When reality faces fantasy

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Zackira
Posts: 67

When reality faces fantasy

Post#1 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 6:19 pm

I keep getting annoyed by both Tolkien and Rowlings huge spiders! I mean, the other mythological creatures are fine, cause they have no limits! Nothing is wrong, nothing is right, they dont exist, so no one can say theyre descriptions of them are wrong. I know the spiders might be "magical" spiders, but I still get a little bugged( :mrgreen: ) when I see them. And this is why:

Spiders dont grow so big. Its not because they dont have to, or want to, its because they cant. They have no skeleton made of bone. Theyre all held up by cartilage, which is not strong enough to keep heavy muscles and jaws and such above the ground!

I know im being picky, but if they are having actual animals in a story, they cant make them unrealistic without making them unreal.

Now I know there are such things as giant rats or anything else in some stories, but theyre not really unrealistic. It could work. But this one creature, the spider, cant. Its that easy.

Ehh...just in case...if anyone finds a place in The Hobbit or in LOTR where it says the spiders are magical or special in anyway, apart of being huge, please tell me and then delete my topic :mrgreen:

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Gandalfs Beard
Posts: 2311

When reality faces fantasy

Post#2 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 10:15 pm

Well, there's no reason to delete this topic that I can see ;) . But you have to remember is what separates Fantasy or Fairy Tales from Science Fiction. Science Fiction usually has to follow rules, even if they are made up, Fantasy doesn't (though many Fantasy writers still create rules for their magical systems anyway).

This is one of the reasons why literary charges of Deus Ex Machina and Shaggy Dog (literary devices to make a story work when there are plot gaps) don't work against Fantasy writers. Anything can happen. Giant Sand Slugs, Giant Spiders, little kids living on planets barely bigger than a beach ball (The Little Prince), Old Witches who melt when water is thrown on them, whole cities of people living on a speck of dust resting on a clover being held by an elephant sitting on top of a little tree, flame breathing dragons etc. etc. Granted some of those Fantasies are geared towards children, but Fantasy, aka Fairy Story, has always been considered a children's genre by the unimaginative anyway, much to the disgruntlement of Tolkien (and myself :lol: ).

But the main point is, in Fantasy anything can happen. And adults like us, who enjoy Fantasy, have the imagination to make these sorts of things work. Marvel comics always had a nifty way of fixing plot holes--asking the readers to invent a solution and make up a reason why it could work. This is all we have to do to make Giant Spiders work.

For example: most insects, arachnids and crustaceans have an exoskeleton. When they are tiny, they are, as you suggest, cartilagetinous. However, as larger crustaceans such as Crabs and Lobsters have Hard Exoskeletons, we can imagine that a Giant Spider might have an exoskeleton as hard as any of our bones. So it could work :ugeek: :mrgreen: .

GB

Spirik Voldar
Posts: 7

When reality faces fantasy

Post#3 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:01 am

what if the big spiders have an exoskeleton and an internal skeleton?

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Gandalfs Beard
Posts: 2311

When reality faces fantasy

Post#4 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:41 am

It is fantasy, why not indeed?

GB

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Zackira
Posts: 67

When reality faces fantasy

Post#5 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:37 am

Thanks for these explanations, now I can rest my mind. I guess I knew this already, I just had to hear it from someone else :D

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Light In The Dark
Posts: 35

When reality faces fantasy

Post#6 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:46 pm

Well, Lord of the Rings is really "High Fantasy" which is "a subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or parallel worlds.". Well, there is all the reason where you can make spiders do anything you want them to, you're in an invented world in which you are the god, which is why so many authors have fun writing these things ;) .

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Show
Posts: 138

When reality faces fantasy

Post#7 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:54 pm

I would have to suggest you start by reading The Silmarillion. You can even just skip to the Darkening of Valinor. You meet a character name Ungoliont. This is esentially Shelobs mother. Not to mention the original stock that the Mirkwood Spiders are distant decendents off. And while magic held by the Mirkwood spiders may have been miniscule indeed. Ungoliont's magic and powers are big, very big.

And also remember what the Elves tell Sam of magic. What the Hobbits (and us) think of as magic is just normal to them. Elvish Magic isn't so much something studied like Harry Pottor. It is simply inate. It's just what they do.
The spiders could be something very similar. It just is.

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Eldorion
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When reality faces fantasy

Post#8 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:19 pm

I'm a bit surprised by the opinion in this thread that when a story is fantasy anything can happen. This might be the case in some fantasy stories, but it most certainly is not in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien ostensibly set TLotR in the distant, mythic past of our own world, as he said in Letter 183:
I am historically minded. Middle-earth is not an imaginary world. The name is the modern form (appearing in the 13th century and still in use) of midden-erd > middel-erd, an ancient name for the oikoumene, the abiding place of Men, the objectively real world, in use specifically opposed to imaginary worlds (as Fairlyland) or unseen worlds (as Heaven or Hell). The theatre of my tale is this earth, the one in which we now live, but the historical period is imaginary.


(my bold emphasis)

Given this statement from Tolkien I see the statement that "it doesn't matter because it's fantasy" to be incompatible with The Lord of the Rings. Not just anything can happen in Middle-earth. There are obviously some differences from our own world (Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Dragons, Maia, and others come to mind), but these occur within an internally consistent framework. Orcs do not magically sprout wings from one scene to the next, they are subject to the same laws of nature as other organisms. Even the "magical" elements have rules to follow.

Thinking specifically of giant spiders, I do not know enough about biology to comment on the plausibility of them. There were many large creatures with exoskeletons in the distant past though, so I don't see it as particularly implausible.

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Gandalfs Beard
Posts: 2311

When reality faces fantasy

Post#9 » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:05 pm

Well, my point about Fantasy is that, whether the story takes place in "Our" world or not, anything is possible. But that doesn't preclude a writer following internally consistent rules--I even made that point in one of my previous posts on this thread--but it's not an absolute necessity in Fantasy fiction (and even sometimes a hindrance). And the writer of Fantasy fiction is free to rewrite the rules at their convenience. For example...Tolkien posited a Flat Earth for part of Middle Earth's history, a physical impossibility in our Universe, then it changed to the globe we are accustomed to (I forget in which era myself, maybe Show or Beren can help me out here).

It's certainly true that Tolkien intended Middle Earth as a mythical past for our current world. And I totally agree that Tolkien strove for internal consistency and rules of magic. We aren't really in disagreement. I think maybe you just misinterpreted my point, or perhaps I wasn't clear enough :roll: (it's been known to happen :lol: ).

GB

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Show
Posts: 138

When reality faces fantasy

Post#10 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 9:51 am

To complete Gandalf's Beard's comment. The reshaping of middle-earth coincided with the sinking of Numenor.

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