Forum: Prospective Challenges

Discussing: Death to fanon!

Death to fanon!

This is a challenge for all brave souls out there: break the chains of your fanon conventions! Yes, it's true, most of us come to the fandom seeking what we loved in the original - so we want, for example, further confirmation of how wonderful a human being Faramir is, or how courageous Sam is, or how wily-yet-mystical Gandalf is. These original virtues or vices end up evolving into fanon conventions (well, sometimes; the jury's still out on where the fanonical alcoholic-and-abusive Thranduil comes from...). And so this challenge is to not only avoid fanon, but go against it altogether! (Most of my examples are focused on characterization, but this could be flexible enough to work with points of plot generally accepted by the fandom yet never outlined by Tolkien; or even scenarios Tolkien did write but could be suitably altered when keeping in mind that LOTR is a "historical text". However, to keep things simple, I'm going to restrict these examples and such to characterization.) Anyway, here are some prompts:
  • Petty!Faramir; maybe in his parenting days, was he stingy with Elboron? Or did he spoil him? Did he look at other young men to see how Elboron compared?
  • Cowardly!Aragorn; perhaps sometime in his youth, though the real challenge would be showing a cowardly moment later on in his life, perhaps during his reign?
  • Maybe a happily!domestic!Eowyn; something showing Eowyn as she revels in tending to the household.
  • Silly!prankster!Frodo (post-Quest)
  • Studious!Boromir; not just military history, as that's just too easy... how about some fluffy poetry? Did he have a secret stash of paperback romance novels he'd unwind with in Osgiliath?
  • Clumsy!Legolas
  • Inhospitable!Elrond; did he ever have any unexpected and/or unwanted guests?
  • Emotional!Denethor; this man needs a good cry every now and then.
You get the idea. Basically, try to write a scene showing our beloved characters being... well, less beloved. Remember, they're three-dimensional people, and so they will undoubtedly exhibit contradictions and quirks of character. Also, to make this more challenging, no humorous or ironic takes on it - rather, try to make it as realistic and "in-character" as possible. Any takers? (Count me in, of course.) Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Bitten. Yours JunoMagic

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

I love it, Aeneid! Grrrr, this would mean signing up for another placeholder, but I'd be willing to give something like this a shot. Allie

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Awesome! That makes three so far: Allie, Juno and I. We just need two more... *fingers crossed* Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

I think I may have been bitten by the Aragorn one... Which is pretty amazing, since he doesn't usually bite me much. Count me in, I guess, as long as it's got a decently far-off due date. ^_^ Bado na sídh. Berz.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Hee heee................. Oh yeah, I'm in. I was just having a conversation with Marastar the other day wherein we were contemplating a Manipulative!Scheming!Faramir. *twirls big black mustache*

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Woot! And that makes five: Aeneid, Juno, me, Berz, and EdorasLass! What sort of closer date is everyone looking at? Allie

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

What sort of closer date is everyone looking at? If it's a nice loooooong one, I'll put down this canister of nuzgul repellent and join in the fun too! Vistula

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

No, I'm not signing up ( I have trouble getting one fic up and running) but I am waiting anxiously to read these!! The challenge sounds marvelously engaging and I see tiny furry Nuzgul springing up all through people's yards...no, no, no... repellent and nuzgulacide (eek!) will not save you!! Bye the bye, Vis...wern;'t you just gnashing your teeth on how many challenges you still had to write? -- Love -- Molly

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Damn you, Snidely Whiplash EdorasLass! I'm holding you personally responsible for any injuries I may suffer as a result of rabid F/E shipper flame mobs. Great idea, Aeneid! I'm in -- against my better judgment.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Whew, that's six volunteers! All right, I'm just going to give this one a closer of nine months (why nine? I don't know... It sounded good): that's 3/4 of a year. Does that sound reasonable to everyone? Allie edit: Break fanon, and then brag about it...

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Bye the bye, Vis...wern;'t you just gnashing your teeth on how many challenges you still had to write? Ummmm....yes... mumbles something about this being the second challenge signed up for this week I think I need cookies. Vistula

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Damn you, Snidely Whiplash EdorasLass! I'm holding you personally responsible for any injuries I may suffer as a result of rabid F/E shipper flame mobs. Me? Me? I didn't do anything -- it was all Aeneid! *points* I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it, you can't prove anything.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Yay! It's up! And I think HASA's eating my posts again, didn't I already post a "5-huzzah!" post a few days back? Hmm. Rabid F/E shipper flame mobs? I didn't do anything -- it was all Aeneid! *points* AHAHAHAHA!! In with the marshmallows! Toast them all! Farasmores, Eosmores - AHAHAHAHA!! I mean, sorry. Tasteless jokes (much like a burnt Farasmore), blame it on a crazy streak. (Though I think I've caught Denethor's insanity.) Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Hmmm...someone needs cookies...what kind O abused and unloved One? I thought I'd given you cookies earlier this week..of course that could have been last week too....-- Love -- Molly

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

AHAHAHAHA!! In with the marshmallows! Toast them all! Farasmores, Eosmores - AHAHAHAHA!! Eosmores. Now all you've done is make me think about Oily!Unconscious!Eomer. *deranged giggle*

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Now all you've done is make me think about Oily!Unconscious!Eomer. I can't see that there's a problem with that. I'm strangely tempted by devious, nasty Faramir. After all there's foundation enough in the way he works Frodo and Sam in Henneth Annun. Then there's the 'Methinks he doth protest too much', in the whole 'I would not take this thing, if it lay by the highway. Not were Minas Tirith falling in ruin and I alone could save her...' part. Hmm...

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Rabid F/E shipper flame mobs? SHHHHH! They'll hear you. *cowers* Denethor's nickname for Farasmore (hee!): Maaratur

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

"And so this challenge is to not only avoid fanon, but go against it altogether! (Most of my examples are focused on characterization, but this could be flexible enough to work with points of plot generally accepted by the fandom yet never outlined by Tolkien; or even scenarios Tolkien did write but could be suitably altered when keeping in mind that LOTR is a "historical text". However, to keep things simple, I'm going to restrict these examples and such to characterization.) Anyway, here are some prompts: Petty!Faramir; maybe in his parenting days, was he stingy with Elboron? Or did he spoil him? Did he look at other young men to see how Elboron compared? Cowardly!Aragorn; perhaps sometime in his youth, though the real challenge would be showing a cowardly moment later on in his life, perhaps during his reign? Maybe a happily!domestic!Eowyn; something showing Eowyn as she revels in tending to the household. Silly!prankster!Frodo (post-Quest) Studious!Boromir; not just military history, as that's just too easy... how about some fluffy poetry? Did he have a secret stash of paperback romance novels he'd unwind with in Osgiliath? Clumsy!Legolas Inhospitable!Elrond; did he ever have any unexpected and/or unwanted guests? Emotional!Denethor; this man needs a good cry every now and then. You get the idea. Basically, try to write a scene showing our beloved characters being... well, less beloved. Remember, they're three-dimensional people, and so they will undoubtedly exhibit contradictions and quirks of character. Also, to make this more challenging, no humorous or ironic takes on it - rather, try to make it as realistic and "in-character" as possible." My problem with this challenge is that it seems like you want us in some instances, to break canon as well as fanon. There's no way I could buy a silly!prankster post-Ring War Frodo, or a truly cowardly Aragorn (afraid of something, yes, but not a coward), or a Clumsy!Legolas (unless he'd really been hitting the miruvor) - they'd have to be AU. Petty!Faramir is unlikely, but since the premise of his fallibility is Fourth Age, it's possible that he wasn't a good father to Elboron, though I personally doubt it...As for Emotional!Denethor - I see him frequently in fanfic. That's not a break in canon or fanon, unless he's constantly breaking down for days, weeks at a time... I do look forward to see what other people do with this one! RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Hey Raksha, Ooh! I'm glad you made this comment, as it gives me a good opportunity to babble on about this challenge (as well as my General Theories on Tolkien, Characterization and Life). My problem with this challenge is that it seems like you want us in some instances, to break canon as well as fanon. It depends on how you look at Tolkien's work, and what you consider "canon" to be. For example, in the case of LOTR, we're told by Tolkien that it's a translation of the Red Book of Westmarch - a historical text. So, this means that the reality of the Ring War, if there was such a thing, has long since become distorted and stylized by various retellings - we're reading a myth and legend, even by Middle-earth standards. Thus the deeper part of this challenge is to distance ourselves, as fanfic authors, from the "mythical" aspect of these stories and instead write what might have really happened - from an "on-the-ground" perspective, you could say. So, rather than trying to write about (what I consider) the flat characters of Tolkien - this is a challenge to present them as real, three-dimensional people. You're right in that I doubt Tolkien would have ever written a scene depicting a cowardly Aragorn - it went against his idyllic "Aragorn, Heir of Isildur" character. Also, Tolkien didn't need to - his job was to tell the myth, not the reality (goodness, I feel so crazy talking about M-e as "reality"). So this challenge is to flesh out Aragorn as a human being, not an infallible Epic Hero. And in all of Aragorn's long years, I find it impossible to think that he never once exhibited a cowardly emotion. The same goes for Faramir, Frodo, Denethor... but also Arwen, Boromir, Eowyn, you name it. To make a sweeping generalization, it seems most fanfic authors try to "stretch out" these "legendary" characterizations - and we get these somewhat flat, unrealistic people (did Frodo never laugh, or act silly, in all his years after the war? Was Boromir solely an angst-ridden military machine? That sort of thing sounds psychologically unsustainable). And I'm tired of reading that sort of thing - I yearn for the realism! Just think: canon!Boromir bites his nails, whose to say Faramir doesn't pick his nose? Sure, it steals away a lot of the glamour from these mythical heroes - but it also has the potential of adding a whole new dimension of realism to them. Maybe a more accurate title to this challenge would have been, "Death to the myth!" or "But grandpa, what was it really like?" Anyway, I'm curious to see what people come up with! Hopefully this'll just be a fun exercise to stretch those writing muscles and "think outside the box". Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

I regard Tolkien's LOTR, all of it, as canon. It doesn't matter that much to me that he used the convention of a translation from the Red Book of Westmarch, much of it is too personal a narrative to be taken seriously as myth, and the myth resonates, at least for me, because he's not writing only about normal, totally fallible folks; he's writing about exceptional people. I'm not really interested in a totally normal (as viewed by modern eyes) Faramir who would pick his nose or whatever (he wouldn't, not in public, anymore than my mother would; he's a prince and schooled to control such desires). That doesn't mean I want to only write the characters as perfect icons. I do think that Faramir, and Aragorn, and others, felt fear, probably frequently. But as leaders of men, they would have done their best to hide it, and soldier on. That goes to how the characters were raised; I can't really see either of them, or Boromir or Eomer, snivelling in terror during battle. (throwing up after their first battle -sure, that's quite reasonable) Frodo after the Ring War has lost his innocence and on the whole is much more somber than other hobbits. Perhaps he did get drunk and act silly at Sam's wedding; but I can't see that he would behave in a silly fashion unless he were drunk... I don't think Boromir was solely an angst-ridden military machine. But Tolkien did say he was a soldier and that was his vocation by choice as well as by necessity. I imagine that he was more convivial before the fall of Osgiliath, when the reality of the very possible fall of Gondor dawned on him. As Denethor's heir, and Captain-General/High Warden, the responsibility for Gondor's military defense fell on Boromir's shoulders, and I see it weighing heavily on him. But I don't see him as a flowery poet, a musician, someone who read for pleasure, or the playboy of Minas Tirith; anymore than I could see Faramir happily vying with Legolas for Most Orcs Killed In One Battle. I do have a couple of plotbunnies that try to address a more human-nature side of my favorite mythic characters, such as Faramir and Aragorn - but I'm not going to turn them into totally fallible, weak, sorts of fellas of the sort you'd find in a neighborhood bar. There can be a balance... RAKSHA THE DEMON, agreeing perhaps to cordially disagree

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

And I'm tired of reading that sort of thing - I yearn for the realism! Sure, it steals away a lot of the glamour from these mythical heroes - but it also has the potential of adding a whole new dimension of realism to them.. Patchy hair and all? I have to say that I agree with both you and Raksha, sorta. One of my hugest pet peeves, as you may or may not know, is the tendency to make the LOTR siblings get along like angels all the time. Er....no. They're kids, for heaven's sake, of course they don't get along perfectly all the time! Siblings argue, or flat-out fight - that doesn't mean they love each other any less! It's not realistic to make them into happy little dollies who never say a harsh word to one another. They're people, and people don't always agree with other people. And while I do agree that we'd not see Eomer breaking down on the battlefield in fear, there might be someone he confides his fear to, after the battle is all said and done. Elfhelm, his horse, the spectre of his father, or just himself, wondering why he was so struck at that specific moment. Aragorn might seek out Elrond, or Gandalf. I mostly took this to be a challenge to go against the cliches fanfiction writers have fallen into, such as making Elrohir and Elladan merry pranksters. Where did that come from? I don't mind it - I find it very amusing, but we all know they weren't going into the orcs' dens to put whoopie cushions on the chairs any more than Faramir could be totally celibate his entire life before he married Eowyn and still be really, really ,really fantastic on the wedding night. There are not books that good. And I've read several things where Eomer can't hold his liquor, which I find a rather odd fanon creation, and then there's the whole Thranduil-as-brutal-dad cliche. A story against that sort of thing -- that's probably what I'll be going for. Although Scheming!Faramir or In Teenaged Love!Boromir may be too hard to resist.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

because he's not writing only about normal, totally fallible folks; he's writing about exceptional people. I think the challenge is to keep it anti-fanon while still remaining in canon. Yes, Aragorn could probably draw the mantle of Numenorean kingship around him very effectively, but did this make him a pompous, distant person 24/7 once he was crowned? Was there no time and place where he could put his feet up on the table, grab a beer and play poker with the guys? Or get annoyed with his kids when they interrupted him? Writing that moment, and still keeping him essentially Aragorn, would be a challenge. I'm sure I could do the same sort of analysis for any of the characters. If I see them as people, they have to have some human foibles. Maybe Boromir is afraid of bats, or some other creature. It does not have to be the ones listed, after all. Just something that goes contrary to the fanon view of the character. And yes, I've taken up the challenge.. and no, it's not any of the above scenarios... Gwynnyd (1885 words and typing...)

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

EdorasLass - there's no question in my mind that occasionally the brothers Mir would have quarreled, or at least exchanged harsh words. And I could see Eomer admitting to his horse, or his own thoughts, that he was scared during a battle - well, maybe Aragorn more likely than Eomer; the Eorlingas seem more likely to Laugh At Death, or sing at it, or both. We know that Aragorn shared his serious concern about the Nazgul ("they are terrible!") to Frodo in an effort to make the hobbits be serious rather than killed; it's implied that Aragorn has met the Nine before and was indeed scared by them. I've never understood the fanon convention that the Peredhil twins are merry pranksters. They can be lighter in heart than say, Elrond, but I don't see them doing practical jokes all the time. And I doubt that Faramir was a virgin on his wedding night, though I don't think he was necessarily the Playboy of Minas Tirith either. I've read several fics where Faramir can't hold his liquor; which I don't understand - there's no hint of it in either books or movies. And how did anyone come up with Thranduil-as-evil-dad anyway, that comes from far out of the ballpark.... Gwynnyd - Of course Aragorn would kick back and enjoy a drink with friends, or a poker game, after being crowned King. And he'd yell at his kids if they interrupted him, at least sometimes, he probably has long and tiring days, and he's not a 21st century parent catering to the kids all the time. I'd think of it as normal character development rather than fanon-busting. RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Count me in, I think.. Studious!Boromir; not just military history, as that's just too easy... how about some fluffy poetry? Did he have a secret stash of paperback romance novels he'd unwind with in Osgiliath? Ooh! I want to read that!

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Yes! Everything Gwynnyd said, she's got it. It's about breaking the fanon conventions which, in some cases (such as the Perfect Mir Brothers' relationship), have a canonical basis - but sometimes (drunken Thranduil) don't. Though it's not about breaking canon. In fact, the more challenging aspect of this... erm, challenge... would be to write something blatantly anti-fanon, while still keeping the characters recognizable and... erm, in character. (I feel like Austen Powers: "Also myself to introduce... myself.") This should be easy in cases like Thranduil or the El-twins or even flat!comic-relief!Gimli, though it might be more difficult for characters like Aragorn, Boromir, or Eowyn. Would it be anti-canonical for Faramir to pick his nose? I don't think so. It is, I feel, definitely anti-fanon. (And you're right, Raksha, he probably wouldn't do it when he thought someone was watching. Though him getting caught would be pretty funny.) I guess the motivation for this challenge is that (heresy!) I found Tolkien's canonical characterizations pretty flat (though the plot was right on, yeah!), and then we get this one-dimensional fanon. Like meathead!Boromir - who's to say he didn't have a razor-sharp wit? You know, that sort of stuff. A good example of what I'm aiming for would be T.H. White's The Once and Future King. Although White bases his plot and characters and characterizations on Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur - thus engaging in a form of fanfiction - he enriches the characters by giving them very human and endearing weaknesses. Because of this, I think, White resonates much more than Malory. Of course, there are people who prefer Malory's to White's rendition - that's a matter of opinion. But think how exciting it is to have an ugly and insecure Lancelot, or a meek Arthur, or a jealous and passionate Guenever? Of course, this isn't entirely how their characterizations are defined, but these are some of their defining traits, and they make their accomplishments that much more exciting and rich. Bring on the ugly!Faramir... the mundane!Legolas... the absent-minded!Aragorn! Aeneid

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

the Eorlingas seem more likely to Laugh At Death, or sing at it, or both. Hee hee........ singing a laughing death song! Now I just have some Monty Python-esque scene in my head, where Eomer is singing some defiant song with the chorus being "Ha ha ha! Ha ha! HA HA HA!" said just like that.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Yes! Everything Gwynnyd said, she's got it. It's about breaking the fanon conventions which, in some cases (such as the Perfect Mir Brothers' relationship), have a canonical basis - but sometimes (drunken Thranduil) don't. Though it's not about breaking canon. In fact, the more challenging aspect of this... erm, challenge... would be to write something blatantly anti-fanon, while still keeping the characters recognizable and... erm, in character. (I feel like Austen Powers: "Also myself to introduce... myself.") This should be easy in cases like Thranduil or the El-twins or even flat!comic-relief!Gimli, though it might be more difficult for characters like Aragorn, Boromir, or Eowyn. Would it be anti-canonical for Faramir to pick his nose? I don't think so. It is, I feel, definitely anti-fanon. (And you're right, Raksha, he probably wouldn't do it when he thought someone was watching. Though him getting caught would be pretty funny.) I guess the motivation for this challenge is that (heresy!) I found Tolkien's canonical characterizations pretty flat (though the plot was right on, yeah!), and then we get this one-dimensional fanon. Like meathead!Boromir - who's to say he didn't have a razor-sharp wit? You know, that sort of stuff. A good example of what I'm aiming for would be T.H. White's The Once and Future King. Although White bases his plot and characters and characterizations on Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur - thus engaging in a form of fanfiction - he enriches the characters by giving them very human and endearing weaknesses. Because of this, I think, White resonates much more than Malory. Of course, there are people who prefer Malory's to White's rendition - that's a matter of opinion. But think how exciting it is to have an ugly and insecure Lancelot, or a meek Arthur, or a jealous and passionate Guenever? Of course, this isn't entirely how their characterizations are defined, but these are some of their defining traits, and they make their accomplishments that much more exciting and rich. Bring on the ugly!Faramir... the mundane!Legolas... the absent-minded!Aragorn! Aeneid I think we have a different perspective here on what is funny, what is interesting...My only beef with THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, a splendid book, was the characterisation of Arthur as a very meek fellow. I couldn't understand how such a meek, and to me, weak, man, could lead contentious nobles and overheated knights for so many years. I still don't. The characterisations of Lancelot and Guinevere were superb, and I do, overall, prefer White to Malory. But JRRT gives us a lot more 'human' moments than Malory does. And I wouldn't find scenes of nose-picking, by Faramir or anyone, funny at all. Just doesn't make me laugh. I never thought of Boromir as a meathead - he's a prince in all but name, and no dummy, he's just not an intellectual - doesn't make him a meathead. I don't want to read about ordinary guys; I like heroes, I like heroes with human sides but still heroes...Aragorn can be somewhat absent-minded as a King, and still be believable, because as a warrior and Ranger he never had to keep track of paperwork or treaties or tax codes. (he has Faramir and probably several secretaries to do that for him now anyway) But JRRT said that Aragorn was a great King, so he wouldn't be showing his absent-mindedness constantly in public... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

I have to say I am now tempted to go for what is possibly one of the most common (and, as far as I can see, cannonically arbitary- though, okay I admit it, RL likely) fannons out there.... Watch this space... Soubrettina

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

I have to say that I agree with both you and Raksha, sorta. One of my hugest pet peeves, as you may or may not know, is the tendency to make the LOTR siblings get along like angels all the time. Er....no. They're kids, for heaven's sake, of course they don't get along perfectly all the time! Siblings argue, or flat-out fight - that doesn't mean they love each other any less! It's not realistic to make them into happy little dollies who never say a harsh word to one another. They're people, and people don't always agree with other people. EdorasLass, your story SEA LONGING has one of my favorite interpretations of the very young Brothers Mir - as real children, but their personalities very much as I'd expect them to be - both the kids viewed by their governess as very sweet children, but even the sweetest of children having a bad day. I loved the way you wrote two-year-old Faramir tough enough to resent his big brother laying waste to the city of blocks that Faramir had built, and cranky enough to throw a block at Boromir. And the image of little Boromir wrecking the blocks, crying "For Gondor" is priceless. Young kids would not always play nicely and quietly... RAKSHA

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

SEA LONGING has one of my favorite interpretations of the very young Brothers Mir - as real children, but their personalities very much as I'd expect them to be - both the kids viewed by their governess as very sweet children, but even the sweetest of children having a bad day.... Thank you, Raksha! That's a great thing to hear, particularly because I am perhaps overly fond of that OC, as I identify with her quite a bit. Between years of daycare work and having dealt with all kinds of kids, I have learned that the sweetest ones are often the ones who have the worst bad days. Or seem to, because it's such a marked change from their regular behaviour. And the closest siblings are also the ones who often have the worst fights. Young kids would not always play nicely and quietly... Young kids may play nicely, but they rarely play quietly, at least with other children. And if they are quiet, you might want to go check out what they're up to. I'll have to dig up the insta-drabble I did where the poor woman finds Faramir beating the crap out of Boromir....hee hee

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

the absent-minded!Aragorn! Oh my! I have an idea for this that (if I can write Aragorn in Character) would keep the great king in character and without anyone seeing him, but for perhaps Arwen. He therefore keeps his status as a great king, and his dignity too. And you can all blame it on Eldarion. Is this challenge still on, because if it is, I would like to know where to post the story once it is written. And when for that matter.

 

 

Re: Death to fanon!

Farasmores? Eosmores? I'd better watch it... not only am I one of those rabid F/E shippers, my nickname often gets shortened to "smor". Anyway, I think I'd like to give this a shot... after reading this, I have a plot bunny for a rather girly!Eowyn-fic biting my ankles.

 

 

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