Tauriel is a fictional character from Peter Jackson's feature film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. The character does not appear in the original book, but was created by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as an expansion of material adapted from the book, and first appears in the second film in that trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, to be released December 13, 2013. She is a Woodland Elf whose name means "Daughter of Mirkwood", and is the head of the Mirkwood Elven guard. She is played by actress Evangeline Lilly.
The character does not appear in the first film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, released in 2012. She first appears in the second part of the trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, to be released December 13, 2013. Prior to the decision to have three films instead of two, Tauriel was described as having a more substantial role in what was then the final film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, which had been planned for release in 2013, but was finalized as the third part of the trilogy, to be released in December 2014.
Conception and casting
In 1937 J. R. R. Tolkien published the fantasy novel The Hobbit, whose plot centers on a group consisting of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves who go in search of a treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. During the course of their travels, they enter the black forest of Mirkwood, where they find themselves in the dungeons of the Silvan Elves. During the climactic Battle of Five Armies at the end of the story, the dwarves, men and elves band together to fight an army of goblins and wargs.
Although the character Tauriel does not appear in this story, she was created to be the head of the Elven guard by Peter Jackson and his wife and producing partner Fran Walsh, in order to expand the world of the elves of Mirkwood Forest, and to bring another female to the cast, which is otherwise dominated by males. The character is a Silvan Elf, which means she is of a much lower order than the elves that had previously been seen in The Lord of the Rings film series, and holds a lower social status than characters like Arwen, Galadriel, Elrond, and Legolas. A Woodland Elf, her name means "Daughter of Mirkwood".
In June 2011 Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page that actress Evangeline Lilly, who was known for her portrayal of Kate Austen in the ABC drama Lost, was cast in the role. Lilly, who had been a fan of Tolkien's books since she was 13, expressed some trepidation at the reaction of Tolkien purists to a character that does not appear in Tolkien's written works, but stated that creating the character for the adaptation was justified: "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."
As head of the Elven guard, Lilly says of Tauriel, "She’s slightly reckless and totally ruthless and doesn’t hesitate to kill." She has red hair, and 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 also appears in The Hobbit films. In addition to employing a stunt coach for action scenes, Lilly also employed a language coach in order to effect the Elvish language. Filming of her scenes began in September 2011 in New Zealand, and was expected to last a year. Lilly stated that she enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the set, and the familiar experience of filming with a male-dominated cast, which was reminiscent of her work on Lost and The Hurt Locker, but noted that the experience of having had her first child in May 2011 made aspects of filming the fighting scenes more strenuous than expected, commenting, "Recovering from labor is like recovering from a full-body injury, and I didn't realize to what extent that was true until I started training for elf fighting. My hips don't move like they used to move, my back doesn't move like it used to move, my shoulders are sore every day. But it's fun."
Lilly also describes Tauriel is a nonconformist, explaining that she rebels against the established social order of the Elves. However, she also has a "softer side", and her character arc includes a love story. Though she and Legolas first met as children, and their relationship is significant, her character's romance is not with him. Lilly has revealed, however, that Legolas' father, the Elven king Thranduil, is fond of Tauriel, and "sees something very special in her".
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