Who invented the modern fantasy genre?

Katarina Hjärpe head_overheels at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 22 13:41:38 EDT 2004

>From: "Dorian E. Gray" <israfel at eircom.net>
>Reply-To: dwj at suberic.net
>To: <dwj at suberic.net>
>Subject: Re: Who invented the modern fantasy genre?
>Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2004 17:19:38 +0100
>There are things to love about LOTR? (Sorry.)

I always get rather amazed when people have read LotR at an adult age for 
the first time and end up liking it. I love it, but mostly because I've read 
it since I was a kid and I subconsciously filter out the boring stuff. My 
attitude to the book on a non-emotional level is a bit like how William 
Goldman in The Princess Bride describes the full fairy tale: this is fun, 
this is boring, boring, boring, ah, here's some more of the fun stuff. What 
I'm reading will forever be the "good parts version".

But of course, what the good parts is, is different for everyone. I like the 
beginning, with Bilbo's birthday presents – the snarkiness of that always 
amused me. And I like Merry and Pippin once they've grown up to be more than 
comic relief. The part in the third book where Merry stumbles into the city 
and Pippin finds him is very moving to me... yeah, okay, so it's also slash 
waiting to happen, but since I didn't see that at eleven I think "very 
moving" will do. And I like Beregond and Bergil from that book, and the 
squibbling between the orcs, and Eowyn when she's not being a complete 
idiot, and Barliman, and Faramir when he's not playing the part of secondary 
Mary Sue, and Strider before he turned into Aragorn and became the *primary* 
Mary Sue...

In short, I like all the parts of the books that show simple human frailty, 
compassion, and humour. I've had a world of trouble with Tolkien fans, 
though, since most of *them* always seemed to like the elves, and I 
completely detest elves. In that sense, Peter Jackson's vision is much 
better – he *does* include the frailty and compassion and humour, even if he 
likes to smolder it with speeches and battles. (And he does wonders with the 
slashiness.) Furthermore, now that the films have come, there are more fans 
who actually notice that there are other and more fun races than elves.

But enough about Tolkien – he's nowhere near as much fun as some others, our 
DWJ included. :-)


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