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Tolkien vs. Donaldson
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Who did it better?
Tolkien!
44%
 44%  [ 37 ]
Donaldson!
40%
 40%  [ 34 ]
Who did what better?
14%
 14%  [ 12 ]
Total Votes : 83

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 7:47 pm    Post subject: Tolkien vs. Donaldson Reply with quote

Tolkien did it first but who did it better?! I'm assuming Donaldson will win this one, but as this thread is here, I'd like to hear why you voted. What about Tolkien do you like/dislike? What did Donaldson improve upon or do to make TCTC outshine LOTR? Or, what does LOTR do better than TCTC? Perhaps you feel Lord of the Rings shines brightest?! Sound off!

For now, I'll sound off later.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LF, I love them both. To me, they are both masterpieces for different reasons. I couldn't possibly say either was better than the other.

Tolkien, IMHO, is the godfather of fantasy fiction, his was the blue print for all that came later. His languages, his histories, his mythicism, his granduer..a master storyteller.

And then came Donaldson, who turned a thoroughly contemptable character into a loved hero.

I just can't pick...I love them both equally...
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 3:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree lots with furl...i love them both so much but for such different reasons.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As much as I enjoy and admire SRD's work, it just doesn't bear close comparison with JRRT's. The reason: the Land vs. Middle-earth. As SRD himself has admitted, he didn't actually do huge amounts of world-building, designing languages, histories, etc., to build up the Land as a coherent setting for the Covenant books. What you see in the books is pretty much what you get; apart from outtakes like Gilden-Fire, there just isn't a lot of data about history, geography, languages, etc., beyond the published books themselves.

By the time Tolkien began to write LOTR, he had been developing Middle-earth as a mythological and legendary setting for over 20 years. The Silmarillion was a genuine document; the legends of the Elder Days and Númenor, so often quoted by the characters in LOTR, really existed; and while he worked on LOTR, he made sure to develop the histories of the Shire, Gondor, Rohan, and (though unsuccessfully) Lórien to the same high standard of detail and consistency. To take a particularly striking example, he once wrote a 3000-word essay on the kinship structures and birthday rituals of Hobbits, not for publication, but as a mere throwaway in a letter to a fan! (It's reprinted as #214 in Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.)

Nowhere is the difference more striking than in the matter of languages. Despite much speculation on sites like this, Mr. Donaldson has told me that Melenkurion abatha! Duroc minas mill khabaal doesn't actually mean anything. Whereas, to take a phrase from Tolkien, Aiya Eärendil elenion ancalima has a definite and exact meaning, in a language so nearly complete that one could actually write whole books in it. Quenya and Sindarin are real languages, even though the Elves who were said to use them are not real people. Dictionaries, grammars, phonologies, and other reference works on those languages have actually been published, based on Tolkien's own notes. You can even take an online course in basic Quenya and Sindarin.

It is this richness of depth and scope, not any superiority of narrative technique, that gives JRRT the advantage over SRD. There are places where you can test the Covenant books and they ring hollow: the design behind the story is insufficiently worked out to bear close scrutiny. The only elements in LOTR that didn't have a real story behind them were the missing two Wizards (out of five) and 'the cats of Queen Berúthiel'. JRRT subsequently filled in both those gaps, not because it had any bearing on LOTR, but simply out of the creator's obsessive desire to make every detail of his world as convincing and lifelike as possible.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2004 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved them both as well... I cannot decide... Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see your point Variol Farseer, and I fully agree that JRR did create an entire world for his characters to live in, its complete.

But I think the story itself, LOTR, isn't as strong or moving as The Chronicles.

It's like someone spends 1 billion dollars on a state of the art theatre, and upon completion, you have a group of bums walk in from the street and put on some improv show.

The venue is amazing, while the performance is pretty formulaic.

If your more interested in getting lost in cultures and history and the world. LOTR is where you want to be hands down.

But if you want a story, about experience, about humanity, somthing that can move you, and literally change the way you view the world. Then I think that TCTC is the place to be.


It seems as though LOTR works wonders in Midworld.
While TCTC makes the jump into our own world.



That's all that comes to mind at the moment.

Talk to you later Variol!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 26, 2004 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a truly excellent post DarkReflection Very Happy

I completely agree with you. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I vote Donaldson, even if I am and was totally dedicated to Tolkien and his works since I was a baby. Smile

I just think Donaldson work is better. Tolkien may have a exceptional language, but Donaldson chron is better than LoTR. However, when it's about Silmarillion I would've voted on Tolkien. That book is almost unbeatable.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hardly think Frodo's trek to Mount Doom was "some improv show" by a group of bums. Wink

I love both authors, and, despite that my name is Lord Foul, I must go with Tolkien. Don't get me wrong, I think both authors have great merits. I think both stories are wonderful. Tolkien's was more simple and more about everyday virtues and friendship, whereas SRD's was very deep and psychological. I love the complexity of Middle-Earth. But I think, as Variol Farseer said, Tolkien edges out SRD with the rich background. The Silmarillion is truly my bible.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2004 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's a little too much like comparing apples to oranges...I mean, despite a bunch of similarities, the stories, characters, and even magics are just too different to compare...imho.

I will say that I think they are both equally skilled in their art, and that I was equally--though differently--touched by both Middle Earth and The Land.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Iryssa. If I may quote myself from a post I made to a Covenant thread:

Quote:
disclaimer: Reading the Covenant books and LOTR were major events in my life, and I mean no disrespect in this post. I am most critical to those things closest to my heart.


Quote:
Here and there I read about people comparing the Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant to Lord Of The Rings. This is an unfair comparison. Let’s just remember: The Chronicles is a story about a man in this world who struggles to deal with his problem (living as a leper). Lord Of The Rings is a pure fairy tale with no real correlation to the world as we know it. I believe Donaldson wanted the reader to decide for himself weather or not The Land was real. I think the first set was written so that The Land could be both real and imaginary. This adds substance to Tom’s “unbelief”. Steve writes of the land as if it is a dream; Things are simple, cut and dry. (that’s bad, this is good, people are simple and trustworthy, pure. The Lords are all knowing and regal …). Tempting. Though beautifully written, it is more believable as a dream (how’s THAT for a paradox!)


Quote:
A valid point or not, I just wanted to make it clear that The Chronicles is a very different kind of story (at least the 1st Chronicles) than LOTR, and that any comparison of the two should be carefully thought out.


But if I HAD to pick one, it would have to be based on technical merit alone. Having said that, I think Steve did it better. Tolkien seemed to be a writer writing for himself as well as for the reader; he tended to have side-plots (Tom Bombadil for one) that, however endearing, you really wouldn't notice if they were left out. Donaldson, on the other hand, is more of a story teller, seeming to write for the reader only. There is a nice pace set for the plot so we the "reader" might not get bored or loose interest. The Chrons, while being as intelligent as LOTR, are just easier to read for the average reader.

Grimm.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grimm wrote:
Tolkien seemed to be a writer writing for himself as well as for the reader;


Although I can't vote for one above the other, I think you touch exactly on the difference between them. In fact, I think that Tolkein was writing for himself rather than the reader.

Afterall, the real reason for the existence of LotR seems to have been to create a "world" in which his language could have evolved and developed. He was first and foremost a linguist, and almost all of his writing stemmed from his creation of a seperate, independant and wholly imaginary language. The "story-value" thereof were distinctly secondary.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to add something new to this, but Variol Farseer summed it up about better than I could have.

Tolkien all the way. He created an entire cosmology, and dozens upon dozens of different stories. Nothing in fantasy compares, although admittedly Donaldson does things with character that Tolkien does not. But that simply can't trump - IMHO - something which spawned a twelve-book History of Middle of Earth (really 14, if you count The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales).

Where's Morgoth? Manwe? The rest of the Valar? There's a completeness to Tolkien's work that Donaldson just doesn't touch.

And - I love Donaldson. I put him at #2 (although Martin is on his heels), but that here's how that's set up: Tolkien sits on the throne of Gondor, and Donaldson gets the Stewards "chair".
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Grimm, just wanted to say that the LOTR most definitely DOES have a correlation in this world. The ring represents temptation to do that which we know we shouldn't do, but deep down have the craving to do, and Frodo's battle to resist that temptation and finally destroy the source. Plus, I believe Tolkien had a thing about machine vs nature, if I remember from the introduction in The Silmarillion.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for which is better, as seems to be the majority's opinion, how can you pick one over the other? I bet for alot of people, whichever they read first would tend to be their "favorite". I think if you really liked the first series you read, you would naturally compare any other series to it, and tho they may both be great, that first usually has a little bigger spot.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cybrweez wrote:
Grimm, just wanted to say that the LOTR most definitely DOES have a correlation in this world. The ring represents temptation to do that which we know we shouldn't do, but deep down have the craving to do, and Frodo's battle to resist that temptation and finally destroy the source. Plus, I believe Tolkien had a thing about machine vs nature, if I remember from the introduction in The Silmarillion.


Sorry to confuse you with my bad grammar; my point was that no part of LOTR takes place in our world, while The Chrons has a lot to do with our own world (characters from it, in it, etc). In that post, I was trying to point out just how different the two stories are.

As for your feelings on picking a favorite, I agree with you, as this was the point of my posting; Tolkien and Donaldson are two very different writers. BTW, I read Steve first, and picked him as my fav!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2005 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Grimm, got your point now. True, TC relates much more to the real world in that sense.

And I read TC first also, so you can guess which I would lean towards if I had to pick a favorite.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmmmmmmmmmmm. <weighing up who is better>

cant decide...
oh well ill just have to reread them both to find out Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Warmark wrote:
hmmmmmmmmmmm. <weighing up who is better>

cant decide...
oh well ill just have to reread them both to find out Wink


That's my position on this one too.

I just can't bring myself to vote on this. It's like being asked to choose between caviar and champagne, BMW and Mercedes, Charlise Theron and Scarlett Johannsen.

They are the two highest trees in the forest. I think i'll abstain.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johannson.
Sorry, that one's just too easy, couldn't resist responding.

I'd also say Donaldson over Tolkien, but that's all personal taste. I'd put Eddison over Tolkien too, to use an example of work prior to JRR.
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