Friday, March 1, 2013
Heightened Drama in Chapter One: "The Childhood of Turin"
Still not over the triple-whammy of sibling feels. Killing off Lalaith, Gelmir (look I even cried about this on my Tumblr) and Huor in the span of two chapters was simply not cool.
But what I want to talk about was the moment of heightened drama in Chapter One which I did not get a chance to share, which was Hurin and Huor's escape/rescue and visit to Gondolin. First of all, they are quite young. Tolkien states that Hurin is 17, which makes Huor 14 (even though Tolkien states he is fully grown and taller than most of his people already). Huor shouldn't be in combat situations even by pseudo-medieval fantasy standards. And they are ambushed by orcs and "scattered" and "pursued" and they would have been "taken or slain" but for Ulmo pulling up this mist out of nowhere.
But what struck me I think the most about this passage was that they "wandered in great hardship." This was really vivid in my mind, and I literally gave pause at this point and (as my fanficcing mind usually goes) I wanted more, and so I thought up more. What if one of them was wounded? Maybe Hurin had to carry his little brother part of the way. There's no time specified that they wander, "bewildered by the deceits of that land," but it might very well have been a long time. Maybe they had no food. Maybe it was cold, and the mist certainly made it wet. And they are pursued by orcs, so they can't stop and rest. And then the eagles find them and take them to Gondolin. Pretty quickly glossed over, but again I'm picturing more. Maybe Hurin is scared and fierce and protective of his brother? Maybe they both are? Are they even conscious when the eagle takes them to Gondolin? Do they try something desperate before Turgon talks them down and they realize they are finally, finally safe?
So yes, I'll let you all know when I finally do write the fanfiction of this. Because it's apparently happening.
So I guess what struck me in terms of heightened drama was how The Silmarillion (and LOTR even) in general strikes me: because of it's brevity, it inspires more. One sentence or one phrase can become so much more in the mind of the reader. In essence, the reader heightens the drama for him/herself. You can "fill in" the gaps and it becomes yours, something close and personal--in fanfictionland and tumblrland we call this a "headcanon." Maybe that's why I have this irrational, pathological hatred of the films: because so much is given for you, there's less room to have your own intimately personal version. But I'm weird!