27 December 2010

The Lords and their Chronicles...


Recently I read ‘Chronicles of Narnia’.... why I read it -  because I had watched the movie and I sort of enjoyed it and I believe that the book is always better than the movie.. or was it because I was gifted the same an year back and I thought I should at least read a book that’s sitting in my library.. or was it because I felt like reading some fantasy...

But now I know the main reason I read it was that it comes from the fellow writer of the creator of Lord of the Rings. Supposedly they were close friends and members of the informal literary discussion group known as the ‘Inklings’. So both being fantasy writers, similar minded literary folks, same genre, same era, so one does expect something  close. Also it’s true that till the time I read it, I felt that there could be a comparison, leaving the movies as they are really a Director’s handy work influenced by his/ her limited or unlimited creativity and the character adaptability skills of the actors. So its inevitable but to compare the two, even though on reading them - I could only conclude that the two are not even comparable. And to  prove my point, as ironic as it sounds, I would try to compare them.

Both stories are based on magic.. being similar as well as different in a lot of aspects. Both the authors have created these magical lands inhabited by magical creatures. But the difference is in scale -  Middle Earth vs. Narnia. Middle Earth is grand it’s like ancient earth with different species of living beings – hobbits, dwarfs, orks, elves, wizards and so many others living along with mankind. Whereas Narnia is some land where animals can talk with witches & kings thrown in. The kind of imagination and hard work that went into creating Middle Earth is commendable, though Narnia is all nice and cute like Alice’s Wonderland but it lacks the power and grandeur of Middle Earth. Middle Earth is so real that you feel it still exists here itself and someday you will just find it right here if you just look a little differently..
Both books have the story of Good vs. Evil. One where a king with the desire to rule the world uses evil magic  to conquer it and all the good forces unite to fight against him. Whereas Narnia is terrorised by a witch and saved by the great lion and 4 children of Adam (mankind). But again the scale of the war is much different – kids fighting against a witch is sort of a fairy tale, whereas the fellowship of Ring with best of all species – dwarfs, hobbits, elves, man, wizard fighting against the evil Dark Lord and his forces. Its an epic and not a fantasy novel.

Now the characters a bunch of kids with wonderful imagination versus some adults proficient in the art of war & battle living by ethics and values.  For an author the number as well as personality of the characters in LOTR is a huge responsibility and Tolkien just does this perfect job of giving each a right place and right frame to appear and stand tall in the story. You can not forget a single character in the story and its contribution whatever little be.

The audience now who can it be... the sort of characters decide the kind of audience.. so Hobbits vs kids and elves/ dwarfs/man vs animals, wizards vs witches and finally Adults vs children.... this itself explains that LOTR is not for just kids but for all from the age of 10 to 100.

Both stories have theme of love and courage, but the Chronicles appears the way you explain a  child to love and be strong, live together in harmony and fighting bad people who are evil because they are. But Lord of The Rings talks of a World where people become evil with greed, power, temptations and the good is not born righteous, they too are tempted by desires but fight them with courage and desire to be free. When I have to look for words to describe LOTR – I can think of legend, epic, ancient, grand, power, magnanimous and to think of Chronicles.. it would be fantasy, wonderland, adventures, witch and the wardrobe.... hmm well this is all I could think

The kind of research or background to the book. I can bet for it because I have seen and read some of the notes, actually one should say books and guides that Tolkein wrote in order to create Middle Earth. The kind of homework that he did to create species and then build generation after generation hereditary records, leading to stories that ran for thousands of years with repucursions and roots in the current conflicts and wars.. the characters of now with ancestors and carried on family heirlooms, traditions and prophecies.. the web or should I say the labyrinth of stories is so deep and magnanimous that it is not only Lord of the Rings but series of books that make you want for more.. each story finds its place in Middle Earth as if it was always there and you just came across to that part and found it.

I can keep comparing them by way of protagonists, length, plots, twists, scenic beauty, language, impact but I can only say finally – “To each to Its Own”

To all that I said earlier and to all that I say in future one thing is true.. each book is written because somewhere someone imagined it, wrote it passionately, pursued the publishers, got it printed and made  it reach to that someone somewhere who wanted to read it and make it a part of his/ her life.. because a book is not just a book.. it is a story with which you entwine your own stories – you become a character and live it when you read it.. you get immersed into distant worlds and emerge more fulfilled...

And both these books are loved and cherished by millions of people and with due respect to them.. we all have our favourites and second favourites and n’th favourites and so do I...

so cheers to both the lords of literature and their chronicles...

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