Hi everyone! Sorry for my long absence. School’s been wild. I’m coming out of hibernation to let you all know about my guest post at Pages Unbound for their Tolkien Reading Event. It’s a review of Donald Swann’s song cycle, The Road Goes Ever On, which consists of 7 of Tolkien’s poems set to music.
“Tabletop RPGs are our modern day Iliad. It’s communal storytelling at its finest[.]” -Marisha Ray
“Enchantment produces a Secondary World into which both designer and spectator can enter.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
In my recent exploration of that fascinating narrative form, the tabletop role-playing game, I have found myself wondering what J.R.R. Tolkien would think of the phenomenon. Dungeons and Dragons, the best-known RPG system, draws heavily on Tolkien’s world of Middle Earth; the first edition of D&D even allowed player characters to play as a “hobbit” before they changed the race name to “halfling” for legal reasons. I can’t help but wonder: what would Tolkien think of this unique way to tell stories, that voice actor and D&D player Marisha Ray calls “our modern day Iliad”?
The other night I went to see my friend in a production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, the popular 1943 boot-stomping, skirt-swirling barnyard dance of a musical. It’s a high-energy show with a happy ending, but I did not come away with my heart warmed. In fact, I found myself thinking less about Curly and Laurey’s beautiful morning, and more about the dark subtexts of the musical.
So buckle your seatbelts, folks. We’re in for a wild ride of over-analyzing one of the oldest modern musicals, with a little help from French philosopher Rene Girard!
Recently I crossed the final frontier into Nerd-dom and got into tabletop RPGs (role-playing games). I am slightly ashamed of myself, but I’m having too much fun to care. So now I periodically meet with two groups of friends to roll dice, have magical adventures, and… unintentionally learn about writing!
So if you’re a writer who’s never played a tabletop RPG: today, I want to convince you that it’s totally worth it. First, let’s talk about how RPGs can help writers. Then, I’ll tell you guys about how to get into RPGs as a complete beginner and for free, no Dungeons and Dragons required! (Nothing against D&D, it’s just a little overwhelming to start out with.)
Remember last Wednesday, when–uninvited and unannounced–I did the How I Choose My Books Tag? Well, I’m back this week with another book tag and a little more propriety, since Holly at Nut Free Nerd actually did tag me for this one. I love Holly’s blog–she reviews a wide variety of books, including classics (my favorite!) and talks about her adventures studying abroad at Oxford–so you should definitely give her a follow if you haven’t already!
Now then, to business.
Good morning! Last week, we went over the books I read for the first semester of my literature class—The Great Divorce, The Iliad, The Aeneid, and a whole lot of Plato. This week, let’s take a look at my second semester line-up! Once again, I’ll examine the content of the books and then the edition/translation I used.
This semester was fun because the books we read were from the late Roman empire, medieval, and Renaissance periods, and we read them in chronological order. So my class was able to examine the progression of view on matters such as free will and humanism over the years. Let’s start at the beginning, with…