Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Comment: Richard Morgan on Tolkien

There was a bit of a kerfuffle recently, after The Steel Remains author Richard Morgan wrote an article about why he doesn't like The Lord of the Rings.

I don't have the time or inclination to regurgitate Morgan's argument here, so I'll just give my thoughts on the debate.

To put it quite simply, I think the whole thing is a bit of a storm in a teacup. So Richard Morgan doesn't like The Lord of the Rings. Who cares? It's not like he's alone - in fact, he's not even the first genre author to say so (Moorcock and Miéville have both gone on record in their criticisms of Tolkien and LOTR, although Miéville did later retract his initial statement).

Still, I understand why the article pissed plenty of people off - it carries a discernible "if you like Tolkien you're a bit of a simpleton" undertone. For example, take the following quote: "I only wonder why on earth anyone (adult) would want to read something like that."

The impression I got was that the article was just a cheap attempt by Morgan to get people wound up and create a bit of controversy, as the argument was rather simplistic and didn't take into consideration The Silmarillion - a vastly different book to LOTR.

I like Richard Morgan very much as a writer, however I have to say that if I was only allowed to read one more novel in my life, and had to pick between LOTR and The Steel Remains, I know what I'd choose (clue - it's got a fellow called Gandalf in it).

I note that Adam from The Wertzone has been particularly hacked off at various people's denouncements of Tolkien as not being dark or gritty enough, and in response he's posted a very good review of The Silmarillion, in which he crushes such accusations like ants... ;)

It's interesting that so many people that deride Tolkien haven't actually read The Silmarillion, which is what Tolkien considered his greatest achievement and his main project throughout his life...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. LOTR is so intricately sculpted that it is easy to get lost in Middle Earth. In a good way of course. I happen to think it's quite dark in its own way as well. Not in a sexual way of course which is fashionable these days in fantasy but hey not necessarily a bad thing.....