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The generic "Tolkien Rebrand"

This has been said in the thread in some ways but a lot of tropes we think of as “Tolkien derivative” are not actually. They’re actually derivative of D&D.

a lot of fantasy shares worldbuilding and aesthetic similarities with Tolkien, but there is very little that is similar thematically. Tolkien’s decision to have the hero of his story be an unassuming halfling with nothing particularly special about him (esp. one that is not a fighter) is pretty distinctive actually. (Edit: I know “unassuming average joe) is the prototype for a lot of fantasy protagonists, but they usually don’t STAY that way and become badasses, gain respect, and so on. Whereas Frodo is just on a lonely and simple quest.)

As is Tolkien’s focus on peace as an ideal and disdain for war.

If anything the so called “Tolkien derivative” fantasy seems like Tolkien if the hobbits weren’t part of it and Aragorn was the sole hero.
 
They are. But they are so old they become "mythology." The difference is probably that at least some people that at one point believed in it (or so historians think) and therefore mythology.

I also think there is some history that during the 1800s what we typically think of in terms of fantasy was more like Narnia and stuff for kids and so "adults" changed the genre to make it more "adult."

But if A Christmas Carol ain't supernatural fantasy I don't know what is.

We’ee going dangerously close to the truth that genre is a construct that starts to become really unhelpful if you look at it too closely.
 

Aldarion

Inkling
This has been said in the thread in some ways but a lot of tropes we think of as “Tolkien derivative” are not actually. They’re actually derivative of D&D.

a lot of fantasy shares worldbuilding and aesthetic similarities with Tolkien, but there is very little that is similar thematically. Tolkien’s decision to have the hero of his story be an unassuming halfling with nothing particularly special about him (esp. one that is not a fighter) is pretty distinctive actually. (Edit: I know “unassuming average joe) is the prototype for a lot of fantasy protagonists, but they usually don’t STAY that way and become badasses, gain respect, and so on. Whereas Frodo is just on a lonely and simple quest.)

As is Tolkien’s focus on peace as an ideal and disdain for war.

If anything the so called “Tolkien derivative” fantasy seems like Tolkien if the hobbits weren’t part of it and Aragorn was the sole hero.

Thing is, a lot of fantasy is Tolkien derivative. But they are aesthetic derivatives, taking tropes such as Orcs, Trolls (and trolls), Rangers and so on. What they lack however is Tolkien's thematic and philosophical depth, and thus naturally end up significantly inferior to Lord of the Rings.

And technically, Frodo and other hobbits did gain respect. Although I definitely agree with part about Aragorn.
 
Thing is, a lot of fantasy is Tolkien derivative. But they are aesthetic derivatives, taking tropes such as Orcs, Trolls (and trolls), Rangers and so on. What they lack however is Tolkien's thematic and philosophical depth, and thus naturally end up significantly inferior to Lord of the Rings.

And technically, Frodo and other hobbits did gain respect. Although I definitely agree with part about Aragorn.

They gained respect, but it was contextualized in terms of their humility; the story is self-aware of the irony of the humble hobbits being generated as heroes. Whereas many fantasy heroes generally lose, or never really had, that humility.
 
You thought the hobbits were humble?

I thought they were smug, complaisant twats who reflected Tolkien's own elitist arrogance. Try reading some of his correspondence.
 

Peat

Sage
Thing is, a lot of fantasy is Tolkien derivative. But they are aesthetic derivatives, taking tropes such as Orcs, Trolls (and trolls), Rangers and so on. What they lack however is Tolkien's thematic and philosophical depth, and thus naturally end up significantly inferior to Lord of the Rings.

And technically, Frodo and other hobbits did gain respect. Although I definitely agree with part about Aragorn.

This is true. However - there's little differences in the aesthetic, and those correspond more with D&D. More fantasy authors' elves are more like Gygax's - long lived but mortal, never lived in heaven, more human - than Tolkien's. Intelligent and non-evil dragons. Dwarves with bad Scottish accents. Gygax took Tolkien's creations and twisted them to his own ends and most people are going off that.

Also... outside of games, most fantasy these days doesn't even include Orcs, Trolls, etc.etc. Not unless I've really missed something.

They gained respect, but it was contextualized in terms of their humility; the story is self-aware of the irony of the humble hobbits being generated as heroes. Whereas many fantasy heroes generally lose, or never really had, that humility.

Pippin and Merry were never that humble imo. Sam maybe was but realised he had no particular reason to be - although I don't think he lost his down-to-earthness. I think Frodo's the only one who really had a sense of humbleness all the way through.
 

Aldarion

Inkling
Also... outside of games, most fantasy these days doesn't even include Orcs, Trolls, etc.etc. Not unless I've really missed something.

Not necessarily Orcs as such, but more in the vein of "nonhuman henchmen of Big Bad that protagonists do not need to feel bad about slaughtering en masse".
 

Peat

Sage
Not necessarily Orcs as such, but more in the vein of "nonhuman henchmen of Big Bad that protagonists do not need to feel bad about slaughtering en masse".

Fair, but even then, I feel like it's honestly been a long time since I've read too many of those. Maybe I'm just reading less and less Epic Fantasy so I'm looking in the wrong place, but I think most of the fantasy I'm reading these days, everyone's human. The Trollocs and Pantathians and I guess White Walkers are products of an already different era, although obviously still a big deal in terms of the genre's image and people's consumption.
 
I think Frodo's the only one who really had a sense of humbleness all the way through.

Naah, Frodo comes out with heaps of judgmental, patronising, elitist crap, like: "I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them."

"What a pity that Bilbo didn't stab that vile creature when he had the chance!"

"Mr Took and Mr Brandybuck," said Frodo, "and this is Sam Gamgee." [you'll note the class conscious Frodo does not attribute a Mister to his servant.]

There's plenty more, those are just a few off the top of my head, but all the hobbits (and even Sam eventually) seem to have the smug elitist attitudes of Tolkien and his Inkling cronies.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
I have a hard time reading "I wish I could help" and "sometimes people irritate me" as a form of elitism. And Sam doesn't get Mr because he isn't one. It's in the meaning of the word. I say this not thinking to change your mind, but in the hopes that others reading this thread will hear varying perspectives.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
It's a shame my gently lampooning sense of fun doesn't come across very well in prose sometimes.

Sorry I jabbed. I didn't read it as lampooning, however gentle. If this were f2f, I'd expect a little smile or wink or some other body language to nuance the words. As written, it was more like just looking the other fellow straight in the eye. As someone else just suggested, throwing in an emoticon or a <grin> or <wink> can go a long way.
 
There are all sorts of other indicators. People accustomed to my confected sense of outrage know I'm (almost always) joking.
 
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