Two words. Jillian said two words: as if two words could deconstruct three years of research and reading everything she could. And yet somehow it did.
“What are you saying?” Deborah answered; her tone was clipped.
“Exactly that: I disagree. Elves should be tall.”
Oh my God! Who cared if elves should be tall? Maybe they were at some point; but everything she read convinced her that it would make more sense for the elves of her book to be small. Jillian didn’t understand.
“I think the premise of your book is wrong. Why do you postulate that elves are small? I mean when you read Lord of the Rings or watch Chronicles of Lodoss Wars; they’re tall. Even in The Fionavar Tapestry, the lios alfar – which means elf by the way – are tall and beautiful beings. Fairies are small: elves are tall.”
Except that Lord of the Rings, Lodoss Wars and The Fionavar Tapestry happened in a timeline where elves were an important people. But in the appendixes of the first, it’s specifically written that the Fourth Age is that of men, and elves diminish. Diminishing could mean different things: why not take the most literal signification? It worked.
“Besides your assumption of fairies being small is wrong too Jillian. When you read The Fairies by Charles Perrault….”
“As I was saying, when you read The Fairies, well the fairy is actually tall. She shows herself first as an old beggared lady, then as a beautiful rich woman. So there you go.”
“Well see I’m right. You should have tall elves. Not pixies or trolls or something.”
Deborah sighed. Trolls were huge in Lord of the Rings too; had Jillian thought of that?
There was no convincing her friend, the only way was to show her the first draft of her book. But Deborah wasn’t ready to do that at all: it still needed editing and reworking: like another 6 months or something.
Yet, it made sense: part of the story covered that slow decent from the fairest and most prominent race in the world to a decadent ignored species relegated to another world, which remained unseen by most. Only through tricks could they be noticed. Or because people believed.
“Ok fine you win.”
“What you’re going to make them tall?”
“No. I disagree with your interpretation but I need to show you why. So I’ll let you read it.”
Jillian’s face lit up.
“Really. You’ll let me be your first beta reader?” She nodded. “Oh that’s so cool. I’m so excited. I’m sure I’ll love it… short elves notwithstanding.”
“Well be honest. That’s all I can ask.”
“I will. Promise.”
When Deborah gave her the printed document, Jillian held it reverently; yet she teased shamefully.
“Well if I’d known disagreeing with you about this was going to get me the book, I would have done so before.”
“Away with you.”
Jillian retreated to her bedroom, while Deborah sat down and opened the TV. If she knew her roommate, Jill would have finished the book by tonight and she’d have a review within 2 days. Should she be elated? Or terrified? Maybe she’d know after a few episodes of The Walking Dead.