Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One ring to rule them all

The web site TV Tropes is a complete time sink because it's so full of interesting stuff. The entire section on Sturgeon Tropes gives anybody involved in the creation of fiction plenty to think about.

The term Fridge Logic is especially useful. It is defined like so:
Fridge Logic has been the writer's-room term for these little Internal Consistency issues for a good while, as in "Don't sweat the fridge logic, we've got bigger fish to fry. We've only got 20 minutes left to work in three costume changes, a foreign language, and a weird wig."

The phrase was technically coined by Alfred Hitchcock himself. When asked about the scene in Vertigo when Madeleine mysteriously, and impossibly, disappears from the hotel that Scottie saw her in, he responded by calling it an "icebox" scene, that is, a scene that "hits you after you've gone home and start pulling cold chicken out of the icebox."

This got me to thinking about my ex-boyfriend Jonathan's alternative strategy for dealing with the One Ring - from the Lord of the Rings - which could be described as a kind of Fridge Logic. To my knowledge nobody has ever come up with this idea - so of course I had to spend an hour reviewing the main entry for Lord of the Rings at TVTropes to analyze its plausibility.

The way the One Ring works is by controlling a bunch of other rings. Or as the poem says:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the land of Mordor where the shadows lie.
So Jonathan's idea was that if you destroyed all the other rings, the One Ring would be pretty useless.

You could argue though that destroying all the other rings would be every bit as much of a pain in the ass, if not more, than throwing the One Ring into Mt. Doom. The Three Rings would be easy enough to eliminate, since they belonged to Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel. I'm not sure where the seven dwarf rings were - so it might be easy to get them. But the nine human rings belonged to the Ringwraiths, and it's not clear where they kept them. I think they wore them, but when you set a Ringwraith on fire, they don't seem to leave any rings behind.

Also this Rings of Power wiki says:
The Rings of Power were highly resistant to damage or destruction. Speaking with Frodo, Gandalf says that common fire, even in the Dwarves' furnaces, cannot harm it; though dragon-fire could melt a Ring of Power, dragons were no longer as hot as in the Second Age, and not even the mighty Ancalagon could have damaged the One Ring.
So you'd have to throw the Rings of Power into a dragon, which doesn't seem much easier than throwing the One Ring into Mount Doom.

But still - it's always good to look at all the options.