Peter Jackson has added a new character Tauriel (played by Evangeline Lily) to the Hobbit movie.
She's apparently a Mirkwood elf and a love interest for Legolas and not in the original.
Does anyone know anymore about this character and more importantly why did Peter Jackson and company feel he had to add a new character?

  • 17
    Because they need to stretch it out across three to make back the money they've invested in it, and the original book is only enough for perhaps two movies lasting three hours. Jun 6, 2013 at 14:25
  • 2
    Obviously Mr Jackson is pushing the fans to see what he can get away with before they start complaining. Also I VTC as non constructive - this question isn't going anywhere useful and is speculative at best.
    – user8416
    Jun 6, 2013 at 15:50
  • 12
    Unlike LotR, The Hobbit had (IIRC) not a single female character who did anything consequential or even had a name. This character was probably added to draw female viewers. Jun 6, 2013 at 16:03
  • 8
    @MichaelBorgwardt No question that The Hobbit had a deplorable lack of female characters, but iirc Bilbo's mother did indeed have a name (Belladonna Took), and was implied (if not explicitly mentioned) as the source of Bilbo's willingness to adventure. I know its not exactly a towering accomplishment of feminism in literature (its still about as far from that as a novel can get), but at least she did have a name.
    – Beofett
    Jun 6, 2013 at 16:51
  • 7
    @djm I think adding Uruk Hai to the Hobbit would be the final straw for me. Jun 6, 2013 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


There's no authority whatsoever in Tolkien's writing for the character of Tauriel, so she must be considered as purely a Jackson invention. The Wikipedia page on her seems as good a source of information as any (and cites references so it can be considered reasonably accurate), so let's quote some extracts from it:

She is a Woodland Elf whose name means "Daughter of Mirkwood", and is the head of the Mirkwood Elven guard.

Strictly speaking this should be "Forest Daughter" as "Taur" is just "forest"; "Taur nu Fuin" is "Forest under Nightshade", i.e. Mirkwood (there was an earlier Taur nu Fuin in the First Age too.) "-iel" is just a common feminine name ending that can be loosely interpreted as "daughter", but may be equally valid as "maid", "girl", etc. "-iel" is also present in "Galadriel", a bastardized/Sindarized version of Alatáriel - "maiden crowned with a radiant garland".

The actress playing her has this comment to make:

I believe she is authentic, because Tolkien refers to The Woodland Elves, he just doesn’t talk about who they are specifically… [Peter and Fran] know that world so well. They’re not going to create a character that is not true to Tolkien’s world.

I'm not too certain about that latter part, but I'll refrain from further comment on that as it's personal opinion. Moving on, we see the following description:

As head of the Elven guard, she is proficient in a variety of weapons, but mainly wields a bow and two daggers, weapons that are also used by the character Legolas, who appeared in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and who also appears in The Hobbit films, though the two are not romantically linked.

This, of course, gives nothing away about how the character is going to be developed in the upcoming movies (but the focus on weapons seems to indicate she's going to be like Arwen in the first half of Jackson's FotR), so ultimately we'll have to wait and see.

  • 5
    They’re not going to create a character that is not true to Tolkien’s world. - I don't believe that. They added Lurtz (Fellowship) and Damrod (Two Towers-Faramir's lieutenant), and vastly changed the roles of others
    – The Fallen
    Jun 6, 2013 at 16:12
  • 12
    By "true to Tolkien's world" she didn't seem to mean "a character that Tolkien didn't invent", but "a character that feels out of place or inappropriate". Jun 6, 2013 at 16:42
  • 4
    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan - you mean like a bunch of Elves at Helm's Deep were not out of place? :) </nerd> Or, dwarf tossing jokes were not inappropriate? </no-nerd> Jun 6, 2013 at 18:04
  • 3
    I agree about the dwarf-tossing, but I like the elves at Helm's Deep. I can hotly debate this on Chat if you want. :) Jun 6, 2013 at 18:08
  • 2
    Good god, what is there to argue about? Jackson has butchered the story to the point that he might as well have Gandalf jump a shark tank on his wagon. Jun 7, 2013 at 6:00

No, she's not in "The Hobbit" or any other Tolkien writing.

The real question becomes, then, why add her to the film?

Short Answer: Because a MOVIE is a different medium than a BOOK

Long Answer: The Hobbit is a quick read that somehow still manages to have an epic feel. That's a tough accomplishment---quick but weighty story; fast trek but satisfying adventure. In the book, if you start in the morning you can end up with Smaug talking by the afternoon and Bilbo making it back home before dinner. In other words, you don't necessarily need additional characters along the way to create tension and danger because you quickly get to dangers and tensions when reading it (trolls, goblins, Mirkwood, elves, dragons, war, etc.).

The movie, however, is---like it or not---a trilogy. Given the limitations of the medium, i.e. film, there's no way a single, 2.5 hour film could capture the grandiosity of The Hobbit (although I personally think 2 films may have sufficed).

In An Unexpected Journey, Azog was highly embellished so that evil in general has a tangible representative. As I stated, this isn't necessary in the book since you get to the Goblins and then to Smaug relatively quickly. In the movie, though, you can't have it both ways: you can't make just one film that captures the epicness, yet if you break the Hobbit down into a trilogy, the different parts are lacking things that the book supplies, a certain inter-connectivity.

Because you don't get to Smaug, Azog serves to embody evil in film 1. And, because you (presumably) don't get to the war between the races that follows Smaug's demise, Tauriel seems to be an embellishment in the second movie that creates the racial tensions of the Hobbit (from the trailer, I'm assuming she wants the elves to aid the dwarves). Again, in the book you don't need them---you're reading about the dwarves imprisoned by Thranduil, and then an hour later you're reading about the races battling and Bilbo ultimately making a move that starts the process of healing and peace.

So. Books? Not needed because of the swiftness of the story. Movies? Embellishments like Tauriel (and Azog) possibly needed because the story is broken up into individual units.

Verdict: I'm totally OK with these types of embellishments, as long as they're well done. Azog is true to Tolkien's theological program in The Hobbit and LOTR: there is real evil in the world and it will be encountered, and it is dangerous (Tolkien is a bit of an anti-post-modern in that sense). Tauriel seems true to Tolkien's theological program as well in that the peoples of the world become splintered and divided in the face of evil, and that it takes some level of solidarity (along with providence) to engage and overcome evil. Don't forget that in LOTR, the "Fellowship" (or in the New Testament, "koinonia") represents all the races, the least of which being the most important (also pretty standard New Testament idea).

Hope that's helpful.

  • 3
    A very out-of-universe answer, but very well written. +1
    – The Fallen
    Jul 25, 2013 at 20:04
  • 3
    This is a much better answer than the accepted one, imo.
    – Theoriok
    Oct 23, 2013 at 12:11
  • 1
    +1 for a movie being a different medium than a book. Excelent point. And one I feel is overlooked on far too many modern adaptations.
    – Adam Head
    Jan 10, 2014 at 19:01
  • 1
    +1 for good and well-argued answer. Still, I disagree that Azog and Tauriel are effective stand-ins for the ideas you mentioned. I never could understand how Azog could be so obsessed with his nearly-defeated dwarf enemies, quite obviously at the expense of his leadership, and not get killed or at least ousted by his rivals. He's an Orc, after all. As for Tauriel, the focus on having a female character with the battle-acrobatics of Legolas is actually a distraction from the Elf/Dwarf racial tensions, which could have easily been explored by Jackson without introducing more characters. Jul 6, 2014 at 16:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.