It was impossible to do a Christian History issue on J R R Tolkien without paying some notice to the flourishing genre of fantasy writing. Essentially, Tolkien created the genre with his The Lord of the Rings. Where has fantasy writing gone since Tolkien? What are some worthy members of the genre? We asked writer Aaron Belz to look into this matter, and he came back with the following fascinating report:
Christian History Corner: The Lord of the Rings: What Harvest?
A reader’s guide to the best of epic fantasy
Aaron Belz, introduced by Christian History managing editor Chris Armstrong
Early one morning last week, a Christianity Today International executive joined thousands of other Americans by driving out to a major retail chain to snag a newly advertised $15 copy of the The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers DVD. He arrived to find the bins already cleaned out.
Had he then headed to his local bookstore, our colleague would likely have found a similarly brisk trade in Tolkien’s trilogy itself. Not that those books needed Peter Jackson’s help: They long ago entered the rarified ranks of the blockbuster bestsellers.
But the millions of DVDs and books sold represent only the “camel’s nose” of Tolkien’s influence under the tent of popular culture. Continue reading