“Really? Germans again? Are they just retconning that they were completely destroyed in the first one? How are they even a threat anymore?”

– Eagle, after hearing about the planned sequel

One of my biggest annoyances with modern media analysis is how much everyone seems eager to “outsmart” the stories they consume. So many people seem to approach literary analysis as a hunt for inadequacies – “bad writing,” “weak characterization,” and chief among my annoyances: “plot holes.” And more often than not – especially when people levy these criticisms at certified classics – these “plot holes” aren’t actually plot holes; it’s just a synonym for, “story beat I didn’t understand,” or “writing decision I personally disagree with.”

And there are so many instances of legitimate explanations for “plot holes” being rebuked with “well, that’s just an excuse for the story to happen!” Yeah, no shit, every story is a series of events that “allow the story to happen!” Otherwise, it’s just a different story!

“Why couldn’t they just fly the Eagles to Mt. Doom?” “Why couldn’t they just tape the ring to a rat and carry around the rat?” “Why couldn’t Frodo just stop being a little bitch over a piece of jewelry?” Because if the story allowed for these events to happen, you’d just be reading a different story and complaining about different things.

“Why couldn’t Gatsby just talk to Daisy like a normal person?”

“Why couldn’t Hamlet just tell everyone Claudius murdered his father?”

“Why couldn’t Hrothgar and the rest of the Danes just mob Grendel and kill him themselves?”

– James