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The commercial fantasy that has replaced them is often based on a mistaken attempt to literalise someone else’s metaphor, or realise someone else’s rhetorical imagery. For instance, the moment you begin to ask (or rather to answer) questions like, “Yes, but what did Sauron look like?”; or, “Just how might an Orc regiment organise itself?”; the moment you concern yourself with the economic geography of pseudo-feudal societies, with the real way to use swords, with the politics of courts, you have diluted the poetic power of Tolkien’s images.
Viriconium manipulates map-to-ground expectations to imply a depth that isn’t there. Tolkien does the same thing. Or do you think that Tolkien somehow manages to unload an actual landscape into your living room? If you believe that, get treatment.Thoughts?