Talk:Niff & harry
After publishing my insights on the bloody diary's talk page, I thought afterward that how interesting it would be if I managed to get in touch with the other competition winners, and perhaps get them to put out something similar.
I've managed to get in touch with Bob1010102, the author of the poem Niff & Harry; the following is an exclusive insight from himself. Personally, this was one of the insights I'm most curious about, as it sort of stood out compared to the other texts from the winners in that it was not as heavy in lore and honestly seemed a bit nonsensical!
As soon as I read the dev blog, I knew I wanted to take my shot at it, but I had no idea what to write about. My first thought was to write out an epic hero's journey, or a dark tale surrounding the origins of Iban; my first instinct was to really flesh out the world with some major, important event on the level of what you’d find in the Silmarillion. But every time I approached the thought I stumbled, drawing blanks on where I wanted to take the story. I recall having one particularly persistent thought: if I wanted to write something for the lore of my favourite game, it had to stand out for a reason. So I figured, "What if I wrote a completely nonsensical poetic comedy?" And in doing so I leaned towards the exact opposite of my initial intentions, and wrote Niff & Harry.
Of Writing[edit source]
I don't know how, but the whole idea of Greenman's Ale being the punchline of a lengthy poem was born very early on in the script, and something I just kept going back to. I guess that as a kid, I read a ton of Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series and was absolutely enchanted by the tales he would tell. More pertinently, he always carried a comical tone which came off with a very stylized, ridiculous flair, which just seemed to perfectly match the humour and lighter tone of Runescape.
The characters were also born of some light inspiration. I quite regularly play in a long-term, multi-campaign Dungeons & Dragons group where my first and most iconic character was a gnome by the last name "Delfingus," who I like to imagine as the narrator of this poem under the tutelage of his Aunt Niff, and having the opportunity to watch her deal with cases like that of Sir Harry. Notably, in my group’s world, gnomes have a real tendency to be clever and devious, and often outright evil (I swear it’s not inherent to their beings, despite the evidence!). I knew that with Niff I wanted to carry on a bit of that tradition; Niff is the kind of nurse with all the tricks up her sleeve, who knows her patients better than they know themselves. As for Sir Harry, I've noticed that it’s been suggested that he may be the same Sir Harry the paladin found in the Underground Pass. While the connection is completely unintentional, to that I say: why not? The paladin certainly fits the bill, and given where he’s found in game, it’s not out there to suppose he’s had correspondence with the gnomes at The Grand Tree. And there's no doubt that the singular, small pub in Ardougne would be insufficient to quench Sir Harry's insatiable need for alcohol.
If there’s one regret I have with the poem (besides another round of edits to tidy things up), it’s that I completely forgot to put a title on it. Given this, the Jmods put a title of their own making to rectify that mistake (Niff & Harry). If I were to give it a proper name, I’d go with something like, “Niff and the Mysterious Malady.”
Lore and All That[edit source]
Given the over-the-top nature of the poem, a great question is: did this actually happen within the Runescape lore? And while through quests we’ve seen similar humourous absurdities occur that suggest that Niff & Harry isn’t all that exotic a case, I think the best perspective is a classic “based on a true story with considerable creative license.” The narrator and writer of the poem, as understood in the game world, is a kid helping Nurse Niff. Of course, his childish lens is going to give him a wholly different, coloured perspective of the events he’s seen, and it wouldn’t be surprising that with each retelling the story gets grander and wilder till the day when pen is finally put to paper.
I can’t say how excited I was to tune-in on stream and hear my name called. I had high hopes that my writing was far enough into absurdity that it stood a chance, and I was ecstatic to see it and my name in game – a small contribution of my own to an incredible game I’ve played since childhood. The competition prize is a whole other discussion concerning months of waiting, but special thanks to Mod Acorn for putting in the work to finish a job that was never hers to begin with! If there’s one suggestion I’d make to Jagex, it would be to do more writing competitions. Your community has so many great ideas and will always jump at the chance to add a little extra lore to Gielinor. It'd also reduce the number of bookshelves across Runescape which, every time I choose to search them, argue that they hold nothing interesting...