Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sauron at Nine

It's the most trite time travel cliche in the book. If you had a time machine, would you use it to kill Hitler before he came to power? Maybe that's what administrators at a Texas school had in mind when they recently suspended a fourth-grader for threatening a classmate with the One Ring from J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Clearly, the rightful owner of the One Ring is the Dark Lord Sauron, and think what would have happened had this embodiment of evil been suspended at the age of nine?

That suspension would have gone on his permanent record, and prevented him from getting into a decent college in Middle Earth where advanced scientific topics like mind control and orc breeding were taught. The lack of a first rate education might have resulted in mistakes leading to his defeat while still in his guise as the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. Likewise, it might have undermined his alliance with Saruman, perhaps to the extent that Gandalf and the White Wizard could have remained allies.

So clearly, suspending Sauron in the fourth grade would have led to a much easier victory in the War of the Ring, and perhaps could have prevented the war from coming to pass at all. But otherwise the school's actions seem quite ridiculous.

A fourth grader in Kermit, Texas was suspended for making “terroristic threats” after allegedly telling a classmate that he had a “magic ring” that could make the boy disappear, the Odessa American reports.

According to Kermit Elementary School officials, 9-year-old Aiden Steward told a classmate that he possessed a magic ring forged in Mount Doom — a fictional location from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series.

Aiden’s father, Jason, told The Daily News that his family had just watched The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies earlier that week, and that his son “didn’t mean anything” when he told his classmate he was in possession of the “one ring to rule them all.”

“Kids act out movies that they see. When I watched Superman as a kid, I went outside and tried to fly,” he said. “I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” he added. “If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.”

What's shocking here is the complete ignorance of the power of the One Ring. It doesn't make people cease to exist, it turns them invisible - and what fourth-grader wouldn't like to turn invisible? He or she could run around unseen and play pranks on classmates and teachers alike. That's not much of a threat; it's actually pretty awesome. I suppose it would be less fun to be stuck that way, but Tolkien is clear that the only way to make that happen is to keep wearing the ring. You can always take it off, it just twists your mind so that you want to keep it on.

Seriously, though, if I were sending my kid to a school where the staff feared the magical powers of a toy ring I would do my best to find another school as soon as possible. Maybe the family is stuck where they are, but what could their kid possibly learn from teachers who are this stupid?

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble


Nerd said...

On the other hand, it's refreshing that a public school is recognzing the supernatural powers of magick. I suppose this similar to not having prayer in school. No supernatural activities on campus!

Scott Stenwick said...

I suppose so, with the caveat that this is fictional magick that they are choosing to recognize. Anyway, as far as the prayer in schools thing goes, kids can pray if they want. Teachers just are not allowed to lead prayers. So let this kid use his One Ring!