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      Lord of the rings or Harry Potter?

      Okay this may sound like a stupid question (and itís going to be followed by a stupid story) but I was just wondering what people generally prefer: Harry Potter or Lord of the rings. I used to be lotr fan (mostly because my whole family are and Iíd have been disowned at nine years old if I wasnít) but then something happened to me when I was sixteen to make me kinda dislike lotr. I and the rest of my classmates at school went to see the stage version of lotr. Iíll admit that Iím not a fan of the theatre but I was blown away by this show. The costumes, the sets, the stunts, the singing, even the lighting blew me away Ė or it did until the curtain call when guys dressed as orcs started roaming through the audience trying to bug them. One of the orcs moved along the row (which was empty) in front of me. He stopped at the seat in front of me and crouched down with his head hung low and his back arched. He didnít move for a while. It began to make me feel slightly nervous. Finally I couldnít take it anymore so I stood up and leaned forward to see if he was alright. In hindsight I realize how naÔve of me but at the time I didnít think ahead. I stared at him for a bit before he whipped his head toward me and growled. The movement was so sudden and (to me) shocking that I shrieked as I fell back into my seat. I know I walked straight into that one. Afterwards letís just say it was a long time before I heard the end of it. Anyway getting back to the point, I recently started getting into the harry potter series the way I didnít as a kid. Every kid I knew though loved the HP series. Which series does everyone else prefer?

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      In summary, Harry Potter.

      I read a lot of good fantasy, and to be honest, LOTR is probably the most boring fantasy series I've ever read. I just couldn't get into it. The characters had no depth and seemed unrealistic, which completely ruined it for me. If I don't care what happens to the characters, even an epic plot is going to be meaningless.

      Harry Potter, on the other hand, I got addicted to when I was a kid to an unhealthy point at which I just wanted to live in that world and felt real life was pointless.

      As for the movies, I actually enjoyed the LOTR movies. I think a lot of substance was added which wasn't there in the books, like some character depth (though still not much), and humor. I cared about the characters a little more, and the plot was epic in a unique way that made it entertaining. Perhaps people who liked reading LOTR got a similar experience from reading the books as I did from watching the movies. If so, I guess I was missing out. My terrible name recall might be to blame. There were so many long names to remember it frustrated me when I couldn't recall one, and that alone may have distracted me from enjoying the books at all.

      I'm actually watching the Harry Potter movies now for the first time, and just finished the 5th. I'd never watched them before because I liked the books so much when I was a kid, I was afraid that the movies would ruin it. But now, an adult who no longer cares that much, I decided to start watching them, and I really like them. The first couple were annoyingly childish, but I can see them becoming more mature. It's weird to see scenes that I remember reading 10 years ago, memories being brought back.

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      Sorry, but your theater story made me laugh. Wish I could've gone to that show.

      They both have different types of appeal, there isn't really a reason to compare them, aside from both being really popular fantasy stories - but for me, LotR, definitely. And the rest of Tolkien's writing.

      It's partially about the age I was when I read them and the memories associated with them - the Hobbit was a bedtime story and a favorite computer game at the local library, and reading the Silmarillion got me through some really stressful times. Harry Potter I didn't hear about until senior year of high school, too late to imprint on it the way you do with things you read as a kid.

      But also there's the writing itself. I love the Norse myths Tolkien was inspired by, and I love mythology and language in general and Tolkien caters to that. Whereas JKR's writing style just struck me as, sorry folks, really dull. I do like the setting, and I really love some of the background characters and a lot of the things that fandom's done with that world, I love the phenomenon of a fantasy world that appealed to so many people - but it's not something I'd ever reread. Whereas the Silmarillion is something I could read over and over again for the beauty of the language alone.

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      Xei
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      Harry Potter. The prose isn't art, but it isn't supposed to be. The intricate plot, the deep realisation of the brilliant world, and maybe most of all the simply amazing number of vivid and unique characters... these are what make it exceptional. It isn't among the greats of literature, but in terms of stories... it's superb, and I think that's how it'll be viewed by posterity. Pretty much the reverse of Lord of the Rings, in my opinion.

      I don't rate the Harry Potter movies very highly though. I actually caught one on TV a couple of days ago for the first time in ages... the Half-Blood Prince. The alteration they made to Slughorn (from indulgent walrus to damaged, eccentric don) was pretty much the only improvement the films ever made on the series. Prisoner of Azkaban came close to capturing some of the atmosphere, but asides from that they never captured most of what was really good about the books. The story was neglected to the extent that the films don't actually make much sense, and there wasn't enough development of the characters, alongside some miscasting (Dumbledore and Harry Potter himself are particularly jarring).

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      Well my username is an homage to my favorite Maiar so obviously LOTR but honestly I think it would be more appropriate to include the whole Tolkien mythos because the War of the Rings takes up a very, very small time span in relation to the whole history of Middle-Earth which was created by the Valar whom existed waaaay before even the creation of Arda itself (about 37,000 years before the War of the Ring, thats a lot of history). Its a gargantuan mythology. That being said, the mythology of which the LOTR saga is but a mere subset of, is rich, intricate and inexhaustibly inspiring. LOTR basically invented modern fantasy. Dungeons and Dragons, Game of Thrones, Elder Scrolls, Warcraft, etc were all inspired by Tolkien amazing mythos.

      When I was a kid, I read the LOTR trilogy, The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and many of the encyclopedias and companion books over and over again. Seriously Ive probably read and reread Tolkiens books more than I have read all the other books in my lifetime. I was obsessed for quite a while. It was a really big part of my life and my entire childhood. I used to go to a family bible study twice a week and I would always discuss the implicit Christian themes (when I was into that) in all of Tolkien work with my uncle. I would look forward to it every week.

      Anyway I absolutely love Harry Potter as well, its a great story but I wasn't allowed to read it until I was about thirteen because "sorcery wasn't right with Jesus" but LOTR was okay because Tolkien was a very devout Christian as much as some people want to down play that aspect of his work. So I read all the HP books much later than my peers which was unfortunate. So considering I didn't read HP till I was basically a teenager, perhaps that is why it didn't inspire and influence me as much as Tolkien mythology. I hold the humble opinion that the mythology of Middle Earth, Arda as a whole and the Timeless Halls are the greatest story ever told and remains extremely close to my heart. Yes I never had a life thank you.

      To answer the OP's question: I think people our age group (under 30?) generally prefer Harry Potter because of its accessibility and how closely we can relate to characters. It goes down easy like a light beer. Lotr is like a dark as night stout. Its got a personality. But for the most part people just enjoy different stories and can relate to different kinds of characters and situations. HP is for the most part what it seems on surface glance, whereas LOTR is much more allegorical and rich in its mythology. Neither is better or worse it comes down to preference.
      Last edited by stormcrow; 08-29-2013 at 01:01 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
      But also there's the writing itself. I love the Norse myths Tolkien was inspired by, and I love mythology and language in general and Tolkien caters to that. Whereas JKR's writing style just struck me as, sorry folks, really dull.
      As Xei said, the writing isn't supposed to be art.
      It's been a while since I read LOTR, but Tolkien seems to be more the kind of author who uses language well to convey exactly what he wants using whatever language mechanisms necessary. While other authors, like Rowling, are focused solely on the reader's experience. Although her writing may be a bit simple, it's obvious that her intention is to create the best experience for the reader using any means necessary. I don't understand why it matters that the language used is 'dull'. Isn't the point of a fantasy story to immerse you in the world? The only reason I can imagine it would matter is if you find the language is so dull that you can't properly immerse yourself in the story. That, or you aren't even trying to, and the whole point of reading for you is to marvel at the beautiful sentence structures.

      George R. R. Martin (author of Game of Thrones series) balances these two well. To me he's the perfect author which can be compared to others to find their faults.

      LOTR is epic but there's just almost nothing realistic or relatable about it. The fact that there are almost no women is a big part of that for me. You could say that it's because most of it is taking place during a war of sorts, but I don't think that really excuses it. The hobbits are smaller than the humans, yet the male hobbits are still allowed to fight and adventure. I mean I understand that it's just the world he created, but it's a big deal for me. It's hard to get into a story when I know the person who wrote it and most of the characters likely consider me irrelevant. Like if I were there they'd just tell me to go away and try to protect me so the men can do all the exciting stuff.

      Quote Originally Posted by stormcrow View Post
      To answer the OP's question: I think people our age group (under 30?) generally prefer Harry Potter because of its accessibility and how closely we can relate to characters. It goes down easy like a light beer. Lotr is like a dark as night stout. Its got a personality. But for the most part people just enjoy different stories and can relate to different kinds of characters and situations. HP is for the most part what it seems on surface glance, whereas LOTR is much more allegorical and rich in its mythology. Neither is better or worse it comes down to preference.
      It's strange that I'd describe them almost oppositely to how you did. Maybe it does come down to what you read as a kid. Because I read HP as the books came out. I was the same age as Harry was as each book came out, and the books kind of 'grew up' with me, which is what the author intended. But LOTR I read once when I was about 16, at the urging of my bf because he loved them, and I found it bland. It seemed like dry literature with no depth. While HP was a story with a unique personality I could get lost in.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      As Xei said, the writing isn't supposed to be art.
      It's been a while since I read LOTR, but Tolkien seems to be more the kind of author who uses language well to convey exactly what he wants using whatever language mechanisms necessary. While other authors, like Rowling, are focused solely on the reader's experience. Although her writing may be a bit simple, it's obvious that her intention is to create the best experience for the reader using any means necessary. I don't understand why it matters that the language used is 'dull'. Isn't the point of a fantasy story to immerse you in the world? The only reason I can imagine it would matter is if you find the language is so dull that you can't properly immerse yourself in the story. That, or you aren't even trying to, and the whole point of reading for you is to marvel at the beautiful sentence structures.
      No, no, don't get me wrong, I didn't mean to imply everyone has to write prose like it's poetry, I like my share of light reading. It's literally Rowling's specific style of writing that I find dull, the rhythm and pacing makes it difficult for me to get into the story. Same with GRRM, for that matter, but at least with him I can admire how meticulously crafted the writing is - but I still skim half the chapters until I hit a POV character I like, because who'd bother to read a story just to marvel at the beautiful sentence structures? But there's plenty of lighter fantasy out there that I love to read. Dianna Wynne Jones for example, just as light as Rowling but a completely different writing style. We all prefer the writing styles that let us immerse ourselves in the story.

      Fair point about the lack of women in LotR, though.

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      Okay, makes sense, thanks for the clarification. I wasn't really assuming you were disagreeing with what I was saying. I skipped a line because I stopped responding to you specifically.

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      I love both of these series, and find it very hard to pick a favorite. Interestingly, I didn't get into either of these until near adulthood for LotR and just a few years ago for Harry Potter. Having read both series, I think Tolkien is way more "highbrow" I guess you could say, reminiscent of all those books I had to read for High School. Harry Potter, I think, is more like a book from Stephen King, told in an ordinary way without relying on all the fancy language and stuff.

      I do have to say I disagree that the LoTR characters are shallow or one-dimensional. There is a great deal of depth in the main characters, especially, I think, Frodo, Aragorn, and Gollum. In fact, Gollum is arguably the most complex of the characters. I also have to disagree that the Harry Potter movies are "good" in comparison to the books. I've seen every movie, and read all of the books, and there are so many differences it sickens me. Honestly, why did they have to change SO much?? Especially with Deathly hallows part 2, where Harry confronts Voldemort--they completely changed Harry's speech! In fact, I think that was one of the worst changed from book to film, because it took away a really large point of what Harry was trying to say to Voldemort, to make him see before they had their final battle.

      I'd probably say I prefer The Lord of the Rings, although Harry Potter is right behind in my opinion. Both are excellent stories and both have really good themes too, and have well rounded characters and great writing.

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      I grew up with Harry Potter and there's no way I could choose anything over it, but LOTR is really awesome too.

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      Quote Originally Posted by TheSilverWolf View Post
      I do have to say I disagree that the LoTR characters are shallow or one-dimensional. There is a great deal of depth in the main characters, especially, I think, Frodo, Aragorn, and Gollum. In fact, Gollum is arguably the most complex of the characters.
      This I'd agree with. Gollum is complex and made the movies worth watching. The rest of the main characters, like Frodo, Sam and Aragorn, are sort of complex... but you aren't given much insight into what they're thinking and feeling. I have read novels in which the characters have depth yet a lot is hidden from the reader, in which it's worked (ex. The Lies of Locke Lamora). And in the LOTR movies it worked, but in the books it didn't for me. Something just seemed fake/wrong about all the characters, with the exception of gollum. I'm not sure what it is exactly. It's like it's hinted that they have depth, but the depth is never really explored because the author doesn't really care about the psychology much. Like he just forced himself to make the characters have depth because he thought he had to, but his main point was to forward the epic plot as a metaphor for religion, so he often didn't bother expressing any character depth, instead focusing only on their plot-moving actions.

      He doesn't seem to care about thoughts which don't translate metaphorically to something he's trying to express. For example, the fact that the Hobbits miss the Shire may seem to show that they have depth. But it really seems like the author is just trying to express a belief in doing the right thing even if you have to sacrifice for it. That may be the whole problem I have with LOTR. It's too obvious that Tolkien's intention is to express his views, to make a point about something, rather than tell a story for entertainment. Of course he's trying to make it entertaining in the process, but providing entertainment isn't his main goal. It's just hard for me to care much about the characters when I know they're just being written to express some (often religious) belief of the author. It's like trying to take a movie seriously when you're constantly noticing hidden sponsored ads.

      I also have to disagree that the Harry Potter movies are "good" in comparison to the books.
      Did anyone say the movies were better than the books?
      Last edited by Dianeva; 08-30-2013 at 03:29 AM.

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      Xei
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      Yeah, seconding the comment about women. It's actually pretty hilarious how much of a manfest it is. Bilbo's mum doesn't seem to exist, and Frodo's mum is casually mentioned to be dead or something. Bilbo goes on an adventure with a big man wizard and thirteen little man dwarves (woman dwarves don't exist) and does a bunch of stuff involving man goblins (woman goblins don't exist), man eagles, man bear mans, and man dragons. Frodo on the other hand gets chased out of Hobbiton by nine man wraiths on nine man horses, with three little man hobbits, none of whom have girlfriends; and after a meeting with a large bunch of important men, continues his adventure with the man wizard, a man elf, a man dwarf, and two man men, the first of whom's mother is dead or something and the second of whom's mother is dead or something. Along the way they encounter many man orcs (woman orcs don't exist) and even some man tree mans (who "can't remember" where the woman trees are), and the story culminates with a huge battle involving thousands of men from Rohan, plus one woman, who pretends to be a man, and Frodo and his beloved "man friend" Sam throwing a ring into a volcano and destroying the giant floating man eye of fire, leading to the crowning of King Aragorn and the dawn of the "Age of Man".

      The whole thing is actually pretty bizarre when you think about it, and highlights how much stronger Rowling is when it comes to actually creating a sensible world and characters, rather than a kind of aesthetic, mythological one.

      Also seconding the complementary point about how hardly any of Tolkein's characters have any depth or undergo any development. Gollum is the only real exception, with Boromir and Denethor as kind of token exceptions. Again, it's all mythological abstract images, rather than actual characters. And the good/bad dichotomy is just jarring when you notice it. There are the beautiful, shiny, absolutely good characters, and then the ugly, dark, absolutely bad characters, and virtually nothing in between. Rather than creating a proper enemy with some kind of narrative, Tolkein even invented orcs as an entire race of inherently evil creatures basically as a massive plot device, who could be slain with moral impunity.
      Last edited by Xei; 08-30-2013 at 03:46 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Yeah, seconding the comment about women. It's actually pretty hilarious how much of a manfest it is. Bilbo's mum doesn't seem to exist, and Frodo's mum is casually mentioned to be dead or something. Bilbo goes on an adventure with a big man wizard and thirteen little man dwarves (woman dwarves don't exist) and does a bunch of stuff involving man goblins (woman goblins don't exist), man eagles, man bears, and man dragons. Frodo on the other hand gets chased out of Hobbiton by nine man wraiths on nine man horses, with three little man hobbits, none of whom have girlfriends; and after a meeting with a large bunch of important men, continues his adventure with the man wizard, a man elf, a man dwarf, and two man men, the first of whom's mother is dead or something and the second of whom's mother is dead or something. Along the way they encounter many man orcs (woman orcs don't exist) and even some man tree mans (who "can't remember" where the woman trees are), and the story culminates with a huge battle involving thousands of men from Rohan, plus one woman, who pretends to be a man, and Frodo and his beloved "man friend" Sam throwing a ring into a volcano and destroying the giant floating man eye of fire, leading to the crowning of King Aragorn and the dawn of the "Age of Man".
      This is amazing.

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      I can't can't be a judge on this. I've watched the LOTR trilogy, but I only saw HP 1. As for the books, I've never touched either or the series. If I did pick up one, I would probably pick up LOTR because I have a feeling it would be like the never ending story as soon as I read the first page. But all joking aside. When HP came out, I JUST old enough to be made fun of if I read it....so I kind of stayed away from it, like pokemon, except I've played some pokemon games.


      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Tolkein even invented orcs as an entire race of inherently evil creatures basically as a massive plot device, who could be slain with moral impunity.
      But he invented orcs damnit! There's nothing too new in the HP world other than getting kids to read big books again. So in the end, I can say they both serve their purpose, but if I were to pick up one (lol probably wouldn't because there's tons of star wars books that i still need to read), I'd get Manfest....aka LOTR.

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      Xei
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      Quote Originally Posted by AURON View Post
      There's nothing too new in the HP world other than getting kids to read big books again.
      What do you mean? The Harry Potter universe, if that's what you're referring to, is pretty original and entertaining. I'm not sure that there's any other fiction series where the modern world has a whole parallel society of magic people, keeping themselves hidden in various ridiculous ways.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I'm not sure that there's any other fiction series where the modern world has a whole parallel society of magic people, keeping themselves hidden in various ridiculous ways.
      That's pretty much the plot of every urban fantasy ever written.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Carabas View Post
      That's pretty much the plot of every urban fantasy ever written.
      Name one?

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      I have to disagree that Tolkien didn't write his story to entertain. I think he had themes, a religious message to send, and also one of being kind to our planet, rather than harvesting every single recourse and stripping it bare. That said, if you read about Tolkien, in his letters to his friend (I forgot the friends name, darnit), he explicity stated that he wanted to write the kind of books HE liked to read. He couldn't find the exact type of book that he wanted, as a reader. There was a niche to be filled, and he ended up filling it. He WANTED people to enjoy his world, and even went extremely far to make is as realistic as possible, inventing entirely new languages (dwarvish and Elvish), just for the purpose of his book. And there are plenty of in between races. Look at the Dwarves. They aren't angelic like the Elves are portrayed (though don't forget, in the Silmarilian we even see that Elves have a blemish on record, with the only incident of elf-on-elf killing), but they aren't EVIL either. Dwarves are the middle-ground race, I think.

      So are men. He portrays humanity much as it really is. Even among the Dunedhain, the "blessed" men who stood by the side of the Valar instead of joining up with Melkor and Morgoth, there are those that want to do good but end up, through their actions, doing evil--Like Isildur. He wanted to destroy the One Ring initially, but as he was about to do so, the darker side of him decided to keep it as a "family heirloom" and as a token to be recognized as a symbol of his families power, and the power of Minas Tirith. Despite his good intentions, in the end Isildur let the world down, even though he took up his father's sword and defeated Sauron.

      I think it important to note too, that while there are strong religious themes in LotR, that's not the "purpose" of the book--those are simply themes present in the writing. There are also strong environmentalist messages in there too, as well as anti-war sentiment. Tolkein was involved in war himself, so he knew how harsh it could be, and wanted to portray that in his books. So to say that his book was meant to be a reflection of religion is not accurate at all.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Dianeva View Post
      Name one?
      You could just google urban fantasy or contemporary fantasy. Seriously, 'a whole parallel society of magic people keeping themselves hidden' describes just about every book in those genres.

      But all right, some of the ones I remember reading off the top of my head - all the books in Mercedes Lackey's elves-driving-race-cars universe. Particularly the Bard and Diana Tregarde books, if we limit this to stories focused on wizards/witches/other magical humans, not elves or any of the other magical peoples you see in the HP universe. The Dresden Files, about a wizard acting as a detective in Chicago - he's not at all secretive himself, but the 'secret magical world' aspect is a factor and the series is a pretty good example of typical urban fantasy tropes. The Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko and the movies that go with it, which I definitely recommend, both books and movies are fantastic - keeping their society hidden is a pretty central plot point of that one, it's almost as if Harry Potter had been written from the point of view of people working in the Ministry. Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, that one's a young adult series too, same general audience as Harry Potter.

      I don't mean to keep sounding negative about HP in this thread because, again, there are lots of things I enjoy about that setting, but secret magical societies are a really common trope. Harry Potter's major contribution to modern fantasy was the way it got so many kids interested in reading, not the originality of magic in the modern world.

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      I still think the details and the way it's presented is very original and entertaining. Of course "hidden fantasy" is not a novel theme, but thing like the portrayal of the wizarding world's attitude towards "Muggles" is a clever subversion of the trope.

      Very few stories contain truly novel elements. Tolkein is no different. Basically everything he did was tropes taken from various parts of mythology. I was reading Plato a while ago and he tells a story about a man who discovers a magical ring which turns you invisible.
      Last edited by Xei; 08-31-2013 at 02:15 AM.

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      True about Tolkien, he borrowed a LOT from old mythology. I'm sure anyone who knows about Atlantis can see the connection between the Duhnadain and Atlantis, especially how the Island of Numenor was destroyed by a great flood.

      That said, didn't Tolkien pretty much invent Elves in the way they are portrayed in LoTR? As well as Dwarves and halflings? I thought he pretty much created the "common" stereotypical elves, halflings, dwarves, orcs, goblins, etc.
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      Quote Originally Posted by TheSilverWolf View Post
      That said, didn't Tolkien pretty much invent Elves in the way they are portrayed in LoTR? As well as Dwarves and halflings? I thought he pretty much created the "common" stereotypical elves, halflings, dwarves, orcs, goblins, etc.
      No, the elves and dwarves are pretty directly based on Norse and other mythology. Every other high fantasy writer seems to have based their fantasy elves on Tolkien's, but Tolkien's came from the myths.
      Last edited by Carabas; 08-31-2013 at 03:19 AM. Reason: adding in 'and other.' sorry, the norse is the one i'm familiar with so i tend to overstate the influence.

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      What I meant was, didn't Tolkien create the elves as we usually think of them now though? Tall, immortal-like beings fair skinned, air haired, extremely caring about nature and life in general, etc. etc.? In other words, didn't he come up with the modern stereotype elf?
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      That's all in the Norse mythology. Ljosalfar, your standard tall and pale elves, "fairer to look upon than the sun." No major environmental activism that I can recall, although they're associated with the Vanir who are pretty nature-oriented, and mythological creatures in general tended to be associated with nature.

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      Lord of the rings or Harry Potter?
      I would go with 'Harry Potter'. It all about the witchcraft, wizard spells, magic and fantasy. I have watched all the series of the Harry Potter movies and have really enjoyed it. I always dreamed of having a wand and casting spells and day today life.

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