On second thought, hobbit…

So we went and saw that Hobbit movie that’s out now. It was kind of fun just as a movie, although I wouldn’t be awaiting the next two parts all that impatiently. (The Great Goblin was fun, but I don’t know if the audience will have played enough 8-bit platformers to get all the subtle retro references in the Escape from Goblin Town scene.)

As a movie version of that Hobbit book, it had all the problems that everyone else has complained about: too slow, too padded, too many unnecessary differences from the Tolkien. (That awkward moment in making a short novel into three long movies because there’s just so much content, when you realize that you need to promote a relatively minor goblin (who was actually dead by this point in the book) into a Big Scary Antagonist just so the first movie will have enough plot.)

But that’s not what I want to talk about.on second thought

What I want to talk about is the urgency of someone writing a good fanfiction story / series / novel / trilogy about the alternate Lord of the Rings in which Galadriel fails the test in Caras Galadhon, and things proceed as predicted…

In place of the Dark Lord, you will set up a Queen, and I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night. Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain…all shall love me and despair!

This seems to me to have a huge amount of promise if done right. Not the “she turns evil immediately” scenario, because that would be boring. The “she uses the powers of the One Ring, which would be truly enormous in her hands, to do great good things, which only slowly and subtly start to go terribly wrong as the inherent evil of the Ring’s power slowly corrupts her” scenario is the interesting one.

(One would have to be careful to avoid too many “the dangers of using corrupted power” references to the humungous “Wheel of Time” series, but that shouldn’t be too hard.)

So what happens in this alternate universe? Much of Sauron’s power is now not only lost to him, but in the possession of an implacable enemy with great power of her own, and her own unsullied Ring (Nenya, the White Ring, Ring of Adamant, Ring of Water). Galadriel is not of the Maiar as Sauron is (right?), but with those two rings, and Sauron’s weakness, I like the idea that she vanquishes him pretty easily, at the very start of her reign, so that she starts from a (dangerous) position of power and triumph.

Maybe she can use the Nazgul to do the job, the Nine Riders controlled by the Rings of Men. It would be simplest if they were actually wearing their Rings; then we could see her reaching out to them through the One, quickly or slowly turning their darkness to light, and perhaps Nine Bright Paladins cutting a swath through Mordor, letting in the armies of men and defeating the whole dark shebang.

But from what I read on the Intertubes it seems more Canonical that Sauron actually held the Nine Rings himself, and controlled the Riders through them. So perhaps we need some subtler scenario in which she uses the One Ring to cause the Nine Rings to come to her, or to stir up enough goodness in the Riders to let them resist Sauron’s control of their own Rings long enough to free them, or even destroy them.

It seems unlikely that the Riders themselves can be returned to any kind of mortal life after a Fall of Sauron; it could be fascinating to have them around as sort of disembodied Lights in the Shadow Realm, who start out by doing dazzling good, and only gradually slide into bright and blinding corruption.

We know that in the world of Galadriel Triumphant, all shall love her, and despair. So we start out with a new empire of goodness and beauty and love, and we slide into despair. There is of course a vast literature on how love goes wrong and leads to despair. :) So all we’d have to do is pick one form of that (a good one, of course), and let it play out in the world of Lord of the Rings.

Love for the Lady becomes mandatory, of course. Sacrificing oneself for that love is good and noble. In battle, perhaps for instance. Do we have suicidal dragon-hunts in her name? Jousts for the honor of Galadriel turning into deathmatches? Perhaps whole squadrons of knights, eventually whole armies, go to battle to prove (through victory) that they are more deserving of the Lady’s Love, or that they Love Her more truly.

Three of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves probably still exist. (Maybe some of the other four can still show up also; Gandalf might have been mistaken about them being destroyed by dragons, you never know.) What can Galadriel do with these? Their main, relatively boring, effect seems to be to make Dwarves angrier and hungrier for gold (and shorter and hairier, I would guess). Under the Lady, the Dwarves will lust for gold so that they may make fancier and more valuable gifts for Her. They will of course come to blows and likely internecine wars over that as well.

So far this sounds mostly like people fighting each other over Her, which isn’t bad, if a little obvious. How do we get to Despair, in maybe a less obvious and more interesting way? Galadriel is already somewhat ethereal; perhaps as she wears the Rings she becomes even moreso: angelic, diaphanous, almost phantom. Her presence floats about the Empire, fills the air with brightness and love and exultation, only to leave behind emptiness and longing, and ultimately despair, as her attention moves on.

So we have a world of wonders and beauty, noble warriors and astonishing Dwarven artifacts, love and enchantment, gradually crumbling into a ruin of glaze-eyed fighters battling for the slim hope of an instant of Her attention, as Her spirit, increasingly indistinct but always maddeningly alluring, floats over all, moaning beautiful but incomprehensible songs as the world falls into despair for a glimpse of Her, and the Nine Paladins make sure that no one dares say anything against Her.

Wow, creepy. :)

There are probably a dozen other promising ways the story could be written, also. Googling around, I’ve found a very few attempts (the one piece of fanfiction I stumbled across was just silly comedy, and very short), and a few threads discussing the idea (mostly technical topics about the differences in power between Galadriel with the Ring and Gandalf with the Ring, and so on).

If anyone has a pointer to any more complete considerations or fictions, along the lines above, or any more thoughts and ideas on the subject, fire away. For some reason I am really attracted to the idea. :) Although I may have gotten it somewhat out of my system by writing it down here now…


4 Comments to “On second thought, hobbit…”

  1. I think I’d take it in a different direction.
    Firstly instead of trying to reform the nine, I think she would just kill them, and give the rings to new men (e.g. Aragorn and Borimir) and start all over.
    As for the eventual downfall and despair. What was the downfall of the rest of the Noldor? The Simirils. Either she bends her resources to some mad scheme to retrieve them (from the bottom of the sea or the stars) or else to remake them.
    For example, as with Numeor, after overthrowing Sauron he might “repent” and become a “teacher” to her. After all, it was his knowledge and instruction that lead to the creation of the three.

    • Oh, I like that! I don’t think I want her to simply kill the Nine out of hand, but I can easily imagine a scene in which she has to make some difficult (and foreshadowing) choice about what to do, which leads to them dying (or perhaps more accurately being finally allowed to finish dying), and the Nine Rings coming back into her control, and then some -very- interesting scenes around who they go to next (since the recipients will be put into such an … unusual relationship with her).

      And yeah I can definitely imagine Sauron as a super-wormtongue, convincing the Lady that her destiny is to retrieve one or more Silmarils. Not immediately clear how to work that into the whole love / despair thing, but I’m sure it could be done… :)

  2. Basically Galadriel as Anakin Skywalker?


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