The absurdity of fantasy

From Slashdot:

Q: Is LoTR really based on Christian Mythology?

A: Yes. Tolkien wanted to demonstrate that even the mentally and physically challenged were capable of success and that therefore we should love everyone, regardless of their defects.

Q: So who represents the mentally and physically challenged?

A: Well obviously the hobbits are the physically challenged ones here, but the central mentally challenged figure is Gandalf, responsible for the most horrible attack plan in literature.

Q: What’s so horrible about a poorly armed team of two hobbits infiltrating Mordor?

A: Well, basically it ignores the fundamental strengths of the forces of light. Anyone who’s played C&C or Warcraft knows that if you have an advantage in air units, you have to use it. Remember that elves can ride eagles, and that elven archers are incredibly potent – early on, Gimli [I think he means Legolas] dismounts a Nazgul with a single shot! With about a thousand eagles (given elven archers on each one), the forces of good would have matched up pretty well in the air against Mordor’s air units: all nine of them. While the leader of the Nazgul cannot be killed by any living man, this does not prevent a team of twenty eagles from tearing him to little shreds, especially if Gandalf rode along for help. So basically an air battle would have been brief unmitigated slaughter of the Nazgul as about a thousand eagle-mounted elves blew them out of the sky in a hail of arrows.

Q: But I thought that there was some other book that said that the eagles wouldn’t help?

A: We’re not talking about some other stupid book here, we’re talking about the Lord of the Rings. And in this book, the eagles most definitely help out, first by flying Gandalf off the tower and secondly by pitching into the Final Battle in full force, attacking ground units (stupid!) at great risk to themselves. So obviously they would have been content to take part in a brief airborne slaughter of the Nazgul.

Q: Ok so you defeat all Mordor’s air units… then what?

A: Well with air superiority, you command the skies. Which means that you can fly right over Mount Doom and drop anything you want right in there… like a ring. Mordor only had nine airborne units, and with them out of the way Mordor has absolutely no way to prevent anyone from flying anywhere.

I love fantasy literature and I read it voraciously, but this sort of thing does amuse me to no end. Rare indeed is the author who can think through all the alternative possibilities, although ofttimes the illogic is truly ridiculous. So, we have a divine right of kings sans any religious divinity, the bizarre concept of Balance that is more reflective of an author’s political moderation than any known historical religion and a plethora of poorly-reconstituted quasi-European principalities. And, as the Slashdot poster demonstrates, even the great ones slip up from time to time.

Of course, this flaw could have been easily addressed by showing an Eagle getting blown out of the sky by Sauron once it crossed into Mordor, but that’s neither here nor there.