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CHAT: fantasy (was: Re: history of conlanging)

From:Matt Pearson <jmpearson@...>
Date:Monday, November 22, 1999, 19:43
Patrick Dunn wrote:

>I, as a child, used to make up artificial languages all the time, but >never really got off on Tolkein (as much as I love fantasy), so don't >think I was influenced by him.
Funny, my tastes are the opposite: I love Tolkien, but detest most other fantasy literature - with the exception of LeGuin's "Earthsea" books, and Susan Cooper's "Dark Is Rising" series, which I adore, and maybe a couple others. I guess the deal is that I like fantasy stories best when the 'supernatural' motifs (magic and monsters) are used extremely sparingly. That's what's so great about the Lord of the Rings for me - there's very little "magic" in the book, in the sense of actions which blatantly defy natural laws, and what few examples there are are imbued with a proper sense of wonder and danger (e.g. the mirror of Galadriel, the palantiri), and are generally grounded in consistent metaphysical laws even when they defy physical laws (e.g. the invisibility and special sight conferred by the Ring). There are a few exceptions (e.g. Gandalf lighting fires with his staff) but these are minor. In general, magic is treated as something exceedingly rare and wonderful - more a matter of wisdom than of inherent 'super powers'. Matt.