Not sure how I feel about this one. Having done a dissertation for a Masters degree I can understand the detail that some of the research goes to. But the research done at Imperial College, London seems to have taken things to a whole new level.
Their research suggests that villains in literature (specifically Tolkien in this example) are often averse to sunlight which gives them a vitamin D deficiency and, in turn, suggests that they should be weaker in battle.
Personally, I’ve never gone to that level when laying out character sketches and now it’s got me worrying whether other people do. For all the greatness that I see in the works of Tolkien, Sanderson, Jordan etc. I just can’t see them consciously working at this level;
- Magic foods? yes.
- Healing herbs? yes.
- The hero having to rest because he didn’t drink his orange juice at breakfast? Im not so sure.
What is worrying me even more is that my latest novel, A Treasure Found, has the antagonist actually coming from a desert tribe; if he isn’t getting enough sunshine, then pity everyone else.
There is some good news of course. The researchers have stated that they would need to look further afield to see just how relevant their results are. In that aspect, I could help them somewhat; I’ve looked into this a bit and it seems that although the main source of Vitamin D is sunlight, in terms of dietary resources, mushrooms seem to be quite common and we all know what mushrooms do? That’s right, they grow in the dark!
So, I suggest that, in future novels, if you have any dark overlords who spend time in the depths of the earth, put them on a substantial diet of mushrooms and that could lead to some interesting end-scene battles between the heroes and the bad guys.