Why does everyone think LotR is great?

Discussion in 'Books' started by Pinkduckie, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    Some people might get very angry at me for asking/saying this. But why does everyone seem te consider Lord of the Ring a great story?

    I might have been a bit young when I read it but looking back, to me it was just a fine epic fantasy of which there are hundreds or thousands written by now. Most of them far worse than LotR but some of them I'd consider as good or even better.

    Ow and as a second question. Why do you consider it to be so 'wrong' when you prefer any fantasy series above Tolkiens LotR

    By the way, if you can't answer my questions or discuss this without getting angry/insulting me, please don't bother to react.
     
  2. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    I think for a lot of people, me included, LotR is somewhat a nostalgia entity (for lack of better term (it's really late here and my brain isn't working too well but I will try to explain why I love it so much)). I remember when I was really little, watching the animated Hobbit movie so much that I can picture it even just thinking about it. I won't deny that there are many epic fantasy series' that in their own way go far and beyond from LotR, but for most people, this is the series of books and the world that got them into the fantasy genre. Tolkien didn't only set out to create a wonderful tale, he built a world that he felt could be believable as a long forgotten era of England, since he felt that there wasn't enough lore about said country other than King Arthur. (I think it was just England, though it could've been all of Europe, I can't remember off the top of my head). if you ever read some of the background, world building sort of stuff that he wrote, it opens up a lot more knowledge about the route he was going with his creation. he took inspiration from the Norse beliefs when it comes to dwarves and elves and so forth, which kinda I think set him apart, and nowadays, you can't pick up a fantasy book without these races because they've become a staple in the genre. I kinda feel like I'm rambling a bit so I'm going to address your other question by saying I see no reason to think it wrong to prefer a different series over LotR. not everyone enjoys read such a long series, especially when you think about how it's only six books split into a trilogy split from a single book and with the appendices added it's at least 1200 pages (sorry for not an exact number, my reading copy of the book has been lent to a friend for about 2 years now :D). it takes a lot to be able to read and digest it all. and then when you delve deeper with the Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, and then all the History of Middle Earth books and it's just a crazy amount of lore and unanswered questions spread out in front of you.

    I'm sorry I couldn't answer the best that I could, I actually never thought about this and it's definitely a thinker, I just kinda wanted to write what I had thought up when seeing your questions. also sorry about the rambling, I had a long day at work so yea. and I feel like it would be a stain on this site if someone got super mad at you for bringing this up. I'm one of the biggest Tolkien universe fans I know personally, and if I didn't get mad, I hope no one else does, because it is interesting to think about, and I'm very curious to see what others have to say.
     
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  3. Lady Galeth

    Lady Galeth Member

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    It comes down to what you personally prefer. I hold a torch for LotR and all Middle Earth works because it was the first fantasy series I really got into and I still like discussing them. I have been a fan of many other works since then. And I definitely don't trash other peoples favourite fandoms, I don't like that it can become kind of the anti-social norm to do that.
     
  4. Firiath

    Firiath Halfling barbarian

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    To be honest, I think the LotR films are great, in contrast to the books, which certainly are good, but if I had only read the books without knowing about the films I probably wouldn't care as much about LotR as I do. (After all, I never knew about LotR until I watched FotR in the cinema.)
    What I like about LotR in general, though, is the epicness of the plot as well as the world Tolkien created, and how authentic it feels. The peoples, the languages, the lore - I spent so much time reading about middle-earth, and recreating it in my mind, it became an obsession. And that's why I'd say LotR is great. :D
     
  5. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    Lord of the Rings stands strong because it basically defined the vast majority of modern fantasy - certainly in mainstream publication in books, comics, films, games etc... Lord of the Rings is the keystone inspiration.

    Take big franchises like Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer and Warcraft - all are influenced almost directly by Lord of the Rings.

    Tolkien's work basically started it all and whilst we must accept that a reason for its dominance is that publishers sought similar works and thus shaped the market somewhat; it still doesn't deny the fact that its had a huge influence upon fantasy. For that reason alone its a fantastic bit of work; an exercise in story telling and world building that built a fantasy world so powerful that its caused legions of child-works to be created and inspired.


    Now granted time moves on and its my impression that great authors of the past do stick around; but that language also changes; and that as it changes new generations settle with more contemporary works more so. So yes we will always have new great works that come to the forefront - A Song of Ice and Fire being a fantastic example of a high-profile new top publication.



    As for me I love Lord of the Rings; I accept that Tolkien is not the greatest character builder ever, but his world building and descriptive text is fantastic and whilst the books do plod along I enjoy reading them. At the same time I love other books to for different reasons and I dislike the concept of an overall "BEST" because generally there isn't one.
    So there's nothing wrong in not liking Lord of the Rings; nothing wrong in not enjoying reading it. So long as you've had an honest attempt at reading then you're perfectly within your right to form your own opinion. And just because its a hugely influential work doesn't mean you have to like it either - Shakespear is considered a hugely important author and yet I know many people (including myself) who dislike his works.
     
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  6. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    I agree Tolkien influenced a lot of works these days and I enjoyed the series. As I said I read the series and enjoyed them but have enjoyed a few (not many) other works more.

    At the time I started this topic I once again had a conversation with a 'friend' and he became angry when I said LotR wasn't my absolute favorite fantasy series. I supose I just attract the wrong sort of person. :p
     
  7. FaerieKim

    FaerieKim New Member

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    I think a lot of other secondary world fantasy stories seem to be derivative of Tokien. There is too much copying of cliches. There are so many fantasy series I've tried to get into but get bored after the first book because it is the same old good vs evil, hero who thinks he's nobody but then discovers he has noble heritage or is fulfilling prophecy in some way, dark lord, elves, dragons, magic swords etc

    Tolkien is in part better because he originated (or at least popularised) that type of fantasy and there is too much cliched copying going on.

    What is special about Tolkien? The atmosphere is terrific and genuinely scary when it comes to things like the Ring Wraiths, the Barrow Wights, Moria and Shelob's Cave. The character of Gollum is genuinely intriguing. The Ents versus Saruman feels ahead of its time almost with its environmental message of nature versus machine. A wizard straight out of the Hermit tarot card (Gandalf - Tolkien described him as an "Odinic wanderer"). Fascinating and engaging characters and situations such as lost king Aragorn and the mad steward Denethor. Orcs and goblins that are kind of creepy rather than silly. Elves that feel otherworldly and spiritual rather than just hippy like. Oh, and did I mention that the Ring Wraiths, the Barrow Wights and Shelob are scary? Oh, I did but I think it's well worth mentioning again:p

    Tolkien is cool. End of.
     
  8. Pinkduckie

    Pinkduckie Member

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    Ah well tastes differ :)

    To be honest just talking about LotR and it's 'copies' I liked LotR most but compared to some of my more favorite series like: The sword of truth by Terry Goodkind, Temeraire by Naomi Novik and Mistborn by Robert Sanderson. LotR definitely comes last. And while some of them might be LotR inspired (Temeraire isn't) is that a bad thing? Or are you going to tell me LotR was written without influences out of other stories, legends,...?
     
  9. Overread

    Overread Wolfing it up! Staff Member

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    If you read Lord of the Rings and then go read Norse mythology you see that Tolkien, by intent, lifted a lot of his world story and concepts from there. Tolkiens intent was not just to write a story; he was writing a mythology to replace the mythology for the English which was lost when the Normans invaded and wiped out a lot of the cultural history of the country from that era; or if not wiped it out changed it so much that it was never quite the same.

    You could say that 1066 was the birthplace of events that would lead to the writing of Lord of the Rings.


    You see other influences too; the original siege of the White City with 9 walls was a far cry from the movies; instead it was a massive affair of trench warfare - so clearly Tolkiens life and the World Wars had their influences upon his writing as well.
     
  10. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

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    i don't like tolkein's writing style, but i respect his massive contribution to the fantasy genre
     
  11. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    his writing style is definitely not for everyone. I feel the same as you do about R A Salvatore and Ed Greenwood. not a big fan of their writing style but once I get past it, I can see how good their books are.
     
  12. ~Elladan~

    ~Elladan~ A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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    I like the depth of the backstory for Tolkien's world, how it developed in The History of Middle Earth, the mythological and historical influences, focus on languages and probably key, the lack of sequels which would have padded it detrimentally.

    I could (& have) reread LoTR & The Silmarillion on numerous occasions which is not something I could honestly say I'd want to do for most other fantasy works. There are exceptions such as the series by Martin, Jordan & Williams but not many. That doesn't make others better/worse than LoTR simply that I like LoTR more :)
     
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  13. Mububban

    Mububban Administrator Staff Member

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    If it weren't for the movies, I doubt I would have persevered through the first book. Once the action starts and the Fellowship leaves for the journey though, it moved at a much more enthralling pace. I reckon lots of people have stalled in the first half of the first book, and never knew the epic ride the rest of the series took after that initial lethargic opening.

    Sometimes I'd find myself skipping paragraphs, I don't really need 500 words describing the leaves on a tree, but on the flip side, whilst Tolkien can be dry and overly verbose, reading many modern fantasy authors straight after reading Tolkien makes them sound childish and glib.

    Without Tolkien the world of modern fantasy likely would not be what it is today, he set the template of the group of disparate heroes undertaking an epic quest for an object of power, so for that alone the LoTR books hold a special place in many fantasy readers' hearts, mine included.
     
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  14. Midnattblod

    Midnattblod Ranger of Shadow

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    definitely gotta agree with this. if it weren't for the movies, I probably wouldn't have been able to get through the first half, granted some of it was fun to read, but I just wanted to get to Bree in the book so bad seeing as how Aragorn is probably my favorite character from the trilogy.
     
  15. FaerieKim

    FaerieKim New Member

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    I read the books years before the film. I loved the bit with the Barrow Wights, still do. It is quite scary.

    I got bored by the council at Rivendell - too much talking. I was young and wanted action:D But I enjoyed most of Fellowship. It was just the stuff in the Shire and Rivendell that bored me at the time. The Shire stuff still does. Except the Ring Wraiths, which are great.

    The other two books I was mostly only interested in the Frodo, Sam and Gollum stuff, except for the Ents.

    After watching the films, I pretty much enjoy everything in the books.
     
  16. Moandor

    Moandor Member

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    I know some people who say the same but they never read a book for real
     
  17. Richard Falken

    Richard Falken The Best Epic Literature Ever Written.

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    Tolkien gets a lot of credit if just for the ammount of worldbuilding he carried out.

    Probably, most Tolkien faboyism today is due to the films and other apperances from the media. A bit like Harry Potter fans. The films exposed some books to a lot of people who didn't know books could be cool, and some of them read them and thought they were absolutely great because they didn't have much of a criteria (not to say they are bad, just that those people didn't have much experience). People I know who are fantasy hardcores don't worship The Lord of The Rings and won't think you are a moron if you like something different better.
     
  18. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

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    personally i prefer the styles of David Gemmell, Raymond.E.Feist and R.A.Salvatore (though i think the crimson shadow series better than Drizzt). Tolkein is the father of fantasy, which doesn't necessarily make him the greatest fantasy author
     
  19. AlphaAlex

    AlphaAlex Official Forum Nuisance

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    because it is GREAT end of.
    As a kid nerd playing DND, Tolkein made the perfect atmosphere/story to inspire me to play it more. Now that I'm older and have kind of 'grown out of it' The nostalgia is still there. Also I read mention of Raymond E. Feist. I have read a bit of his work and loved it.
     
  20. Pandadug

    Pandadug New Member

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    I went through the readings a little oddly: watched the rankin-bass Hobbit first, read my brother's LOTR, then finally read the Hobbit. It was quite a jolt going from the seriousness of LOTR to the children's book! I think Tolkien got some of his idea from the ring of the Nibelung by Wagner.