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Sam Raimi to direct World of Warcraft movie

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    MvrckMvrck Dwarven MountainhomeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Why? LoTR took itself extremely seriously. Warcraft does not take itself seriously. Most of my interactions with the third game involved some degree of intentional ridiculousness.

    And I don't really care that Warcraft's setting is unoriginal ... because the game appears to be self-aware and silly about it. Which is totally cool. I mean, I really liked the third game. My original complaint, which spun off into this longer debate, is with the idea that people actually take it seriously and think it has earnest, non-ironic worth as a fantasy setting.

    I should say, the storyline takes itself seriously. The humorous elements are mostly eastereggish (if that can be considered a word) on the developers parts, to let you know, that they know, you're just playing a game and should have some fun while you are. It's not like the Lich King comes out and taunts you and says L2PlayNub.

    A good example of the story taking itself seriously while still providing humor would be the Frozen Throne level where you travel through the Nerubian city. The spider guards who have not falled to the Scourge shout out "Look! The Traitor king!" when they spot Anubarek. Arthas, not knowing the politics of spiders goes "Who, me?". It was a funny moment, well interjected into a more serious moment in the plot, and I dare say, far about the multiclicking silliness of "I say a bow string, not a g...nevermind".

    Mvrck on
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    GoodKingJayIIIGoodKingJayIII They wanna get my gold on the ceilingRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    The word *orcné (attested in the plural orcnéas) is a hapax legomenon in the poem Beowulf. It is generally supposed to contain an element -né, cognate to Gothic naus and Old Norse nár, both meaning "corpse". The usual Old English word for "corpse" is líc, but -né appears in dryhtné "dead body of a warrior", where dryht is the name of a military unit (vaguely translated "band", "host", etc.). In *orcné, if it is to be glossed as "orcus-corpse" the meaning may be "corpse from Orcus (i.e. the underworld)" or "devil-corpse", understood as some sort of walking dead.

    If you've read Tolkien, you know that orcs are basically that, undead elves. The modern understanding of orcs is taken from Tolkien, sure, but it's incorrect to say he invented them.
    1. I don't remember any undead warrior from Beowulf.

    2. That's quite a stretch. Similarly, George Lucas didn't invent the concept of The Force ... Isaac Newton did?

    There are more quotes in that wiki from Tolkien described where he got the term. Whether or not there were undead in Beowulf is not germane to my point. I don't even know how to address your second point because it is not remotely related to the current conversation.

    Tolkien's MO was pulling from various fairy tale and mythological sources and reworking them for his own purposes. He didn't invent orcs any more than he invented elves or dwarves. He just made them fit his vision of Middle Earth. At best, it's disengenuous to say he invented them, at worst outright incorrect. It's more appropriate to say that he invented the modern image of orcs, and introduced it to the modern fantasy lexicon. But the term and imagery are not solely his creation.

    GoodKingJayIII on
    Battletag: Threeve#1501; PSN: Threeve703; Steam: 3eeve
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    psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.

    psychotix on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    The word *orcné (attested in the plural orcnéas) is a hapax legomenon in the poem Beowulf. It is generally supposed to contain an element -né, cognate to Gothic naus and Old Norse nár, both meaning "corpse". The usual Old English word for "corpse" is líc, but -né appears in dryhtné "dead body of a warrior", where dryht is the name of a military unit (vaguely translated "band", "host", etc.). In *orcné, if it is to be glossed as "orcus-corpse" the meaning may be "corpse from Orcus (i.e. the underworld)" or "devil-corpse", understood as some sort of walking dead.

    If you've read Tolkien, you know that orcs are basically that, undead elves. The modern understanding of orcs is taken from Tolkien, sure, but it's incorrect to say he invented them.
    1. I don't remember any undead warrior from Beowulf.

    2. That's quite a stretch. Similarly, George Lucas didn't invent the concept of The Force ... Isaac Newton did?

    There are more quotes in that wiki from Tolkien described where he got the term. Whether or not there were undead in Beowulf is not germane to my point. I don't even know how to address your second point because it is not remotely related to the current conversation.

    Tolkien's MO was pulling from various fairy tale and mythological sources and reworking them for his own purposes. He didn't invent orcs any more than he invented elves or dwarves. He just made them fit his vision of Middle Earth. At best, it's disengenuous to say he invented them, at worst outright incorrect. It's more appropriate to say that he invented the modern image of orcs, and introduced it to the modern fantasy lexicon. But the term and imagery are not solely his creation.

    Thank you. Said much more eloquently than I was able to.

    Arch on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.

    Just to nip the argument in the bud:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc

    This pretty much covers things.

    Incenjucar on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    By the same token, we should say that George Lucas invented the modern idea of the Jedi. Nevertheless, if there was an unlicensed author out there writing about "Jedi" in a space opera universe that was not actually Star Wars, nobody would disagree that this author was ripping off Lucas.

    So it is with Tolkien and savage humanoid races called orcs.

    Hachface on
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    psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.

    Just to nip the argument in the bud:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orc

    This pretty much covers things.

    I like this part the best

    As far as what otherwise might have influenced Tolkien, the OED lists a 1656 use (see below) of an English word ‘orke’ in a way reminiscent of giants, ogres and the like. It is presumed that such usage (orke=ogre) came into English via fairy tales from the continent, especially from Charles Perrault (17th cent. France), who himself borrowed most of his stories (and developed his 'ogre') from the 16th century Italian writers Giovanni Francesco Straparola [c. 1440–c. 1557], who has been credited with introducing to Europe the literary form of the 'fairy tale', and Giambattista Basile.

    psychotix on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Arch wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Orcs were invented by Tolkien less than 60 years ago. I can understand calling things elves and vampires and shit and molding those tropes into new shapes. Those have been around for a while.

    But recycling "orcs" is not even trying. I mean, someone pointed out that they're not even that similar to Tolkien's orcs anyway, outward appearances aside. They have a tribal shamanistic warrior culture. Tolkien's orcs were just cartoon evil.

    Damnit dude.

    Seriously. So what if some old guy invented "Orcs" 60 years ago and everyone went "Oooo hey here is a cool idea for a creature to write a story about!"

    Someone had to invent vampires, elves, manticores, dragons, and every other mythical fantasy creature ever at some point.

    If you are gonna toss down that elves and vampires are tropes you need to accept that the shit Tolkien penned has become a trope in the same vein as those.
    That makes me uncomfortable.

    Those concepts emerged from naturally evolved mythology. Tolkien's work tries very hard to imitate this kind of naturally occuring mythology, and succeeds to a large degree ... but it's different. In a lot of subtle but interesting ways.
    The difference that's most interesting to me is how sanitized his mythology is. Read the Silmarillion—there's no sex, no atrocities. You have a single evil god created, apparently, for the sole purpose of theodicy (that's a fancy religious studies word for attempts to explain the origin of evil). Tolkien, unlike C.S. Lewis, doesn't try to construct his mythology as a Christian allegory. But the mythology of LoTR is so clearly filtered through Tolkien's Catholicism, from Iluvatar the monotheistic cosmic God to its constant patterns of Christian-style "falls." It is an extremely creative mythology, and remarkably consistent, and an interesting interpretation of Christianity—but if you've studied real religions, it comes off as synthetic. (Actually, I'd argue that its consistency makes it seem synthetic, as real religions evolve and come with all kinds of irreconcilable vestiges and sects and dueling myths).

    So to me, basing your work on Tolkien's mythology vs. "natural" mythology is like wearing synthetic fabric instead of cotton. Tolkien has a rich mythology, but it's not rich in the same way that actual religions and folk legends are—it is, in fact, itself a filtering of a number of actual religions and folk legends.

    Interestingly, Tolkien has a complex philosophy about creation. He sees God as the ultimate creator with humans as "sub-creators." (In LoTR's mythology, the Valar are the sub-creators to Iluvatar's master-creators). When a human being creates a fantasy world from scratch, like the fairy-story authors that he liked when he was a kid, that is an act of "sub-creation." I bet Tolkien would call the piles of derivative shit based on his work "sub-sub-creation."

    Qingu on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.
    Um, no.

    I actually have rather serious problems with Tolkien, especially the weird latent racism in his work. But there's a difference between creating an entirely new coherent fantasy universe—as Tolkien did—and rehashing someone else's fantasy universe. "Doing the same stuff" is my problem with Tolkien-derivitive fantasy. Authors should be more original.

    Qingu on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Arch wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Orcs were invented by Tolkien less than 60 years ago. I can understand calling things elves and vampires and shit and molding those tropes into new shapes. Those have been around for a while.

    But recycling "orcs" is not even trying. I mean, someone pointed out that they're not even that similar to Tolkien's orcs anyway, outward appearances aside. They have a tribal shamanistic warrior culture. Tolkien's orcs were just cartoon evil.

    Damnit dude.

    Seriously. So what if some old guy invented "Orcs" 60 years ago and everyone went "Oooo hey here is a cool idea for a creature to write a story about!"

    Someone had to invent vampires, elves, manticores, dragons, and every other mythical fantasy creature ever at some point.

    If you are gonna toss down that elves and vampires are tropes you need to accept that the shit Tolkien penned has become a trope in the same vein as those.
    That makes me uncomfortable.

    Those concepts emerged from naturally evolved mythology. Tolkien's work tries very hard to imitate this kind of naturally occuring mythology, and succeeds to a large degree ... but it's different. In a lot of subtle but interesting ways.
    The difference that's most interesting to me is how sanitized his mythology is. Read the Silmarillion—there's no sex, no atrocities. You have a single evil god created, apparently, for the sole purpose of theodicy (that's a fancy religious studies word for attempts to explain the origin of evil). Tolkien, unlike C.S. Lewis, doesn't try to construct his mythology as a Christian allegory. But the mythology of LoTR is so clearly filtered through Tolkien's Catholicism, from Iluvatar the monotheistic cosmic God to its constant patterns of Christian-style "falls." It is an extremely creative mythology, and remarkably consistent, and an interesting interpretation of Christianity—but if you've studied real religions, it comes off as synthetic. (Actually, I'd argue that its consistency makes it seem synthetic, as real religions evolve and come with all kinds of irreconcilable vestiges and sects and dueling myths).

    So to me, basing your work on Tolkien's mythology vs. "natural" mythology is like wearing synthetic fabric instead of cotton. Tolkien has a rich mythology, but it's not rich in the same way that actual religions and folk legends are—it is, in fact, itself a filtering of a number of actual religions and folk legends.

    Interestingly, Tolkien has a complex philosophy about creation. He sees God as the ultimate creator with humans as "sub-creators." (In LoTR's mythology, the Valar are the sub-creators to Iluvatar's master-creators). When a human being creates a fantasy world from scratch, like the fairy-story authors that he liked when he was a kid, that is an act of "sub-creation." I bet Tolkien would call the piles of derivative shit based on his work "sub-sub-creation."

    Ok, so what you are essential saying is that it is always better to wear cotton unless the synthetic fabric has something witty written on it?

    One could also argue that we are, in fact, seeing the seeds of one of these "natural" mythologies with all of the "derivative shit" that came from Tolkien's ideas. Again, folk legends had to start somewhere.
    If you are going to make a statement like:
    I bet Tolkien would call the piles of derivative shit based on his work "sub-sub-creation."

    Then I will say this:

    I bet the guy who invented the first vampire wouldn't call some of the stuff out there about vampires (good and bad) "real vampires".

    Arch on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Look, the idea of "Orcs" that we think of now (or really any 'evil savage race bred to kill') was essentially molded by Tolkien. The same goes for the "Elves who are tall, elegant archers who live in the woods and are really old and better then humans" and "Dwarves who live underground and love to mine and forge shit and love gold". And probably a few other things.

    He took folklore and essentially structured it into a coherent pseudo-scientific structure.

    This kind of structuring lives on to this day. These ideas have become a part of our culture.

    So yes, while Tolkien may have started it, at this point it's just become a part of our culture and using that framework is no more ripping off Tolkien then someone using a Messiah figure in a work is ripping off the Bible.

    shryke on
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    RaynagaRaynaga Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.
    Um, no.

    I actually have rather serious problems with Tolkien, especially the weird latent racism in his work. But there's a difference between creating an entirely new coherent fantasy universe—as Tolkien did—and rehashing someone else's fantasy universe. "Doing the same stuff" is my problem with Tolkien-derivitive fantasy. Authors should be more original.

    And the issue is that using Warcraft orcs as an example of doing the same thing as Tolkien did is a pretty weak instance of what you are talking about. You responded to the points about the Warcraft orcs not being similar to Tolkien's with "Well they're called orcs, and Tolkien invented orcs!" You've responded to the points showing that Tolkien did not, in fact, invent orcs with...well, nothing really.

    And this is all completely removed from the original topic of the film itself, which I am personally convinced will be terrible. But, I digress.

    Raynaga on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    Qingu

    It seems like you are deliberately ignoring, or making up excuses for LoTR on all fronts, while at the same time attacking other fantasy universes for doing the same stuff.

    It doesn't work both ways. Or you can just say you like LoTR and are a fan of it and dislike everything else simply because it's not LoTR.
    Um, no.

    I actually have rather serious problems with Tolkien, especially the weird latent racism in his work. But there's a difference between creating an entirely new coherent fantasy universe—as Tolkien did—and rehashing someone else's fantasy universe. "Doing the same stuff" is my problem with Tolkien-derivitive fantasy. Authors should be more original.

    Except, again, the fact that you know almost nothing about Warcraft Lore is making your judgments worthless here.

    Warcraft Orcs are nothing like Tolkien Orcs. Beyond the name really.

    Hell, the original Warcraft Orcs are more Warhammer Ripoffs. Same colour (green) and same huge horde of insane bloodlusty savages that kill because they love to. Hell, the rumor (I don't know how well confirmed it is) says that Warcraft was originally supposed to BE Warhammer, but they couldn't get the Warhammer IP so they created a rip-off version of it to set their story in.

    Now, as the games have gone on, Blizzard has changed the Orcs into a Proud Warrior Race (ie - Klingon Rip-Offs) who were driven mad by consuming demonic blood.

    There's really nothing Tolkien like about them beyond the fact that they are called "Orcs".

    shryke on
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    LynxLynx Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Um. I actually wrote my thesis about these two series. (Very practical, I know.) And while there are some interesting similarities, the worlds, magic systems, worldviews, and characters are completely different.
    And Harry Potter isn't derivitive? Seriously? The whole series is a bildungsroman with magic to distinguish it.
    Bildungsroman is more of a genre, not a specific plot device or template. I think HP is derivative in certain ways, but my point was that its magic system is actually fairly inventive and modern, in a way that most fantasy is not. Scooby-Doo shit aside, by the end of the series I was impressed at how much the conflicts in HP resembled something from a Martin Scorsese movie.

    You missed the entire point of the beginning of my post. I was showing you how ridiculous it is to pigeonhole something as boring and derivative. Of course they have new concepts. So did Warcraft. Orcs as good guys!? Who woulda thunk it?! You're basing your assumptions on a series you've barely played, by your own admission!
    Just because something is derivative doesn't mean it can't be entertaining.
    I guess I'm pickier about originality than you. I mean, if you write a fantasy story with forest-dwelling elves and tribal warrior orcs in it (or even a fantasy story with "fae" and "uruks" or whatever the fuck) who are functionally identical to the creatures in Tolkien's universe, unless you are doing very interesting things with these concepts or else ironically commenting on the genre or something (which Warcraft 3 sort of did, to be fair), that's just being lazy. I fucking hated Eragon for this reason, and I think Christopher Paolini ought to be dragged out and hung. [/QUOTE]

    Yes, the Orcs, especially in Warcraft III and WoW, are exactly like the Orcs from Lord of the Rings. :x

    I'll agree they were similar in Warcraft I and II, but in III and WoW, they're proud and shamanistic. They helped repel the demon invasion. They are just as varied in their views of good and evil, order and chaos as humans are. They're just bound by different customs.

    Also, Blood Elves are pretty unique. Elves that are so arrogant and proud that they've become addicted to power. So are the Draenei. People who, by all accounts, look like the demons of legend, but are really a race dedicated to the power of the Light. Trolls and Tauren, although based on real cultures, are also fairly unique in the fantasy genre.

    Warcraft has it's strong points. And it has unique things that set it apart from other fantasy universes. Hell, it mixes high fantasy, gothic fantasy and steampunk.

    Originality isn't everything, either. Sometimes, tried and true formulas polished to a gleaming shine can be better than an original work. That's why Blizzard games, which are derivative, are among the most celebrated games of the last ten years, if not of all time.
    If you haven't even finished the goddamn game, and just guessed that it ends with Arthas becoming the Lich King (Which isn't even the climax of the original game), you have no right to complain about it.
    This is fair as far as the plot goes. I guess I should limit my complaints to WoW's cliched fantasy world. As I said, from my time with the game I always thought the draw of this world is that the game was really poking fun at its absurdity, not taking it seriously as a setting.[/QUOTE]

    I believe it's both. Warcraft III and WoW signifigantly expanded the lore, and I'd say it's pretty damn deep and engaging for a video game franchise. Good enough to be made into a successful and entertaining movie. I'm not expecting a masterpiece. I'm expecting good fun.
    If you're expecting every fantasy movie, game and book to be like Lord of the goddamn Rings, though, you're never going to be satisfied.
    I have no idea how you got this from my post. Unless you mean that I want every fantasy work to be as original as LoTR was when it first came out. And that would be awfully nice.[/QUOTE]

    It's also something that rarely, if ever, happens.

    Lynx on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Arch wrote: »
    Ok, so what you are essential saying is that it is always better to wear cotton unless the synthetic fabric has something witty written on it?
    Yes, that is exactly what I am saying.

    Wait, I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about.
    One could also argue that we are, in fact, seeing the seeds of one of these "natural" mythologies with all of the "derivative shit" that came from Tolkien's ideas. Again, folk legends had to start somewhere.
    Look. No author, including Tolkien, creates shit out of thin air. All fantasy ideas are based on other ideas, whether they're from existing mythologies or from nature or real-world events. A good fantasy author takes these things—preferably things that people haven't really explored—and twists and shapes them into something new and alien, yet still relatable. George Lucas did the same thing with Star Wars.

    The problem with mining Tolkien for this stuff is that Tolkien is not a real source. He has himself already mined that stuff, and filtered it. It's like making a lossy coppy of a lossy file.
    I bet the guy who invented the first vampire wouldn't call some of the stuff out there about vampires (good and bad) "real vampires".
    You have fundamentally misunderstood my argument. This isn't about "real orcs" or "real vampires" or "real elves" or "real Jedi." (And there wasn't a "guy who invented the first vampire." The myth of vampires evolved, in a very real sense of the word "evolve," as legends about Vlad the Impaler got repeated, mutated, and spread out.)

    It's about creative integrity, and trying to do something original.

    Qingu on
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    GoodKingJayIIIGoodKingJayIII They wanna get my gold on the ceilingRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Hachface wrote: »
    By the same token, we should say that George Lucas invented the modern idea of the Jedi. Nevertheless, if there was an unlicensed author out there writing about "Jedi" in a space opera universe that was not actually Star Wars, nobody would disagree that this author was ripping off Lucas.

    So it is with Tolkien and savage humanoid races called orcs.

    I'm not really arguing that Tolkien wasn't ripped off when it comes to evil fantasy humanoids. I'm just saying it's really not correct to say "Tolkien invented orcs." That's where my argument stops.

    Anywho, if you want to get really technical, Warcraft orcs were more like Warhammer orcs when first invented. (think British cockney football hooligan with green skin.) By the time WC3 rolled around, there was enough of a divergent mythos and orc story in the Warcraft universe to significantly differentiate them from Warhammer orcs.

    It's been said already, but I think it's fair to say that Warcraft is really its own thing at this point, whatever its origins.

    GoodKingJayIII on
    Battletag: Threeve#1501; PSN: Threeve703; Steam: 3eeve
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Also- I don't mean to personally attack you or anything Qingu, but using your arguments isn't the myth of hazaram in your online novel essentially ripping off the Tower of Babel?

    I still feel that you (and others who make the same argument about fantasy works involving orcs, elves, etc) only really have a problem with the timescale. The modern Orc idea could theoretically have emerged in someone's lifetime. You could talk to someone who didn't know what an Orc was about 50 years ago.

    But I would argue that these ideas are spreading to a point that eventually they will be just as culturally inherent as vampires and fairies.

    Using some sort of "messiah figure" as shryke mentioned is much more acceptable because the idea of a messiah is older than dirt. Same goes for talking animals, magic in general, witches and wizards specifically.


    On topic- Considering how tight-fisted they were with lore in the WoW comic, and how much they love to have lore happen outside of the game world, I fully expect this movie to be consistent with lore and introduce major plot points for the game or some sequel.

    Whether it will be good or bad is still up for debate. If anyone could capture the spirit of WoW (slight ironic commentary mixed with some drama and lots of humor and sight gags) it is Mr. Raimi. He has let me down before (Spider-Man) but I am willing to forgive and hope!

    Arch on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Raynaga wrote: »
    And the issue is that using Warcraft orcs as an example of doing the same thing as Tolkien did is a pretty weak instance of what you are talking about. You responded to the points about the Warcraft orcs not being similar to Tolkien's with "Well they're called orcs, and Tolkien invented orcs!"
    Actually, I said that it's a shame that they're called Orcs in Warcraft as opposed to something else, because Warcraft's Orcs appear to have a significantly richer and different culture than Tolkien's.
    You've responded to the points showing that Tolkien did not, in fact, invent orcs with...well, nothing really.
    Those points made no sense!

    By the same logic, George Lucas didn't really create "Jedi." After all, the Jedi are very similar to samurai warriors, right? And the word "Jedi" is etymollogically similar to "Jed," a warrior title from some pulp book George Lucas once wanted to adapt. So therefore, it's okay for new fantasy/sci-fi authors to call their swordfighting spacewarriors "Jedi" as well!

    I said that the act of creation is not ex-nihilo. All authors "create" by molding existing themes and ideas and words into new shapes. But Tolkien's orcs were a new shape. They are not zombies, or fairy-tale ogres. They are a coherent, self-contained concept, like Lucas' Jedi, or like Philip Pullman's panserbjorne (who are of course based on polar bears). If Tolkien didn't "create" orcs, then nobody creates anything.

    Qingu on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Raynaga wrote: »
    And the issue is that using Warcraft orcs as an example of doing the same thing as Tolkien did is a pretty weak instance of what you are talking about. You responded to the points about the Warcraft orcs not being similar to Tolkien's with "Well they're called orcs, and Tolkien invented orcs!"
    Actually, I said that it's a shame that they're called Orcs in Warcraft as opposed to something else, because Warcraft's Orcs appear to have a significantly richer and different culture than Tolkien's.


    Personally, I would rather have people take an existing idea (Orcs in this case) and mold it into something new. Naming them something else would just have flown in the face of the genre itself, so why do that?

    Also remember- There was someone else who really shaped the idea of a lot of fantasy characters: good old Dungeons and Dragons.

    Also- using your argument again: Should witches be called something else in Harry Potter because they haven't got warts and they don't usually turn people into newts?

    Sometimes it is ok to take something well established and write a story about it.

    You can either A. write a story about some new creatures (or humans, but I am sticking with fantasy here) or you can B. take an existing archetype and mold it into something new and interesting.

    Why call it "Scro" or something when really it is that author's take on Orcs?

    Arch on
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    LynxLynx Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Orcs were invented by Tolkien less than 60 years ago. I can understand calling things elves and vampires and shit and molding those tropes into new shapes. Those have been around for a while.

    But recycling "orcs" is not even trying. I mean, someone pointed out that they're not even that similar to Tolkien's orcs anyway, outward appearances aside. They have a tribal shamanistic warrior culture. Tolkien's orcs were just cartoon evil.

    They weren't even taken from Lord of the Rings. They were taken from Warhammer because Warcraft was originally supposed to be a Warhammer game. When Warcraft was a hit, they had to continue the story. So, they took what they had and changed them enough to be different from both Warhammer and LotR Orcs. Were they just supposed to scrap Orcs because they were derivative? They did the same thing with the High Elves by making them the chaotic, borderline evil Blood Elves. Hell, they even developed Dwarves to be obsessed with archeology and mechanically inclined to make them different from LotR Dwarves.

    Why? LoTR took itself extremely seriously. Warcraft does not take itself seriously. Most of my interactions with the third game involved some degree of intentional ridiculousness.

    And I don't really care that Warcraft's setting is unoriginal ... because the game appears to be self-aware and silly about it. Which is totally cool. I mean, I really liked the third game. My original complaint, which spun off into this longer debate, is with the idea that people actually take it seriously and think it has earnest, non-ironic worth as a fantasy setting.

    How much of Warcraft have you played exactly? Yes, it's not completely serious. But, for the most part, the plot is presented in a serious manner. Sure, there are in-jokes, comedic relief, and pop culture references, but it's got a lot of plot to it. Hell, there are quests in WoW that can be quite intense, from a storytelling perspective.
    Qingu wrote: »
    Look. No author, including Tolkien, creates shit out of thin air. All fantasy ideas are based on other ideas, whether they're from existing mythologies or from nature or real-world events. A good fantasy author takes these things—preferably things that people haven't really explored—and twists and shapes them into something new and alien, yet still relatable. George Lucas did the same thing with Star Wars.

    The problem with mining Tolkien for this stuff is that Tolkien is not a real source. He has himself already mined that stuff, and filtered it. It's like making a lossy coppy of a lossy file.

    So, no one is allowed to use Elves, Orcs or Dwarves ever again. But, it was ok for Tolkien to do it because he was first to rip-off mythology.

    That's a really poor argument.
    It's about creative integrity, and trying to do something original.

    Alright, if you really want to go this route: the Draenei are original. They are based on mythological demons, if said demons were good guys. Hell, you could probably say the Forsaken are original. A branch of undead regain their minds, are bitter about it and decide to do something about it. There, Warcraft has originality. Are you satisfied?

    Lynx on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Also Qingu, my comment about t-shirts was directed at this:
    So to me, basing your work on Tolkien's mythology vs. "natural" mythology is like wearing synthetic fabric instead of cotton. Tolkien has a rich mythology, but it's not rich in the same way that actual religions and folk legends are—it is, in fact, itself a filtering of a number of actual religions and folk legends.

    Just so you know you were just as o_O as I was

    Arch on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Arch wrote: »
    Also- I don't mean to personally attack you or anything Qingu, but using your arguments isn't the myth of hazaram in your online novel essentially ripping off the Tower of Babel?
    You're........you're reading my novel! :):):):):)
    It's ripping off several Akkadian/Hebrew myths. It's also ripping off the flood stories. The tower of Babel, in the context of the Biblical period, is actually more interesting than how it's portrayed now, because the Babylonians actually thought the tower functioned as a "gateway to heaven."And also, people back then thought the sky was a solid object that held up an above-sky ocean. So it would actually be possible to "pierce" the sky by building a tower high enough. And the word "hazaram" comes from the Arabic word "haram," which means "forbidden."
    I still feel that you (and others who make the same argument about fantasy works involving orcs, elves, etc) only really have a problem with the timescale. The modern Orc idea could theoretically have emerged in someone's lifetime. You could talk to someone who didn't know what an Orc was about 50 years ago.

    But I would argue that these ideas are spreading to a point that eventually they will be just as culturally inherent as vampires and fairies.

    Using some sort of "messiah figure" as shryke mentioned is much more acceptable because the idea of a messiah is older than dirt. Same goes for talking animals, magic in general, witches and wizards specifically.
    I agree and disagree.

    Here is an example of a "new myth" that I agree is okay to mine: the idea of a robot apocalypse where AI turn on humans who create them. It's an idea found throughout early sci-fi, popularized in the Terminator movies, and fully explored again in the Matrix movies, and then again in BSG. But I wouldn't say that Terminator or the Matrix or BSG are "derivative" of early sci-fi authors exploring this concept—because the concept itself is extremely broad (and also quite similar, as it happens, to nearly omnipresent early polytheist myths of new generations of gods overthrowing their fathers and mothers).

    But this strikes me as different from using "orcs" in a new work. Using orcs would be more like using "terminators" or "agents." It's too specific to allow any original exploration of the concept. And really, there's a lot of other medieval fantasy stuff that's unmined—George R. R. Martin's work, for example, is not derivative of Tolkien, but rather goes straight to Tolkien's source and mines different shit. And it's great. (Though I've only read the first one).

    Qingu on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Arch wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    Raynaga wrote: »
    And the issue is that using Warcraft orcs as an example of doing the same thing as Tolkien did is a pretty weak instance of what you are talking about. You responded to the points about the Warcraft orcs not being similar to Tolkien's with "Well they're called orcs, and Tolkien invented orcs!"
    Actually, I said that it's a shame that they're called Orcs in Warcraft as opposed to something else, because Warcraft's Orcs appear to have a significantly richer and different culture than Tolkien's.


    Personally, I would rather have people take an existing idea (Orcs in this case) and mold it into something new. Naming them something else would just have flown in the face of the genre itself, so why do that?

    Also remember- There was someone else who really shaped the idea of a lot of fantasy characters: good old Dungeons and Dragons.

    Also- using your argument again: Should witches be called something else in Harry Potter because they haven't got warts and they don't usually turn people into newts?

    Sometimes it is ok to take something well established and write a story about it.

    You can either A. write a story about some new creatures (or humans, but I am sticking with fantasy here) or you can B. take an existing archetype and mold it into something new and interesting.

    Why call it "Scro" or something when really it is that author's take on Orcs?
    Here is my argument: it's okay to use witches as source material—but not okay to use orcs or jedi as source material—because "witch" is a concept that evolved naturally. It is "wild" source material. Orcs and jedi are the specific creations of specific authors—they already are archetypes that have been molded into something new and interesting.

    I don't have any problem with taking existing archetypes and molding them into new and interesting shapes. My problem is when authors use other author's specific creations as those archetypes.

    Here's an example: the Ronso from FFX. Imagine if, instead of big burly lion people, they looked like Orcs, and were called "Orcs." Now, functionally speaking, those guys could easily have been Orcs from Warcraft. They're a slow-speaking tribal warrior shaman culture and are big and burly and ugly. But the Ronso still are a rather original creation. Re-using the orc trope would have been off-puttingly unoriginal.

    Qingu on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    So, basically, your annoyed they used the word "Orc".

    shryke on
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    psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2009
    Um. I actually wrote my thesis about these two series. (Very practical, I know.) And while there are some interesting similarities, the worlds, magic systems, worldviews, and characters are completely different.

    wait wait wait.... you wrote a thesis about LoTR vs Warcraft and yet you admit not having read anything about it, and your statements show you don't really know anything about it?

    psychotix on
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    ArchArch Neat-o, mosquito! Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I see your point (re: terminators etc) but I would argue this route:

    Calling the murderous creatures in a post-apocalyptic robot-ruled world "Terminators" or "Agents" is one thing, just like saying that "Jedi" and "Sith" are separate entities.

    But I feel that the orcs, dwarves, and others in the Tolkien stories are in the same place as the robots THEMSELVES in these stories. They are, in essence, background which frames a greater story. Putting an undead character that doggedly hunts down someone possessing a cursed object (Ringwraith, and calling it such) would be more like putting a Terminator in your story. Putting a killer robot (or greedy, short mining race that loves gold) is one thing, but putting a specifically named caste system or intellectual property (Terminator, Agent) is something else.

    But then again, maybe 60 years from now people will use Terminators and Agents the same way they use Orcs and Elves.

    Arch on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Lynx wrote: »
    How much of Warcraft have you played exactly? Yes, it's not completely serious. But, for the most part, the plot is presented in a serious manner. Sure, there are in-jokes, comedic relief, and pop culture references, but it's got a lot of plot to it. Hell, there are quests in WoW that can be quite intense, from a storytelling perspective.
    I played like half of the third game. And you know, I've seen Youtube videos of WoW and shit.

    So I hope it's clear that I understand I may well be talking out of my ass about WoW. I'm only commenting on what I've seen, and a lot of my arguments here are directed more towards the mass of Tolkien-derivitive fantasy in general.
    So, no one is allowed to use Elves, Orcs or Dwarves ever again. But, it was ok for Tolkien to do it because he was first to rip-off mythology.
    1. Tolkien didn't "rip off" mythology. Before Tolkien, there was no image of elves as tall, beautiful, graceful archers. He invented that and chained it to the word "elf." Similarly, the image of dwarves as stocky, ax-wielding miners; I believe the only thing pre-tolkien dwarves had in common were the beards. And the word "orc" was never even in common usage beyond an obscure reference in Beowulf, in which no orcs actually appeared.

    2. I absolutely do think that people should avoid writing about graceful elven archers and stocky gruff miner dwarves. Think of something original, Christopher fucking Paoilini! That said, I am perfectly okay with satirical or at least silly takes on these tropes ... which is what I assumed Warcraft was doing from my limited experience with the series.
    Alright, if you really want to go this route: the Draenei are original. They are based on mythological demons, if said demons were good guys. Hell, you could probably say the Forsaken are original. A branch of undead regain their minds, are bitter about it and decide to do something about it. There, Warcraft has originality. Are you satisfied?
    Yis, very good.

    Qingu on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    Um. I actually wrote my thesis about these two series. (Very practical, I know.) And while there are some interesting similarities, the worlds, magic systems, worldviews, and characters are completely different.

    wait wait wait.... you wrote a thesis about LoTR vs Warcraft and yet you admit not having read anything about it, and your statements show you don't really know anything about it?
    Uh ... thesis was about Narnia and His Dark Materials. And a bit about LoTR. I don't know where you got that I wrote it about Warcraft?

    Qingu on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Arch wrote: »
    I see your point (re: terminators etc) but I would argue this route:

    Calling the murderous creatures in a post-apocalyptic robot-ruled world "Terminators" or "Agents" is one thing, just like saying that "Jedi" and "Sith" are separate entities.

    But I feel that the orcs, dwarves, and others in the Tolkien stories are in the same place as the robots THEMSELVES in these stories. They are, in essence, background which frames a greater story. Putting an undead character that doggedly hunts down someone possessing a cursed object (Ringwraith, and calling it such) would be more like putting a Terminator in your story. Putting a killer robot (or greedy, short mining race that loves gold) is one thing, but putting a specifically named caste system or intellectual property (Terminator, Agent) is something else.

    But then again, maybe 60 years from now people will use Terminators and Agents the same way they use Orcs and Elves.
    That's a good point. I think there are probably borderline cases.

    I think we disagree over how "generalized" Tolkien's tropes are. For my part, as I said previously, I see Tolkien's elves and dwarves as specific cases of a broad concept of "fae." So,

    elf : graceful, bow-wielding elf :: murderous robot : terminator.

    I don't have a problem with using elves in your work, but you have to make them different from Tolkien's elves or you're just being derivative. Artemis Fowl uses elves differently than Tolkien. I fucking hated that book but it's not derivative.

    Qingu on
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    psychotixpsychotix __BANNED USERS regular
    edited July 2009
    Sigh
    1. Tolkien didn't "rip off" mythology. Before Tolkien, there was no image of elves as tall, beautiful, graceful archers. He invented that and chained it to the word "elf." Similarly, the image of dwarves as stocky, ax-wielding miners; I believe the only thing pre-tolkien dwarves had in common were the beards. And the word "orc" was never even in common usage beyond an obscure reference in Beowulf, in which no orcs actually appeared.

    Wrong again!

    As far as what otherwise might have influenced Tolkien, the OED lists a 1656 use (see below) of an English word ‘orke’ in a way reminiscent of giants, ogres and the like. It is presumed that such usage (orke=ogre) came into English via fairy tales from the continent, especially from Charles Perrault (17th cent. France), who himself borrowed most of his stories (and developed his 'ogre') from the 16th century Italian writers Giovanni Francesco Straparola [c. 1440–c. 1557], who has been credited with introducing to Europe the literary form of the 'fairy tale', and Giambattista Basile.

    Basile (d. 1632) wrote in the Naples dialect (though Naples was, at that time, controlled by Spain), claiming simply to be passing on oral folktales from his region that he'd collected over the years. In at least a dozen or more tales, Basile used 'huorco' (or 'huerco', 'uerco') which is the Neapolitan form of ‘orco’ [modern It. ‘giant’, 'monster'] to describe a large, speaking, mannish beast (hairy and tusked) that lived away in a dark forest or garden, and that might be evil (capturing/eating humans), indifferent or even benevolent — all depending on the tale. (See especially his tales Peruonto and Lo Cuento dell'Uerco.)

    But the 1656 English use of 'orke' (forty-one years before Perrault published his Mother Goose tales) comes from a fairy-tale by Samuel Holland entitled Don Zara, which is a pastiche and parody of fantastical Spanish romances like Don Quixote, and presumably is populated by beasts and monsters common to them. (Note: Straparola was translated into Spanish in 1583. Independent of this, there is in Spain to this day the folktale of the ‘huerco’ or ‘güercu’, which is a harbinger of impending death; a shade in the form of the person about to die.)

    Tolkien, being born in 1892, would certainly have been exposed to the Mother Goose tales and the like. Whether he ever read Straparola, Basile or even Holland's Don Zara is unknown. Whatever the case, he certainly would have come across creatures (orkes and ogres) descended etymologically from L. ‘Orcus’, and not just in Beowulf – though that earliest image seems to be the one that he most references.




    That sounds like the orcs we all know, and was around long before LoTR and was also in fantasy works!

    psychotix on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    That sounds like the orcs we all know, and was around long before LoTR and was also in fantasy works!
    That's describes any number of general scary fairy-tale monsters. It's an "ogre."

    Tolkien's orcs are not ogres. They are not solitary nightmare creatures that eat children in the woods. They have a much, much more specific connotation than that. Namely, they wear armor and weapons and fight as soldiers in armies.

    The fact that Tolkien likely based the word "orc" on "ogre" does not mean that Tolkien did not create the concept of "orc" as an armed humanoid monster soldier. As far as I know, no such concept existed before Tolkien, and yet every single mention of "orc" after Tolkien uses this exact template.

    Edit: basically, there's a big difference between "influence" and "derivation."

    Qingu on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    shryke wrote: »
    So, basically, your annoyed they used the word "Orc".
    I don't even really care that Warcraft uses Orc, because Warcraft is silly and satirical.

    As I said, this is more of a tirade against Eragon-style derivations that basically copy and paste elements from Tolkien's world. (Actually, in Eragon, they weren't even called "Orcs," they were called "Uruks" or some other half-assed attempt to at least give the appearance of non-plagiarism.)

    Qingu on
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    HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Dammit, Shepard!Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    psychotix wrote: »
    Sigh
    1. Tolkien didn't "rip off" mythology. Before Tolkien, there was no image of elves as tall, beautiful, graceful archers. He invented that and chained it to the word "elf." Similarly, the image of dwarves as stocky, ax-wielding miners; I believe the only thing pre-tolkien dwarves had in common were the beards. And the word "orc" was never even in common usage beyond an obscure reference in Beowulf, in which no orcs actually appeared.

    Wrong again!<snip>


    That sounds like the orcs we all know, and was around long before LoTR and was also in fantasy works!

    Isolated pre-1800 instances of a word do not constitute "common usage."

    Hachface on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    So, basically, your annoyed they used the word "Orc".
    I don't even really care that Warcraft uses Orc, because Warcraft is silly and satirical.

    As I said, this is more of a tirade against Eragon-style derivations that basically copy and paste elements from Tolkien's world. (Actually, in Eragon, they weren't even called "Orcs," they were called "Uruks" or some other half-assed attempt to at least give the appearance of non-plagiarism.)

    So this isn't about Warcraft at all then.

    shryke on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    shryke wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    So, basically, your annoyed they used the word "Orc".
    I don't even really care that Warcraft uses Orc, because Warcraft is silly and satirical.

    As I said, this is more of a tirade against Eragon-style derivations that basically copy and paste elements from Tolkien's world. (Actually, in Eragon, they weren't even called "Orcs," they were called "Uruks" or some other half-assed attempt to at least give the appearance of non-plagiarism.)

    So this isn't about Warcraft at all then.
    Aw fuck. Check and mate!

    Qingu on
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    firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I hope it's a one-hundred-and-twenty minute version of that god awful Mountain Dew commercial.

    firewaterword on
    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
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    jothkijothki Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    That sounds like the orcs we all know, and was around long before LoTR and was also in fantasy works!
    That's describes any number of general scary fairy-tale monsters. It's an "ogre."

    Tolkien's orcs are not ogres. They are not solitary nightmare creatures that eat children in the woods. They have a much, much more specific connotation than that. Namely, they wear armor and weapons and fight as soldiers in armies.

    The fact that Tolkien likely based the word "orc" on "ogre" does not mean that Tolkien did not create the concept of "orc" as an armed humanoid monster soldier. As far as I know, no such concept existed before Tolkien, and yet every single mention of "orc" after Tolkien uses this exact template.

    Edit: basically, there's a big difference between "influence" and "derivation."

    I actually can't think of any non-orc armed humanoid monster soldier in mythology either. Did Tolkien invent the idea of fantasy creatures that actually take an active role in their world, instead of just roaming around smashing things and eating maidens, keeping themselves really well hidden, or spending their time frolicking around and occasionally ruining weddings?

    Then again, he was also one of the earliest writers to base his works on a completely fantastic world instead of some version of Earth. Much of mythology is based on that fact that ultimately, everything related to humans is accomplished solely by humans alone, with the possibility of subtle assistance that most humans cannot percieve. Having an army of orcs marching around in Earth's past would be absurd.

    jothki on
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    SpindizzySpindizzy Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Not that I want to derail the thread but a little Warhammer info:

    - The Warhammer Universe is a combination or real-world renaissance history and LotR based upon the love of both these things by the original designers. So WoW if the rumours of the Warhammer ripoff is true makes it a 3rd generation copy.

    - The wow universes tongue in cheek nature is probably a direct result of the Warhammer universes similar pastiche nature though obviously in their own mould. Neither are 'serious' settings especially the Orcs and Orks of the GW world

    - Original looks at fantasy worlds even heavily influenced by Tolkiens fantasy (what i'd call high fantasy) can be innovative but its not what sells which is the MO of both WoW and Warhammer.

    for an example of a different look on 'fantasy' I liked what Stan Nicolls did in his 'Orc' books http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orcs:_First_Blood

    I still think that the majority of the WCIII and WoW villains are going to be splat before the film, so it would either require rehashing the existing continuity or setting things up for the future of the francise by bringing in hitherto unknown evil doers into the world.

    Spindizzy on
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    shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    jothki wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    psychotix wrote: »
    That sounds like the orcs we all know, and was around long before LoTR and was also in fantasy works!
    That's describes any number of general scary fairy-tale monsters. It's an "ogre."

    Tolkien's orcs are not ogres. They are not solitary nightmare creatures that eat children in the woods. They have a much, much more specific connotation than that. Namely, they wear armor and weapons and fight as soldiers in armies.

    The fact that Tolkien likely based the word "orc" on "ogre" does not mean that Tolkien did not create the concept of "orc" as an armed humanoid monster soldier. As far as I know, no such concept existed before Tolkien, and yet every single mention of "orc" after Tolkien uses this exact template.

    Edit: basically, there's a big difference between "influence" and "derivation."

    I actually can't think of any non-orc armed humanoid monster soldier in mythology either. Did Tolkien invent the idea of fantasy creatures that actually take an active role in their world, instead of just roaming around smashing things and eating maidens, keeping themselves really well hidden, or spending their time frolicking around and occasionally ruining weddings?

    Eh, not quite. The idea of fantasy RACES, instead of just fantastical poorly defined creatures in the dark, is evident in earlier stuff. Norse and Greek Mythology and so on.

    Tolkien just refined it down to the point where these races were like actual people, which cities and culture and history and so on and so forth.

    The idea of doing this, however, has at this point become a cultural meme if anything. Inventing a fantasy race is not "ripping off Tolkien".

    shryke on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    jothki wrote: »
    I actually can't think of any non-orc armed humanoid monster soldier in mythology either. Did Tolkien invent the idea of fantasy creatures that actually take an active role in their world, instead of just roaming around smashing things and eating maidens, keeping themselves really well hidden, or spending their time frolicking around and occasionally ruining weddings?
    As far as I know, that was his major contribution to literature. The idea that a fantasy world can have functional, realistic socio-economic classes and conflicts.

    The Wizard of Oz series has some semblances of this, but it's a far cry from Tolkien's stuff. Though there may have been similar ideas in pulp fantasy. (I don't know much about pulp fantasy.)

    Qingu on
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