I'll come up with something in a minute.

Tolkien Stones

There is probably a real literary term for this, but if there isn’t I am proposing this one. Actually, there probably isn’t, now that I think about it. Not to get too insulting, but the sort of jackasses who tend to teach literature love this shit and would never use a short dismissive term to describe it. They’d need a fifteen-word description that had either “Socio”, “Political”, “Sexual” or “Environmental” in it. Optimally, all of those, because those people love nothing so much as a pointless label. Also, while still not wishing to cause offense, they’re ugly and their mothers will never really love them.

A Tolkien Stone is something described in great detail that has nothing to do with the story in any significant way. Quite often, this item, event or person will never even appear in the story again, leading some one to question the point of describing them in such exquisite detail. A person could argue the necessity of most Tolkien Stones, but any fan of pulp knows that these are extraneous deviations. Pulp, by it’s very nature, rarely contains Tolkien Stones. However even that great format isn’t immune to the syndrome.

There isn’t actually a specific example of a stone in Tolkien I can think of, but it comes from a conversation I was having once with a friend. I was explaining that while I love Tolkien, he has a peculiar habit of describing every small flat gray stone in exquisite detail. He will go on and on about how this is the stone that Elendil relieved himself on after the Battle of Sausage Hill where some guy that was never mentioned before and will never be mentioned again was slain and how generations of Orcs have been raised to despise this rock because of it’s connection and on and on and on. After all that, what happens? Sam and Frodo walk past the rock without remarking on it or realizing its significance.

There are many examples of Tolkien Stones in literature. Hugo’s description of the Battle of Waterloo in Les Misérables, Stan Uris’s Wife in IT, or that f’ing turtle at the beginning of Grapes of Wrath. Talk about a turtle that couldn’t help us. I really, really hated Grapes of Wrath. Where as something like The Old Man and the Sea is interesting because the entire book is one big entirely pointless Tolkien Stone. Sweet maple syrup, but I hated that book too.

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August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment