Let me just first say that I love me some Tolkien movies. My first reaction on hearing Peter Jackson was turning The Hobbit into three movies was disappointment, but that lasted only until I realised it meant I would have more movies to watch and (hopefully) enjoy. And I did enjoy them, but not as a presentation of Tolkien’s books–rather as an adaptation of them. Because, let’s be honest, there’s a lot in those movies that was never Tolkien’s intention, and most of it could be cut without any real harm to the plot. Take the whole love triangle bit. That simply does not fit in Tolkien’s mythology, at least not as I understand it.
If you read The Silmarillion, which I think you should most certainly do, you will quickly see that there is a fundamental difference between elves and men (and even orcs) on one side, and dwarves on the other. Elves and men were created by the sole working of Iluvatar (God) whereas the rest of creation was propounded by Iluvatar as a musical theme to be sung by the valar (angels) and through their singing to bring into being the idea of Ea (the world). Iluvatar is the only one who can actually make the world exist, but the valar participate in that making as sub-creators. Orcs are the result of Melkor, or Morgoth’s, twisting of some of the first elves in the darkness of his stronghold. So even though they are bent and evil, they are still made by Iluvatar himself. Dwarves, on the other hand, are more like the world in how they were made. Aule, the master-craftsman of the valar, wanted to make creatures as Iluvatar had, not to dominate them, but to image his creator through the use of his gifts, and so he made the dwarves. But just as the world as sung by the valar had no life in it (it lacked the Flame Imperishable), so too did the dwarves. It was only after Aule explained himself and his motivations to Iluvatar that Iluvatar consented to breathe into them the Flame, and that only after the elves had awoken in Middle Earth as the firstborn children Iluvatar intended them to be.
So, that’s really just a long-winded way of saying that in my understanding though friendship, fellowship, and camaraderie between elves and dwarves is both possible and encouraged, a romantic relationship is most definitely not. The whole love triangle is given a great deal of screen time, when it probably wouldn’t even have been feasible in Tolkien’s conception of his world.
But really this post is just a necessary prelude to next week’s post about one thing Peter Jackson got right (and I mean he got it really right). So stay tuned!