Since I have now been forced into a conversations about how “great” LotR is several times over the past week by fanboys of the books, I thought I would blog about the experience.
Let me start off by clarifying that I really do like J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy series Lord of the Rings. But, that said, it doesn’t make it on my 10 top list in the Fiction/Fantasy genre. And, honestly, you Tolkien fanboys really piss me off. Especially since you Tolkien fanboys regularly, and laughably always resort to the same, tired arguments to make LotR sound like it is something it was not and is not. That “same, tired argument” is an attempt to portray LotR as some unique story and everything that has come since in the realm of fantasy literature is just some thinly veiled carbon copy.
Bull shit. Frankly, I am getting sick and tired of those of you, and there are a lot of you, who bellyache about how most of what is being published in the fantasy genre is nothing but a retelling of already told tales. You complain how so and so is just ripping off Tolkien while pining for something new, but you still insist on comparing everything written in Fantasy as somehow like Tolkien.
You people don’t like the hero’s journey. You don’t like the reluctant antihero. You don’t like the plot of an ancient evil to be defeated. You You don’t like the fact stories of powerful artifacts just waiting for the prophesied hero to come before being unleashed. Pick any plot, major or minor, that existed in LotR and when someone else uses it all you do is kvetch.
Blah, blah, blah. Tolkien did all that you complain!
Yeah, these sorts love Tolkien, but apparently they never read any of the Norse or Aurthurian Legends that are so clearly present in Tolkien’s work and which he clearly borrowed from when crafting his tale. Obviously they never read any of the Germanic tales or Babylonian, Greek, and Roman myths that crept into his story either.
Tolkien didn’t create elves. He might have given them certain mannerisms and traits, but elves as creatures of magical talents, somewhat aloof, and ambivalent to the affairs of humans predated Tolkien. The stereotype of Dwarves as recluse mountain dwellers who are adept at mining? Germanic in origin. Sorry. So that also predates Tolkien. What about Ents? Again, they predate Tolkien as well. In addition to several similar creatures already existing in mythology, C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian talks about the forest coming to life (the Living Wood) and was published in 1951. That’s four years before Tolkien’s tale. All Tolkien did was pull a generic Germanic word for giant and apply it to his tree folk. But he wasn’t “original”.
Oh? Did I shatter some of your long and deeply held beliefs Tolkien fanboys? I’m sorry. Here’s a tissue. Now blow your nose and put your big girl panties on.
You sorts who think Tolkien is the end all and be all of fantasy don’t want something new and original. What you want is Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. Period. And its all you want. No matter how good a story is, you’ll always think it is nothing compared to the story you love and have obvious misconceptions about.