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Carnival Row S2's Elves Have The Fanbase Divided Over Their Designs

"Carnival Row" expanded its scope in some fairly interesting ways for its long-awaited second and final season on Amazon Prime. While the first season dealt with the plight of the fae, including the shifting loyalties of main protagonist and half-fae Rycroft "Philo" Philostrate (Orlando Bloom), Season 2 brought in even more fantastical beings like an unnamed species that heavily resembles elves and also a sort of goblin stand-in. And when it comes to the design work for these new characters, fans of "Carnival Row" are pretty divided.

Over on Reddit, u/WattaDeadbushSheesh expressed disappointment over how the elves were crafted for the dark fantasy series. "I was fine with the goblins but not the elves," they said. "They were terrible. I understand wanting to be different cuz elves are always regal, mythical looking etc, but on this show they looked like non sick goblins. Didn't like that." 

Some fans were also baffled that these new species of magical beings never actually received a name or any valuable story introductions either. However, many noted that former showrunner and co-creator Travis Beacham planned to bring in elves and goblins for Season 2, at least before he departed the series. "But beyond that, you're going to get some creatures that are our version of elves, and some creatures that would be goblin-like, and a host of other things," Beacham told The Verge in 2019.

Regardless, not all fans were disappointed in the show's unique take on elves, as some appreciated the departure from the typical fantasy look.

Some Carnival Row fans appreciated the elves not being stereotypical

On the Reddit thread where the elves and goblin designs were discussed, some were more than okay with the elves not being the standard attractive-looking beings often found in works like "The Lord of the Rings." Still, others felt that this didn't fit in with what made elves actually, well, elves down to a conceptual level and questioned the choice to include them at all.

"Beautiful elves are kind of overdone, no?" said u/LordAdder. "Also considering the elves we see in the show aren't in what I imagine is their natural home of trees and stuff, I wonder if urban society degrades them." It's an interesting point, but u/jayoungr disagreed. "Counterpoint: If they don't look or act anything like what we think of as elves, why call them elves?"

Again, it's more than a little strange that "Carnival Row" didn't actually end up naming these new creatures as elves or goblins or really give them any sort of story origin. But given that Season 2 ended up being the final season and factoring in the departure of Travis Beacham and Season 1 showrunner Marc Guggenheim, perhaps there just was not enough time to explore these subjects satisfactorily while also wrapping up the main storyline with the fae.