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Wizards or Dragons? - Phil's Rambling Rants
June 12th, 2007
11:03 am

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Wizards or Dragons?
Tolkien's famous line "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger," has been sent up in many ways, but the most frequently encountered version comes in two variations:

   Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for you are crunchy and good with catsup.

- and -


   Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with catsup.

Even I, with my pitifully weak Google-fu, can determine that 'dragons' version is more popular today. In my own arrogant opinion, the wizards version is more clever; it is closer to the original wording, and wizards are more likely than dragons to use catsup. But what I really wonder about is the origin of the quote, and which version is the original. I am fairly sure I encountered the 'wizards' version first, before 1980, and didn't see the 'dragons' one until around 1989. But my memory is unreliable and my experience isn't definitive.

Anyone out there have an opinion, or better yet, evidence, on this burning issue?

(By the way -- it is not in Bored of the Rings. I was positive it was, but it's not, unless my edition has been expurgated.)

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From:blueeyedtigress
Date:June 12th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
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The original, way back in the day, was the dragons and catchup one.

There are also other phrases in the same pattern, for instance:

Do not throw your butts in the urinals, for it makes them soggy and hard to light.

Now the rest of the game went like this: you mix and match any and all of the given-patterned phrases, like so:

Do not throw your butts in the urinals, for you are crunchy and good with catchup.
Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for it makes them soggy and hard to light.
Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

And so on ....
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From:polyfrog
Date:June 12th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I'm certain I'd seen "dragons/ketchup" and "wizards/subtle" for many years before I started seeing any other variations.

I believe the dragons/ketchup line is a product of the rich button folklore culture of the late 70s and 80s, now fading.
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From:danebassett
Date:June 14th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
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I was going to say Bored of the Rings too.....
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