Not that I am an avid fan of Twilight either, but in my opinion
it was not even true Epic Fantasy; rather it was Dark Fantasy
blended with Romantic Fantasy and thus could never have challenged
Sometimes I am asked where in Tolkien's Middle-earth, or any Fantasy world for that matter, I would like live. Naturally barring worlds of my own creation, I think the answer would be Dol Amroth in southern Gondor. As Ted Nasmith's illustration shows, it is a scenic place with both natural and human-made wonders. Human and Elf, that is, for the place is also steeped in the lore and tradition of the Elder Kindred; indeed, the first people to live the region were the Sindar (Grey Elves) escaping south from the wars against Morgoth that characterized the First Age. As to the inhabitants during the War of the Ring, the people of Dol Amroth are tall, grey-eyed, dark-haired, and the most skilled harp players in all of Gondor (playing at the coronation of Aragorn). Furthermore, and going back to Elf-lore, the inhabitants of Dol Amroth and in the lands nearby are some of the few people of Gondor who speak Sindarin (one of the two primary Elf languages) on a daily basis, and are generally regarded as having Elvish blood in their veins.
The Banner of
One may also recall Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth from The Return of the King. Bringing a company of his Swan-Knights and 700 infantry to Minas Tirith, he led the sortie that rode to the aid of his nephew Faramir whose warriors were retreating from Osgiliath when Sauron overran the Pelennor Fields, personally rescuing Faramir himself. He then aided Gandalf commanding the defenses, perceived that the Nazgul-stricken Éowyn still lived, and recognized that Aragorn was the rightful King. Finally, Imrahil led the city for a while himself before Aragorn's crowning, took part in the Battle of the Black Gates, and was recognized by Legolas as being of Elvish descent. So there it is. I would live in Dol Amroth, the peaceful yet strong and noble, even idyllic, province of Gondor. I have always liked the sea, love music, and cannot think of a place that better blends the beauty of civilization at its best with the wonder of the natural world; all augmented by the lore surrounding the place. Also and on a side note, Prince Imrahil is one of my favorite secondary characters in The Lord of the Rings.
Few writers deserve a Documentary more than she does, beyond doubt. Behold the trailer for the Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin. (It is also of note that the film director's name is Arwen Curry, leading me to think that her parent's were considerable fans of the Fantastic)
Ursula K. Le Guin meant much to me. Tolkien shaped my inner language, yes, yet Le Guin helped chisel it into strong, philosophical clarity.
As I said when she died in January, She was one of the best. I remember first reading The Earthsea Cycle in elementary school, hearing Ogion of Re Albi say “To hear, one must be silent.” And I still remembered those words when I took the series up for a second and third time. While the rest of my generation went to Hogwarts with Harry, (after I left Tolkien's Middle-earth) I traveled by ship to the School of Roke with Ged.
Some say that Rowling was the first master Fantasist author who dealt with death and the those who will burn the world if need be to cheat it. They are wrong; for, long before Voldemort fashioned his horcruxes, the wizard Cob's reckless quest for immortality halted the words of power, tearing a rift between life and death - endangering the living. Long before Harry the Chosen One fought Voldemort, Archmage Ged fought Cob.
And she remains one of the few master Fantasists whose primary world and cast of characters are non-White (with the exception of Tenar from the Kargad lands). Indeed, Le Guin has criticized what she describes as the general assumption in fantasy that characters should be White and that the society should resemble the Middle Ages.
I owe Ursula K. Le Guin my own Fantasy series, the one I wrote and am still in the process of editing, for without Earthsea it would never have existed.
"It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end."- Ursula K. Le Guin
"People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within." - Ursula K. Le Guin
Started I have again and to my joy The Return of the King, third and
glorious final of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Where, at last, one in introduced to arguably the most famous city in Fantasy genre: Minas Tirith.
"All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king." - A verse written by Bilbo in reference and tribute to Aragorn.
Recall how George R.R. Martin believes that J.R.R. Tolkien should have killed Gandalf permanently because he had such a great death scene in Moria and because the characters should have been made to go on without him? (In fact I just finished reading that part again today.)
Well, that dependence on Mithrandir was exactly why Professor Tolkien had him fall in Moria and constantly otherwise vanish on some errand or another. In The Hobbit, Gandalf disappears before a certain scene with three hungry trolls, swiftly returning, and then again left Bilbo and Dwarves as they entered Mirkwood to appear again just before the Battle of Five Armies.
Then, in The Lord of the Rings, he fails to meet Frodo as he sets out and is thus gone for the better portion of book one (until Rivendell), falls in Moria and does not reappear until Fangorn in book two, and leaves again until after the battle of Battle of Helm's Deep. Being Gandalf, he is always doing something of critical import that is usually revealed later, but the point is that the characters are constantly forced to go on without him. Indeed, Frodo and Sam believe him to be dead from Moria to after the Ring is destroyed.
The lesson? That Tolkien found an ingenious way to counteract any over-dependence on Gandalf without having to kill him. George R. R. Martin, on the other hand, seems to rely on killing to remove such characters; goodness knows any and all Gandalf-figures in A Song of Ice and Fire are cold and buried or cold in anOther sort of way (with the possible exception of Doran Martell, who was introduced fairly recently). Indeed, I have little doubt that GRRM would have found it more fitting if the wizard had come back as Gandalf the Wight.
My father and I just finished The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip.
Enter into a dream born upon the tides... Where a dark-haired prince watches and hears the call of the sea; where a sea-dragon wearing a chain of gold emerges to watch the humble fishers at works; where a pale-and-tangled-haired tavern girl who walks with bare feet finds herself in the midst of a grand mystery born of love and anger out of the depths. Enter into a fairy tale of the sea, not the forest. One which proves yet again that Patricia A. McKillip ranks alongside the great J.R.R. Tolkien. This a true classic. An epic out of the ocean that surpasses my wildest dreams. Long have I sought a book that captures all the wonder and power of mystery of the sea. This book ended that search.
Farewell and lots of love to Peri, Prince Kir, Aidon, mage Lyo, Mare, Carey, Enin, the King, and the sea-woman.
“It’s an odd thing, happiness. Some people take happiness from gold. Or black pearls. And some of us, far more fortunate, take their happiness from periwinkles.” - Patricia A. McKillip
“Love and anger are like land and sea: They meet at many different places.”- Patricia A. McKillip
“What a dull place the world would be if all the mysteries in it were solved.”- Patricia A. McKillip