I’m utterly baffled at why people think Fili and Kili are immature, idiotic children who can’t do anything right. Like, did we watch the same movie? Did we? Because this is what I saw:
1. Fili and Kili traveled from Ered Luin to Hobbiton, by themselves, with no problems–and if this is their first time traveling any distance away from home, then they did REALLY WELL, because (a) they were on time, (b) they had no discernable injuries, and © that is, at the least, a distance of approximately 160 miles (sorta depending on which map you’re looking at), and that’s if you’re traveling as the crow flies, to the closest mountain to Hobbiton.
Think about that–two young men, who’ve never traveled away from home, are able to travel at least 160 miles, by themselves, and they are fine. That isn’t the mark of immaturity or stupidity–that’s the mark of resourceful young men who know how to work together, and how to survive on their own.
2. Kili (barely) messes up Bilbo’s surname. Now, considering that dwarves, elves, and men don’t seem to have surnames, it’s pretty damn nice and considerate of Kili to use Bilbo’s surname when addressing Bilbo. I mean, Kili is literally using cultural sensitivity of a culture that is not his own to address someone. And yes, he gets Bilbo’s name wrong (by one vowel, guys–I have people slaughter my name on a daily basis, and it’s not by one vowel), but he calls Bilbo by name. Kili’s the first dwarf to do so. Dwalin didn’t call Bilbo by name, and neither did Balin.
What happens with Fili and Kili is that they knock on a door. A hobbit answers. Fili and Kili politely introduce themselves and bow; the hobbit does nothing, so Kili diffuses the tense and impolite situation, which the hobbit is creating, by saying, “You must be Mister Boggins.” He’s giving Bilbo an out; either Bilbo is Mister Boggins, and he can say, “Yes, yes, come in,” or he can say, “No, sorry, you’ve got the wrong house.“
Kili is being fucking politic. He’s an heir to the a throne, and he’s been trained to be culturally sensitive and polite. And yes, he fucks up Bilbo’s name once, but at least he had the sensitivity and wits to use Bilbo’s name.
3. The boys tease Bilbo about orcs. And this is definitely a two-man endeavor. Kili just says that the screaming sounds are orcs; it’s Fili who begins the teasing, by talking about how many orcs there must be out in the lowlands. Then Kili picks it up, and talks about orcs slaughtering people. And yes, it’s not a very good joke–but remember that we’re talking about dwarves. Fili and Kili have doubtlessly been raised on stories about wars with every race, but especially with orcs. And Fili and Kili shouldn’t be laughing at Bilbo’s fear, but Fili and Kili are also cautioning Bilbo, in their own way. There’s a reason there’s always someone awake to keep watch.
Also, this is the only time Thorin reprimands his nephews in the film, and he doesn’t get mad at them for talking about orcs. He gets mad at them for laughing. He’s angry because they’re giggling over something that could very easily kill them (and did very easily kill most of their relatives). Fili and Kili are young, and they still think that they’re invincible, and that is what concerns Thorin, and is what prompts Thorin’s reprimand.
4. Losing the ponies. Okay, I really want to know how Fili and Kili missed the first two ponies getting snatched by trolls, but can we look at how competent Fili and Kili are in the situation? First, look at what Fili’s wearing, or rather, not wearing. It’s nighttime, which means it’s cooler and it’s darker, and Fili’s coat, while warm, is also a light fawn color, which would stick out like a sore thumb. Buthe’s not wearing his coat; he shucked off his coat, and he’s moving around in just his shirt, which is a darker color, easier to blend in. Is that on purpose? I dunno, but I like to think it is.
And Fili and Kili realize that the ponies have been snatched by trolls very quickly. Like, a broken tree and some suspicious noises fast. And they really should have alerted Thorin and not sent Bilbo into harm’s way (though he is supposed to be a burglar, so their expectations aren’t completely out of line). But they mostly keep their promise to Bilbo. They stay close by, and while Bilbo isn’t perfectly safe (in truth, he’s in more than a fair share of danger), they do rush in (Kili) and fetch the others (Fili) to save Bilbo.
And if you considering the amount of time Bilbo spends trying to free the ponies, and the distance between the dwarves’ and trolls’ campsites, Fili and Kili aren’t sitting around eating their stew, snickering into their fists. Fili’s fetching Thorin & Co., and Kili’s keeping an eye on the trolls’ campsite. They both react in time to get Bilbo out of the trouble in which they first embroiled him.
5. All the fighting. Fili and Kili show themselves to be as capable as the other dwarves when it comes to battle, and most importantly, they follow Thorin’s orders. Kili shows frustration and anger when Thorin lays down his sword in the Trollshaws, but he follows Thorin’s lead. When Thorin nods at Kili’s bow, Kili moves out of the relative safety of the rock, exposing himself, in order to shoot the warg and orc. When Thorin tells Kili to shoot the wargs and orcs, Kili does so; when Thorin tells everyone to stand their ground, Fili stands his ground (though he was already standing it).
Fili and Kili don’t act any more reckless in battle than any of the other dwarves, and they continually and reliably listen to Thorin’s commands. They’re literally the perfect soldiers–even when they’reangry and scared, they do what Thorin says, with little to no hesitation.
Also, Kili isn’t failtastic with the sword. I mean, let’s just tally about weapon usage, shall we? Trollshaws: sword; the moorlands: bow; Goblin Town: sword; the burning trees of doom: sword. You guys, the sword is winning hands down, and he’s doing fine with it. He has nearly as many artistic sword-twirls as Balin and Thorin.
And beyond that, Fili and Kili both think on their feet. Fili cuts the ropes of the bridge without being prompted, and Kili uses a ladder to create a make-shift ram&shield. They are adept at fighting, which isn’t surprising, because this is literally what they were raised from birth to do. They’re meant to be kings, and it is kings who ride out to war. They know how to fight, they know how to protect themselves, they know how to think on their feet, and they know how to follow commands of their elders and betters.
6. They’re generally kind to everyone else, though it’s certainly not without an amount of teasing. But let’s run a quick recap: Fili takes Ori’s plate, beginning the clean-up of Bilbo’s dishes; also, Fili is the one who’s fetching everyone more beer. Fili and Kili are constantly teasing Bilbo, but their teasings are also interspersed with kindnesses: they help him onto his pony, they express genuine concern when Bilbo is missing, and they express even more relief when Bilbo shows up again. Fili helps Bombur up after the thunderbattle, and Kili shows confused interest in all the stuff Bifur is digging through outside the troll cave. Also, Kili’s not the derp who nearly falls off the burning tree–that was (the utterly flawless) Dori. Dori throws up his arms, waaaay too excited about scaring the wargs away with fire, and when Dori loses his balance and begins to fall, Kili lunges forward and catches him.
You guys, these aren’t the actions of heartless and/or hopeless children. These are (young) grown-ass dwarves who genuinely care about their companions, and who take care of their companions, to the same degree that their companions take care of them. They help, support, and protect–and, most of all, they trust each other, and they are trustworthy themselves.
7. And they have undying loyalty for their uncle, though perhaps I should call that dying loyalty? In their world, everything is Thorin and nothing hurts (though their deaths might). In all seriousness, they’re pretty damn stuck on their uncle, and it’s more than a little bit wonderful and heartbreaking, all at once. They want to please him, and they want to see him safe and whole. But for all that, they also give him some pretty grumpy looks from time to time, especially Kili. And I think that shows the complexity of their grown-ass selves more than anything else.
They’re loyal, and they will listen to their uncle, but they will also quietly disagree; they’ll grow angry and frustrated, and they’ll throw down their sword, but they will still follow him. The level of maturity they have, to follow their uncle and their king, even when they disagree–the degree of self-control–is not something to scoff at.
Are they perfect? God, no. And if they were perfect, they’d be really fucking boring. But they’re not idiots, they’re not utterly immature, and they’re not hopeless. They are complex characters. They’re really nice, but they’re also little shits. They make mistakes, just like everyone else. But their successes far outweigh their mistakes. They’re cocky and self-assured and also scared to death, they love their uncle with their whole hearts, but they also disagree with him at times. They tease and poke and prod, but they’ll also lunge out of a fucking burning tree to save their companions. They’re young, but they’re also trustworthy and competent, and when you consider all their complexities, their faults and their triumphs, they are utterly perfect.