Last time on The Chindividual, we’ve seen Nazi Elves taking over the world and ruling it with an iron fist. This was not done to celebrate the “coolness” of totalitarian states or just to put Elves into leather coats and military boots (though I will reward you with a cookie if you can provide me with art of that), but to show how one can fix the elven race. And by fixing, I mean how one can make them deviate from the standard, goldilocks-and-frolicking-in-woods stereotype. Today, I present you with another way to make your Elves more flavorful, more interesting and more…rebellious
In my previous post, we brainstormed about the idea of turning Elves into the dominant species on the planet. It’s quite logical: with their natural talent for magic and their long lifespans, Elves have two great advantages compared to other fantasy races. If they utilize these powers right, combined with war machines and tactics that redefine the term “Blitzkrieg”, there’s nothing but their own pride and arrogance stopping them. Within weeks, the pointy-eared conquerors will dominate all of the world. In this scenario, their special traits have enabled them to rule. However, in some cases, being special turns you into the one being ruled, and the Rebel Elves can tell you all about it.
The Rebel Elves are identical to the Nazi Elves: they are practically immortal and cast spells as easily as they make a sandwich. However, the world they live in does not tolerate their presence. In fact, the world is afraid of it. All the other races of the world have recognized the danger such old and powerful creatures pose, and have joined forces to disown them of any kind of power. Elves are not allowed to live outside special internment camps, are not allowed to breed with non-Elves, and have no rights to speak of. Murdering an Elf is not a felony in this world: it’s what upstart human nobles do for fun, when they find a renegade Elf in the woods and chase it down. It’s a sport like hunting, and the ears of an Elf are just a trophy like a fox’s fur.
In this world, a certain rage is boiling among the interned Elves. By what right do these mortal races judge them? Why has no one stepped up to show them their place? Why are all these Elves so obedient, uncomplaining about their servitude? It is time that someone rises up against the mortal masters and shows them which race is truly meant to rule. Enter the Rebel Elves.
The Rebel Elves see themselves as freedom fighters, while the oppressing government will portray them as terrorists. In fact, their acts are not better than the heinous deeds done by a real-life terrorist. Rebel Elves will bomb public buildings with magic, or take hostages to hold them for ransom. They will start riots in the streets and will kill officers of the law if they have to. In the eyes of the public, they are monsters, but they are the monsters created by the cruel world they live in.
The key to portraying the Rebel Elves is the environment that shaped them. You must never forget that the only reason they turn to acts of terrorism is because the world has left them with no other option. They have been driven into a corner, and the only way out is to push forward with relentless force. Yes, their deeds might be heinous, but their motivation is pure: all they want is freedom, equality and a chance to show the world what they are worth. And here lies the drama of the Rebel Elves: do your vile deeds corrupt your just motivation? Will you not equal your oppressors in their monstrosity if you allow yourself to be monstrous? Ethical questions each Rebel Elf will ask himself, and something an entire story can be based on.
So there you have it: two spins on a fantasy stereotype. Interestingly enough, every stereotype we know since Tolkien can be given a new spin. Months ago, I gave Dwarves a kung-fu twist, and I’m sure the same can be done with other tropes. Guerilla gnomes living in a jungle country, where they use the tall trees and dark forests in their battle tactics against colonists from overseas? Goblin tinkerers who are only ostracized because of their looks? Fairies who aren’t that nice? Oh wait, that has been done already!
Anyway, why don’t you tell me how you would change the classics of fantasy? Which race or stereotype do you think needs a new spin? I’m looking forward to hear it!