With the multitudes of fans recently jumping upon the Tolkien bandwagon and praising his talents to a God-like status, comes the question: Is this author overrated or fully deserving of this praise?
I am fully aware Tolkien inspired legions of fantasy writers and revolutionized much of the genre today, but I personally found his writing muddled with overdrawn detail, characters that lacked any malice whatsoever, ostentatiously portraying them like choirboys. I think even the good characters must be made out to be somewhat realistic, and without a single tinge of anything but goodness I find it generates a monotonous tale submerged in mediocre characters. The world created may seem large and wrought with infinite mysteries of adventure, but really who cares when you donít care a whit about the characters living in it. There is too much fluff basically, a book that could have been completed in a third of its length easily. I am attacking Lotr for those of you wondering which book I speak of. Perhaps in its day Lotr was the pinnacle of fantasy, but in this age it has not withstood when evaluated to the current series of fantasy, such as Robert Jordan, John Marco, Terry Goodkind, Raymond Feist, Tad Williams, etc.
The over-dramatized suspense, lack of exhilarating action except for the infrequently sporadic moments that still leave an appetite in full desire holds little weight for a claim to exceptional literature. What do the rest of you think?
February 23rd, 2003, 11:31 PM
Well, however that I still like LotR very much, I have to agree with you. JRRT has a nice style of writing, like in faerie tale, and both epic battles and fearsome monsters, but it is sometimes dull, all that, and the dialogues are so unnatural...
I find the books of authors as David Eddings and Raymond E. Feist much more interesting... They reveals their worlds, their magic system, and their characters are much more familiar with the reader. And, finally, the conflicts in their books are far superior with the powers involved in them.
February 23rd, 2003, 11:56 PM
Yes, he's overrated.
whoo hoo 3 in a row!
February 24th, 2003, 03:59 AM
Make it four in a row,
I started this book/series about half a dozen times between the ages of 12 and 25, on the last attempt I managed to plow my way through the first two books, but during the first chapter of the third book i really had to ask myself, why I am reading this?
The answer was because everybody says you have to read LORT, I realised that wasn't a good enough reason and gave the series away to some unsuspecting fool.
Definately over-rated, and the most annoying thing of all is how writers are constantly compared to Tolkien, heralded as the new Tolkien or whatever.
Some people love these books and that's their choice, but please stop comparing everything else to them.
February 24th, 2003, 04:07 AM
I don't think Tolkien is over-rated, of course it all comes down to personal taste. I prefer many books over LOTR and it is far from my favourite book but the craft in the work is almost beautiful. I did actually find it quite a hard read, it often didn't flow but the quality is undeniable, just not my taste.
February 24th, 2003, 06:36 AM
No, he isn't overrated. He is, however, from another time and another style of writing that some folks might have trouble getting into. His writing is rich and detailed, but not for the impatient.
February 24th, 2003, 06:44 AM
Overrated , no ! The fact that so many people genuinely love his work speaks volumes in itself . For me personally , The Hobbit is the pick . As juzzza points out it is all a matter of personal taste !
Some people love these books and that's their choice , but please stop comparing everything else to them .
Couldn't agree more Lucky Joe .
February 24th, 2003, 07:26 AM
Yes, I'm a Tolkien-lover, and I don't think he's overrated. I live his writting and the whole mythology he created behind the LOTR. But, I do agree that too many modern authors are compared with him. There are many other older authors like Fritz Lieber, Robert Howard & Lord Dunsany to name a few, that deserve some of the credit of influencing today's fantasy as well.
The big thing with Tolkien is he is what I'd call the 'Godfather' of the Dungeons and Dragons type fantasy. He brought to the mainstream things like the 'evil dark lord', the evil humanoids (orcs) that the evil dark lord uses as fodder to throw against the protaganists, immortal & tragic elves, dwarves, hobbits, etc. Think how many books you've read that have included at least one or two of these elements.
Nowadays, there is so much different kinds of fantasy published, how could most of them ever be compared to Tokien's work? Maybe his writting style.
Also, with the success of the LOTR movies, there is a whole new group of people that are into Tolkien's books. It's almost like the situation with Harry Potter.
February 24th, 2003, 07:34 AM
no, never! tolkien's awesome and even though there is a lot of great fantasy out now, that doesn't detract from the quality of his work. i'll admit, it took me a while to get into lotr, but once i did-- lotr definitely has a unique quality to it and is rarely equalled in terms of author time and effort.
like ezchaos, i think tolkien shouldn't be compared to contemporary fantasy authors, though.
February 24th, 2003, 07:37 AM
I don't think he's overrated, especially if you consider not only his actual books but the rich culture and mythology he created around them--I mean how many authors have created actual speakable languages as part of their work?
But in the same breath I can see why he wouldn't be some people's cup of tea--LoTR is a very long book, and the first time I read it I did find some parts hard to get through. The second time I read it I liked it a lot more--in part because of the "fluff" you speak of Hemingway--Tolkien's powers of prose writing are enormous, and those long-winded descriptions many people loathe, I savoured.