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~ NOTES II: Of Mating, Courtship, and the Mary Sue Effect ~
It was previously believed that the Common Wood-Elf reproduced via asexual means (see: budding, fission, and simultaneous hermaphrodite). However, the recent discovery of female T. galadh proves this theory irrelevant. It is now known that the Common Wood-Elf does engage in sexual reproduction, as do their Noldor, Lesser Dark Noldor, and Half-Elven counterparts.
The T. galadh have shown no distinct mating seasons, though most appear to prefer the early months of spring.
The courtship of the Telerius galadh is a complex process composed of various intricate behaviors. All observed displays appeared to contain 5 basic steps. It must here be noted that time and length of courtship showed high correlation to the following variables: age, weather, and amount of wine consumed.
Step 1: Mating Calls: Groups of male T. galadh will sit within the branches of beech trees and sing in order to attract a potential mate. Typically, the males with the greatest vocal range are successful. Male Wood-Elves with predominantly high or unnaturally low songs tend to have an adverse effect, driving potential mates away rather than attracting them.
Step 2: Display of Masculinity: Once a female or group of females has been attracted, the males engage in various displays of physical prowess. Several observations of these feats were recorded as follows:
[A] Which male can balance upon the flimsiest tree branch without falling.
[B] Marksmanship. Which male can shoot an arrow the closest to his companion without drawing blood.
[C] Which male can get closest to the poisonous spider (Arachnida), sans weapons. *Note: one T. galadh was actually observed to ride a spider.
[D] Which male can balance atop a wine barrel while rolling across the Forest River.
Step 3: Sensitivity: Following the testament of masculinity, male Wood-Elves then proceeded to demonstrate various forms of caring and understanding. Most common was the competition of which male could charm the most birds out of the trees.
*Note: Several were observed to enrapture fawns, rabbits, and other “fuzzy baby animals,” as quoted from the notes of J. Z. . One male T. galadh successfully procured a pony and kitten. All researchers agreed this must have been pre-planned, as neither organism is native to the forests of Mirkwood.
Male T. galadh would also present gifts to the females: flowers, or items of a sparkly nature. The introduction of Band-aides became immensely popular as well. Reprinted below is the actual text from the notes of B.W:
“We were forced to hide the Band-aides, as the Telerius galadh kept taking them. Males are the primary offenders; I think they’re using them to impress the females. Yesterday we saw one of our seven guardians, a tall dark-haired Elf of obvious silvan descent (we’ve actually nicknamed him ‘Band-aide’), walking hand-in-hand with his mate: both covered in Band-aides from head to toe. We’ve begun to wonder if the Elves’ lack of body hair makes Band-aide removal a painless process.
Earlier this morning, another one of our guardians, whom we call “Zippy” (also of silvan descent), stole B. P.’s sleeping bag. The Elf left him one Band-aide in return. B. P. was livid. I don’t blame him; I don’t think it was a fair trade either.”
Step 4: The Chase: Female T. galadh generally respond to the males’ various displays by giggling, blinking profusely (see: “batting eyelashes”), and tilting the head to the side with a coy smile planted on the face. When the male has completed his last show of sensitivity, the female will approach cautiously. As the male reaches out towards her, she will promptly turn and flee into the forest. A full-fledged chase ensues.
Step 5: Capture and the Victory Strut: The female Telerius galadh will eventually allow the male to catch her (or, adversely, if she decides against the pairing, she will continue running into the forest). Capture is generally followed by a cry of triumph from the male, and a responding giggle from the female.
The male then engages in what researchers have termed “The Victory Strut.” Shoulders are squared, chest stuck out, and chin lifted. The male encircles the female in a dominant manner. The female ducks the head in a gesture of submission, occasionally glancing up and smiling or blinking to encourage the male.
The new pair then retreats further into the forest, or returns to the Wood-Elves’ main territory (see: King Thranduil, Halls of).
As previously mentioned, the amount of wine consumption has profound effect on courtship. Again, we refer to the notes of B.W.:
“Eight males were seriously injured this morning when attempting to walk on tree branches even a sparrow couldn’t sit on. It didn’t help matters that they were profoundly drunk. The poor fellows; they were pretty high up in the tree, too.
Three more were injured during the display of marksmanship when shot by their own companions. We’ve been cowering in the blind all day, terrified of being hit by a wayward arrow. Whoever said the Wood-Elves are perilous and deadly when in battle obviously never faced a drunken contingent of Mirkwood archers. It’s a marvel they haven’t all killed each other. Or us.
We thought for sure Phoebus was done for when he attempted to battle a spider with his fists. Thankfully, he was detained by a few of his more sober comrades.
Curious as to the potency of the Elves’ wine. B.P. suggested we trade some Band-aides for a few barrels of the stuff. I think he’s still bitter about the sleeping bag.”
THE MARY SUE EFFECT
Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of our age is the Telerius galadh’s vulnerability to the Mary Sue (Homo perfectevilius).
Though the animal is prevalent throughout Middle-earth, these organisms seem most concentrated in the areas of Mirkwood. They are currently placed into four separate taxonomies: The Tattered Mary Sue, The Beaten Mary Sue, The Unconscious Mary Sue, and The Orphaned Mary Sue. Rumors of fifth species, The Amnesiac Mary Sue, have yet to be confirmed or denied.
Many researchers, however, feel that the separation is unnecessary. There are several recorded cases of Tattered Beaten Unconscious Mary Sues, whom, upon awakening, discover they are Orphaned as well. This suggests the groups may in fact be one species.
Another possibility may be that the groups have begun crossbreeding with one another, thus producing an entirely new species. Again, the validity of this cannot be determined as of yet. If this new Mary Sue (which we will refer to as ‘The Aggregated Mary Sue’) proves to be sterile, then this theory may be pronounced false.*
The origins of the Mary Sue present yet another confounding mystery to researchers. The creatures do, in fact, simply appear out of thin air. Occasionally a loud bang or bright flash of light will accompany its entrance (to which some have coined, ‘The Big Bang Theory’). Survival rate is based upon:
1. The height from which the Mary Sue falls to earth.
2. Whether the organism is first found by Elves or Dark Creatures of Mirkwood.
Upon studying the various Telerius galadh and Mary Sue interactions, researchers were able to draw the following conclusions:
[A] Elves are drawn to the Mary Sue out of curiosity.
[B] The T. galadh holds beauty in high regard, and the Mary Sue are exquisite. Hence, it is only natural that the Elves be attracted to them. (Note: This observation submitted by male members of the research project.)
[C] The Mary Sue give off pheromones which attract every male within a 30 meter radius, and are strategically clothed and/or wounded to ensure the most suggestive parts of flesh will be exposed. Pig-headed men can have the stupid little sl… (Note: Last word scribbled over and unreadable. This observation submitted by female members of the research project.)
Packs of mature female Telerius galadh were observed to be extremely territorial and confrontational with all Mary Sue species. Common behaviors included pushing the Mary Sue off cliffs; slaying the Mary Sue via bow and arrow, spear, knife, or any number of weaponry; feeding the Mary Sue to spiders; or drowning the Mary Sue.
No Mary Sue were ever recorded as remaining within the Wood-Elf territory (see: King Thranduil, Halls of). It is believed they were either poisoned by female T. galadh, or possess an extremely short lifespan—perhaps similar to that of the fruit fly (Drosophila sp.).
*The Aggregated Mary Sue: Species or Not? One requirement of a species is the ability to reproduce. If the Aggregated Mary Sue is sterile and cannot reproduce, then it does not meet species qualifications. (Similar instances are found in the mating of lions and tigers, or horses and donkeys. Both produce offspring incapable of reproduction.)
THE LECTURE HALL:
Yayoi- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth extends its deepest sympathies towards your battles with calculus. Rest assured this research project was done with the utmost severity and respect to science. ;) The Department thanks you for your support and wishes you happy reading.
Ithilien- The SRDM thanks you for your continued support, as well as for the impressive grant towards the research project. It was an invaluable donation to the cause. Thank you, and may it bring a smile to your face knowing you are helping in the fight to save this majestic, endangered species.
Sylvia- Thank you for supporting the Mirkwood Research Project. It is the firm belief of the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth not to intervene with any mishaps that may befall the Telerius galadh, though at first this may be deemed cruel. However, nature must be allowed to run its course.
gapofrohan- Please accept this complimentary “I Survived the Battle of the Five Armies” T-shirt, courtesy of the SRDM. The SRDM thanks you for your contribution to the Mirkwood research project, and hopes you will continue to follow its progress.
Hellga- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth wishes to acknowledge a fellow scientist, and invite you to tour our facilities at your leisure. (Please, though, do not steal the developing Legolas clones.) Thank you for showing an interest in the Mirkwood Research Project.
Noldor Lass- A sincere Thank You from the SRDM. We hope you continue to support the Mirkwood Research project. Please accept this “Proud to Be a High Elf” book bag, courtesy of the SRDM.
The Dishwasher- Impressed by your knowledge of male lions and cub-slaying, the SRDM awards you 5 points extra credit and this shiny gold star sticker. Please accept our gratitude for supporting the Mirkwood Research Project as well.
Insane Muse- The SRDM must thank you for your continued support and motivating comments. Without it, the plight of the Wood-Elves would undoubtedly be a lost cause.
Aurumlupi- On behalf of the SRDM, thank you for supporting the Mirkwood Research Project. We hope you find the following Notes as entertaining as the first.
Mari- Unfortunately, the previous lack of story was due solely to the author’s own lack of computer genius. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth apologizes for her computer non-wiles, and wishes to thank you for choosing to follow the Mirkwood Research Project.
Cotume27- Thank you for your support! The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth assures you it will pass your notice to update ‘Out of the Frying Pan’ along to the author.
Hildestohl- ‘Phoebus’ is the Latin form of Apollo, or, the “Sun God.” ;) In exchange for your review, please accept these 3 green fletched arrows. The SRDM thanks you for your support.
technetium- According to our records at SRDM, the primary author ‘bryn’ is in fact a biology major with a concentration in marine biology. A further investigation has been launched as to how this pertains to any expertise on Elves whatsoever. Thank you for supporting the Wood-Elf cause.
Jocelyn- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth would at this time like to state it is has set strict rules not to interfere with whatever may happen to the Wood-Elves. Nature must be allowed to run its course. The author Bryn has requested the possibility of a play-date between clone Legolas, mini-Balrog Legalous and her own mini-Balrogs Pippen and Rivendale. Researchers’ initials are, in fact, the true initials of peoples known to the SRDM. The SRDM offers its profound thanks for your work to ensure further grants to the Mirkwood Research Project. Thank you, and rest assured that no T. galadh, at any time, were exposed to modern weaponry.
Aralanthiriel- The observations of researchers were based on in-the-field studies alone. At this time it is not sure whether they directly coincide with the History of Middle-earth. The Scientific Research Department wishes to thank you for choosing to support and follow the Mirkwood Research project. We hope you find it an enjoyable learning experience.
* * *
Plotbunnies cited: Fosse/Goodall-esque method of research: Ithilien
Use of song as mating call: Thundera Tiger
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