Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The elf poll (see righthand column) results so far suggest that while many people are, like me, suffering from a life-time of elf-related overexposure (option 1), there are a growing number of readers who feel that violent retaliation against these creatures would be going too far (option 4). Meanwhile, a significant minority may well be in for a shock when they are finally disabused of the notion that Santa Claus exists (option 3).

And now we shall return to our primary discourse. Not wishing to disappoint, I serve you the second course of our meal of elves and their Electronic Arts executive allies (an alliance which constitutes nothing short of unprincipled combinationism, in my opinion).

For the Hatred of ElvesTM - Part 2

Before I begin my discussion of the abovementioned quote from EA (see Part 1), I feel it is only right that I warn readers in advance that I do, in truth, lack a PhD in Fantasy. The theory and praxis of Heroic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Mid Fantasy and the like is obviously the subject of a lifetime of study, and unlike the learned Fantasticians and rune-scrutinising sociologists among us, I cannot proclaim mastery over the subject. I lack even the most basic ancient codices at my fingertips with which to authenticate my claims.

So if happen to make a mistake during this discourse, by saying that for instance, hobgoblins have 6 toes when, strictly speaking and according to convention, they have 8, please accept my apologies, offered here in advance. In fact if one were to go so far as to suggest that I am in no position to have an opinion on this topic whatsoever, one would indeed have one or two legs to stand on (unless one were a Ochu, in which case one would enjoy the benefits of three).

What little I do know of the genre was acquired during what could be considered a normal childhood, the relevant Fantastical features of which I summarise for you here:

* My apprenticeship began with Tolkein, the inventor of Orcs. My mother read to me from The Lord of the Rings at every night until it became all too upsetting: in the middle of the second book I discovered that “Mary” was in fact “Merry” and not a girl hobbit and so I immediately became listless and indifferent (I was very much counting on Mary, Tolkein you boys-own arse-botherer).

* As a solitary, siblingless child I journeyed alone into the single-player world of Steven Jackson (but cheated on the dice rolls, I’m ashamed to say) and from thence to the pulpy and wordy (David Eddings) and the slightly more distinguished (Stephen Donaldson).

* When I was twelve years of age I cried all night after I’d read the last page of the last book of the Belgariad, only to wake up the next morning and discover, with the aid of daylight, an advertisement for the first book of the Mallorean on the inside back cover.

* My school friend and I even tried writing a fantasy book once. It was, authentically, about an orphaned boy who went on to great things.

* I did also attempt to read an Anne McCaffrey book, but as I’m a traditionalist who believes that dragons should be slayed and not kept as pets, I dismissed this writer's oeuvre from my repertoire.

* In the guise of a half-elf, I played in a couple of Dungeons & Dragons campaigns with boys. It was from these boys that I learnt a very valuable lesson: that nerds are not necessarily clever simply by virtue of time spent engrossed in nerdly pursuits (these nerds, for example, named characters after Arnold Swarzenegger and very irritatingly went about unbalancing the game with uber-spells).

* Videogames, naturally.

My unofficial fantasy apprentissage was rather different. But as it would fail to meet the strict criteria on EA's checklist I thought it best to leave well alone.

to be continued...

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