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<   No. 1631   2007-07-15   >

Comic #1631

1 Lambert: You killed the Balrog?! But... what?!... how?!...
1 Kyros: Long I fell, and he fell with me.
2 Kyros: Then we plunged into deep water and all was dark. Cold it was as the tide of death: almost it froze my heart. Thither we came to the uttermost foundations of stone.
3 Kyros: We fought far under the living earth, where time is not counted and the world is gnawed by nameless things. Of fierce battle that rended the very rock there was none to see.
4 Kyros: Until at last I threw down my enemy, and smote the deepest caverns of the earth in his ruin.
4 Mordekai: You killed it with purple prose?

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Kyros' recounting of the story of how he defeated the Balrog uses some passages word for word from chapter 5 of book III of The Lord of the Rings (book III being the first book of The Two Towers). I did, however, have to condense Gandalf's own recounting of the story down considerably to fit it into a single comic. I left out the entire section about climbing the endless stair and smiting his foe's ruin on the mountain-side, opting for doing it all underground. If not purple prose, it's at least a deep shade of mauve.

2017-10-15 Rerun commentary: If you were hoping for this experience to change him into Kyros the White, the good fire mage, then you were sorely mistaken.

Now, I'm no Merton Professor of English Language and Literature, but personally I would have written that last sentence in panel 3 as:

Of fierce battle that rent the very rock there were none to see.
Various online dictionaries, plus my large print one, list only "rent" as the past tense of "rend", though some online ones do also quote "rended" as an alternative form. And the "are none"/"were none" issue comes down to personal preference. "None" taking a plural verb is well established English usage.

Maybe J.R.R. was just being edgy and hip with his writing, bending the English language to his whim for literary effect. And maybe that's why he was a Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and I'm not.

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