No Man of Woman Born
TV Tropes says—
“A character receives a prophecy or curse of the form “X cannot happen until Y,” where Y is seemingly impossible. X is frequently (but not always) the character’s death or defeat.
Y ends up happening somehow, usually through some trick of wording or a loophole, with X promptly following.”
Earlier this week, we watched Patrick Stewart in MacBeth. Intense of course, and pretty harrowing. I was just once again overwhelmed by the genius of Shakespeare. But Rich remembered that Tolkien was influenced by the play.
How? Well, the Weird Sisters tell Macbeth he can’t be defeated until Birnham Wood comes to the castle. His enemies, of course, cut down branches to use as camouflage. But apparently Tolkien was very disappointed by this. And so he invented Ents—-great sentient tree spirits that, if finally provoked, will move.
No man born of woman can kill Macbeth. Enter MacDuff—the product of an emergency C-section. This leads to Tolkien’s use, summarized by TV Tropes. “In The Lord of the Rings, the Witch-King of Angmar is the subject of a prophecy made by the Elf-lord Glorfindel, who foretold that he would not fall by the hand of man; naturally, he was slain by Éowyn, a woman who entered the battle in disguise, with the aid of Merry, a hobbit.”
So, what have I learned? That Tolkien was a genius. I might quibble with this or that staging of something, or have an opinion. But to create worlds and epics that do Shakespeare one better? That comes around only once every three or four centuries.