Kings of Fantacy

Essay by lindacui October 2004

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Kings of Fantasy

Readers of fantasy novels are probably familiar with both J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert Jordan. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy introduced the genre back in 1954. Many consider Robert Jordan the reigning king of fantasy, and his Wheel of Time series the best fantasy series since Tolkien. Last year I read the works of both men. Here are my thoughts.

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The Lord of the Rings

The first time I read JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy was in 1977. 'Rings' was recommended by numerous college friends as a great antidote to the drudgery of textbooks. I had more than one friend with a cat or dog (or Volkswagen) named after "Gandalf," the powerful wizard from the 'Rings' series.

Today, Tolkien's epic fantasy is still popular, with yearly world-wide sales in the 10s of thousands. It is a testament to Tolkien's classic works that they have a huge following, even 40 years after publication.

With the new movie version of "Fellowship of the Ring" being released in December, 2001, and the other film editions of the 'Rings' novels due out each of the next two years, it is doubly important that you READ these books. Movies are great, especially in this day of high-tech animation, but nothing beats the thrill of reading these great books, and imagining your own images of the heros and villains of the 'Rings' trilogy.

Set in "Middle-earth" during the "Third age," book one of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy is The Fellowship of the Ring (1954), followed by...