Adam Gopnik

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Emre TİRYAKİ
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Critical Reading
16.04.2013

Adam Gopnik states that the writers of modern fantasy fiction are mostly, more or less, influenced by the medieval stories and myths told and believed in the early ages. Starting with J.R.R Tolkien, the writers of the so told genre always used the same concept; a good man or side, against an evil ruler or side, trying to defeat each other with the help of a magical artifact. He even claims that the theme of those stories and books are dull and boring just because same basis with a slight difference than the others is constantly used.

In addition to this idea of his, he also points out that this kind of a stereotype can be written by anyone by quoting Dr. Johnson, but gives credit to the legendary “The Lord of the Rings” of J.R.R Tolkien at the same time for its originality. The “gloomy gray seas and doomy gray mountains” of a typical fantasy fiction is replaced by a birthday party full of fireworks in a green and peaceful place like Shire at the beginning of the story, which is quite new and extraordinary for such a work. He is quite right at this point, since that atmosphere neither is expected by the reader nor giving any evidences about what is going to happen in the mysterious environment of The Middle Earth next.

However, he also says that the earlier works of J.R.R Tolkien like “The Silmarillion” and “The Children of Húrin” are dull just because of the “pipe-somking wizards and humorless” concept. At this point, I strongly disagree with him, as most people who has done a little research about J.R.R Tolkien’s life and his books would do. Firstly, “The Silmarillion” is a synopsis of a work which J.R.R Tolkien could never complete, and was published by his son years after J.R.R Tolkien’s death, by compiling the irregular notes of his father. Secondly, yes, “The Children of Húrin” may lack humor and pipes in that sense, but how could anyone possibly expect a book of series of tragedies to be warm...
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