Thursday, January 29, 2009

Suspension of Disbelief

There was a magical quality to the snowfall this morning as the trees in the woods across the road were all decked out in white. (Only somewhat undermined by the cold temperatures. At least it wasn't in the single digits like it was last week.) By the mailbox there is a pair of trees that have grown up to form something of a natural arch. It isn't very big, as the trees are still rather skinny, but they are flanked by evergreen trees which helps add to the effect. I had the thought that it looks a lot like the beginning of all those stories where the protagonist wanders through some magical doorway into another realm. (Narnia is an example, but I would posit the journey through Moria from LOTR fits in there too.)

I wondered briefly what would happen if I did walk through it, and was transported somewhere else. And came to the conclusion I'd be dragon fodder.

Which helped illustrate much of my problem with that whole sub-genre of fantasy in the first place. You take someone from our world, transport them to someplace magical filled with strange creatures - where invariably many are hostile and there is some evil force at work - and they're probably going to end up dead.

I, for one, have no idea how to deal with a dragon. Even if you put a sword in my hand, I don't know how to use it. A semester of fencing in college did not prepare me to swashbuckle (especially not with my grade) and I am all too aware that it is a skill which, like any other, takes years of dedication and hard work. Or very intensive hard work to learn in a short time. Neither of which I'm likely to have the opportunity for once the dragon decides I look like I'd make a good elevenses.

Some argument could be made that children - and it is invariably children who walk through these portals (leading one to wonder, where are their parents? and why are all these portals just left open and lying around for anyone to wander in?) - would be more flexible and adaptable. Adults would have to contend with the burden of being more grounded in the real world, and thus less able to comprehend their new surroundings. Children already exist in a world of make-believe and magic, to have it made real for them would not be such a shock.

On the other hand, holding a sword would be a lot harder. Swords are heavy things.

I, of course, did not walk through the portal. I thought about taking a walk in the woods anyway, and appreciating the cathedral like quality of it all - but the four foot snowdrift intervened.

Though I did wonder how dragons felt about frozen food.

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