1544: Dora of the Rings – One ShotPosted: September 25, 2016
I literally have no idea what the hell I am riffing today. I really don’t.
I’ve read this entire fic twice and I honestly cannot say with any certainty what this is besides a troll/crackfic. That is the only reason I have for why anyone would cross Dora the Explorer – a children’s show about learning Spanish words alongside cute adventures involving sentient hiking equipment – with a story as intense and lore-heavy as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. This may be as weird as crossing Frozen with the Dead Space series. Or The Lion King with Star Wars and the events of World War II.
So… Let’s get this thing going, shall we?
Dora the Explorer is chosen to take the One Ring to Mordor. As a little bonus, all of the dialogue is in iambic pentameter!
Why? Why does the dialogue need to be in iambic pentameter? Tolkien didn’t write his dialogue that way. Dora sure as hell doesn’t talk in iambic pentameter. Why is this a bonus for us, Jason? Is this in fact supposed to be a crackfic? Shouldn’t you have the decency to mention that in your summary? Is this like a high school English project? Did your teacher tell you you could only submit fanfiction for your final if it included no less than ten lines of iambic pentameter? Why would you rise to that challenge? Why would you cross these two wildly different sources? Do you take some sick joy in it?
It was a wonderful day in Hobbiton. The plants were singing and the birds and the sun were almost down from the top of the sky. The short, hairy people were all going around doing their various activities, whatever it is they do since video games have not been invented and they don’t have the internet to publish their fanfiction stories.
The plants don’t audibly sing in the Tolkien legendarium! And is it mid-afternoon if the sun is almost down from the top of the sky? And Hobbits only have hairy feet! And it’s very well groomed foot-hair! They’re gentlefolk, just a bit tiny and overenthusiastic about food! And why would you break the Fourth Wall like this? Why wouldn’t you mark this as crack in your summary? Just because there’s no way it can’t be crack doesn’t make it okay not to warn the younger, more naive audiences you’ll encounter on a fanfiction site! Think of the children!
But we don’t care about the hobbits. The One Ring had found its way to a small Mexican girl named Dora, who was an explorer who traveled around with a monkey because her parents simply did not care about her safety. For some inadequately explored reason she was in Middle Earth. For another inadequately explored reason she had adopted a strange new manner of speech.
Why do you think this is funny? Why do you think any of this is funny? Dora is a beloved children’s cartoon character; of course her parents are horrendously negligent! Children don’t want to see adult figures in television, hence they don’t appear or hinder the heroes unless absolutely necessary for the episode’s cheesy, easily-solved plot! I want to know why Dora’s in Middle-earth! Did the Map lead her to a rift in reality? And why is she speaking differently? And how? Did traveling to Middle-earth mess up the language center of her brain? And what does Boots think of all this? Has anyone tried to eat him yet? Or kill him for looking psychotically out-of-place and therefore probably Evil?
“O Boots! The monkey that I call my friend!
Whenever I wear this ring of gold
I see a demonic eye made of fire
Watching me with a gaze that is so cold.
But soft! What man approaches me today?
Perhaps it is Tom Bombadil, hooray!”
Okay you clearly aren’t using the Shakespearean sonnet structure because that isn’t fourteen lines, but those all are technically in the ba-BOOM/ba-BOOM/ba-BOOM/ba-BOOM/ba-BOOM rhythm of iambic pentameter. But half of those are really painfully forced rhythms – to the point that they’re uncomfortable to read aloud while following the aforementioned rhythm scheme – and I’m pretty sure that’s something you desperately want to avoid in any form of poetry. And two of those lines don’t rhyme, but that’s not a requirement, but if you’re already stuffing all the dialogue into iambic pentameter, why wouldn’t you rhyme everything?
Why is Dora so calm about this? She’s like five years old! Why is she so chill about owning a piece of magic jewelry that lets her see and hear the voice of a terrifying eye wreathed in flame that whispers cheerful things like, “There is no life in the Void – only death”? And is the Ring affecting her yet? Is that where the weird shift in speech pattern is coming from? And why the hell is Tom Bombadil showing up in Hobbiton? He lives with his wife Goldberry in an enchanted forest well away from any people!
And how long has Dora been in Middle-earth? Hopefully long enough to have traveled through Tom’s obscenely dangerous forest and meet him! Has she encountered Old Man Willow yet? Is that why she’s so chill about the Ring? Because frankly I’m not sure an angry, people-eating willow tree can stand up to encountering somebody of Sauron’s ilk, even from long-distance via an enchanted piece of bling.
And why is Dora so easily distracted? She went from, “Boots, this freaky ring makes me see things,” to, “Check it out, it’s Tommy-boy!” In one line!
But sadly it was not Tom Bombadil, it was Dora’s good friend Gandalf the Wizard. Having utterly abandoned the hobbits to their trivial pursuits (but not the game because that had not been invented yet) he made a request to Dora, the bearer of the One Ring.
Wait, now she’s friends with Gandalf, too? Why has nobody taken this lost five year old child and her pet monkey under their wing until they can find more suitable fosters for her? You can’t rag on her parents for being horrible parents and then be an even worse parent to her by way of dropping her in an even less child-friendly environment with absolutely no responsible adults around and only a talking monkey and sentient hiking equipment for company! And Gandalf loves the little folk! He’d never think of them as trivial, let alone act so dismissively towards them!
And why is Dora already the Ring-bearer? Frodo needed to go through half the first book to get to the Council where everybody voted by non-objection to let him take the Ring to Mordor! Did Gandalf just randomly decide she should get to be the Ring-bearer and forget to ask her if she was up for it first? She’s five, dude!
“Mexican explorer girl,
How the hell does Gandalf know what a Mexican is? And why does this line sound so racist even though Gandalf would very likely say it if he knew what the hell a Mexican is? Why do I feel like taking a shower for having to ask why Gandalf knows what a Mexican is? Did you write that line specifically to make all of your readers feel like assholes, Jason?
Who wears red boots! I come from Isengard
With dire news: The Ring must be destroyed
In the flames of Mordor, and you two shall,
With no words of question, travel forth to
The land of shadow that no light touches.
Take thy map and thy backpack, travel on
Through these lands, to the Dark Lord Sauron’s home
The black tower of Barad-dûr, brave souls!”
What the fucking fuck?! Why is Gandalf telling a five-year-old child whose only “weaponry” is a talking backpack full of talking objects that she has to take a doom magnet to the least child-friendly place in all of Middle-earth? Why isn’t she allowed any say in this? Why does he think a five-year-old girl can pull this off? What qualifies her for this mission? Is she seriously going alone with just the monkey and her talking bag of talking stuff? And why did you add a Lion King nod to Gandalf’s proclamation? Does that make this a less horrendously terrible decision on Gandalf’s part?
Is this why the hobbits generally think Gandalf is a troublemaker in-universe? Does he frequently send small children barely out of toddlerhood on death-defying quests to save the world, or is Dora a special case because she’s the lead character of a children’s cartoon show about exploring? Does Gandalf only do this with “Chosen One” children? Did he ever send baby Aragorn out to kick Orcs in their Orc-berries? If so, why has Elrond not attempted to throttle him yet? Why is Gandalf even allowed around small children?!
And why are you suddenly not rhyming any of your lines at all? Can you please pick one rhyme scheme and stick to it while you’re fucking with us, Jasonbobdude?!
Dora, knowing a great adventure when she saw one, accepted the task. She responded:
“Although I do not know the way to go,
I shall ask my liege, the Map, to help me.
Come forth, O Map, and give us thy knowledge.”
Why did you find it necessary to make Dora use a word whose definition I had to double-check to make sure she was using it correctly? Why do none of your lines follow the meter you’ve picked for yourself in a way that sounds natural? Do you think it’s funny to imagine your readers choking on their own tongues while they try to read this in iambic pentameter? I should sue you for the personal injury I just suffered when I bit down on my own tongue midway through sounding out that second line!
Iambic pentameter occurs naturally in English, Jason! You shouldn’t have had this much trouble finding sentences that naturally flowed with this rhythm scheme! You really only checked to make sure everything totaled to ten syllables, didn’t you? You’re writing ten-a-line haiku, admit it!
The Map, hearing its name, peeked out of Dora’s backpack, and looked in the direction of the adoring children watching TV.
What even in the fuck?! There are children watching this on television right now?! Think of the terrible life lessons this is instilling in them, Jason! They’re learning child abuse and abandonment are perfectly okay things to do when you’re an adult! These children are going to grow up to be horrible parents because this messed up television program told them it was okay to as long as the kid thought it was okay!
They’re going to grow up risking severe bodily injury for saying things like, “Hello, black boy!” because Gandalf called Dora a Mexican girl, which she is, but he doesn’t live in the same world as we do so what’s okay for him isn’t necessarily okay for us, but they won’t know that because Dora’s target audience is three- to ten-year-olds and they generally have a very limited understanding of the world beyond what they observe from the adults in their lives, so they’re all going to think it must be okay to call people by their ethnicity or nationality! And now I need to shower again for writing that example! Damn it, man!
Seeing their smiling faces, he leaped all the way out and opened up, then proceeded to do a dance while standing on top of himself. In the span of about 5 seconds he broke both the fourth wall and the laws of physics.
Why did that first half sound like the Map was doing a striptease? Why did you make word choices that made it sound like he spread his legs and then proceeded to give the audience a pole dance show? Why is Gandalf totally okay with the sentient brothel map? Shouldn’t he be concerned about it potentially possessing dark magic?
“How now, Dora the Explorer? You call
Upon the Map, and so I answer thee.
The land of Mordor, where the shadows lie
Itself lies beyond many obstacles.
Your quest to Mount Doom begins here, in the
Old Forest, and ye shall take the road on
Wait, didn’t you say they were in Hobbiton? Why would you open on an entire setting just to say “but we don’t care about any of that?”
Through Rhudaur, to the Mines of Moria
Exiting the catacombs into the
Shit, the Map knows more about what’s going on in Middle-earth than canon!Gandalf did at the start of the Quest. Does that make him a Marty Stu?
Forest of Lorien, home to Elrond
and the elves, the Fair Folk of Arda.
Never mind, he thinks literally all the Elves live in Lothlórien.
Continue to the vast plains of Rohan
And travel through Fangorn, land of the Ents.
Why the balls does she have to go through Fangorn? Merry and Pippin only did because they were kidnapped by Orcs, unwittingly rescued by a surprise attack on said Orcs by the riders of Rohan, and ran in a blind panic to the nearest cover they could find! Sam and Frodo completely avoided Fangorn!
Follow the long rushing river Entwash
To Nindalf and the Dead Marshes, there ye
Shall gaze upon fallen warriors who
Failed the same quest, ere you started. They serve
Simply as a warning, nothing more. Soft!
The corpses in the Dead Marshes are all hallucinatory images of dead soldiers from the Battle of Dagorlad, fought during the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (which is apparently the name of the war that culminated in the One Ring winding up in Isildur’s possession, who was murdered when it betrayed him and slipped to the bottom of a river. And then fast-forward a ways to when Sméagol and Déagol found it and fought over it until Déagol died, leaving Sméagol to claim it and eventually become Gollum.)
The Last Alliance was formed in response to the threat of conquest by Sauron, and while I’m sure destroying his magical bling was a goal, I think they were mostly gathered for the more general goal of completely wrecking all of Sauron’s shit, from his armies to his base of operations to his physical form.
And why in the fuck would the Map lie about how dangerous the Dead Marshes are? Those bodies aren’t just friendly hallucinations put there to scar small children, small hobbits, and small Gollums. They – along with the wispy candle flame-like lights that mark the Passage through the Marshes – are very, very likely there to act as bait for unwary travelers, since attempting to touch the bodies or becoming entranced by the lights can result in one falling into the water and drowning. Kind of like what almost happens to Frodo canonically!
Here you shall see the towering peaks of
Ephel Dúath, the Black Mountains of Mordor.
Keep your courage, and see through your brave quest.
Destroy the One Ring in the flames of Doom.”
How the fuck does she get into Mordor, Map? Does she simply walk in through the Black Gate? Does she go through Shelob’s nightmare lair? Does she disguise herself as a tiny Orc? Does she stow away in somebody’s luggage and sneak across to Mount Doom like a tiny five-year-old ninja? Is there a magical high-power slingshot she can use to shoot the Ring into the lava from outside of Mordor? Is there a fucking helicopter waiting for her in this God-forsaken heap of literary refuse?!
“I shall take the quest, under one simple
Prerequisite: The path must end after
The Mines of Moria. You beseech me
To take the Ring to Mount Doom, in Mordor,
But the path is long, and winds through many
Locales, which I cannot express in song.
I ask thee, shorten that road far ahead
To only three landmarks, and nothing more.”
On one hand, I’m glad the fucking five-year-old has enough sense to call it quits after being scarred for life in the Mines of Moria, because clearly neither her sentient hiking gear nor the supposedly rational, millennia-old adults around her have any fucking clue how to be responsible adult figures.
One the other hand, you only fucking had her say this because most if not all of her adventures canonically have three pit stops along the way to the locale she’s attempting to reach each episode. You’re still raping the Fourth Wall. I WILL EAT YOUR EYEBALLS.
“O Explorer, in whom our last hope lies,
This task we request of you cannot be
Made so simple. You must go ever on.
Dora’s face twisted in rage, as she said:
WHY THE FUCK IS DORA CURSING SHE’S FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD AND BILINGUAL AND FIVE FUCKING YEARS OLD AND WHY IS SHE EVEN SWEARING IN ENGLISH WHEN SHE’S BILINGUAL AND FIVE YEARS OLD?!
Gandalf shouldn’t be allowed out of the old folks home he clearly needs to be checked into and where the fuck is Tom Bombadil right now and why doesn’t Boots get any speaking lines but the fucking Map gets a whole twenty-one fucking stanzas when he’s just the fucking talking Map and why would you cross these two subjects ever in the first place and why is your fucking profile set up like a goddamned shrine to horribad crossover fic challenges and why don’t you comment on this riff with your current physical address so I can sacrifice you to the Gods of Fanfiction and maybe stop Tolkien from spinning quite so rapidly in his grave so the Professor might finally rest in actual goddamned peace?!
FUCK THIS FIC I NEED TO SET SOMETHING ON FIRE NOW BYE.