As I proceeded through Book VI – the second part of The Return of the King and the last book of The Lord of the Rings – I found I wanted to talk about ‘doublets’ and their place in the epic fantasy for this latest post in my Talking Tolkien series.
I don’t of course mean ‘doublet’ in the Elizabethan sense of an item of clothing worn by a courtier, though the derivation from the French doublé meaning doubled or folded over has some bearing. Nor do I mean its common usage in textual criticism as “two different narrative accounts of the same actual event.”
Instead I mean to use it to indicate, in a general sense, individuals who share some characteristics and who may follow a parallel path in the narrative. They are a little like narrative twins (almost but not quite as in Shakespeare’s plots) whose responses to finding themselves in similar situations may converge or diverge at significant points. It’ll be more helpful now if I give the instances I’m thinking of.Continue reading “Middle-earth doublets”