Monday, February 2, 2015

Tolkien, Jackson and Hope

I am late to this party, I know, but I just saw the Battle of the Five Armies yesterday and it was such a good movie. It's been our tradition for the other two Hobbit films to let Sean take the three big kids to the movie theater and let me have a "date" with BigBoy watching them when they came out on DVD. This year, BigBoy thought he was ready to see it on the big screen with the teens and since we surprised everyone with a Hobbit Movie Marathon of all three movies back to back to back, he got to see the first two in the movie theater too! Not being one for battle scenes, I was content to stay home with Cupcake. But the four who made it through the marathon (with the company and moral support of some dear friends) really wanted to get to see it again and they wanted me to go with them. It was very important to them and I was so honored that they wanted to include me, I couldn't say no. I did make them promise to cover my eyes or at least warn me when any severed heads went flying.

So, that is what we did yesterday afternoon and I am so glad that I went! Not only was it a great time to get to spend with my big kids without any toddler tantrums, it was also an exceptional movie that I enjoyed discussing with them on the way home.

They asked me when I started to cry because, of course, I blubbered like a baby. For the record…it was when Bard was seeing his children being attacked in Dale and he couldn't defend them right away. That combination of a father not being able to reach his children coupled with the son who was trying to man-up and protect his sisters just did me in. Bard is my hero! He was always the first to lead but never gave in to the power that he could have wielded and his family always came first. I really loved the character and checked with The Professor many times to make sure he didn't ever die on screen (because I don't think I could handle seeing that).
Such a good leader, such a good daddy… except maybe that using your son as an arrow rest
and sight window thing, but I'll forgive you.
We talked about the instances and examples of fatherly love in the movie which led us to discuss Thranduil and Legolas' relationship. I know that Peter Jackson made more of that relationship than Tolkien ever did and that the character of Tauriel was completely made up, but I have to wonder if Tolkien wouldn't approve of the intimations Jackson made, given the chance, because here is what I got from them…

Thranduil's wife was killed in battle and you get the impression from his son, Legolas, that he never discusses it because he's kind of cold and aloof, being a snooty tooty Elf King. But when Tauriel says, "If this is love, I don't want it. Take it away from me, please! Why does it hurt so much?" and Thranduil responds, "Because it was real." I really got the sense that he actually loved his wife so much that losing her hurt him more than he could bear so he shut the door on his pain and all emotion, thereby shutting out his son too.
Kind of cold and seemingly aloof.
This led us to compare and contrast Thranduil and Elrond (who is a favorite character of The Professor's). I didn't know this, but my Tolkien scholar told me that Elrond's wife is still alive. I assumed that she was dead since we never see her. They said that she had been wounded and went to live in the West. So, Elrond knew he would see her again. He had the hope that people of faith have that someone who is gone is not gone for good and forever. Sometimes, that hope of seeing our loved ones again is what gets us through the unbearable pain of losing them. The power of hope...

Elrond was a more feeling father. OK… he didn't love the idea of his daughter marrying a mortal, but he still gave his consent. They had a closer, more loving relationship. I would even argue that Elrond's ability to love and care made him the wiser leader, too.
See! So much warmer and fuzzier.
Thranduil certainly felt for his people and tried to make decisions that protected and benefitted them, but Elrond was a leader who choose to see how the Elves fit into the grand scheme of the whole world and made decisions that benefitted everyone, not just his own kind. (Plus, there is that whole "lowly Silvan Elf" thing which makes me think that Thranduil had some issues or at the very least a serious class/rank thing which isn't the best quality in a leader.)

So, I'm not sure Peter Jackson intended to put all of that in there, but it really struck me as a striking contrast and was the beginning of a great conversation.

If you've seen the movie, what did you think? Anything you want to talk about even though the party is over and they're turning out the lights? Let's clean up some empty cups together and chat!