Kíli/Tauriel

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Spoiler Warning: This article may contain spoilers. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.


Pairing
Pairing: Kíli/Tauriel
Alternative name(s): Kiliel
Gender category: Het
Fandom: The Hobbit (film series)
Canonical?: Yes
Prevalence: Medium[1]
Archives:
Other: Film ship only
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Kíli/Tauriel, also known as Kiliel, is a canonical, doomed ship from The Hobbit film trilogy. It has a medium to high degree of adoption in fandom, especially after The Battle of the Five Armies was released.[1]

Canon

In the second Hobbit movie, the character of Tauriel was introduced as captain of the guard of the Mirkwood elves. In addition to fight scenes, she was shown to be a friend of Legolas, which caused Thranduil to warn her against starting a relationship with his son. In an unexpected (for the elves) move, Tauriel instead began talking with Kíli while he was imprisoned with the other dwarves. She later chose to leave Mirkwood to save Kíli's life, even though she knew she would be punished for it.

For his part, Kíli showed a fascination for Tauriel from the moment she rescued him from giant spiders in Mirkwood. He made a sexual joke to her, and when she responded cooly, he changed his mind and began talking more seriously in future conversations, giving Tauriel glimpses into his past and personality. When the dwarves escaped in barrels, Kíli was shot by an orc while he was trying to open the gate and let the other dwarves free into the river. Tauriel appeared and shot the orcs attacking him.

Later, Tauriel left Mirkwood after hearing that Kíli had been wounded by a Morgul arrow. She and Legolas helped save the dwarves and Bard's children from an orc attack, and then Tauriel healed Kíli's wound. Kíli thought he was dreaming while this happened. After Tauriel rescued everyone in Bard's house from Smaug and helped them reach the shore, Kíli gave her the runestone his mother had given him, as a promise that they would meet again. They did meet one final time on Raven Hill, both battling Bolg. Tauriel was terribly wounded but lived; Kíli was killed.

Popularity

Despite earlier hate for Tauriel before the second movie was released, parts of fandom adopted her relationship with Kíli as the first widely popular, canonically het ship in the fandom, quickly surpassing ships involving Dís, or Glóin with his wife. By the beginning of 2015, Kíli/Tauriel was the third largest ship in the fandom on AO3.[1]

In the 2 months after the 3rd movie was released, over 300 works were posted for this ship,[2] making it second in increase only to Bilbo Baggins/Thorin Oakenshield for that period, just ahead of Bard of Laketown/Thranduil[3].

Kiliel is now a common background ship as well, often providing a contrast to the main ship of a work or offering a different angle on cultural differences. Sometimes this trend is reversed, and other popular ships are backgrounded to Kiliel instead, with characters in those ships trying to help (or hinder) improvements in elf/dwarf relations. In both types of works, Fíli is often paired off with another character, either canonical or not.

Fandom Tropes

  • Star-crossed lovers - May be played straight, as in the movie, or subverted by having Kíli survive. If played straight, a focus in fic is usually placed on Tauriel's grief and how she handles it. The focus in fanvids is usually on the doomed and fleeting nature of their relationship.
    • Prior to the release of Battle of the Five Armes, many fans of the ship thought that both Kíli and Tauriel would die in the battle, so some works created during 2014 have them both dying.[4]
    • If subverted by having Kíli live, this trope often evolves into cultural and social obstacles to the couple getting together. (See below)
  • Romeo and Juliet - This is usually helped along by a large serving of Thorin and Thranduil sniping at each other. Sometimes other characters join in, or they may try to defuse the situation.
  • Everyone Lives - Tauriel is sometimes used as a deus ex machina to ensure that one or both Durin brothers live. Sometimes this is off-stage and simply mentioned, and sometimes elaborate plots are created around it, such as in Flowers Among the Fallen Leaves by garafthel.
  • Culture Clash - Dwarves and Elves living together, mass hysteria.... Sometimes this is played seriously, but often it's for laughs. Sometimes the differences are sexual in nature, for the sake of porn.
  • Secret Marriage/Secret Relationship - Often a reaction to the above. Usually one or more other characters are aware of the situation and cover for them. This role is often taken by Fíli, Bilbo, and/or Dís.
  • Arranged Marriage - Opposite of the above two situations, often as a happy ending. Usually subverted by having the diplomatic purpose of the marriage be an open excuse to allow the lovers to be together (as in, they're already in love before the marriage, rather than falling in love after).
  • Reincarnation - Another frequent solution is to have Kíli and Tauriel reborn on modern Earth. Because of the amount of footage of Aidan Turner and Evangeline Lilly available, this trope appears in fan videos and gifsets as well as the more common fanart and fanfiction.
  • Height Difference - Playing up the height difference between the two characters is a common trope in art and sometimes fic. Artworks that highlight this difference include not too short by Mhyin, +in woodlands by against-stars, Tauriel and Kili by CaptBexx, and She walks in starlight by SplatterPhoenix.
  • Awkward Tauriel - Some fans interpret Tauriel's reactions in the movie as a sign that she's romantically awkward and not experienced in relationships. She is sometimes written this way in fic, which makes it even harder for her to communicate with Kíli and her (usually future) in-laws.
  • Impulsive Kíli - In contrast to Tauriel, Kíli is often written as impulsive and even rash. This stems from his behavior in various scenes from the movie and from his own description of himself during their second conversation while Kíli is imprisoned. In some works, this results in even worse social messes than the relationship already faces; in others, Kíli's impulsiveness accidentally solves a problem for his own relationships or someone else's.
  • Archery - Since both characters use bows as their main weapons, fanworks sometimes focus on this point of similarity. Hobbit: Kili and Tauriel by Chih Ariel compares their bows visually, while To Turn the Tide of Heaven by LittleBigSpoon requires Tauriel to identify Kíli's bow from a set of identical ones.

Reactions of Other Characters

How other characters handle the Tauriel/Kíli relationship varies by work, but there are some common tropes.

  • Fíli - Typically, Fíli supports his brother's choice to love Tauriel. He is often involved in hiding the relationship or assisting in other ways. There are even a few Fíli/Kíli/Tauriel works.
  • Legolas - Interpretations of Legolas vary widely. Creators who perceive a love triangle tend to have Legolas be antagonistic toward Kíli, but they may have him support the relationship for Tauriel's sake (though they also might not). Creators who don't perceive a love triangle and see the Legolas and Tauriel relationship as platonic tend to have Legolas behave more warmly toward the pair. Legolas is also sometimes a source of information about Elven courtship practices and other customs.
  • Bilbo Baggins - Bilbo is generally portrayed as very friendly toward the Tauriel/Kíli relationship, often becoming close to Tauriel. In works where Fíli, Kíli, and Thorin are injured, Bilbo and Tauriel often spend time together watching over them, and thus form a common bond.
  • Thorin Oakenshield - Thorin is often portrayed as initially resistant to the relationship. His eventual acceptance is frequently part of the main plot resolution. However, there are works where he is an adamant supporter (though it's often implied that he had a change of heart sometime before the work begins).
  • Dís - Contrary to the usual mother-in-law vs daughter-in-law tropes, Dís is usually very supportive of the relationship once she hears that Tauriel saved Kíli's life. Dís is often instrumental in changing Thorin's mind.
  • Thranduil - In many works, Thranduil acts as an antagonist. He often gives Tauriel ultimatums about returning to Mirkwood, or attempts to separate the pair in some other way. (This antagonism is sometimes used to tip Thorin into accepting the relationship, since opposing it would mean agreeing with Thranduil.) However, in some works Thranduil is relatively mild, and in a few he even suggests a marriage alliance.

Example Fanworks

Resources

Fanart

Fanfiction

Fanvids

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 By March 8, 2015, there were 920 Kíli/Tauriel works on AO3, making it tagged in over 5% of Hobbit works on that archive and the third largest ship there (below Fíli/Kíli and above Dwalin/Ori).
  2. The first Kíli/Tauriel works on AO3 were posted around January 13, 2013, long before Tauriel appeared in film. By December 15, 2013, the ship had about 65 works on the site. By December 15, 2014, it had about 555 works. By February 21, 2015, it had about 865 works.
  3. The first Bard/Thranduil work was posted around December 13, 2013. This ship had less than 20 works on AO3 as of December 1, 2014; by February 20, 2015, there were about 310.
  4. It Was a Dream by animenadie, which shows both characters dead, includes the note "I REGRET NOTHING. :D ... Except how the third movie will likely end." in the end by Akita-sensei includes the note "decided to draw them in white cause they probably both gonna die at the end of There and Back Again just rip my heart out".