Why So Serious? Jackson's LotR Elves Fall Short of Tolkien's Canon

Why So Serious? Jackson's LotR Elves Fall Short of Tolkien's Canon
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Peter Jackson put a lot of thought and effort into making the elves in his LotR movies appear as the gracious and immortal beings the books described them as.

However, it can also be said that they are often presented as rather serious. Some Tolkien fans now wonder if the films possibly missed a more cheerful aspect of the fictional race, who are described as a lot less sombre in the novels.

A fan on the r/LOTR_on_Prime subreddit has recently posed the question, why are the elves so serious in Jackson's films when the books contradict this behavior in some passages very clearly.

They quote a section from The Hobbit as an example, from when the elves are first introduced to the narrative.

"So they laughed and sang in the trees; and pretty fair nonsense I daresay you think it. Not that they would care; they would only laugh all the more if you told them so".

Just from reading this one extract alone, it presents a very different view of the elves than when compared against Jackson's interpretation.

Could it be that the famous director simply failed to understand JRR's vision of an (almost) immortal race?

While some fans argue that Jackson's elves fall short of Tolkien's, we might note that their more spirited side can be seen in Jackson's ​​The Hobbit: The Desolation of The Smaug barrel scene.

Bilbo and the dwarves are able to escape Mirkwood only because their elvish jailers had misbehaved and were uncharacteristically drunk. A part which also featured in the book.

There's also an explanation for why Jackson's interpretation of the elves was often much less jolly. It is simply because there is a noticeable shift in the elves' personalities within Tolkien's books as well.

Fans on Reddit have suggested that as the time of the elves in Middle-earth was coming to an end, this may have formed a kind of grief that manifested as a more serious demeanour.

Elvish lives are so long that contemplating changing persona over such long periods seems unfathomable to the audience.

Considering that the period of The Hobbit and LotR represents some of the darkest times in Middle-Earth's history as Sauron fights to return to power, it possibly made the most sense to Peter Jackson to reflect the sterner side of them the most.

Whether the films missed certain aspects of the elves or not, possibly painting them in a more serious light than they deserved, Jackson certainly didn't do too a terrible job with including them in the movies.

Of course, for a race meant to be beyond the means of mortal man, it was always going to be a difficult task representing them on screen anyway.