The Hobbit news: of females and somethings
Sunday, December 6, 2009
posted by Al Harron
Unlike The Lord of the Rings, the dramatis personae of The Hobbit was pretty much of exclusively male composition. The film trilogy boosted the presence of Arwen to mixed reaction, and the roles of Galadriel and Éowyn were slightly expanded. It’s possible that this casting call could be for a minor role–perhaps as the voice actress of one of the many animals in the book, which could certainly be interpreted as female–but as the report mentions, such an early announcement indicates a featured role, rather than a lesser one.
I have great difficulty imagining who this female role could be for, as it would entail either a gender-switch, inclusion of another character from the legendarium, or an invention. At best, I can imagine it being an established Tolkien character given inclusion in a believable manner: perhaps Belladonna, Bilbo’s mother, has a role in an exploration of Bilbo’s earlier life. Primula Baggins, too, may have a larger role, seeing as she’d be the mother of the future Ringbearer, and Bilbo would raise him as his own upon her death. A more abstract possibility is Legolas’ unnamed mother, who would possibly have met Thorin’s company when they were in her realm. Of course, there are more unpleasant alternatives: a love interest for Bard, giving one of the dwarves or elves a sex-change (I suppose “Dori” could sound a bit feminine from a certain angle), or having some “she-elf” accompany the gang to Erebor, but I’d rather not dwell on such ideas.
What of the second piece of news? Just what is coming? Courtesy again of theonering.net, this might be related to The Hobbit, the film trilogy, or something else entirely. The internet is aflame with speculation on exactly what will “come” on 8th December, many of which are suggested in the accompanying poll. I tremble in dread at the prospect of Warner Brothers getting their hands on The Silmarillion, now that they mention it, though I don’t doubt Christopher Tolkien will be as resistant as he’s ever been.
I myself am not willing to have any expectations regarding The Hobbit, good or bad. I fairly liked Del Toro’s previous work, even his daft slapstick interpretation of Hellboy, but I cannot say whether it will truly be his picture, or a continuation (or worse, shallow imitation) of the trilogy. That said, as with the upcoming “Conan” film, I’ll be keeping an eye on it.
DEUCE ADDS: I pretty much agree with everything Al said, but I have a few speculations/observations of mine own. Jackson’s “LotR” films did a fair job of relentlessly pushing a “women up, men down” agenda, with males being routinely out-thought, out-fought and out-principled by their female counterparts whenever and wherever possible, JRRT’s text be damned. I remember when my friends and I first heard about the Hobbit film adaptation. I joked that Fralippa couldn’t screw that one up, since there weren’t any female leads of any kind. Then one of my buddies said, “Yeah, but they could always sex-change somebody.” That sobered us up quick.
I think the most likely candidate is one of the dwarves, despite what Tolkien said about dwarven women. To wit:
Dis was the daughter of Thrain II. She is the only dwarf-woman named in these histories. It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-woman, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart. This has given rise to the foolish opinion among Men that there are no dwarf-women, and that the Dwarves “grow out of stone”.
Now, either this hypothetical dwarf-gal is “outed” to Bilbo (and the audience), or somehow it doesn’t really come into play. In the former instance, it would needlessly change the story-line. In the latter case, it is utterly pointless. In either case, there’s no need to cast a female for the part, because dwarven lassies sound (and look) just like dwarven lads.
On the other hand, I wouldn’t rule out a sex-change for Bard of Lake-Town or Beorn. Bard is sensible, honorable and he kills Smaug. All traits and feats that Fralippa would logically see as being more appropriately bestowed upon a female. Beorn is kind to animals and travelers, as well as being very deadly. Once again, the types of attributes that most rightfully should belong to someone with two “X” chromosones. How Tollers ever screwed up like that in the first place, I’ll never know. Obviously, a helping hand from Fralippa is in order.
One thing I’ll guarantee is that it will not be Smaug who gets transgendered. Fralippa wouldn’t throw away a perfectly good evil male.