Could you rip off Tolkien any *more * closely, and not call it “Lord of the Rings”?
Seems to be all the rage. Eragon is my peeve in this regard.
It’s an RPG. Almost every single RPG out there travel in Tolkien’s wake.
Blame Gary Gygax. Once D&D took off, it became pretty much required to rip off Tolkien.
Oh, come on. Ever since Tolkien became popular in the 1960s people have been shamelessly and transparently ripping him off. There have been in-all-but-name posters and games obviously and very closely inspired by the Trilogy. One Christmas back in the 1970s or 1980s I got a game called “Quest of he Magic Ring”, for instance. This is nothing new.
So would Dungeons & Dragons be a rip-off of Tolkien?
Is there any pre-Tolkien literature that has fantasy worlds of dragons, wizards, elves, trolls, and dwarves?
Certainly – Tolkien himsdelf was heavily influenced by a book called “The Magical Land of Snergs”. Then there are the fantasy works of E.R.R. Eddison, William Morris, and a great many others.
Tolkien’s “Hobbit” first came out in 1937, his Lord of the Rings trilogy in the 1950s, and really hit it big in the 1960s. If you allow popular fantasy before the 1950s, and especially before the 1960s, there’s plenty of stuff from the Pulps – L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt’as “Harold O’Shea/Complete Enchanter” series, Lester Del Rey’s “Day of the Giants” and others, The whole damned Conan saga and Fritz Leiber’s Fafherd and the Grey Mouser series, and so on. But Tolkien undoubtedly was the T. Rex of “Epic Fantasy”.
All three of those concepts have their origins in Norse mythology, which very heavily influenced Tolkien’s work. I did see an anthology of pre-Tolkien fantasy at one point, but I can’t find any details online at the moment.
You never heard of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Merlin? The Three Billy Goats Gruff? St George? King Arthur? Beowulf? Sigfried? The Shoemaker and the Elves? Santa Claus’s helpers? A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
“The Hobbit” even has talking animals, in the mode of The Big Bad Wolf and other fairy tales.
Nitpick - how did you get three from that list? I count five fantasy character types or species.
By ignoring the first two. Oops.
I cannot help but be reminded of this webcomic.