I kind of love the Hobbit movies. They’re not perfect, and they’re not the book, but I’ve really enjoyed them on their own terms. That even goes for their completely revisionist, frankly nutty portrayal of an elf/dwarf romance between Tauriel and Kili. I rolled my eyes and sighed, and then found myself on that ‘ship faster than you can say, “She walks in starlight.” Nope, it doesn’t make sense, and Tolkien would probably hate it, but darn, they are adorable.
This semester, I’ve been taking a class on Spenser, and we’ve read a good deal of his chivalric romance, the Faerie Queene. It’s been fun to read, and I can even see its influence on other authors, including Tolkien. (For instance, Spenser loooves alliteration. And he is incapable of mentioning dungeons without making them “dungeons deep.”) In Book Three of the poem, Arthur’s squire Timias encounters the beautiful huntress Belphoebe, with whom he falls in love. When they meet, Timias has just vanquished three vile foresters, taking a mortal arrow wound to the leg in the process, and Belphoebe finds him unconscious in a mire of his own blood. (There is a lot of gore in Spenser.) Moved to pity, she gathers healing herbs from the forest and uses them to purify his wound. “Elvish medicine!” I thought when I read that. “And apparently tobacco is the Spenserian version of Athelas…” And then, because I am a dork, I identified all the parallels between this scene and Tauriel’s healing of Kili in The Desolation of Smaug. Furthermore, because I am a dork with access to internet screencap databases and plenty of excuses for doing this instead of real work, I put together a Hobbit/Faerie Queene illustrated crossover, if you will. Lord only knows what Tolkien would think. After all, C.S. Lewis once described him as someone who “can’t read Spenser because of the forms [and] thinks all literature is for the amusement of men between thirty and forty.” Sorry, Professor T., but literature is also pretty amusing for fangirls between twenty and thirty.
With Apologies to Tolkien and Spenser (Or Perhaps Not)
(From Bk. 3, Canto V of The Faerie Queene)
Shortly she came, whereas that woefull Squire
With bloud deformed, lay in deadly swownd:
In whose faire eyes, like lamps of quenched fire,
The Christall humour stood congealed rownd;
His locks, like faded leaues fallen to grownd,
Knotted with bloud, in bounches rudely ran,
And his sweete lips, on which before that stownd
The bud of youth to blossome faire began,
Spoild of their rosie red, were woxen pale and wan.