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<   No. 1964   2008-06-12   >

Comic #1964

1 Mordekai: So now what?
1 Alvissa: We accept our punishment like men.
2 Mordekai: But you're not a man. You're an elf!
2 Lambert: I'm a hobbit.
2 Dwalin: I'm a dwarf.
3 Draak: Draak is cold blood race.
3 Kyros: So that makes Mordekai and me the only actual men.
4 Alvissa: And strangely enough the only two who did anything wrong...

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I was debating what line Mordekai should use there in the second panel. I originally wrote it as:

Mordekai: But you're a woman! And an elf!
And then I considered the question: If male elves are not technically "men", are female elves actually "women"?

I decided that no, a female elf cannot be a woman. "Men" and "women" refer to the males and females respectively of the race of humans. This concords with usage in Tolkien, where Merry and Pippin are not "men", despite being male hobbits, and neither is Eowyn a "man", despite being a human.

This then raised the question of what do you call a female elf, if not a woman. Someone suggested to me "elf maid", which Tolkien used. So the line became:

Mordekai: But you're an elf maid!
It's been mentioned before* that Alvissa is an "elf maiden". So:
Mordekai: But you're an elf maiden!
But then I decided to go with the line as shown in the strip above. This has the additional element of humour that Mordekai's first sentence sets up the idea that Alvissa is not a man perhaps because she's female, but then he goes on to completely ignore that fact and conclude that she's not a man merely by virtue of being an elf, without mentioning her sex at all.

* Wow, that's easily a new record for longest-spanning referral to a past strip.

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