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#1 Beren IV

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 11:49 PM

I recently posted this on another forum. I'm curious, however, as to what you guys think about this situation:


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Suppose that the Men of Gondor sometime in the 2900s of the Third Age are fighting with some bad guys in western Gondor, near the coast; the bad guys are possibly Dunlandings, possibly Corsairs, maybe some Orcs thrown in. Anyhow, a cavalry (from Lindon, although the soldiers don't know that) shows up and fights some skirmishes on the far side of the battle with said bad guys and then disappears again (sailing), but in the course of the fight, one of the riders is shot off of its horse. The Gondorians emerge victorious, and the mysterious fallen rider, and discover, to their surprise, the body of a female elf.

Now, some questions: most of these Gondorians likely have never seen an elf in their lives, or if they had, they would not have been in a position to identify one. Certainly they would recognize her race for what it was, but all that the soldiers might know would be that elves are supposedly immortal. Now, they have seen their first elf, certainly their first elf up close, and a female at that... but, she's dead, with an arrow through her heart.

How do you think that the soldiers would react? Would the fact that she's obviously dead clash with the conventional wisdom that Elves are immortal, or would they not be so shocked because they would remember that Elves can still be slain? Do you think it would matter to them that this elf was a female?

How do you think their officers would react? Would the body be transported back to Minas Tirith to show to the Steward? How do you suppose that he would react (either Denethor or Ecthelion)?

How curious do you think that the Gondorians would be about the fallen woman? Do you suppose they would autopsy her?

Being Elves, the Lindonese probably have very good equipment for their soldiers. The fallen woman's sword and armor could, as C.T. puts it in Children of Húrin, be "worth the ransom of any king of Men". Do you suppose that the Gondorians would think this woman likely a queen because of it?

Now, coming back to the more general situation: in the Fourth Age, the United Kingdom I get the impression is more cosmopolitan than in the Third. Suppose that this had happened under Ellesar's rule: do you think that the reactions would be different?

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#2 NaurwenT

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 05:31 PM

Where does this question spring from?
Some fanfiction? The story certainly sounds so :P

How do you think that the soldiers would react? Would the fact that she's obviously dead clash with the conventional wisdom that Elves are immortal, or would they not be so shocked because they would remember that Elves can still be slain? Do you think it would matter to them that this elf was a female?


I believe the Gondorians would be surprised at first, having identified the body as that of an elf-woman; and it's safe to assume most soldiers would be shocked to see a "dead" Elf, but being Gondorians, I imagine a few could have more accurate information on the true nature of Elves.
Gondor was the most advanced civilization (Elves aside) in Middle-earth and the greatest centre of knowledge. Gandalf rode all the way to Minas Tirith to gather information on the One Ring, and read the chronicles of the Last Alliance and the Siege of Barad-Dûr – a text that undoubtedly mentioned the death of a great number of Elves. All this information was gathered and in the care of Gondor; so although it was not vox populi, and most Gondorians had never seen an Elf, I believe this information would be known to loremasters and those of high lineage or of purer Númenórean blood. Also, and - according to legend - the Princes of Dol-Amroth had elven blood, so it's not unlikely for those with closer connections with the House of Dol-Amroth or related to them, to know Elves apparently do not age, but can be slain.

I think that the fact the rider is an elf-woman is quite irrelevant. The way I see it, Elves are considered a "mythical" race, and let's bear in mind the Elf-Sorceress of Dwimordene was known among the Men of Rohan as an elf-woman of great power, so I believe elf-women would be above the biased mortal views of the Gondorians. I don't mean Gondorians would think it was normal for elf-women to fight (we know this was not the case), but I can't imagine them thinking her death was related to her gender - as in elf-women can be slain even if men of their kind cannot.


How do you think their officers would react? Would the body be transported back to Minas Tirith to show to the Steward? How do you suppose that he would react (either Denethor or Ecthelion)?



I would expect the Gondorian forces to show respect to the fallen elf-woman, either giving her a proper burial or taking her body back to Minas Tirith to be buried there, and also for the Steward to see it. I am more inclined to believe the Gondorians would bury her and send word to the Steward about what had happened.

Regarding the Steward's reaction, I guess he would be surprised to know the Elves had come to Gondor's aid, and would like to know more about this.

How curious do you think that the Gondorians would be about the fallen woman? Do you suppose they would autopsy her?



I believe an autopsy is out of the question here. The concept of "autopsy" is quite modern and I don't think it fits the scenario devised by Tolkien, where imho it could be seen as an abomination.

Being Elves, the Lindonese probably have very good equipment for their soldiers. The fallen woman's sword and armor could, as C.T. puts it in Children of Húrin, be "worth the ransom of any king of Men". Do you suppose that the Gondorians would think this woman likely a queen because of it?


I don't think so. The fact that elven weaponry and armour was superior to that of Men doesn't imply every piece crafted by the Elves would be "worth the ransom of any king of Men". I believe the Gondorians would appreciate the superior craft and technology, but not necessarily to the point of being amazed by it and believe the elf-woman to be a queen of Elves.

Also, and imho, it does not make much sense for a queen of any race to appear out of the blue, fight some skirmishes and vanish again. That's not how people of the highest rank behave in situations like these. Even if a queen were to lead her troops, I would expect the royal guard to protect her at all times; and I can't believe her royal guard and her troops would leave their fallen queen behind.

Now, coming back to the more general situation: in the Fourth Age, the United Kingdom I get the impression is more cosmopolitan than in the Third. Suppose that this had happened under Ellesar's rule: do you think that the reactions would be different?



Yes, I believe Gondorians of the Fourth Age got accustomed to the visits of Elves and Dwarves to Minas Tirith, so the reaction of these Gondorian soldiers would be different – they would be less shocked to see an elf-woman, and it's safe to assume more of them would know Elves can be slain.


If the origin of these questions is a fanfic, I would recommend the author to read more Tolkien and learn the bounds of his myth. Imho there is nothing worse than Mary Sues or Tolkien-fics plagued with modern concepts that do not fit the devised scenario.
I understand one can bend the rules a little bit, or push them a little further, but to a certain point... other than that it butchers the myth.

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#3 Beren IV

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 03:39 AM

Actually, no - I was thinking of a situation that might crop up in TLA (i.e. Lindon and Kingdoms in Exile players are both at war with Umbar, but have not otherwise contacted each-other yet). There is no fanfic that this comes from, except in the sense that TLA itself could be considered fan fiction.

I quite agree with you on most of these points, certainly as regards the realism of who our fallen soldier is; for instance, my question about wondering whether she would be perceived as nobility is dependent solely upon the high probability that her equipment is fit for nobody short of high nobility in Gondor. I was envisioning that she was of whatever social rank would be typical of a Lindonese cavalry soldier.
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#4 NaurwenT

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 10:21 AM

Well, Beren, there is fan fiction and fanfiction á la Mary Sue ... and I don't think this project deserves to be compared to that :P
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#5 Beren IV

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Posted 01 February 2008 - 02:59 AM

I suppose that I have been fairly fortunate not to have encountered a great many Mary Sues in Tolkien fan fiction, but I can easily see how they would be horrendously irritating.

TLA is a game, which means that it is a very different medium from a pure story: the ending is uncertain even to the maker of the game, and the player of the game, or at least the winning player, takes on a role of pivotal, even Mary Sue-like, importance, if it were a story. This is true of any game. However, it's not irritating, the way that a Mary Sue in a story would be, because it's a game.

:P
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