Awful Mary-Sue: The Unsold Tales
Author: Jenn - email@example.com
Rating: R (which could mean restricted or ridiculous or reprehensible or rot-gut, depending on your locale and perspective) for the tale a whole, although the actual rating will vary by chapter.
Summary: The real story of the Fellowship: Aragorn, Legolas, Boromir, Gandalf, Gimli, Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippinand one other. Also Elrond, Glorfindel, Celeborn, Galadriel, Haldir, Thranduil and more. (Arwen, however, is curiously absent.) This tale aspires to be the Mary-Sue to end all Mary-Sues. Can there be a higher calling?
Disclaimer: This is a work of parody. No disrespect is meant to J.R.R. Tolkien or Peter Jackson, whose genius in writing and bringing to life Middle-earth and its peoples I admire greatly. Anyone or anything you recognize from M-E likely belongs to the Storymaker, the Moviemaker and/or their respective heirs and organizations. The rest of it, including the Sue herself, is mine, my own, my precious. I make no profit from this work.
Feedback: Comments welcome -- firstname.lastname@example.org. Make them constructive if you can, but nasty is OK, if you must -- I've got my marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars ready, so flame away! S'more, anyone?
Archiving: Edhellond. Anyone else: permission required, so I'll know where to send updates.
Genesis: This story was inspired by two marvelous works. The first is Soledad's "The Joys of a Beard," which showed me the rich possibilities of the Mary-Sue genre. She has chosen to emulate the earnest seriousness of the typical Mary-Sue story, with the added challenge of using material from JRRT's earlier drafts of what eventually became LOTR. Read this and other fine tales listed on her author profile page on fanfiction.net.
I can rarely restrain myself from lapsing into parody, however. So an evil glint came to my eye when I read the Mary-Sue "litmus test" for LOTR fanfic authors, written by Gil Shalos. (See the LOTR section of Gil's website -- www.gilshalos.0catch.com -- where you'll also find an intriguing tale of a soldier of Gondor.) In this "test," I saw a challenge: could I actually write a story that incorporated every cliché Gil listed? The result is the story that follows.
Let me be clear: Gil graciously granted me permission to use the "list" as a blueprint for my story, and Soledad encouraged me to write it. But neither of them is in any way responsible for the outcome. For that, you have only me to blame.
As to the M-S genre, while I am indulging in some serious teasing here, I actually support the right of any Tolkien fanfiction author to write whatever s/he wishes, including tales of Mary-Sue and her kin. Even if a story stinks to Valinor and back, Tolkien's realm is neither defiled nor diminished by the existence of that story, which nobody is forced to read, after all. Writing is an act of creativity, and no matter how the product turns out, I think creative expression is a good thing in and of itself. The only people who could possibly harm Tolkien's legacy are the folks who feel a need to burn his books, ban them from public libraries or rant against them in religious settings. Narrow-mindedness is the real threat, not poor old Mary-Sue.
References: As is often true of LOTR Mary-Sue tales nowadays, this story is movie-verse. Thus, while I have drawn on my general knowledge of Tolkien's work to fill in some details, my primary reference materials besides the theatrical release of the FOTR film were:
- The transcript of FOTR developed by the folks at Council-of-Elrond - check out their website -- www.council-of-elrond.com.
- Jude Fisher (2001). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings Visual Companion. Houghton-Mifflin.
- Brian Sibley (2001). The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide. Houghton-Mifflin.
Author's Notes: I failed the test. I shall post this tale, then diminish and go into the West and remain Anon M-S.
Please note that the "Elvish" spoken in this story is fake. In fact, you may notice it looks suspiciously like English having a very post-modern sort of day. Translations of Elvish and any other non-English language follow in brackets [ ].
Please note the location of the exit nearest you and turn off all cellphones and beepers.
And now, on with the show.
o o o o o o o o o o
Me arm pressed on
Han Ming none
Ham on the chibi
Aha! noshed an egg with it.
Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it.
And much that should have been lostwas not.
Morning, eh, utility day!
o o o o o o o o o o
It began with the forging of the great rings.
Three for the Elves with lovely hair,
For the Eldar, Firstborn, always share.
Seven for the Dwarves - one to each,
For sharing to Dwarves you cannot teach.
To the Secondborn, the Race of Men,
Who all fancy power, were given nine
Or was it ten?
But I am getting ahead of myself. Or perhaps behind. I no longer know for certain. All that was once clear fades into mist as I search my memories for the tales given into my care, tales I must tell 'ere I depart from this place, never more to walk among its hills and derry dols.
We begin in the distant past. Well, fairly far back. Certainly not recent history, even for an Elf, which you are not.
But there were, once upon a time, those who *were* Elves - still are, I suppose, if they weren't slain by the swords of battle or the arrows of love. And there were Men as well, all of whom are most certainly dead by now, even the ones who weren't dead back then.
And those Elves and Men formed a great alliance. The Last Alliance, they called it, although I should think Elrond must have regretted that choice in his later days, considering the events at Helm's Deep in the Second Jacksonian Age. But once again, I look ahead, or at least less far behind, so let us return to the times further back, to the beginning of the First Jacksonian Age, also known as the end of the Second Age of Arda. For it is there - or here - that my tale begins.
Ah yes! My tale
The Last Alliance of Men and Elves fought bravely to free Middle-earth from the evil armies of Mordor. Orcs they were, foul minions of Sauron, the corrupted wizard who sought to rule all of Middle-earth through the One Ring, which he had forged in secret in the volcanic fires of Mount Doom.
Gil-Galad, High King of the Elves, and Elendil, King of Men, led their forces onto the battlefield. Orc blood flowed black like oil slicks across the barren plains, mixing with and tainting the red blood spilled from the veins of Men and Elves alike. The battle was hard fought, as such things ever are, but the tide was turning in favor of the forces of Light.
Then, at the very moment when the Alliance gained the upper hand, the Dark Lord himself strode onto the battlefield. Evil both pure and foul seethed in the roiling cauldron that was the heart of darkness beating within Sauron's chest. With the One Ring glowing its fiery menace on his armored hand, his swung his mace, flinging Elves and Men aside by the dozen, as an ill-tempered child sweeps his toy soldiers away in a fit of pique. Neither Man nor Elf could stand before his onslaught. And when Gil-Galad fell, it seemed all hope must be abandoned.
But the courage of Men should not be underestimated. Nor should their foolishness. Elendil raised his sword, Narsil, intending to strike down the Dark Lord. Sauron swatted him into the side of the mountain like a pesky fly, where he died in a crumpled heap.
Not to be outdone by his father's idiocy, Isildur, the heir-apparent, grabbed for his very recently deceased father's sword. Which Sauron promptly stomped upon, breaking it into shards.
Still, Isildur was nothing if not persistent (a trait that would soon get him, and later all of Middle-earth, into a good deal of trouble). He managed to use the bit of blade still attached to the hilt of Narsil to slice off Sauron's finger, and the One Ring along with it.
Sauron collapsed inward and exploded outward in a great volley of sound and a rush of wind and an explosion of dark light. It was all quite magnificent in its own strange way. Evil, it seemed, had met its match.
Unfortunately, it was a match made in the dark places. Isildur took up the One Ring, marveling at the power radiating from its depths as light danced over its silky surface. He stood there on the slopes of Mount Doom, oblivious to the broken, bloodied bodies of the Kings of Elves and Men nearby, his gaze riveted on the shiny band, until his trance was shattered by a ringing voice whose urgency summoned his soul back up from the depths of the treacherous golden circle in his hand.
"Isildur! Follow me!"
Startled back into awareness of his surroundings, Isildur looked up to see a figure in Elven armor already scrambling up the mountainside.
"Isildur! Hurry!" the Elf called over one shoulder.
The Man who would be King followed quickly. The route was steep and rough, but at last, they reached their destination, a path leading from the side of the mountain into its flaming core. The Elf hurried to the end of the causeway, which jutted out over a belching pool of molten rock.
"Isildur! Cast it into the fire!"
Isildur took a step, then paused. He stared at the Elf, whose hair was whipped about by the fierce updrafts of sulphurous fumes from the boiling lava below. He saw anguish in the eyes, heard pleading in the voice. How lovely are these Elves, he thought. So very lovely. 'Tis a pity to see such beauty marred by fear and worry. He glanced down again at the Ring in his hand.
And that glance was the undoing of Isildur, and of all of Middle-earth. For at that moment, he perceived in the golden band the possibility of possessing such beauty for himself and his line down through the Ages to come. Why not? he asked himself. Why should the Firstborn alone have grace, strength, wisdom, immortality? His inner voice whispered to him - or was it the voice of another? - telling him of the power of the Ring to give him all he desired.
The Elf's voice intruded again. Desperation sang through its tones.
Ha! Their kind do not wish us to have such gifts, the whisper said. They would keep us weak.
He raised his eyes once more to the figure before him. His lips drew back in a feral snarl of a grin as his hand snapped shut around the Ring.
He whirled and fled the mountain, leaving the other staring after him in horrified silence.
Shoulders slumped in utter despair, the cloaked figure slowly turned to contemplate the flaming pit below.
"I have failed."
There was but a momentary flare as the plunging body burst into flame. A wisp of vapor rose to drift out the opening in the side of the mountain.
(To be continued)