Editorial Note: When the latest trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released, I was quite taken with the hero shot of Thorin, especially since the first trailer had (in my opinion) not nearly enough Thorin. I posted a link to the trailer on my personal Facebook page, and my friend Karen commented that she was taking a liking to Thranduil, king of Mirkwood and Legolas’ father. I replied that he was being rather Lady Catherine de Bourghish, as he was advising Evangeline Lilly’s character Tauriel to guard against raising expectations in Legolas that could not be fulfilled. All of a sudden we’re in a Jane Austen novel! Karen demanded a parody. I demanded payment, to wit, one screencap of Thorin’s hero shot. Heather delivered it within moments, and I was
stuck writing obliged to write the parody. Not that I minded very much. It’s worth the payment, plus being a lot of fun.
I don’t know about you, Gentle Readers, but I’d write just about anything for that.
Since Tauriel is not in the book, but an original character created for the movie by Peter Jackson and company, I went looking online for information about her character, and found this.
“Tauriel is the head of the Elven Guard,” Lilly explains. “She’s a Sylvan Elf, which means she’s of a much lower order than the elves we all became acquainted with in The Lord of the Rings. She doesn’t hold the same kind of status that Arwen or Galadriel or Elrond or Legolas do — she’s much more lowly. She sort of goes against the social order of the elves a little bit.”
Seriously, we are in a Jane Austen novel, y’all.
Thus, in fulfillment of a debt and for the lawls, herewith we present a little bit of silliness, where Jane Austen meets J.R.R. Tolkien and tells him he needs some more chicks in his little stories.
The world is changed…
I feel it in the water…
I feel it in the earth…
I smell it in the air.
Much that once was is lost. For none now live who remember it…
…and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.
History becomes legend, legend becomes myth; but Jane Austen will always be EVERYWHERE!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single elven prince in possession of a good female fanbase must be in want of a princess.
The twilight was growing as Legolas and Tauriel arrived at the treehouse. To their astonishment, they found a large moose with a tremendously wide and extensive rack of antlers tied to the tree, munching the grass contentedly. Tauriel wondered how whether it would be able to pick up its head again, considering the weight of its antlers.
“Bloody hell,” muttered Legolas. “Pater’s here.”
A silky, elegant, low-pitched voice came from behind them. “Indeed.”
Legolas jumped and blushed. His father gazed at him keenly. “Yes. Legolas, run along and gaze soulfully into the distance. I wish to have a word with Tauriel.”
Thranduil and Tauriel climbed the spiral staircase into the treehouse. Thranduil made tea, and Tauriel watched him as he fussily but perfectly poured it. “How could I ever think him like his son?” she thought, smiling as she remembered Legolas making tea from tree-bark one desperate night in Fangorn, expelling it in a spectacular spit-take as he tasted it and the trees muttered around them.
Finally the Elven King spoke.
“You can be at no loss, Tauriel, to understand the reason for my journey hither. Your own heart, your own conscience must tell you why I came.”
Tauriel looked with unaffected astonishment. “Indeed, you are mistaken, my lord. I have not been at all able to account for the honour of seeing you here.”
“Tauriel,” replied the Elven king in a voice that remained silky and elegant, yet showed his anger, “you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. But however insincere you may choose to be, you shall not find me so. My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from it. A report of a most alarming nature reached me two days ago. I was told that you, that the Sylvan Elf Tauriel, would, in all likelihood, be soon afterwards united to my son, my own son, Legolas Greenleaf. Though I know it must be a scandalous falsehood, though I would not injure him so much as to suppose the truth of it possible, I instantly resolved on setting off for this place, that I might make my sentiments known to you.”
“If you believed it impossible to be true,” said Tauriel, colouring with astonishment and disdain, “I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far. What could your lordship propose by it?”
“At once to insist upon having such a report universally contradicted.”
“Your coming to Legolas’ treehouse to see me,” said Tauriel coolly, “will be rather a confirmation of it; if, indeed, such a report is in existence.”
“If! Do you then pretend to be ignorant of it? Has it not been industriously circulated by the Sylvan Elves? Do you not know that such a report is spread abroad?”
“I never heard that it was.”
“And can you likewise declare, that there is no foundation for it?”
“I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your lordship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer.”
“This is not to be borne. Tauriel, I insist on being satisfied. Has he, has Legolas, made you an offer of marriage?”
“Your lordship has declared it to be impossible.”
“It ought to be so; it must be so, while he retains the use of his reason. But your arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have drawn him in.”
“If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it.”
“Tauriel, do you know who I am? I have not been accustomed to such language as this. I am the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled to know all his dearest concerns.”
“But you are not entitled to know mine; nor will such behaviour as this, ever induce me to be explicit.”
“Let me be rightly understood. This match, to which you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. No, never. I have seen the future, and Legolas is meant for other things, great things, that a wife and family will prevent. Now what have you to say?”
“Only this; that if he is so, you can have no reason to suppose he will make an offer to me.”
Thranduil hesitated for a moment, and then replied,
“This future greatness is of a peculiar kind. From his infancy, he has been intended for it. It was the favourite wish of his mother, as well as mine. While in his cradle, we planned the event: and now, when the stage is being set for these events, to be prevented by a young elf of inferior birth, of no importance in the world, and wholly unallied to the family! Do you pay no regard to the wishes of his friends? Are you lost to every feeling of propriety and delicacy? Have you not heard me say that from his earliest hours he was destined for greatness?”
“Yes, and I had heard it before. But what is that to me? If there is no other objection to my marrying your son, I shall certainly not be kept from it by knowing that his mother and father thought he was destined for greatness. You both did as much as you could in foreseeing the events. Its completion depended on others. If Legolas is neither by honour nor inclination confined to participation in these great events, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him?”
“Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Yes, Tauriel, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you willfully act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by every one connected with him. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us, or entered in the records of the Great.”
“These are heavy misfortunes,” replied Tauriel. “But the wife of Legolas Greenleaf must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine.”
“Obstinate, headstrong elf! I am ashamed of you! Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last spring? Is nothing due to me on that score? You are to understand, Tauriel, that I came here with the determined resolution of carrying my purpose; nor will I be dissuaded from it. I have not been used to submit to any person’s whims. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment.”
“That will make your lordship’s situation at present more pitiable; but it will have no effect on me.”
“I will not be interrupted. Hear me in silence. My son is formed for greatness. He is descended from a noble line; a respectable, honourable, and ancient family. Its fortune is splendid. He is destined for greatness by the voice of every member of his house; and what is to stop him? The upstart pretensions of a young elf without family, connections, or fortune. Is this to be endured! But it must not, shall not be. If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up.”
“In marrying your son, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. He is a warrior; I am a warrior; so far we are equal.”
“True. You are a warrior. But who was your mother? Who are your uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition.”
“Whatever my connections may be,” said Tauriel, “if your son does not object to them, they can be nothing to you.”
“Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him?”
Though Tauriel would not, for the mere purpose of obliging Thranduil, have answered this question, she could not but say, after a moment’s deliberation,
“I am not.”
Thranduil seemed pleased; the edges of his lips twitched into something like a smile.
“And will you promise me, never to enter into such an engagement?”
“I will make no promise of the kind.”
“Tauriel, I am shocked and astonished. I expected to find a more reasonable young elf. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require.”
“And I certainly never shall give it. I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. Your lordship wants Legolas remain unmarried; but would my giving you the wished-for promise make his remaining single at all more probable? Supposing him to be attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand make him wish to bestow it on no other? Allow me to say, Lord Thranduil, that the arguments with which you have supported this extraordinary application have been as frivolous as the application was ill-judged. You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. How far your son might approve of your interference in his affairs, I cannot tell; but you have certainly no right to concern yourself in mine. I must beg, therefore, to be importuned no farther on the subject.”
“Not so hasty, if you please. I have by no means done. To all the objections I have already urged, I have still another to add. I am no stranger to the particulars of that infamous business in Bucklebury. I know it all.”
Tauriel gasped; she thought she had removed all the drawings from Elfbook, but apparently Thranduil had found out by some means. He truly must have the Sight.
Thranduil continued, “Heaven and earth! — of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Mirkwood to be thus polluted?”
“You can now have nothing farther to say,” she resentfully answered. “You have insulted me in every possible method. I must beg to leave and find Legolas.”
“You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit of my son! Unfeeling, selfish elf! Do you not consider that a connection with you must disgrace him in the eyes of everybody?”
“Lord Thranduil, I have nothing farther to say. You know my sentiments.”
“You are then resolved to have him?”
“I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me.”
“It is well. You refuse, then, to oblige me. You refuse to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude. You are determined to ruin him in the opinion of all his friends, and make him the contempt of the world.”
“Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude,” replied Tauriel, “have any possible claim on me, in the present instance. No principle of either would be violated by my marriage with Legolas. And with regard to the resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the former were excited by his marrying me, it would not give me one moment’s concern — and the world in general would have too much sense to join in the scorn.”
“And this is your real opinion! This is your final resolve! Very well. I shall now know how to act. Do not imagine, Tauriel, that your ambition will ever be gratified. I came to try you. I hoped to find you reasonable; but, depend upon it, I will carry my point.”
In this manner Thranduil talked on, till he was at the door of the treehouse, when, turning hastily round, he added, “I take no leave of you, Tauriel. I send no compliments to the Sylvan Elves. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased.”
“If I may give you a piece of advice, my lord,” said Tauriel to Thranduil’s back as he descended the circular staircase, “I would not interfere so closely in your son’s affairs. If you are not careful,” she raised her voice and shouted, “you will drive away every elven-lady who would ever care for him! He will end up traveling the world with a-a dwarf for a companion! And I don’t mean a female dwarf with a beard, either!”
Thranduil’s back remained ramrod-straight as he descended the stair, not deigning to acknowledge that Tauriel had spoken.