Just in time for Christmas, meet a new elf: Tauriel. Played by Evangeline Lilly in the new film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug she’s a fascinating addition by filmmaker Peter Jackson to the Tolkien saga – a fearless warrior whose moral dilemma (should she side with her own isolationist race or help the beleaguered dwarves?) takes the form of a romantic triangle that sees both elf dauphin Legolas (Orlando Bloom, pictured) and handsome dwarf Kili (Aidan Turner) vying for her affections.
Tauriel is a rare creation. Most of the elves that catch our pop-culture fancy are men, and most of them are the small, impish, pointy-hatted elves we know from TV commercials or Santa’s workshop, not the tall, princely, superhuman beings of Tolkien and other fantasy fiction realms. Still, big or small, male or female, elves seldom get to be at the center of their own story; they’re almost always subservient to or supporting other characters, usually humans. Here, then, are 10 elves who’ve stood out and forged memorable narratives of their own. They’re not narcissistic, just elf-centered.