Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Okay, here's something that's been continuing to amaze me for a while. As most of you know by now, I'm a fulltime book reviewer – mostly genre fiction – and have been for the last 11 or 12 years. I've read a ton of epic fantasy series during that time and am constantly blown away by the subtle and not-so-subtle influences that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR have on almost all fantasy sagas out there – Terry Brooks' Shannara, David Eddings' Belgariad, Jordan's Wheel of Time, Goodkind's Sword of Truth, Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, etc.

Are there any contemporary fantasy sagas that you've read and thought to yourself, "Geez, this sounds awfully familiar?" One novel, in particular, that frequently had me thinking "Tolkienesque" is Brooks' The Sword of Shannara (although that series has grown into something quite different now).

I've often wondered how Tolkien would feel about this: would he be flattered and/or happy that his work has inspired so many writers, or would he feel like he masterwork has been turned into a blueprint of sorts for formulaic epic fantasy?

What do you think?

Paul
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Frequent Contributor
lorien
Posts: 770
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire

I have not read much fantasy but I did read the first part of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series. He is definitely following the Tolkien model with his invented geography (that looks a lot like England), genealogies and medieval model battles. and castles. However, I see it as dealing with a more modern world. In Tolkien's time (World War II) good and bad were more clear-cut. Evil had a face, the good was something people were surer of, and a person could aspire to do the right thing. The individual quest made a difference.

The later fantasy books have had to deal with a more complex world where values are not as well defined. I think fantasy has grown to reflect that and that is true in Martin's series. The good can suddenly end up on the bad side and the bad guy ends up becoming a good guy. You can't be sure of these things anymore. I find my allegiance slipping back and forth all the time as I read the books. We now live in a grayer time where values are not as clear cut. Even dragons can turn out to be good, don't have a diet preference for young maidens, and no longer sleep on hoards.
Frequent Contributor
niki
Posts: 187
Registered: ‎12-25-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy


paulgoatallen wrote:
Okay, here's something that's been continuing to amaze me for a while. As most of you know by now, I'm a fulltime book reviewer – mostly genre fiction – and have been for the last 11 or 12 years. I've read a ton of epic fantasy series during that time and am constantly blown away by the subtle and not-so-subtle influences that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR have on almost all fantasy sagas out there – Terry Brooks' Shannara, David Eddings' Belgariad, Jordan's Wheel of Time, Goodkind's Sword of Truth, Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, etc.

Are there any contemporary fantasy sagas that you've read and thought to yourself, "Geez, this sounds awfully familiar?" One novel, in particular, that frequently had me thinking "Tolkienesque" is Brooks' The Sword of Shannara (although that series has grown into something quite different now).

I've often wondered how Tolkien would feel about this: would he be flattered and/or happy that his work has inspired so many writers, or would he feel like he masterwork has been turned into a blueprint of sorts for formulaic epic fantasy?

What do you think?

Paul




Tolkien would have been pleased to see that he created the blueprint for future fantasy. I think that was part of his point in his creation. His essay "On Fairy Stories" was intended to do just that. However, I don't believe he ever expected it to happen especially at this level.
Frequent Contributor
niki
Posts: 187
Registered: ‎12-25-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

I see a lot of parallels between LOTR and Harry Potter and I am reassembling my notes here.

Dumbledore and Gandalf have many obvious parallels. Both are wizards and serve as mentors to the hero, both subtly manipulate the heroes to their destiny, and both die and leave the heroes to complete their tasks alone.

Both wizards engage in a mortal conflict with their evil counterpart. Dumbledore with Voldemort and he wins a temporary victory from the encounter. Gandolf with Sauraman (his evil counterpart wizard) but he temporarily loses this encounter but then ultimately succeeds with Balrog (his evil counterpart Maia).

Both have an Evil Dark Lord who wants to dominate the world. In both series the Dark Lord is physically destroyed at the start but remains as a non-corporal evil entity who still has a great deal of power. But each leaves a bane that the hero (Frodo/Harry) must carry. In Sauron's case it is the Ring and in Voldemort's case it is the scar. Saurman, with his similar name, is a surrogate for the bodiless Sauron. Both evil Dark Lords develop huge armies for their conquest and enlist all the evil creatures in their cause. Both manage to survive by incorporating their beings in another form.

Harry and Bilbo/Frodo must pass a series of test and grow at each point. In the Ring series this is cast as a journey quest. In HP it is more of a time growth as Harry moves from one level of school to another. Each year he faces a new major trial that usually starts around Halloween (I wonder why?). Harry eventually has a "journey quest" in the final book.

Both the Ring and the Harry's Scar are something both heroes must carry. Each causes suffering, each serves as a portal into the evil mind of the Dark Lord, and each causes concern to the hero that he is coming under the evil influence and control of the Dark Lord.

In Harry Potter, the wand is a substitute for the sword as the fantasy book's weapon of choice and it is used in much the same way as a sword might be used. But the traditional sword of Griffindore does have an important role to play as well.

Both books emphasis the importance of friendship. But in the end, the hero must do the final task alone. Both heroes do renounce the help of friends knowing it is their destiny to do to the final task but each ends up with a faithful friend(s) who will not let them go all the way alone.

Each series is peopled by fantastic creatures both friendly and helpful, as well as evil and dangerous. Some are similar between the series but in HP some have been redefined in terms of myths that predate Tolkien's changes. I don't think of HP goblins as Tolkien Orcs but more like Tolkien dwarves. Elves are portrayed very differently.

Pity plays a pivotal role in each series. First there is Bilbo's pity for the wretched Gollum. In LOTR Gandalf tells Frodo about Gollum and how Bilbo's pity for him prevented him from killing him and he can't ignore the importance of the act because Gollum may yet have an important part to play. Ditto for Dumbledore in reference to Wormtail to Harry and in almost the same words at the end of PoA.

I noticed another interesting parallel. These things often come in a series of seven books. Clearly HP is a seven book series, but The Hobbit and LOTR are too. LOTR is actually six separate books that happened to be published in groups of twos. Combined with The Hobbit that makes it a seven book series.

There are probably many Harry Potter fans in the group who could add to the list.
Distinguished Correspondent
lmpmn
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy



paulgoatallen wrote:
I've often wondered how Tolkien would feel about this: would he be flattered and/or happy that his work has inspired so many writers, or would he feel like he masterwork has been turned into a blueprint of sorts for formulaic epic fantasy?

What do you think?

Paul





Now that I've received my copy of the Annotated Hobbit (yay!), I feel I can add a little to this particular conversation. I read in the sidenotes (I think in Chapter 2) Tolkien said somewhere that when he was young and read fantasy stories, he could hardly finish one before he was imagining things of his own and wanting to write a story of his own. I think he'd feel good that his work inspired others to feel the same way and to write works of their own.
Happiness is a warm blanket!
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

I haven't actally read many ( in fact, I would say, not any ) Heroic Fantasy books since my childhood/early adolescence ( except for re-reading {H} and LOTR )...
Even before I started LOTR, I think, I read C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" - and eventually, went on to finish the entire series...

Then, there was Lloyd Alexander's "trilogy" of stories, that climaxed with "The High King" ( although these were Fantasy, they were set in a semi-real place- a sort of Authurian or Pre-Arthurian Ancient Wales )...These were very good...

And then there were a couple of short books, by someone whose name escapes me, concerning some very "Hobbit-Like" creatures ( who also were a quiet, peace-loving folk who had to find courage to save themselves from danger ) who lived in a village that had water running all through it ( kind of like canals ) and these little folks ate a lot of watercress...
"A Wizard Of Earthsea" ( by Ursula K. Le Guin ) may have been the last Heroic fantasy I read...
I have glanced at many Heroic Fantasy books since then, but although they appeared to have all the necessary acoutrements required for a good Fantasy, ( an imagined landscape, magic swords, Wizards and Dragons, and Elves and Quests, etc. ) they all did somehow look like"knock-offs" of Tolkien's Middle-Earth...

I think I was also influenced by a book I had once, entitled "Tolkien- A Look Inside The Lord Of The Rings" ( written by Lin Carter- himself [ or herself? ] a Science
Fiction & "Sword and Sorcery" writer ) who summed up at the end of the book how there were going to be so many imitations of Tolkien's formulas written- but how many
( or even most of them ) just weren't "Real" in the same sense that Middle-Earth was...

I'm not sure, I really just can't say, How Tolkien might have thought of all these inmitators, and of this whole new Genre that he started...I guess he would approve of the ones that followed the guidelines he laid down in his " On Fairy Stories" Essays...

Incidentally, in that "Look Behind LOTR" book I mentioned, the author claimed that Tolkien had himself read H. Rider Haggard's "Sword & Sorcery" type novels, and had enjoyed them...

At Your Service, Ardo Whortleberry...
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

I like your style, Ardo, and they way you turn all your posts into a mini-story!

It is interesting but few of us seemed to have read much fantasy. We brought up this question when we were still part of the Fantasy & Science Fiction group expecting some sort of participation and got zippo response from them. My feeling was the modern fantasy readers had not read Tolkien. Few if any ever participated in our little Tolkien group. Tolkien may have influenced writers but maybe his works do not resonate with the typical fantasy reader.

Fantasy readers seem to burn through fantasy books and series at an incredible rate. Most of their posts centered around what they have or are currently reading with no comment about the books themselves. There are quality Fantasy books and series out there. I originally joined the group with hopes of being introduced to some. I would still like to know what fantasy books are of a similar quality to Tolkien and not just fast reads.



oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:
I haven't actally read many ( in fact, I would say, not any ) Heroic Fantasy books since my childhood/early adolescence ( except for re-reading {H} and LOTR )...
Even before I started LOTR, I think, I read C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe" - and eventually, went on to finish the entire series...

Then, there was Lloyd Alexander's "trilogy" of stories, that climaxed with "The High King" ( although these were Fantasy, they were set in a semi-real place- a sort of Authurian or Pre-Arthurian Ancient Wales )...These were very good...

And then there were a couple of short books, by someone whose name escapes me, concerning some very "Hobbit-Like" creatures ( who also were a quiet, peace-loving folk who had to find courage to save themselves from danger ) who lived in a village that had water running all through it ( kind of like canals ) and these little folks ate a lot of watercress...
"A Wizard Of Earthsea" ( by Ursula K. Le Guin ) may have been the last Heroic fantasy I read...
I have glanced at many Heroic Fantasy books since then, but although they appeared to have all the necessary acoutrements required for a good Fantasy, ( an imagined landscape, magic swords, Wizards and Dragons, and Elves and Quests, etc. ) they all did somehow look like"knock-offs" of Tolkien's Middle-Earth...

I think I was also influenced by a book I had once, entitled "Tolkien- A Look Inside The Lord Of The Rings" ( written by Lin Carter- himself [ or herself? ] a Science
Fiction & "Sword and Sorcery" writer ) who summed up at the end of the book how there were going to be so many imitations of Tolkien's formulas written- but how many
( or even most of them ) just weren't "Real" in the same sense that Middle-Earth was...

I'm not sure, I really just can't say, How Tolkien might have thought of all these inmitators, and of this whole new Genre that he started...I guess he would approve of the ones that followed the guidelines he laid down in his " On Fairy Stories" Essays...

Incidentally, in that "Look Behind LOTR" book I mentioned, the author claimed that Tolkien had himself read H. Rider Haggard's "Sword & Sorcery" type novels, and had enjoyed them...

At Your Service, Ardo Whortleberry...

Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

For my part, I never really got into being a faithful "Fantasy" reader...
excepting for when I was still a youth- and always went straight to the "Fantasy" Bookshelf at the Children's Room at the Library [ there was no "Fantasy" section in the Adult shelves- at that point in time, by the way ] as soon as I arrived... [ and often found Fantasy books located in the regular Fiction shelves, as well ]... I never really got into the SF scene, either... [ I think I've read one ( cheezy, but fun ) paperback SF Novel from start to finish... Although I had enjoyed Ray Bradbury's short stories also ].
I'm sure many of these Fantasy books that have been written in recent times have been written well, and I'm sure the folks who just enjoy the "Fantasy Format" [ in general ] are always eager to find another "good read" from out of that genre...But I guess I was spoiled by reading Tolkien's books first... Tolkien had the advantage over the others that were to follow, being so thoroughly steeped in all that authentic ancient lore and in languages, etc.- on which he did have basis and sources for his stories [ although it feels like the actual stories themselves were still entirely his own creation ]...
I myself was inspired to attempt to create my own imaginary landscapes [ when I was younger ] going so far as to sketch maps- that were to be a backdrop for my stories...
But that was "making something out of whole cloth" [ as I think the saying goes ]- and that was the same impression of what the various other Fantasy authors were doing- that I got from glancing at some of these newer Fantasy tomes [ not that there's anything so terribly wrong about that ] but Tolkien just had his wealth of knowledge in his corner when he set out to tell his stories...
P.S.- In that last letter- I talked of H. Rider Haggard- although that author was discussed in that book [ "Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord Of The Rings"- by Lin Carter ] I think maybe the stories that Carter claimed Tolkien was said to have read and enjoyed were actually the "Conan" stories, by Robert E. Howard...
And now that I've babbled on again- I'm curious too, as what the take on the situation is from those folks that are the more dedicated readers of the SF/Fantasy genre in general, and not just Tolkien in particular...
Good Day To All... Ardo Whortleberry... Tolkien Reader
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
JesseBC
Posts: 278
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Rowling pops to mind, of course, though I don't exactly mean that as a compliment. Lloyd Alexander is classic, but, aside from the broad fantasy connection (at which point, we could claim Tolkien inspired Renn Fest), I don't really see a comparison since the Prydain Chronicles drew so heavily from Celtic mythology. In the loosest sense of transcendence or "morality," I might compare them to the Narnia stories in the sense that, after the stories conclude, the world (or Middle Earth) is never the same again. It's transformed by the events of the stories themselves. But therein lies the problem of comparing Tolkien to any contemporary writer. Contemporary fiction is postmodern; Tolkien wasn't.

paulgoatallen wrote:
Okay, here's something that's been continuing to amaze me for a while. As most of you know by now, I'm a fulltime book reviewer – mostly genre fiction – and have been for the last 11 or 12 years. I've read a ton of epic fantasy series during that time and am constantly blown away by the subtle and not-so-subtle influences that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR have on almost all fantasy sagas out there – Terry Brooks' Shannara, David Eddings' Belgariad, Jordan's Wheel of Time, Goodkind's Sword of Truth, Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, etc.

Are there any contemporary fantasy sagas that you've read and thought to yourself, "Geez, this sounds awfully familiar?" One novel, in particular, that frequently had me thinking "Tolkienesque" is Brooks' The Sword of Shannara (although that series has grown into something quite different now).

I've often wondered how Tolkien would feel about this: would he be flattered and/or happy that his work has inspired so many writers, or would he feel like he masterwork has been turned into a blueprint of sorts for formulaic epic fantasy?

What do you think?

Paul


Frequent Contributor
Fanuidhol
Posts: 203
Registered: ‎12-14-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy


oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:
P.S.- In that last letter- I talked of H. Rider Haggard- although that author was discussed in that book [ "Tolkien: A Look Behind The Lord Of The Rings"- by Lin Carter ] I think maybe the stories that Carter claimed Tolkien was said to have read and enjoyed were actually the "Conan" stories, by Robert E. Howard...


Lin Carter was a man.
 
Although, Howard did have a great influence on 'sword and socery' I haven't come across anything that states that Tolkien read anything by him.
 
It had to be Haggard.  There are articles and chapters of books on Tolkien criticism that compare points of similarities with She , in particular. 
'I suppose as a boy She interested me as much as anything—like the Greek shard of Amyntas [Amenartas], which was the kind of machine by which everything got moving' - - Resnick, Henry (1967). "An Interview with Tolkien". Niekas: 37–47.
She is no longer under copyright protection and can be read online without guilt, unlike Tolkien's works and images:
Fan
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Not even Tolkien, Le Guin , or Howard created whole cloth worlds. Each of them admitted and acknowledged this. Every Author is influenced by their own exposures myths, customs, folk lore, other tales. Tolkien work echoed the regional faerie tales he grew up with, and the only reason this is not as quickly noticeable. Is because his reference points are often so old that authorship is lost. So anytime you read a new book and you notice "hey haven't I read this before?". What's important is how well the story being retold. Not that it is.

The old quote "put a handful of monkeys in a room with a typewriter, eventually they'll type out Skakespheare". There is nothing new in this world.
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Hi, Fan-      I always kind of assumed Lin Carter was a man- although I also was aware that there were woman writers working in the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Genre- so I  just wasn't 100% sure...
Like I mentioned before, H. Rider Haggard and "She" was discussed  in Carter's book on Tolkien...
But I could also swear that Carter claimed, in passing, that Tolkien had read Howard's stories, and that Tolkien had said that he had enjoyed those stories, as well...
I don't know where Mr. Carter could have gotten this information ...
[ and if I am remembering correctly what I read in his book ( which was a paperback - that must be out of print, by now ...I suppose one might have to haunt the Used-Book Stores to dig up a copy ) ]
 
 I'd like to take this opportunity to apolgize to Bramblerose...
 In your earlier letter (  that was partially responding to one of my previous letters ) you raised a very interesting question ( addressed  more to the "Overall Fantasy Fans" ) as to whether there were some books out there equal in quality to Tolkien's works, and not just a "fast read"...
In my next letter, I didn't really contribute anything in answer to that question- but went on rehashing
 ( and extrapolating on ) some of my same earlier thoughts...
Of course, being rather narrow-minded when it comes to considering Tolkien's works ( as opposed to other various, and more recent , works of Fantasy )- And not having read  any of these other works by other authors ( except for those books I mentioned reading in my youth ) I didn't really have much to contribute , as far as answering that question, in the first place...
I could say (  if one doesn't mind reading Children's Literature for one's own enjoyment )  that I thought some of those books I did mention before-  I would consider on the same par of quality  ( at least ) with Tolkien's books- although they weren't altogether on the same "level", exactly...
 
Good Day To All, Ardo Whortleberry
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Dear Tigger Bear...
I guess maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough in that letter...The point I was trying to make was that
Tolkien's works were much LESS "made from whole cloth" than many other works of Fantasy...
I think anyone would would agree that authors can be influenced by just about anything ( or possibly even everything ) that they have ever read  ( or seen and heard ) before , as well as their own experiences...Ardo 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Dear Tigger Bear...
I guess maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough in that letter...The point I was trying to make was that
Tolkien's works were much LESS "made from whole cloth" than many other works of Fantasy...
I think anyone would would agree that authors can be influenced by just about anything ( or possibly even everything ) that they have ever read ( or seen and heard ) before , as well as their own experiences...Ardo


I don't agree, all he has is fresh copy rights. (smile) Yes he rode the wave crest of high fantasy being published at the time. Just as Mary Shelly and Brom Stoker rode their own. Read Norse mythology, see Wagner's "Ring" cycle". Tolkien's elves, dwarves, the ring, Smaug, ect..
I was trying to say as that doesn't make him "unoriginal". Just as with a newer book "The Rover" by Melodom the use of halflings, doesn't detract from the quality of the story. Did that author probably read the "Hobbit", yeah but he also could have gotten them from Welsh faerie tales.
If you picking apart a book looking for elements and going this person read Tolkien, you're cutting that author short.

However if you want to site works such as Dennis L. McKiernan Iron tower trilogy. Where the author obliviously took LOR put in a shredder and then pasted it back together. Read his intro for his justification. Where in a book the characters, world, plot all are close echoes directly from Tolkien, buy all means.
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,124
Topics: 516
Kudos: 966
Blog Posts: 3
Ideas: 15
Solutions: 33
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Oh, the Prydain chronicles - The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King.  My best friend in grade school went as Eillonwy every year for Halloween until we were too big for trick or treating.  I've always meant to read the Mabinoigon because of this series.
 
Isn't it amazing that a number of series that we all like were all authored by members of the Inkblots? 

oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:

Then, there was Lloyd Alexander's "trilogy" of stories, that climaxed with "The High King" ( although these were Fantasy, they were set in a semi-real place- a sort of Authurian or Pre-Arthurian Ancient Wales )...These were very good...

At Your Service, Ardo Whortleberry...


Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
oldBPLstackdenizen
Posts: 633
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

 Greetings, MelissaW- 
 
It's been so long since I read the Lloyd Alexander books, I forgot there were more than three books in the series...I did enjoy them, when I did read them...
Did you mean "The Inklings" ?  ( and not "Inkblots"? )...
I never knew Lloyd Alexander was in "The Inklings" group,  ( if that's what you were talking about...
... or were you talking about something else? )...
 
Good Night , Everybody...     Ardo
 
 
 
"Middle-earth Is A State Of Mind"
^^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^^^^

Ardo Whortleberry
Frequent Contributor
BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy


pedsphleb wrote:
Oh, the Prydain chronicles - The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. My best friend in grade school went as Eillonwy every year for Halloween until we were too big for trick or treating. I've always meant to read the Mabinoigon because of this series.
Isn't it amazing that a number of series that we all like were all authored by members of the Inkblots?

oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:

Then, there was Lloyd Alexander's "trilogy" of stories, that climaxed with "The High King" ( although these were Fantasy, they were set in a semi-real place- a sort of Authurian or Pre-Arthurian Ancient Wales )...These were very good...

At Your Service, Ardo Whortleberry...







They certainly seemed like a very diverse group of writers. I have not read but have been curious about the works of Inkling, Charles Williams.

Has anyone read any of his works or know anything about him?
Frequent Contributor
BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

[ Edited ]

TiggerBear wrote:
Not even Tolkien, Le Guin , or Howard created whole cloth worlds. Each of them admitted and acknowledged this. Every Author is influenced by their own exposures myths, customs, folk lore, other tales. Tolkien work echoed the regional faerie tales he grew up with, and the only reason this is not as quickly noticeable. Is because his reference points are often so old that authorship is lost. So anytime you read a new book and you notice "hey haven't I read this before?". What's important is how well the story being retold. Not that it is.

The old quote "put a handful of monkeys in a room with a typewriter, eventually they'll type out Skakespheare". There is nothing new in this world.




Oh, I think this is very true--there is no new thing under the sun. Everyone has to build on the storytelling base that came before them, though some do a better job than others and some actually expand the idea. I am beginning to think there are only four or five basic stories (there maybe more or less--I'm only making a point) and everything is an elaboration or creative combining of those stories. Like your boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy finally gets girl or they die. Or the heroic quest (or journey) story that LOTR is.

A good story to play with is your basic Romeo and Juliet story (a variation on the boy gets girl story). It goes back to Ovid's Pyramus and Thisbe story (don't know where Ovid got it from). Shakespeare liked it well enough that he wrote two stories based on it--Romeo and Juliet (tragedy) and Midsummer Night's Dream (comedy). A well known modern version would be Westside Story (the musical).

I personally think the Romeo and Juliet story is better than the original Ovid story (too bad he didn't work in the lion, though) with or without the monkeys. :smileywink:

Message Edited by BarbaraN on 02-14-2008 11:10 AM
Frequent Contributor
BarbaraN
Posts: 519
Registered: ‎11-08-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy


TiggerBear wrote:
Dear Tigger Bear...
I guess maybe I didn't express myself clearly enough in that letter...The point I was trying to make was that
Tolkien's works were much LESS "made from whole cloth" than many other works of Fantasy...
I think anyone would would agree that authors can be influenced by just about anything ( or possibly even everything ) that they have ever read ( or seen and heard ) before , as well as their own experiences...Ardo


I don't agree, all he has is fresh copy rights. (smile) Yes he rode the wave crest of high fantasy being published at the time. Just as Mary Shelly and Brom Stoker rode their own. Read Norse mythology, see Wagner's "Ring" cycle". Tolkien's elves, dwarves, the ring, Smaug, ect..
I was trying to say as that doesn't make him "unoriginal". Just as with a newer book "The Rover" by Melodom the use of halflings, doesn't detract from the quality of the story. Did that author probably read the "Hobbit", yeah but he also could have gotten them from Welsh faerie tales.
If you picking apart a book looking for elements and going this person read Tolkien, you're cutting that author short.

However if you want to site works such as Dennis L. McKiernan Iron tower trilogy. Where the author obliviously took LOR put in a shredder and then pasted it back together. Read his intro for his justification. Where in a book the characters, world, plot all are close echoes directly from Tolkien, buy all means.




I was trying to say as that doesn't make him "unoriginal". Just as with a newer book "The Rover" by Melodom the use of halflings, doesn't detract from the quality of the story. Did that author probably read the "Hobbit", yeah but he also could have gotten them from Welsh faerie tales.
--------------------------------

The introduction to the Annotated Hobbit does mention many of the sources of Tolkien. For the inspiration of the hobbit or halfling they mention E. A Wyke-Smith's "The Marvellous Land of Snergs".

http://www.tolkiencollector.com/snergs.htm
Melissa_W
Posts: 4,124
Topics: 516
Kudos: 966
Blog Posts: 3
Ideas: 15
Solutions: 33
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Impact of The Hobbit and LOTR on Contemporary Fantasy

Whoops.  I did mean the Inklings :smileysurprised:  I must not think when I am tired :smileyvery-happy:

oldBPLstackdenizen wrote:
 Greetings, MelissaW- 
 
It's been so long since I read the Lloyd Alexander books, I forgot there were more than three books in the series...I did enjoy them, when I did read them...
Did you mean "The Inklings" ?  ( and not "Inkblots"? )...
I never knew Lloyd Alexander was in "The Inklings" group,  ( if that's what you were talking about...
... or were you talking about something else? )...
 
Good Night , Everybody...     Ardo
 
 
 



Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
balletbookworm.blogspot.com
Users Online
Currently online: 13 members 700 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: