I realize there’s no blog due today, but I just got done with a bunch of homework and I decided I needed a break. So I drew out the map of Faerie Land. Or rather, how I perceived Faerie Land when reading Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.
I realize its kind of empty, but that’s because that’s all of Faerie Land that I have read…so far. This was physically and emotionally exhausting. I have a whole new respect for Tolkien.
Bigger image here: http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2118/faerieland.jpg
by: Calvin Patimeteeporn
The Golden Compass and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring both take on two versions of what we define as a “fantasy” world. One takes on the adaption of our pre-existing vision of a fantasy world set in a country filled with different races including elves, dwarves, and wizards. The other, however, takes on an adaption of our own world but, for the lack of a better term, “fantasized”. Compass introduces a world to the audience that is very similar to ours, even including some of the same countries, but allows some fantasy aspects to fall through, such as witches and talking polar bears. Fellowship introduces a world that we know to call “the fantasy dimension” with the typical elves and dwarves. Again, both are fantasy, but both display two different worlds.
However, plot-wise, they, and numerous other fantasy films, are extremely similar. Both heroes are, in their worlds, considered unimportant and meek (a hobbit and a little girl). However, its this emphasis on their unimportance that actually make them important. A recurring theme in both of these movies (and every single Disney movie ever in existence ever) is that even the most unlikely to be heroic character can be, well, heroic. Lyra ends up saving multiple universes and Frodo stops Sauron. Both unimaginable tasks completed by a midget and kid. But of course no hero’s journey is complete without the “supernatural aid” of others: Frodo has Gandalf, the old wizard, and Lyra has Iorek, the talking polar bear (Both Ian McKellen!). These characters are immensely powerful but do not actually play the role as the main hero, despite their advantage, but rather they support and guide the character through their epic. But even with this placed aside, the theme of unity is present in both movies. The fellowship of a mix of races and the motley crowd of witches and humans both provide a metaphor to the power of unity (cheesy, yes) and how it is able to accomplish, even the hardest of tasks.
These movies provide both a great amount of differences and similarities, but both are classified as the same genre. Both approach a different world and a different cast of characters, but plot similarities exist as demonstrated through both protagonists.
But all I want to know is when are a sage-like professor with a staff and a giant talking squirrel voiced by Ian McKellen going to come into my life and aid me through college.
By: Amir Aschner
Every MMORPG I can think of has multiple races and classes involved in game play: WoW, EQ, Diablo, LOTRO, and the list goes on. Focusing on LOTRO we can see how these classes and races affect the media. LOTRO is a remediation of Tolkein’s novels “The Lord of the Rings.” This means that it observed and repurposed the information presented in the novels into a new format: the game. The classes and races that LOTRO incorporates play a huge role in supporting this remediation.
Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth is a very diverse place. I am sure he went to great lengths to ensure that this was so. He created a plethora of different races. Each has its own roll in the world, living habits, dietary habits, appearance, interests, skills, flaws, etc. You could not have the world of the Lord of the Rings without Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Men, or Orcs. To leave out even one race would be an insult to Tolkein and a flaw in the game.
The books did not define characters as ‘classes,’ however if we take a close look and analyze enough characters we see similar patterns and characteristics that can be used to categorize them. For example, Legolas, and many other elves, were excellent woodsman and bow-users. In the game a hunter epitomizes this roll. Aragorn, Boromir, and Gimli are excellent fighters and are skilled with their respective weapons. Is that not also what a Champion or a Guardian is in the game? How about kicking it old school and looking at Bilbo in “The Hobbit?” He is recruited to join the dwarves as a ‘thief.’ That sounds very familiar to class in the game. If we continue to look at characters this way in all of the books we see that the class specifications are not that far-fetched and go hand in hand with the narrative of the stories. In fact, not including the classes would detract from the remediation of the game.
The game does such a good job at recreating the novel because each race and character is presented in a way that they interact similarly to the novels. For example, the races are already set in to factions good vs. evil, just like the novels, and the classes all interact according to the logic Tolkein created in his narrative (you would not battle many monsters alone or fight magic users without one of your own). Not only are the races and classes presented in LOTRO effective at enriching the narrative, they are key to its success. Without each and every one of them the remediated media would be a failure in the eyes of a real fan.