Sci-Fan Review

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Sci-Fan Review

Kian Pfannenstiel, Editor

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It is a cliché to, when talking about fantasy, bring up Tolkien’s Legendarium, but, alas, I’ll do it.

Tolkien is often regarded as the father of modern fantasy, and for good reason. His The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings put fantasy into the limelight and inspired authors innumerable to write their own epic adventures in fantasy worlds. What stories authors didn’t tell, gamers did, because Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax (who swears he didn’t) based a lot of their legendary table-top game Dungeons & Dragons on Tolkien’s world. Speaking of which, what was originally a unique idea for a fantasy setting is now the quintessential fantasy-land. So many people loved the magic-snobs of the Elves, the Dwarves living in their mines, and the barbaric, fighting orcs that almost every fantasy-land is based strongly on this with some minor twists. An prime example of this would be in The Belgariad where almost everyone falls into the category assigned to their race. For instance, every Elf is a magic snob, every Dwarf is a miner-warrior, and every halfling is a businessman.

It may have occurred to you that by now there has been more review of the impact of Tolkien’s Legendarium, as he called it, but I will be moving on from that for you who just don’t care about his impact.

The Legendarium, for those who don’t know, is the collection of works that all coexist in Middle Earth, Tolkien’s fantasy world where almost all of his stories are set. The three most significant parts of the Legendarium are The SilmarillionThe Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. There are many others, like The Unfinished Tales, but they aren’t as well known nor as important to the overall lore of the Legendarium.

For those who aren’t familiar, The Hobbit follow the story of Bilbo Baggins, a Hobbit, on an adventure to help a group of Dwarves take back their home. Along the way, he finds a magic ring that makes him invisible. When he returns home, he took enough of the treasure of the Dwarves (which was given willingly, not stolen) to make him rich enough to live comfortably for his life (which he could already do with his inheritance from his father) and to make someone else live well after his death. This one is a children’s book, but it has been cherished by people of all ages.

The Lord of the Rings is the sequel trilogy to The Hobbit written for the now-adults following Frodo Baggins, Bilbo’s cousin, on a quest with his friend, Samwise Gamgee, and with the help of a few others, to destroy the magic ring Bilbo found as it is really the link between an ancient and evil ruler to the living world from death.

Those two are the biggest stories in the Legendarium, but The Silmarillion is still a very relevant text. It is something like a codex on the mythology of the Elves of Middle Earth, and features a plethora of stories from the creation of the gods to the quests of mortals.

One such quest, titled Beren and Luthien (for those who care, this is the origin of the cover photo I have on this article), features the story of a human man falling in love with an Elf woman (Beren being the man and Luthien being the woman). This plot was paralleled in the romance plot between Aragorn and Elenwen in The Lord of the Rings, but it isn’t a main plot, so I didn’t cover it. The best trivia for the Legendarium as it pertains to Tolkien is that the names Beren and Luthien are on the headstone of Tolkien and his wife, Beren above his head and Luthien above hers. This may be valuable if you do trivia nights, so you’re all welcome.