Tag Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

Terry Brooks a Copy? – Authors Answer #2

Looks like my video version of Authors Answer will be posted every Saturday. I have a schedule! Well, if you remember the original question, you don’t have to go to the original post, but if you don’t remember, take a look. Find out all of our answers. Basically, it’s all about guilty pleasures. Is there an author that’s often criticised, but you still love to read?

Watch my answer, and enjoy the bloopers.

Have you ever read any of Terry Brooks’ books? Which author is your guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comments below!

A Real Life Minas Tirith?

It seems there’s a group of architects who want to build a life-sized Minas Tirith in southern England. If you’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, then you’ll know the city.  How much will it cost? £1.85 billion! They’re raising the money through crowdfunding. They expect completion to be around 2023.

Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.
Not Minas Tirith, but Mont Saint-Michel, the inspiration for the city. This image is being used under the Creative Commons license cc-by-sa-3.0. It is owned by user b3rny at Flickr.

So, will they build it? So far, in 15 days, they have received £74,249 for the construction of the city. I really wonder if they can raise that much money. It may take years at this rate. Actually, it’ll take about 1,000 years at this rate. It’s an incredible thing to build, and I’d love to visit it if it’s ever built. If you want to contribute, you can go to the IndieGoGo page and donate. There are still 45 days left in this campaign. It really makes me wonder if they’ll get an incredibly generous group of people to help fund it.

What do you think? Can they do it? And if they do, will you visit it?

Creating Languages for Speculative Fiction

Quenya_Example.svgAnyone who reads or writes speculative fiction understands that English isn’t always the language that’s spoken by the characters.  What is generally spoken by characters in fantasy is often called the Common Tongue.  This is written in English.  In science fiction, English is more likely to be used, since it’s usually based in our future reality.  However, far in the future, the language is likely to be very different than today’s English.  I’ve often seen it called Standard, but not always.

But what about other languages?  In fantasy, it’s important to create different languages for different cultures.  Some languages may be linked, evolving from a common root language.  On Earth, there are many different language groups. For example, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian all have a common root in Latin.  The master of language creation in fantasy was J. R. R. Tolkien.  He created several languages, including the example at the top of this post.  That’s Quenya, one of the Elvish languages.  He developed the languages so well that you can even learn to speak them.

In science fiction, languages have likely drifted from what they are now, and I’ve often seen new words being used, especially slang and expletives.  And then there are alien languages.  These would be so completely different from anything we have on Earth, so they need to be very creative.  One such example is Klingon, created by Marc Okrand and James Doohan (Scotty), which was later expanded into a complete language by Okrand.  You can learn to speak this language, too.  You can read Hamlet in Klingon and learn to understand what “taH pagh taHbe'” means.

Anyone who wants to create a language for either fantasy or science fiction can probably make up a few words, not the entire language.  However, it’s best to set up some rules, particularly for pronunciation, spelling, and basic grammar.  That way, when you need more, you can expand using the rules you created.  It’s particularly useful for place names, names of characters, and so on.

How useful do you think it is to create a language?  Have you tried before?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Book Review – The Silmarillion

silmarillionThe Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is an epic fantasy book based in the world of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. It was published after Tolkien’s death and edited by his son Christopher.  What this isn’t is a novel.  It’s the history of Middle-Earth and Valinor from the creation of the world, and mostly about the First Age.

In this book, there are several tales: Ainulindale, the creation story; Valaquenta, the story about the Valar and Maiar; Quenta Silmarillion, the main story in this book about the Silmarils and the First Age of Middle-Earth and Valinor; Akallabeth, the story about Numenor; and Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, which is self-explanatory.  Some familiar characters from Lord of the Rings appear, such as Sauron, Galadriel, and Elrond.  There’s a bit about Gandalf, and a very short bit about the Hobbits, naming only Frodo.  Basically, Tolkien considered The Silmarillion to be his most important work.

I went into this book knowing that it does not read like a novel.  It reads like a holy book and history book combined.  Tolkien used language that was poetic, as well as very descriptive.  This can turn some people off, so just be aware of this.

It’s difficult to describe the characters in the book, as they’re written as historic figures, so we don’t get a detailed account of what happens.  However, we do get to know their personalities and thoughts.  There is a lot of sadness and grief for many of them, as there’s a large amount of destruction and death.  It features all of the races from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, though only touches on the Hobbits and Gollum’s people.  There’s a vast number of characters, which can be hard to keep straight.  However, the genealogical tables and index really help.

Tolkien painted a vivid picture of Middle-Earth, Valinor, and Numenor in this book.  The history was extremely detailed and developed very well.  He developed languages for it, as he was a philologist and was very talented linguistically.  Included in this book are maps and a section on languages and pronunciation.  It’s packed with information.

I found this review a bit difficult to write, as it’s completely different than any other book I’ve read.  However, I thought it was beautifully done and absolutely fascinating.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s a Tolkien fan or really enjoys world building.

This gets a full 5 stars.  Great stuff!