History MacGuffin / Literature

21st May '17 11:03:59 AM nombretomado
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* In Creator/PoulAnderson's "Literature/TimePatrol", it's the chest of radioactive materials found in a Dark Ages tomb during VictorianBritain. They don't merely have to get it back, they have to get it back before it was buried.

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* In Creator/PoulAnderson's "Literature/TimePatrol", it's the chest of radioactive materials found in a Dark Ages tomb during VictorianBritain.UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain. They don't merely have to get it back, they have to get it back before it was buried.
11th Mar '17 2:35:31 PM nombretomado
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* In MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm The January Dancer]]'', the harper claims that the object of TheQuest is not important; what mattered was Jason and Medea, not the Golden Fleece. The scarred man objects: had he gone after the Tin Whistle or the Aluminum Coffeepot, the failure would have been different.

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* In MichaelFlynn's Creator/MichaelFlynn's ''[[Literature/SpiralArm The January Dancer]]'', the harper claims that the object of TheQuest is not important; what mattered was Jason and Medea, not the Golden Fleece. The scarred man objects: had he gone after the Tin Whistle or the Aluminum Coffeepot, the failure would have been different.
6th Feb '17 10:19:58 AM starlight9
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* The Weather Wizard in the ''Literature/NightfallSeries''. The plot is set in motion because the Resistance seeks to destroy it, but it never appears in the first book.
28th Nov '16 6:40:45 AM NNinja
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** The One Ring from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (though commonly cited as an example) is explicitly NOT a [=MacGuffin=], as its power to corrupt anyone who comes near it is a major driver of the plot, and it is arguably an independent character in its own right. For one thing, [[spoiler: it got Boromir killed, and would have been impossible to destroy were it not for Gollum's intervention. ]]\

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** The One Ring from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (though commonly cited as an example) is explicitly NOT a [=MacGuffin=], as its power to corrupt anyone who comes near it is a major driver of the plot, and it is arguably an independent character in its own right. For one thing, [[spoiler: it got Boromir killed, and would have been impossible to destroy were it not for Gollum's intervention. ]]\]]
28th Nov '16 6:39:58 AM NNinja
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*** The dwarves reclaiming their ancestral home is the [=MacGuffin=] in the first two acts. The Arkenstone doesn't become significant until the third act.
** The One Ring from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (though commonly cited as an example) is explicitly NOT a [=MacGuffin=], as its power to corrupt anyone who comes near it is a major driver of the plot, and it is arguably an independent character in its own right. For one thing, [[spoiler: it got Boromir killed, and would have been impossible to destroy were it not for Gollum's intervention. ]]
*** The key reason being that unlike normal [=MacGuffins=] you cannot replace it with another [=MacGuffin=] and have the effect be the same. Even the aforementioned Silmarils doesn't seem to possess a will of their own, as the One Ring is actually the core essence of an intermediate deity of the Earth. Or a powerful Maiar of Aulë, if you prefer.
*** Arguably, you ''could'' replace the One Ring with some other item of Sauron's. It's only a Ring because it was written as one in ''The Hobbit''. It could have been a cloak, or a chain, or any talisman you wish. However, the One Ring cannot be called a [=MacGuffin=] because three of its powers; the power to turn its wearer invisible, the power to change its size and, most importantly, its corrupting influence on anyone within its proximity, are used quite a bit. Just never by its Master.

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*** The dwarves reclaiming their ancestral home is the [=MacGuffin=] in the first two acts. The Arkenstone doesn't become significant until the third act.
** The One Ring from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (though commonly cited as an example) is explicitly NOT a [=MacGuffin=], as its power to corrupt anyone who comes near it is a major driver of the plot, and it is arguably an independent character in its own right. For one thing, [[spoiler: it got Boromir killed, and would have been impossible to destroy were it not for Gollum's intervention. ]]
*** The key reason being that unlike normal [=MacGuffins=] you cannot replace it with another [=MacGuffin=] and have the effect be the same. Even the aforementioned Silmarils doesn't seem to possess a will of their own, as the One Ring is actually the core essence of an intermediate deity of the Earth. Or a powerful Maiar of Aulë, if you prefer.
*** Arguably, you ''could'' replace the One Ring with some other item of Sauron's. It's only a Ring because it was written as one in ''The Hobbit''. It could have been a cloak, or a chain, or any talisman you wish. However, the One Ring cannot be called a [=MacGuffin=] because three of its powers; the power to turn its wearer invisible, the power to change its size and, most importantly, its corrupting influence on anyone within its proximity, are used quite a bit. Just never by its Master.
]]\
9th Oct '16 2:15:35 AM Xtifr
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* The first two novels of the ''Literature/DrakeMaijstral'' series revolve around [=MacGuffins=]:
** In ''Literature/TheCrownJewels'', Drake is hired to steal what he is told is a small artifact of minor historical significance. He quickly learns that it is actually a device containing the frozen sperm of an Emperor![[note]] The Crown's ''family'' jewels, get it?[[/note]] Unfortunately, both the Imperialists, who want to recover it, and the anti-Imperialists, who want to destroy it, know Drake has it. Any action he takes--even none--is liable to leave him marked for death.
** ''Literature/HouseOfShards'' has the Eltdown Shard, a classic sort of [=MacGuffin=]. It is a fabulously beautiful gem with a long history of people willing to kill--or die--to possess it. Both Drake and his rival Geoff Fu George are determined to steal it.
21st Sep '16 2:08:15 AM PaulA
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** ''The High Window'' has Marlowe tracking down the Brasher Dubloon, a legendary coin worth a fortune that leaves a trail of dead thieves behind it; come the ending, it turns out [[DevilInPlainSight a minor character]] sold it for a new start with a clean slate, but it's unimportant considering Marlowe uncovers a framing and a few murders in the process.
** ''The Long Goodbye'' has Marlowe's drinking buddy, Terry Lennox, fleeing the country and paying Marlowe with a $5000 bill. Marlowe, believing he hasn't earned the sum of cash, spends the entire plot refusing to spend it. [[spoiler:Its only significant uses are: to involve Marlowe in the second case; and so Marlowe can pay it back to Lennox, giving them an excuse to meet up again in the conclusion.]]

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** ''The High Window'' ''Literature/TheHighWindow'' has Marlowe tracking down the Brasher Dubloon, a legendary coin worth a fortune that leaves a trail of dead thieves behind it; come the ending, it turns out [[DevilInPlainSight a minor character]] sold it for a new start with a clean slate, but it's unimportant considering Marlowe uncovers a framing and a few murders in the process.
** ''The Long Goodbye'' ''Literature/TheLongGoodbye'' has Marlowe's drinking buddy, Terry Lennox, fleeing the country and paying Marlowe with a $5000 bill. Marlowe, believing he hasn't earned the sum of cash, spends the entire plot refusing to spend it. [[spoiler:Its only significant uses are: to involve Marlowe in the second case; and so Marlowe can pay it back to Lennox, giving them an excuse to meet up again in the conclusion.]]
5th Jul '16 1:53:39 PM BrokenEye
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* The silver Tiberius (a rare ancient Roman tribute coin) in [[Creator/ArthurMachen Arthur Machen's]] ''The Three Impostors'', and by extension, the man with the spectacles and the dark whiskers, who stole it from the titular impostors. The exact significance of the coin is never revealed.
19th Apr '16 12:37:40 PM DrNoPuma
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* The All-Seeing Eye from ''Literature/WarrenTheThirteenth''. Everyone wants it for its legendary power, but none know for sure what it really is.
14th Jan '16 5:15:27 PM Cyclone
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* In the ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' novel ''Wolves on the Border'', the first joint mission between the Wolf's Dragoons and the Ryuken is a raid on the Archernar Proving Grounds. The objective? McGuffin's prototype.
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