So EW has released the first view of the new female elf character from The Hobbit, Tauriel, played by Evangeline Lilly. This had to be done because there are no women anywhere at all in The Hobbit except for some kids who run away crying, and it’s 2013.

The addition of a female elf warrior doesn’t bother me too much, for beyond the obvious reasons of liking a feisty female with her own agency. Would Tolkien have been on board with this? The record isn’t so clear; while his elf societies as dreamed up don’t leave room for warrior maidens, he was definitely familiar with the archetype, even beyond Eowyn. In the Silmarillion there’s Lady Haleth who leads one of the three houses of the Edain (man), and Galadriel is generally referred to as a badass in the battle with the Necromancer. A lot of the women mentioned in the history the human race are called valiant and brave. Tolkien was oblivious to the role of women in his books, but not in life in general, and the few women in his books are mostly very sympathetic and noble characters.

What does bother me is the red hair. The Sindarin “Moriquendi”—of whom the tribe of the Elves of Mirkwood belonged— were said to be dark haired. In fact…they were called Dark Elves. I dunno where Legolas got his blond hair from…what was strictly a Noldor/Quenya or High Elf thing.

So red haired elves…I dunno…these are not Khazad, for the love of Varda.

On the other hand…it beats bird shit, so I guess we ‘ll have to settle for that.


  1. I actually looked into the “Legolas as a blond” thing earlier this year, during a LotR reread. As far as I could tell, his hair color is never mentioned in the book; the closest I came was the description of the Elven King from the Hobbit (Legolas’ father), who had “golden hair.”

    But yeah, the red is weird.

  2. Hm I have forgotten Thranduil’s lineage, but he’s actually a nephew of the House of Finrod which was revered for its golden hair! So Galadrial (Finrod’s sister) and Legolas were kinsfolk!

    Still no red haired elves though.

  3. Thranduil’s lineage are Sindarin not Silvan elves. They rule over the Silvan elves of Mirkwood, but were amongst the host of elves that originally departed with the Valar, although they stopped at the sea and didn’t complete the journey to Valinor with the Vanyar and Noldor.

  4. Also: Moriquendi “Dark Elf” does not refer to coloration of hair or skin. It is instead a reference to the light of the two trees of Valinor. The Moriquendi were those elves that refused the invitation of the Valar to journey to Valinor to live within the light of the Two Trees.

    The Calaquendi or Elves of the Light were those that accepted the Valar’s invitation and the Moriquendi were those that refused. Hair coloration had nothing to do with those designations. The Noldor, for example, were amongst the Calaquendi, or Elves of the Light, but Feanor had black hair as did many of his descendants.

  5. Maybe this as close as we’re ever gonna get to seeing a big budget version of ELFQUEST’S Huntress Skyfire?

  6. Galadriel was in the Hobbit acted by Cate Blanchette possibly one of the best actors in the last 10 years.

  7. Wow… I really hope that’s just a bad color correction job. Empire and a few other mags have had set pictures of her online since March and April. Her hair looked red in those, but more of a brownish red. Those didn’t look too bad. This just looks… wrong.

  8. There ARE red-headed Elves; however, there are only four, and Jackson making her red-headed is more of an insult to Tolkien than if there were NO red-headed Elves. The four red-heads were part of the same family in The Silmarillion, and that family (the Feanorians) is renowned for the flashy, ostentatious way they all died out after committing terrible crimes. Even Christopher Tolkien commented on the curious fact that there are only four, and that it is easy to assume that they were the ONLY four. So Tauriel’s red hair is unbelievable for a completely different reason.

  9. Well, redheads are derived from a mutation gene called MC1R. Considering I, myself, am a redhead, it is possible for a blonde-haired couple to produce a red-haired child. Both of my parents are brunettes which would require both of them to be carriers of the MC1R gene. It does not simply take a redheaded woman and a redheaded man to produce a red-hair child. Technically, any couple can produce a redheaded child.

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