When the news came down yesterday that a heretofore unpublished book by J.R.R. Tolkien will be hitting bookstores in May, I was a little surprised that I, an avowed Tolkien dilettante, felt a genuine twinge of excitement. Although I have never read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, Idid love me Peter Jackson’s LOTR moving pictures something fierce, and I’m quite twitterpated to see what directorGuillermo Del Toro and exec producer Jackson have cooking for The Hobbit. Maybe this new Tolkien story – which the good professor reportedly wrote before spinning his tales of furry-footed Hobbits and ring-seeking dark lords – would prove just as richly filled with fodder for a sweeping fantasy epic that wins oodles of Oscars.
But then I learned the new book’s title: The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun. Ooo. And that it’s written in verse. Eeep. And it’s a retelling of old Norse epics. Yikes. Sounds more like The Legend of the Strenuously Humdrum to me.
Of course, I should know better than to judge a book by its title. (I learned that lesson long ago when I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer only after it had moved to UPN.) So in the spirit of fair-play-that-is-in-no-way-fair-whatsoever, after the jump I’ve completely concocted a plot summary of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun based solely on its title. To wit:
“In the faraway land of Noårdski, a curly-haired, furry-toed land-tiller named Sigurd is returning one fair eve to his mound-hut when he trips over a mysterious gourd half-buried in the muck-mud. ‘O ho,’ exclaims Sigurd as he puffs on his pipe-stick, ‘what in the name of Blæbleblurski is this?’ No sooner does Sigurd tear the gourd up from the muck-mud, however, than the entire land of Noårdski is plunged into the Black-Darkness. Sigurd’s hands – the strongest in the valley-plains – have unwittingly cracked the gourd and awakened soul-spirit of the fiendish overlord of the troll-ogre clan, Gudrun. Long dormant these 1,000 years after the pixie-sprite-imps of Eldørski unleashed all their magic-making and bound him to the Great Gourd, Gudrun is now free to relaunch his campaign to reclaim dominion over Noårdski and all who inhabit it. Sigurd must take the Great Gourd back across the Æfelflürdski Sea and the frigid dust-desert of Fjrvbrski so the last remaining pixie-sprite-imp can repair it. Can Sigurd get there before the second moon-star of Pvœski reaches its apex, with Gudrun and his army of troll-ogres hot on his trail? What is Sigurd to make of the sudden aide of the seemingly wise mage-wizard Ganrdelfski? Will our hero ever see his mound-hut again? And will all these quasi-Nordic names be able to fit into this tale’s metered verse?”
So, PopWatchers, think you can do better? Or would you rather rake me over the coals for my heartless desecration of Tolkien’s good name? Lo, the comments await you below!