In a recent interview with the LA Times, Saiorse Ronan, who is rumored to play the part of ‘Itaril’ in the Hobbit films, confirmed that it was still only a rumor with this interesting tidbit:

“Pete is adding a lot of characters in the film adaption,” she said. “Hopefully they have a part for me.”

A few days later, she said in an interview with Total Film that they wanted her to be in The Hobbit, though as whom remains to be seen.

We already know that PJ is bringing a lot of characters from The Lord of the Rings to The Hobbit films, including some who were only briefly mentioned in the book and were not mentioned in the LOTR films at all (such as Radagast and Drogo). How many characters, however, has he invented solely for the films? Is this rumored Itaril a special case, or are there more to come?

What roles could be played by characters created for the films? (Hobbit Book Spoilers ahead!)

Unlike the noble families we encounter in The Lord of the Rings, those in The Hobbit have few known family members.. While Thorin’s lineage is outlined clearly by Tolkien, little is known about the families of the Elf-king Thranduil and Bard, descendent of the last king of Dale. There is potential for film-only characters related to either one of these kings.

Tolkien told us little about Bard or his family; while he does have a son that succeeds him later on, we do not know who his wife was. Considering Bard’s role in Smaug’s death, the films will very likely expand his character and introduce him earlier than the book did. In the expansion of his character, PJ could give him a family and create a whole side-story dealing with Bard, his wife, and possibly his son.

The Elf-king is also notably without much of a family. In canon, Thranduil has a father, Oropher, who died in the Last Alliance, and a son, Legolas. Again, no wife is mentioned and it is never stated if Thranduil or Legolas had any siblings.

When Thranduil captures the Dwarves, he is clearly an antagonist; he is yet another obstacle on their quest to the Lonely Mountain. To give him a wife or a daughter would give the audience the chance to see him in another light. A wife or daughter could also play a role in Bilbo and the Dwarves’ escape, allowing at least one Mirkwood Elf the opportunity to be an ally of the main heroes of the story. If the Itaril rumors are true, perhaps this will be Ronan’s role.

‘But wait!’ you say. ‘I don’t want some characters created by PJ upstaging Bilbo’s story!’ I agree. The existence of film-only characters does not mean that Bilbo will be overshadowed by them. After all, look at some of the movie-only characters from LOTR.

In The Two Towers, the script involved the members of the Rohan peasant family. The mother, unnamed in the films but called Morwen in the credits, sends her children, Eothain and Freda, to Edoras to raise the alarm. At Helm’s Deep the family is reunited. PJ effectively brought the situation in Rohan closer to home by focusing on a normal family. How much screen time did this take? No more than a few minutes.

I believe it is possible to do the same in the Hobbit films. If done correctly, additions to Thranduil’s or Bard’s family can give them another dimension that connects them more with the general film audience. There is no need to spend tons of time on it, either; with a good script and good acting, such an effect can be achieved in a few short minutes. If Itaril fulfills a supporting role such as this, I do not think she will be a bad addition to the films.

Of course, we could always end up with an elf-warrior wench that falls into an overly dramatic romantic relationship with Bilbo. But I like to think optimistically, and I don’t think Mr. Bilbo Baggins would tolerate such nonsense.

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Ainu Laire is a TheOneRing.net staffer and regular contributor. She is currently focusing her efforts on revitalizing TheOneRing.net’s Fan Art initiative. (stay tuned!)

 

Comments

  1. Vivid

    Forgive me, Bilbo lovers! Elves. Elves are my obssession. I SOOO want Legolas back! 🙂 If Orlando Bloom won’t sign up any time soon (prefferably as Legolas and Thranduil 🙂 ) I’m gonna be in a desperate need for therapist. 🙂

    • Blair

      He already has signed on

  2. Sean Gonzalez

    I’m a firm believer in “Never Judge a Meal Before it’s Served.” The entire way PJ presents the additional cast is going to enhance the story, as the books if made directly into a movie leaves so much open and untended that it has little to now connect. Fact is, our imagination is not being projected to the screen, PJ has to fill in the gaps and so far he hasn’t let me down.

  3. Sean Gonzalez

    I’m a firm believer in “Never Judge a Meal Before it’s Served.” The entire way PJ presents the additional cast is going to enhance the story, as the books if made directly into a movie leaves so much open and untended that it has little to now connect. Fact is, our imagination is not being projected to the screen, PJ has to fill in the gaps and so far he hasn’t let me down.

  4. GillGalad

    I agree with you, especially on the last part. While it might be contradictory to the book introducing new characters, this movie still is a cinematographic adaptation, and as such should take advantage of its artistic liberties, particularly if it helps the viewer getting a deeper understanding of the story.

  5. GillGalad

    I agree with you, especially on the last part. While it might be contradictory to the book introducing new characters, this movie still is a cinematographic adaptation, and as such should take advantage of its artistic liberties, particularly if it helps the viewer getting a deeper understanding of the story.

  6. GillGalad

    I agree with you, especially on the last part. While it might be contradictory to the book introducing new characters, this movie still is a cinematographic adaptation, and as such should take advantage of its artistic liberties, particularly if it helps the viewer getting a deeper understanding of the story.

  7. If Ronan were to play a female, non-noble elf, that would be very interesting. However, I can’t see the character playing a huge part in anything other than the scenes in the Wood Elf’s realm.

    And since she’s been making a name for herself, I get the feeling critics are going to jump at the chance of saying how she has such a thankless role in the films and that Jackson should know better.

  8. If Ronan were to play a female, non-noble elf, that would be very interesting. However, I can’t see the character playing a huge part in anything other than the scenes in the Wood Elf’s realm.

    And since she’s been making a name for herself, I get the feeling critics are going to jump at the chance of saying how she has such a thankless role in the films and that Jackson should know better.

  9. If Ronan were to play a female, non-noble elf, that would be very interesting. However, I can’t see the character playing a huge part in anything other than the scenes in the Wood Elf’s realm.

    And since she’s been making a name for herself, I get the feeling critics are going to jump at the chance of saying how she has such a thankless role in the films and that Jackson should know better.

  10. Dargon

    There’s entire populations of humans (Lake Town) and elves (Thranduil’s Domain) that go unnamed in the Hobbit. It’s not remotely surprising that PJ would want to introduce us to a few of them to amp-up our emotional investment when it comes time to put them in mortal danger during Smaug’s attack and the Battle of Five Armies.

  11. Jason

    I see no problem with having characters not mentioned in the books, since obviously there are more elves, hobbits, men, dwarves, etc. occupying various locations in Middle Earth than the ones mentioned by name.
    The Hobbit is a bit of a brat-wurst festival, so it could use a female character.

  12. nothing against Ronan but she’s so annoying for begging for this role…if this character is a minor role, then fine with me…we need not some cheesy twilight romance in The Hobbit movie

  13. we need not some cheesy Twilight romance in The Hobbit…please!

  14. Why? Why do you people have this urge to add new characters in a story that is virtually perfect? What possible improvement can a bunch of wives and daughters bring to the story? If you are so desperate to see family relationships go to watch a Spielberg movie!

  15. Why? Why do you people have this urge to add new characters in a story that is virtually perfect? What possible improvement can a bunch of wives and daughters bring to the story? If you are so desperate to see family relationships go to watch a Spielberg movie!

  16. I am so glad to read that there are other fans out there that understand that new characters from PJ will not mean the ruin of the film! I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, and the family in Rohan is a really great example that I hadn’t thought of. Cinema being different than the written word, you have to be able to show the audience rather than explain and sometimes new characters are the only way to do that.

    I’m looking forward to what PJ brings to the Hobbit and I really like Ronan. I hope she does get a role. I’m a bigger elf fan than dwarves and hobbit fan myself so I do hope he expands on Mirkwood!

  17. I am so glad to read that there are other fans out there that understand that new characters from PJ will not mean the ruin of the film! I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said, and the family in Rohan is a really great example that I hadn’t thought of. Cinema being different than the written word, you have to be able to show the audience rather than explain and sometimes new characters are the only way to do that.

    I’m looking forward to what PJ brings to the Hobbit and I really like Ronan. I hope she does get a role. I’m a bigger elf fan than dwarves and hobbit fan myself so I do hope he expands on Mirkwood!

  18. Anonymous

    I’m all for naming supporting characters and giving them a little bit of meat — whether they’re invented characters or LOTR characters brought over to The Hobbit. I’m in the middle of my periodic LOTR re-read, and it’s so clear how necessary this kind of fiddling is for filming. Tolkein’s tendency to have groups answer collectively — “the elves said,” etc. sometimes passes without being noticed when reading, but when filming… that line needs to be given to an actor, rather than having a group of people shouting out the same line. Plus, bulking up supporting characters benefits the leads rather than detracting from them — Gamling for example; according to the commentary tracks, he became a recurring figure with increased screentime when Bernard Hill pointed out that Theoden needed someone a lieutenant to talk to or else he’d just look silly.

  19. Ron_rex_l

    She should be in the film. She is gorgeous and she looks like an Elf…no doubt about that. 🙂

  20. Why oh why?

  21. Why oh why?

  22. Why oh why?

  23. Hey, what about this? Didn’t Aragorn (at the lanky teen/young man stage) meet Arwen (as she danced on the dewdrop-kissed meadow-{or was she singing?}-under the silver moon…some romantical prose like that)around the time of Bilbo’s Great Adventure? That would help solidify Galandriel’s role, as she is Arwen’s Grandmother, as both women visit Rivendell to see Arwen’s father Elrond.
    HA! I could see it now…Daddy trying to keep his errant daughter from seeing that no-good, riff-raff HUMAN boy!
    Arwen:”But Father! He is the last of the line of noble kings!”
    Elrond:”That weakling wants to be a lowly RANGER when he grows up! I’d rather be DEAD than see my daughter in the hands of a man!” ( sound familiar? hint: FOTR).
    Arwen: “You don’t know him, Father, what his potential is!”
    Elrond: “As I said, men are weak”.
    Arwen: “I hear racial profiling here, Ada, are you a racist?”
    Elrond, (losing all control of elfish calm, his face a purple-red, shouts:”When you live in MY HOUSE, young lady-”
    Arwen (interjecting): “I’m hardly young, father, I have a few thousand years-”
    Enrond:”Dont you interrupt me! When you live under MY ROOF, you follow MY RULES”
    Arwen: “Just wait, Daddy, some day, you’ll take the sacred shards of Narsel, and reforge the blade, and You will be handing the sword to the future King of Gondor.”
    Elrond: ” You girls, and your romantic fantasies!”

    Reading the above, eh, we don’t need any romance in “the Hobbit”

  24. Hey, what about this? Didn’t Aragorn (at the lanky teen/young man stage) meet Arwen (as she danced on the dewdrop-kissed meadow-{or was she singing?}-under the silver moon…some romantical prose like that)around the time of Bilbo’s Great Adventure? That would help solidify Galandriel’s role, as she is Arwen’s Grandmother, as both women visit Rivendell to see Arwen’s father Elrond.
    HA! I could see it now…Daddy trying to keep his errant daughter from seeing that no-good, riff-raff HUMAN boy!
    Arwen:”But Father! He is the last of the line of noble kings!”
    Elrond:”That weakling wants to be a lowly RANGER when he grows up! I’d rather be DEAD than see my daughter in the hands of a man!” ( sound familiar? hint: FOTR).
    Arwen: “You don’t know him, Father, what his potential is!”
    Elrond: “As I said, men are weak”.
    Arwen: “I hear racial profiling here, Ada, are you a racist?”
    Elrond, (losing all control of elfish calm, his face a purple-red, shouts:”When you live in MY HOUSE, young lady-”
    Arwen (interjecting): “I’m hardly young, father, I have a few thousand years-”
    Enrond:”Dont you interrupt me! When you live under MY ROOF, you follow MY RULES”
    Arwen: “Just wait, Daddy, some day, you’ll take the sacred shards of Narsel, and reforge the blade, and You will be handing the sword to the future King of Gondor.”
    Elrond: ” You girls, and your romantic fantasies!”

    Reading the above, eh, we don’t need any romance in “the Hobbit”

  25. Itaril, from what I’ve heard of her, reeks of fanfiction. . . really bad fanfiction, Mary Sue and all. I don’t mind an extremely minor role for Saiorse – as you said, the same sort of role that the Rohan peasant family played – but if we end up with an elvish warrior-wench with a romantic arc, I’m going to have to pull my bow and arrow out. Also, her name would have to be changed, as “Itaril” is not Sindarin.

    I’m trying very, very, very hard to trust PJ, and my efforts are, unfortunately, desperately failing to achieve their purpose.

  26. Mishlenlinden

    Personally, being a female, I think we DO need romance (tho not cheesy) in this. There needs to be SOME examples of our fairer sex, romantic or not. Perhaps and expansion on Galadriel and her granddaughter Arwen. I think it is most necessary for women to be included, after all, the audience is at least half female!

  27. Brendan

    Disagree. If you are not covering all the characters in the book, there is no need to create and write-in entire subplots filled with new characters. If there was a need for more characters Tolkien would have added them. Plus this is not jsut adding in a few un-named character to help with scene transistions, these are fully developed characters. Seems like Jackson thinks he is Tolkein’s equal to me.

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