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

Elenorflower
Gondor


Oct 5 2012, 11:36am


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''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)

Subject User Time
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and Tolkien Elenorflower Send a private message to Elenorflower Oct 5 2012, 11:36am
    Yes, I like fantasy that is set in a world I can identify with Eruonen Send a private message to Eruonen Oct 5 2012, 4:32pm
        I was wondering Elenorflower Send a private message to Elenorflower Oct 5 2012, 7:46pm
            Because imaginatively, it is older and the lands have changed. Eruonen Send a private message to Eruonen Oct 5 2012, 10:06pm

 
 
 

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