My original intent with this post was to review China Miéville’s young adult fantasy, Un Lun Dun, which contains some striking parallels and dissimilarities to Harry Potter and is interesting in its own right. At this point, though, I’ll have to save that, because a little related Googling turned up this article by Miéville on Tolkien’s contributions to fantasy, and it is just too fascinating to pass up.
Among other points by Miéville:
“Unlike so many of those he begat, Tolkien’s vision, never mind any Hail-fellow-well-met-ery, no matter the coziness of the shire, despite even the remorseless sylvan bonheur of Tom Bombadil, is tragic. The final tears in characters’ and readers’ eyes are not uncomplicatedly of happiness. On the one hand, yay, the goodies win: on the other, shame that the entire epoch is slipping from Glory.”
He also comments on the Professor’s innovation and subcreation, superb monsters, distaste for allegory (versus metaphor), and other things. In the process, he makes the only statement I’ve ever heard that made some sense out of one of the primary arguments against the Narniad. (Hey, I love Narnia–I didn’t re-read The Horse and His Boy a zillion times because I was a good little Christian. But at least I can sort of see the point.)
Do go read the piece, if you will, and then I’d love to hear what you think.