Monday, March 14, 2016

Plot holes that aren't

Fans love to pick holes in plots. "Why didn't they do this?" they ask. Here are two perceived plot holes that don't actually exist.

Lord of the Rings - Why didn't the fly on the eagles to Mount Doom?

The eagles kept showing up and saving the day. So why not use them to bypass most of the plot and go directly from Rivendale to Mount Doom?

First, there is a difference between the book and the movies. In the book, Gandolf had no way of calling the eagles. They had to notice you, usually because they were investigating unusual events like big battles or fires or because you were in a high place long enough for them to pass by. Keeping in mind that the Ring-bearer was trying to keep a low profile, none of that worked. In fact, the sorts of things that attracted the eagles were likely to attract hostile notice first.

Tolkien had no problem leaving Gandolf on top of Orthanc until the eagles noticed him but it wasn't dramatic enough a rescue for a movie. Accordingly, Gandolf was able to capture a moth and send it to the eagles for help. So he did have a way to summon the eagles to carry the ring-bearer. Was it a good idea?

Consider that the ring wraiths were mounted on flying creatures. It was clearly stated that some birds acted as eyes for Sauron and Sauruman. Also, in the book, Sauron was using the silmaril from Minas Morgul to see the outside world. In the movie he was a giant eye, able to see great distances. So the odds of being able to slip into Mordor by air and remain unseen were poor. Once spotted, the eagles would be at a huge disadvantage against flying ring wraiths armed with poisoned arrows to say nothing of their mounts.

Taking the eagles would have been easier but much riskier. No plot hole here.

The Little Mermaid - Why didn't she write Eric a note?

 The Sea Witch took away Ariel's voice and gave her three days to make Erin call in love with her. She could have sped the whole process up if she'd written him a note saying "I'm the woman who saved you and whose voice enchanted you."

Except, this is the same Ariel who didn't know what a fork was, She's supposed to know how to use pen and paper (neither exists underwater)? And, assuming she does know how to write, why would she use an alphabet Eric understands?

Yes, Ariel did sign an agreement. That proves that she can sign her name or make her mark using a magic stylus and scroll. Eric had neither.

And yes, we saw her sign her name. That's not as conclusive as you might think. Illiterate people make their mark. This is usually some pictogram that is meaningful to them and known as their mark. As a princess, Ariel would have had such a mark and used it for contracts and such. We saw that as her name for the same reason that Belle's French village spoke English - so the audience would know what's going on. Don't use dramatic license to prove a plot hole.

Finally, even if Ariel had managed to write a note to Eric, would he have believed her? He had fallen in love with a voice and here's someone with no voice at all claiming to be the person he loves. Eric would have good cause to be skeptical. And even if he believed her, would he love her or just pity her for losing the thing he loved?

That's a pretty weak plot hole. You might as well ask why she didn't text him?