Paul Bryant's Reviews > The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Nov 16, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: novels

Wow - I have just stumbled on this fantastic quote about Tolkien from China Mieville (via GR friends Traveller and Cecily!) and it absolutely sums up the problem with Tolkien - even though I read him many years ago and even though I was enthralled and read him all over again, every word here is true :

"Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious - you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike - his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés - elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings - have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader.

That is a revolting idea, and one, thankfully, that plenty of fantasists have ignored. From the Surrealists through the pulps - via Mervyn Peake and Mikhael Bulgakov and Stefan Grabinski and Bruno Schulz and Michael Moorcock and M. John Harrison and I could go on - the best writers have used the fantastic aesthetic precisely to challenge, to alienate, to subvert and undermine expectations."

- China Mieville
18 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Lord of the Rings.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

04/02/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Aubrey I remember reading that quote, but I had forgotten who had said it. Fitting that I recently finished my first book of his, subverted (although a more accurate word would be perverted) expectations in hand. Still love my LotR though.

Tania So true.

message 3: by MJ (new) - added it

MJ Nicholls Readers love clichés? Who'd've thought?

message 4: by Linda (new)

Linda Robinson Can't remember the last time I read a fantasy book eager for political complexity. True or not, Mieville's is just another opinion. Both authors have gifts. Wonder what Tolkien would have had to say about Mieville's fantasy worlds? I'd love to read some twitter feed replies from these guys!

Paul Bryant Hmm, that sounds like a scenario for another review....

Paul Bryant these guys are writing goodreads reviews without knowing it!

message 8: by Linda (new)

Linda Robinson Koeeoaddi wrote: "


This is incredibly fun! Thanks for posting the link.


Chhhhhina Miiiiéville! We hates it for ever!

message 10: by Linda (new)

Linda Robinson Paul wrote: "Hmm, that sounds like a scenario for another review...."
An epic literary rap battle in the making. Awesome.

Daniel Swensen China Mieville is so gloriously pretentious, bless him.

Aubrey Manny wrote: "HERESY!

Chhhhhina Miiiiéville! We hates it for ever!"

Oh jeez. China better sleep with one eye open from now on.

message 13: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Laughing so hard reading this

back to top