Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy birthday to JRR Tolkien; jeers to Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman is another notable fantasy author who, alongside the likes of Michael Moorcock and Richard Morgan, has grossly missed the mark in his appraisal of The Lord of the Rings. Listening to this recent Geeks Guide to the Galaxy podcast I was dumbfounded not only by Pullman’s ignorance of The Lord of the Rings, but the gall he exhibits throwing around opinions on a work he admittedly read only once—and as a teenager. “I’ve tried to read it since, but I was unsuccessful,” Pullman says in the interview (note: the Tolkien portion starts around the 17:10 mark; its only a two minute segment or so of the interview). Admitting this fact should automatically invalidate any opinions you have on The Lord of the Rings. I was forced to read Moby Dick in high school. Had that been the only time I read it, and 40 years passed, how much would my opinions on the book matter? None, right?

But since Pullman is a big-time successful author, in the eyes of some we must take him seriously. So I’m taking this opportunity on what would be Tolkien’s 121st birthday to show just much how much he gets wrong.