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JRR Tolkien --> RJ ideas


SonAr
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Ok i know and love the trilogy, it was like a bible for fantasy series, and all writers after Tolkien have to use his ideas to some extent. Its very hard to have some new ideas about creatures (dwars,gnomes etc.) , magic and evil vs. bad. Some writers manage very well, one of them is RJ in my opinion. His world is very original and i fell in love with it. But a few things which are just to simillar piss me off. For example:

 

-Two rivers tobacco.... - Hmm shire pipe-weed anyone?

-Rand,perrin,Mat - Frodo,sam,PIPPIN(Perrin?!!),merry

-Small town with with a farmer growin weed who is scared to travel and doesnt want to leave his home town (Frodo-Rand)

-A wizard comes to town to put a great adventure unto the poor guy (Gandalf-Moiraine)

-A last king of a former great nation who is a great swordsman (Lan - Aragorn)

-Dark One aka Lord of the Dark umm... Dark Lord Melkor anyone???

-Obviously The Creator and the fight Dark-Light

-Trollocs humans turned into monsters... - Orcs elves turned into monsters

::)

zZzz you can find the rest yourselves

 

Now just wondering what the all explaining forum trolls will think of to prove me wrong  ;D

 

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Actually, I don't think anyone is going to try and prove you wrong. RJ himself said he used similarities to Tolkien so that readers had a familiar place to join the story.  :)

 

Where he went from there is what differentiates him from JRRT. He created a world and a story that most assuredly hold their own compared with other fantasy works.

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I would'nt dispute that many of RJ's inital characters were modeled after JRR Tolkien's concepts , but the differences end Immediately after the EoTw.

 

Find me a parallel to Elaida , Cadsuane , Logain , Mazrim Taim , Suroth , Tuon , Aviendha or Sevenna , for example . Granted , many of RJ's Ideas toom after Tolkien , and it did acted as the fundemental , but I am of the opinion that RJ went several steps beyond , creating characters , scenario's and plot arcs several levels more complex than Tolkien's works.

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Interview SFBC - December 2000

SFBC: I read somewhere that The Wheel of Time series has been described as Tolkien-esque ...was this intentional?

RJ: In the beginning, I wanted a little bit -- at the beginning of The Eye of the World, I wanted a little bit of a Tolkien-esque feel. For perhaps the first 100 pages, I wanted to have that feel simply to establish that this is the foundation. Tolkien began so much of modern fantasy. Not all of it comes from him certainly, but The Lord of the Rings is this huge mountain casting a shadow over everything. Then, having said this is what you expect and this is the familiar ground, now, kiddies, we're going someplace else.

Besides which show me any similarities with JRR after tEoW?

 

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Most of you missed my point - RJ put a lot of original ideas into WOT (Which got copied without any shame by Goodking btw) but the thing that i dont like is outright spottable similarities. I mean couldn't Rand be a stonemason and two rivers export marble instead of tobacco?

I dont like things which are in my opinion borrowed word by word.

 

As for RJ's opinion written by Cadsuande... If he really said so, OMG his lamest idea ever. One thing is to base the languages in your book on old greek or latin,base runes on viking runes and getting monotheistic cults as Children of the light copied from christianity, but totally another is coping another fantasy authors ideas. It just shouldnt be done, when you want to write a good book.

 

Oh yes one more thing SHAME ON YOU GOODKIND!

I can forgive coping from tolkien as he was the first and greatest in inventing the fantasy world. But coping from RJ is just damn sad and pathetic.

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I'll try and put it another way, High school or college classes might be assigned a topic to do a report.  Now maybe the whole class is assigned that one topic or several people in the class pick similar topics.  Now some or all of the students have the same basic ideas and may use the same sources.  The teacher is looking to see where those people with similar topics and sources went with them.  Now the object is to make them dissimilar enough so it is not plagarism.  Like a report on the U.S. Revolutionary war, we know when it started, George washington was the general, etc.  Same with WOT, it's not how you start or how you end, it's what you do on the journey.  my two cents

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I understand what your concerns are and why you started this post, but thats just modern fantasy for you...alot of stories in the same genre have a similar feel to it.

 

Its like Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, which is considered to be similar to an "Arthurian Tale," yet it is its own very unique and original story.

 

Although you can draw a few simple parallels, like the ones mentioned above, the stories couldn't be more different.

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-Small town with with a farmer growin weed who is scared to travel and doesnt want to leave his home town (Frodo-Rand)

<snip>

-Dark One aka Lord of the Dark umm... Dark Lord Melkor anyone???

-Obviously The Creator and the fight Dark-Light

 

Firstly, Frodo wasn't a homebody farmer, he was a wealthy aristocrat who traveled frequently and thought (up until he was forced to leave by the Nazgul) that his neighbors could do with a bit more of the wide world stopping by to say hi. In fact, the only similarity between him and Rand is that both were rural folk who picked up a very heavy responsibility.

 

Perrin's name is widely noted to be based on the Russian Perun, despite any similarity to the name Pippin, whose character he has nothing in common with. Of all the hobbits, he's most like Sam, but if you're really dead-set on accusing Jordan of plagiarism, Perrin is really more of a better-developed version of Eddings' Durnik. And god forbid our poor hero should have some friends to tow along with him.

 

And, um, "Dark Lord" is hardly a title exclusive to Tolkien. Neither is the concept of an evil overlord, or of a battle between Good and Evil.

 

The Uncrowned King is a bit harder to immediately dismiss, but also not without precedent prior to Tolkien. Fairy tales are full of people who turn out to be royalty.

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The Uncrowned King is a bit harder to immediately dismiss, but also not without precedent prior to Tolkien. Fairy tales are full of people who turn out to be royalty.

 

Yet still different since Aragorn had a throne...he just wasn't occupying it.  Lan's entire kingdom and people (besides remnants) are gone.  Personally, I read LotR because it was LotR.  If it wasn't such a well known revered series, I probably never would have kept reading it as the story isn't all that developed (especially compared to WoT), the love between Sam and Frodo is a little too close, and the story isn't that interesting in the end. WoT and aSoIaF are much better to read IMHO.

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I also believe that the Lord of the Rings wasnt that good. I think that  the story is too cut and dry and underdeveloped, and the wording makes it very hard to get into. As for the similarities between it and WoT, I think that the first 10 or so chapters are very alike, but after that, there completely different

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It's important to note that Tolkein wasn't writing fantasy. His aim was to create a mythology for modern England as it didn't have one. Having studied Celtic, Norse and Old English languages and myths, and realising that England had no mythology beyond that of King Arthur - unlike Ireland, Wales or Scotland for example - he decided to write one. The term "fantasy" came later and was attributed to those writers who were influenced by Tolkein's style and created their own imaginary worlds.

 

Tolkein was a linguist; his interest was in creating a vehicle for developing his languages. His story structure was based on that of a mediaeval romance, such as Mallory's work or other tales of chivalry and derring-do that were popular in the Middle Ages. These stories would begin with a group of people setting off on a quest, then the group would split up and separate characters would get their own story arcs, then at the end the group would be reunited.

 

So, if we are to accuse RJ (or any other fantasy writer of plagiarism), then we should accuse Tolkein of the same, of plundering Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic languages and myths, and even of plundering the most ancient pre-historic myths because almost every culture in history has tales of the battles between good and evil.

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Tolkein was a linguist; his interest was in creating a vehicle for developing his languages. His story structure was based on that of a mediaeval romance, such as Mallory's work or other tales of chivalry and derring-do that were popular in the Middle Ages.

 

Sadly, that doesn't make LotR anymore interesting.

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It's important to note that Tolkein wasn't writing fantasy. His aim was to create a mythology for modern England as it didn't have one. Having studied Celtic, Norse and Old English languages and myths, and realising that England had no mythology beyond that of King Arthur - unlike Ireland, Wales or Scotland for example - he decided to write one. The term "fantasy" came later and was attributed to those writers who were influenced by Tolkein's style and created their own imaginary worlds.

 

Tolkein was a linguist; his interest was in creating a vehicle for developing his languages. His story structure was based on that of a mediaeval romance, such as Mallory's work or other tales of chivalry and derring-do that were popular in the Middle Ages. These stories would begin with a group of people setting off on a quest, then the group would split up and separate characters would get their own story arcs, then at the end the group would be reunited.

 

Ummm........Not to be too much of a contrarian here.....but Tolkien actually wasn't trying to do anything when he wrote these books.... He pretty much wrote The Hobbit (which was originally going to be titled There and Back again, but was later changed) on a whim and due to its success, he decided to write a sequel. While the excerpt below doesn't go into this much detail, once the idea of a "Hobbit" popped into this head, it became the basis for bedtime stories for his children and thereafter he was convinced to put it down onto paper. While it would be nice to think that he was setting out on a mission of great literarily intentions...it was purely "accidental" :)

 

A lot of people have a hard time reading TLOTR, especially after reading modern fantasy novels or series. Not only was it written about 3 generations ago, but it was written by an English scholar and some people don't feel that it flows nicely compared to modern day literature.

 

What motivated Tolkien to write The Hobbit?

It was the summer of some time early in the 1930's when Tolkien was marking school exam papers, and as he turned to a page that was left blank, for no particular reason he scribbled "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit" on the blank sheet. He didn't know what it was then, but being a scholar, he decided to investigate the story behind it. Tolkien later told of his discovery to his children and friends. The feedback was welcoming, and Tolkien was encouraged to finish the story and to have it published.

 

What motivated Tolkien to write The Lord of the Rings?

The creation of The Lord of the Rings was due to the welcoming popularity of The Hobbit. When Tolkien's publishers asked for a sequel of more hobbits, Tolkien was at first confused, because he thought he had no more ideas. But after some discussion with his family and friends, he took up his pen and started what was to last 12 years of writing.

 

What motivated Tolkien to write The Silmarillion?

The earliest chapters of The Silmarillion were written in as early as 1916, when Tolkien was saddened by the environment and the deaths of his friends, and soon afterwards, as a result, he started transforming his feelings and experience into mythology.

 

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Personally I always thought the Myrddraal were kinda like the Nazgul, at least in first couple of books, when they were still badass. The Seanchans have always reminded me somewhat of the Tsuranuanni (rift war). Eastern names, empire, suddenly arriving, ect, ect.

 

Anyway, as the series has expanded it doesn't have much resemblance anymore, unless Shaidar Haran steals a  raken and comes flying to the Last Battle.  :D

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Why does everyone always hate on the Silmarillion?  I hear people talking about it like it's a post-Herbert Dune book.  Personally, I didn't think it was so bad.  Boring as hell, but that's about it.  Then again, I always took it to be more of a collection of Tolkien's notes compiled by his son to make a complete history/mythology of Middle Earth as opposed to actually being a novel.

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I actually never managed to finish the first half of the first book of tLotR. His style just put me off. Considering that I picked it up after reading tWoT, I found Jordan's series much more entertaining, and I could not understand what all the fuss was about (it was during the movie release period).

 

The reason for that , is becouse J.R.R wrote his books 60 years ago, and the first editions were stylized on old english. I read the first few editions of the trilogy, and as english isn't my first language, it was a sour pickle to swallow. But still i liked it very much. Mostly becouse it was the first (after hobbit) fantasy book i read. Tolkien's writting and ideas can be boring, when you pick up his books after watching the movie, and after reading many other more recent author's books. The fuss is becouse he is the creator of modern fantasy. Without his influence all of the new fantasy books,games,movies would be totally different. And also when you read simmarilion, you'll see that the consistency of his mythology is overhelming. He created a mythology, of which ancient greeks could be proud. So thats why tolkien is such a big deal.

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Comparing RJ to Tolkien, that's like comparing LeGuine to McCraffrey. They just don't have the same styles and so on.

 

Tolkien was a master of these great literary epics in the style of the old stories. LOTR is the second most READ book in the western Hemisphere after the bible, and still is. Some people are put off by the Simarillion, but I find that after reading it, I understood the historical overtones of LOTR more.

 

Some things that people DO NOT pick up on in LOTR. It's mythos and lore are VERY complex and there are things even today I wonder about. Did anyone know that the Nazgul exist within a world, where elves supposedly appear as great beacons of light?

 

When I read about Rand in the later series of WoT, I really honestly don't care for him. I prefer Lan, because he's more human and seems to have a good head on his shoulder. When I hear "The Golden Craine flies for Tarmon Gaidon" I am reminded of when Hurin cried "Day SHALL COME" in the face of the destruction of Dorthonion.

 

Then again, I'm a literary major and jus tlove good writing.

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Why does everyone always hate on the Silmarillion?  I hear people talking about it like it's a post-Herbert Dune book. 

 

I've actually been pretty satisfied with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's efforts. The writing isn't totally up to par with the originals, but it was nice to get a comprehensive background story for the Butlerian Jihad. The newest ones, the sequels to the original series, are even better than the prequels, IMO. Frank Herbert outlined the plots for them in pretty decent detail before his death, and they mesh perfectly with the original series.

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@Sonar: I do not think the comparision between Tolkien and RJ does not make that much sense, either. tWOT is just a story of such a length with so menay deatils given that you will find 8 similar things in any other novel ;-).

 

Additionally: The Lord of the Rings is really much different from the Wheel of Time. I only watched the movie, but I did not like the overall plot. Well. I liked the first movie. It was a nice setup and anything could have followed. But the end is kinda lame. Actually a friend of mine proposed the theory that the Wheel of Time is about about world war 1. That would actually make sense sind Tolkien was involved as a soldier. The Orcs (=Germany) represent evil. My friend had matches for other partys in the story to real countries, but I forgot them :-(. Anyway: A major theme of the Lord of the Rings is mechanization. Mechanization does not come off very well. Just have a look athe the production of Orcs.

 

I realize that this paragraph is not structured very well and thus I stop here. I hope you got the idea. The characters in the Lord of the Rings fight to ward of changes. In the end of the story they have been successful and everything is just like it was when the story began. Ok, well, there is a new king and we know that the previous king was an asshole and a lot of characters changed due to their experience, but I am do not have the impression that something really important changed. At some point the war against the Orcs might repeat itself (it did! WW2! :-D) and the whole story starts over again and ... yeah... boring.

 

In the Wheel of Time the Characters are not fighting to prevent changes but actually to archieve changes. Ok, they also fight to prevent the Dark One from destroying the Wheel of Time, but overall the characters do pretty well in other parts as well. Think about the technological advance that is happening. They already got steam-engines and something that could be called the predessor of a truck :-D.

Emond's Field is changing. The village is growing and a wall is coming up around the wall.

Rand vs the high lords is another thing I really like. The high lords are always like "we have been doing this alway, we will continue to do so" and Rand is more like "Uhhh well... that is just toooo baaad". Or something like "who gives a shit what you have "always" been doing?". I always enjoy this. It applies to reality as well. There are just so many people in our world who are in a very good position (read as in "are rich, don't need to work that much") and fear changes because that would mean that they got to use their heads again to work out ways to keep the profits up. This is especcially true for politics. If there are new laws managers seem to prefer bribing the politicians rather than adopting to the new situation. And if I read stuff like that in the newspapers I wish to be Rand, so I could just say "sucks to be you" in the faces of people who complain because they are too lazy too adapt to changes that really make sense.

 

Sry, I am really deviating away from the topic. I think it is interesting though ;-).

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Most of you missed my point - RJ put a lot of original ideas into WOT (Which got copied without any shame by Goodking btw) but the thing that i dont like is outright spottable similarities. I mean couldn't Rand be a stonemason and two rivers export marble instead of tobacco?

I dont like things which are in my opinion borrowed word by word.

 

As for RJ's opinion written by Cadsuande... If he really said so, OMG his lamest idea ever. One thing is to base the languages in your book on old greek or latin,base runes on viking runes and getting monotheistic cults as Children of the light copied from christianity, but totally another is coping another fantasy authors ideas. It just shouldnt be done, when you want to write a good book.

 

Oh yes one more thing SHAME ON YOU GOODKIND!

I can forgive coping from tolkien as he was the first and greatest in inventing the fantasy world. But coping from RJ is just damn sad and pathetic.

 

The Two Rivers was inspired by the part of Carolina he lived in. Hence, exporting wool and tobacco, in place of cotton and tobacco.

 

The trinity-hero concept is one of the oldest human archetypes- Tolkien didn't create it, you know. Fact is, Tolkien had four heroes, not three. Egwene doesn't correspond to any of the holbytla. Nor does Merrilin.

 

No, the crossing the river, the Dark Riders searching, fleeing in the night- these things were all inspired by the LOTR, but that was deliberate.

 

It drives me absolutely insane when people claim every author borrowed from Tolkien, and then list the most trivial, shallow, surface similarities- since Tolkien didn't invent most of those either, and is no more innovative there then others! (Tolkien drew on mythology and folk stories). Many, many, many authors have. No question. But it's not like the LOTR was the firstest fantasty story EVERZ!!!111!!ONE!

 

EDIT: Having finished the thread:

 

Child is mainly correct as to Tolkien's goals- the extra bit is that Arthurian literature isn't peculiarly British, which is part of what offended Tolkien- it's overwhelmingly French in origin.

 

bj- You are half right as well: the reason Tolkien decided to publish another story was in part due to the success of the hobbit. His goal in writing- which he had done for years prior to the LOTR- and his specific goal in writing that story in specific- was to create a British mythology et al.

 

As regards the Silmarillion: It's a creation myth. It starts with God and the creation of the angels, details the rebellion of the Devil and the creation of Earth and the ordering of creatures within it.

 

Then it turns into a good fantasy story. But most people get hung up on the first part, not understanding that the LOTR is a complete mythology, not a roarin' good-times pulp fantasy book.

 

Oh, and on the Children: Yeah, in the AoL, it was monocultural. Things in Randland have overall tended that way. It's based on religious orders, true, and since the cultures are similar to the Western High Middle Ages, well, he based them on the religious orders of the High Middle Ages- which were Christian. I fail to see why you see them as based on Christians, though- it's a Manichean universe, so of course there will be similarities.

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Yankee wrote:

The characters in the Lord of the Rings fight to ward of changes. In the end of the story they have been successful and everything is just like it was when the story began. Ok, well, there is a new king and we know that the previous king was an asshole and a lot of characters changed due to their experience, but I am do not have the impression that something really important changed. At some point the war against the Orcs might repeat itself (it did! WW2! :-D) and the whole story starts over again and ... yeah... boring.

 

Yankee, you're actually way-off base here, but I understand, as you said you only saw the movies and didn't like them to boot. In LotR, everything changes, and it is not change that they spend their time fighting, is is annihilation by Sauron and his forces of evil. The movies do not end the way the books end, Yankee, so you have a mistaken view of what occurs. In the end, magic fades, the elves leave, the dwarves slip away into the hills, the Age of Man is dawning, and the Shire is irrevocably ruined by industrialization.

 

I thought the Silmarillion was disappointing, but then, I read it hoping for a novel and as was pointed out, it was more a collection of notes strung together in story form.

 

Tolkien sucks when read after having been exposed to modern fantasy because, as was also pointed out, he ushered it in. It has evolved and been improved upon since then. If the story seems contrived (laughed when I read that), it's because most modern works are derivative of it in some fashion. Read some of Poe's short stories about mystery or horror some time and you'll quickly see what I mean. Compared to Agatha Christie, he sucks, yet without him, even had she written mysteries, they would have been much different, as they would have lacked the groundwork he laid. That's why the mystery writer awards are called Edgars and not Agathas.  ;)

Again, compare his horror stories to Stephen King's, and Poe comes up short in most people's judgments, but without Poe, or Shelley, or Stoker, we don't have Stephen King. If Stephen King writes horror without the foundation laid by Shelley, Stoker, and Poe, he writes something far less-sophisticated. To appreciate Poe, he needs to be read *before* King is read. Otherwise, he seems watered down and weak. If Poe is read first, however, then he is enjoyed as the master that he was, and furthermore, King is better appreciated, as the terrain of his stories is vaguely familiar, and yet landscaped magnificently. He has planted trees and shrubs on the burial mounds piled up by those who came before him, and the same holds true of Jordan. That's why WoT seems so superior to LotR if you read it first; LotR looks like bare hills without all the WoT trees.  ;)

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