Here’s an idea I’ve been playing around with, and hope to use in a story. I’d love to generate some discussion on this.
Elves are originally Germanic and Scandinavian in culture. They are listed as beautiful, pale creatures that use divine power to the aid or detriment of mankind. They have been worshiped and revered in the forests, mountains, and waterfalls.
Through the work of Tolkien and Blizzard Entertainment, elves have become a serious popularity structure to the point that getting the pointed elf ear is now available as a cosmetic surgery.
My idea is about the stereotype for elves. Everything from The Lord of the Rings to German folklore places these guardians of the forest as pale, Anglo-Saxon creatures, like Legolas Greenleaf in The Lord of the Rings.
Of all the cultures of human society, it isn’t the Europeans or even Western society as a whole that embraces nature and its protection as well as some of the island cultures.
Imagine, rather than skinny, white creatures, if elves were built like the Maori or Tongans. These societies made their weapons from nature, rather than building forges and recreating what nature has given them. Now imbue them with the magical powers that legends and stories have given the classic elf image.
Let me take a moment and clarify: I am not suggesting that classic fairy tales are wrong or inaccurate. I love the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. These powerful storytellers defined a genre. What makes me nervous is that we have such a narrow view of what these fictional creatures can be. I think Blizzard Entertainment was on to something when for Warcraft III and World of Warcraft, the troll race had a Jamaican accent. There’s so many combinations that can provide powerful images and enhance storytelling.