Hey, Tolkien, Where’d You Get Those Elves? Part 1: Stars and Swans

J. R.R. Tolkien’s tales of Middle-earth have had a profound impact on the fantasy genre, especially his Elves. Rather than the tiny, mischievous sprites found in cookie commercials and some children’s media, his Elves are near human-sized. Immortal and possessing an ethereal beauty, they are generally shown as wiser, more sensitive, and more in-tune with nature than humans. Similar elves have become a common staple in fantasy works. But where did Tolkien get his Elves? Tracing the possibilities turns out to be quite the journey, so I’ll split this into two parts and start with literary and linguistic leads before covering the more mythological ones. Continue reading “Hey, Tolkien, Where’d You Get Those Elves? Part 1: Stars and Swans”

Beginning

Greetings, ponderers and pundits, stargazers and sarcasm-slingers! You have located Illuminating the Fool’s Mirror, a blog seeking to trace the fine threads of imagination that bind ancient myth through classic literature and on to the myriad shared dreams of modern media and culture. It’s a murky cosmos out there, a web that spins outward and back on itself again. We may get lost now and then, but sometimes it’s fun to get lost. Your guide on this journey is Ceridwen Silverhart, mythophile and metaphor tinkerer. Feel free to say my name as you wish, though as you may guess, I do so love alliteration. Continue reading “Beginning”