Can you elaborate on “every part of Animorphs that isn’t Tolkein is Star Trek?”
Someone help what I'm missing. But Applegate is a massive Tolkein fan and Grant is a massive Star Trek fan, from what we gather. I can't speak for the plots, but a ton of the themes (prime directives, war is hell, etc.) echo themes therein, and there's a bunch of other echoes in the worldbuilding.
*Applegate filled the world with Tolkein references, to the point where I now assume all Andalites just speak Quenya. "Alloran?" Gandalf's original name among the Valinor was Olórin. "Elfangor?" "Ala" means good, and Treebeard's original name, like his forest, was Fangorn. "Esgarrouth?" The original name of Lake Town was Esgaroth. "Yeerk?" The Sindarin for Orc is "Yrch."
"Berenson?" Beren was literally Tolkein's Gary Stu. It's written on his gravestone. I threw my phone across the room when I realized that one all on my own, I haven't seen anyone mention it (probably because no one read the Silmarillion).
Even worse, remember how in the first pitch of the series, the Andalites were tall glowy elves? (Frankly, a lot of Andalite culture still echoes the Tolkein elves.) That would be bad enough, if "Andalië" wasn't literally Quenya for "The Tall Ones."
*Applegate wrote both the books in which Animorphs Sauron is introduced.
*Grant was apparently the one who suggested the series have aliens in the first place.
*The two male characters Grant wrote appear to have become best friends over Star Trek talk. Tobias even has a Star Trek calendar in the only description we get of his human bedroom.
*Grant was the author of the books in which The Ellimist and the Drode were introduced, almost certainly thinking of Q.
*Elfangor basically switches from Frodo to Captain Kirk when Grant takes over writing him in the Chronicles. Tell me you don't see it.
*Grant has almost certainly confirmed someplace that he wrote book 32 in the first place because he wanted to do the Spock With A Beard episode.
Stylistically, Grant very likely wrote the chunk of Visser where Edriss mistakes Star Trek for real life.
*After they wrote solo books, Grant filled his with Star Trek vibes, and Applegate creates Nedarra. Someone who's an actual Tolkein nerd could probably write a better thesis than I on it.
There was probably some overlap - Applegate's style is all over the chunk where the kids take Ax to see Star Trek.
Feel free to add your own examples, folks. I'm only a conlanger and I've never delved deeply into either franchise except insofar as the conlangs go.
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So...question for Tolkein fans:
Do I have to read The Hobbit first to understand Fellowship? I really want to get into Lord of the Rings, but I don’t think I’m ready to revisit Hobbit. I was introduced to that book when I was in 8th grade, and it wasn’t a great experience because the teacher I had made us read several chapters at a time and quizzed us on our memorization of events (I could never enjoy a book that way), but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed fantasy, and I feel like I’m missing out by not reading Tolkein.
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