Subject: Starting from scratch might be easier.
Posted on: 2021-06-21 06:47:26 UTC

But, if you want to keep the some of the better elements from this one, I suggest starting with an outline. List the elements you really want to use, then plan how to connect them in new ways using the feedback you've gotten from me and Nova. Keep in mind "show, don't tell." A common response to beta questions when you're still learning is to just insert an answer or explanation into the narrative, or have the characters do an "As You Know, Bob," but that tends to result in stiff prose and doesn't necessarily fix the underlying issue. (Link includes advice on how not to do an AYKB.)

Unfortunately, I can't agree to beta the new piece for you myself. I'm barely keeping the commitments I already have at the moment.

As for the LotR question: My concern is less that the knife can't be used twice, but more that its tip can't break off twice. It only has one tip, and it's supposed to break off in Frodo's shoulder, then slowly work its way toward his heart. If it had pierced his heart, then he would have become a wraith, as I believe Gandalf explains to him in Rivendell after he recovers. I think Gandalf says he was already starting to fade by the time he got there, too. IIRC, he and/or Sam remark on how much Frodo's appearance has improved.

Of course, it would be much harder to stab effectively using a knife with no point, so you might well not even try it, especially since you have to pierce the heart for the sorcery to work properly. And I don't know if the sorcery could be used again once the blade broke, come to think of it. It might all be tied up with the piece doing its work inside Frodo?

... And then I checked the source, because that's always a good idea. Here are some quotes from The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter 1, "Many Meetings":

> Frodo shuddered, remembering the cruel knife with the notched blade that had vanished in Strider's hands. 'Don't be alarmed!' said Gandalf. 'It [the splinter removed by Elrond] is gone now. It has been melted. And it seems that Hobbits fade very reluctantly. I have known strong warriors of the Big People who would quickly have been overcome by that splinter, which you bore for seventeen days.'

The blade vanishes in Aragorn's hand; I remember now, they even show that in the film. Since they have to melt the splinter, I'm not entirely sure whether it was the dawn light that dissolved the rest of the blade or if it would have vanished on its own anyway. I suppose Gandalf could mean they "melted" the splinter in daylight, but since Tolkien phrased it in a way that suggests melting in a forge, I'm more inclined to think it was just that.

And it's still night when Aragorn finds it in the film, too, so if it's movieverse, then daylight definitely has nothing to do with it.

I'll also highlight the bit where Gandalf points out not everyone would succumb to a wound like Frodo's at the same rate, and that Frodo is remarkably resilient.

> 'They tried to pierce your heart with a Morgul-knife which remains in the wound. If they had succeeded, you would have become like they are, only weaker and under their command. You would have become a wraith under the dominion of the Dark Lord.'

I read "Morgul-knife" to mean a metaphorical knife, one of dark sorcery (that's what morgul means). The index of my copy of LotR only lists that one use of the term; the physical knife is simply called a knife or long blade. I reckon the physical blade is less important than the sorcery it delivers, and since the sorcery remains in whatever wound is given, the blade doesn't have to last beyond one use. (Maybe the sorcery itself weakens what was otherwise good metal?) Good thing such a dangerous weapon is fragile, though, or there might be wraiths everywhere.

There's also plenty of description about how the wound affects Frodo and how his arm looks a little transparent to Gandalf even now that he's recovering. I think when Gandalf says "You were beginning to fade" (which he does), we can take that literally, though perhaps you'd need the eyes of a wizard (or a Ringwraith) to notice anything in someone who hasn't fully succumbed.

None of which really matters, because the agents aren't going to be silly enough to put themselves in a position to be stabbed by the Witch-king in the first place this time, right? {= ) Still, goes to show it always pays to look up the details!


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