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Reminder, Tolkien has already inspired elements of KQ

posted by Valiento on - last edited - Viewed by 1.1K users
I mentioned this in another thread but I thought it deserves it's own discussion, concerning inspiration taken from LOTR books by Tolkien and previous KQ games. Albeit in limitedly and not direct copycat of the stories of course.

According to Roberta Williams, Tolkien was inspiration for some of the material in KQ8 with her attempt at epic fantasy... That's largely were the Orcs came from... Along with other high fantasy archetypes in that game.

However, LotR also inspired elements of previous games.

The Tolkien spelling 'dwarves' is used for the dwarf race in KQ2 (and later in KQ8) and within the
KQ1 manual, as opposed to the traditional spelling 'dwarfs'.

The twin snakes statue in KQ5 is also a reference to black Watchers at Cirith Ungol, a gate into Mordor from Return of the King! Sam held up the Galadriel's crystal vial to counteract the deadly force from the statues eyes (see RotK, book 6, ch 1.).

This is actually one of the most direct concepts taken from Tolkien's story and readapted into the KQ world (rather than just adapting races from the books). It's also in my opinion a great example how Tolkien can be incorporated without feeling out of place at all!

Actually it really depends on what Tolkien works you are talking about the Hobbit is more fairy tale/children's story for example. Somewhat different from the trilogy which was written for grown-ups. The Silmerillion would be even more removed, although it is quite mythic and legendary, and even biblical in it's own sense.

I don't say this in all seriousness, but rather than dropping a ring into mount doom, Graham drops cheese into a strange machine!

But seriously Roberta went to many sources for inspiration not only fairy tales but even classic fantasy and even horror.
21 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Lambonius;493858 said:
    I would argue that the darker tone and inclusion of more overtly "epic" Tolkein-esque high fantasy is part of what made KQ8 suck.
    KQ8 didn't suck. :p

    But yeah, I don't want to see Telltale go that route either way.
  • MusicallyInspired;494525 said:
    KQ8 didn't suck. :p

    But yeah, I don't want to see Telltale go that route either way.
    Nah, you're right. I enjoyed KQ8 well enough. I just think it was and is the wrong direction for the series.
  • I don't know.....if it was done better (not with every employee and their dog putting their suggestions into the mix) it could have been a great game. I still personally believe that if Sierra had kept King's Quest as the flagship series for innovating new technologies and genres it'd still be showcasing the best technology has to offer today. It's sad because they really dropped the ball with KQ7 and it was all downhill from there. I kind of liked how they went a little more serious in MOE, but it just wasn't done well enough. It's certainly better than KQ7 in my opinion.
  • I think the story in KQ8 is deeper than most of the early KQ games, I do agree the pacing and open ended puzzles and exploration makes it more difficult to keep track of everything. It's literally possible to do some things out of logical order, or even miss some of the dialogue. It does have a completely different feel.

    My overall opinion of the game is mixed. I personally don't mind elements of epic fantasy, but I like a good mix. I don't want things getting too silly... KQ7 was the other extreme... That being said I don't think 'dark' is bad!

    People may not be aware actually many of the original fairy tales especially The Brothers Grimm are actually noted for being very dark in tone, perhaps even more so than Tolkien. It's a wonder Roberta never inserted many solutions based on the original fairy tale versions! Though it seems she did have the occasional reference to more obscure versions of fairy tales.

    Another thing people point out is KQ referencing Arthurian legend, just saying but most versions of the tales are very dark, tragedy even. Often fall into the realm of the 'Epic'. Again most Arthurian tales tend to be darker in tone than probably even Tolkien. Granted the Arthurian references are probably more directly Disney's version of Sword in the Stone as opposed to Le Morte De Artur.

    Of course in some cases Roberta would take elements from a darker source but tone things down, i.e. Dracula, Abdul Alhazred, or the Headless Horseman.
  • Yeah, King's Quest has always been more about "whimsy". I'd say it's influenced by Disney storytelling more than anything. I always liked that it was influenced by that - that is to say, the lighter side of fantasy - without the complex and modern emotional philosophy that tends to creep into everything today. You know, the stuff that is "DARK™ and GRITTY®. ". I like high fantasy and epic fantasy, and it has it's place - but that's never been King's Quest for me. KQ has always been more lighthearted.

    I think that when they tried to "be" Disney, ala KQ7, it fell on it's face and then it fell on the other side of it's face when it tried Epic Fantasy with MOE.

  • Ya previous games had more elements of light-heartedness than dark or fantasy, or horror. There were elements that borderlined towards that direction, but it didn't make up the bulk of the game.

    KQ4 had it's ghost-story/horror inspired sequences, with the creepy music, zombies, ghosts, and mummy. It had the creepy troll cave which had a kind survival-horror feel to it. But these were a small part of the game. Most stuff was rather whimsical.

    KQ5 has the dark and hellish Mordack's island/castle, which is more in the direction of high fantasy. The art style and theme of which is largely not Disney-like except maybe for Black Cauldron (noted for being one of Disney's darkest movies). It's not particularly fairy tale more D&D, and the wizard duel is more of a nod to Sword in the Stone.

    KQ6 has it's hellish H.R Geiger inspired vision of the underworld. But most of the game is filled with whimsy. Even then the underworld had elements of silliness, with the dancing skeletons (vaguely reminiscent of Disney's own dancing skeletons short film).

    The feel of KQ8 at least in most of the lands is more dark, with the whimsical elements punctuating things. Which is reverse of most of the previous games.
  • The feel of KQ8 at least in most of the lands is more dark, with the whimsical elements punctuating things. Which is reverse of most of the previous games.
    True, but that seemed more an indication that the realms had been effected by the destruction of the mask. Maybe I'm biased because I started the series with 6 and 5, but I've always liked the darker side of King's Quest.

    On a semi-related note, was anyone else surprised with the Realm of Death in Mask of Eternity? It was such a contrast to underworld that Alexander encountered in KQ6; I wonder how the two realms are connected, if at all.
  • Feazy I don't disagree with you. I still enjoy KQ8, and I think the atmosphere was conveyed quite well. It was certainly intentional, to convey the effects of the cataclysm!
    On a semi-related note, was anyone else surprised with the Realm of Death in Mask of Eternity? It was such a contrast to underworld that Alexander encountered in KQ6; I wonder how the two realms are connected, if at all.
    I would think not connected at all. They are based on two different mythology sets (lead by two completely different rulers derived from two completely different legends). Both are described as a kind of resting area (purgatory?) for spirits passing over to their respective afterlife! They are certainly geographicaly and architecturally, and cosmologically quite different.
  • The two different underworlds open fascinating possibilities for stories...
  • Oddly enough, the Companion makes reference to a couple more underworlds, that of Hades ruled by Pluto, and a Welsh underworld lead by king Arawn (sp?), and even hell (Satan even gets a mention).

    There is also a reference to hell via one he shakespeare quotes or grave stones in KQ4, which also makes a reference to the more traditional Christian/european view of the grim reaper, Father Death. Actually, perhaps it is a reference to 'death' (as in traditional scythe carrying grim reaper)'s name given in one obscure fairy tale, Godfather Death, or perhaps more directly a reference to the Reaper's title of 'Old Father Time'.

    Samhain, as a god of death, IIRC, originates out of late 1700's neopaganism/culture movement. It's a corruption of earlier use of the word, referring to a harvest festival. Other forms of neopaganism samhain is a holiday not an individual, but represents a time when the veil between the living and dead is thin!

    Strangely enough the notion that Samhain is a Celtic God of the Dead, is considered extremely offensive to wiccans and seen by them as a form of intolerance, hate-filled rhetoric, and fearmongering. It's apparently an 'erroneous' accusation made by fundamentalist Christian groups to discredit their belief systems, and an attempt to paint them a devil worshippers.

    Roberta was/is a Christian, which might explain her knowledge of the Samhain/god idea. She certainly seemed to state a fairly conservative Christian views in few discussions she had back in the day. See the interviews made for Talkspot for example. Those views influenced quite a bit of the more Christian motifs and ideas that appeared in Mask of Eternity. Nothing wrong with this, I don't think she was soon anything to be offensive to anyone, but it's interesting in understanding where her inspiration and ideas originate.
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