Bats In The Belfry: Batman as a Heroic Psychopath

Batman-Begins

“ And there is something out there in the darkness, something terrifying, something that will not stop until it gets revenge…Me ” – Batman Begins Teaser Trailer

What constitutes heroism has always been fluid. Should one’s actions be the deciding factor, or one’s intent? I’m certain most have heard the story of the late ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, who after a long, failed attempt to expose police corruption, decided to take martial action against the LAPD itself. His story isn’t too different from Frank Serpico’s, a police officer who also recognized corruption and sought to stamp it out ( with some mild success ). Paramount even made a film made about his crusade starring Al Pacino, which many would call the ultimate stamp of public approval. Will a film be made about Chris Dorner? I mean, he had good intentions (well, up until the multiple murders). We could assume the answer. This illustrates the common dissonance that exists between heroic intent and heroic action. Both men had goals that most would consider heroic, but disconnected when it came to their final actions. Dorner will never be considered a hero, in fact he would be considered quite the villain.

Compared to the other major heroes in the DC universe, Batman has consistently been written as the most suspect. Sure, all superheroes are by definition vigilantes, but Batman’s particular brand of vigilantism has an aire of madness to it.

Batman R.I.P. (2008)

Case in point

Case in point

He’s no god like Superman, just a guy who forced himself to become one in order to fight crime. He also has the additional peculiarities that come with the genre ( motif, modus operandi, etc ). His impetus for heroics just adds to how crazy he seems, after seeing the death of his parents, he decides “why not become a bat monster?”. That’s weird. This is probably why most works tiptoe around what happened in-between his parents murder and his modern day exploits. Hell, it took seven months into his original comic series for Bob Kane to even establish that his parents WERE murdered.

Detective Comics (1940)

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Such a detail might have been considered too morbid to begin a comic series, since it casts Batman’s seemingly gallant crusade as a little more pathological. Despite this, his early appearances in Detective Comics portrayed him as not being shy about enacting extreme violence upon criminals. In his first comic appearance, Detective Comics #27 in 1939, he casually throws an unarmed robber OFF A BUILDING!!!

He also purple gloves for some reason

He also purple gloves for some reason

In the same issue, he punches a man into a VAT OF ACID.

He has a bit of a penchant for that

He has a bit of a penchant for that

He even expresses his pleasure at the outcome, saying that it was “a fitting end for his kind”. Cold-blooded. Oh and he occasionally carried a gun as well.

"What? Guns? That's your power, you shoot guns? There's no theme at all here."

“What? Guns? That’s your power, you shoot guns? There’s no theme at all here.”-Mystery Men

While this might sound jarring to modern fans of the character, it’s important to know that the Batman your familiar with is partially the product of censorship, particularly from an organization known as the Comics Code Authority. The organization was created in 1954 when many moral guardians were concerned with the message comics, especially ones featuring superheroes, were sending to youngsters. As you could imagine, a guy who punches people into acid was pretty disconcerting to these people. Therefore, Bats (and all superheroes for that matter) had to take on more family friendly aspects: instead of being a wanted criminal, Batman worked along with the cops through Commissioner Gordon, instead of using real weapons, Batman used gimmicky tools, and most importantly, he acquired a code to not kill.

Infinite Crisis (2005)

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Whereas many other popular superheroes fit well into the brave new world of censorship, there was always some incongruity with Batman’s role as a non-killer. Bob Kane and Bill Finger based Batman on unfettered heroes such as the Phantom and Zorro, who wouldn’t hesitate to kill someone. Superman can play with kid gloves due to his power, but Batman can’t. More importantly, he still has that horrific origin driving him. His abilities stem from the pain of loss, his motif from childhood terror. Even the whimsy of the Silver Age of Comics couldn’t reconcile that, hence why it was rarely acknowledged in mediums such as the 60’s Batman live action series.

Batman Begins has a very unique take on Bruce’s mental transition from disturbed child to Batman. The film gives us a flashback to a young adult Bruce, well before his international journey, when he realizes his father’s killer has been caught. Bruce appears at the trial, only to see the man shot by a mafia gunman. In the ensuing chaos, Rachel Dawes (the attractive one) scoops him up and drives him to safety, during which he reveals that he intended to shoot the killer himself.

Batman Begins (2005)

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The implications of the scene are reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, where the deranged Travis Bickle intends to shoot a senator, but is thwarted by his bodyguards, which leads Bickle to “save” a child prostitute by killing her pimp and all of his associates (it makes more sense in context). This turns him into a local hero.

Taxi Driver (1976)

Overhead View of Carnage in tax331cy

Like Travis Bickle, Bruce’s intentions here are driven more from rage than heroism. He intends to get revenge upon the man who killed his father by killing him. If he could have accomplished this, would he have still become Batman, or would his bloodlust have been sated? Keep in mind that Bruce is clearly in at least his mid-twenties by the time this trial takes place, meaning that he spent most of his life wanting to kill this man, not learning how to be a ninja in order to save people. The assertion could be made that whatever compulsion makes him want to be Batman is something akin to what made him want to kill that guy. In addition, there’s no way Bruce could have committed that act without being immediately recognized as the killer. Bruce Wayne’s name would have been coupled with the title “assassin” for all history, just like the aforementioned Christopher Dorner (see, there was a point to that tangent after all!).

Bruce’s morals is a lens for real-life history,which is filled with almost heroes/almost villains. The prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point would have almost assuredly been named after Benedict Arnold, who was the commander at the military fort it was based on, if it wasn’t for that whole treason thing. Now he’s American history’s greatest traitor, despite his admirable pre-War career. Likewise, Bruce Wayne, Gotham’s favorite son, could have easily been Gotham’s infamous murderer.

Batman:Gotham Knight (2008)/Taxi Driver

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Outside of the film, the idea of Batman’s heroism being a front has been touched upon in works such as Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke (1988), where Joker tells one of his many possible origin stories, this one stating that he was a down-on-his-luck comedian and husband who pretended to be the Red Hood, another Batman villain, in order to rob a chemical factory. I think you know where the rest of this goes (they really need more OSHA inspectors in Gotham). This caper was supposed to help out his wife, who dies before the heist happens anyway, on the same day he takes the dip. Joker, in a moment of terrifying insight, postulates that Batman probably had a “really bad day” like he did. Joker sees Batman as a psychopath, like he is, who went through a tragedy so jarring that he couldn’t reconcile it rationally. This casts Batman’s actions as equally as insane as Joker’s. His persona is borne of madness, not heroism.

Unlike the man Joker once was, Bruce in Batman Begins has the benefit of Rachel Dawes to set him straight about what’s just. Her response to Bruce’s confession is a slap and a trip to the ghetto to look at Gotham’s underclass, which she punctuates with “I know you are a good person Bruce, but it’s not who you are, but what you do that defines you”. For a genre as unambiguously black and white as the superhero genre, this is a very odd notion. Shouldn’t right and what’s wrong be decided by intent? Shouldn’t good intentions yield good actions?

In Batman Begins’ screenplay, writer David Goyer makes excellent use of supporting characters as a way to connect Batman with the “real” world that Bruce doesn’t exist in. Bruce is a kid dressing up and playing cowboys and Indians, he doesn’t have any social conscience for the most part. In Batman: Year One (1987), Bruce laments having to fly for his return to Gotham, claiming that “he wants to see the enemy”, indicating a fairly stark view of Gotham’s criminal underworld. In Batman: Noel ( 2011 ), A Christmas Carol homage casting Batman as a Scrooge analogue, Batman even threatens violence upon a low level Joker minion on Christmas Eve who is trying to support his children.

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Due to his wealth, constant travelling, and his status as a wacko, Bruce is vastly disconnected from the concerns of normal people. This is pointed out by Rachel and the film’s warm-up antagonist, Carmine Falcone, who reminds Bruce that he’s still several times better off than most people in Gotham. Because of his disconnectedness, he views crime-fighting as almost a holy crusade rather than a social necessity. Rachel Dawes, as a district attorney, represents real life law and order, a system that wouldn’t allow the type of violent, indiscriminate action Bruce wishes to take. In a way, Rachel becomes the diegetic equivalent to the Comics Code Authority; she forces him to continue his exploits in a more socially palatable manner. He reiterates her lesson later in the film when she asks who he (dressed as Batman) is: “Someone once told me it doesn’t matter who I am inside; it’s what I do that counts”. Bruce has apparently adopted what Rachel has espoused by the film’s end; he’s subordinated his malice for the good of the city.

Even though the modern Batman has been consistently portrayed as never breaking the sixth commandment, it hasn’t stopped many writers from alluding to his desire to kill. In The Dark Knight Returns, in order to stop a bomb from destroying a skyscraper, he rewires an explosive in some goons’ helicopter to explode while they’re flying. His comment on the act?  “Two men die, leaving the world no poorer”. Bruce recognizes the consequence of his decision, but is almost callous in his indifference towards it. As with the Joker minion in Noel, all criminals are pieces of shit as far as he’s concerned, so who cares if they die? What keeps him from making lethal action a norm doesn’t seem to be concern for his enemies, but instead a fear of who he will become if he does take such action.

Batman Forever (1995)

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In Batman Forever, Bruce makes an appeal to Dick Grayson/Robin as to why he shouldn’t kill his parents’ murderer;

“It will happen this way: you make the kill, but your pain doesn’t die with Harvey, it grows, so you run out into the night to find another face, and another, and another, until one terrible morning you wake up and realize that revenge has become your whole life. And you don’t know why…We’re the same”

Bruce sees the same anger that drives him in Dick (which is similar to how Robin recognizes Bruce as Batman due to his “hidden anger” in The Dark Knight Rises [2012] ) and gives him what is his rationale for not going down a lethal path. What’s interesting is that he doesn’t speak hypothetically, he’s making an assertion (“It will happen this way“). One could hypothesize that the film’s Batman HAS killed men in the past, but another argument is that Bruce views his crusade as Batman as a long revenge mission anyway, sans killing. If Dick is destined to follow the same path, he could at least live with it better if he foregoes lethal methods. Robin works well as a foil for Bruce’s psychoses since he represents the child that Bruce was when his parents died (specifically, the first Robin). This is why it’s so important for Bruce to guide Robin, since he fears that the boy could possibly succumb to the compulsions that plague him.

Batman: Under The Red Hood (2010)

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In the comic arc Under the Red Hood , Robin (albeit a different one) once again acts as a foil for Bruce’s mental state. Jason Todd, a Robin who died in a fight with Joker, is resurrected and attempts to get revenge on the clown.

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During a tense showdown with Joker and Batman, Robin asks Batman why he didn’t kill Joker to avenge him (or at least for all the countless others). He responds:

It’d be too damned easy. All I’ve ever wanted to do is kill him. A day doesn’t go by I don’t think about subjecting him to every horrendous torture he’s dealt out to others and then end him…but if I do that, I’ll allow myself to go down into that place, I’ll never come back”.

Notice that Bruce doesn’t make an appeal to a social code of any kind (which Robin assumes he will). Instead, he makes an appeal to his desire for self-control. He knows his desires are not as pure-of-heart as others may think, and allowing himself to exercise them will possibly destroy what he’s been trying to create his whole career. Would the people of Gotham be as inspired by a murderous vigilante? Would children have the same admiration for him? Would law enforcement be as willing to rally behind him, as they do in The Dark Knight Rises? Probably not, since killing is often considered the most savage of human compulsions. As Ra’s al Ghul instructs him in Batman Begins, in order to change Gotham, he must transcend humanity and become an ideal. While this sounds like motivational bullshit, it isn’t really. Look at Marxism, Nazism, Christianity, all bodies of thought created by humans. These men were not their ideals in life, but in legacy. The Bruce Wayne of Batman Begins succeeds in leaving a legacy in The Dark Knight Rises, as his defeat of Bane and liberation of Gotham causes a monument to be erected in his honor. He will be associated, for better or worse, with the preservation of life, not the deliverance of death. Batman Begins’ Bruce Wayne could be thought of as attempting to create the image of Batman that exists in mainstream comics; a man who utilized personal tragedy in order to change the world for the better.

Batman Incorporated (2010)

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“My parents taught me a…lesson… lying on this street… shaking in deep shock… dying for no reason at all. They showed me that the world only makes sense when you force it to”-The Dark Knight Returns

For more Batman related posts:

Superstitious and Cowardly Cops: Police Corruption in Gotham City

Ben Affleck as Batman: Why So Serious?

For more DC Comics related posts:

Superman as Defined by Lex Luthor

The Lois Lane Effect

From Comic to TV: CW’s Arrow as an Adaptation of Green Arrow

Flash: The Quintessential Superhero

For more superhero related posts:

Journey of Peter Parker from Amazing Fantasy to Amazing Spider-Man

The Best Spider-Man Issue Ever / Why Spider-Man is a Classic Anti-Hero

Iron Man: Real American Hero

Iron Man 3 Review

Thor: The Dark World Review

And finally, proof of Batman’s douchiness:

The Fantasy Trichotomy of Humans, Elves, and Dwarves

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Disclaimer: I have never read an entire book by J. R. R. Tolkien. I think I’m pretty knowledgeable enough to comment on fantasy inspired by him anyway. If you disagree, go fuck yourself.

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With the release of The Hobbit ( 2012 ) comes a chance for the Dwarves to get their moment on the big screen. While Dwarves have always been stock fantasy humanoids in fantasy fiction, they’re rarely focused upon when compared to elves, who have cornered the market both in terms of action, magic, scholarship, and perverse sexual lust. In the original LOTR films, Gimli was the only Dwarf and he sucked so much that he couldn’t even ride a horse by himself. Meanwhile, Legolas could kill mammoths and drink like a frat guy. And of course, the human Aragorn became a king. Whether intentional or not, the dynamic between these characters’ races seem to establish a pecking order of sorts; specifically a hierarchy that goes Elf > Human > Dwarf.

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A short, sturdy creature fond of drink and industry”-Dwarf Fortress

Dwarves diminutive role in the implied fantasy caste system is both figurative and literal. They are obviously “dwarven” in the scientific sense i.e. they’re midgets. In the Tolkien verse,their smallness isn’t as egregious considering the existence of hobbits and goblins, but it’s still touched upon occasionally in the films ( “I’d chop off your head, if it did not sit but a few feet from the ground”-Eomer to Gimli in The Two Towers [2002] ). As a man of 5″7, i’m all too aware of the lack of social status that comes with shortness (sob). In addition to their lack of height, they mostly portrayed as lacking the “pizazz” most fantasy being have. When’s the last time you’ve seen a Dwarven mage in fiction? A Dwarven druid, maybe? Probably never. Dwarves tend to be fairly anti-mystical and instead go in the exact opposite direction as master industrialists.

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Character wearing Dwarven Armor next to a Dwarven automaton in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

In the Elder Scrolls series, Dwarves build automatons and other machines using the trapped souls of elves ( Gimli would smile at the notion ). In World of Warcraftthe Dwarves were created by the Titans to craft the world,making them the first artisans.

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Dwarf using “Stoneform” in World of Warcraft

In both interpretations, the Dwarves embody materiality: steel and stone, respectively. Their materiality is shown to be the bane of their civilization: in The Fellowship of the Ring ( 2001 ), the thirst for riches led the Dwarves to dig too deep and come upon the hellish Balrog. In The Hobbit, Dwarven King Thrain’s greed leads to an attack by the dragon Smaug and the loss of his homeland. Notably, both of these tragedies happen in subterranean strongholds, the usual home of Dwarves in fiction. In many cultures, the underground world is often thought to be a site of degradation, specifically of the soul. This could possibly be due to the sordid history of mining, which yielded both great riches and great fatalities. In Greek myth, Hades was both the god of finance and the dead. He lorded over both in a realm beneath the Earth. The Christians utilized this concept in the popular view of Hell. Satan is sometimes even considered to be the true ruler of the material realm, giving him dominion over all material wealth.

The Dwarves’ materiality and subterranean dwellings communicate a “baseness” that is not as prevalent in other two races. Rarely do we hear of Dwarven deities or mysticism, they instead focus on their treasure. While Tolkien based much of his tales on Norse mythology, the Dwarves are especially “pagan” visually ( Saxon features ) and culturally ( obsession with treasure, warlike nature ) in comparison. This casts them in a more primal light than the humans and elves, who have more progressive ideologies. The Dwarves are the anchors of fantasy humanoids; they maintain the old ways. In the bad sense, they serve as representatives of things humanity should move beyond ( war, greed ). In the good sense,they represent the “hardiness” that humans desire in themselves. Despite their follies, the Dwarves always manage to build. The Hobbit tells the tale of the Misty Mountain Dwarves crusade to reclaim their homeland, even without the help of most of the clan. Their campaign is meant to be reminiscent of the Jews ( according to Tolkien himself ) who suffered slavery and segregation in the first few centuries, yet still managed to propagate their religion and culture. In a way, Dwarves’ primordial nature is what makes them heroic. They have some of the worst vices of humanity, yet they continue to forge ahead (pun unintended). elves350_7162 “Everything you can do elves can do better, elves are much better at everything than you.” –Lords and Ladies ( Discworld series )

On the very opposite end of the racial spectrum are the Elves. If they could be summed up  in one word, it would be “better”. Elves are distilled awesome. Even though elves have been all over the map in terms of image (the Keebler elves, for instance), Tolkien has cemented the view of elves as the pinnacle of aesthetic. His elves are ethereal figures with long hair, lean bodies, and blemishless skin. They don’t even have facial hair, unless you’re counting those dark elves and their Evil Spock goatees. It’s noteworthy that the Elves, unlike the Dwarves, have no overt phenotypes that they’re modeled on. Out of the trifecta, they are the furthest away from humans visually. This is often because the Elves are the “high” counterpoint to Dwarves “low”. Everyone looks like a human, ugly people look like Dwarves, but you WISH you could look like an elf.

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Their foreignness is a way to set them apart in western fantasies; in World of Warcraft, anything related to Blood Elves is given a general “Oriental” aesthetic, whereas the Night Elves draw more from Native Americans visually. In Elder Scrolls, the “Dwarves”, who are actually a variation of elf, have weaponry and armor based on Mesopotamia. These cultures are very “unwestern”,and are often fetishised as well. Think of how many works use “magical Native Americans” ( Pocahontas [1995] ) or “wise Chinamen” ( The Karate Kid [1984] ) as mentors. In most narrative fiction, the proposed viewer will almost always be “white”, therefore that viewer would think of whites as being mundane ( and by extension, their knowledge ). While whiteness is awesome for day-to-day stuff ( like having a good credit score ), there will always be a few things that a whitey, no matter how mighty, can’t do. Hence, ethnic mentors!

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How else is a guido going to learn how to use chopsticks!

Elves serve the same role as these stock racial figures by assisting humans, or at least giving them something to aspire to. This explains why Elves also tend to be more spiritual than their fellow humanoids. In Elder Scrolls, all of the Elves have an empathic connection to their deities, to the point that the devouring of Trinimac ( one of their gods ) caused a group of Elves to mutate into Elder Scrolls equivalent to Orcs. As part of their spirituality, they are often cast as guides. All of the Lord of the Rings films have an obligatory “meeting with the elves” which gives the protagonists guidance. In The Hobbit, Lord Elrond explains how to get to the Lonely Mountain’s secret door, which of course Thorin, the fucking prince of the dwarves, didn’t know about ( they really do suck ). tumblr_mhrvuvYiN91riplelo1_500 Not to mention that the three protagonists’ most effective weapons ( Gandalf’s Glamdring, Bilbo’s Sting, Thorin’s Orcrist ) are all Elven in design, despite the Dwarves supposed proficiency in industry.

Despite Elves being so awesome, they are rarely cast as protagonists. The primary reason is said awesomeness; most narrative conventions encourage striving for something lacking. Anthropologists like Joseph Campbell, who was one of the first to propose an all-encompassing “monomyth”, compared a hero’s journey to a boy learning how to be a man. This is why the hobbits are such compelling protagonists; they are completely out-of-place in a war, therefore they have to make significant gains in order to accomplish their goals. The Elves, on the other hand, are portrayed as being so accomplished that no feat is beyond their doing.

What keeps them on the borders of the action is lack of incentive. The Elves have never lost a stronghold or been attacked by a stronger enemy, so they have no need to fight. This could arguably be considered their “fatal flaw”. In the western world, neutrality is often considered a great sin. This is why ideas of “American Exceptionalism” often points to our interventionism as such a virtue. The Elves decision to not involve themselves at the Misty Mountains ( in The Hobbit ) is in stark contrast to the Dwarves’ valiant efforts to protect them. This scene is used to bolster the heroism of the Dwarves, who are heavily built up as the scrappy underdogs of Middle Earth as opposed to the aloof Elves. Ironically, the Elves’ role as mentors and aloof nature makes them appear impotent. Don’t forget that when Isildur decides to not destroy the One Ring, Lord Elrond responds by doing absolutely nothing to stop him.

Not going to do it? That's cool i guess.

Not going to do it? That’s cool i guess.

While some have explored why he wasn’t able to stop him in the literature, the film doesn’t suggest any possible explanation, leaving a viewer to assume that he just conceded to the King’s decision. Such impotence is often key to mentors in fiction. If the Campbellian model of narrative suggests that the protagonist is a boy becoming a man, the mentor is already a man. The only goal left for him is to perpetuate the process in another. The mentor has no personal growth potential left, which is why it’s okay, even beneficial, for him to die in order to force his ward to continue alone, such as in Star Wars ( 1977 ) or Django Unchained ( 2012 ). In real life, most parents’ mentoring is meant to shape children into themselves, preferably better versions. Hence why parents are culturally obligated to subordinate personal desires in favor of the child’s: it’s just more progressive.

In keeping with this, Elves are almost always cast as significantly older than humans and sometimes Dwarves, who are as mayflies to them. Their agelessness is a double-edged sword: it gives them wisdom, but also stagnates them. In The Fellowship of the RingLord Elrond’s argument to Arwen as to why she shouldn’t pursue a relationship with Aragorn is to remind her that he will die and she will live, thus causing her heartache. Elrond suggest that the life of an Elf is one of detachment; if everything will die before you, why become invested in it? This is in contrast to the Elves’ inferiors, who may not have the same capabilities, but at least have room to improve. Ffxi-hume “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”-Robert A. Heinlein

For obvious reasons, humans exist in between the two extremes of Dwarves and Elves. Humans are us, and because of that, they are the “standard” for fictional characters. Humans aren’t too strong, too religious, too anything ( those are reserved for the other races ), which is also why most video games make them the most statistically balanced race. As such, the relationships humans tend to have with their fantastic counterparts are ones that help them to define themselves. In Campbellian narrative, humans are the children who embark on a quest to become men, which often necessitates them to reconcile what’s lacking within them.

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In Lord of the Rings, the rejuvenation of men is something which falls upon the shoulders of Aragorn, who at first chooses to forsake kingship. The power of Men is generally questionable in the series: Denethor is a paranoid idiot and Theoden is brainwashed for a part of the second film. Despite this, they are the only race that can truly lead Middle Earth into the future. The Dwarves are mostly dead, and the Elves are too transient to really care. The rejuvenation and continuation of the world is dependent on Men redeeming themselves, with Aragorn as the firebrand. In the trichotomy, Men are defined by their progression. While the other races assist, they lead.

One can’t help but see the “western-centricness” aspects of this relationship; Dwarves ( based on Irish, Scottish, and Russians ) and Elves ( based on Asians and Native Americans ) are clearly coded as “foreign”, so humans default into WASPs: White Anglo-Saxon Protestants ( sometimes without the protestantism ). This parallels how America and Britain often view other countries as often a nation of “sidekicks” to their divine journey of expansion. Whenever some shit goes down, they are the only ones that can save the day,especially if Steven Seagal is present. Western struggles aren’t plights, they are character defining challenges. It’s only when other nations struggle that they can be seen as just inherently deficient, with only the intervention of white men as a way to grow. As terrible as this sounds, Aragorn and Men in general are the “mighty whiteys” of Middle Earth. To elaborate, the trope of the “mighty whitey” originates in 18th and 19th century adventure fiction when European men were exploring uncharted areas and subsequently realizing that they can do anything better than anybody.

The Phantom by Lee Falk

"You better be,Kunta."

“You better be, Kunta.”

Aragorn, for what it’s worth, is one of the most benign versions of this trope. Despite eventually becoming their superior, the films always cast him as the calm medium between his companions. He has the martial ability of Gimli, the mysticism of Legolas, and even the humility of Frodo. His success is at least partially due to his acquaintanceship with them. Perhaps this is what makes Aragorn so important, he coheres the disparate natures of the three races, which allows him to unite all of Middle Earth. When Frodo decides to ferry the ring to Mordor, Aragorn is the first to agree to help him, with Gimli, Legolas, and the others following suit. Along the way, Gimli, a man with good reasons to hate Elves, forges a friendship with the particularly Elven Legolas. And in turn, Legolas, who at one point in The Two Towers is skeptical of the idea that the ordinary humans of Gondor could defend themselves, eventually stands among the many humans who bow down to the christened Aragorn. The trichotomy of Dwarves,Humans, and Elves creates a commentary on how disparate cultures can work together to achieve a progressive end.

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For more insights into Dwarves,Elves, and Humans:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurElvesAreBetter http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceElves http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CantArgueWithElves http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScrewYouElves http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ElvesVersusDwarves?from=Main.ElvesVsDwarves http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FiveRaces