It’s been a huge argument among fans whether Peter Jackson’s introduction of original characters like Tauriel in the up and coming installments of The Hobbit with Desolation of Smaug (coming this year in December) and There and Back Again (coming late next year) is an insult to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien or is she a welcome embellishment that adds a slight feminine touch to an otherwise male-dominated story. However, it should be noted that a lot of modern fans who are largely unfamiliar with the original source materials often wonder at the lack of strong female characters in the story.
The films however, as interpreted by J.R.R. Tolkien, put a different spin to things such as adding more action for the female characters of the film and, in the case of The Hobbit film trilogy, creating an original character. Indeed, most female characters in the stories of Middle Earth tend to play a minor role at best and most seem to be peripheral characters and is why Peter Jackson went on to expand on some of them such as Arwen (played by Liv Tyler) and her brief action in Fellowship of the Ring and Eowyn (played by Miranda Otto) with her added scenes in the Return of the King.
In Tolkien’s defense though, he lived in a time when women did in fact play only minor or peripheral roles. While feminism did in fact begin to have its way with most of society, most women of the time were content with their station in life and only later during the 70s onward did women begin taking on more major roles in film, television and various other media. A good example of this idea would be that in Tolkien’s time in the military, World War I to be specific, women played only a supporting role in wars or none at all while women are everywhere in the military forces of today, be it in the army, navy, air force, marine corps or coast guard.
However, it would be jarring to actually see an entwife or a female orc in the films…