Thursday, September 22, 2011

Word of the Day. 9/21/11

Word of the Day

Sometimes I define terms. Sue me.

non-violent [non-vahy-uh-luhnt] 
1. not violent, free of violence
2. peacefully resistant
ex. Pacifists perform non-violent protest through sit-ins and boycott.
gentle giant [jen-tl jahy-uhnt]
1. a large animal or person known for its harmlessness or gentleness
ex. Whales are the gentle giants of the sea.

Under a Cork Tree

One of my favorite stories from childhood tells the tale of Ferdinand the Bull. Ferdinand is not like the other bulls because, despite being one of the biggest, he isn't aggressive. In fact, Ferdinand loves to sit under a cork tree and smell flowers. The tree was his favorite spot and all he cared for was the simple pleasure of life. Yet, when he is stung by a bee on one of the flowers, he stampedes about. Next thing we know, poor Ferdinand is taken to a bull-fighting arena and is headlined as Ferdinand the Fierce.They tried to get Ferdinand to fight but, the moment the senioritas threw flowers down to the matador, he wouldn't budge. In the end, they take him home where he can peacefully sit under his cork tree. It's a tale of pacifism overcoming through patience and of a beast denying the beast with-in. I love the simplicity of the story and I think it is why one of the few characters I have played in D & D in the last couple of years was a Minotaur named Ferdinand (corny, I know). Ferdinand is a gentle giant and so is Ludo.

Ludo is a rather important archetypal character and, unlike Hoggle, Sarah and Jareth, needs no transformation. He is already a good person and needs now growth. If doesn't grow, in a story about characters growing, why do we need Ludo in the story at all?

Ludo is a character that is, in fact, more than meets the eye. Initially, when Sarah and Hoggle hear him roaring and howling in pain, they're nervous. Hoggle chooses this moment to ditch Sarah. As Sarah gets closer, she watches a bunch of smaller goblins picking on Ludo, who they've tied upside down to a tree. Sarah manages to help Ludo free himself and in that moment reveals his own extraordinary powers.

Besides being an eight foot tall hulking beast with the strength to pull a wall off a building as we would open a window, Ludo also has the ability to call the rocks. When he sings, rocks come to his aid. This connects Ludo to nature and makes him even more powerful, yet, in a naturalist point of view, explains some of his gentleness.

In fact, Ludo is only aroused to violence when Sarah and Didymus (who had become brothers through melee) are threatened. Even then, Ludo doesn't use his full strength and he doesn't seem to take any pleasure in exerting his power over others. He is a simple creatures who just to mind his own business and help his friends.

Ludo is good friend to Sarah because he is brave, honest and loyal.

Who doesn't want to give Ludo a hug?

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