When Fili became Kili … The Heirs of Durin Riddle

f & kIt seems Kili is determined to take over …

Not only did we get two Hobbit films concentrating on just one brother’s character – leaving poor Fili mostly out of the story – but he’s also been given his sibling’s own place at a certain moment in An Unexpected Journey.

Stone Giants (Fili, Bofur)

Confused?

Let me explain …

Remember that sequence in Film 1, involving the Stone Giants and the Company’s perilous journey to find shelter?

And do you also recall the moment when the Company is split into two as they realize they’ve been travelling on the knees of one of these giants?

Then you perhaps noticed that the Company was split in such a way:

First Group

Thorin, Gloin, Oin, Balin, Bifur, Dori, Nori, Kili

Second Group

Fili, Bofur, Bilbo, Dwalin, Ori, Bombur

Stone Giants (Fili)As we can see, Fili is still part of the Second Group, with Bilbo and the rest.

“Why is all this important?” I hear you ask.

So far so good.

The problem?

As soon as the Stone Giant falls – his knee crashing against the mountain side – Thorin runs towards them, fearing the worst.

Most of all, he fears for his nephew – and next in line to the throne.

What does he say instead?

Kili!”

Stone Giants (Thorin in distress)

He shouts his other nephew’s name (who is really just a few paces behind him) and looking towards the rest of the Company – who are shown to have survived the impact – we see Fili on the floor.

Now, I’ve checked and re-checked. I’ve played that scene many times; scouring through transcripts of the film; analyzed ever shot to make sure I hadn’t missed something.

But the fact is: It is Fili who’s almost crushed to death, but Kili is the name Thorin shouts out.

Now, it’s quite an easy thing to confuse. Fili and Kili, unlike the other similarly-named dwarves, have only one letter to differentiate them.

The majority of fans have certainly confused the two at one point or other. I did.

The filmmakers themselves have admitted (in one of the behind the scenes features for the Extended Edition of An Unexpected Journey) that they often confused the two names.

Stone Giants (Kili and the others)So perhaps, could this little moment in the film be proof that such error and confusion made its way to the finished product of the film? Perhaps everyone at the time of recording the scene and then during ADR session, thought about “Fili” but the name “Kili” kept being referenced.

Perhaps …

Poor Fili! I just keep feeling sorry about him not making much impact in this Trilogy so far. The Desolation of Smaug did try to improve on that, but There and Back again should
really divert much of the attention from his brother and focus on Fili – at least, to balance out the characterizations of both, in comparison with Thorin’s.

Fingers crossed …

Plus, shall we all form a fan crusade in support of Dean O’Gorman’s Fili and reinstate his reputation alongside that of his brother’s?

[P.S. Anyone else ever notice this Fili/Kili swap in the Stone Giants sequence? It was quite evident to me the first time I saw it in cinemas …]

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20 thoughts on “When Fili became Kili … The Heirs of Durin Riddle

  1. I will rewatch this for sure. I think in the book they did not even have big roles but in the film it is kind of bigger; I wish if Tolkien did gave them a space [MAJOR SPOILER: Highlight to reveal]but at the end he killed them both. Pitty upon the fangirls who have never read the novel.

  2. Richard Armitage said in an interview in 2012 that he had sometimes been confused and had to think of a mnemonic to tell them apart.

  3. I noticed this the first time I saw the movie, and thought I must have just misheard, but on subsequent viewings, I realized that Thorin really does say the wrong name! Even though Fili and Kili are really similar names, I think it’s surprising no one working on the film picked up on it.

    • Precisely Chrissy … I too thought I misheard and couldn’t possibly imagine that out of those dozens and hundreds of people working on that scene, no one actually noticed it. But I guess, these things happen *sigh* :/

  4. Yeah, I noticed it. I put it down to the way the cast and crew all say they could never keep the names straight — not even Aidan and Dean themselves. Still, little imperfections are part of the movies’ charm, right?

  5. I noticed it right off and had to re-watch it to be sure. Then when I tried to point it out to my hubby next time we watched it he thought I was mistaken, had to re-watch it to prove it 🙂 Poor Fili, he doesn’t have the spotlight much, but when he does they should be sure to use his name, lol.

  6. I agree. Fili does not get enough time or attention. I hope they did change it in the last film but I doubt they did. I would have liked to seen more of their interaction with one another and with Thorin.

    • Hey Diane 🙂 I’m afraid you may be right about this last film.

      I’m so hoping we get some more exposure to his character during the quieter moments in Erebor – prior to the Battle.

      But to be honest, I’m not really that confident now …

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