This is a part of fantasy that I never understood once I got into college. Reading Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, I knew there was a problem between the elves and dwarves. I never knew what the real problem was over. I used to know, but I stopped caring because that’s just Middle Earth . . . and Dungeons and Dragons . . . and several other fantasy stories where these two races are used. They seem to always be at odds in some way. It’s either open hostility or constant ribbing like whenever Hulk and Wolverine team up. I simply don’t get why this is still a thing since it rarely has an explanation. At least one that is beyond an old feud over one group of the race not helping the other.
I admit that I nearly slipped into it when I started writing Legends of Windemere. You can even see it in the prologue of Beginning of a Hero where the messenger meets an elf and there are dwarves nearby. I had the dwarves mock the elf and she returned the sentiment, but that’s as far as it went. More of a teasing nod to the tradition, but any issues between an elf and a dwarf that comes after is personal. What I mean is that the characters have a non-racial issue with each other. After all, Duggan Ironcaster is revealed to be old friends with Ilan Callindor since they trained as blacksmiths together. Alyssa Goldheart’s trusted butler is a dwarf and they care about each other. I guess what I’m saying is that I focused more on the character of the characters than their species.
Maybe this is something that stems from people treating Tolkien’s works like the holy Bible of fantasy. Many people rail against this and hate the use of the same races. They point to the dwarf/elf feud as evidence that an author has no originality. Unfortunately, this can be taken too far and having a dwarf and elf fight over anything is considered a cliche. Forget if the elf shot the dwarf in the ass with an arrow and clearly deserved the tankard to the nose. You simply can’t have an elf and dwarf fight without evoking thoughts of this standard.
I would say that this slice of fantasy is the one part that I definitely would like to be removed. Though I would say if there’s a good reason given then I’d get behind it, but the blind hate has been done too often. Elves and dwarves seem to be steeped in fictional racism, which the central representatives of the race are supposed to rise above over the course of the adventure.
Come to think of it, fantasy races seem to be incredibly racist. I mean, you have hatred toward half-elves for being half-breeds. Everyone hates orcs, finds halflings annoying, elves pompous, dwarves rude, gnomes insane, and humans stupid or plain destructive. Any race that gets added in ends up having a few reasons why people dislike them or they’re the one species that everyone loves and respects. No wonder fantasy worlds are always in turmoil and some bad guy is trying to take over. Maybe most of these villains are simply trying to unite the races and end the racism that plagues these worlds to the point where you have wars and apathy toward suffering. Sure, they’ll rule the world with an iron fist if they succeed, but don’t you think a world of species that are always about to kill each other deserve such a fate? I mean, if they can’t get along to stop the villain then they’re kind of bringing it on themselves.
Wow. This post so went in a strange direction. I think I need to sit down . . . and look over something that happens in Book 8.