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.
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!)