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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Tolkien


Oct 5 2012, 11:36am

Post #1 of 4 (742 views)
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Tolkien Can't Post

''Weirdstone can best described as “English mythic” — a folkloristic mix of fairy lore, Norse myth and Tolkienesque fantasy laid upon the English countryside, Weirdstone is certainly strongly influenced by The Lord of the Rings Cadellin, the white-bearded, monk-robed wizard, is like Gandalf, but Gandalf is much more like Odin, and all such wizards have their roots in a similar primal archetype. But other aspects of the book are surely too Tolkienesque to be anything but influence. There’s the Galadriel-like Angharad Goldenhand, for instance, a beautiful female elf-like noble who protects the travellers in her realm, giving them food and gifts to help them when they return to the fray. There are dwarfs — Tolkienesque dwarfs, not Norse myth ones. There’s a magical object (the Weirdstone of the title), which in this case needs to be recovered, not destroyed. Most Tolkienesque of all is the nightmare journey through the mines of the goblin svart-alfar, whose “Eyes! Eyes looking at me! Down there in the darkness!” made me think of Tolkien’s “Drums! Drums in the deep!”, occurring as it does at a similar moment. The best way to describe LOTR‘s impact on Weirdstone (I don’t know if Garner acknowledges this or not) is to think of it as a sort of fever dream fuelled by the late-night reading of Tolkien, with certain major events and figures emerging re-purposed, alongside a host of Norse-mythic figures bursting out as the imaginative floodgates are opened Yes, Weirdstone is heavily influenced by Tolkien, but two things save it from being a derivative work. One, Garner is a powerful writer, and perhaps the only reason he relied so much on Tolkien is he responded to him (or the archetypes he employed) so powerfully. The most Tolkienesque passage — that journey through the Moria-like goblin-infested mines — is one of the most compelling sequences in the book, with the “Earldelving” chapter, in which the travellers have to squeeze through miles of narrow, often flooded passages, being genuinely claustrophobic. I found myself desperate to finish that chapter just so I could breathe again. Some of the descriptions of the underground caves have a beauty that can only have come from firsthand experience
. And I think the reason I loved this so much about Weirdstone, and other books like it, is not that it provides an escape from “real” life, but that it captures an essence of human experience, that we not only live in a real world of mud and stones, roads and houses, but in a world of imagination, too, where the “real” things have potentially powerful connections with realms of inner meaning & magic that are just as real, even if they are only in our heads''
MurrayEwing june 2012.

So the question is, do you prefer Tolkiens world which is based on Our world but plays out in a fantasy realm, or Garners world which is set in the here and now but dips its toes in the hidden unssen magical world around us?

(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Oct 5 2012, 11:38am)


Oct 5 2012, 4:32pm

Post #2 of 4 (378 views)
Yes, I like fantasy that is set in a world I can identify with [In reply to] Can't Post

vs a totally alien setting. Not that such works cannot be great, but as a reader, I like the idea that just beneath the surface world I am familiar with is another realm that occasionally opens up etc. I don't mind if the world is shaped differently, as earth history has demonstrated that fact over the eons, but I like at least sharing a familiar experience with the characters.

For example, I really enjoy Brandon Sanderson's works, but I am strugglng a bit with The Way of Kings because it is set in a very alien landscape and world. It just makes it harder to grasp along with the central story line etc.

(This post was edited by Eruonen on Oct 5 2012, 4:34pm)


Oct 5 2012, 7:46pm

Post #3 of 4 (351 views)
I was wondering [In reply to] Can't Post

also if that is why Harry Potter is so popular, why it has touched some inner longing a lot of us have to find these other worlds. Potters magic world is all around us but hidden just slightly out of view, you can just about catch it from the corner of your eye. I think that as a Muggle I could somehow stumble into The leaky Cauldron off a dusty London alleyway and find myself in Diagon Alley. Whereas looking for Middle Earth would be a might more difficult. Unfortunately. Frown

(This post was edited by Elenorflower on Oct 5 2012, 7:54pm)


Oct 5 2012, 10:06pm

Post #4 of 4 (850 views)
Because imaginatively, it is older and the lands have changed. [In reply to] Can't Post

However, those same imagined areas exist in reality. When you see Hogwarts in it Scottish highland setting you are not far from the ruins of Amon Sul by the overlay maps.



(This post was edited by Eruonen on Oct 5 2012, 10:11pm)


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