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I`ve never heard of 'ring wraths' or 'hobbits' in a story before, so I got introduced to some lovely new characters. (Well maybe the ring wraths aren`t lovely, but they give the story some pace. Big Smile Smilie
Well said Ringfacwen! Big Smile Smilie I think that we can believe in the story more because the characters are somewhat similar to us humans. That`s why I think that Mr Tolkien used those characters and their sort of race. Cool Smilie .

I think if Mr Tolkien would have used the same, usual races, then the story would have been more less believable and less fun to read.

TTFN! (Ta ta for now!)
Yes, great reply Ringfacwen! I agree with you. And I agree with Sheryl about the race of hobbits making LotR unique. What appeals to me about LotR is that Tolkien has taken, re-created (and invented) creatures we have encountered in classic fairy tales and given them a place to live and a concrete history. Instead of fragments that seem to be related to eachother, they are now all joined together in a story, all these classical elements that appeal to us are made statisfying to the modern reader because they are mapped out.
I agree with Sheryl that Tolkien exhibits his genius with the invention of hobbits. Hobbits resemble us, and as both The Hobbit and LotR are written from their point of view we are brought into the story more because we can see ourselves in their places.
I think what I find so different about Tolkien's work is the sheer amount of background material he wrote in order to support his world. Many fantasy writers create their own world and show us it on a map. Beyond where their tale takes us, however, their worlds are often empty places with no culture or history. Similarly, beyond the charaters themselves, there is usually no family history.

Tolkien was different to this. He wrote so much background material while writing and adapting LotR and the Silmarillion, his son has been able to release another 13 or 14 books containing this previously unpublished material. Tolkien has not only written a story, he really has created a living world and full history.

Often when I am looking for answers to questions people have asked, I feel like a historian searching the archives. Tolkien was so thorough, it is possible to travel his world and to know who you are likely to meet at places along your route. You can also dig deep into the history of his world, following family trees etc back thousands of years in some cases.

So for me, Tolkien was a genius because as a writer he managed to do something that no other writer has come anywhere close to creating. He created a world that was, because of its sheer depth of detail, almost real.
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He created a world that was, because of its sheer depth of detail, almost real.


Val, are you telling me that Middle Earth is not real? It has to be real. LOL, Seriously, I agree with you about the genius of Professor Tolkien being in the history and culture that he created. The sheer amount of material that the man developed for his stories is just staggering.

He developed races of intelligent beings, as well as not so intelligent beings, and the beginning of his world through timelessness and three very long ages to the beginning of the fourth. He made his characters so believable and some you truly love others you love to hate. We also cannot forget the languages that he created. I am just amazed at the volume of information that the man wrote. He had a fabulous imagination and intelligence with which no one could ever compete.
There are two further things which make Tolkien's books so immensely attractive: his masterly skill in inducing high positive emotions (the "uplifting of heart" feeling), and suspense. He is a master of suspense, really like Hitchcock! What I dislike the most in the FOTR movie is that PJ of his own will sacrified a part of that suspense by eliminating the unknown. For instance, in the book Frodo (and we with him) does not know who are in truth the Ringwraiths until his safe coming to Rivendell. In the movie, Aragorn explains the matter already in Bree. Similarly, in the second part of FOTR book we become finally sure that Gollum is following the Fellowship only after Fellowship leaves Lorien. In the movie, the matter is explained by Gandalf alreadyl in the Moria, at the first glimpse of Gollum. This was very disapointing for me. I am much more afraid of unknown danger lurking in the shadows than of roaring plastic monsters covered with slime and roaring, roaring, roaring endlessly instead of attacking calmly in a deadly way! I am sorry, but they are simply ridiiculous for me, the illusiion breaks and I can no more enjoy the film!

[Edited on 10/7/2003 by Eryan]
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Tolkien has not only written a story, he really has created a living world and full history.

Often when I am looking for answers to questions people have asked, I feel like a historian searching the archives. Tolkien was so thorough, it is possible to travel his world and to know who you are likely to meet at places along your route. You can also dig deep into the history of his world, following family trees etc back thousands of years in some cases.

So for me, Tolkien was a genius because as a writer he managed to do something that no other writer has come anywhere close to creating. He created a world that was, because of its sheer depth of detail, almost real.


Everything you said is so true Val, and thatís what will forever separate Tolkien, and why anything and everything else (in terms of fantasy writing, and really almost any writing) is empty, and weak in comparison. No one will ever be able to do what he did, the way he did it, and no one can ever measure up, it just wonít ever happen again. Tolkien was that one person who only comes along once in a lifetime, not once every generation, or every decade or so, once in a lifetime period!

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We also cannot forget the languages that he created. I am just amazed at the volume of information that the man wrote. He had a fabulous imagination and intelligence with which no one could ever compete.


Once again, I couldnít agree more with your statements Mellie! I mean who ever has even come half way close to doing what Tolkien did on a linguistic level alone, no one has ever even come close! Itís really almost impossible to fathom, or even to put into words what Tolkien accomplished. I sometimes meet people who ask me stuff like, well what did he really do besides LOTR, and The Hobbit, and itís like itís just so incredibly huge, complex, and completely mind blowing that I really canít find the words to describe it, or to put the staggering depth of his work into perspective for people who donít already at least have some sort of idea of the magnitude, depth, and scope of Tolkienís work. I for one am truly convinced that he was without a doubt the greatest writer of all time bar none!
Genius Smilie



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... I am much more afraid of unknown danger lurking in the shadows than of roaring plastic monsters covered with slime and roaring, roaring, roaring endlessly instead of attacking calmly in a deadly way! I am sorry, but they are simply ridiiculous for me, the illusiion breaks and I can no more enjoy the film!
Paranoid Smilie I agree, that is why I'm more afraid of spiders and snakes and the monsters hiding under my bed or in my closet than I am of Lions, 'n Tigers, 'n Bears, Oh my!. Because we can't see them our imagination can run wild. Wary Smilie I will admit however, that when I first saw 'Alien', I freaked out. Super Scared Smilie That slime covered plastic marvel got my nanny. No way I want to meet that mother, not in a nightmare, not in a daydream, not in real life, no-way, no-how period. Shaking Head Smilie

When I first read about Tolkien's watcher in the water, my hackles were raised because he just gave us enough info to make it scary, in the movies they usually give us too much info leaving no blanks for our imaginations to fill, thus we soon think 'is that all there is': Shucks! that's not so scary. Boring Smilie
I agree with that Grondy and Eryan. That is one of things I love about Tolkien's writing. However, a movie is a different medium than a book. In a book you can leave things open for imagination, in a movie you must interpret things for the audience. This is perhaps why PJ decided to portray all the 'scary' things in LotR the way he did.
Well, Sammie, I agree that a film is different than a book, but I cannot agree that in a film all scary things must be portrayed. In the best classical suspense movies they are NOT portrayed, sometimes until the end! Take for instance "Rosemary's baby" of Polanski. If you are watching that film not knowing what will happen next, until the very end you are unsure whether the menace felt by a young woman is real or comes simply from her mental illness...
Well it's hard to post something under a thread like this, where everyone before you has already said nearly everything you wanted to say, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

Tolkien's The Hobbit was the first real fantasy book I ever read. I loved it from the start, in fact, it was what made me read LOTR. The Hobbit was so fantastic in its simplicity, with Bilbo's talking to the dragon, and the last turn about his house being sold, and it's the sort of story in which you roll on in it, and go along the way whatever happens.

Tolkien was the man who brought fantasy back to life. In his days, fantasy books were for children, children's stories to be read out in front of the hearth on a chilly winter's day, but nobody took them seriously. And then professor Tolkien comes along and writes a serious fantasy book that not only children, but also adults love. And it turns out to be a book for eternity, because a lot of people read it still now, and they did so before the films too, so don't put it all on the films now.

But what makes his books so unique is the thoroughness with which he describes everything, gives everything a background, and every character has a certain life behind him. I know this has been said before, so I won't go on about it any longer.

Moreover, he invented characters that had never been used before, Hobbits, Ringwraiths, Ents (not sure, but I'd never heard of them before), and up to a certain extent he revisited the Elves. Made them less childish, and more warrior-like, but gave them a certain special something which made them stand above Men and Dwarves. I'm not saying Elves are better than the rest, but they have this aura and specialness around them.

What I like especially about LOTR, is the fact that it can make you laugh, weep, get excited, breathe sighs of relief, it can give you every emotion you can possibly show, and that shows how good the story really is. Not many books have made me weep before, only LOTR and The little prince could to that, and they are on top of my list of "best books I ever read".
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I'm not saying Elves are better than the rest, but they have this aura and specialness around them.

Well, what I will say now will border on the banished topic of religion, so really I hope that nobody will be hurt or offended! Since a certain time I suspect that Elves have this special aura because they are actually to a large degree modelled on... angels. Only look at the description of Glorfindel, a beautiful androgyne warrior with his golden hair flowing in the wind, and his white horse almost flying in the air!
That's exactly what I meant, Eryan, they do certainly look like angels, or rather: they look like the way I always thought angels would look like. lol Tongue Smilie
And yet, so unlike any elves I had had ever previously imagined. Half as large again than anything I had expected, strong and noble. Until then, I had always seen them as being willowy.
Rudyard Kipling in his "Puck of Pook Hill" stories makes Puck to describe "fairies" as strong, warriorlike wild knights riding wild airborne horses, and not as willowy things with butterfly wings... But usually evil beings are depicted as strong, and good spirits as willowy and feeble. It is so irritating!
I never noticed that. It's interesting because I always find 'good' spirits described as 'perfect': beautiful, strong, brave and always winning. And fairies and traditional elves seem on the border between good and evil.
In Tolkien's books it seems that all the good people are always beautiful-looking, but they do have a sort of strength you don't find in traditional fairies.
I think the languages he invented show his genius. Also, the myths and stories behind LotR. (Silm, etc.) He wrote about other things, like Beren and Lķthien, and alluded to their presence in LotR. The depth of his work is astounding.