Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What if somebody else had written lord of the rings? for example, what if Chuck Palahniuk had taken a stab at it?

"Frodo gets me a job as a waiter, after that Mr. Frodo's pushing Sting in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die. For a long time, though, Frodo and I were best friends. People are always asking me, did I know about Frodo Baggins.

The tip of the sword just touched the back of my throat, Frodo says, "We really won't die."

With my tongue I can feel the fuller forged into the bottom of the blade. Most of the weight of a sword is in the middle, a mass increasing as the blade broadens for extra cutting power. To reduce the weight and improve manueverability, you forge channels in the face of the blade. This makes it light for its width but helps it retain some cutting power.

You forge the fullers too thin, and the blade can break in your hand.

"This isn't really death," Frodo says. "We'll be legend. We won't grow old."

I tongue the elven blade into my cheek and say, Mr. Frodo, you're thinking of ringwraiths.

The mountain we're standing on won't be here in ten minutes. You take a 98 percent concentration of a fuming portion of a dark lord's power and add it to molten gold. Then, pour the gold into a mold in the shape of a ring. Take it out of the mold and remove the sprues in a closed environment, and you have a ring of power.

I know this because Frodo knows this.

Throw the ring into the fires in which it was forged, and you get a massive explosion that brings down the mountain. A lot of folk feed them to dragons or pay a Balrog to lash the ring. Dragons and Balrogs have never, ever worked for me.

So Frodo and I are on top of Mount Doom with Sting stuck in my mouth, and we hear rocks crumbling. Look over the edge. It's always a cloudy day, especially this high up. This is Middle Earth's most evil mountain, and on top of it the wind is always cold. It's so quiet this high up, the feeling you get is that you're one of those Nazgul steeds. You do the little job you're told to do.

Get ridden to battle.

Confront a shield maiden.

You don't understand any of it, and then you just die.

Three-thousand feet up up, you look over the edge of the cliff and the plane below is mottled with a shag carpet of orcs, walking, marching to the West. The stone crumbling is the cliff-face right below us. Gollum climbs up the side of mountain, eyes big as Gandalf's old hat as he picks his way up slowly. Bits of ragged clothing catch on jagged rocks and drop, getting smaller, disappearing into the packed crowd."


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