My final Norwescon panel was kind of an odd one. It was a late addition to the schedule, so the only way for people to find out about it was from word of mouth or just walking by the room and poking your head in. (In retrospect I could have tweeted about it or something. I should have checked to see if there was a panel on self-promotion.) It also took a look at fantasy — interesting ground for me, as I haven’t been primarily a fantasy reader since I was a kid getting bedtime stories from my mom. (My mom was reading The Lord of the Rings to me in preschool. I had kind of an awesome childhood.)
One of the unsettling things about The Lord of the Rings and other fantasies of this type is that the Orcs and Dark Lords are flat, 2-dimensional evil characters with no hope of redemption. Is there an argument for making things at least somewhat black and white? If we reject the 100% evil creatures, what do we use for the all-encompassing threat?
My short answer was to say I think The Lord of the Rings is a problem only insofar as people take the wrong lessons from it.