History MacGuffin / Literature

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.
25th Jul '15 9:56:41 PM nombretomado
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* In MikhailAkhmanov's ''Earth Shadow'', Dick Simon is sent by the civilized worlds to find out the fate of EarthThatWas, which was cut off from the PortalNetwork at the end of the Exodus. He spends most of the novel looking for the ''Poltava'', a top-of-the-line naval triplehulled cruiser, built shortly before the Exodus. He needs the ship's missiles to destroy a Lunar base that is the cause of the portal interference. He finally finds the derelict ship in a grotto under a mountain. Unfortunately, the missiles have all been used up. He ends up using a completely different (and easier) method of shutting down the transmitter. Had be done that from the start, the book would've been only ten pages long.

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* In MikhailAkhmanov's Creator/MikhailAkhmanov's ''Earth Shadow'', Dick Simon is sent by the civilized worlds to find out the fate of EarthThatWas, which was cut off from the PortalNetwork at the end of the Exodus. He spends most of the novel looking for the ''Poltava'', a top-of-the-line naval triplehulled cruiser, built shortly before the Exodus. He needs the ship's missiles to destroy a Lunar base that is the cause of the portal interference. He finally finds the derelict ship in a grotto under a mountain. Unfortunately, the missiles have all been used up. He ends up using a completely different (and easier) method of shutting down the transmitter. Had be done that from the start, the book would've been only ten pages long.
19th Apr '15 9:17:51 PM nombretomado
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* The ColdWar thriller ''Literature/TheWidowOfDesire'' made a [[PrettyInMink Russian lynx coat]] one of these, because vital information was smuggled inside it.

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* The ColdWar UsefulNotes/ColdWar thriller ''Literature/TheWidowOfDesire'' made a [[PrettyInMink Russian lynx coat]] one of these, because vital information was smuggled inside it.
5th Feb '15 7:00:44 AM jmparker78
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* The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything in ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. Ultimately, we know the answer, which is 42, but we never really find out the Question, unless it really is "What number do you get when you multiply six by seven?" It fits the trope because all it is is something the Mice want to know, and as we never really discover the answer, it doesn't actually do anything.
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