J.R.R. Tolkien discussion

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message 1: by Piotr (new)

Piotr | 6 comments No, I don't know any author who actually has created a world in order to create a new language. Tolkien is unique though far from the best writer I'd say.


Christa - Ron Paul 2016 (Christa-RonPaul2012) Up until recently I would have said not a chance, no one can write and tell a story like Tolkien, and while I still hold that belief another aurthor I have just started reading is -in a few ways- rather like Tolkien.

Now don't get mad at me, but George R.R. Martin has created a stunning world. His wording is nothing like Tolikens and there are far too many indepth sex scenes for my tastes, but the world and more importantly the history of his world is absolutly amazing. There are many many charters, family houses, history of the houses thmeselfs and how they relate to other houses and history of the world it's self.

The feel of the writing can give you the same impression of this all actually happening just very very long ago.

Tolkien is still by far way and above Martin but there are similarities in their writing.


message 3: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 79 comments One cannot be very unique, unique is an absolute. Thanks for recommending G.R.R. Martin---my family and grand kids are alwys looking for new authors. I totally enjoy so much how creative you all are. What a blast to read all the Tolkien alikes.


message 4: by Lucinda (new)

Lucinda | 132 comments J.R.R. Tolkien is the man who defined modern fantasy. Unfortunately, his works are grossly under appreciated these days, (however not in this group!). Many people are so ignorant of his contributions to fantasy literature that it is disheartening. Yes,The Hobbit was a nice book and all, but really it was his epic The Lord of the Rings that really made modern fantasy what it is today, and when I say epic, I mean in the literary sense. Not only did he invent hobbits (though "hobbits" are not used in any other books but his, there are creatures called halflings which appear frequently in various fantasy novels), but he created orcs as well. True, goblins were around before him, but he is the author who changed them into the creatures they are imagined as today, in fact, Tolkien is the one who first labeled them as orcs. Before Tolkien, elves were largely seen as little 3-foot tall fairies that made shoes. Tolkien added substance, lore, history, and even culture to them. All elves in modern fantasy are based on the elf that he envisioned, including those in Dungeons & Dragons, the books of the Inheritance Cycle, ect. Many people don't understand that Tolkien's contributions to fantasy actually go quite deeper than The Lord of the Rings, people who enjoy the films and book but have not read the history of middle-earth. Tolkien created what was essentially an entire mythology of the creation of Arda, of Middle Earth, and a history of the events that happened in those lands for thousands of years. Not everyone understands the enormity of what Tolkien did, hence why it is nice to be able to converse with indaviduals who do have a great respect for him and his achivements. He explained every last detail of everything that ever happened in this world he created. There are countless books that he wrote, and ones collection could go on and on!
And there is more. Tolkien created numerous languages to add a sense of authenticity to his work. Yes, that one man created entire languages himself, (which other authors have done that to his extent?).

If not for Tolkien, fantasy today would not be what we know it as. There are some great writers within this genre (a lot of them i adore like Janny Wirts, Terry goodkind, Raymond E Feist, David Eddings, Robin Hobb and Terry Brooks to name only a few who are amazing, but not quite as detailed as Tolkien just different and still great). I love reading fantasy but it is a love of the genre that began with one indavidual who opened up my mind to creativity and imagination - JRR Tolkien.


message 5: by Richard (last edited Sep 14, 2012 11:53AM) (new)

Richard Sutton (RichardSutton) | 68 comments I appreciate the comparison between Tolkien and GRRM. The style of the writing differences is very broad, based on, among a multitude of reasons, the different starting points of the work. Tolkien was a deeply religious academic scholar whose studies of available pre-Christian cultural touchstone epics, gave rise to his unfolding world. GRRM's ASoIF comes from a long, successful career as a screen and SciFi writer with Tolkien a strong influence. I agree that Papa Tolkien re-energized the field after it had been long dormant and GRRM has successfully planted and harvested in that fertile soil. I have read all of both of their works and find they complement each other really well.


message 6: by Samuel (new)

Samuel Medina | 5 comments Tolkien came from a different world... he was an academic... I find there's a big difference between the writing of someone with his kind of background and others who essentially write to sell... sometimes in the mad dash to crank out the next bestseller, some of the purity of creation is lost... GRRM does create a complex world, but still not as rich as Middle Earth.


message 7: by Jack (new)

Jack | 10 comments I too would have said that "Game of Thrones' comes closest (but still falls a long way short). It's interesting that GRRM has said in interviews that the events of the Wars of Roses inspired him. Perhaps anchoring fantasy in our history or mythology is what gives these books such resonance. A lesson, perhaps, for other fantasy authors?


message 8: by Theuniverse67 (new)

Theuniverse67 (Theuniverse) | 3 comments Honestly, I think no one can compare to J.R.R Tolkien. The world he has created is so exceptional, and so unlike any other I have experienced. It makes me feel like I'm there, going through the darkness and the light of it, and journeying through it along with the characters.
I've never read anything else quite like his work.
He truly was a splendid writer.


message 9: by Erin (new)

Erin | 35 comments The short answer is: NO. No one can ever compare to Tolkien. However, I think Peter Beagle and Lloyd Alexander probably come the closest of anyone I've read. They succeed in creating and sustaining magical worlds (though they don't even take that half as far as Tolkien does) and their characters are very real and loveable. (I've never read George R.R. Martin, so I couldn't say where he fits in.)


message 10: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (KevisHendrickson) | 20 comments The biggest difference between Tolkien and other fantasy authors is that his books are linguistically and mythologically inspired. Reading Tolkien's work is like reading Homer or listening to Wagner. With the exception of Lord Dunsany, who predated Tolkien, other fantasy writers don't have that mythological slant that permeates the tales from Middle Earth. In fact, when someone says they enjoy Tolkien and want to read more work like his, I almost always recommend they read the old epics like the Norse Sagas or The Iliad.


message 11: by Connie (new)

Connie (Connie-Reads) | 1 comments I think the fact that Tolkien's entire mythology was based around language is what sets these stories apart from the rest. As a linguist himself, he approached his story telling from an angle that no one else had ever tried, creating the language and then fitting them with stories. It's what, in my opinion, makes his stories so enthralling.


message 12: by Erin (new)

Erin | 35 comments I just read A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, and found it very reminiscent of Tolkien (in a good way). It was well-written and had that mythological touch that Tolkien's works have. I would recommend it if anyone is looking for a really good fantasy novel. I find that a lot of books get compared to Tolkien, but most of them don't deserve the comparison. However, I think this is one of the view that actually does deserve it.


message 13: by Beth (new)

Beth | 21 comments Kevis wrote: "The biggest difference between Tolkien and other fantasy authors is that his books are linguistically and mythologically inspired. Reading Tolkien's work is like reading Homer or listening to Wagner. With the exception of Lord Dunsany, who predated Tolkien, other fantasy writers don't have that mythological slant that permeates the tales from Middle Earth.

I love Homer, and I do want to read more premodern literature. My favorite Dunsany though is The King of Elfland's Daughter. I wasn't too impressed with more explicitly mythological The Gods of Pegana. I know the latter was one of JRRT's inspirations for The Silmarillion, but I thought it was pretty dull.

As for A Wizard of Earthsea, I think The Left Hand of Darkness (technically sf) had a much more vivid setting & invented mythology (and characters) than the Earthsea books.

I really love The Once and Future King, especially book IV. T.H. White doesn't write as beautifully as JRRT, but his characters are great and he has important things to say, I think.

I tend to avoid epic fantasy and read other subgenres. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell and the Sandman comics series by Neil Gaiman are stories set against a vast mythic background that move between the intimate and the large scale really well, I think, which reminds me of JRRT.

my other favorite fantasies:
Spindle's End - some of the most beautiful prose I've seen in fantasy, and great characters and setting; it's not as ambitious as the Clarke or Gaiman, but I really love it.
Cosmicomics - my favorite fantasy short story collection overall, probably, although I've read other individual stories that were amazing

I love Terry Pratchett especially for Nation and Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, but also for the Discworld series. I wouldn't compare him to JRRT though.


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