“Reading, Writing, Rowling” Episode 29: “Tolkien and Rowling (Part 2)”

Fandoms and film adaptations of Middle-earth and the Wizarding World in this week’s episode.

 

 

Katy and John continue the conversation with Dr. Sara Brown and Dr. Amy Sturgis, this time focusing on the fans and the film versions of the iconic fantasy series of J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling. We discuss whether the Rowling and Tolkien fandoms are oppositional or intersecting, and what the newer Rowling fan community can learn from Tolkien fans’ experiences. In both fandoms, there are questions about how people became interested in the worlds (books, movies, cosplay), intergenerational and global differences, and people who mingle elements of Middle-Earth and the Wizarding World in their own creative fan productions. Amy asks, “What Hogwarts house would Galadriel have been in?”

We compare fans’ creative expressions and consider whether these offer fans a chance to critique Tolkien and Rowling, especially through what Sara calls “writing into the gaps,” which allows fans to greatly expand the worlds they love so much by focusing on neglected characters and scenes. Fan discussions of the authors’ approaches to race and gender exist in both fan communities. Tolkien and Rowling readers alike seek immersive experiences, too, that allow them to live in the Shire or attend a wizarding school. Fans of Middle-earth and the Wizarding World seek out communities based on “loved things held in common.”

Everyone has opinions about the movie adaptations. See if yours line up with ours! Please join the conversation via email (ReadingWritingRowling@gmail.com), Twitter (ReadWriteRowl), or our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you.

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Laurie Beckoff

My Harry Potter journey began in 2000 when I was six and continued through a bachelor's thesis and master's dissertation on medievalism in the series. I'm a Gryffindor from New York City with a passion for theatre, fantasy, Arthurian legend, and science fiction.