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Reading Eragon into it

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Postby Prince Imdol » Mon Nov 17, 2008 3:24 am

Formendacil wrote:
Prince Imdol wrote:Tolkien and Lewis are the fathers of modern day medieval fantasy. Tolkien was inspired by Lewis, and Lewis was probably inspired by Christianity or something similar to that.


I'd really advise, Prince Imdol, against making blanket statements about subjects other people are incredibly nerdy about, since it only tends to rile us up. Tolkien was writing fantasy before he ever met Lewis (1916, he was writing the Book of Lost Tales, it wasn't until the 20s that they met). Lewis definitely took inspiration from his Christian faith, but he was enamoured of the Norse mythologies and the fantasy stories of George Macdonald before he converted, so Christianity was a late-comer to his inspirational sources.

Prince Imdol wrote:It's hard to write a fantasy medieval story without having it be similar in some way to Tolkien.


Quite frankly, I'm getting tired of everyone pointing out the obvious here... that Tolkien was a major landmark in the history of fantasy fiction, and therefore, obviously, everything must be connected to him in some way.

This irks me because authors have borrowed concepts and ideas from each other as long there have been writers that knew each other. It's fine to say that everything goes back to Tolkien, except then you're ignoring all of Tolkien's sources. Why not just say everything goes back to Homer? It does, you know...


I realize that Formandacil, and as I do not know much about their sources, you're probably right. However, I think it is common knowledge that a lot of modern day medieval fantasy tales are inspired by Tolkien.

Tolkien was inspired by Lewis, and I think its pretty obvious in many parts of his books. For instance, his Ents. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, I believe that there are walking trees. (Not referring to the movie).

Ultimately, you could say everything goes back to the Bible, as that is one of the first, (if not the first) book to be written. While I am not totally sure of that, I think we can all agree the it's old enough. :lol:

The Odyssey and the Illiad are not fantasy books simply because, when they were written, people actually believe in those gods and godesses. While Odysseus, and Achilles were fictional characters, they do not turn those books into fantasy books. They were probably just considered something similar to our version of "fiction".

I guess I should shut up, as I don't want to get anybody mad, or make anybody feel attacked.


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Postby JoshWedin » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:07 am

Wow. There is so much I could say here. I will try to limit myself to a couple of statements.

Prince Imdol wrote:However, I think it is common knowledge that a lot of modern day medieval fantasy tales are inspired by Tolkien.


This is exactly what Formendacil said, but you say it like you are refuting him.

Tolkien was inspired by Lewis, and I think its pretty obvious in many parts of his books. For instance, his Ents. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, I believe that there are walking trees.


"Walking" trees were not invented by Lewis or Tolkien. The concept goes back much further. As for Tolkien being inspired by Lewis, the fact is that they inspired each other. They were friends and compared their stories as they wrote them. To try to figure out who inspired what is nearly impossible and really has no point.

Ultimately, you could say everything goes back to the Bible, as that is one of the first, (if not the first) book to be written. While I am not totally sure of that, I think we can all agree the it's old enough.


I really have a hard believing that you made this statement. The current form of the Bible is only 2,000 years old, as that is when most of the New Testament books were written. There are many books that are older than that. They weren't bound in a codex form, so maybe that is what you mean.

The Odyssey and the Illiad are not fantasy books simply because, when they were written, people actually believe in those gods and godesses. While Odysseus, and Achilles were fictional characters, they do not turn those books into fantasy books. They were probably just considered something similar to our version of "fiction".


So, you say that everything goes back to the Bible, which a incredible number of people across the world believe to be true. However you say that Homer's works don't count because people believed in them at some point. I can't follow your logic.

I guess I should shut up, as I don't want to get anybody mad, or make anybody feel attacked.


I'm not mad nor do I feel attacked. I just don't think your points are very convincing.

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Postby Formendacil » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:48 am

Prince Imdol wrote:Tolkien was inspired by Lewis, and I think its pretty obvious in many parts of his books. For instance, his Ents. In the Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian, I believe that there are walking trees. (Not referring to the movie).


Again, you're making claims about a subject you're not fully knowledgeable about. As Josh pointed out, Tolkien and Lewis were close friends, so saying who had an idea first is probably not all that wise. However, if you're going to make the Narnia/Lord of the Rings cross-pollination comparison, then you've got it backwards: by the time Lewis wrote the Chronicles, Tolkien had mostly finished the Lord of the Rings, and Lewis had heard it all read aloud, so if anyone was likely to do more influencing, it was Tolkien (which, in a weird way, proves what you were saying about the omnipresence of Tolkien in fantasy).

Now, without getting into hugely nerdy detail, I'll just go so far to point out that the Ents (the shepherds of the trees in Tolkien's works who are NOT actually trees themselves, though close) are quite different from the Dryads of Narnia, who are the spirits of actual trees. Insofar as anyone was influencing Lewis here, it's probably better to look back at the ancient Greek myths, where Dryads and Naiads, Fawns and Satyrs, Centaurs and Minotaurs (and other elements borrowed for Narnia) derive.

Which brings me to another of your points...

Prince Imdol wrote:The Odyssey and the Illiad are not fantasy books simply because, when they were written, people actually believe in those gods and godesses. While Odysseus, and Achilles were fictional characters, they do not turn those books into fantasy books. They were probably just considered something similar to our version of "fiction".


See... just because Homer wouldn't have considered his writings fantasy doesn't mean that they aren't a part of the same tradition Tolkien (and, by extension, later fantasy authors) were writing in. Homer was writing an epic, and Tolkien was writing an epic, and Tolkien, to judge by all his letters and such, clearly saw himself writing in the tradition of mythology and epics--rather than in the "fantasy genre."

And, in any case, something doesn't have to belong to the same genre to be the wellspring of one.
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Postby Maedhros » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:03 am

Prince Imdol wrote:Ultimately, you could say everything goes back to the Bible, as that is one of the first, (if not the first) book to be written. While I am not totally sure of that, I think we can all agree the it's old enough. :lol:


Well, Josh already pointed out that our current Bible is less than 2000 years old, and even the oldest parts don't go back as far as for example stories of Gilgamesh or Inanna - or if looking at other parts of the world some of the oldest Vedic scripts.

Anyway, that hardly matters - my point is that just because something was written "first" it need not be the mother of all that came afterwards. Rather, humans have told stories for as long as we have walked this earth, it may have been around campfires, it may have been etched in stones, written on parchment or typed on modern computers but we have always told stories and I sincerely hope we always will. We may call it myths, fables, fairy-tales or fantasy* - I don't see how the difference in names matters. It's a fundamental part of our beings and our ways to deal with the world and its mysteries. Let's just try to look beyond genres and generalizations for once.


*I've always kind of disdained the term fantasy for the literary genre. As if other forms of writing had nothing to do with fantasy? To me it just seems like a funkier way to speak of what we earlier referred to as fairy-tales. This is especially true for Sweden where we now actually use the English word "fantasy" for this genre (everytime you want to make something seem cool in Sweden you use an English word - and I don't think I need mention that I'm not a fan of that ;) ). Fifty years ago we would have used our own wonderful little word "saga" (which in Swedish has a wider meaning than in English - denoting [fairy-]tales in general rather than old epic Germanic myths), the first Swedish translation of the LR was even called "Sagan om Ringen" (the Tale/Saga of the Ring) - maybe not totally accurate but it connects the work wonderfully with the tradition that it is part of. Anyway, I think I got lost amid my ranting here.. what was my point? That I think speaking of "fantasy" as a specific (new) genre rather than as an extension of all the ages of storytelling is both a little stupid and misleading ;)
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Postby Formendacil » Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:18 pm

Maedhros wrote:Fifty years ago we would have used our own wonderful little word "saga" (which in Swedish has a wider meaning than in English - denoting [fairy-]tales in general rather than old epic Germanic myths), the first Swedish translation of the LR was even called "Sagan om Ringen" (the Tale/Saga of the Ring) - maybe not totally accurate but it connects the work wonderfully with the tradition that it is part of.


The real irony here is surely that in English the word "saga" is a better descriptor of the Lord of the Rings than "fantasy." (Even if we haven't as wide a meaning as you Svedes for the word.)
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Postby Prince Imdol » Mon Nov 17, 2008 9:03 pm

Moses was the first author in the Bible, (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and he lived about 3400 years ago, but the events described are much much older. Perhaps by 1000 years (I don't know). In his lifetime, things were being written down.

I never said it was the oldest book on Earth, but I think it is at least in the top ten.

Even Gilgamesh is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, chapter 10. It talks of King Nimrod, and the building of the city of Erech or Uruk. Uruk was part of Gilgamesh, or that part of the world. We can't be sure which came first, but we know that they were close enough.
The dynasties of Uruk were taking place around 5000 BC, so we can say that the Bible is referring to events that took place an extremely long time ago.

The time frame of the Bible is massive, and no one truly knows when those events took place.


After the burning of the Library of Alexandria, many scripts and books were destroyed, so we can never truly know what the oldest is.


@ Josh: I said Homer's works do not count as fantasy. There is a large difference in what I wrote, and what you concluded.

The old Testiment existed before the new testament, which is obvious. In Jesus' time, thats what most Jew's were studying.

The Bible as a whole, is 2000 years old, but people were beginning to write the Bible down, over 3300 years ago.

This is exactly what Formendacil said, but you say it like you are refuting him.


Refuting him? I had no intentions of refuting him, and if it seemed that I may have, I am sorry.

@ Formendacil: Obviously, you know much more of Tolkien and Lewis than I do, so I do not know if your are correct or not.

Again, you all know much much much more on the subject of Tolkien and Lewis than I do, so pardon me.

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Postby Mog » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:43 am

TheMaster wrote:If you read any fantasy novel no doubt that the book has something taken from Toilken's books or Toilken's books inspired the author in some way.


I beg to differ. Just as one can write a science fiction story that isn't a space opera, one can write a fantasy novel that isn't an epic quest of a ragtag group of heroes across a vast expanse of mostly boring terrain. ;) If one wrote a fantasy novel that took place entirely in a single day, or in a single room, would that be inspired by Tolkien?

I think we're showing a bit of a bias (if not outright cultural imperialism) here. Are we honestly saying that it's impossible for one to write a fantasy novel without first having read Tolkien? What about writers in other languages, where The Lord of the Rings might not have been available in translation until recently? Did the fantasy genre somehow not exist there until the first shipment of Tolkien's books descended upon its forgotten soil? :roll:

I know readers of fantasy love to hold the Tolkien "legendarium" aloft, even giving the subgenre of Tolkienesque epics the name "high fantasy," but come on. It's possible for other writers to be inspired by the same myths and legends that later inspired Tolkien, or to be inspired by other past works, or to be inspired by nothing at all. It's ironic that so-called "fantasy" enthusiasts are usually the first to discount the possibility of pure, blue-sky imagination.
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Postby Maedhros » Tue Nov 18, 2008 8:35 am

Prince Imdol wrote:Moses was the first author in the Bible, (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and he lived about 3400 years ago, but the events described are much much older. Perhaps by 1000 years (I don't know). In his lifetime, things were being written down.


Just because they are named after him doesn't mean he wrote them (Deuteronomy even includes a passage about his death and I would find it highly unlikely that he wrote that ;)). Dating them is extremely hard but filologists are pretty sure it was written down by multiple authors based on long oral traditions. So, yes, it's all very old, but as for remaining manuscripts there are older texts, with a series of hymns devoted to Inanna written by Enheduanna, daughter of King Sargon of Akkad (yes, the first known author was a woman!) probably being the oldest that can be classified as literature (from 2000-2300 BC).

Anyway, we are extremely far off topic now and as fascinating as I find both the Bible and ancient texts in general I think we should break off this discussion here. Feel free to PM me if you have anything to add though ;)
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Postby Prince Imdol » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:05 pm

Yes, while it was a good discussion, we must restrain.


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Re:

Postby moose » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:40 pm

I agree the movie was pretty bad but as usual the books are much better.

I for one am very happy with what lego is doing with the castle line. The fantasy element really sets the theme free so that anyone can create their own world with all of the new characters. It also stimulates building in new directions. [/quote][/quote]
I aree that the book is better so when I watched the movie I had a horrible time because it was so unlike the book :D
Also Im not to happy with the castle line because I for one think that the crownies leave a lot to be desiered, but its okay.
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Re:

Postby Lord Lego 436 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:15 pm

Matt BeDar wrote:The most amazing thing about Eragon is how obvious it is that the author was 19 when he finished it. I'm sorry, but I found it to be a rather dull read. I thought the the story line was extremely predictable.

I really don't see much from Eragon in the new Castle series. I see more Tolkien and traditional myths and legends.


That's true. I think that Eragon is simply horrible. The plot is STRAIGHT from Star Wars.
Young farmboy lives with his uncle. The farm gets burned down by servants of the Empire. Farmboy has to flee with an old man who was part of an order of peacekeepers that were wiped out when the Empire rose to power. They travel, and have to save a young Princess from execution in an Imperial Prison. Then they have to get to the Rebellion.
Hmmmm..... :?

Prince Imdol wrote:Tolkien and Lewis are the fathers of modern day medieval fantasy. Tolkien was inspired by Lewis, and Lewis was probably inspired by Christianity or something similar to that. It's hard to write a fantasy medieval story without having it be similar in some way to Tolkien.

Eragon's storyline has some holes in it. I believe its an ok book, but could have been better thought out.


P.I


I don't quite like Lewis, but Tolkien was definately the creator of Epic Fantasy. And also, I think that it is fully possible to write a good book without copying Tolkien. Robert Jordan's WOT? The only similarity there is "The Mountains of Mist" and the Trollocs. The whole concept is completetly different than Tolkien, though.
Tolkien will always be the best, either way. :)
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Re:

Postby Lord Lego 436 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:18 pm

Matt BeDar wrote:Here here Sir Kohran!! I agree wholeheartedly! He is a thief that really has no originality at all.


Wooohoo! Join together, friends! :D
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Re: Reading Eragon into it

Postby JoshWedin » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:15 pm

Please do not double post. If you need to add to your last post, there is a nice, little edit button there.

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Re: Re:

Postby Tower of Iron Will » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:37 pm

Lord Lego 436 wrote:
That's true. I think that Eragon is simply horrible. The plot is STRAIGHT from Star Wars.
Young farmboy lives with his uncle. The farm gets burned down by servants of the Empire. Farmboy has to flee with an old man who was part of an order of peacekeepers that were wiped out when the Empire rose to power. They travel, and have to save a young Princess from execution in an Imperial Prison. Then they have to get to the Rebellion.
Hmmmm..... :?

Tolkien will always be the best, either way. :)


The stories of Eragon and Star Wars follow the classic story pattern of the hero; Lucas himself credited in part the main theme from Star Wars from ideas/concepts in Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I don't fault Eragon/Star Wars for that, many stories have done that. My nephew said that the book was better than the movie in his opinion, but as I knew that this movie was intended for a younger audience I didn't get my hopes up too high. Overall I liked the movie. Does LEGO take inspiration from it? Maybe. Or perhaps the author wrote the stories using a "fantasy" motif which includes some of more common fantasy elements like dragons and young questing knights. I think LEGO wanted to encorporate the more common fantasy elements so as to appeal to wide a customer base as possible.
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Re: Re:

Postby Lord Lego 436 » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:54 pm

Tower of Iron Will wrote:
Lord Lego 436 wrote:
That's true. I think that Eragon is simply horrible. The plot is STRAIGHT from Star Wars.
Young farmboy lives with his uncle. The farm gets burned down by servants of the Empire. Farmboy has to flee with an old man who was part of an order of peacekeepers that were wiped out when the Empire rose to power. They travel, and have to save a young Princess from execution in an Imperial Prison. Then they have to get to the Rebellion.
Hmmmm..... :?

Tolkien will always be the best, either way. :)


The stories of Eragon and Star Wars follow the classic story pattern of the hero; Lucas himself credited in part the main theme from Star Wars from ideas/concepts in Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

I don't fault Eragon/Star Wars for that, many stories have done that. My nephew said that the book was better than the movie in his opinion, but as I knew that this movie was intended for a younger audience I didn't get my hopes up too high. Overall I liked the movie. Does LEGO take inspiration from it? Maybe. Or perhaps the author wrote the stories using a "fantasy" motif which includes some of more common fantasy elements like dragons and young questing knights. I think LEGO wanted to encorporate the more common fantasy elements so as to appeal to wide a customer base as possible.
-Tower


That last part is true. If anything, It's Tolkien, not Eragon, as his Dwarves and Orcs came first.
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