Snoopy Versus the Lord of the Nazgul
Have you ever wondered what Middle-earth would be like if Schultz had written The Lord of the Rings? I mean, think about it. The archetypes are all there. Charlie is Frodo. Snoopy is Sam. Sally is Arwen. Schroeder is Bombadil. And maybe Linus is Aragorn and Lucy is Saruman (go with me on this -- there's no need to explain all the Freudian family connections if we just pretend they aren't there).
So Gandalf (better known as Peppermint Patti) shows up on Charlie Brown's doorstep one day and says, "Chuck, I've got some bad news. That Ring your uncle gave you for your birthday? It's the Red Baron's secret decoder ring, the one he lost during the War, and he's coming back to get it."
"Good grief! What can I do, Patti?"
"I'm not sure, Chuck. But you might want to take it to a pal of mine who deals in lost decoder rings. His name is Pigpen. He's got all the dirt on everyone."
"Pigpen? He's got all the dirt, period!"
"Nevertheless, Chuck, you're in grave danger if you eat dinner with your folks tonight. Word has it the Baron has something special planned for you if he catches you at home. Get your funny-looking pal and a couple of other trustworthy kids together and meet me at the ballpark."
"Well, okay. But Snoopy will probably want to bring his bird scout troop, and we'll have to put up with their singing all night long."
By now you may be ready to hang me, but it gets worse, I assure you. What if instead of meeting up with Eomer and the Rohirrim Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had met up with Hagar the Horrible and his band of Viking warriors? Instead of telling them the Orcs had been destroyed Hagar would probably report that he and his men had forgotten to bring their lunch and had to call off the battle, or, worse, their wives called them home to help with the laundry. Good-bye Merry, and Pippin. Enjoy the ride through the forest, boys.
And when it came time to rescue Minas Tirith Hagar would look out over the Pelennor Fields and give one of his rousing speeches:
"Men, the enemy controls the Pelennor Fields! They outnumber us ten to one! They're led by nine Nazgul who instill uncontrollable fear and terror in all who oppose them. It looks like Minas Tirith is burning and we'll have no help from the city. Are you with me?"
And then he looks around and the Vikings have all slunk away to find a new comic strip. Hagar would probably have better luck if Calvin and Hobbes were in the band. At least then he'd be able to lead a savage force of super zinger-class fighters against the Nazgul...until the teacher tears up Calvin's doodling paper and leaves Hagar standing alone on the field of battle with 60,000 Orcs, Haradrim, and Nazgul facing him.
Snoopy may be no Prince Valiant but he, at least, would see the quest through to the end just like the faithful Sam. Only he'd get sidetracked and try to help Hagar out of his predicament. Just as Shelob has stung Charlie Brown and the Orcs are carrying off their bundle of despair Snoopy would sense the call to battle with his ancient enemy. So he'd hop on the doghouse and start cruising just under Mordor's dark cloud.
Imagine how that bright dawn would appear as Gandalf (Peppermint Patti) and the Lord of the Nazgul are facing off at the gate to Minas Tirith. The city is crumbling around the wizard, Orcs are waiting by the legion behind the Ringwraith to enter the city, and suddenly they hear...the sound of a World War I biplane as it dive bombs the gate. They look up, see a beagle setting his sights on the Lord of the Nazgul, and the old Ringwraith takes off.
So, while Hagar and Lucky Eddie are mopping up the troops on the ground Snoopy does battle with the Lord of the Nazgul on his winged steed (whatever that thing is).
But wait, it gets worse.
Charlie wakes up in the tower of Cirith Ungol, surrounded by dead Orcs, and Lucy is there untying him. "It's gone," he says. "I've lost the secret decoder ring."
"No you haven't, you blockhead! I have the ring right here!" Lucy holds it out for him, Charlie reaches out to take it from her and...she snatches it away, Charlie tumbles down the ladder to the level below, and Lucy smiles with satisfaction as she hears a ravaged, "Aauugh!" drift up through the tower.
Fortunately for Hagar, Linus comes rowing up the river with a bunch of boy scouts in canoes. He leaps out of the lead canoe with his blanket firmly in hand and starts lashing out at the Orcs. Good thing for him the blanket is wet, and it whips out some nasty lashes. The Orcs make way for the kid and he meets Hagar in the middle of the field just as they hear an anguished cry from overhead where...
Snoopy is surrounded by Nazgul and he runs out of ammunition. He goes into evasive maneuvers, the Nazgul chase him down, shoot him out of the sky, and...
Harvey Korman rips a piece of paper out of the typewriter, wads it up, and throws it away.
And you people thought Peter Jackson was mangling the story!
Michael Martinez is the author of Visualizing Middle-earth, which may be purchased directly from Xlibris Corp. or through any online bookstore. You may also special order it from your local bookstore. The ISBN is 0-7388-3408-4.
And be sure to download your free copy of Parma Endorion: Essays on Middle-earth, 3rd edition at Free-eBooks.Net!