This was originally posted on Suzanne Johnson's blog as part of The Paper Magician blog tour.
I love to read fantasy. It’s my favorite genre, which is why I write in it. I eat up Sanderson and Marillier novels. At the library, I automatically peruse the books with the little white unicorn sticker on them.
I’m also a Trekkie.
Why do I bring this up? Because both fantasy novels and Star Trek have a race of people who look a whole lot like one another: Elves and Vulcans. However, as both a writer and a reader, I’m going to tell you why I love Vulcans and why I throw most books containing Elves across the room, if I pick them up at all.
Let’s start with Vulcans.
|Leonard Nimoy as Spock, a Human/Vulcan hybrid, |
demonstrating the Vulcan salute | Wikipedia
Vulcans appear, outwardly, just as humans do, save for their pointed ears and standard bowl-with-straight-bangs haircut (and the occasional blue eye shadow…). Vulcans thrive off logic: their desire to be logical at all times pushes them to learn, making them a highly intelligent race. This encourages them to deny all emotion, which is the bane of logic. They’re also about three times stronger than your average human.
Elves also look like humans, save for the pointed ears. Elves are graceful, beautiful, and immortal. In many novels or media outlets, they even have supernatural abilities. They’re fair to look upon, often war-free, and as Tolkien put it, have “great skill of body.” They’re tall, graceful, and resistant to disease.
This makes me loathe them.
|Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Peter Jackson's |
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers | Wikipedia
Now, if you’re an Elf fan, that’s fine and dandy—we don’t all have to like the same things. But let me tell you why I root for Vulcans whilst heckling Elves.
I call it Superman Syndrome. (Which apparently is already a thing.)
Vulcans one-up us humans in that they tend to be way smarter than us and could seriously mutilate us in a fist-fight. These are their strengths. But they also have their weaknesses: they don’t fully understand what it means to feel. You rarely see a happy Vulcan because happiness is suppressed. So is sadness, anger, surprise, love. Can you imagine a world without love, where you’re assigned a spouse and only mate with them once every seven years when your body decides to release its entire libido at once? For this reason, I pity Vulcans. Logic is a strength, but any Trekkie knows the episodes where stuffing down feelings ends up hurting Vulcans, not helping them.
When we look at Elves’ strengths . . . well, it’s the whole list, isn’t it? AKA Superman Syndrome.
Superman is my least favorite superhero (I’m a Marvel girl myself) because he’s too strong. The guy is invincible, unless someone manages to get their hands on some psycho rock from another planet, though even kryptonite won’t kill him. I feel it’s the same with Elves. All Elves are gorgeous, all Elves are strong, all Elves are immortal and powerful and smart and limber and nothing else. They’re too perfect; even Tolkien is guilty of this. Where is their weakness? Yeah, you could stab one (when Haldir fell in the “The Two Towers” movie, my first reaction was, OMG THEY CAN DIE?), but you can stab a human, too. Mankind has no upper hand with Elves. We’re just walking meat in comparison, and that, to me, makes elves wildly unsympathetic.