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General Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

Should Bearded Female Dwarves be the Default?

  • Yes

    Votes: 28 19.3%
  • No

    Votes: 41 28.3%
  • A possible trait, but not universal

    Votes: 62 42.8%
  • No opinion

    Votes: 14 9.7%

  • Total voters
    145
Totally forgot about that quote! While I agree that the case could be made that those aren't canon, there's still a lot that we can learn from Tolkien's apocrypha.

"no Man nor Elf has ever seen a beardless Dwarf - unless he were shaven in mockery, and would then be more like to die of shame... For the Naugrim have beards from the beginning of their lives, male and female alike..." (JRR Tolkien, The War of the Jewels ("The Later Quenta Silmarillion: Of the Naugrim and the Edain", ~1951).
Considering the remakes we've seen so far, I think that in our lifetimes we will see someone remake (or should I say, re-adapt) the Lord of the Rings. 10, 20, 30 years, it's bound to happen.

Damn... It’s too bad we’ll probably never get this given how prolific the Peter Jackson films are. I love the first trilogy and enjoyed the first of the Hobbit films, but I agree this would be a much better format to adapt the series to.
Also, regardless of dwarven women's beards, I shaved mine off today and that was a mistake! My beard can't regrow fast enough, I feel traumatized. So, beards for all races! Bearded dwarven women, bearded lizardfolk, bearded elves, bearded goblins! I'll be selling my Beardworld setting in no time.
 

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Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Check out the BBC radio version.
I own it and love it. "They cannot conquer forever." - Ian Holm's delivery of that line as Frodo brought me to tears. I'm so frustrated that they cut the whole climax of "Journey to the Cross-Roads" from the theatrical editions of the movies, and even when included in the Extended Editions, they didn't use that line. Frodo became a lot less 3-dimensional of a character in the films versus the book and the audio-play as they focused on his burden and descent into madness. Just because he has those doesn't mean he can't have wisdom and insight alongside it.


I admit I forgot about that, but I'd call it "secondary canon" at best--an idea Tolkien may have had at one point but didn't necessarily keep to.
It post-dates the Lord of the Rings, at any rate. These writings were in his assemblage of The Silmarillion, but that book was never assembled by him because he couldn't get the texts to align. His son Christopher (who did more good for Tolkienology than the movies ever will, and got a lot of flack for his hate of them, though I disagree with his assessment) put The Silmarillion together by frankensteining writing periods that had no business sitting side by side and getting a friend to fill in gaps where there just wasn't material to make it work. He himself said this was a mistake. Tolkien's unpublished Later Silmarillion writings, as annotated in "Morgoth's Ring," "The War of the Jewels," and "The Peoples of Middle-earth," alongside the "Unfinished Tales," are just as important as anything written in "Lord of the Rings" and "The Silmarillion" when it comes to Tolkien's canon thoughts. Yes, sometimes they disagree. So does "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," and so do "The Silmarillion" and "The Lord of the Rings." It's the nature of the beast. There are issues that are irreconcilable because Tolkien never reconciled them. That doesn't make them "secondary canon." It makes the canon as a whole more nebulous.

I'm just salty because they thoroughly messed up my favorite part of the books (everything to do with the Stewards of Gondor). Well, except that they did a great job with Boromir, but then he came across as the best member of his whole family, which is also a problem... I blame Philippa Boyens and her obvious raging crush on Aragorn.
While I love what Boyens & Walsh did with the Aragorn character (essentially pulling his conflict out of the Appendices and into the forefront main story of the books (at the cost of his surety of character), I felt that the Boromir-Faramir-Denethor family was failed in part by not sticking true enough to the books. The Extended Editions do much to alleviate the "evil Faramir" issue - which I believe was Boyens and Walsh trying to push back against Tolkien's "Aragorn-lite Faramir" and make the pull of the Ring more evident and menacing - they did so in a way that made Denethor just look like a raging donkey-sphincter, rather than a flawed and broken man. I understand him being awful in RotK since he's heartbroken at Boromir's death. But he's just so awful to Faramir from the get go and so praising of Boromir. It makes it look like his madness isn't much of anything new.

Given that the Return of the King film had 45 or so false endings (at least, that's how it felt in the theater), the only thing I think the movies are really missing is the Sharkey sequence. But, to me, the Lord of the Rings is mostly about the hobbit people and coming into their own, which the Sharkey stuff completes.
100% agreed. The hobbits are in-part stand-ins for people learning to become responsible adults in their own right. That doesn't mean they're stand-ins for children; there's this weird idea that once we get to 18, or 21, or finish college, or have a real job, or complete an advanced degree, or have a kid, then suddenly we'll understand how to be an adult and manage everything competently and not flail about feeling helpless in the face of adversity. The story for the 5 main Hobbits is that by going there and back again, by surviving the adversity and playing their part in the Great Stories, they can now better come back to their "normal lives" and take charge of it without needing to rely on Rangers or Gandalf or Tom Bombadil or Elf or Dwarf companies to protect them. Gandalf purposefully leaves the 4 Hobbits at Bree to go chat with Tom Bombadil while knowing they'll have to deal with a Saruman who still has at least one crooked tooth left. In any other story, Gandalf and Aragorn and the other "big folk heroes" would have chased down this loose end and dealt with Saruman themselves. But here, the whole point of the narrative is that the Hobbits have to learn to manage these problems on their own. And they do. Hobbit bounders are able to do what they always thought they were doing (they weren't because Rangers and others were dealing with the bigger threats before they got to the borders of the Shire).

This is why Frodo and Sam can become Mayors and why Pippin can become the Tháin and Merry the Master. They're not that just because they're POV characters and thus we get some sort of fanservicey leadership roles for them, no it's because they learned the necessary skills over their adventures to be competent leaders for their communities, and to help others in the community better themselves. They've transformed what it means to be Hobbits, for the better.

I love the "Scouring" and the movies failed in a very, very, very big way by leaving it out. I mean, I love Tom Bombadil but you can have the themes he reinforces without him. But without this "final test of what they've learned", we get the sense that Aragorn, Legolas, Gímli, Éowyn, Gandalf, etc were more important to the tale after all. Sure, Frodo and Sam completed the quest, but only because Aragorn et all redirected Sauron's eye, and only because Gollum happened to slip after beating them. Frodo failed at Mt. Doom. He succeeded earlier by sparing Gollum's life, but we need to know why that's important not just to the world around him but to him as a person. He's a better person, if a broken one, for going there and back again, and we need to see that.
 
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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I think it was the right move to cut the scouring from the films. Destroying the ring is undeniably the climax and should be followed promptly by the denouement. Throwing in a second climax with lesser stakes totally throws off the dramatic pacing of the story. As a film, it just wouldn’t work. But that’s why it would work better as a streaming series, because you could make the Scouring a separate arc with its own rising action, climax, and denouement instead of an awkward second climax tacked on after the primary threat has been resolved.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I think it was the right move to cut the scouring from the films. Destroying the ring is undeniably the climax and should be followed promptly by the denouement. Throwing in a second climax with lesser stakes totally throws off the dramatic pacing of the story. As a film, it just wouldn’t work. But that’s why it would work better as a streaming series, because you could make the Scouring a separate arc with its own rising action, climax, and denouement instead of an awkward second climax tacked on after the primary threat has been resolved.
Not an unpopular opinion by any means - I think most people would agree with you about the pacing, as would the films' production team.

I also agree that the pacing would be really weird - it would be like tacking the plot of "Spider-Man: Far From Home" into an extra hour of "Avengers: Endgame" since it deals with Peter's emotional fallout and development from the events of the previous film.

I also think Lord of the Rings could have worked as long-form serialized film like Marvel and Star Wars do, but those benefit from anticipation and lack of knowledge of how the story ends (as opposed to a book adaptation). In many ways, I could say that that's what Peter Jackson & co. were trying to do with the third Hobbit film. The Dragon Quest is wrapped up before the title card drop of the film. The rest of the film is dealing with the fallout of the actual Quest for Erebor, and adapts just the last 5 chapters of a 19-chapter book. It's similar to how the Battle of the Hornburg is stretched out from 1 chapter to most of The Two Towers. I think we could have easily had a denouement film, but it created the same audience pathos that cutting the Scouring does.

As upset as I was about the loss of the Scouring, I think you're probably right. I think it's an essential element of the storymind and a good reason (among many) why Christopher stuck his nose up at the films, but from a filmmaker perspective, it just doesn't make sense to include it in a film version.

In my fantasy of a Hobbit & LotR tv show (maybe as a sequel to the Akallabêth one they're making on Amazon), they'd spend whole episodes in the Blue Mountains with Durin's Folk, and we'd get to meet the bearded dwarf-woman Dís and understand the familial bonds better between Kíli and Fíli and their uncle, Thorin. I have a lot of thoughts on that prequel trilogy, not all of them good, but fleshing out the different dwarf characters was a definite plus for me.

Oh, and that reminds me, to those who stick their nose up on a the Kíli - Tauriel romance: there's another theory floating around on the internet about why dwarves have beards and elves don't: it's because Dwarves and Elves are the males and females of the same species. ;)

I would suppose then that people like Thranduil and Legolas and Elrond would be transgendered individuals or such, though I think that's going a bit too deep into the psychology and implications of the above joke.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
I have a lot of thoughts on that prequel trilogy, not all of them good, but fleshing out the different dwarf characters was a definite plus for me.
This is why I say I enjoyed the first film. It had its issues, but the dwarves were handled beautifully. In the first one.

I do think there’s about one good 3 hour movie or 2 decent 2 hour movies in all the footage of that trilogy. I’ve seen some fan edits that are significantly better for their relative brevity, but ultimately there’s only so much you can do just by cutting. The underlying structural problems that come from turning a single 310 page book into two three hour movies and then being forced by the studio to make it into three mid-production are still there. If anything, cutting down to the bare essentials only makes it that much clearer how under-utilized the dwarves were after the fir trees.
 

This is why I say I enjoyed the first film. It had its issues, but the dwarves were handled beautifully. In the first one.

I do think there’s about one good 3 hour movie or 2 decent 2 hour movies in all the footage of that trilogy. I’ve seen some fan edits that are significantly better for their relative brevity, but ultimately there’s only so much you can do just by cutting. The underlying structural problems that come from turning a single 310 page book into two three hour movies and then being forced by the studio to make it into three mid-production are still there. If anything, cutting down to the bare essentials only makes it that much clearer how under-utilized the dwarves were after the fir trees.
But it wasn't just the one book for three movies, it was also stuff from the Appendices from LotR for the Necromancer side story. It would have been a good duology, instead of an alright trilogy, if they took out a lot of that Emo Thorin crap from the second and third movies and got rid of that silly dwarf-elf love story. I have to say that I liked the character of Tauriel, and was fine with a new character being added, just not that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But it wasn't just the one book for three movies, it was also stuff from the Appendices from LotR for the Necromancer side story.
The thing is, there’s good reason that stuff wasn’t in the book. It’s just not relevant to Billbo and the dwarves’ story, and forcing it in doesn’t add anything to the story. One of the key rules of editing is if you don’t need it, cut it. That said, that stuff isn’t what I’d consider major structural issues with the films. That’s stuff you could fix with a better edit. The structural issues are things like the character arc of Billbo earning the dwarves’ respect being wrapped up after the fir trees, leaving little of interest for the main characters to do for the remaining two thirds of the story.

It would have been a good duology, instead of an alright trilogy, if they took out a lot of that Emo Thorin crap from the second and third movies and got rid of that silly dwarf-elf love story. I have to say that I liked the character of Tauriel, and was fine with a new character being added, just not that.
Yeah. It would have needed some padding to fill out two films, especially at three hours each, but they had a plan that I think would have worked pretty decently. Again though, being forced to make it into a trilogy mid-production really screwed everything up.
 


Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I think it was the right move to cut the scouring from the films. Destroying the ring is undeniably the climax and should be followed promptly by the denouement. Throwing in a second climax with lesser stakes totally throws off the dramatic pacing of the story.
Except the film already has multiple climaxes and denouements to rapidly diminishing returns.

I know a lot of people who were confused about the whole "everyone's getting on a boat now and are sad and tired" bit at the end. The book readers -- and the folks with Elvish tattooed on their bodies especially -- knew what it was about, but it didn't really click with a lot of film viewers.

In contrast, everyone knows the hobbits, knows Sauruman and I think very few people would have been sad to see the hobbits give him and Wormtongue what he deserved as the denouement for the film.

Obviously, it's Jackson's movie and everyone sailing to the west was what mattered to him. I just wish the hobbits and their arc had mattered more than it did to him. (I otherwise think the LotR trilogy is great and have very few complaints about them.)
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Except the film already has multiple climaxes and denouements to rapidly diminishing returns.
But they follow a trend of generally rising action up to the overall climax, which is the destruction of the ring.Like this:



The scouring would put another bump into the curve at the right end, that didn’t go as high. And that’s bad story pacing.
 


The scouring would put another bump into the curve at the right end, that didn’t go as high. And that’s bad story pacing.
Also bad story pacing: Having so many denouements that the audience is audibly groaning each time another one begins in Return of the King.

They could have cut all of them, replaced it with Sharkey, and it would have been better. :p
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Also bad story pacing: Having so many denouements that the audience is audibly groaning each time another one begins in Return of the King.
Yes, the too many endings problem is a well-known issue with the Return of the King film.

They could have cut all of them, replaced it with Sharkey, and it would have been better. :p
Would it have been better though? I think it would just have been bad in a different way.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Except the film already has multiple climaxes and denouements to rapidly diminishing returns.
I agree with this complaint. Where I disagree is the implication that adding the Scouring of the Shire would have come across as anything other than just one more denouement.

The problem is that a movie is consumed all at once, which means that you have to keep the audience engaged throughout. There is no chance for the audience to come down off a climax, process it, get some distance, and return ready to engage a new arc*. And that means, once you have the grand climax of Sauron's defeat, anything that comes after it is going to feel inconsequential. The end of the movie drags on as it is, despite Jackson doing everything in his power to compress it--if you tried to work in the Scouring of the Shire as well, the audience would either fall asleep or leave.

A book, by contrast, is usually consumed in pieces over a span of days or weeks. Those who can plow through a whole book in one epic sitting are a distinct minority. Given that "Return of the King" goes on for six full chapters after Mount Doom, it's likely that the reader will get at least one break in between Sauron's fall and the discovery that Saruman has trashed the Shire. This allows the sense of scale to reset, so that the Scouring seems meaningful.

A TV show is like a book in this regard, and could pull off the Scouring in a way that no movie ever could. It could also include more of the foreshadowing that Tolkien uses to lay the groundwork. The movie version of "The Two Towers" couldn't really justify giving space to the discovery of Eastfarthing pipe-weed in Isengard, but in a TV show, it would be fine.

*Okay, yes, it's a trilogy of movies, so the audience does get two chances to do this. But that's no help in this case.
 

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