Sophie has traded in her Belle ball gown for an Arwen costume.
I’m not all misty-eyed that Sophie is done with Disney. But I was hoping that the Next Big Thing would be something that I could relate to. I didn’t have a clear vision for what that might be. Something more tom-boyish, perhaps. Rock collecting. Or building with blocks. The kind of things that I liked to do as a kid.
So who’s Arwen, you ask? Don’t worry, you’re not falling behind in your knowledge of popular culture. She’s not the latest Disney invention. She’s not some former child start turned teenage twerker.
For those of you who do not live under rocks, she’s an elfin princess, from Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, this is where my knowledge of Arwen ends. Kevin, on the other hand, is a walking, audio version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “legendarium.” In other words: he’s a dyed-in-the wool nerd
Once Sophie determined that she no longer wanted us to read to her before bed, which—thank you very much—she could do just fine on her own, Kevin began telling her yarns from his own, favorite stories as a child. One generation of nerd, transferring his wisdom to the next.
I wasn’t sure it would take, so I wasn’t too concerned about the nerdification of our daughter. Kevin doesn’t do voices. In fact, he doesn’t do much dialogue at all. He’s more like a narrator stringing together the chronology of events of an epic tale. Every now and then, when it’s appropriate, he lets me say the lines I know from having lived with a nerd for the past decade. He’ll be going on about how seven rings were forged by the Dark Lord Sauron in Mount Doom and, I’ll suddenly jump in and declare:
“One ring to rule them all!”
He hates it when I do that too soon.
But most of the time Kevin’s stories sound like descriptions of old, gnarly family trees. Remarkably, not only is Sophie able to follow elf genealogy, the two of them get into conversations about who begat whom.
“Then she married Gladriel?”
“No, she married Aragorn. Gladriel is her father, Celebrian’s, father. They’re elves. Arwen is a half-elf.”
“So she can’t live forever?”
“No she has chosen the fate of mortal men. But she was 2700 years old when she met Aragorn. So she had already lived a long time.”
“Aragorn can die?”
“Yes. He’s a human. Just like you or me.”
Sophie’s lips break into a satisfied smile. “That’s why I like Lord of the Rings; it sounds like a true story.”
I try not to roll my eyes.
Apparently, she got the nerd gene.
It’s their thing. I can’t join in. Truth be told, it’s okay. I don’t need to. Though I fear one day, Sophie will be attending Fantasy Conventions dressed like a Wookie, I’m glad they’ve found this special place they can inhabit together.