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"Elrond Explained"

by Jim Butcher


For those of you that do not know him, Jim Butcher is one of the old IFGS gamers from Norman. Jim has made a new career for himself as an author - and he's a damned good one! He is the author of the Harry Dresden series.

Which, if you've not read them, are FABULOUS! Fun, interesting, well written, good storylines, fun characters, and great plot. They are simply WONDERFUL reads. There are now nine books in the series and a TV series on the Sci-Fi channel.

There is also an online forum dedicated to All Things Jim Butcher. This forum was pointed out to me at CRYSTALs by Dan Carr, also from Norman. So I subscribed to the forum and have been lurking with pleasure since that fateful day!

The following is an excerpt from this forum, and relates to a discussion regarding Elrond and his attitude towards mankind as portrayed in the Peter Jackson (PJ) Lord Of The Rings films. The summary that Jim has created is a JOY to read. It also provides a superb example of Jim's writing style. It is >>> W E L L <<<< worth the read!!!!




And after that, I took inspiration from fictional books and screen.
[...] Tolkein's elves (who were actually real jerks, if you haven't read the Silmarillion),

Yeah really. I mean, Elrond's all bitching about the weakness of Man
all throughout the movies, when the Elves were all killing one another over
shiny holy rocks all throughout the First Age. ;)

I agree about the Tolkien's elves in general although
I have to say that PJ doesn't really do Elrond justice
in the movies. None of that bitching is in the books,
he's one of the more accepting of humanity. He's
actually like a surrogate father to Aragorn and
accepting, if resigned, to Arwen's marrying him.

I can see why you'd say that, but I wanted to raise a couple of counterpoints here. :)

First of all, PJ is wise to understand that you couldn't take the books word for word to the screen (like, let's say, the Harry Potter books have done). Some changes had to be made if it was going to reach the kind of audience he wanted to reach--and the expansion of Aragorn's role in the series is one of the major bits of surgery he performed on the story.

I mean, keep in mind that in the books, Aragorn was hardly a reluctant king who had chosen to live in exile. He was all for reclaiming the throne of Gondor, and well aware that he was the final member of a bloodline who had quietly stayed alive for a couple of thousand years in order to be ready to challenge Sauron when and if he rose again. The whole story thread of 'I don't want to be a King because I'm haunted by the fact that I might not be able to resist the abuses of power like my forbears,' was wound into the screenplay as a major plot--because PJ was well aware that lots of people would not really dig the hobbits. Those that didn't would have another, more conventional hero to root for. One of the major facts of writing craft is that if you have a main character, they've got to have a goal. And because it's drama, there has to be someone in the way of that goal.

And remember that Elrond's brother chose to live a mortal life instead of an elvish one. Elrond *knows* how much it hurts to lose someone dear to you in the slow waste of time, while you go on into syndication. That's why Elrond is the 'villain' of the Aragorn-Arwen-Wuv-Twoo-Wuv plot. Cause, who else could have done it?

Secondly... well, frankly I always thought that if I had been alive for thousands and thousands of years, had mastered all kinds of skills and magic, had amassed a lot of power and influence, I sure as hell wouldn't be sitting around in my country estate writing songs and poetry. :)

Tolkein's elves have been portrayed with a fairly standard human psychology (hence all the running around chasing Morgoth to earth for vengeance and obsession), and I think film-Elrond's attitude is understandable.

Here, let me explain.

Try to imagine that you're Elrond around the time of the Last Alliance as portrayed in the film. Sauron the Deceiver, that backstabbing lackey-to-the-REAL-bad-guy punk, has left spyware in the Rings of Power, and is hacking the hell out of the mightiest constructs since the Silmarils. He's getting set to wipe out Middle Earth in a tide of orcs and ringwraiths, and it is your responsibility to help stop him. Your King, Gil-galad, a mentor and friend you've known for several thousand years, has sent for the call to war. Your allies the Dunedain, who are actually relatives of yours, have shown up too. The coming war looks bleak. Maybe even hopeless.

The only hope is to somehow draw Sauron out of his fortress and take him down face-to-face. Yeah, right. That's a good way to commit suicide. But you go to fight for love of King and family and Middle Earth.

It's harsh. The orcs suck at swordplay, at least compared to the Firstborn, but there are a zillion of them. All around you, elves are dying. Your friends not merely for a mortal lifetime, but for THOUSANDS of mortal lifetimes, are being torn to bloody pieces. These guys should have lived for many ages more, creating beauty, protecting the innocent, trying on new clothes and carving really cool beds while bringing some measure of joy and peace to the world--WHICH, by the way, was placed into their care by the freaking creator of the universe.

No pressure.

Anyway, you've just seen your tennis partner's head hacked open, your fencing master's guts eaten by a troll, your favorite author's spine torn out, and the band you play with's arms and legs torn off by Ringwraiths. It gets even worse. Sauron HIMSELF shows up to fight, and no one bothered to TELL you that he was THAT TALL. Sauron wades into the fray with a big old nine-iron and starts practicing his golf game on MORE of your friends. And he's making Tiger Woods look like a sissy boy.

And you look around at a sea of orcs and Sauron and your buds dying and you realize that you are well and truly &*(%ed. Sauron is gonna win the battle and use the Ring to make Middle Earth (remember, the place you're supposed to be protecting and nourishing) into a living nightmare. And there isn't jack you can do about it. So you get ready to go down fighting beside your King.

Sauron squares off with the human King, his punky kid with ADA, and Gil-Galad. Sauron kills them. Just KILLS them. Gil-Galad, who was one of the guys who helped slug it out with the original Evil Overlord, gets his head pulped. The human king gets crushed like a beer can, and his little-yellow-bus kid winds up on the ground next to him. Doom, doom, doom. No more you. No more world. You failed.

But THEN a miracle happens that makes the Immaculate Reception look like a Bingo win. The kid is armed with only a sword whose warranty has evidently expired, but Sauron forgets to consult his Evil Overlord Stupid Mistake checklist. He reaches down to strangle the punk, and the kid swings wildly at him, probably with his eyes closed, and gets Powerball-level lucky. He cuts off the Ring.

And all of a sudden, there's hope. Sauron is TKO'd, the Orcs are fleeing from the Elves like migrant workers from the INS, and even the Ringwraiths are taken offline for maintenance. The Ring, the SOURCE of the WHOLE DAMNED PROBLEM, the thing responsible for the deaths of HUNDREDS OF YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY is lying RIGHT THERE. And it's a freaking miracle that you can actually destroy it, and make their sacrifice worthwhile.

So, you head up to the nearest friendly garbage incinerator, and since the kid's sword is broken and he might trip and accidentally behead you or something, he carries the Ring and you cover his ass with your funky sword with a three foot long handle. At last, all that hideous suffering is going to end.

Except that the kid's attention span isn't long enough to last him all the way up the mountain, and he turns around and says, "This looks pretty good on me, don't it. This looks mac."

"Dude," you say. "Focus, here. Let's pitch the damn thing in and get a beer. We can still get back in time for Monday Night Nitro."

"Maybe tomorrow," the idiot says. "I want to flash this at the ladies tonight."

He bails.

And thousands of years of war, turmoil, work, worry and the death of friends you've known since kindergarten HAVE ALL BEEN FOR NOTHING.

So. Bitter much, Elrond?

I'm thinking I would be too. :)

Jim (Butcher)


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