Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: The Arena:
JRR Tolkien VS. C.S. Lewis

iandea14
Rivendell


Nov 19 2012, 7:03pm

Post #1 of 25 (1335 views)
Shortcut
JRR Tolkien VS. C.S. Lewis Can't Post

Two excellent authors in a classic showdown! Who's writing is better?


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Nov 19 2012, 9:11pm

Post #2 of 25 (732 views)
Shortcut
Liable for just a bit of bias on a Tolkien board? [In reply to] Can't Post

Seriously though, as far as I'm concerned C.S. Lewis (in terms of being an author, not as a friend) isn't worthy to kiss Tolkien's feet-no author is.

I'm not belittling Lewis' works in any way, they are brilliant in their own right and not some sub-genre of Tolkien unlike many high fantasy books published today (obviously being published before LOTR helps). I have fond childhood memories of Lewis' books and still hold them in high regard now, but did Lewis ever even approach the depth of Tolkien's works? I think not.

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.

(This post was edited by Radagast-Aiwendil on Nov 19 2012, 9:13pm)


iandea14
Rivendell


Nov 20 2012, 4:47am

Post #3 of 25 (626 views)
Shortcut
Agreed [In reply to] Can't Post

It will be a bit bias. But I'd say C.S. Lewis is better for younger ages. It's easier to read a little kid Narnia and have them understand it and enjoy it than it would be to read then Fellowship of The Ring and have the same results. They are both great authors but I'd say Tolkien writes on a such high level that I honestly cannot think of another author to even challenge him.


iandea14
Rivendell


Nov 20 2012, 4:49am

Post #4 of 25 (632 views)
Shortcut
Also [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm 17 and live in the United States and to be honest I don't think the majority of kids I go to school with would be able to sit down and read Tolkiens work and be able to understand it and not have trouble with every other page. It's just sad where my generation is.


Ruxendil_Thoorg
Grey Havens


Nov 20 2012, 6:33am

Post #5 of 25 (661 views)
Shortcut
Tolkien tramples over Lewis, Gangnam style. [In reply to] Can't Post

Both are greats but Tolkien is greater, hands down, because:

1. Narnia is an inexplicable, nonsensical cultural hodgepodge... what's with mixing Greek-mythicals (centaurs, minotaurs, satyrs/fauns) with Norse/Germanic (dwarfs, unicorns, gryphons, dragons, giants) and then mixing those with Bestiary beasts from the Dark Continent like lions, leopards, apes and rhinos? while Middle Earth's cultural inspiration is coherently Germanic and Celtic by design, because it is supposed to offer a mythology for England.

2. Lewis' writings are nearly always if not 100% always Christian allegory. Tolkien's writings transcend allegory, by design.

3. Lewis, in A Horse and his Boy, made cheap shots against the Calormenes--who may have been designed to resemble Lewis' perception of Arab, Persian, or South Asian culture perhaps. He did that by trying to portray the Calormene POV, or pretending to, but instead it comes across as a smear. The only sympathetic major character of the Calormenes, Aravis, was the most anti-Calormene. The Calormene culture had no redeeming qualities even from the perspective of one of their own. It felt cartoonish and did not ring true. Tolkien wisely didn't pretend to try to depict the POV of, say, the Haradrim. They were always the Other from the POV of the main characters, except when Faramir speaks of a fallen Harad, wondering about his POV and thoughts before falling. He does so in an empathetic manner, unlike any Narnia character toward the Calormenes.

4. Tolkien's writings were clear about linguistic origins of character names, place names, and invented terms. He invented functional and coherent languages. Lewis, he inexplicably borrowed from Celtic, Greek, Latin, and Turkish IIRC. No reason within the story for drawing from those languages. Aslan's name is Turkish but nothing about his character comes across as anything to do with Turkish culture.

5. Tolkien's invented world had more depth, felt more immersive , than that of Lewis.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.

http://newboards.theonering.net/...forum_view_expanded;


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 20 2012, 7:57am

Post #6 of 25 (610 views)
Shortcut
This [In reply to] Can't Post

I still enjoy Lewis' works, but Tolkien beats Lewis in every single way.

Now, ask the question in a Lewis forum and see what the replies are. Wink

Want Hobbit Movie News? Hobbit Headlines of the Week!



imin
Valinor


Nov 20 2012, 9:18am

Post #7 of 25 (644 views)
Shortcut
C.S. Lewis // [In reply to] Can't Post

 


BeornBerserker
Lorien

Nov 20 2012, 2:08pm

Post #8 of 25 (602 views)
Shortcut
Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

 


CuriousG
Valinor


Nov 20 2012, 5:58pm

Post #9 of 25 (616 views)
Shortcut
Hodgepodge, but! [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree with all you said. I'll add that I read the Narnia books once as a kid, enjoyed them, and have never felt a need to reread them. I thought Lewis's Perelandra sci-fi series was dreadful. The Great Divorce was just okay, as was Mere Christianity.

Here's the "but!" I really enjoyed Lewis's The Screwtape Letters. A short book very artfully written and constructed. I recommend it.


Ayiana
The Shire


Nov 20 2012, 6:25pm

Post #10 of 25 (599 views)
Shortcut
J.R.R. Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Radagast-Aiwendil
Gondor


Nov 20 2012, 7:16pm

Post #11 of 25 (590 views)
Shortcut
I know exactly how you feel [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm 17 also (but in the UK) and aside from my own friends I know very few people my own age who enjoy Tolkien's works even if they enjoyed the LOTR films.

It seems strange to me that one of the best selling books of all time seems to have such a small following in my own area/within my generation (although obviously there are billions of Tolkien fans worldwide)

"Radagast is, of course, a worthy wizard, a master of shapes and changes of hue, and he has much lore of herbs and beasts, and birds are especially his friends."-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings.


DanielLB
Immortal


Nov 20 2012, 7:45pm

Post #12 of 25 (595 views)
Shortcut
We must be geographically separated [In reply to] Can't Post

I've known people to have enjoyed the films and/or read the books, but that's it. We must all be geographically separated.Wink

Want Hobbit Movie News? Hobbit Headlines of the Week!



imin
Valinor


Nov 20 2012, 8:09pm

Post #13 of 25 (586 views)
Shortcut
Meant to have said C.S. Lewis would lose this battle to J.R.R tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

Must have been half asleep when i wrote this oh dear Blush

As for my friends. I have mainly friends who have watched the films then tried to read the books but couldnt get into it or stopped at certain parts - off the top of my head i remember one stopping at tom bombadil, another at the council of elrond and another finished the fellowship of the ring but never got round to reading the two towers.

I have only a couple who have actually read the books all the way through - i did have one who was just as mad about it as me, but he moved away when he graduated Frown


Ayiana
The Shire


Nov 20 2012, 8:31pm

Post #14 of 25 (673 views)
Shortcut
In my area... [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a couple of friends who have read the books. But many of the people I know don't read books in general.
And one of my friends has read the Hobbit and liked it very much, but she didn't read LotR because it was to long...


iandea14
Rivendell


Nov 21 2012, 1:26am

Post #15 of 25 (579 views)
Shortcut
Unfortunately [In reply to] Can't Post

I know a ton of people who say they love Lord Of The Rings but yet they have only seen the movie and most couldn't even tell me who Tom Bombadil is. (which is one of the best characters in the books) Sadly I'd also consider people who only watch the movies and don't even try to read the books not true Lord Of The Rings or especially JRR Tolkien fans.


sevilodorf
Gondor


Nov 21 2012, 2:00am

Post #16 of 25 (664 views)
Shortcut
It all depends [In reply to] Can't Post

on what you are looking for.

Both were world builders on the highest level and a reader can as easily get lost in Narnia as in Middle Earth.

Tolkien may be the more "adult" writer while Lewis appeals more to the "juvenile" market, yet I reread both LOTR and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll http://burpingtroll.com





Eredhion
The Shire


Dec 4 2012, 10:03pm

Post #17 of 25 (751 views)
Shortcut
Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

 

“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky”


starlesswinter
Lorien

Dec 10 2012, 6:19am

Post #18 of 25 (614 views)
Shortcut
I'm not really a Lewis fan, but... [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think some of your points necessarily make Tolkien better. Fantasy is often anachronistic to great effect, and I don't think Tolkien's consistency in making a pre-European history of sorts - as successful as he was - makes his work better than a hodgepodge of ideas. Or the concept of a hodgepodge itself, I should say. It comes down more to execution, I think, in which case Tolkien does win.


Ardamírë
Valinor


Dec 11 2012, 4:13am

Post #19 of 25 (544 views)
Shortcut
What are we comparing? [In reply to] Can't Post

If we're only comparing the Chronicles of Narnia to The Lord of the Rings, I'd say Tolkien. But as writers in general? I think C.S. Lewis could win that one. He's considered one of the greatest Christian apologists of the 20th century. The Chronicles of Narnia are his only work for children, and even those are incredibly deep and allegorical.

Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien. His Middle-earth is the best secondary world I have ever read, and probably will always be. But do not forget that he wrote more than just about ME.

How about I turn the tables and compare Tolkien's Roverandom (a beautiful little story) to Lewis's Perelandra? You could most definitely say that Tolkien is more suitable for younger ages then, and that Lewis is a master of words and story telling par excellence.

I'm just here to play devil's advocate. I enjoy them both immensely, but for such different reasons. "I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens" - to quote one of my favorite movies. Smile

"...and his first memory of Middle-earth was the green stone above her breast as she sang above his cradle while Gondolin was still in flower." -Unfinished Tales

(This post was edited by Ardamírë on Dec 11 2012, 4:13am)


Ruxendil_Thoorg
Grey Havens


Dec 11 2012, 4:36am

Post #20 of 25 (911 views)
Shortcut
Fair enough distinction, but hard to tell for sure without an example. [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe the issue is more about execution as opposed to a hodgepodge being a problem per se, as you suggest.

I can only say maybe, because for me its hard to tell without first seeing an example of a hodgepodge being executed well, in a way that might equal or surpass Tolkien. We are in agreement that Lewis' Narnia series is not that example.

Besides, the Tolkien approach happens to be my preference over the hodgepodge approach. That's just me, perhaps.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.

http://newboards.theonering.net/...forum_view_expanded;


starlesswinter
Lorien

Dec 13 2012, 1:56am

Post #21 of 25 (626 views)
Shortcut
Hodgepodge [In reply to] Can't Post

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Lewis never really conjures a consistent world that feels real. He creates a hodgepodge of random things that never gathers into anything unified - it FEELS random. I would say though that J.K. Rowling's wizarding world is a relatively successful hodgepodge creation; she uses ideas from multiple mythologies and combines those with her own ideas to create something that at the very least feels consistent. Whereas Lewis's feels like anything can pop out at any moment because he essentially is copying and pasting creatures from different places without really altering them to fit an overall concept.


Ruxendil_Thoorg
Grey Havens


Dec 13 2012, 11:59am

Post #22 of 25 (944 views)
Shortcut
Thanks, I hadn't considered that. [In reply to] Can't Post

Well put, starlesswinter. JKR's hodgepodge does seem better than Lewis'. whether its equal to or better than Tolkien's approach, I won't go that far, but some reasonable-minded people might think so I suppose.

A bag is like a hole that you can carry with you.

http://newboards.theonering.net/...forum_view_expanded;


BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan

Jan 8 2013, 12:25pm

Post #23 of 25 (480 views)
Shortcut
I agree completely [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm fifteen. Kids have no love for decent works of literature nowadays. Or any literature at all, in fact.


BoromirOfWinterfell
Rohan

Jan 8 2013, 12:33pm

Post #24 of 25 (614 views)
Shortcut
Tolkien hands down. [In reply to] Can't Post

I love Lewis's work. He provides some really nice insight in The Screwtape Letters, and all the Narnia books are enjoyable. Although they were both brilliant philologists, Tolkien seemed to be able to create a much more of a beautiful world from what he learned. Lewis's characters can be dull, whereas Tolkien doesn't really have a dull character. His writing is so evocative. But naturally my views are biased. Tolkien is escapism for me - his works help people through tough times.


The White Wizard
The Shire


Feb 6 2013, 11:50pm

Post #25 of 25 (727 views)
Shortcut
J.R.R. Tolkien [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Tolkien would win just because he I created a whole world filled with ages of knowledge, languages, and an amazing history. I am a huge fan of C.S.S.Lewis, but his writing is not as complex or in depth as Tolkien's.

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.