It's interesting both that Armitage wears a legit stereotypical hooked Jew nose prosthetic in The Hobbit and that so much fanart ignores it.
From many angles:
From many angles:
- The visual references to Judaism in The Hobbit are no doubt inspired directly by Tolkien as the association between dwarves and the jewish people is widely known.
- As such, they are almost certainly intended to be both subtle and respectful - see the changes made to alleviate the 'species-wide greediness' aspect of the story and instead to underscore the 'return to homeland' narrative, for example.
- But in the context of Jewish references, adding a characteristic such as this nose is neither subtle nor respectful; having one of your references to a culture that is the object of an allegorical exploration be the well-known object of racist caricature seems like an OBVIOUSLY really bad idea (unless that's the point, but then you have to problematize it).
- However, it's obviously still subtle enough to go over the heads of a lot of blissfully ignorant people.
- So this situation manages to be uncomfortable both coming and going, because first there's Racist Caricature Face, and then there's the fanart re-whitewashing the character by eliminating it in favor of a straight one like the actor's.
- It goes without saying that 'maybe that didn't occur to the filmmakers' is not an excuse because it's their job to make sure that it occurs to them, even though it is sadly not impossible (NB it IS an excuse for the fanartists. They're in it for fun and fannish love, not to make millions and not backed by a lot of mega corporations ultimately enriching Donald Trump or whoever. The fact that they genuinely lack the cultural context to recognize the racist caricature is genuinely interesting here).
- It should be noted the nose prosthetics on many of the other dwarves are not Jewish noses, just as their iconography is very different - their styles of hair and clothing also relying on entirely different referents - but that Fili's, for example, is still bulbous, even though his and Kili's visual style follow Thorin's otherwise. Of course, that means that hooked noses can't possibly be a 'racial' feature of dwarves in general (though the foundation of the stereotype for Jews is also a bit shaky), so maybe that makes it okay?
But no, it still has to be suspect for several reasons:
- The amount of design that went into the character. Not a single facet of his appearance is due to chance. The nose was designed. It went through multiple iterations.
- The symbolic significance of the character. He represents - stands for- other dwarves, and dwarfishness, on multiple levels, both metatextual and within the text.
- He is the locus of the most intense Jewishness references already - the exile and return, the quest, the daring warrior king.
For the title assertion, I followed a link from Wikipedia to here: The First Book of Samuel by David Toshio Tsumura