Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Six Degrees of Fantasy Separation: The Lord of the Rings to Lavinia

I still have at least one review to write, but I had hoped to do at least one non-review post for Wyrd & Wonder, so here it is!

I read Imyril’s Six Degrees of Separation post (inspired by Kate’s meme at Books Are My Favourite and Best) and I decided to join in! The idea is to pick six books and find connections between them. 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is not the first fantasy I ever read, but probably the first that is still a genuine favorite. It is, of course, famous for its background of invented mythology.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke has its own invented mythology in the form of the stories of the Raven King in an alternate England. Both of the protagonists are deeply flawed, although I loved reading about them. Norrell, in particular, is pretty much the Worst, although I felt sorry for him at times.

The Sandman comics series by Neil Gaiman is another work that includes invented mythology and borrows extensively from real-world myths. The deeply flawed protagonist makes some terrible decisions before and during the main action of the series.

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien features a great many terrible decisions by various parties. If I made a list, I would have a summary of the plot -- that's it, that's the entire book! But I want to highlight the family drama in the House of Finwe in order to establish a link to. . . 

The Once & Future King by T. H. White is another long-time favorite for me, and the family drama between the Orkney brothers, the sons of Lot & Morgause, is one of the highlights of this classic Arthurian retelling. 

Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin is a beautiful retelling of The Aeneid from the perspective of Lavinia, the future bride of Aeneas. I read it last month.

I think if I do this again I will limit myself to one book per author; lists like this are usually more interesting that way. But just this once, I had to include Tolkien twice.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?


  1. Hi Beth, I came across your blog via one of the Wyrd & Wonder wrap up posts on Imyril's blog. I have only read The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, so I am all for you including two Tolkien titles, haha. I have The Once & Future King on my TBR, though.

  2. The Once & Future King is a great book! I would like to reread it so that I can write a review, but I am not sure when I will fit it in.

  3. Great list> I read Once & Future King years ago.

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