Tuesday, July 30, 2013

And the Elves are always right.

File:Ängsälvor - Nils Blommér 1850.jpg

Now to deal with a small pet peeve of mine.Elves. Now Elves were beautiful when Tolkien made them. He did Elves well, but ever since their original inception Elves have gone from Tolkien's amazing mythological to race to a frankly annoying race of know-it-alls. Of course every Fantasy or Sci-Fi calls this race 'elves', sometimes they are called 'Eldar' or 'Eldarin' or better yet 'Na'vi'. Basically the problem is like so. 

The makers of the story try to make a race that epitomizes 'goodness', they make them beautiful (usually), wise, intelligent, in harmony with nature etc. But they have the creators have a tendency to forget one thing. Humility. To actually epitomize goodness a race has to be humble. A race that is good at everything and arrogant about it becomes annoying and insufferable. Worse yet the authors seem to be of the opinion that the Humans have to listen to this Elven patronization, and obey. Because the humans aren't as 'awesome' as the Elves are. 

This is not to say, that it's wrong to make your Elves awesome in every way except arrogance. However, it's wrong to overlook that fact that arrogance itself is a flaw and a very deep one. Pride comes before a fall. If the Elves are arrogant that's a flaw that can and will lead to their downfall if it's not kept in check.

See this is what is different about Tolkien's Elves, though they are sometimes proud; their pride is always in proportion to their failing and downfall. Arrogance is not rewarded in Middle Earth, and the times when the Elves were arrogant were the times that Men or Dwarves were actually right.

Note that this doesn't only just apply to Elves or elf-like creatures. It can also apply to Mentors, Churches, Ministers, or basically any 'good' character or set of characters that you try and put into your novel. Arrogance is an ugly thing and the author should recognize that, not commend it. 

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