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Jan. 13th, 2013

From slayground, who got it from a friend:

You find yourself in front of seven identical doors. A voice from above tells you, "These seven doors lead to seven different places: Narnia, Neverland, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Camelot, Middle Earth, and Westeros."

Which door do you go through? Why that door? What happens?


First off, the obvious NO: Westeros. I've never read the whole entire series of books, and from what I've seen of the TV show basically tells me that unless I step out of that door on the far side as ALREADY a queen (and even THEY often don't fare all that well), my life would tend to be short sharp and brutal and thank you very much but I"ll pass. Besides, for some reason, what I HAVE seen of George R R Martin's epic I've enjoyed on the level that it's a punchy story that rolls you forward but on some deep and fundamental level it just never did satisfy me.

Narnia - if you has asked me this question when I was fourteen I would probably have run, not walked, to Narnia. Particularly if I could meet Aslan (who was not, after all a TAME lion). There was just... something. Soemthing magical. But then I fatally read, or was educated about, the stuff between the lines, and Narnia has sort of lost its gloss after that. I can still love it, and enjoy it, but there is a tight wary part of me that wants nothing to do with the allegorical layering within it and I do NOT want to end up where I think I would end up if I went there, with Aslan magically transforming into one of those religious-postcard blue-eyed Jesuses with an expression of inexpressible beatitude and an attitude fo "you will be just fine if you do what I say you do and think only what I say you think". I'm sorry, but I'm way beyond that. I have my own ideas. If I could be guaranteed Aslan and ONLY Aslan, I might consider it. Otherwise....

Neverland and WOnderland share a particular characteristic which means I'd love to visit but not stay there longterm - an overwhelming preponderance of the twee and the whimsical. In the case of Alice - particularly in the Looking Glass books - you might say that it all means an entirely different thing and that if you pay attention you might actually understand this and have an experience that is vastly different from what you think you are seeing. And while I do ADORE Lewis Carroll's obvious and irrepressible love of language - if I had to LIVE with that, and that alone, I'd be insane in short order. I'd probably TURN into a Jabberwock and start eating people.

Hogwarts - oh, I don't know. There are wonderful things in that world. There are also things that make me roll my eyes mightily and go, oh, REALLY?!? And learning pig latin to do spells... would lose its charm fast.

Which leaves us with Camelot, and Middle Earth.

Camelot was an enduring love affair, for me. I LOVE the Arthurian cycle (well, the parts of it before it turns into a Christian tract and the only thing that matters is finding the metaphysical equivalent of selvation in the shape of the (probably non-existent, in reality) Holy Grail. But it had a power to it that I responded to, the power of PEOPLE living a MYTH. When I was 19 I even wrote an entire novel from the POV of Guinevere (and discovered that it was a damnably difficult thing to do because she could not POSSIBLY know half the things that I needed her to know in order to carry the plot forward, without resorting to silly little-girl tricks like listening at doors...) Given a chance to go through that door and find myself in Camelot... ah, well, the rub here is WHICH Camelot, and what I will find there. But this one would tempt me. Tempt me hard.

In the end there is only one door for me, though, and I am sure those of you who know me picked this one for me right from the start.

I am a Tolkien girl.

For a very long time I have lived and breathed Middle Earth.

I may not know Quenya, but my heart speaks that, and Entish, and knows how to sing "Misty Mountains" in the original tongue of the Dwarves who wrote it. I understand this world, and I treasure it. In fact, I hardly need to open that door and step through... because I am already there. I've been there for as long as I know.

So, then. WHich door would you pick?


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)
If the doors are identical, how do we know what we're choosing?

Narnia- Very likely, although as a Human I'd probably attract more attention than I'd want. I'd like to just set up a cozy little house in a forest somewhere and make friends with the local fauna.

Neverland- I would've jumped at the chance as a kid (I went through a phase of leaving Lifesavers on my windowsill for Peter and Tink every night), but I get the impression it's not nearly as much fun if your a girl. Besides, I suspect I'm too much of a grownup now, darnit.

Wonderland- I've always found it just a bit too arbitrary and weird.

Hogwarts- Maybe. Being a perpetual scholar could be fun.

Camelot- I would've before I learned more of what medieval life was like. I like central heating, running water, indoor plumbing, modern medicine, and grocery stores. (Or their magical equivalents.)

Middle Earth- If I wound up in the Shire, YES. Elsewhere, depends on where. The only downside is that I'm allergic to pipeweed.

Westeros- I know next to nothing about it, but from what I've heard I suspect I'd go out of my way to avoid it.
Jan. 14th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
Me being pedantic: I assume that the doors are not so identical as to lack labels. Actually, why make them identical unless that is part of the problem? "Hey, you, if I asked someone from the next door which door I should avoid, what would he, she, or it tell me?"

Middle Earth in a time and place of peace would be quite attractive. The Shire for most of its recorded history, for example. But in much of the East, you'd be lucky if you got a quick clean death.

I don't suppose you can open two of the doors and let the inhabitants mingle..?
Jan. 14th, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
If I were in Middle Earth, probably not the Shire, for me - I'm a lot less Hobbitly than this would necessitate. No, if I were confined to certain milieux then ROhan, possibly Gondor - but I would like it far more if I could at LEAST be an Elf-friend with an open invitation to Elvish places...
Jan. 14th, 2013 01:11 am (UTC)
Whereas I am entirely Hobbitly and would happily be the weird giant human who moved into the Shire and raises irises and roses.

Edited at 2013-01-14 01:11 am (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
I'm torn between Narnia, which I could have a very good time in as an annoying atheist, and Middle Earth. In the end I would probably go with Middle Earth, since it would be comfortable and any fights I got into would be less, um, peevish.

I am of course assuming Middle Earth after the end of LOTR.
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
I think the question for me is more when than where. It probably doesn't matter for Neverland and Wonderland, but I wouldn't want to live in Hogwarts under threat of Voldemort, Narnia in the days of the White Witch or even Miraz, Middle Earth with Sauron advancing, or even Camelot when ruled by Mordred. (I haven't read the Westeros books.)
Jan. 14th, 2013 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm trying to picture the woman who would ever answer Westeros. Thought the men don't exactly have longevity on their side.

Similarly, the adult who picks Neverland might be missing the point of the place. Since the only adults are the Bad Pirate Caricatures and Worse Indian Caricatures, and parents are even more explicitly NOT welcome, I don't think any real adult could cope.

Hogwarts, Narnia and Middle Earth have their appeals, but jumping into Rowling's wizarding world as a full-fledged adult has problems, similar but at least not as permanent as doing so into Neverland. Think of the learning curve when eleven year olds can do more magic than you know.

I think I am sufficiently hobbit-like for the Shire: Give me a library, a cup of tea, and a pleasant house, (And my husband, who'd probably also make a decent hobbit) and let me raise kids and write books around a place with lovely gardens. Though we'd both eschew the pipeweed. (And I did know someone who knew Quenya.)

Narnia as I always pictured it, maybe, but I've, like you, been reading too many deconstructions and discussions of its problems. (IN fact, I did write a rant about it apparently being a world created entirely for the purpose of teaching eight English children about faith).

Camelot: I have too many different ideas what Camelot is and was to be sure. Some would be a superb place to live, some would be as high on my avoidance list as Westeros.
Jan. 14th, 2013 03:16 am (UTC)
Hardly a choice at all for me. In order of best to worst:

Middle Earth - Give me nice hole in Hobbiton with a westerly view of the Water and room for a good-size vegetable garden. It is removed enough from the centers of power that I would not feel uneasy voicing my opinions. I wouldn't always stay at home, mind you, but that would definitely give me a place worth returning to.

Neverland - My second choice after Middle-earth. There seems more of a chance for having downright fun than most of the other places, and the villains, though sometimes a challenge, are comfortably defeatable. The rules here are weird, but unlike in Wonderland, they seem fairly consistent.

Hogwarts - As castles go, Hogwarts seemed one of the more comfortable, but why would I want to spend my life in a prep school, even as a teacher?

Narnia has always seemed to me a place stretched too thin over too large an area. There isn't enough foundation to make it feel secure or real. Or something.

Wonderland - Too random for my tastes. If the Red Queen was not shouting "Off with his head!" within an hour of meeting me, then she wasn't paying attention.

Camelot - Castles as a rule are cold and drafty and prone to all the political machinations (read "betrayals") that I prefer to avoid. I've never cottoned to the idea of kings anyway.

Westeros - a humorless place where everybody seems bent on one-upping everyone else. I couldn't trust anyone there, and my innate insubordination in the face of authority would get my head on a spike in no time at all.
Jan. 14th, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
While Middle Earth has its charms, I'm not sure how I'd like living in it when the magic sails away. So, for both challenges and adventure, (yes, even during the Voldemort War, because War is sort of what happens to my family, I'd feel pretty normal) I'd go with Magical Botany instructor at Hogwarts. While I want to outlive my mom (still kicking ass at almost 94) I think I could manage the challenge. Or at least not suffer an embarrassingly stupid and pointless death.
Jan. 14th, 2013 09:08 am (UTC)
Jan. 14th, 2013 01:38 pm (UTC)
Narnia or Middle Earth for me, I think. I like galloping on horseback and archery :)

Beyond that, I'm just too stopped by the idea of Jesus being a mind-controlling dictator to get into much detail. I keep wondering, why would the God who created so much diversity in the universe, who created so much diversity in humans and came up with the idea of intelligence and free will in the first place, want to stamp out your identity/ability to think for yourself? </p>

(Whether or not you personally believe in God or Jesus doesn't matter to the theory - if you are an all-powerful being that wants mindless drones, then why not create mindless drones? There, problem solved before it starts.)

Jan. 14th, 2013 03:12 pm (UTC)
In terms of what I'd want to see most, Wonderland. But as a sheerly practical consideration, Narnia, since damn, I'd be all idolized because of my wonderful white humanness. Hogwarts, they'd probably kick me out because I'm not registered. Wonderland: insanity looms. Neverland: mermaids are bitches. Middle Earth: no penicillin. Camelot: same. Westeros: see Captain Obvious.
Jan. 14th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the lack of modern medicine was a consideration.

Besides, if nobody'd thought to invent stills by then, I'd be the first and then the Shire would probably cause Issues with the surrounding populations.

On the other hand...

Dang. Can you just imagine what it would be like if the Shire made Single Malt?
Jan. 14th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Just don't let Lobelia know.
Jan. 14th, 2013 11:14 pm (UTC)
Lack of penicillin would not bother me since I am allergic to same and can't really take it in THIS world...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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