Saturday, January 12, 2013
Geek Media: failing to not like thorin oakenshield
And yet, he managed that in spades (frankly though, so did Kili, which I have already discussed) So much kudos to Richard Armitage for the solid acting and really creating a solid character.
Because honestly, I tried my damndest to hate that character.
(WARNING: Major spoilers from this point onward for the Hobbit. If you have not read the books, proceed at your own risk!)
Now don't get me wrong, he is everything and more that Armitage depicted Thorin in the movie - strong, steadfast, loyal, a great and immense warrior and a legend in his own right, intelligent and thoughtful.
But by the time he arrived in the Hobbit, he really was more the other guy that you saw of Thorin as well from time-to-time in the movies - bitter, world-weary, proud and even a little hateful. But really, way more of the bitterness.
Perhaps it was the style of writing that the Hobbit has, or perhaps it is simply because Tolkien wrote it from Bilbo's perspective, but Thorin was not a likable character in the book. He felt distant, rude and ... well, like a dwarf with little respect for anything at all. None of the more admirable qualities of him was all that self-evident. Certainly it was there based on the loyalty his fellow dwarf companions had for him, but it wasn't outright stated and so somewhat got lost in his stubborn, obstinate behaviour.
What ultimately ruins the whole character for me was that by about page 250, he gets downright insufferable. That base and totally illogical greed of his (illogical because he never ever bore a Ring of Power - according to lore, the Seven increased a dwarf's greed and reliance on defining one's worth by their wealth) takes over upon seeing the vast treasuries of gold in the Lonely Mountain.
For no other reason than that is why he nearly caused a war against Men and Elves! Illogical, stupid, self-absorbed, baseless greed!
In that moment, he goes from being just a mean dude to an evil one ala Boromir from the Lord of the Rings.
Granted, he redeemed himself much like Boromir does at the very end by dying in the Battle of Five Armies defending the Lonely Mountain itself as well as all those that fought in it, but his death simply wasn't as tragic feeling in the book as Boromir's was.
He never did redeem himself into a likable character in the book in my eyes. In some ways, the grudge over his greed and stupidity never faded in my eyes.
Granted, it has been some times since I read the Hobbit and I haven't exactly given it a deeper look in order to thoroughly break down Thorin's psyche from within the narrative or anything... but the countless times I have read that novel, I never walked away from it having liked the dwarf.
And yet, here I was, after movie one-of-three, really, really respecting Thorin and his loyalty. Even his grump and stubborn streak appealed to me in that it simply demonstrated another part of his strength.
All of a sudden, his fallible nature that so repelled me in the books made him someone that I wanted to embrace and to accept. I loved the character and the personal struggles and demons he dealt with. And it actually made me sad, knowing that his end is only two more movies away and that I would actually be very upset at seeing it.
I tried really hard to dislike him, in order to make his passing less tragic. And it won't be so...
Either Richard Armitage is a genius, or I've been duped by Peter Jackson.