"I rose to speak, with fiery cheek,
Quiet or Ill break your pate!
You critic guys call it "plagiarize"
When we artists appropriate!
Yes, I say proudly that I have danced
Where Tolkien once had trodden.
Hah! That just shows what a critic knows!
The whole damn books Post-Modern!"
Tad Williams, The Rime of the Ancient Trilogist, Stanzas 74-5
In the Penguin English Dictionary, plagiarism is said to be:
[The] wrongful attempt to pass off anothers literary or musical work as ones own; act of copying without permission or acknowledging.
In the Fantasy genre, plagiarism is the act of borrowing someone elses ideas and reworking them into ones own work. It is very hard to actually state whether a Fantasy author has plagiarised from anothers work, or whether both authors coincidentally had the same source material. This is a question only the authors can answer. Tolkien used the ancient mythology of the Nordic and Germanic cultures for his epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, but it is unclear whether Tad Williams, either consciously or unconsciously, copied ideas and forms pioneered by Tolkien.
In pondering the similarities between these two epic works of similar length and topic, nothing can be stated to be so, for certain. A degree of speculation remains, as in all arguments, yet it should be shown that at least some of the ideas and themes used in both works are almost identical. In critically reviewing both works, as done above, many similarities have already been made apparent as each are followed structurally through. In analysing pertinent points there seem to be many details in common, which have perhaps been unconsciously produced by Tad Williams.
Return to my Home