In the last few posts I’ve been exploring how Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings became a major part of mainstream culture. The transition began in the mid-1960s on the back of the counter-culture, and the place of Tolkien’s imaginarium was cemented by the mainstreaming of fantasy and science fiction in the 1970s – a … More Has anybody got ‘Bored of the Rings’?
In the last few posts I’ve been exploring the way J R R Tolkien subverted twentieth century literature, creating a whole new form of fantasy – and why The Lord Of The Rings in particular was such a runaway success. Today I’m wrapping the series up with a few thoughts on the way people reacted … More Pastoral folk or Wagnerian metal – which music best suits Tolkien?
In the past few posts I’ve been explaining why Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings struck such chords with the western world, despite breaking all the rules of the twentieth century novel. We’ve seen how, on one level, it ‘broke through’ a decade after being published, on the back of the way the counter-culture identified with … More Deep magic from the dawn of humanity: the real appeal of Tolkien
I’ve been posting about why J R R Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings broke all the rules – yet, ten years after publication, took off commercially to become a defining icon of twentieth century fantasy literature. As a huge Tolkien fan who used to read The Lord Of The Rings multiple times a year, … More Beyond epic – how Tolkien broke the rules and wrote a winner
I posted the other day about how J R R Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings broke the rules of writing – yet, eventually, became an icon, and justly so. But it shouldn’t have, all things being equal. By usual standards, Tolkien’s characters were cyphers. He broke his narrative in ways that obscured dramatic tension. … More How J R R Tolkien became a best-selling author
The other day I posted about the importance of written structure – particularly the way authors looking to write ‘epic’ tomes often end up stretching their plots out way too thin, like Tolkien’s One Ring did for the life of its bearers. That prompted one of my readers to post a question about Tolkien’s The … More The paradox of Tolkien’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings’
In my mis-spent early twenties, a friend and I created a fantasy world map for our RPG sessions. Yes, I played Dungeons and Dragons – and later a game we invented ourselves to get around the sillier D&D ideas. The world was designed around what we might call the ‘rule of funny’, with place names made up mostly of … More Three rules for naming your fantasy world
It’s almost a cliche these days to say that modern fantasy writers all stand in J R R Tolkien’s shadow. Or George R R Martin’s. But it’s true. Obviously, having two middle names beginning with R is a pre-requisite for greatness in the genre. And it was Tolkien who really defined the field for so many author … More Essential writing skills: it’s OK to write square mountain ranges
Viggo Mortensen’s recent suggestion in the British Telegraph that filming on Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings was chaotic got me thinking about how a book of that scope can be adapted to the screen, anyway. Some years ago I had a chance to hear Phillipa Boyens, the script-writer, explain how they’d … More So is it muddle earth and not Middle Earth?
Last week a British meteorologist at the University of Bristol published a weather analysis of Middle Earth. Tres cool. Here’s a link to the paper: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/news/2013/10013-english.pdf According to the report, the weather in The Shire was much the same as that of Lincolnshire – which is pretty much what Tolkien was envisaging. It’s also like Belarus, … More Guess which real-world place is most like Mordor…