Tolkien's Faerian Drama is the Tabletop RPG

Tolkien’s Faerian Drama is the Tabletop RPG

“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”?

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“The Farmer and the Cowman Should Be Friends”: The Scapegoat Mechanism in “Oklahoma!”

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!

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