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Discussing: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

For the summer months I want to suggest something a bit different: the Challenge will run for three months (June, July, August), allowing longer stories (though drabbles or ficlets are of course also welcome). To tempt writers I offer the following three lovely bunnies from the many that live in the Nuzgûl Hutch.

The first:


Heck no! We won't go!
Heck no! We won't go!

I was sitting at a patriotic music concert tonight and having the mental conversation with myself I have about this time every year. You see, I'm a pacifist in most situations -- a fairly moderate one, but I do find myself uncomfortable around all those songs that glorify the armed forces.

But this year there was a different ingredient in my mind: Tolkien. I got to thinking about what form pacifism would take in Middle-earth. Obviously when orcs are pounding at your gate you don't lay down your sword. But what about scenarios where someone disagreed with the direction their government was taking? For example:

* Gondor -- Did some people want friendlier relationships with the evil men? Trade routes with Harad and Umbar, perhaps?

* Rohan -- On the road to Gondor the Rohirrim learn that orcs are attacking the strongholds? Do some struggle with whether to turn back? Do some oppose the whole idea to go to Gondor and prefer to make their stand in Rohan?

* Erebor -- For those dwarves who never met Bilbo, how did they feel about the whole decision to not tell the Nazgul about where the Shire was?

* Fangorn -- Were there some Ents who perhaps didn't want to attack Isengard?

* Northern Rangers-- They guarded the Shire and Bree for years. Did any ever doubt whether this was a worthwhile cause, given how little respect they got for it?

And then of course we have the conversation between Shagrat and Ugluk who don't necessarily seem pro-war. I don't think I'd call them pacifist (since they're not opposed to violence per se), but they don't 100% support their country's push toward war.

Basically I'd be interested in seeing a story where someone's country is going to war (or *not* going to war), and some individuals doubts the wisdom of this decision. How would it play out? Would they act on their conviction and refuse to go to war? Go to war any way but do so half-heartedly? Try to argue for the country to change its direction?

Courtesy of Marta

 The second:

Boromir's Trial

Ok, I've been around and seen a number of AUs where Boromir lives. The scenario is generally one of two:

1) He doesn't go to Imladris, Faramir goes in his stead. Thus he's present at least past Parth Galen to challenge or welcome Aragorn.

2) He does go to Imladris, but although wounded at Parth Galen, he survives and is forced to continue on.

I'd like to add a third possibility:

3) The Orcs go after Aragorn and Sam, instead of Boromir, Merry and Pippin, and the Parth Galen situation reverses itself. What happens to Boromir and the quest then?

Does he go after Sam (and possibly Aragorn)? Does he try to follow Frodo? Does anyone go with Frodo? How will Boromir cope with what his own actions have precipitated? He isn't wounded, he's unbearably whole, save for the psychological wounding.

Lots of possibilities here. Anyone want to take it on?

The third:

Numenorean Death

The Numenorean Way of Death is surely one of the more unusual aspects of Tolkien's mythology. Aragorn's choice is the main canon story about this, and many people have written stories about it. But most dodge the hard questions: why does he make this choice? What do others around him really think about it? Is Arwen reconciled to it, or is she angry, resentful, etc.?

Then there are the broader questions. What was Tolkien's intention in creating this ability of Numenoreans? (You might also ask, How did he reconcile it with Catholic doctrine, which outlaws suicide?) He says that "a good Numenorean" would make this choice; one assumes, therefore, that it was considered the "right thing" to do as opposed to waiting for nature to take its course. Presumably, at some point in Numenor this must have changed, given the story of the Downfall. When did the kings stop practicing it?

How did this practice impact Numenorean culture? What kinds of ceremonies did they have? Why did women mainly not make this choice (a challenging question indeed)? What attitudes did the Numenoreans in exile (Gondor and Arnor) have toward it?

What is your own opinion of Numenorean death? One question that has come up is whether the choice is justified if you do not believe in an Afterlife.

Any story, essay, poem, drabble, whatever, can explore an aspect of this difficult subject. Tragedy, drama, comedy, parody, critical analysis--you decide.



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

For the "Heck, no!" - more towards the Shagrat-Ugluk end of the spectrum...

His Own Master

T. A. 2940

The black messenger smelled strange.  More precisely, he had no smell at all, unless it were of fear and death. Never before had these been unaccompanied.  

But this strangeness faded against the sheer impertinence of the message.

"You will lay waste the Elven haven of Imladris.  As soon as may be."

"And who, pray tell, are you?"

"An emissary of the Great Eye - you know whom.  Vast as your own treasure is, your reward shall be thrice its worth.  To be paid when Imladris is a charred ruin."

Smaug considered the offer.  More than fair, if it had been honorable and honest.  Which, of course, it was not - even a blind Dwarf could see that.

"You come here and presume to order me?"

The dragon's laughter shook the Gate of Erebor, and all the hall behind, before he calmed enough to reply.   

"I kill when, and whom, I wish.  And serve none but myself.  For giving me the best laugh I've had in years, I will forgive this insult and spare your life, such as it is, little one.  You may go now."

"You doubt the reward?  As a token of his goodwill the Great Eye shall deliver unto thee..."

Well, some fools were not worth sparing.  A great blast of fire silenced the messenger, though Smaug knew, somehow, he had not killed him.  Curious, to be pondered later.  But his form, at least, was gone - all that remained was his now-charred horse.  That, at least, was real.  And it was time for lunch.



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

Maeglin -- truly wonderful nuzgul! A confrontation between bad guys. Smaug is definitely his own boy (worm?) I l=particularly loved the detail about what a Nazgul would/would not smell like -- and the old Beast's perceptive observation that his visitor had not actually died in that blast of fire. Thanks -- inspired! Aiwendiel



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

Wheee! Roasted Nazgûl Laugh out loud



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

As we reach the end of the Summer Nuzgûl of the Month, I must hang my head in shame for having failed to manage even a drabble on any of the themes Frown Applause, though, once more to Maeglin for his story Thumbs up

I'll put up the September Nuzgûl tonight (my time)...



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

Heheh, thanks Nath.  I always wanted to write a story with someone besides Sauron peremptorily dismissing or dispatching a Nazgul ("You may go now" is quite derisive, when properly delivered ) and that Nuzgul provided the germ.  Look forward to more!



Re: Nuzgûl of the Month - Summer 2011

Well, the September Nuzgûl is up, and I'm off for a drink or two Grin



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