The Wheel of Time and Tolkien

9 views
Skip to first unread message

Martin Gagné

unread,
Feb 20, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/20/96
to

Is it me or the fantasy cycle "The Wheel of Time" is a lot like The Ring
book ? Im mean, Robert Jordan seems to have deliberately copied Tolkien's
work... When you look at the characters... they're all there ! Aragorn,
Gollum, the hobbits, the elves, the Dark Lord, the very geography ! I mean, a
couple of coincidences would have been ok but that... Not to say it isnt a
good story well done, actually Im hooked, but Id like to know what was the
author's intention... Can anybody answer ?


M.

David Miller

unread,
Feb 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/22/96
to
I couldn't agree more about the similarities, although I too like
his work. Don't post this on re.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan,
though...you're likely to get stilled.


Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 22, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/22/96
to
In article <4gbj27$n...@news.bellglobal.com> aaa...@agora.ulaval.ca (Martin Gagné) writes:
>From: aaa...@agora.ulaval.ca (Martin Gagné)
>Subject: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Tue, 20 Feb 96 04:36:22 GMT


>M.
I think Jordan studied at the Terry Brooks' Institute for Creative Writing.
-Mark

Sauer, Alan Lewis

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
Martin Gagné (aaa...@agora.ulaval.ca) wrote:

: Is it me or the fantasy cycle "The Wheel of Time" is a lot like The Ring
: book ?

The first section of the first book was written as a deliberate homage to
Tolkien; after that, there are more differences than similarities.

: Im mean, Robert Jordan seems to have deliberately copied Tolkien's

: work... When you look at the characters... they're all there ! Aragorn,
: Gollum, the hobbits, the elves, the Dark Lord, the very geography ! I mean, a

Where do you see elves? There are certain geographical similarities--
the Mountains of Mist, for example--but IMHO the maps are the least important
part of the story. Jordan drew on a much larger pool of mythological
references than did Tolkien, but certain roles recur. The further along
you get in tWoT, the less similar it is to tLotR (IMHO).

: couple of coincidences would have been ok but that... Not to say it isnt a

: good story well done, actually Im hooked, but Id like to know what was the
: author's intention... Can anybody answer ?

I don't know from author's intention; I'd assume the same as most good writers:
tell a good story and maybe make some money off it.

===================================================================
Alan Sauer | "Do not meddle in the affairs of rabbits, for we are
Lord Rabbit | many and quick to burrow."

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
In article <4gil6p$j...@news-e2b.gnn.com> Dave...@gnn.com (David Miller) writes:
>From: Dave...@gnn.com (David Miller)
>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Thu, 22 Feb 1996 15:53:15

>I couldn't agree more about the similarities, although I too like
>his work. Don't post this on re.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan,
>though...you're likely to get stilled.

Perhaps, some day, I will meander over to that group and
start a "discussion" about the many similiarties between JRRT and Jordan.
That should be good for a few laughs...
-Mark

GalainJax

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
Although I'm only in the middle of "The Great Hunt" (Book 2), I think that
the two series are significantly different. There are a lot of cries of
"plagerism" on this newsgroup right now. While there may be superficial
similiarities, look at the underlying themes and deeper into the
characters. Jordon does borrow a lot of names and ideas, but he uses them
in original ways. There is a lot Arthurian material (Artur Paendrag,
Morgase, etc.) but the way Jordon develops it is what makes the books
good. Also, I read somewhere on this newsgroup that Jordon designed the
first book as a deliberate homage to Tolkien.

Just some stuff I thought I could say.

-Paul

MA. Elliott

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
I suppose you could really criticise all you like but at least most other
fantasy authors wrote several books compared to Tolkiens few (LOTR, Sil)
and maybe a couple of other fringe ME titles (i dunno anymore of his)

Marcus


Armand de Orive

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
MA. Elliott (ph3042) wrote:
: I suppose you could really criticise all you like but at least most other

: fantasy authors wrote several books compared to Tolkiens few (LOTR, Sil)
: and maybe a couple of other fringe ME titles (i dunno anymore of his)
:
: Marcus

Are you suggesting that volume equals quality? The more novels someone
writes the "better" author they are? If this is so, then allow me to
point you in the direction of the nearest romance novel section - there
are lots of "good" writers there.


Juergen Grieb

unread,
Feb 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/23/96
to
In <4gbj27$n...@news.bellglobal.com> Martin Gagné wrote:
:
:
: Is it me or the fantasy cycle "The Wheel of Time" is a lot like The Ring
: book ? Im mean, Robert Jordan seems to have deliberately copied Tolkien's
: work... When you look at the characters... they're all there ! Aragorn,
: Gollum, the hobbits, the elves, the Dark Lord, the very geography ! I mean,
a
: couple of coincidences would have been ok but that... Not to say it isnt a
: good story well done, actually Im hooked, but Id like to know what was the
: author's intention... Can anybody answer ?
:
:
: M.
:

Hi Martin,

I don't agree at all. I just finished book 3 of 'The Wheel of Time' and I've
read LOTR four times. I like TWOT almost as much as LOTR. And I think they both
have nothing in common except that they are both very excellent fantasy.

--
Juergen
_______________________________________________________________________
Juergen Grieb ** 71263 Weil der Stadt/Germany ** Tel. +7033 - 31663
e-mail: jue...@eskimo.bb.bawue.de ** NeXTMail and Mime welcome
PGP-Key is available (please request it, so mail exchange will be safe)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Picard: Well, five-card stud, nothing wild - and the sky's the limit...


Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/24/96
to
In article <Dn87E...@uns.bris.ac.uk> "MA. Elliott" <ph3042> writes:
>From: "MA. Elliott" <ph3042>
>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Fri, 23 Feb 1996 11:18:22 GMT

>I suppose you could really criticise all you like but at least most other
>fantasy authors wrote several books compared to Tolkiens few (LOTR, Sil)
>and maybe a couple of other fringe ME titles (i dunno anymore of his)

>Marcus

What the hell does that have to do with anything? You think that quantity
and quality are synonymous?
-Mark

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 24, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/24/96
to
In article <4gj9k6$e...@alvarez.physics.csbsju.edu> ALS...@tiny.computing.csbsju.edu (Sauer, Alan Lewis) writes:
>From: ALS...@tiny.computing.csbsju.edu (Sauer, Alan Lewis)

>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: 23 Feb 1996 02:43:18 GMT

>Martin Gagné (aaa...@agora.ulaval.ca) wrote:

>: Is it me or the fantasy cycle "The Wheel of Time" is a lot like The Ring
>: book ?

>The first section of the first book was written as a deliberate homage to


>Tolkien; after that, there are more differences than similarities.

I really don't see how copying is homage. If you want to see homage to
Tolkien done properly then watch an episode of the television show Babylon
5. Babylon 5 does not directly copy storylines or characters, it merely
throws in a name or a reference every now and then as a tip of the hat. I
enjoy seeing current writers pay tribute to The Man, but people have to
realize that imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery when there is a
copyright involved.
-Mark

>I don't know from author's intention; I'd assume the same as most good
>writers:
>tell a good story and maybe make some money off it.

P.S.- Most GOOD writers like to actually CREATE a good story. However,
since neither Jordan nor his series fall into these categories the point is
moot...

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/25/96
to
In article <4gjrv6$1...@eskimo.eskimo.bb.bawue.de> jue...@eskimo.bb.bawue.de (Juergen Grieb) writes:
>From: jue...@eskimo.bb.bawue.de (Juergen Grieb)

>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: 23 Feb 1996 07:56:22 GMT

>In <4gbj27$n...@news.bellglobal.com> Martin Gagné wrote:
>:
>:
>: Is it me or the fantasy cycle "The Wheel of Time" is a lot like The Ring

>: book ? Im mean, Robert Jordan seems to have deliberately copied Tolkien's
>: work... When you look at the characters... they're all there ! Aragorn,
>: Gollum, the hobbits, the elves, the Dark Lord, the very geography ! I
>mean,
>a
>: couple of coincidences would have been ok but that... Not to say it isnt a
>: good story well done, actually Im hooked, but Id like to know what was the
>: author's intention... Can anybody answer ?
>:
>:
>: M.
>:

>Hi Martin,

>I don't agree at all. I just finished book 3 of 'The Wheel of Time' and I've
>read LOTR four times. I like TWOT almost as much as LOTR. And I think they
>both
>have nothing in common except that they are both very excellent fantasy.

I don't think there is any contention that The Eye of the World was written
to be almost identical to Tolkien. Whether you like Jordan or not is your
business but I don't see how you could have read both TEOTW and TLOTR and
not see any commonalities.
-Mark

Lachy Darby

unread,
Feb 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/25/96
to
ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:

>In article <Dn87E...@uns.bris.ac.uk> "MA. Elliott" <ph3042> writes:
>>From: "MA. Elliott" <ph3042>

>>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien

>>Date: Fri, 23 Feb 1996 11:18:22 GMT

>>I suppose you could really criticise all you like but at least most other
>>fantasy authors wrote several books compared to Tolkiens few (LOTR, Sil)
>>and maybe a couple of other fringe ME titles (i dunno anymore of his)

>>Marcus

>What the hell does that have to do with anything? You think that quantity
>and quality are synonymous?
>-Mark

Exceptional comments

I couln't agree more.
What you must remenber is that this work, was a work of Love not
Labour.

Cheers

Lachy Darby
E-mail L...@Alpine.co.nz Work e-mail
e-mail Ga...@voyager.co.nz Personal E-mail
phone/Fax 64 03 6159826

If only Einstein had a 486DX-66.... like I do...


Lachy Darby

unread,
Feb 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/25/96
to
ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:

>In article <Dn87E...@uns.bris.ac.uk> "MA. Elliott" <ph3042> writes:
>>From: "MA. Elliott" <ph3042>
>>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>>Date: Fri, 23 Feb 1996 11:18:22 GMT

>>I suppose you could really criticise all you like but at least most other
>>fantasy authors wrote several books compared to Tolkiens few (LOTR, Sil)
>>and maybe a couple of other fringe ME titles (i dunno anymore of his)

>>Marcus

>What the hell does that have to do with anything? You think that quantity
>and quality are synonymous?
>-Mark

Exceptional comments

I couln't agree more.

What you must remenber ids that this work, was a work of Love not

Andy

unread,
Feb 25, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/25/96
to ms...@cornell.edu
When its all said and done, Tolkien covered many of the themes consistent
with fantasy writing. To some extent there is something of Tolkien in
most fantasy books.

I like LOTR and TWOT, and don't really care if they're are similarities
as they'
re both a good read ;-)


MA. Elliott

unread,
Feb 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/26/96
to
No, quantity is not equal to quality, but in robert jordans case both
apply.(IMO)
However, the commercial success of the WOT series is proof to his base of
readers.

Marcus


Tom Walton

unread,
Feb 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/26/96
to
In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:

>P.S.- Most GOOD writers like to actually CREATE a good story. However,
>since neither Jordan nor his series fall into these categories the point is
>moot...

Well then, given that a large amount of Tolkien's work springs from the Norse,
English, and European fabulists of previous centuries (elves, dwarves,
classical battles between good and evil, etc. etc. etc.), I guess he's just
the greatest rip-off artist of all time, eh? After all, he didn't *create*
any of these creatures, nor any of these themes; they've been around forever.
They sure as hell don't belong to the Tolkien estate.

Now what he *did* do was write a ripping good story. One so good we're
talking about it a generation or two after the fact. And Jordan, while not
quite the writer Tolkien was, is pretty darned readable himself.

Tom

Unfortunately, the views expressed here are not those of my
employer, the city of Eugene, Oregon. More's the pity.

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/26/96
to
In article <DnDv1...@uns.bris.ac.uk> "MA. Elliott" <ph3042> writes:
>From: "MA. Elliott" <ph3042>
>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 12:36:44 GMT

>Marcus

You have followed up an inane statement with an even more inane statement.
Snoop Doggy Dog sells millions of albums and has quite a few fans, yet most
people would hesitate before calling him a great artist. You still seem to
be confusing quantity with quality. Eddings sells far more books than
Jordan, yet I don't see anyone running to put him on the same level as
Tolkien.
-Mark

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/26/96
to
In article <4gt2uk$tvo...@ris.lane.or.us> tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton) writes:
>From: tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton)

>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 96 19:50:44 GMT

>In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:

>>P.S.- Most GOOD writers like to actually CREATE a good story. However,
>>since neither Jordan nor his series fall into these categories the point is
>>moot...

>Well then, given that a large amount of Tolkien's work springs from the Norse,
>English, and European fabulists of previous centuries (elves, dwarves,
>classical battles between good and evil, etc. etc. etc.), I guess he's just
>the greatest rip-off artist of all time, eh? After all, he didn't *create*
>any of these creatures, nor any of these themes; they've been around forever.
>They sure as hell don't belong to the Tolkien estate.

>Tom
How can you confuse using an ancient theme with blatantly copying someone
else's plot and characters? You actually think that, by pairing off good vs.
evil in his works, Tolkien is on
the same level of plagiarism and copyright infringement as Brooks and
Jordan? Perhaps you should actually read some old Norse and Icelandic fables
before spouting on about them. If you HAD read them, you will see that the
similarities go no farther than an occasional re-use of a place or character
name. While it is somewhat humorous to run across a Gandalf or Gimli in the
midst of a raging battle between Norse gods, I would hardly call it
plagiarism and neither should you.
-Mark
P.S.-If the number of people claiming to be well-read on this group actually
were, we could have some very interesting discussions.


Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/26/96
to
In article <4gtmn4$j...@lastactionhero.rs.itd.umich.edu> mwe...@umich.edu (Matthew L Weber) writes:
>From: mwe...@umich.edu (Matthew L Weber)

>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: 27 Feb 1996 01:28:04 GMT

>MA. Elliott (ph3042) wrote:
>: No, quantity is not equal to quality, but in robert jordans case both


>: apply.(IMO)
>: However, the commercial success of the WOT series is proof to his base of
>: readers.

>Then I guess Rush Limbaugh is the next James Joyce.

Don't forget Howard Stern.
-Mark

Matthew L Weber

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
MA. Elliott (ph3042) wrote:
: No, quantity is not equal to quality, but in robert jordans case both
: apply.(IMO)
: However, the commercial success of the WOT series is proof to his base of
: readers.

Then I guess Rush Limbaugh is the next James Joyce.

--
Matthew L. Weber
Library Assistant
University of Michigan Music Library

The worst is death, and death will have his day.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, _Richard II_, 1595

Mel

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
Tom Walton wrote:
> =

> In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wro=
te:
> =

> >P.S.- Most GOOD writers like to actually CREATE a good story. However,

> >since neither Jordan nor his series fall into these categories the point=
is
> >moot...
> =

> Well then, given that a large amount of Tolkien's work springs from the N=


orse,
> English, and European fabulists of previous centuries (elves, dwarves,

> classical battles between good and evil, etc. etc. etc.), I guess he's ju=
st
> the greatest rip-off artist of all time, eh? After all, he didn't *creat=
e*
> any of these creatures, nor any of these themes; they've been around fore=
ver.


> They sure as hell don't belong to the Tolkien estate.

> =

> Now what he *did* do was write a ripping good story. One so good we're

> talking about it a generation or two after the fact. And Jordan, while n=
ot


> quite the writer Tolkien was, is pretty darned readable himself.

> =

> Tom
> =

> Unfortunately, the views expressed here are not those of my
> employer, the city of Eugene, Oregon. More's the pity.

Epic, Saga, Poetry, etc. are not Fantasy they are all different genres.

Someone must start the genre. This Tolkien did and in a very big way. =

I have read posts where someone said that others were writing fantasy =

type stuff before Tolkien with certain exceptions (i.e. no dwarves, =

elves, dragons, or something like that), and that all fine and well, but =

I don=92t think they created the genre as he did where decades later, =

people who were children when he was at the end of his life are writing =

books like his. Genre? What is it? Did Tolkien start it? Who=92s the =

first to do something new? I think the best example is the James Bond =

commercial I saw, "The original action hero" is how it advertised =

itself, and I thought, "Gee, that=92s right. I mean Indiana Jones is my =

favorite, but I guess Bond was the first to beat up, figure out, blow =

up, kill, save the world and get the girl." Someone might try to come =

up with an earlier action hero like a cowboy celebrity or what-not, but =

I feel my example to be firm. "Well then, Bond=92s a great rip-off artist =

too then. I mean, bombs and guns and spies and girls were around way =

before him in different writings or movies." Maybe so, but this isn=92t =

the point. I=92ve heard this sort of argument before. It mostly comes =

from a misunderstanding of what "genre" is. According to the American =

Heritage Dictionary it is, "a. A category of artistic composition, as in =

music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content: =

"his six String Quartets . . . the most important works in the genre =

since Beethoven's" (Time). b. A realistic style of painting that depicts =

scenes from everyday life." It is a style not the creation of things in =

that style. It is a "composition, form" with certain "content." =

Creating things for this style or category is welcome, but these things =

do not make this category of literature. Elves, Dwarves and the like =

have been used for years, as you noted, in poetry and different prose, =

but that poetry was not the genre of "fantasy" due to the fact that it =

contained Elves or Dwarves. The old "Moses" with Charlton Heston was =

not an action hero movie like any of the Indiana Jones movies because =

both have the element of God killing the bad guys. Tolkien made a whole =

new genre, and even if using older elements would negate his =

originality, and it doesn=92t, it doesn=92t even matter because he created =

more than enough new elements while encorporating some older ones. When =

I was in Jr. High and High School I thought Steven R. Donaldson=92s "The =

Chronicles of Thomas Covenant" series was all there was in fantasy. I =

worshipped the books and read them several times (all six very large =

ones). Then I read Tolkien and was leveled. I am mind boggled at the =

scope of his world - the languages, creatures, powers, cultures, =

histories, etymologies, geography, cosmology, it goes on and on without =

end. Donaldson looks like a comic book now compared with M.E. However, =

I do realize that a people will hold true to one thing desiring it to be =

the best no matter how much evidence is presented to the contrary (thus, =

you have people and their politics, religions, etc.). Tolkien did =

create something new. That something was fantasy. All other fantasy =

writers after him are working in what he created. Donaldson is full of =

M.E. types. Tolkien was and is the cornerstone of fantasy. I even dare =

to say that he is to fantasy what Shakespeare was theater with one =

exception, Shakespeare didn=92t create theater. And when I say that =

Tolkien created fantasy, I mean as we all understand it today.

Mel,

Tom Walton

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:
>In article <4gt2uk$tvo...@ris.lane.or.us> tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom
Walton) writes:
>>From: tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton)
>>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>>Date: Mon, 26 Feb 96 19:50:44 GMT
>
>>In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, ms...@cornell.edu (Mark S. Longo) wrote:
>
>>>P.S.- Most GOOD writers like to actually CREATE a good story. However,
>>>since neither Jordan nor his series fall into these categories the point is
>>>moot...

>
>>Well then, given that a large amount of Tolkien's work springs from the
Norse,

>>English, and European fabulists of previous centuries (elves, dwarves,
>>classical battles between good and evil, etc. etc. etc.), I guess he's just
>>the greatest rip-off artist of all time, eh? After all, he didn't *create*
>>any of these creatures, nor any of these themes; they've been around
forever.
>>They sure as hell don't belong to the Tolkien estate.
>>Tom
>How can you confuse using an ancient theme with blatantly copying someone
>else's plot and characters?

Quote examples, please. I've read both works a number of times, and while
there are similarities in themes I see no evidence of "blatantly copying
someone else's plot and characters".

You made the statement; you back it up. In other words, put up or shut up.

You actually think that, by pairing off good vs.
>evil in his works, Tolkien is on
>the same level of plagiarism and copyright infringement as Brooks and
>Jordan? Perhaps you should actually read some old Norse and Icelandic fables
>before spouting on about them. If you HAD read them, you will see that the
>similarities go no farther than an occasional re-use of a place or character
>name.

Oh, what comes from the mouths of fools....

Yes indeed, I have read, studied, and pondered these myths, especially with
respect to Norse and Celtic cultures. Far more than you have, it appears.

The similarities are quite broad in concept. Dwarves and elves are more
'grounded' in Tolkien's works than in Norse or Celtic legend, but in the end
they spring from the same source. Tolkien doesn't have a claim to these
creatures or the themes that are employed in his novels.

You apparently think otherwise. Mayhap I should suggest a few scholarly
pieces for you?

While it is somewhat humorous to run across a Gandalf or Gimli in the
>midst of a raging battle between Norse gods, I would hardly call it
>plagiarism and neither should you.

What this has to do with anything in the previous discussion is beyond me.
And Mark, there *weren't* any raging battles between Norse gods other than the
initial conflict between the aesir and the vanir - as you should no, being so
well-versed in the mythology.

Ragnarok, of course, is a raging battle between the gods and their opponents -
giants and monsters. No gods on the opposing team except Loki.

>-Mark
>P.S.-If the number of people claiming to be well-read on this group actually
>were, we could have some very interesting discussions.
>

They are. You just aren't one of them.

Tom

Tom Walton

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
[a huge amount of snippage]

Tolkien reshaped the definition of classical fantasy; he did not create a
genre by any stretch of the imagination. To say such rubbish invalidates all
of the works of fantasy authors from Jules Verne and Mary Shelley up to the
pulp fiction writers of the 40's.

Try educating yourself about early fantasy novelists before making such
preposterous statements.

This is not to say that Tolkien wasn't one of the greatest; and his influence
was enormous. But he didn't single-handedly build a whole new classification
which we call 'modern fantasy'. Like all other writers, he built on those who
went before him.

Tom

DONALD G. DAVIS

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
Mel <mana...@cdc.net> writes:

>Tolkien did


>create something new. That something was fantasy. All other fantasy

>writers after him are working in what he created. Donaldson is full of

>M.E. types. Tolkien was and is the cornerstone of fantasy. I even dare

>to say that he is to fantasy what Shakespeare was theater with one

>exception, Shakespeare didn't create theater. And when I say that


>Tolkien created fantasy, I mean as we all understand it today.

With all due respect to Tolkien's genius, this seems to me to be
a considerable overstatement, suggesting that the writer is too young to
be familiar with fantastic literature prior to Tolkien. As supreme
examples of pre-Tolkienian fantasy, I commend to him Lord Dunsany's tales
from "beyond the fields we know," as well as Lovecraft's "Dreamlands"
stories. Nor does the fact that much recent fantasy is imitative of
Tolkien mean that all noteworthy fantasy since his time is in that mold.
I found Richard Adams' Shardik, for example, to be a profoundly engaging
fantasy, but one which owes little, if anything, to Tolkien. To restrict
the concept of fantasy to the Tolkienian subgenre is to narrow one's view
of the field too much.
--Donald Davis

Armand de Orive

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
Mel (mana...@cdc.net) wrote:
: you have people and their politics, religions, etc.). Tolkien did =

:
: create something new. That something was fantasy. All other fantasy =
:
: writers after him are working in what he created. Donaldson is full of =
:
: M.E. types. Tolkien was and is the cornerstone of fantasy. I even dare =
:
: to say that he is to fantasy what Shakespeare was theater with one =
:
: exception, Shakespeare didn=92t create theater. And when I say that =
: Tolkien created fantasy, I mean as we all understand it today.
:
: Mel,

What would you say that Lord Dunsany wrote? If Tolkien created fantasy,
what would you classify his writings as?

This is not intended to insult, merely to help me get an understanding of
your position. I love Tolkien and his works, but I'm not sure I agree
with your statement about him having created fantasy. Perhaps he created
a "type" of fantasy (which many authors have indeed since copied) but
there were certainly authors who were writing what I would consider to be
fantasy before Tolkien.

Mel

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
Tom Walton wrote:
> =

> [a huge amount of snippage]

> =

> Tolkien reshaped the definition of classical fantasy; he did not create a=

> genre by any stretch of the imagination. =


Allow me to offer here that the post of mine which Tom is responding to =

I wrote hurriedly and with much ad hoc.

There is a good chance that you are right in this and that I was not =

necessarily wrong but overemphasized the point even though I tried to =

include enough clauses so as to dilute "create" to a more palatable =

form. I do now feel that "create" was too strong a word for what I was =

laboring to say about Tolkien. As you succinctly put it, Tolkien =

"reshaped the definition of classical fantasy." Or as my Eng. Prof. =

offers it, (as I called him today regarding our dialogue and your crass =

response) "Tolkien presented fantasy in a way that for the first time =

published the genre abroad."

> To say such rubbish

Isn=92t the Internet a wonderful thing to hide behind Tom. Here=92s where =
I =

stop being nice as you made little attempt yourself. I recently told =

myself that I wouldn=92t even read or respond to any more posts that =

offered vulgarity or needless insults, but now I=92m thinking that perhaps =

my mission is to try and teach people some much needed manners. Any =

sound argument is destroyed by such things, for they bring useless =

animosities into the debate. The best example of how to rightly argue a =

point is found in the British Parliament where traditional mannerisms =

are maintained, yet great struggles of the mind of each individual is =

fully carried out by opponents of total opposite poles. I really think =

your rebuttal is very good and I am checked. However, your personal =

insults weaken it and cause me to not want to receive it no matter how =

sound. Amenities are real things that bring real results. Try them out =

and see. Basically, utilize the Golden Rule as even Confucius before =

Christ did, and it doesn=92t take a sledge hammer to kill a bug (i.e. =

insults are overkill). =


> invalidates all
> of the works of fantasy authors from Jules Verne and Mary Shelley up to t=
he


> pulp fiction writers of the 40's.

Jules Verne takes some consideration I=92ll admit. Although he is =

regarded as "the father of science fiction," his work has been called, =

"fantasy" (i.e. Cinq semaines en ballon, Journey to the Center of the =

Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, =

Mysterious Island, Around the World in 80 Days), but to all of these =

writings he laid a careful scientific foundation, thus he is labeled =

"the father of science fiction." Some scholars make little distinction =

between science fiction and fantasy. But the majority of serious =

scholars in these fields would not call Verne a "fantasy" author no more =

than they would call Tolkien a writer of "science fiction." There are =

many degrees within writing that make up these two terms. What is =

science fiction in the first place? Is it not scientifically based =

although not yet possible (e.g. Verne). In that case, what about =

Bradbury=92s "The Martian Chronicles" which straddles the boarder between =

fantasy and scientifically founded science fiction (science fantasy)? =

And what is fantasy but something that relies on modern science not at =

all? Furthermore, the very scholars who call Verne "the father of =

science fiction" will also document earlier forms of science before him =

and some that he drew from (offering even Plato=92s "The Republic" and the =

"Gilgamesh Epic" as earlier forms of science fiction all the way up to =

Verne himself), but they will admit that the forces present with and =

preceding Verne culminated in producing the first science fiction in the =

modern form. Verne could not have produced his science fiction (which =

differed from all predecessors and opened a new vein which other writers =

have continued to follow in [sounds familiar don=92t it, i.e. Tolkien]) =

without these forces (industrial revolution, social change, etc.), and =

in the same way I offer that although others may have produced elements =

of fantasy (again a form free of scientific limits) it was certain =

influences right up to and during Tolkien=92s life that has created this =

modern genre that, when walk I into Bookland, fills an entire aisle =

under the heading of "Fantasy."

Mary Shelley did not write fantasy in the least but rather philosophical =

horror (Frankenstein), liberal socialism (The Last Man), and a novelized =

autobiography (Lodore). Although some label here with the great general =

heading "science fiction" (which indeed she utilized but the main thrust =

was philosophical and horrible) just as others use "fantasy" to mean =

everyone from Verne to Star Trek.
=

The Pulp Fiction magazines of the turn of the century were considered =

more scientifically based and were therefore, science fiction (i.e. =

Edgar Rice Burroughs and Garrett P. Serviss). Although some of these =

writers offered adventure, adventure in and of itself is not =

scientifically free fantasy, and for the most part, these Pulp Fiction =

writers remained within the science fiction interests spawned by Verne.

> Try educating yourself about early fantasy novelists before making such
> preposterous statements.

Whether I am uneducated in the field of "early fantasy novelists" =

remains to be seen. In my own opinion, I really know very much of very =

little and will freely admit it, and I constantly seek to know more. It =

is very possible that I have no idea what I am talking about as often =

life proves me wrong no matter how sure I am. But I will have you know =

now that I do have a major in Eng. Lit. which I acquired during my =

Bachelor=92s program, (along with a major in theology and a minor in =

ancient Greek) and that I am working toward a Master=92s degree in =

theology right now. This means nothing to me, for I daily discover how =

much I do not know. Therefore, you do not have to tell me how much =

"rubbish" my thoughts are or that I need "educating." I already know =

this. =


But one thing is for certain. You need some education yourself in the =

area of being a social animal, and if your post to me is any indication =

of how you are on a constant basis, then by all means don=92t work with =

people. I=92m sorry for having to say that, but I feel that it is =

warranted.
=

> This is not to say that Tolkien wasn't one of the greatest; and his influ=
ence
> was enormous. But he didn't single-handedly build a whole new classifica=
tion
> which we call 'modern fantasy'. Like all other writers, he built on thos=
e who
> went before him.

Nor would you or I say that Verne "wasn=92t one of the greatest." And we =

would each freely admit that "his influence was enormous," but for some =

reason Verne is "the father" of what he started and Tolkien is not. So =

strong is this fact that when the possibility of Tolkien being another =

Verne appears it is labeled as "Rubbish" and the poster needs =

"educating." Also, neither did Verne "single-handedly build a whole new =

classification which we call =91[science fiction],=92" but for some strange=
=

reason present scholars say that he did. But did they say this when =

first or directly after Verne published his books? It took some time as =

all labels of historic events, movements and characters do. =

Existentialism does not allow for time. And to finish off this =

rebuttal, Verne most definitely, "built on those who went before him," =

yet still he is known as, "the father of science fiction." I have not =

found a scholar to say of Tolkien what they have said of Verne. Then =

again, I haven=92t looked very much. I realize that I am way out on a =

limb in stating what I did, but I do enjoy thinking of things that push =

envelopes and test boundaries. While both science fiction and fantasy =

are still two relatively new genres (as compared with others, e.g. =

theater, poetry, etc.), I hope to test these areas especially. =

Remember, it wasn=92t until decades later (even a century or more in some =

cases) that Shakespeare was recognized for what he did and later =

elevated to a beforehand unattainable precipice in the minds of =

scholars. During his time, Jonson was the shining star of Elizabethan =

English. Now, Shakespeare is a household name, and Jonson is hardly =

known among sophomore Eng. Lit. students. It may be another one hundred =

years before Tolkien is hailed as "the father of modern fantasy." =

Whether he ever is or not, I do not know. I=92m not trying to offer =

authoritative sources that will say as much, but am simply attempting to =

dialogue on the Internet. Again, how long after the fact was it before =

Verne was named "the father of science fiction?"

> Tom

PS If you are going to respond with more flaming offer it very =

succinctly at the top of your letter so that I won=92t have to waste my =

time reading through the entire thing. That way I can quickly delete it =

and nicely dismiss you from my world. However, I do hope for a nice =

exchange. The move is now yours.

Sorry I wrote so much, but I am long winded. Go ahead and cut me for =

that if you wish; I do believe it your nature.

If you want some sources for the information I offered check out the =

following:
Aldiss, Brian W. "Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction;" =

Smith, Curtis, ed. "Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers."
=

> Unfortunately, the views expressed here are not those of my
> employer, the city of Eugene, Oregon. More's the pity.

Mel,

The Great White Council of 2851,

"Gandalf did not laugh again; and he did not answer, but looking =

keenly at Saruman he drew on his pipe and sent out a great ring of smoke =

with many smaller rings that followed it. Then he put up his hand, as =

if to grasp them, and they vanished. With that he got up and left =

Saruman without another word; but Saruman stood for some time silent, =

and his face was dark with doubt and displeasure."

Juergen Grieb

unread,
Feb 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/27/96
to
: I don't think there is any contention that The Eye of the World was written
: to be almost identical to Tolkien. Whether you like Jordan or not is your
: business but I don't see how you could have read both TEOTW and TLOTR and
: not see any commonalities.
: -Mark
:

Of course there are similarities. But there are in all fantasy novels. That's
why they are called fantasy novels. I am a big Tolkien fan and I've read LOTR
three times and I surely will read it many times more.
And I still think there aren't that many commonalities. I think they are more
diffrent than alike.

Mark S. Longo

unread,
Feb 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/28/96
to
In article <4gv505$112c...@ris.lane.or.us> tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton) writes:
>From: tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton)
>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 14:37:57 GMT

>[a huge amount of snippage]

>Tolkien reshaped the definition of classical fantasy; he did not create a
>genre by any stretch of the imagination. To say such rubbish invalidates all
>of the works of fantasy authors from Jules Verne and Mary Shelley up to the

>pulp fiction writers of the 40's.

>Try educating yourself about early fantasy novelists before making such
>preposterous statements.

>This is not to say that Tolkien wasn't one of the greatest; and his

influence >was enormous. But he didn't single-handedly build a whole new
classification >which we call 'modern fantasy'. Like all other writers, he
built on those who>went before him.
>Tom

My previous comment about your education seems to have stung deeply! If so,
then I apologize as I have apparently caused your emotions to overcome your
wits. Jules Verne wrote science fiction, which belongs to a distinct, but
related, genre. Mary Shelley wrote horror fiction, which is in no way
related to the fantasy genre. I will agree that Tolkien did not create the
fantasy genre in its entirety. What he did create is fantasy as we know it
today. Fantasy development in the pre-Tolkien days can be thought of as
progressing on a straight line with no one writer making a major
contribution. This line took off on a totally new tangent once TLOTR was
published. Since that publication, more and more modern fantasy followed
Tolkien's tangent(more heroic quests, elves, Shadows, wizards, etc.) until
the fantasy of old (Howard, certain Poe stories, etc.) ceased to exist. Once
would be hard pressed to find a modern fantasy writer who has not stolen
from Tolkien in one way or another(with a POSSIBLE exception being Piers
Anthony). In fact, one could change the name of the bookshelf from "fantasy"
to "derivative fantasy" and no one would know the difference. This, for
better or for worse, has been Tolkien's contribution to the genre.
-Mark

Louis Epstein

unread,
Feb 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/28/96
to
Mel (mana...@cdc.net) wrote:
: Armand de Orive wrote:
: > =

: > Mel (mana...@cdc.net) wrote:
: > : you have people and their politics, religions, etc.). Tolkien did
: > : create something new. That something was fantasy. All other fantasy
: > : writers after him are working in what he created. Donaldson is full of
: > : M.E. types. Tolkien was and is the cornerstone of fantasy. I even dare
: > : to say that he is to fantasy what Shakespeare was theater with one
: > : exception, Shakespeare didn=3D92t create theater. And when I say that
: > : Tolkien created fantasy, I mean as we all understand it today.
: > :
: > : Mel,
: >

: > What would you say that Lord Dunsany wrote? If Tolkien created fantasy,


: > what would you classify his writings as?

: > This is not intended to insult, merely to help me get an understanding of
: > your position. I love Tolkien and his works, but I'm not sure I agree
: > with your statement about him having created fantasy. Perhaps he created
: > a "type" of fantasy (which many authors have indeed since copied) but
: > there were certainly authors who were writing what I would consider to be
: > fantasy before Tolkien.

: Again,

: See my response to Tom. But I will offer this much. As much as Verne
: borrowed from earlier writers of a proto-science fiction, so Tolkien
: could have conceivably borrowed from other, earlier writers of a
: proto-fantasy genre. However, Verne is still known as "the father of
: science fiction" regardless of his borrowings, due to the circumstances

Hmm,not "grandfather"?I've usually seen "Father of Science Fiction" used
for Hugo Gernsback.

: that were ripe at his time (the Industrial revolution and social change)
: that he mixed with this proto-science fiction genre to develope a new
: genre that is unmistakable as having its beginnings with him. This is
: perhaps the definition of "create" that I have labored to produce (as
: well as suffered unwarranted insult for), but did not take the time to
: birth when describing Tolkien=92s "creation" of "modern fantasy." Verne
: combined elements of the proto-science fiction genre, a certain style,
: and the current events in which he lived to produce something that was
: entirely new and that other authors have continued to utilize (although
: I do admit that every book written is unique as every author is unique,
: and hopefully, every chapter of every book is unique as every author
: might get up on a new day with a different mood and thought - Genre is
: to writing as English is to language, each book in that genre is to
: Genre as the British dialect is to English, and each chapter or
: character in that book - every small happening in the author=92s world is
: to that one book as a single Londoner=92s idiolect is to the British
: dialect, but Verne and Tolkien "fathered" Science Fiction and Modern
: Fantasy as one could create a new language, i.e. English - this model is
: analogous; do not take it literally). As for Dunsany, the above applies
: to whatever else I might say as well as the response to Tom, but he did
: dwell in mysticism which was the main thrust of his fantasy.

Query...where do you classify the works of William Morris(THE WOOD BEYOND THE
WORLD,1895,and THE WELL AT THE WORLD'S END,1896)?Lin Carter wrote:
"Scholars and historians of fantasy...agree that it was the English
novelist,poet,and artisan William Morris(1834-96) who founded the genre
of heroic fantasy laid in imaginary Mediaeval lands ow worlds where magic
works."

He goes on to discuss how certain precursors such as Beckford's VATHEK(set
in a romanticized Middle East) and two George MacDonald(author of the Curdie
books Tolkien read as a child) works,LILITH and PHANTASTES(set in Dreamland)
do not quite qualify,but that the novels Morris wrote began the genre
continued by Dunsany,Cabell,and others.


Tony Zbaraschuk

unread,
Feb 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/29/96
to
In article <msl5....@cornell.edu>, Mark S. Longo <ms...@cornell.edu> wrote:
>to be almost identical to Tolkien. Whether you like Jordan or not is your
>business but I don't see how you could have read both TEOTW and TLOTR and
>not see any commonalities.

Sure, they're there -- Jordan deliberately wrote the first 100 pages or
so of tEotW to be rather Tolkienesque, giving new readers a feeling of
familiarity. After that, though, it gets very different. By the
third or fourth book, any resemblances are very, very remote... and
the Wheel of Time has developed its own style and story.


Tony Z
--
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master,
If you can think -- and not make thought your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two imposters just the same... -- "If", Rudyard Kipling

Christian Almgren

unread,
Feb 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM2/29/96
to
Mark S. Longo (ms...@cornell.edu) wrote:
:

: I don't think there is any contention that The Eye of the World was written
: to be almost identical to Tolkien. Whether you like Jordan or not is your

: business but I don't see how you could have read both TEOTW and TLOTR and
: not see any commonalities.
: -Mark

I have read bboth and don't se TWOT as a ripoff. Both is
about good and evil but I think there is a lot more differences
than commonalities. Jordan creates a world with more competing
powers in it, and it is also a world with more conevtional magic,
not as Tolkiens world which basicly is divided in good and evil
and the magic is of a different kind. Both has their good points
but they are not so common.

Glenn Young

unread,
Mar 1, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/1/96
to
On 28-Feb-96 02:51:09, Mark S. Longo (ms...@cornell.edu) said about Re: The
Wheel of Time and Tolkien:
MSL> In article <4gv505$112c...@ris.lane.or.us> tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us

MSL> (Tom Walton) writes:
>>From: tom.l....@ci.eugene.or.us (Tom Walton)
>>Subject: Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien
>>Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 14:37:57 GMT

>>[a huge amount of snippage]

>>Tolkien reshaped the definition of classical fantasy; he did not create a
>>genre by any stretch of the imagination. To say such rubbish invalidates
>>all of the works of fantasy authors from Jules Verne and Mary Shelley up to

MSL> overcome your wits. Jules Verne wrote science fiction, which belongs to
MSL> a distinct, but related, genre. Mary Shelley wrote horror fiction,
MSL> which is in no way related to the fantasy genre. I will agree that
MSL> Tolkien did not create the fantasy genre in its entirety. What he did
MSL> create is fantasy as we know it today. Fantasy development in the
MSL> pre-Tolkien days can be thought of as progressing on a straight line
MSL> with no one writer making a major contribution. This line took off on a

Calm down guys! You're ranting a bit here!

Ever heard of Lord Dunsanay? James Branch Cabell?, William Morris?, E R
Eddison?, George MacDonald?, Mervyn Peake?, T H White?, John Cowper Powys?,
Fletcher Pratt?, L Sprague de Camp? Fritz Leiber?, Poul Anderson?

These are all pre- and post-tolkien fantasy-genre authors who have little or
no resemblance to Tolkien, and there are probably many more that someone more
widely read than myself could name. All of these authors have contributed,
some of them majorly, to fantasy as we know it today. However, I think it is
true to say that Tolien has created a particular *type* of fantasy, a sub-
genre if you like, which has been greatly imitated (to a far greater degree
than any of the authors listed).

Cheers!

<sb>
<tsb>[ Glenn Young ]

<sb>gyo...@central.co.nz

Where can I fnid a spell chequer for taglines?


Cathan Kosh-Cook

unread,
Mar 3, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/3/96
to
Please first accept my apologies if I am going over old territory: I am
new to this discussion group.

Regarding the disagreement over whether Tolkien invented fantasy, I have
to say that I am suprised that no one has brought up this crucial point.
Tolkien's fantasy is unlike _fantasy literature_ before his in at
least one outstanding way: Tolkien's work is a mythology.

The mythopoeic quality of the books is, I think, one of their most
captivating qualities in an age that has lost its myths. Granted that I
am writing this on the fly, but briefly reflecting I cannot think of any
other author who attempts such a thing until I arrive back at Romantic
poets (the arthurian revival), or Milton and Dante. But even in those
cases, they were rewriting myths, not inventing a whole new mythic
background for *our* society.

Perhaps this is what people mean when they call him the father of a
genre. But, I think we must allow that a genre may have more than one
parent; and that a writer may have more than one source or effect:
relegating such dramatic titles to bookflap reviews and fandom outcry.

Jan Six

unread,
Mar 5, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/5/96
to
Cathan Kosh-Cook <cath...@luna.cas.usf.edu> wrote:

> I am new to this discussion group.

Mae govannen! A very interesting first delurk, if you don't mind my
saying so.

> Regarding the disagreement over whether Tolkien invented fantasy, I have
> to say that I am suprised that no one has brought up this crucial point.
> Tolkien's fantasy is unlike _fantasy literature_ before his in at
> least one outstanding way: Tolkien's work is a mythology.

It is true that Tolkien is unlike in this respect to other habitually
named predecessors like William Morris, E.R. Eddison or Mervyn Peake.
The fact that JRRT invented a mythology *single-handedly* is probably
an unequaled feat, at least as far as we know. Of course, another way
to look at this question is that fantasy is the oldest literary genre
in the world. A case might be made that the Gilgamesh epic is the
first fantasy work in history. In this sense, the major distinction
between mythology and (epic) fantasy is simply that the latter is the
work of a single known author (Homer wasn't written by Homer but by
another person of the same name, and all that ;-)

> The mythopoeic quality of the books is, I think, one of their most
> captivating qualities in an age that has lost its myths.

Perhaps this dearth of myths may go a long way to explain why fantasy
as a genre enjoys such popularity today (those of you who think the
fact that it's swamped by hacks is no indication of popularity are of
course entitled to their opinion).

> briefly reflecting I cannot think of any other author who attempts
> such a thing until I arrive back at Romantic poets (the arthurian
> revival), or Milton and Dante.

I think a case might be made for Elias Lonnrot and the Kalevala, but
since he is (unjustifiably) not well known, I'll concede the point.

> But even in those cases, they were rewriting myths, not inventing a
> whole new mythic background for *our* society.

Of course, Tolkien was inspired by previous materials as well (he did
not invent Elves, though his influence on the way we perceive them
today was profound) - he just combined them into a completely new
synthesis. Again, in this his work is not dissimilar to Lonnrot's.

> But, I think we must allow that a genre may have more than one
> parent; and that a writer may have more than one source or effect:
> relegating such dramatic titles to bookflap reviews and fandom
> outcry.

Definitely agreed. And I would add the additional very important point
that not all the parents of a given genre may be known by name or even
widely acknowledged. Since the fantasy genre has its roots in mythology,
I would be inclined to argue that more of its ultimate parentage is
anonymous and lost in the mists of time than with most other genres.

______________________________________________________________________
Jan Six | Fair as an elven child is Lalaith | It's my real name
| but briefer, alas... | -- :: --
Jan...@uku.fi | and so fairer, perhaps, or dearer | Count on it
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


Jan Six

unread,
Mar 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/6/96
to
zls...@cfs2.mcc.ac.uk (Dr A O V Le Blanc) wrote:

> What about Dunsany's _Gods of Pagana_? That's certainly an invented
> mythology.

Pegana, I think. I have been told this, but have never been able to
verify it. If it is, it's the most incredibly difficult to find
mythology [invented or otherwise] in history. It's out of print like
no book has been out of print before. I've been hunting for it for
over eight years.

> (Dunsany's other books (_The King of Elfland's Daughter_, [...]
> are certainly well worth reading.)

This one I can vouch for. I wouldn't go so far as to call it an
invented mythology, though...

Michael Martinez

unread,
Mar 7, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/7/96
to
In article <3alp.11....@euronet.nl>,
3a...@euronet.nl (Joop_van_der_Leede) wrote:
>In article <4hhb65$k...@luotsi.uku.fi> Jan Six <Jan...@uku.fi> writes:
>[stuff deleted]

>>Of course, Tolkien was inspired by previous materials as well (he did
>>not invent Elves, though his influence on the way we perceive them
>>today was profound) - he just combined them into a completely new
>>synthesis. Again, in this his work is not dissimilar to Lonnrot's.
>
>Now this things about Elves I find interesting. When I read LotR for the
>first time, I assumed Tolkien was the only one to give the Elves a
>background like this... until I read Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley).
>There is a reference there to 'the folk of faerie', and 'the worlds drifting
>ever further apart'. I assume Celtic mythology (forgive me if it isn't
>Celtic, I'm don't know too much about this) deals with elves in some way...
>can anyone shed some light on this??

There is the collection of traditions about the sidhe (pronounced "shee")
which is mostly (if not entirely) Irish in origin. The Ban Sidhe (banshee) is
perhaps the best known of these faerie creatures.

Some modern fantasy novels incorporate the Sidhe into their worlds, but I
don't know how faithful the authors are to the concepts.

The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da Danaan
("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient race supposed to
have inhabited the British Isles before the Celts showed up. Some self-styled
scholars have tried to tie the Tuatha Da Danaan to Semetic and Egyptian
legends (including, among other things, Atlantis).

I am no longer familiar enough with Sidhe traditions to really give you any
better an explanation than this.


--
++ ++ "Well Samwise: What do you think of the elves now?"
||\ /|| --fbag...@mid.earth.com
|| v ||ichael Martinez (mma...@basis.com)
++ ++------------------------------------------------------

James Joseph Cook

unread,
Mar 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/8/96
to
Michael Martinez (mma...@basis.com) wrote:
: There is the collection of traditions about the sidhe (pronounced "shee")
: which is mostly (if not entirely) Irish in origin. The Ban Sidhe (banshee) is
: perhaps the best known of these faerie creatures.

: Some modern fantasy novels incorporate the Sidhe into their worlds, but I
: don't know how faithful the authors are to the concepts.

: The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da Danaan
: ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient race supposed to
: have inhabited the British Isles before the Celts showed up. Some self-styled
: scholars have tried to tie the Tuatha Da Danaan to Semetic and Egyptian
: legends (including, among other things, Atlantis).

: I am no longer familiar enough with Sidhe traditions to really give you any
: better an explanation than this.


There was a very good series of novels (a classic trilogy, I think) out
abou 10 years or so ago, about the Sidhe, and the various heroes and gods
of the Tuatha Da Danan and thier enemy, the Formorians. I'm not sure who
wrote them anymore, but I know the titles are something like RIDERS OF
THE SIDHE, CHAMPIONS OF THE SIDHE, HEROES OF THE SIDHE or something like
hose. Very good books, if I could find them again I'd read them.

JiM


: --


: ++ ++ "Well Samwise: What do you think of the elves now?"
: ||\ /|| --fbag...@mid.earth.com
: || v ||ichael Martinez (mma...@basis.com)
: ++ ++------------------------------------------------------

--

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any similarity between my views and those of the George Washington
University, Washington, DC, are purely coincidental. If you've got a
problem with that, piss on you. <ji...@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu>
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Louis Epstein

unread,
Mar 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/9/96
to
Michael Martinez (mma...@basis.com) wrote:
: In article <3alp.11....@euronet.nl>,

: 3a...@euronet.nl (Joop_van_der_Leede) wrote:
: >In article <4hhb65$k...@luotsi.uku.fi> Jan Six <Jan...@uku.fi> writes:
: >[stuff deleted]
: >>Of course, Tolkien was inspired by previous materials as well (he did
: >>not invent Elves, though his influence on the way we perceive them
: >>today was profound) - he just combined them into a completely new
: >>synthesis. Again, in this his work is not dissimilar to Lonnrot's.
: >
: >Now this things about Elves I find interesting. When I read LotR for the
: >first time, I assumed Tolkien was the only one to give the Elves a
: >background like this... until I read Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley).

Bradley,however,has a subjectivism(believing makes things so) in her
worldview quite alien to Tolkien's.

: >There is a reference there to 'the folk of faerie', and 'the worlds drifting

: >ever further apart'. I assume Celtic mythology (forgive me if it isn't
: >Celtic, I'm don't know too much about this) deals with elves in some way...
: >can anyone shed some light on this??

: There is the collection of traditions about the sidhe (pronounced "shee")

I have to wonder if this is a *modern* pronunciation and the spelling
reflects an older one...



: which is mostly (if not entirely) Irish in origin. The Ban Sidhe (banshee) is
: perhaps the best known of these faerie creatures.

: Some modern fantasy novels incorporate the Sidhe into their worlds, but I
: don't know how faithful the authors are to the concepts.

: The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da Danaan
: ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient race supposed to

I think her name was Danu,"Danaan" is some form of conjugation

: have inhabited the British Isles before the Celts showed up. Some self-styled
: scholars have tried to tie the Tuatha Da Danaan to Semetic and Egyptian
: legends (including, among other things, Atlantis).

Other analyses of Irish legends have said that the Tuatha were really the
Irish Celts' legends of themselves,the later "Milesian" wave of invasion
being added to the previous ones(a couple before the Tuatha) as a result
of Christian influence,because good Christians wouldn't pretend to be the
supernatural Tuatha.

Of course,Bradley's great enemies in MISTS,besides the Christians,were
the Saxons(who I think her pagans were demented to never once consider
making common cause with against the Christians!),who were the very
people Tolkien was out to mythify for...


Matthew L Weber

unread,
Mar 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/10/96
to
Distribution:

Louis Epstein (l...@put.com) wrote:
: Michael Martinez (mma...@basis.com) wrote:

: : There is the collection of traditions about the sidhe (pronounced "shee")

: I have to wonder if this is a *modern* pronunciation and the spelling
: reflects an older one...

Interesting question; however, the pronunciation Michael gives squares
with what little I know about Gaelic orthography vis-a-vis its
pronunciation (s softened into sh before the i, dh silent)


: : The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da Danaan

: : ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient race supposed to

: I think her name was Danu,"Danaan" is some form of conjugation

I think you mean "declension," no? Looks like a genitive to me.

: Of course,Bradley's great enemies in MISTS,besides the Christians,were


: the Saxons(who I think her pagans were demented to never once consider
: making common cause with against the Christians!),who were the very
: people Tolkien was out to mythify for...

Oh look, how cute, Gardnerian Wiccans in the dark ages...:)

--
Matthew L. Weber
Library Assistant
University of Michigan Music Library

Your worm is only your emporer for diet;
we fat all creatures else to fat us,
and we fat ourselves for maggots.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, _Hamlet_, 1600

KJEREMY

unread,
Mar 11, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/11/96
to
The fairy folk were of Celtic origin. In fact Morgana was part fairy.
The fairies were of a completely different description though. Most had
red hair. There powers were at there peak at noon.

KJE...@aol.com

John Osborne

unread,
Mar 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/14/96
to
In article <Do0ED...@put.com> Louis Epstein wrote:
> Michael Martinez (mma...@basis.com) wrote:
<snip>

> : The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da
Danaan > : ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient
race supposed to> > I think her name was Danu,"Danaan" is some form of
conjugation

If I recall correctly, Tuatha de Danaan comes out as "The People who's
Goddess is the daughter of Dana(u)". No decent references available I'm
afraid.

Regards

John O--John Osborne jo...@kami.demon.co.uk
Alle kunst is umsonst wenn ein Engel in das zundloch prunst

Andreas Moehn

unread,
Mar 21, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/21/96
to
>Now this things about Elves I find interesting. When I read LotR for the
>first time, I assumed Tolkien was the only one to give the Elves a
>background like this... until I read Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley).
>There is a reference there to 'the folk of faerie', and 'the worlds drifting
>ever further apart'. I assume Celtic mythology (forgive me if it isn't Celtic,
>I'm don't know too much about this) deals with elves in some way... can
>anyone shed some light on this??

"The worlds drifting ever further apart" does not occur in any
mythology, whether Celtic or otherwise. It is a handy tool by modern
authors to explain why the creatures of their imaginary past world are
not conceived to be present in ours any more.


ma...@ards-council.gov.uk

unread,
Mar 23, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/23/96
to

If you're into a little Celtic stuff you might try a trilogy of books
by Stephen Lawhead.
'The Paradise War'
'The Silver Hand'
'The Endless Knot'

They are not very into Spirits and stuff, just good strong fantasy,
and quite believable.


Sue & Ian

unread,
Mar 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/26/96
to
Tolkien hardly invented his mythology from whole cloth. It's almost all
derived from a combination of Germanic, celtic and Biblical myth, with
some specific linguistic ideas from Himself thrown in.


Sue & Ian

unread,
Mar 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/26/96
to

>: : The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da
Danaan
>: : ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient race

The word 'sidhe' actually means 'mound', and refers to the neolithic and
broze-age mounds that the celts came to identify with the homes of the Gods
and Spirits.
In the Irish tales, the Tuatha De Danann are defeated by the incoming gaels
and the world is divided - mortals get th surface and the TDD get the
Underworld. This has no hell connotation - actually fertility. SAince they
dwelt inthe mounds they became the Folk of the Mounds - the Daoine Sidhe
(pro: theena shee). .

>: I think her name was Danu,
Yep. She was the river-Goddess of the Danube and Don, in the days when the
celts were in central Europe.

Ian


Arwen

unread,
Mar 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/26/96
to ma...@ards-council.gov.uk

There is now a Lawhead email discussion list. Check with me for
more info, unless the email list owner posts the information first :-)

--
*** Copyrighted Arwen, 1996. Reproduction or redistribution
*** of the above on the Microsoft Network is strictly prohibited.
"Psychos do not EXPLODE when sunlight HITS THEM." Seth Geko, FromDuskTillDawn
"Hey, guys, you dropped the tag!", Natalie Lambert, _Forever Knight_


Eric Adam Smith

unread,
Mar 26, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/26/96
to
ma...@ards-council.gov.uk wrote:

: If you're into a little Celtic stuff you might try a trilogy of books


: by Stephen Lawhead.
: 'The Paradise War'
: 'The Silver Hand'
: 'The Endless Knot'

: They are not very into Spirits and stuff, just good strong fantasy,
: and quite believable.

A big second to this. Lawhead is one of the best fantasy novelists
around, and definetly the best when it comes to Celtic fantasy. Also, if
you like _Song of Albion_, the aforementioned series, then you'll *love*
Lawhead's _Pendragen Cycle_:

"Taliesin"
"Merlin"
"Arthur"
"Pendragon"

--
Eric Adam Smith
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia, 30332
uucp: ...!{decvax,hplabs,ncar,purdue,rutgers}!gatech!prism!gt6699b
Internet: gt6...@prism.gatech.edu

Klaus Ole Kristiansen

unread,
Mar 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/27/96
to
tre...@ncweb.com (Sue & Ian) writes:

>>: I think her name was Danu,
>Yep. She was the river-Goddess of the Danube and Don, in the days when the
>celts were in central Europe.

The four main rivers running into the Black Sea are Donau (called Danube
in English), Dnjepr, Dnjestr, and Don.

Danmark means "borders of Dan", BTW. The borders (and thus country) of
the Danes? But where does Dane come from then? The usual explanation
given is that dan is an old word for marsh. However, the river goddess
can not be rules out as the source of this name. So maybe we are the
Tuatha De Danaan?

Klaus O K

@#$%!?!

unread,
Mar 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/27/96
to
: in English), Dnjepr, Dnjestr, and Don.

: Danmark means "borders of Dan", BTW. The borders (and thus country) of

*deAnu "river; flowing" > Don, Danube, etc

*dan is a germanic/n european root "low ground". Since the expected
derivation is IE *deAnu > Germ *ta:nw, it is unlikely *dan and *deAnu
are related.
--
A haggard king with hungerred sigh | smr...@netcom.com PO Box 1563
awaits the one who wanders nigh. | Cupertino, California
With royal robe and ruined globe, | (xxx)xxx-xxxx 95015
this phantom casts a fearful lie. | I don't use no smileys

Bill Seurer

unread,
Mar 27, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/27/96
to
Rarely does anyone invent anything completely new. "Standing on the
shoulders of giants" and all that.
--

- Bill Seurer ID Tools and Compiler Development IBM Rochester, MN
Business: BillS...@vnet.ibm.com Home: BillS...@aol.com

Paul MacFralane

unread,
Mar 28, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/28/96
to
Several of the best works of 'chilidrens' fantasy, have a vague Celtic
nature to them methinks, susan coopers work, starting with the dark is
rising is excellent and has a strong arthurian component. Alan Garners
the weirdstone of brisinghamon (I think) and one or 2 other books in the
same cycle, are also vaguley celtic. A superb Celtic myth set out in a
form which could be mistaken for modern fantasy is Rosemary Suttcliff's
the Hound of Ulster, which is absolutley brilliant (just like all her
other stuff-try the legions books-Eagle of the Ninth, the Silver Branch,
The Lantern Bearers and Dawn wind, not fantasy, but brilliant anyway)

Dr.Strangeglove-Nothing Explains a lot

BEN H ROSE

unread,
Mar 29, 1996, 3:00:00 AM3/29/96
to
In article <4jau8u$q...@odin.diku.dk> kl...@diku.dk (Klaus Ole Kristiansen) writes:
>From: kl...@diku.dk (Klaus Ole Kristiansen)
>Subject: Re: Celtic Mythology and Folklore (was Re: Marion Zimmer Bradley (was Re: Fathers of Fantasy (was Re: The Wheel of Time and Tolkien)))
>Date: 27 Mar 1996 08:29:18 GMT

>tre...@ncweb.com (Sue & Ian) writes:

>Danmark means "borders of Dan", BTW. The borders (and thus country) of

>the Danes? But where does Dane come from then? The usual explanation
>given is that dan is an old word for marsh. However, the river goddess
>can not be rules out as the source of this name. So maybe we are the
>Tuatha De Danaan?

>Klaus O K

Um, sorry, this has nothing to do with the thread, but could you tell me what
Tuatha means (in the context you used above)? If you have read The Wheel of
Time by Robert Jordan you should know why I am asking. :)

smi...@cwv.net

unread,
Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
to
John Osborne <jo...@kami.demon.co.uk> wrote:

>In article <Do0ED...@put.com> Louis Epstein wrote:
>> Michael Martinez (mma...@basis.com) wrote:
><snip>

>> : The Sidhe are said by some to have been derived from the Tuatha Da
>Danaan > : ("people of the goddess Danaan", IIRC). This was an ancient

>race supposed to> > I think her name was Danu,"Danaan" is some form of
>conjugation

>If I recall correctly, Tuatha de Danaan comes out as "The People who's
>Goddess is the daughter of Dana(u)". No decent references available I'm
>afraid.

>Regards

>John O--John Osborne jo...@kami.demon.co.uk
> Alle kunst is umsonst wenn ein Engel in das zundloch prunst

I'm sorry, but I miss the association with Marion Zimmer Bradley. I
would be verry interested in seeing a newsgroup discussion concerning
The Lady of the Lake, and other works of Ms Bradley.


John Osborne

unread,
Apr 9, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/9/96
to
In article <4k8npn$3...@ns1.cwv.net> smi...@cwv.net wrote:
> John Osborne <jo...@kami.demon.co.uk> wrote:> > >If I recall correctly,
Tuatha de Danaan comes out as "The People who's > >Goddess is the daughter
of Dana(u)". No decent references available I'm > >afraid.
> I'm sorry, but I miss the association with Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Possibly because this thread changed name from 'MZB' to 'Celtic Mythology'
on March 7th?

> I would be verry interested in seeing a newsgroup discussion concerning>
The Lady of the Lake, and other works of Ms Bradley.

Can't help, I'm afraid. This is mostly (;-) ) a JRRT ng.

Regards

John O
--

Jerome S. Colburn

unread,
Apr 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/12/96
to
Tuatha (Too-a-ha) D[e with acute accent] Danann (one a, two n's)
"Peoples of the God[dess] Danu (would be Dana in later Irish)"

--
Jerome S. and Jeannette E. H. Colburn
jsco...@prairienet.org


Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages