J.R.R. Tolkien


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i think her books are obviously more childish as well and i think the films of lord of the rings has stopped some children from reading. When i was reading it i got some comments like why don't you just go and watch the film.

>>By christina   (Thursday, 31 Jul 2003 14:08)

Thnx, christina. But I actually first saw the movie, and then started to read the trilogy. To be honest, i kinda got infected by the movie. It has an astonishing affect on your fantasy. Luckily, I only saw the first movie before reading the books.

>>By Csongi   (Thursday, 31 Jul 2003 17:21)

same here but i think it helped seing the first movie because the first book i think it pretty hard to get to grips with i found it confusing at some points.

>>By christina   (Thursday, 31 Jul 2003 17:27)

Everybody I know is crazy about Harry Potter, so I read the books.
I found them quite boring, rather childish indeed.
The characters don't ring true to me, they seem flat.
For instance, Harry should be traumatized by the way he has been treated, but he doesn't act traumatized at all.
There were other discrepancies in the behaviour of characters.

I read Tolkien's books when I was a teenager, and couldn't get enough of them.
Those characters were my heroes.
The story is much more exciting, moving, even scary.
The story goes deeper, the characters are more profound.

I've read so many Fantasy novels since, some very good ones, that I don't understand what all the fuss with Harry Potter is about.

>>By Lethe   (Sunday, 3 Aug 2003 17:46)

Hey lethe where you been?

To be honest before the film came out i had never even heard of harry potter but i had heard about lord of the rings before the film came out.

>>By christina   (Sunday, 3 Aug 2003 18:17)

Uh-oh! Hi, guys! Fancy meeting you here! :o)

Personally, I don't think it's quite fair to compare HP to LotR. I enjoy both immensely, but to me it's like comparing a lump of coal to a polished diamond. The beauty of the diamond (LotR) definitely outshines the coal (HP), but if you need simple warmth, which would you choose? I think the HP books are an effective means of warming very young minds (frozen numb by video games and TV/movies) to the fantastic wonders of imagination. Once warmed, I think the fascinating beauty of LotR is even more appealing, intriguing, and satisfying.

I don't think JKR's books can compare to the depth, breadth, or dazzling beauty of JRRT's, but, in all fairness, I must add that I quite enjoy how her books are "maturing" -- particularly the way Order of the Phoenix has built off the darkening tone of Goblet of Fire.

>>By am-i-binned   (Sunday, 3 Aug 2003 20:39)

Hi guys :)

Maybe it's not fair comparing Rowling to Tolkien, but people do.
Maybe it's because both of them are so much in the picture right now.
A lump of coal is okay, I guess, but there are still lots of other gems around.
For instance, Stephen Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Weiss and Hickman's Deathgate series, everything by Jack Vance.
There no hype about them, but I find them way better than JKR's work.

Interesting that you say JKR's work is maturing.
I'll take a shot at Order of the Phoenix then (and reread GOF).
Ofcourse my children are crazy about HP, my daughter(16) is reading OOP in English because it's not yet available in Dutch, even though she hates anything that reeks of learning.
She borrowed it from her friend, who does not read anything except HP, and that many times.
The same goes for my son(14), who never reads unless he has to, he voluntarily read all HP's books :)
So there must be something to them.
It doesn't make him read more in general though.
So it didn't warm his young mind ;)

>>By Lethe   (Monday, 4 Aug 2003 01:30)

I despise Harry Pooter(that was totally unintentional, but I'll leave it because it made me laugh). JK Rowling is a joke compared to Tolkien. Her writing doesn't do a thing for me. Not enough description. The characters are dull, and her writing is boring. Its like the characters don't have a personality. Come on people, lets learn to recognize some good writing here. I think Pooter(hehehe) is fine for younger kids if it gets them to read. But the fact that adults are going out and buying this book and reading it over and over again just makes me want to puke. Its a waste of time and money.

>>By PurpleHaze   (Monday, 4 Aug 2003 06:20)

Yeah I think you're right about the characters.
But is it really that bad?
At least they're reading something.
And it keeps'em of the streets ;)

>>By Lethe   (Tuesday, 5 Aug 2003 00:18)

lol, Lethe. But, sincerely, the Lord of the rings trilogy is one of the most well-written books ever. My opinion is shared by a lot of my literature teachers. And it's not that symbolic. The characters are everything human would like to be. For example, if someone feels as heavenly, as an elf, he can find his "dwarf-side" in the story. Everything is about maybe long forgoten dreams or passions.

>>By Csongi   (Wednesday, 6 Aug 2003 13:12)

Hey AIB!

I did read all the harry potter books and enjoyed them a little, i do think her writing style is improving and will read the next book to see how she has improved. It's just a shame there are no more Lord of the rings books!

>>By christina   (Friday, 8 Aug 2003 13:06)

Yes, Tolkien is wonderful.
I was crazy about Lord of the Rings when I read it for the first time, couldn't stop reading, and I read it many times after.
I don't know what you mean by long forgotten dreams and passions though.
Yes, maybe we all have some dwarf- and elf sides.
And warrior sides.
I always wanted to be Legolas, I even took up archery for a while.

But I identified most with Frodo and his fearful journey, how brave he had to be, unused as he was to any kind of adventure.
He is also a symbol to me of the strength and importance of the weak and small, he who seems weakest of all in the end saves Middle Earth.
Makes me think of "The meek shall inherit the earth."
Also I identified with Eowyn and her unrequited love.

I was afraid when Frodo was afraid, I was sad when Eowyn was sad, and I cried when Gandalf died.
If that happens it must be a good book.

It is not as exciting to me as it once was.
The world has changed, or maybe I have changed, and what happens in this world is so much more gruesome than anything Tolkien could have invented.
To think that once I found the Ringwraiths such horrors.
I didn't know enough about war then.
Oh well, I was only fifteen.

Hope you don' t think I'm being too morbid.

>>By Lethe   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 00:12)

If you really like Tolkien and want todelve deep into the history and mytholgy of Middle Earth, it is really worthwhile starting from the Book Of Lost Tales 1 and then, moving through the whole sequence. It takes a long time and, is a bit of hard work but, at the end of the day, well worth it. It gives you a sense of what mythology in the deep, old history of the world was. A different world, mysterious and exciting. It's well worth the effort.

And yes, JK Rowling is for kindergarten.

>>By Rajiv   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 03:31)

Rowlings books are aimed at younger children, though enjoyed by adults and as such the language and concepts are not particularly elevated or complicated. Tolkiens books are far more sophisticated in terms of plot, character and language. I enjoy both. I don't think Rowling is a particularly clever writer but she pulls it off somehow. Perhaps she is stunted by the restrictions placed upon her by a juvenile audience. I don't know, but I still enjoy both. But the best thing about it is this.....there were children, in this day and age, QUEUEING to buy books. Children who were allowed to stay up late and QUEUED at BOOKSHOPS at midnight. Children are reading it every where, on buses, on trains, in the playground and INSTEAD of watching television. In this day and age when computer games and television rule I think that's admirable, what's more I think Tolkien would approve.

>>By Pearlie   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 13:33)

Well, I agree to that comment about making kids read. If she has really achieved that, then Rowling has definitely achieved something. Maybe, someday some of the kids who read Rowling will graduate to Tolkien. If so, that would be a big favour she would be doing to the reading world.

>>By Rajiv   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 14:30)

I fully expect Rajiv, that , as you say, many children will graduate onto Tolkien. There really isn't any reason for readers of the two to be opposed.......it may be Rowling who has stimulated their imagination but who knows where that will lead?

>>By Pearlie   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 23:11)

Yes, I think you're right.
My son reads JKR and nothing else,it hasn't stimulated him to read more, but since my daughter finished Order of the Phoenix she's really hungry for other books again.
I'm glad children are discovering reading again through JKR.

>>By Lethe   (Thursday, 14 Aug 2003 23:33)

I agree with both of you in that, there is no saying where their imagination will lead them. And, it's impossible to force anything onto any one. But, in this day and age, we do seek instant gratification. Which is why the general fascination for computer games and TV. So, maybe a few of those who read JKR will move onto JRRT. That would be interesting indeed. Mythology is really fascinating and Tolkien has drwan from a lot of old mythology to create his own. What's more, if you go through all the books, you will find an amazing history woven into the books and, all the elements connect with each other beautifully.

>>By Rajiv   (Saturday, 16 Aug 2003 07:05)

JRRT and JKR write totally different types of stories. I like both. I fell in love with LotR's when I was ... younger. :) I read The Hobbit and LotR's once a year, usually starting in September. He created a lovely universe.

I've enjoyed HP too and am looking forward to the next couple of books that will finish out the series. I don't think the characters are flat. Indeed, I like the people they are very much. They're approachable, even the not-so-nice ones.

>>By Dare   (Monday, 18 Aug 2003 03:26)

Thank you J.r.r Tolkien for righting the Harry Potter books! I love these books so much. They are so much easier to read than books with facts and stuff like that in them! House elves are so cool I wish I could have one. I Wish i wasn't a muggle so I could go to wizzard school too. The only thing i don't get is why Harry decided to drive the flying car in the Sorceror's Stoned. He can't possibly be old enough to have a licence. Please Mr. Tolkien please do not encourage underage driving!

>>By piearesquared   (Wednesday, 20 Aug 2003 05:46)

Well,well, well defence of Potter!! Frankly, I do believe that, while Potter may be entertaining, he/Rowling lacks depth.

It's like a modern day series of Enid Blyton books in a magical setting. That's about it. Many of us, when we were kids used to dream of sorcerors and kings and, here you have sorcerers and professors!! It's good entertainment but, would you seriously put this on the same level as Tolkien??

>>By Rajiv   (Thursday, 21 Aug 2003 03:20)

i tried reading this book but it just got so boring i couldn't take it but i do like the movies

>>By Alkalinetrio540   (Thursday, 21 Aug 2003 03:27)

what did you get upto?

>>By christina   (Thursday, 21 Aug 2003 13:25)


Re: different levels of lit

I do put Harry Potter on the same level as JRRT's Lord of the Rings:

1) They are both nicely written fantasy. :)

Both being fantasy, I put them with other books from that genre. They share space with The Little Prince by St. Exupery, Sabriel by Garth Nix, Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, etc.

I know, I know. Many of us think that JRRT, at least, deserves far more credit, but we can find people on both sides of the fence as far as who is the better writer. Some find JRRT boring in the extreme. They think his use of language is antiquated and pretentious, that his characters are, at best, 2 dimensional and his plotline is oversimplified. I've heard the same thing said of JKR; that her writing is boring, her use of language is overly common or familiar, her characterizations are flat, and plotline is poorly constructed. I don't happen to agree with either assessment, but will concede they may have valid points when critiquing both bodies of work, based on their opinions.

I like JKR's work. It's refreshing and accessible. It's a delightful trip out of this plain-Jane, Muggle world into one where cars can be made to fly, owls deliver mail, they play rugby in the sky (Quidditch seems very rugby-like, especially when Slytherin is playing ;)).... I want a house-elf to come live with me.

It reminds me of when I first read The Hobbit and so wanted to meet and make friends with one. My painful childhood revelation was that hobbits didn't truly exist and I would never meet one. I cried for weeks. My father was quite irritated over the fuss. ;)

(I have since come to grips with the fact I will never have a house-elf of my very own. *sniff, sniff*)

2) IMHO, British writers seem to handle language in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. While JRRT and JKR both have very different styles, their work reads like music. But comparing different writers from such different times and backgrounds is like comparing Rimsky-Korsakov to Queen or Elvis Presley to Andrea Bocelli. (Though they are all wonderful to listen to if you like that sort of thing.)

3) JKR's good vs. evil is just as compelling as JRRT's. They both involve a world that would become enslaved to an evil dictator that feels he is entitled to rule by virtue of his superiority.

I think both stories show readers that there is power to change things with cleverness, loyalty, friendship, learning, sacrifice, and the occassional battle or sorceror's staff or stone.

4) Mostly I put them on the same level because they perform the same function for me. Their books are charming friends with delightful stories to tell.

>>By Dare   (Friday, 22 Aug 2003 19:07)

Wow!! Dare, that was pretty persuasive stuff. But, I still have to disagree on some basic issues. Rowling is pure fantasy. Pure and simple. Her source is, to my mind, the magic stories that we have read about when we were kids and, have put them into a modern day context. Her sucess, or, the success of her marketers, is to have made her books generally very popular.

In the case of Tolkien, the source is mythology and ancient language. His creation is far deeper. His creation of a different world, with it's own history that is so consistent in itself, his creation of the Middle Earth languages and geography is so ambitious in it's scope, and so successful that you cannot put them on the same platform.

His writig style suits the books and is consistent with the generation in which he lived. Well drwan out characters? Well, for that you have to go to the older writers again - like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Dickens, Mann, Premchand(from my country). Modern day characters, especially in modern day fiction are normally one dimensional.

What do you say?

>>By Rajiv   (Saturday, 23 Aug 2003 03:18)

wow, aib &co are going to make the JRRT board alive... next time we'll be up to 50+ pages, right?

>>By trident   (Thursday, 11 Sep 2003 00:03)

Sorry Rajiv,

I have been really busy lately and forgot to check this board. :P I'm in the middle of hematology classes and have obviously lost too much blood lately! :)

I do have a reply for you but it's long and I'm typing it up in wordprocessor for ease. I've tried to put it together a couple of times but gotten logged off before I finished. :P Anyway.... will reply on your post soon. :)

>>By Dare   (Thursday, 11 Sep 2003 04:03)

Tolkien describes Middle Earth as if he had been there, he must have a huge fantasy to create so many charactars and places, or he must have travelled hyperfysically to Ea, I don't know, he is fantastic.

>>By Throges   (Wednesday, 17 Sep 2003 14:28)

Wow! Tolkien has plenty of fans. I just jioned this site to discuse the works of orsen scott card. However, his following is not quit this strong so if any of u have read his books maybe ud like to look in to the topics, or perhaps start a discusion or somthin. I dout u would be missed in this forum Tolkien fans are very well represented.

>>By lord belac   (Thursday, 23 Oct 2003 02:21)

I have to agree with everyone that JRR Tolkein is brilliant. Having read a lot of modern fantasy - have any of you read modern fantasy like David Gemmel or Raymond E Feist? - he is still the best in the business, having started the business in the first place. JRR stands for John Ronald Reuben, I think. Not only was he one of the greatest, if not the greatest, authors in English history he is also one of the best philologists of all time; that's a studier of language, if you don't know. He created three or so languages when he was a kid and the Silmarilion is the history of the Elvish languages - that's the origins, I think. Lord of the Rings is still the greatest good vs evil story ever. Tolkein is brilliant!

>>By Rich666   (Monday, 27 Oct 2003 18:48)

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