Tolkien’s effect on my view of fantasy

In the Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien uses such detail and description that you are either completely intrigued and fascinated by the complex world of Middle Earth, or overwhelmed and confused as to all that is going on. I must admit that this being my first time reading Tolkien, in the beginning I was leaning more towards overwhelmed than intrigued. But as I read further into the story, I began to appreciate the fullness with which Tolkien creates the settings and the entire world that is Middle Earth.

And I have never really been a big fan of the fantasy genre. So when Tolkien comes and throws out the ideas of dwarves, elves, hobbits, and other creatures living along with humans in this fictional realm, I hope that this isn’t going to be like the other fantasy romance stories that I could just never get into. Maybe I don’t have that great of an imagination, but I have  reading stories like The Chronicles of Narnia, never seemed to grab my attention, probably because I was never able to picture what a centaur or a marshwiggle looked like.

 The Lord of the Rings, as it turns out, is different. There is something about the way Tolkien presents the setting and the different races and characters that makes it seem more real than other fantasies. It might just be because I have seen the movie recetly and been playing the game, but regardless of which form of media it was that first got me interested, reading the story has been just as exciting as reading a great non-fantasy novel, if not more so. Tolkien makes the story epic and just about everything that occurs is both dramatic and important. He makes you care about what happens to Frodo Baggins and about what happens to Gandalf the Great. It doesn’t matter that it is about hobbits or orcs and is taking place in Hobbiton or The Shire, because the world he creates has is so vast and detailed that you can’t help but to get caught up in all of it.  The story has a tremendous epic feel to it and reminds me of the great classics such as Homer’s The Illiad and The Odyssey along with Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, all of which seem to be influences on his work. Unlike those stories, however, the language of Tolkien is not difficult to follow, making this book an even better read than those so-called classics.



One thought on “Tolkien’s effect on my view of fantasy”

  1. The fantasy genre is certainly not for everyone. Particularly today in that there exist so many imitators (either knowingly or not) .. people have come to view Tolkien realms as the wellspring from which the Fantasy structure of the 21st century evolves. It somewhat circumscribes author and designer imaginations.

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