Who invented the modern fantasy genre?

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at charter.net
Tue Aug 24 10:03:52 EDT 2004

On Tuesday, August 24, 2004, at 08:02  AM, Jadwiga Zajaczkowa / Jenne 
Heise wrote:

>> Personally I am still firmly in the camp of LOTR being almost 
>> completely
>> wonderful. It's hobbits I find rather tiring, if anything -- Tom 
>> Bombadil I am
>> very fond of, though I always tip this way and that at his first few 
>> embedded
>> rhymes, thinking, "Oh, dear, this is going to be dreadful," and then, 
>> as with
>> slightly cold water, I plunge straight in and like it after all. I 
>> didn't mind
>> not being in the films at all though, as no one would *ever* have 
>> gotten him
>> right, so what's the odds? Better gone than played by Robin Williams, 
>> I say.
>> I don't find that _The Hobbit_ holds up nearly as well (still a great 
>> book,
>> just that I now mutter about which bits need some serious editing -- 
>> not
>> shortening, but tightening and rearranging), which makes me more sure 
>> that I really
>> do like LOTR and it isn't just sentiment.
> Personally, I like the Hobbit and find LOTR tedious, though The Hobbit
> holds up better when read out loud-- if I listened to LOTR rather than
> read it, I might like it better. But the whole tenor of the series is
> dark -- shades of dark gray and dark tan.

Parts of LOTR _are_ wonderful when read aloud. I read the whole trilogy 
aloud to Mark as the movies approached and there were definitely 
sections that dragged (Bombadil, the Council, and--wow--it takes Sam 
and Frodo a long time to get from Shelob to the mountain!), but there 
were passages fabulous to read as well: all of Faramir and Frodo and 
Sam; the Birthday Party; Bree; Moria.

I highly recommend reading aloud to partners/spouses/older children. 
It's a wonderful, peaceful way of spending time together. It's allowed 
me to re-read things I'd decided I "didn't have the time for" because I 
wanted Mark to know these books. Our big favorite of the last couple 
years was Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. We just finished the 
5th Harry Potter book--not quite as wonderful as a read aloud - 
although you should listen to the audio version, it's wonderful--the US 
version is read by Jim Dale who does wonders with voices (especially 
Umbridge!), the UK version is ready by Stephen Fry I believe, though I 
haven't heard it.

We're moving on to either "Harriet the Spy" or "The Lion, the Witch, 
and the Wardrobe" next. I re-read the first chapter of LWW last night 
as an appetizer and was sucked right back in (despite Pullman).


Blessed Cecelia, appear in visions
To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle
Composing mortals with immortal fire.
W. H. Auden                                

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at charter.net
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