Monday, July 02, 2007

The relationship between Aragorn and Legolas

Warning: This post attempts to tackle a "big" "question". It may, for that reason, become a pile of pretentious toss.

Exhibit A: Morecambe and Wise, in their flat, including their shared bed. Today, sharing a bed implies a sexual relationship, but then it didn't read like that at all.

Exhibit B: Top Gun (and this link is not safe for work); unlike many macho action films, this has a subtext that is explicitly[1] homoerotic.

Exhibit C: Bert and Ernie, who share a bedroom (but have separate beds). This has lead some people to suppose that they represent gay lovers in some way.


So what's going on here? Am I unhealthily obsessed with this stuff, or do I have a point?

Well, my first point is this: a friend of mine has said (paraphrasing here) that the gay community has co-opted all cool figures as gay icons; or as John Scalzi puts it:


And as for the "macho = homoerotic" thing, both in film and in general, well, let's just chalk that up to the fact that at this moment in the history of our nation straight men have ceded everything but snarky T-shirts, Xbox 360, leet speek and the classic geek pear shape to the men of alternate sexualities. A good-looking man in text-free clothing, speaking about something other than the iPhone? Gay. Two such men engaging each other in a way that does not have a WoW server as an intermediary? Super Gay! 300 such men, fighting Persians in jock straps and capes? Super-Mega-Ultra Gay!
Or, to put it yet one more way, with gay culture reaching out throughout all of culture, but still being seen as separate, you can see gay stuff everywhere.

Which leads us on to my next point which is that sex is used to sell everything, and is all over our media all the time. Alan Moore makes this, and several other interesting points in an article which amongst other things is a history of pornography over the last 25,000 years in Arthur Magazine.

Which leads me back to my title, and what is supposed to be my theme; if you spend slightly too much time lurking on the internet where Lord of the Rings fans who came in from the films hang out you continually come across the suggestion that, given that Aragorn and Legolas[2] know each other so well from events before the trilogy, they were probably lovers.

If you want to take a look back at the exhibits again, feel free.

Anyway, here's my point; that what we've lost is the idea of intimacy being something separate to sex; that Eric and Ernie, or Maverick and Goose, or Bert and Ernie, or Aragorn and Legolas live or work, or save each others lives in such a way that they are as intimate as lovers or spouses, but that doesn't mean that they are. Indeed, in these cases, they're entirely orthogonal to any sexual axis (which isn't always true in fiction).

Enough of this; my next post will be lighter and more amusing I hope.

[1] Although, not in that way.
[2] Links funnier than anything else.

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