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Posts tagged “Tolkien

Fantasy World Building. J.R.R. Tolkien

 

The vision and imagination behind The Lord of the Rings is hard to fathom. Written in 1937, The Hobbit was the first of Tolkien’s works within this series. The three remaining books followed over a span of twelve years. Tolkien gave me my first real taste of what high fantasy can be.

The Balrog, as seen in Peter Jackson's The Lor...

The Balrog, as seen in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

World building. It isn’t easy. Writers must create rules for their world to abide by, scenery perhaps never seen before, and creatures of vivid imagination. With fantasy comes conflict, and with conflict comes action. Action that makes sense, flows smoothly, and can hopefully be seen within a readers own imagination.

This can be the most difficult part of writing. Recreating the images we have created in our minds into words on paper. Words that resonate with the reader.

I see all my stories in my minds eye. Similar I’d say to a film reel. Scenes rush by in my head and try to catch them, and write them down.

Here is one of my favorite LOR scenes:

“The Balrog reached the bridge. Gandalf stood in the middle of the span, leaning on the staff in his left hand, but in his other hand Glamdring gleamed, cold and white. His enemy halted again, facing him, and the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. It raised the whip, and the thongs whined and cracked. Fire came from the nostrils. But Gandalf stood firm.

‘You cannot pass,’ he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. ‘I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udun. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.’

“….Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog‘s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into the emptiness.

With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.” ~LOR, The Fellowship Of The Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

**Here is the film scene:

Rarely do I think that movies hold a candle of the magic that books do. Especially when recreating a classic such as LOR. LOR however, is one of my exceptions. There is as much to learn from this series of films as there is to learn from the series of books. Both are incredible.

Having trouble writing action, creating worlds? Read some Tolkien, and remember to keep it clean and concise.

Related article: Fantasy World Building — Thanks To Star Wars and Legend

 


Behind the Black Screen

I received a beautiful Charles Dickens hardback for Christmas, complete with five novels. Oliver Twist, A Tale Of Two Cities, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol (my all time favorite) and Great Expectations. The weight alone, 1483 pages, is impressive. The gilded pages and heavy dark cover indicate it’s value and overall worth in a time far past.

I also received an iPhone 4gs and with it, a storm of headaches. Half of my iTunes library, to which consists of over one thousand songs, got wiped out. Panic was quickly replaced by anger, replaced by heartbreak. My music. I can’t put into words how important it is to me. How would I replace it all? How would I even remember all of it?

An illustrated copy of Tolkien‘s The Hobbit, a hugely scaled hardback encased behind glass at a local bookstore, spoke to me. It was probably two feet in width and height, under lock and key. I wanted it the second I saw it, untouched and unowned. Books like these are treasures and meant to be treasured and adored. Now it seems they are a dying breed. I bought the book in all it’s 1977 glory.

I’m reading the fourth book in the George R. R. Martin series, A song of Fire and Ice, A Feast for Crows. I’ve been downloading them one by one onto my Nook. It occurred to me over the holidays just how upset I would be if this series, a sure to be classic in its own right, was somehow lost behind the black screen. Irretrievable. Like my music.

If I lost my novels, these treasures of mine — the thought makes me ill. I love the ease and convenience of my Nook. But what about my Dickens, my Tolkien? Is it the same if I have downloaded copies of these masterpieces?

Here’s the glitch with technology. Everything can get backed up, copied, protected. But like with my music, there are no guarantees. And even if there were, is it the same when these legendary authors are hidden behind the black screen? Not for me it isn’t. The history gets lost somewhere in the technology for me. I need the paper for these stories to remain alive and true. Weight, storage, inconvenience — all of those reasons we have to stop buying paper and start downloading —  I agree with. Until we start messing with the classics. I’ll take those in all their hardback glory.