The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug: Why Tauriel is Cooler Than Legolas

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Only one woman has a direct role in the narrative of The Lord of the Rings (two, if you count Galadriel), and there are literally no women AT ALL in The Hobbit. So really, you can’t blame them for adding a girl. And not just a token female; a serious and badass character with a direct influence on the plot.

And damn, what a woman they added. Look, I could talk about how interesting this movie is, how it comments on greed and rulership and how these change depending on which societal lens one uses. I could go on about the sheer brilliance of  the metaphor of ethereal elves living in a cave they’ve carved to look like a forest, worshiping stars they never see, ruled by a king filled with fear whose perfect face is a lie. But this is a gender blog, so we’re going to talk about Tauriel–and how impressive it is that the writers managed to make the first Tolkien film to pass the Bechdel Test.

Why Tauriel is Cool

First off, look at her:

Tauriel_portrait_-_EmpireMagThis lady came in swinging. She took out five terrifying spiders in about a minute. She charged headfirst into two packs of Orcs. She battled four Orcs at once–all of which were twice her size. She’s the only character in the whole movie whose life never got saved by ANYONE else, and who in fact saved at least two boy’s lives.

I know, Legolas has some unspeakably cool moments (for those of you who’ve seen the movie, OH MY GOD THE ORC IN THE BOAT). But she’s both cool and doesn’t make you want to smack her. She’s cool while not treating people’s heads as a hopscotch board.

I've never seen a guy get the ass shot and a girl get to look badass.

I’ve never seen a guy get the ass shot and a girl get to look badass. The switch gives me hope for media.

Now, aside from the sheer I-want-to-be-you-please coolness, Tauriel also has a very conscious role as the film’s only girl. And this is a GOOD THING. Women and men are obviously equal, but equal does not mean identical. Tauriel brings the film some beauty, old-school feminine healing energy and assorted lovey-dovey stuff, and some compassion and tenderness that no other character offers. She makes the film seem more about people, instead of about men.

Why it’s important that Tauriel is Girly1381233197_desolation-of-smaug-trailer

Early on, Beorn says that he hates dwarves because they easily ignore the value of all life they deem less worthy than their’s. All through the film, we see characters doing this. Thorin judges more and more lives unworthy. Thranduil clearly judges only his own elves to have lives of value, and even then it is a variable value–Tauriel has less worth than Legolas, for instance. Smaug and the Orcs view all life as valueless.

Tauriel doesn’t think like this. When Legolas tells her to leave Kili to his fate, she doesn’t do it. She judges his life to be valuable enough to save. She judges the lives of strangers in other lands valuable enough to protect. She tells Legolas that they are part of the world, and that they have a responsibility to protect it.  She’s not willing to just hide behind her borders, in safety–she wants to walk among the stars.

Power in this film appease most clearly when people make a value judgement of another’s life against their own.  Tauriel values other’s lives as worth risking her own, no matter what race they happen to be. Legolas doesn’t, which is what makes him an ass. Same goes for the Master, for Thranduil–who is basically preying off Lake Town, bankrolling a tyrant–and for Thorin, who has to be persuaded to help his friends.

Tauriel has power, and she uses it for good. She tempers her elven holier-than-thou attitude with kindness, with caring. She’s willing not only to kill, but to save.

Why Tauriel is the Film’s Surprise Heroinethe-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-banner-2

One of the main complaints leveled against LOTR is the lack of moral ambiguity. Evil is evil, good is basically incorruptible, and no one ever has to challenge these basic ideas. Boromir–and, to a lesser extent, Faramir–is cited as the main exception to this rule.

In “Smaug,” EVERYONE is Boromir. Everyone is sorely tempted, not by the ring but by riches. No matter their race: Thorin, the Master of Lake Town, and Thranduil all long after the treasures of the Lonely Mountain. The rest of the characters are driven more by desires than by noble ideals, more by their hearts than by their honor.

The only two exceptions to this rule are Tauriel and Gandalf. Gandalf is working on a grand scale of “the Enemy” and those who oppose him, but even so he is plagued by self-doubt, painfully aware of how easy it is to make mistakes. e4e327a6-5e62-11e3-_486623b

Like Gandalf, Tauriel is a straight good guy, and it suffuses her character. We are always on her side. Unlike Gandalf, she’s working on a far more complex scale. We meet her at a critical time, when her loyalties to her King and to our old friend Legolas are in conflict. She may be the loneliest character we meet in the film, because all her relationships are laden with the racial politics that LOTR skidded over. She’s the person caught in the cultural machine, and she doesn’t really know what to do.

Above and beyond that, Tauriel has a calling like Gandalf’s: to fight evil, wherever it hides itself. She believes in things bigger than herself, bigger than her little love triangle.

Yet, even though Gandalf and Tauriel are the least morally ambiguous characters, they are still faced with conflicts far more complex than anything anyone had to deal with in LOTR. They find themselves forced to make hard choices, which challenge their ideas of right and wrong, of loyalty and love. Their choices have no easy answers, and only time will tell if they were right.

Yes, she’s cool even with the love triangleThe-Hobbit-The-Desolation-of-Smaug-2

Yeah, it’s a bit annoying that the only lady in the 3 movies is in the middle of a damn love triangle. But whenever I start to get irritated, I think about this: Kili literally has a personality only because of the lady. She straight-up defines his character. And Legolas’s motivations come entirely down to Tauriel. As in that’s literally why he’s still in the movie after a while. Also, he only becomes remotely tolerable when Tauriel’s in the room (seriously, what an asshole). So love triangle it may be, but the boys are in way more over their heads than the girl.

And the writers go out of their way to make sure Tauriel’s motivations–unlike the boys’–aren’t solely down to a love interest. She does this whole speech thing to Legolas, and it makes it clear that this is bigger than a dwarf with a crush, bigger than one land and its borders. This triangle does not define her.

Race in Middle Earth

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Race was a really uncomplicated concept in LOTR. Legolas and Gimli were embodiments of their respective races, and had no other individual traits. The hobbits all shared basic characteristics stemming from being hobbits.

Tauriel makes race complicated. Tauriel is the wrong kind of elf (did you know there were wrong kinds of elves?) She’s an individual, one we can empathize with, and she’s caught in the middle of a racially supercharged love triangle. No matter what she does, she’s violating taboos. Her very existence is devalued by her King solely because of her race. Everything she does is loaded with racial judgements. And no matter what sort of choices she makes, the racial politics of Middle Earth are such that she is bound to unhappiness.

This is crap, and these people are kind of crap for buying into it all. Tauriel’s voice breaks when she calls herself “A lowly Silvan elf,” and you know she doesn’t really want to believe that. Kili thinks she walks among the stars, but enchanting as that is Tauriel knows how tightly bound she is to the earth.

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I’ll just leave this prediction here:

Tauriel has a 100% chance of dying next movie. Bet you anything.

Partly this is because they have to kill people this time. I mean, for god’s sake, not killing people in this movie was so ridiculous they lampshaded it with that barrel thing. All these damn characters and one has been hurt at all. Unless you count Legolas’s nosebleed, but seriously, I’ve rarely laughed harder, so don’t.

For a big battle to matter, someone’s gotta die. All three LOTR movies had a battle where someone died a big death, even if they had to take liberties with the books. Tolkien describes overwhelming death among all the races in the big Hobbit battle.

Sure, you don’t want to distract from the big death–which I won’t spoil, even though the book is older than my parents. But for that reason, you don’t want to kill members-of-a-certain-race. So you’ve gotta kill (I”m sorry, but SPOILERS) men or elves, and it’s gotta matter so we can feel it.the_hobbit_the_desolation_of_smaug_photo_tauriel_1

So, since we’ve got 3 elf characters and 2 are off-limits, Tauriel it is.

Also, they have to do something about Legolas. I mean, seriously, he is such an overwhelming ass. Who the hell freaks about a nosebleed? And hilarious as it is for him to mutter about dwarves being ugly, jealously is very unbecoming.

Then there’s the fact that Legolas went with the Fellowship. I mean, at the time it just seemed like a thing. But now, we know he’s from an isolationist kingdom and that he’s been taught to a) avoid big evil battles and b) not invest trust in other races. So what the hell is he doing tramping across the world, protecting a short person? (Next time you need cheering up, try to imagine what happened when the Mirkwood delegation broke the news to Thranduil).the_hobbit_desolation_of_smaug_tauriel_t

Something’s gotta give for this character to make sense, and it’s gonna be Tauriel. We now know why he hated dwarves so much, but there’s more than that. There’s nothing like losing someone you love to make you re-evaluate your life, and I bet anything that’s what’ll happen in the next movie.

And seriously, if someone doesn’t slap Legolas or Thranduil in the next movie, I will be so pissed. Maybe Gandalf can practice his staff thing on one of them.

 

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43 thoughts on “The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug: Why Tauriel is Cooler Than Legolas

  1. I hardly ever read blogs because they’re usually corny. This one, however, is spectacular. You have captured my exact feelings (and more) about this character. Some of your observations I had not thought of before. You bring validity to Tauriel that I have not seen in other critiques. Kudos!

  2. Thank you so much for being positive about this strong female hero. I have been drowning in pools of anti-Tauriel vitriol for months now, and I really liked the idea of her, and now that I’ve seen her in action, I *really* like her. I believe her relationship with Kili is what provided the bridge for Legolas to become friends with Gimli.

    So kudos to you for being positive, and kudos to Peter Jackson for taking a calculated risk, and brining us another strong woman to admire.

  3. As awesome as Tauriel is, the movie still doesn’t pass the Bechdel test. It has more than one female character, but they never speak to one another.

  4. As a female, I just have to say Turiel is the worst female character I have ever seen in film. Hands down worst. And I’ve only just seen her (It – the sexist monstrosity) last night, so I’m so blind angry this might come out a bit ranty:
    I only just went to see TDoS, and I have to say, I nearly walked out
    of the theater. And I was looking /forward/ to her. The problem is
    that since Black Widow, people seem to have mistaken ‘being able to
    fight’ with ‘personality’. The romance is one of the most grating I
    have ever, ever seen, and went on for far too long. It was so
    shoe-horned in as to be almost plot breaking, and made Legolas’
    character almost irrelevant. I am so angry right now. This was a
    terrible, terrible waste of an opportunity to show people that there can
    be good female character development, even in a Tolkien book. I mostly
    get pissed at bad female writing in books, and have to stop reading.
    But I have never, ever had it happen before in a film. Dear God. Was
    she bad. May as well have made Legolas a girl and given him zero backstory. He was pushed to the side for a Twilight love triangle. Not to mention bad, bad writing.

    Jar-Jar of the female variety.

    • I’m going to try to pick out the actual criticism from the (from what you say here) baseless ranting about sexism:
      Tauriel moves significantly beyond the “strong woman” stereotype, wherein a woman can kick ass and doesn’t need to have any other personality or plot. Tauriel is a young elf of a different caste–meaning that she has risen only so high in the society and can rise no further. She wants to see the world outside, and she legitimately believes in the need for evil to be fought wherever it is, whether it threatens Mirkwood or not. She also does something very rare in the movie by breaking across racial barriers to help people.
      A love triangle DOES NOT EQUAL Twilight. In Twilight, the drama was all about “Oh, who will she choose!” That’s what romances are about. This is not a romance: this is a drama. Therefore, the choice to include a love triangle resulted in a tangle of racial politics far more intense than anything we’ve ever before seen in a Tolkein film. Which is a good thing, because something as unquestioned as those racial barriers was desperately in need of being poked and prodded.
      A love triangle also does not imply sexism. Or bad writing of a female character. If you want an example, go watch some Buffy.
      Finally, saying something was bad writing does not actually mean it was bad writing.

      • I’ve been talking and online commenting about this Tauriel subject. People, mostly women, seem to be harking back to the LOTR Legolas. Yeah, he was really sweet in that one, exactly what we expect a pretty elf prince to be. But, that also seems to be making them compare him to Tauriel. They see her being placed on an equal level with Legolas, and that’s just not supposed to be done.

        Also, Kili has a huge fangirl following. They HATE that Tauriel is even looking at him, let alone having feelings for him. But, worse, he’s having feelings for her. However, it doesn’t even seem like a love triangle to me. Legolas has already rejected her as a possible mate because of her station. He’s just hanging around being an a-hole, expecting her to fetch and carry.

        Then there are those people who go to see these “Tolkien movies” expecting to see the book on screen. Tauriel, being practically the only female in the movie and not being original to the book, has to carry all the jealousy and resentment on her shoulders. Her place and relevance in the story is totally overlooked. It makes me love her all the more.

      • Not sure what you mean by Tauriel “not being an equal level” with Legolas, except maybe that Legolas is from the books and Tauriel was created for the movies.

        I figure fangirls do what fangirls do on the internet.

        I wouldn’t be quite so mean to Legolas, jerk though he was in this movie. Thranduil seems to be trying to go behind his back by talking to Tauriel, and we never actually hear what Legolas thinks about the race thing. He does go with her to Lake Town, even if he gets so pissed over that nosebleed that he takes off without her.

    • I agree with you completely, and the Jar-Jar reference is priceless 🙂 The character’s history, and purpose is…to say the least, messed up. With details such as the fact that she’s only 600 year old (‘practically a baby’ as the actor stated) is quite amusing considering that she’s captain of the guard (and a reckless one at that!) and has hardly ventured out of Mirkwood! The love story is messed up as well…Kili’s was just eye candy for fans, and barely resembled a dwarf at all. Typical how the most ‘un-dwarfy’ looking character of the movie ends up having a love story, HA! If they really that desperate to promote a romance with a dwarf, they could’ve picked Fili. Even so, I would have hated that love story, so matter who it was with. And also, how is a ‘killing-machine’ (as the actor of Tauriel stated) able to heal such a wound? (truth is they AREN’T able to, but for this special eye-candy romance, they made it so).

      • The relationship between Tauriel and Kili trivializes and diminishes Tolkien’s theme of reconcilation between the races in LotR, exemplified by Legolas and Gimli.

        Never saw Twilight, but the essence of a love triangle is the dramatic tension of choice.
        “Drama” is a genre; “romantic triangle” is a device: apples and oranges.
        Saying something was good writing does not actually mean it was good writing, especially not when it is little more than a fanfic version of a literary classic.

        And, btw, it’s T-O-L-K-I-E-N.

  5. I was looking for a way to like Tauriel, and the reasons you provided are made my distaste for the character grow even farther. You cannot offer a single piece of evidence as to how she fits into a story about a Hobbit and dwarves who wish to overtake their kingdom- all the while encountering danger along the way. And about the love story, Dwarves and elves are completely different races. It’s like comparing cats and dogs. The humans are one breed of cat- and the elves are another, whilst the dwarves are the dogs (or vice versa). They, unlike dwarves, CAN mate, and there has been history of a human and elf pairing. Putting a dwarf and an elf together is basically putting cat and dog together into a romantic subplot. They’re practically different creatures. It’s unfortunate how you fangirls and guys lack the knowledge to sufficiently explain your judgement. If you had a shred of dignity- you’d see how putting a love story between a dwarf and and elf does not work- and how Tauriel would be severely nerfed if Tolkien was the one to have created her. He did not endevour in Mary-sue’s, and surely wouldn’t for the sake of such a story. This doing was all for the public, and there were severe mistakes made in this film that you, unfortunatly, can’t seem to comprehend.

    • Elves, humans, and dwarves are not cats and dogs. They are conscious, sentient beings. There is plenty of Tolkein precedent for folks falling in love outside the tight boundaries of “elf” “dwarf” and “human.”
      The entire point of having the romantic subplot is to push against assertions like this, that “race” is an insurmountable barrier to PEOPLE.
      She’s no less a part of the story than anyone else, and she fits neatly into a story in which she is a part of an elven race that the hobbit and dwarves pass through on their way to the kingdom. She then goes after a bunch of orcs, and makes friends outside her race.
      Of your other criticisms, I’m going to sit in awe at the use of “nerf” as a verb and “Tolkein” as the user of that verb in the same sentence.
      Thanks for reading!

      • Wrong again. Elves and men were created by Eru, related by being the First- and Second-born. Dwarves were created by Aule, one of the Valar, made from stone, and have no ‘genetic kinship’ with the children of Iluvatar. I suspect that if Tolkien had intended elves to mate with dwarves, he would have included at least one such pairing in his prolific writings. He didn’t, so it never happened.

        As to your ‘plenty of pairings,’ there were three and all between elves and men.

        Btw, when criticizing someone else’s writing, you might want to double-check your own. It’s T-O-L-K-I-E-N. But I’m sure such a scholar as yourself knew that, right?

      • I’m not a scholar. I never claimed to be. And I’m comfortable not being a scholar, because it means I don’t say things like “if Tolkien had intended.” Tolkien was not God, he is not above criticism, and his world has been out in the ether long enough that it no longer belongs to his memory alone. But fair point: I did skip my spell check.

      • And I’ll admit that, in the end, this may just be a difference where neither of us will ever come close to agreeing with the other. I’m honestly an old school sci-fi girl at heart, where the alien and the human fall in love and overcome their racial differences. And I’m not as invested in this world and its intricacies as you. Not a judgement, I swear! Just two wildly different perspectives.

    • It’s beyond me how people who watch these movies, try to compare them to the book. As a young person, I’ve read The Hobbit, and I’ve tried to read it as a older person. I hate to say it, but I cannot read the whole book anymore because it’s boring to me now. If the movie had followed the book, it would’ve been boring too. Peter Jackson simply gave in to necessity…that’s logical to me.

      And who says dwarves and elves can’t break the different-creature barrier? There’s plenty of videos on YouTube of dogs mating with cats. They may or may not be able to create young together, but they can achieve closeness and love. Neither elves nor dwarves are “dumb” animals, so I’m sure they can at least have a loving relationship. But, I wouldn’t worry about these two getting that far, unfortunately.

      Being a woman, I was very excited to see a badass female warrior in the movie. As much as I love Tolkien, I was always disappointed that there were only males in the story. Why not put a female warrior elf in the Hobbit Movie. Most of the male elves look like females anyway.

      I just wish people would remember: It’s a Peter Jackson movie, NOT the JRR Tolkien book. Stop being so insulted/offended/shocked by the “mistakes”.

      • “It’s beyond me how people who watch these movies, try to compare them to the book.”

        It’s beyond you how people “try” to compare movies based on a book to the book itself? Wow…I’ve never heard anyone make a statement like that before. Given the fact that, without the book there would be no movies, I would think it virtually impossible not to compare them.

        “If the movie had followed the book, it would’ve been boring too. Peter Jackson simply gave in to necessity…that’s logical to me.”

        You are perfectly entitled to think the book is boring. But hundreds of millions of people don’t think that the book is boring. Which is one of the reasons why so many people are dissatisfied with Peter Jackson’s adaptations. And what necessity did Jackson give in to exactly? He didn’t need to make these movies in the first place, much less make them so awful….that’s logical to me.

        “Who says dwarves and elves can’t break the different-creature barrier? There’s plenty of videos on YouTube of dogs mating with cats. They may or may not be able to create young together, but they can achieve closeness and love.”

        So? Just because something can be done, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be done, or that it’s even a good idea. Or….you know….because it wasn’t a part of Tolkien’s story and completely anathema to everything that he created.

        “Being a woman, I was very excited to see a badass female warrior in the movie.”

        Why is that? Is it exciting to see a female dispense violence and murder?

        “As much as I love Tolkien,”

        All evidence to the contrary. You not only stated that you thought The Hobbit was boring, you championed the travesty of an adaptation that is Peter Jackson’s movies.

        “I was always disappointed that there were only males in the story.”

        I was always disappointed that there were no Jedi Knights in Little Women. Perhaps Peter Jackson could be persuaded to adapt that book into a boring, bloated, three-movie extravaganza clocking in at over twelve hours in running time. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to insert an idealized male into the story in order to justify a ridiculously contrived love triangle. This character will be a handsome and charming sophisticate who isn’t afraid to share his feelings while meting out justice to ruffians with the help of trusty lightsaber. Yeah….no one anywhere would have a problem with that.

        “Why not put a female warrior elf in the Hobbit Movie.”

        Why stop there? I mean, why not put an entire village of female warrior elves in the movie? It would have a really cool yet cozy modern aesthetic designed by Williams-Sonoma….and only nine miles from the nearest Target!

        “Most of the male elves look like females anyway.”

        Okay. So then why would you need to add a female elf?

        “It’s a Peter Jackson movie, NOT the JRR Tolkien book. Stop being so insulted/offended/shocked by the “mistakes”.

        It’s so adorable how you placed quotation marks around “mistakes”, as though Peter Jackson made “mistakes” instead of deliberate choices when adapting Tolkien’s book. Look, feel free to bury your head in the sand all you want. But the fact of the matter is that Jackson is a hack, and his adaptations of Tolkien’s work are bloody awful. Remember what I said concerning the importance of the source material in regards to any film adaptation of it? There is absolutely no reason Jackson couldn’t have made a great film and a great adaptation. The fact is that he did neither.

      • Of course I disagree with everything you wrote, and I will continue to do so. However, one thing. I DO love Tolkien’s work, and the Hobbit is STILL boring to me. It is far from perfect, and I’m allowed to say so. I don’t have to approve of EVERYTHING he did just because I love his work overall.
        I don’t mind you picking my comment apart, it really doesn’t matter. But some parts of your response seems TOO picky, picky, picky (and really angry and a little arrogant).

      • Oh, have no fear, I’m fully aware that Jackson’s trilogy is fan fiction, not a faithful and respectful rendition of the Professor’s book.

      • Well, that’s not unfair in the end. The second part may be, but the first part is factually true. Any adaptation of anything ever written is “fan fiction.” Things like Star Trek and Doctor Who have gone on so long that anything after the early years was written by people who started out as fans. The Game of Thrones tv show is 100% fan fiction. And fans disagree about the things they love more than anyone else.

  6. You forgot to mention that Tauriel violates Tolkien canon and legendarium in over a dozen ways and on multiple levels. From her bow to her quiver, from her red hair to her healing powers, from her role as the Captain of the Guard to her role as a female elf, Tauriel is the most poorly-written, badly-created character (so far) in Jackson’s ME movies.

    He may as well have named her “Mary Sue” because that’s the essence of her character.

  7. “Only one woman has a direct role in the narrative of the Lord of the Rings,”

    Nope. Wrong. You obviously haven’t read The Lord of the Rings. Because no one who did would write something that blatantly false.

    “There are literally no women AT ALL in The Hobbit. So really, you can’t blame them for adding a girl.”

    Yes I can. The same way that I can blame a company for adding sodium benzoate to my food: I didn’t ask them to, and it doesn’t need to be there. It doesn’t make the food taste better. If anything, it can adversely affect my health and well-being after prolonged exposure.

    “And not just a token female; a serious and badass character with a direct influence on the plot.”

    You’re confusing “serious” with “melodramatic” and “badass” with “violent”. And Tauriel doesn’t have a direct influence on the plot. She doesn’t even have a direct influence on the narrative. She’s the cinematic equivalent of an annoying commercial that I’m forced to endure while waiting to get back to the story.

    “And damn, what a woman they added.”

    You said it, sister. Oh, wait…you were talking about Tauriel? No, no, silly. By “woman” I could only presume you meant Galadriel, who shouldn’t have been present in the films either. Tauriel is not a woman. She’s a petulant drag queen sashaying about in a bad costume at a Renaissance festival.

    “I could talk about how interesting this movie is,”

    No. You could talk about how interesting you believe the movie is.

    “How it comments on greed and rulership and how these are universal concepts.”

    Greed and rulership are not concepts.

    “I could go on about the sheer brilliance of the metaphor of ethereal elves living in a cave they’ve carved to look like a forest, worshipping stars they never see, ruled by a king filled with fear whose perfect face is a lie.”

    You could do that, but you’d only embarrass yourself. Because none of the above is categorically metaphorical.

    “But this is a gender blog, so we’re going to talk about Tauriel–and how impressive it is that the writers managed to make the first Tolkien film to pass the Bechdel Test.”

    Actually, according to the criteria set out by that test, the film failed. So….no. Not impressive. Also not impressive: your attempt to invoke some stupid gender polemic, only to have it blow up in your face. I will, however, give you a point for referring to Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh as “writers”. That was hilarious.

    “First off, look at her”

    I am. Remember the reference I made to a drag queen?

    “This lady came in swinging. She took out five terrifying spiders in about a minute. She charged headfirst into two packs of Orcs. She battled four Orcs at once–all of which were twice her size.”

    Yeah! Mixing CGI with feminist wish-fulfilment to enact absurd ultra-violence is awesome!

    “She’s the only character in the whole movie whose life never got saved by ANYONE else, and who in fact saved at least two boy’s lives.”

    Wrong on the first part. As for the second, see my response to your previous comment.

    “Legolas has some unspeakably cool moments”

    You think horribly rendered CGI sequences depicting irretrievably dull action less implausible than a video game is unspeakably cool? Of course you do.

    “But she’s both cool and doesn’t make you want to smack her.”

    Wrong on both counts!

    “She’s cool while not treating people’s heads as a hopscotch board.”

    She’s not cool while doing anything.

    “Now, aside from the sheer I-want-to-be-you-please coolness, Tauriel also has a very conscious role as the film’s only girl. And this is a GOOD THING.”

    No. Not a good thing. Not in the least.

    “Women and men are obviously equal”

    What???? Are you serious? Oh my god….what nonsense are you kids learning in school these days? Jesus….okay. Permit me to enlighten you to this thing called REALITY: there is no such thing as “equality”. It doesn’t exist. Women and men are not equal. Because they can’t be. They were not designed or engineered to be. We can respect each other and treat each other as equals, as I certainly believe we should. But that’s learned behavior.
    I feel at this point I have to stop and ask: how old are you?

    “Equal does not mean identical.”

    Hooray for online dictionaries.

    “Tauriel brings the film some beauty, old-school feminine healing and lovey-dovey stuff, and some compassion and tenderness that no other character offers.”

    First, beauty lies in the eye….and the eye can lie. Second, what exactly is old-school feminine healing? I’m asking because every search engine I’ve employed has no idea what you’re talking about. Third, compassion and tenderness can come in various forms. Claiming that no other character offers compassion and tenderness indicates you have an agenda.

    “She makes the film seem more about people, instead of about men.”

    Of course she does. Because men are not “people”. We’re objects. And that’s not an agenda, is it. Of course it’s not. It’s not incredibly obtuse and vile, either. No…not at all.

    “Early on, Beorn says that he hates dwarves because they easily ignore the value of all life they deem less worthy than their’s. All through the film, we see characters doing this. Thorin judges more and more lives unworthy. Tharanduil clearly judges only his own elves to have lives of value, and even then it is a variable value–Tauriel has less worth than Legolas, for instance. Smaug and the Orcs view all life as valueless.”

    I honestly don’t have all the time I’d need to hack away at this one, suffice to say that it’s quite possible you’ve managed to redefine banality.

    “Tauriel doesn’t think like this. When Legolas tells her to leave Kili to his fate, she doesn’t do it. She judges his life to be valuable enough to save. She judges the lives of strangers in other lands valuable enough to protect. She tells Legolas that they are part of the world, and that they have a responsibility to protect it. She’s not willing to just hide behind her borders, in safety–she wants to walk among the stars.”

    I want to walk among the stars, too. Usually after eight fingers of a good single malt.

    “Power in this film is to value other’s lives against your own. Tauriel values other’s lives worth risking, no matter who they are.”

    You should have warned me to ingest acetaminophen before reading this. This sentence is confirmation that blogging isn’t writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation.

    “Legolas doesn’t, which is what makes him an ass. Same goes for the Master, for Tharanduil–who is basically preying off Lake Town, bankrolling a tyrant–and for Thorin, who has to be persuaded to help his friends.”

    Well, boys are stinky after all.

    “Tauriel has power, and she uses it for good. She tempers her elven holier-than-thou attitude with kindness, with caring. She’s willing not only to kill, but to save.”

    And everyone knows only a girl can do that! Girl power!

    “One of the main complaints leveled against LOTR is the lack of moral ambiguity. Evil is evil, good is basically incorruptible, and no one ever has to challenge these basic ideas. Boromir–and, to a lesser extent, Faramir–is cited as the main exception to this rule.”

    Those aren’t complaints. Those are compliments. Once again, I submit that you have never actually read The Lord of the Rings.

    “In ‘Smaug’, EVERYONE is Boromir. Everyone is sorely tempted, not by the ring but by riches. No matter their race: Thorin, the Master of Lake Town, and Tharanduil all long after the treasures of the Lonely Mountain. The rest of the characters are driven more by desires than by noble ideals, more by their hearts than by their honor.”

    You can thank your “writers” for this, not J.R.R. Tolkien.

    “The only two exceptions to this rule are Tauriel and Gandalf. Gandalf is working on a grand scale of ‘the Enemy’ and those who oppose him, but even so he is plagued by self-doubt, painfully aware how easy it is to make mistakes.”

    Are you painfully aware that this blog of yours was an embarrassing mistake? The rest of us are.

    “Like Gandalf, Tauriel is a straight good guy, and it suffuses her character. We are always on her side.”

    Speak for yourself.

    “Unlike Gandalf, she’s working on a far more complex scale.”

    Really? This ridiculous, soccer-mom elf contrived by a hack with absolutely zero screenwriting experience before adapting The Lord of the Rings is more….complex….than Gandalf? Tell you what: bust out that online dictionary and look up the term “psychological projection”.

    “She may be the loneliest character we meet in the film, because all her relationships are laden with the racial politics that LOTR skidded over. She’s the person caught in the cultural machine, and she doesn’t really know what to do.”

    There’s a “cultural machine” in Middle-earth? Wow….they don’t even have washing machines there yet.

    “Above and beyond that, Tauriel has a calling like Gandalf’s: to fight evil, wherever it hides itself. She believes in things bigger than herself, bigger than her little love triangle.”

    Your assertion of Tauriel’s alleged beliefs dies on the vine when exposed to the fact that the only reason Tauriel exists in the film at all is to be one leg of a love triangle.

    “Yet, even though Gandalf and Tauriel are the least morally ambiguous characters, they are still faced with conflicts far more complex than anything anyone had to deal with in LOTR.”

    Really? Far more complex than two separate evil factions vying for pole position while hell bent on the eradication of all the free peoples of Middle-earth? Far more complex than a bucolic community of gentle folk corrupted by the machinations of that evil? Once again, I submit that you have never read The Lord of the Rings. You’ve probably never even read the Wikipedia entry for The Lord of the Rings.

    “They find themselves forced to make hard choices, which challenge their ideas of right and wrong, of loyalty and love. Their choices have no easy answers, and only time will tell if they were right.”

    That could apply to anyone. Anywhere. Alive or fictional. You might just as well have written that Gandalf and Tauriel find themselves forced to breathe oxygen and eat food.

    “Yeah, it’s a bit annoying that the only lady in the 3 movies is in the middle of a damn love triangle.”

    What’s annoying is your willful dismissal of reality. Tauriel is not the only “lady” in the three movies. I’d suggest repeating your formative education, followed by regular sessions of psychotherapy.

    “Kili literally has a personality only because of the lady. She straight-up defines his character.”

    Your logic works both ways. Tauriel literally has a personality only because of the dwarf. But your point is moot. Kili was never conceived by J.R.R. Tolkien as having a distinct personality to begin with.

    “So love triangle it may be, but the boys are in way more over their heads than the girl.”

    Boys are so stupid, aren’t they?

    “The writers go out of their way to make sure Tauriel’s motivations–unlike the boys’–aren’t solely down to a love interest. She does this whole speech thing to Legolas, and it makes it clear that this is bigger than a dwarf with a crush, bigger than one land and its borders. This triangle does not define her.”

    Again with the “writers”. That’s precious, really. It’s also complete horseshit. Kili is motivated by loyalty to his family( Fili and Thorin ), as well as the quest to retake Erebor. Legolas is motivated by loyalty to his father, to his people, and to his realm. Unfortunately, your “writers” weren’t content with such motivations. They had to have Kili and Legolas get happy in the pants for a drag queen.

    “Race was a really uncomplicated concept in LOTR. Legolas and Gimli were embodiments of their respective races, and had no other individual traits. The hobbits all shared basic characteristics stemming from being hobbits.”

    Wow….Look, if you didn’t want to read the book at least have someone who did sitting next to you when you’re typing this garbage.

    “Tauriel makes race complicated.”

    Tauriel doesn’t make race complicated. Tauriel couldn’t make rice complicated.

    “Tauriel is the wrong kind of elf (did you know there were wrong kinds of elves?)”

    No. I did not know that. By the way: did you know that there are wrong kinds of writing?

    “She’s an individual, one we can empathize with, and she’s caught in the middle of a racially supercharged love triangle.”

    You can empathize with a drag queen who’s impossibly perfect? At everything? And precisely when did the love triangle become supercharged? Are there automotive repair shops in Middle-earth?

    “No matter what she does, she’s violating taboos.”

    No. You want to say: No matter what she does, she’s violating logic, good taste, and canon.

    “Tauriel’s voice breaks when she calls herself a lowly Silvan elf,”

    Yes, Tauriel is a Silvan elf. But then, so is every other elf in Mirkwood. Thranduil and Legolas are technically Sindarin, but like other Sindarin elves of the Woodland Realm, they kind of went native. “Sindar” is a substrate, not a racial designation. So basically, this is an attempt by your “writers” to elicit sympathy for the poor little soccer mom elf who, you know, is inexplicably perfect at everything she does. Aw, man….now I need a tissue….sniff…

    “Kili thinks she walks among the stars, but enchanting as that is Tauriel knows how tightly bound she is to the earth.”

    To be fair, your “writers” deliberately made Kili into a child, so that they could further justify Tauriel’s need to mother him while treating him as inferior. Remember, kids: men are objects, not people.

    “Tauriel has a 100% chance of dying next movie.”

    Promise?

    “For a big battle to matter, someone’s gotta die. All three LOTR movies had a battle where someone died a big death, even if they had to take liberties with the books. Tolkien describes overwhelming death among all the races in the big Hobbit battle.”

    YOU…. HAVE…. NEVER…. READ…. The Lord of the Rings…. EVER.

    “The book is older than my parents.”

    Congratulations. You’ve succeeded in genuinely frightening me.

    And congratulations on typing what is without a doubt one of the worst pieces of “writing” I have ever had the displeasure of forcing myself to read. But cheer up. Considering your talents, I have every confidence that you could be hired by Peter Jackson to adapt The Silmariliion when he inevitably decides to desecrate another of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works. Your aversion to reading the source material will undoubtedly come in handy then.

    • Wow. Congratulations: I’ve rarely read such a vindictive and personally vicious comment on any blog, much less my own. Granted, I avoid the internet solely because of such things. But hey, thank you for actually reading my article and responding directly! Most of your comments are an astonishing 11 pages of just self-righteous “you haven’t memorized the book therefore you must not have read it,” but that’s all right–we all need ways of making ourselves feel smart, such as writing nasty comments longer than the article they criticize. But hey, you’re welcome to your opinion, as am I. I’m just not going to call you stupid while mixing real comments with unsupported bitching and attempts to demean a complete stranger.
      Oh, and I don’t play this card often because it’s overused, but referring to a character you dislike as a “drag queen” is straight sexist. Thank you for reminding me why I write on the internet: as an antidote to bullshit like that.

      • “I’ve rarely read such a vindictive and personally vicious comment on any blog, much less my own.”

        I don’t believe that. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt nonetheless.

        “I avoid the internet solely because of such things.”

        I don’t believe that either. If you avoided the internet, you wouldn’t maintain a blog, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

        “Thank you for actually reading my article and responding directly!”

        You’re welcome.

        “Most of your comments are an astonishing 11 pages of just self-righteous “you haven’t memorized the book therefore you must not have read it,” but that’s all right–we all need ways of making ourselves feel smart, such as writing nasty comments longer than the article they criticize.”

        I never accused you of not memorizing the book. I accused you of not actually reading the book. That was a statement based on the hard evidence present in your article. It wasn’t an attempt to make myself feel smart. I don’t have to do that. Because I am smart. And, technically speaking, my comments were not longer than your article. I responded the way I did in order to give everything you wrote due consideration. I’m actually surprised you thought my comments were “nasty”. Given the poor quality of your writing and the content of your article, I was actually restraining myself considerably.

        “You’re welcome to your opinion, as am I.”

        Actually, no. You’re not. See the conclusion to my response below.

        “I’m just not going to call you stupid while mixing real comments with unsupported bitching and attempts to demean a complete stranger.”

        I didn’t actually call you “stupid”. But if I did, try to grasp the fact that I wouldn’t call anybody stupid without feeling as though I had a damn good reason for doing so. And believe me when I say that if my intent was to demean a total stranger, I could do so very easily. No one reading my comments would come to the conclusion you did. Some of my comments were colorful, yes. But I felt completely justified in making them.

        “Oh, and I don’t play this card often because it’s overused,”

        Sure you don’t.

        “Referring to a character you dislike as a ‘drag queen’ is straight sexist.”

        No. It’s not sexist. Not in the least. It wouldn’t be sexist if I were referring to a real person, such as Madonna for example, as a drag queen. Because it’s true. She is.

        “Thank you for reminding me why I write on the internet: as an antidote to bullshit like that.”

        Wait a second. I thought you said you avoided the internet? And please don’t’ presume that I’m one of those people who lap up the pabulum in your blog as though it were mothers milk. You write on the internet for the same reason anyone else does: because you’re a narcissist who equates typing with writing.

        My wife earned her Ph.D in comparative literature at Berkeley. She’s published both fiction and monographs. And she’s occasionally taught writing and composition at the university level. I asked her to read your article. She read it twice. She came to the conclusion that it must have been written by a nine year-old. Because she couldn’t conceive of anyone with even a high school level education writing an article that not only contained horrible grammatical errors to such a degree as to render the content nearly incomprehensible, but to make blatantly false statements that any child with a cell phone could look up and verify, as well as presenting preposterous suppositions without substantiating them in the least. In short, your article is “writing” only in the most generously broad definition of the word.

        You make blatantly false statements. You make blatantly sexist statements. And you foist ridiculous suppositions that I can only conclude originated from the mouth of your or someone else’s gender studies teacher, which, diluted through your own voice have been stripped of all sense and merit, assuming that they had any to begin with. Your article suggests that you don’t respect what J.R.R. Tolkien created, let alone comprehend why he created it, as evidenced by your idolatry of the “writers” who adapted his books. What I stated in my original comments was true: Philippa Boyens had absolutely no screenwriting experience prior to undertaking the adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. She merely read the book a few times. That’s comparable to hiring me to design a building because I have a subscription to Architectural Digest. Understanding how Boyens obviously failed to comprehend what Tolkien wrote is crucial to understanding why the addition of a contrived character like Tauriel is so abhorrent to those of us who do understand. She represents the antithesis of what Tolkien wanted to convey, the very thing he was fighting against that he saw so many other writers incorporating into their works. The Hobbit, like The Lord of the Rings, is not Twilight. It’s not even Little Women. It was never meant to be. You can’t insert oil into water and have it blend. It just doesn’t work.

        I could go on, but I’m sure that this is only engendering more defensive belligerence in you. So I’ll close by saying that you’re only entitled to your INFORMED opinion. You’re not entitled to your ignorance.

      • 3 1/2 MORE pages (when you copy and paste, that 14 for those keeping score) explaining to me exactly how dumb I am. I’ve not yet met a smart person who felt the need to do that.
        And if I’m a narcissist who equates writing with typing because I blog, what does that make a person who comments with reams of angry criticism explaining to people how ignorant they are?
        Just so you know for future reference in your social dealings, things like this come across as petty and mean:
        “Are you painfully aware that this blog of yours was an embarrassing mistake? The rest of us are.”
        “it’s quite possible you’ve managed to redefine banality. ”
        Insisting that your wife the fiction author read what you refer to as a nine-year-old’s ramblings seems to me something you only do if you are a crazy person. And parading her qualifications in order to express to me how very dumb I am just makes you seem insecure.

    • You’re horrible. You obviously have nothing better to do than criticise people. Do you get paid for this? If you think the movie is that bad, why don’t you just direct one so that the whole world will know what a talented genius you are. Hahaha.
      If you don’t like his writing, just leave the page. You’re such a pain in the neck. I don’t like you.

  8. Whatever I read right now…it was terrible…O.o Almost as though this article gave me ( for the first few minutes I read it) a direct view into the mind of a 5 year.

  9. Funny is the reasons you give for liking Tauriel and liking Legolas less is exactly the reason I hate her. they portrayed Legolas very different in these movies. In a bad way and this is only done to make Tauriel look good.

    She steals his thunder when it comes to dwarves. legolas and Gimli are the ones who cross that bridge.

    legolas was awesome and NOT because some mary sue oc girl showed him how it’s done. he did this friends with Gimli thing IN Tolkiens work. Tauriel is not even in Tolkiens work, and already is she given the credit for Legolas his special thing.

    THAT PISSES ME OFF. Legolas did NOT become who he is in lord of the rings because of her. And the very fact they make it seem now like that is the kiss makes me want to go back in time and actually killl the person who created her (the writer not the actress I love the actress) to save Tolkiens canon work.

    Thranduil is also not NEARLY this bad in the books. He is much kinder and wiser in the books. they changed him to make her look cool.

    Yeah she was cooler in the movies then the guys. Thats exactly my problem, because the guys have been basterdised and their portrayel is nothing like how they actually are. Their characters are sacrifised for Tauriel’s sake.

    And that makes me HATE HATE HATE HATE her. Had Legolas and Thranduil been portrayed the way they actually are (Legolas the same as in lord of the rings and Thranduil as he actually is in the hobbit) I would have liked her a lot more because at least then it would not seem like they ruined their charcters for the sake of hers being thought of as more cool.

    You fell for the trap. And you even use it as a reason to like her better. The problem is you wish to smack Legolas and Thranduil. THATS THE EXACT PROBLEM. These are not characters you are supposed to want to slap. Not their book versions anyway.

    2 canon Tolkien characters where butcherd personality wise for the sake to make an oc she elf look cooler.

    An oc she-elf who is also a mary sue. Why mary sue? Because she actually breaks several rules Tolkien wrote himself that all other elves follow.

    She is a red head , a healer, a warrior, and captain of the guards while only 600 years old. This combination is simply NOT possible. (And thats not even starting about her dreadfull romance)

    And yes she is sexist. Why? because she is in a romance.

    I totaly get wanting to add a female to the story. I was pro that actually. But I do want the female addition to be true to Tolkiens lore. Tauriel wasn’t.

    Also her romance with Kili takes away the importance of the friendship between Gimli and Legolas. It was THEM who crossed that bridge between their species. It was THEM who grew beyond that bad past between those 2 species. THEM not the oc and the pretiefied Kili.

    She STEALS Legolas his thunder, instead of creating a thunder of her own. I would have been fine with a female kick ass lady who is buddies with Legolas. But not at the cost of him. She needs to ADD, not take away from any character.

    It is possible to create new characters that only add stuff, withoud stealing anybody else their thunder.

    Now because of her Gimli and legolas won’t get the credit they deserve. people who are not familiar with Tolkiens work will wrongly asume it’s Tauriels work that Legolas became friends with Gimli. An OC gets the credit for a canon character.

    thats just very bad writing and totaly unfair to the character.
    Also Arwen Aragorn was supposed to be a big deal. Interspecie romance was supposed to be something super rare.

    That was completely destroyed and all specialness of their romance is now ruined by Tauriels romance.

    Canon characters where butcherd on screen to make her seem cool, canon characters got their thunder stolen by her now that she gets credit for something she actually had NO part off, and takes away everything special about Th legolas Gimli friendship and Arwen Aragorn romance.

    She is cooler then the guys in screen. But if you have to RUIN AND BASTERDISE canon characters to make your oc look cool, your doing something wrong.

    I will never forgive how her addition butcher so many meaningfull things.

    She is not cool. She us a mary sue, and sadly you fell for it. You actually buy and made it canon to yourself that Tauriel is the reason Legolas becomes cool. And that is just not fair to his character. She get al the credit for something he did.

    it’s like you see a kid in your class work his ass off to write a good paper, only to have the new girl in class steal that paper, hand it over to the teacher, and get the A+ the other boy deserved. yet everyone acts like the new kid actually deserved it because noboddy bothers to check the handwriting of the paper, which is very much the handwriting of the boy.

    The class even goes as far as to make a list on why the new girl is much better then the boy based on that paper, which he wrote…

    It’s twisted man. Just wrong. I love strong woman. But not at expense of canon characters. They could have easely made Tauriel to be AND awesome AND create thunder of her own withoud stealing that of Legolas. She could have done her own amazing thing which had nothing to do with dwarves or making Legolas and Thranduil worse then they actually are.

    It’s not hard to make an oc seem cooler then canon characters, if you destroy th canon characters. And that is what has happend. And thats why I hate her. Not because she is not in the book or because she is female.

    Again, had she been just captain of the guard, 2000+ years old, brown hair, withoud any healing skilss (and if then very limited skills WITHOUD glowy stuff or kingsweed that downright copies Arwen) wihoud ANY romance, whith Legolas AND Thranduil actually acting like THEMSELVES according to TOLKIENS writings and she had a different story I would have adored her!

    They made her to flawless, made her steal Legolas his thunder (with him being the elf who gets over the dwarf/elf feud and become FRIENDS with Gimli, Not Tauriel with her romance.) and made Legolas and Thranduil seem very different and like lesser vesrions of themselves so her perfect self would look better.

    I hate her for that. And will spread this everywhere I go untill people STOP saying Tauriel is awesome for being the reason Legolas befriends Gimli. SHE IS NOT THE REASON. HE DID THIS ON HIS OWN. LEGOLAS DESERVES THE CREDIT FOR THIS NOT THE OC SHE ELF.

    OC CHARACTERS SHOULD NEVER GET THE CREDIT FOR THINGS CANON CHARACTERS DID. And that is why she is terrible. Or at the very least, terribly written.

    Tauriel is not really to blame. Its her writers. She could have been awesome. I wanted her to be awesome. But all I saw was how she was unable to be cool, withoud adding all that nonesense to her. They could not make her cool withoud demonising Thranduil and weakening Legolas his character, withoud the impossible combo’s of healer/warrior only 600/captain of the guard and captain of the guard/non loyal behavior.

    Notes on Thranduil: The CANON Thranduil does not think silvan elves are low. He sees them as his people to love and protect. His son is raised as a silvan. He would never say or agre Tauriel is a lowly silvan elf.
    The Canon Thranduil did not say anything about letting dwarves rot. Instead he talks about keeping them safe.
    Canon thranduil does NOT want go to war for jewels. In fact he is the one who is AGAINST war.
    Canon Thranduil does not look like he might not help in the fight against the orcs. In fact his people are the FIRST to charge. not the dwarves.
    Canon Thranduil helps the people of lake town because that what he honestly wishes to do. Because he is kind. He does not even wish for treasure anymore and instead helps Bard with his claim. He supports Bard because Smaug stole treasures from Dale as well and thus the people of lake town have actual claim to at least a part of the treasure. It was also Bard who killed the dragon. Thranduil does nothing but help the people of lake town and help the survive. Because he wants too. unlike movie version that claims to be there for jewels and willing to fght for them (which is the OPPOSIDE OF BOOK HIM. ) It makes no sense. Thranduil is more protective of his people then most. He would be the LAST king to risk his peoples lives for riches. he went to the mountain because he asumed the dwarves died (which he actually did not sound happy about in the book). But left the treasure alone when he learned how the people of lake town sufferd.

    Thranduil is kind, just and mercifull. Slightly more greedy then the usual elf lord, but still less so then Dwarves or men. At least his book version. He is still kind, and wise and AGAINST death pain and suffering. He does not care about the riches. And even wants Bilbo to stay because he doesn’t want the hobbit to be hurt by the dwarves after he stole the arkenstone.

    NOTHING of this comes back in the movies. they completely ruined and basterdised his character in the movies. So it’s not really an acomplishment to look more noble or cool then this movie version of him.

    And thats just not fair. Tauriel is not better then their canon versions. She is an impossible mary sue stealing thunder.

    Thats unforgivable. She is an elf, yet can not shine on her own withoud ruining anything in the meantime. And thats very sad indeed.

    • Lol ignore the typo’s. When I get emotional I don’t check my spelling very well…and I’m also dyslexic and english is not my native langue.

      The typo fairly high in my rant ”kiss” is supposed to be case. 😛 I don’t know how that word ended up there. Maybe my brain was affected by the kiss I saw in a movie I just watched…oh well.

  10. Since Legolas’s display was disastrous, some coudl agree but she is just, along with Alfrid the worst that could habppened to that trilogy. She is a traitor and selfish, all that she cared was Kili, not a glance at Bard’s kids, even when she was at their house, they were invisible for her. Never shed a tear for other elves, many of them dead and she was supposed to be her captain. Pointing at her king, Thranduil should have cut her head off instead of her bow, and she did that because she wanted to save a dawrf instead of saving her own elven friends. She, the captain and supposed skilled warrior just screamed like a crazy b*tch and get the dwarf killed, instead of looking for him and trying to save him, she made him killed because she was dumb. I would like to see better Beorn and the eagles, and a proper funeral for Thorin instead of her whinning and her ridiculous lines about love. She never knew love, since all that she showed was that she was a horny girl after the first guy who mention his trousers.

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