The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's impact on the fantasy genre (2023)

The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's impact on the fantasy genre (1)

With the new Amazon prequel TV series due out late next year, now is the perfect time to get your hands on Peter Jackson's epic book for the J.R.R. viewing Tolkien's masterpiece;Lord of the Rings.However, it would be remiss and a missed opportunity to discuss how much Tolkien and this story influenced the fantasy genre as a whole. Tolkien's story is the foundation of modern fantasy storytelling, and his impact on the genre is monumental, as his work was the first to create a grand, sprawling universe with history and a creationist mythology. The mythology he created for Britain was largely inspired by the mythology and epics of ancient Greece and the epics and sagas of the Vikings. In fact, the Old Norse name for the country isMidgardwhich means "Middle-earth".

(Video) How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Changed the Fantasy Genre

In the trenches of World War I, Tolkien began creating a mythology out of stories and concepts that eventually became what we know todayel auge million, his retelling of the history of Middle-earth before Sauron and the Ring of Power.el auge millionSpanning thousands of years, it describes how the angelic beings of Arda (the known universe) created songs to shape the world, how they created elves, humans and dwarves, and how Melkor, one of the angelic beings, became corrupted and evil. , rebel against the music of the Ainur. This story is very biblical, and Melkor (eventually known as Morgoth, the "dark enemy", a name given to him by the Noldorin elves) is not unlike Lucifer in that he is cast out of heaven as Morgoth is from sky is thrown. Music of the Ainur and lived in Utumno, which is essentially Hell. Bordering on the Bible, this story forms the basis of world-building and features characters such as Sauron, Galadriel, Glorfindel and Elrond and serves as the explanation and background for many characters, races and kingdoms. It's not strictly necessary, but it serves as the foundation and building block for Tolkien's larger story. Naturally,Lord of the Rings(And indeed,The Hobbit), are Tolkien's most famous works, so I'll focus more on them, but if you get the chance, readel auge millionIt's better than the Bible!

With the success ofThe Hobbit, Tolkien's publishers pushed him to write a sequel and as such this sequel became extremely influential as it created a demand for fantasy novels set in different worlds with imitative worksThe Sword of ShannaraaDungeons and Dragons.Such was Tolkien's inspiration from fantasy that most films, books, and video games in the genre feature creatures such as orcs, elves, goblins, halflings, half-elves, dragons, and wizards, to name a few. Thus "fantasy" became synonymous with Tolkien's work. It changed the imagination of fairies to alternate worlds with their own stories, races and stories. As his popularity increased, his work was reflected in other media as well.

During the 1970s, the role-playing genre grew in popularity, and the most popular of these games is the full-length game.Dungeons and Dragons.Developed by Gary Gygax, many elements of the game are virtually identical to Tolkien's world. Gygax often downplayed how much he was inspired, but the impact Tolkien's work had cannot be overstated. The quest to destroy the One Ring is itself an example of aDungeons and DragonsHistory Peter Jackson's film trilogy is the closest thing to live actionDungeons and DragonsSeek. The presence of elves, goblins, orcs, halflings, humans, dwarves, dragons, and Ents led to so many comparisons over the years that Tolkien Enterprises led Gygax to change the names of Hobbits to "Halflings" and Ents to "Tree-Ents." " to change . . Gygax eventually commented on this by stating that Tolkien's work had an immense impact on his creation. In fact, the influence is widespread, as the game's class system is clearly inspired by Fellowship of the Ring. For example in game:

  • Elves are good archers, scouts, scouts, and are effective with bows and arrows. They live in the woods and forests or are noble masters of lore. This race and their classes were obviously inspired by Legolas of Mirkwood, Haldir, and other Eldar like Galadriel and Elrond.
  • Dwarves are strong fighters and warriors, often portrayed as miners, blacksmiths, and artisans. This race and class was inspired by the dwarf Gimli and members of Thorin Oakenshield's company.
  • Halflings are good rogue, ranger, thief, and stealth archetypes. This was clearly inspired by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he was a member of Thorin Oakensheild's company tasked with recovering the Arkenstone from the fire dragon Smaug the Terrible.
  • people insideDungeons and Dragonsthey are mostly ranger, paladin or warrior - all of these classes were inspired by Aragorn and he really suits all of them. The Númenórean archetype of a paladin, although possessing extensive knowledge of healing abilities and being a northern ranger and gifted warrior.
The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's impact on the fantasy genre (2)
(Video) How Lord of the Rings Changed Fantasy

Other special mentions: When the Tolkien Enterprises lawsuit took place, Gyagax had to change the names of other creatures. This included changing Nazgul to "Wraiths" and Balrogs to "Balor".

Tolkien himself took both elves and dwarves from Norse mythology, as dwarves were also great blacksmiths and craftsmen in that mythology, and there were also light and dark elves in those stories. Through Norse mythology, Tolkien came up with the concept that elves are tall, beautiful, and almost the perfect extraterrestrial humans. If Tolkien hadn't adapted these traits for his own elves, we wouldn't haveDungeons and Dragonselement,warhammerelves, theold documentsElves Before Tolkien adopted elves from Norse mythology, they were often short in stature, like the ones Santa Claus is allowed to use in his workshop.

The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's impact on the fantasy genre (3)
(Video) Tolkien's Fantasy World of Monsters & Myth | Clash of the Gods (S1, E9) | Full Episode | History

If Tolkien hadn't spread the idea that elves inhabited the forests of Doriath, Lothlorien, Greenwood, or had magical kingdoms like Rivendell, then both the Wood Elves and High Elves of The Elder Scrolls or those found in Warhammer The Strategy Battle simply wouldn't exist. Tolkien popularized their looks, where and how they lived, as well as their cultures. There are also subsets of elves in Tolkien's work that people often forget as he had dark elves, light elves and high elves, it's just that the fantasy fiction that came after that took those concepts literally and elves had darker skins for example gave. Dark Elves became Dark Elves and in some cases were considered sinister. Half-elves are also loosely based on Elrond half-elves.

Halflings are particularly inspired by Tolkien, and if you refuse to acknowledge that comparison you are delusional. The word "halfling" is used to describe hobbits inLord of the Ringsitself, and as I mentioned earlier, early versions of DnD used Hobbits until they were forced to stop. The similarities are undeniable, and the halflings in the game are exactly as they are portrayed in LOTR, right down to their personalities, looks (albeit brief), and abilities. The DnD website describes halflings as "...good-natured and cheerful people". They value the bonds of family and friendship, and the comforts of home and home...they love discovering new things, even simple things like exotic food or clothing." This is literally what a hobbit is, Tolkien describes them as simple People who enjoy simple things, a warm home, the comforts of home, and exotic foods and clothing, all of which are Bag Ended.

The Lord of the Rings and Tolkien's impact on the fantasy genre (4)
(Video) J.R.R. Tolkien: Fantasy Literature Past and Present | How Tolkien Changed the Worlds

The dwarves are another undeniably big thing that DnD inherited from Tolkien. Like elves, Tolkien popularized what dwarves did, and that was mining, crafting, and skilled warriors, usually with a two-handed axe. Members of Thorin's Company and Gimli were clearly the main inspirations. Like elves, Tolkien popularized that they were short and bearded. Another undeniable thing is that DnD took over Tolkien's metal mithril as well as DnD's dwarven cities of Gautlygrym and Mithril Hall, they are very similar to Moria. One of the most famous scenes fromThe Fellowship of the RingAt this point, the Gates of Moria could only be found by moonlight and a special password had to be used to open them. Exactly the same thing happens in the Underdark campaign to retake Mithril Hall. Tolkien's influence doesn't just extend to DnD, like dwarves in MMORPGsworld of warfareThey are exactly the same, they are great miners and artisans, the same can be said of themwarhammerTabletop strategy fighting game.

After all, orcs and goblins were not discussed until Tolkien used them in his stories. He explained the difference between them as goblins were smaller than orcs (roughly the size of a hobbit) despite coming from the same corrupted elven gene network as Sauron and Morgoth. Tolkien popularized the idea that orcs and goblins were warlike, ugly, and brutal. All of these concepts were used inwarhammer,Dungeons and DragonsjWorld of Warcraft.DnD Orcs, like Tolkiens, are a tribal race of hostile monsters.

Today, comparisons between the works of Tolkien and DnD are not downplayed based on judgment, they are appreciated in the context of the 1970s climate that was heavily inspired by Tolkien and his characters and themes. DnD's ancestry can be traced back to LOTR, but DnD itself nowadays evolves with its own themes, making it its own distinct fantasy world known as Forgotten Realms.

(Video) How Fellowship Of The Ring Reimagined The Fantasy Genre: Why It’s The Best Film In Lord Of The Rings


How did The Lord of the Rings influence fantasy? ›

The inspiration Tolkien has had on fantasy is so large, that most films, books and video games of the genre include creatures like orcs, elves, goblins, halflings, half-elves, dragons, and wizards to name a few.

Did Lord of the Rings create the fantasy genre? ›

While fantasy as a genre existed way before J.R.R. Tolkien, the now-revered author is rightfully considered the father of the high fantasy genre. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet and academic whose ingenuity and creative genius changed the course of fantasy literature.

What is one influence Tolkien had on fantasy writing? ›

What is one influence Tolkien had on fantasy writing? He designed his story to be fiction, whereas traditional myths were meant to be true explanations of the world.

What impact has The Lord of the Rings had upon the world? ›

Influence on Fantasy

The book was also the stepping stone for 1970's popular fantasy-fiction game Dungeons and Dragons, a role-playing game that allows individuals to become fantasy-like creatures, many derived from Lord of the Rings characters such as hobbits, elves, dwarves, and orcs.

How did The Lord of the Rings change fantasy as a genre? ›

Instead of creating true high fantasy, everyone created more low fantasy—but they used Tolkien's world as a base instead of our own. The result was a kind of tainting of the entire genre, a 'Tolkienizing. ' Fantasy didn't mean 'the genre where the author creates his or her own unique setting.

Why is Tolkien considered the father of fantasy? ›

While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre. This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or more precisely, high fantasy.

What inspired the fantasy genre? ›

The origins of Fantasy can be traced back to ancient mythology, which, as its basic purpose, explained the workings of nature. For example, there is the story of Prometheus, who felt pity for the mere mortals of earth and so he gifted them with fire.

What fantasy elements does Lord of the Rings have? ›

The elements in a fantasy that are present in Lord of the Rings include magic, human and human-like characters such as elves, orcs, wizards, and hobbits, and a plot that deals with archetypical themes of evil versus good, loyalty, sacrifice, and love.

How does Tolkien define fantasy? ›

Tolkien states that Fantasy is ―the making or glimpsing of other worlds‖. In his fantasy world, Tolkien intends to create by using human imagination a Secondary World, where the magic language is appropriated and the inner consistency of reality is achieved.

How did J.R.R. Tolkien's life influence his writing? ›

Imagemap: Tolkien's influences in creating his Middle-earth books included his profession, philology, studying medieval literature; his religion, Christianity; mythology and archaeology; Old English poetry, especially Beowulf; and his own experience of childhood in the English countryside, and as a soldier in the First ...

In which book can Tolkien's essay about fantasy be found? ›

On March 8, 1939, J.R.R. Tolkien (January 3, 1892–September 2, 1973), celebrated as one of the greatest fantasy writers in history, gave a lecture titled “Fairy Stories,” eventually adapted into an essay retitled “On Fairy-Stories” and included in the appendix to Tales from the Perilous Realm (public library).

Why was Tolkien so influential? ›

Tolkien created an entire world and imbued it with reality: a depth of history with language, geography, culture, that is uniquely magnificent; a wealth of characters that are all human with their relatable personalities; all of this bound up in stories that pit good against evil – stories that you can get lost in as ...

Why is Lord of the Rings important to film? ›

It Paved The Way For The Return Of Big-Screen Fantasy

However, Peter Jackson's Tolkien trilogy brought epic fantasy back into cinemas and the mainstream in a major way. Suddenly, Orcs were in vogue. Wizards were significantly less lame.

What does Lord of the Rings teach us? ›

Never give up on your dreams and goals. No matter how difficult and disheartening Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor was, they never gave up on their mission to destroy the Ring. Similarly, no matter how many battles they had to fight which were life-threatening, the fellows of the Fellowship of the Ring never lost hope ...

How does The Lord of the Rings relate to the real world? ›

Tolkien admits in his published collection of letters that Middle-earth is intended to directly mirror Earth's approximate geography, with most major locations in the story representing a country or continent in the real world, both in terms of placement on the map and recognizable qualities.

Is Lord of the Rings high fantasy or dark fantasy? ›

The works of J. R. R. Tolkien—especially The Lord of the Rings—are regarded as archetypal works of high fantasy.

Did Lord of the Rings start fantasy? ›

Although they have been remarkably influential in its development, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, published in 1937, and The Lord of the Rings, published in 1954, were not the start of the genre of modern fantasy literature.

Is Lord of the Rings high or epic fantasy? ›

The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien.

Who invented the fantasy genre? ›

The history of modern fantasy literature begins with George MacDonald, the Scottish author of such novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes the latter of which is widely considered to be the first fantasy novel ever written for adults.

Did Tolkien create modern fantasy? ›

But the overwhelming influence of J.R.R. Tolkien on the genre remains a fundamental certainty. The British author didn't invent fantasy, but he defined it in the minds of millions with his seminal works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

What is the Tolkien effect? ›

So what is the “Tolkien Effect”? It is the slow impression of the beauty of words and their meanings. I have lost count of how many Tolkien fans I have met who have become avid amateur philologists through this his writing.

What defines the fantasy genre? ›

/ˈfæn.tə.si ˌfɪk.ʃən/ a type of story or literature that is set in a magical world, often involving traditional myths and magical creatures and sometimes ideas or events from the real world, especially from the medieval period of history: Characters in children's fantasy fiction often cross between worlds by magic.

Why is the fantasy genre important? ›

Engaging with fantasy can stimulate creativity and boost vocabulary. It may help some children develop better self-regulation skills. It might even enhance their working memory performance, and — under some conditions — help them discover creative solutions to problems.

What is the key element of the fantasy genre? ›

The key element of the fantasy fiction genre is magic. Fantasy novels may be romantic, historical, action-packed or all three, but the element of magic is what sets this genre apart from all the others. Fairy tales, myths, and legends are part of the fantasy genre.

Why did Tolkien feel it necessary to defend fantasy when he wrote his essay? ›

The snobbery of those who look down on fantasy has a long pedigree — so much so that, in 1947, J.R.R. Tolkien felt the need to defend the genre in his work, “On Fairy-Stories.” For Tolkien, fantasy and fairy stories are not simply stories about fairies.

What was Tolkien's motivation for writing Lord of the Rings? ›

The Lord of the Rings began as a personal exploration by Tolkien of his interests in philology, religion (particularly Roman Catholicism), fairy tales, as well as Norse and Celtic mythology, but it was also crucially influenced by the effects of his military service during World War I.

What was Tolkien influenced by? ›

J. R. R. Tolkien

What was Tolkien's message? ›

Death and immortality

Tolkien stated in his Letters that the core theme of The Lord of the Rings is death and the human desire to escape it: But I should say, if asked, the tale is not really about Power and Dominion: that only sets the wheels going; it is about Death and the desire for deathlessness.

Are there any fantasy books as good as Lord of the Rings? ›

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks is among the few books like Lord of the Rings that literary critics claim are very similar to Tolkien's epic fantasy series.

Why was The Lord of the Rings so influential? ›

The larger-than-life conflict of Frodo and the Fellowship vs. Sauron can remind readers and viewers a bit of real-life problems, but not enough to take them out of the story. Mostly, the story offers fans an escape from whatever may be going on in their lives. And that is the first reason for the story's popularity.

Is Lord of the Rings considered high fantasy? ›

The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien.

How did JRR Tolkien impact society? ›

Tolkien contributed to audiences' expectations for viable grammar and lexicon in literature, film and video games, Porter said. Every thought and detail Tolkien put into his works created a coherent, clever and impressive world, Gunner said.

What lessons does Lord of the Rings teach us? ›

Never give up on your dreams and goals. No matter how difficult and disheartening Frodo and Sam's journey to Mordor was, they never gave up on their mission to destroy the Ring. Similarly, no matter how many battles they had to fight which were life-threatening, the fellows of the Fellowship of the Ring never lost hope ...

What did Lord of the Rings teach you? ›

Don't judge people by their appearance. In the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is initially introduced as a rugged Ranger. No one could imagine that he is the true heir and King of Gondor. And this teaches us that one shouldn't judge other by their appearances; instead, judge a person's character by what they do.

Why is Lord of the Rings considered high fantasy? ›

High-fantasy stories occur in a non-Earth or secondary world, while low fantasy stories take place on Earth or in a primary world very similar to it. An example of high fantasy is The Lord of the Rings, set in Middle Earth.

Is Tolkien high or low fantasy? ›

The works of J. R. R. Tolkien—especially The Lord of the Rings—are regarded as archetypal works of high fantasy. Many high fantasy stories are told from the viewpoint of one main hero. Often, much of the plot revolves around their heritage or mysterious nature, along with a world-threatening problem.

What type of fantasy is Tolkien? ›

Tolkien and his work are still a touchstone, however, particularly for so-called epic fantasy.

What started the fantasy genre? ›

The history of modern fantasy literature begins with George MacDonald, the Scottish author of such novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes the latter of which is widely considered to be the first fantasy novel ever written for adults.

Where did the fantasy genre come from? ›

Egoff) Many children's fairy tales, particularly those published by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault influenced the development of the fantasy genre. The Brothers Grimm traveled the German countryside for thirteen years in the early 1800s, collecting fairy tales as told in the oral tradition of the village folk.

What defines fantasy genre? ›

fantasy, also spelled phantasy, imaginative fiction dependent for effect on strangeness of setting (such as other worlds or times) and of characters (such as supernatural or unnatural beings).


1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien - Book Summary
(Where's my notes at?)
2. Tolkien - The Father of Fantasy Documentary
(The People Profiles)
3. The Origins and Development of the Fantasy Genre
(Philip Chase)
4. Clash of the Gods: Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (S1) | Full Episode
(The UnXplained Zone)
5. NAZIS LOVE HOBBITS!? Why The Far-Right LOVE Lord of the Rings and the RACISM of the Fantasy Genre
(The Kavernacle)
6. Tolkien's Influence on Star Wars - The Hobbit and LotR in Star Wars
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