Character Profile: Bard the Bowman

Bard the Bowman

The race of Men’s own version of Legolas 

Now that The Desolation of Smaug has been released, I can continue discussing the new characters that have become part of the Hobbit story-line – comparing and contrasting them between novel and film.

[Note: Once again, no book spoilers here; but some content in the two Hobbit films will of course, be discussed]

In The Hobbit, Tolkien does not expand extensively on this particular character – other than being a man from Lake-Bard 3town, whose ancestry dates back to that of Girion the Lord of Dale (the city which was destroyed by Smaug when he came from the North and sacked Erebor).

For reasons yet to be revealed in the third Hobbit film, Bard has always struck me as a particularly interesting character. Thankfully, Peter Jackson has done a wonderful job in fleshing out a very fascinating backstory for this individual – allowing us, as an audience, to immediately like the character and root for him from the beginning.

In The Desolation of Smaug, Bard is also a man from Lake-town whose sole job is to ferry barrels to and from the Woodland Realm. As with the novel, at first he presents himself as a rather grim and solitary figure who is shunned by the rest of the town’s inhabitants.

And whilst the filmmakers have retained his connection to Girion, Luke Evans’ character has been transformed into a widower – in charge of his three children (two daughters and a son – Bain).

Bard 4

Tolkien provides us with information about his son Bain, but there is no evidence to suggest he had any other children. But who’s to say he didn’t have two daughters as well? It certainly is a possibility.

Suffice to say, the character in the film is rightfully portrayed as both a highly skilled bowman and a protector of the common folk  – a kindhearted man who stands against the corrupt politics of the Master of Lake-town.

Furthermore, his character really seems to blend-in with the realistic settings of Lake-town.

If you’ve been following some of the recent stuff I’ve posted on this blog, you may have noticed the constant reference to Bard as being “the Bowman” (see the title to this post too).

Of course, Tolkien himself gives his character this particular nickname from the beginning – and for good reason.

In Peter Jackson’s adaptation, he’s more commonly referred to as Bard the Bargeman, but never as “the Bowman”.HBT2-fs-336991.DNG And yet I can’t help but feel that this was a deliberate attempt on the filmmaker’s part to create some “pun” for those who have read the novel.

Bargeman and Bowman have quite a similar auditory pronunciation to them and perhaps it was their intention to emphasize his role as a bargeman in The Desolation of Smaug, whilst highlighting his prowess in archery in the third film … let’s hope it is so.

As much as I was looking forward to Evans portrayal in this second film (and was certainly not disappointed), I’m even more excited to see his performance in There and Back Again and how his character-arc will develop.

Next up, the Master of Lake-town …

13 thoughts on “Character Profile: Bard the Bowman

  1. Great analysis, clear, concise and straight to the point. I am also excited to see his development in the third film. Also the political developments of Lake-town in the third movie as well, since they spoke of the people being in discontent with their current socio-economic status. I am sure the final film with provide us with a lot to chew on.

  2. He was one of my favourite characters from the Hobbit when I saw a play of the book a very long time ago, along with Thorin obviously. I think they did a marvellous job with this movie and Luke Evans played his part ever so well.

  3. Though I’m not fond of major changes from book to film, I somehow like that Peter Jackson adds a little extra depth to each character, as long as it doesn’t change their personality traits or characteristics.

    Bard is a bit similar to Aragorn, when he was Strider. A little mysterious, but warm and engaged in what he believes in. I think Luke Evans is good in this part. He is handsome (for us ladies), but at the same time no foolish handsome type that is only picked from looks. I would love to see him kick some ass in the next movie though!

    1. Your comparison between Strider and Bard is spot on.

      With Strider you have a sense of mysteriousness to the character – at times, very grim and rough, but nonetheless, displays compassion towards others and willingly assists those in need.

      I can’t wait for Film 3 – Bard on rooftops … 😀

  4. I was deeply satisfied with Bard’s portrayal. I was expecting him to be this guy who walks around with a huge bow, but he’s so much more than that. The subtle qualities Jackson has added to Bard could easily be on the original work, except it’s unmentioned. Bard’s the lonely guy, the widower, the father to three beautiful children, and he fights for the right of the people… Can someone hate this guy? I think they’ve done a pretty amazing job translating Bard, the Bowman to Bard, the Bargeman.

  5. I love Bard. He’s my fave character of them all, and my goodness is he handsome or what?! I thought Thorin was a hot dwarf but Bard has him beat for rugged good looks and he’s tall being a man, so he’s the best! Luke Evans is gorgeous. And Welsh! Great casting choice for Bard. Not seen Luke before the Hobbit but I’m keeping an eye on his other films.

    I love LOTR and the Hobbit. They brighten my life somehow. I’d be lost without the books and the films. Great analysis of Bard here too. 🙂

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