangeline Lilly (who you may remember as Kate from Lost) as Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has been released, and Lilly has been speaking about her character. Tauriel has already caused a bit of a controversy among fans of J. R. R. Tolkien’s original novel, as she is a non-canon character invented for the Hobbit movies in an attempt to stop them from becoming a complete and utter boy-fest.
“She’s slightly reckless and totally ruthless and doesn’t hesitate to kill,” says Lilly. “Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard…She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”
It seems that Tauriel’s character will fulfill a similar function to that of Eowyn’s (and to a lesser extent, Arwen’s) in The Lord of the Rings, which is good news for fans who were worried that the films would be biased too heavily towards male characters. Tolkien purists are still apprehensive however, and the news that Tauriel will have her own love story has also got fans speculating.
“She will definitely have a love story,” Lilly reveals. “I can’t give away too much about it. It’s not a huge focus but it is there and it is important and it does drive Tauriel and her story and her actions.
“Tauriel’s relationship with Legolas is significant. They’ve known each other since they were children, and Legolas’ dad, [Elven king] Thranduil, has a soft spot for Tauriel and sees something very special in her. So if you grow up side by side, and your dad has a very special spot in his heart for this young woman who’s a fantastic warrior, I think it’s hard not to notice her.” She laughs. “That’s probably as much as I can say.”
We already knew that Legolas (played by Orlando Bloom) was going to be making an appearance in The Hobbit, and it seems that he is the number one candidate for Tauriel’s love interest. This has not only got Lord of the Rings fans a little concerned that one of their favourite characters may be messed with, but also annoyed those who like the idea of Tauriel as a strong Elven warrior – why does she need a love interest at all?
“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are going to be people who will totally hate Tauriel, think that she shouldn’t be in the movie, that it’s a betrayal of Tolkien, and no matter what I do it won’t be right,” acknowledges Lilly.“There will be everything between that and people who adore her and think it’s such a fun thing to have added to the film. I kind of got prepped for that being on Lost, because we had avid fans who were really extreme in their feelings about the show and its characters. But I think if anyone knows how to respect Tolkien, it’s Peter (Jackson), Fran (Walsh) and Phil (Boyens). And Tauriel fits perfectly in that world.”
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released in the UK on December 13th 2013.