Guess the Series: In Which Gwen Confuses Potterites
The story begins with extraneous birthday narration, then the hero of the tale is told that he is fated to attempt to defeat the Dark Lord, an evil being who, although being thwarted before, lay dormant for years before gathering the strength to return. With the aid of two close friends, along with many others met along the way, the hero finds himself visiting lands he thought purely legendary, meeting people he had never heard of (some good, some evil, and some just plain strange), and doing things he had never thought possible. (He also discovers that he is far more well-known than he had ever imagined.) Despite the fact that his friends and allies are in many ways more resourceful, knowledgeable, and powerful than the hero, all agree that only he has the power- and the destiny- to defeat the Dark Lord.
At the point in the story when I started composing this, the hero had, alone of all his companions, fainted after being attacked by strange evil beings, who, despite having little physical substance, go around in long black robes scaring the living daylights out of everyone. The hero's mentor, an elderly wizard with the bad habit of keeping important secrets from him, is there when he regains consciousness to explain many things from him- the nature of the rising of the Dark Lord and his minions, how exactly the hero's previous guardian got him into this whole kill-or-be-killed mess with the Dark Lord to begin with, and so on.
A couple more hints...
The hero's elderly-wizard mentor is betrayed by another wizard, who was corrupted by long study of the Dark Arts, though he studied them to help good.
This series was made into a series of (non-animated!) fantasy movies not too long ago.
These books are very popular and famous, and have been since their release.
The author's name has, among other letters and punctuation marks, two periods, an R, a J, an N, an L, an I, and an O.
Oh yeah, and pretty much of all the above is spoiler.
Can you guess the series of which I speak? Quick, get out a piece of paper and a writing utensil (pencil, pen, stylus, spaghetti noodle, whatever) and write your guess. Scroll down...
If you guessed the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, you...are...WRONG! Sorry, I was talking about the Lord of the Rings series, by J. R. R. Tolkien. At the moment, I am re-reading the Fellowship of the Ring, and like every other blogger on the Internet, am compelled to tell you exactly what I'm doing at any particular time. The only difference between me and the other bloggers is that you got, at least, a fun trick to play on your (preferably Harry-Potter-obsessed; you know the type- scrapping pictures of them sitting around with the caption "Waiting For Harry Potter #," the ones who went to the bookstore at ten o'clock to wait for two hours until they put the sixth/fifth/fourth/third/second book on the shelves, just so they could be first in line) friends out of my blog.
Anyway, there are enough differences between HP and LOTR for me to say that there is no more than a very heavy influence of one on the other (or, who knows, maybe she'd never read any of them... but I find that highly unlikely)- for instance, the presence of important females in HP, seven books instead of three-supposed-to-be-one-plus-the-Hobbit-and-the-Silmarillion-and-all-of-the-books-of-Middle-Earth-legends, and the use of an overall repeatedly-defeat-Voldemort-and-try-to-win-the-Cup-at-the-same-time instead of an overall destroy-the-Ring-and-temporarily-defeat-Evil theme.
After I re-read the Fellowship, I'll try to wangle a swing by the library to borrow the Two Towers, and then re-read the Return of the King. After that, on to a re-reading of the Hobbit, then the Silmarillion, then perhaps to the aforementioned all-of-the-books-of-Middle-Earth-legends. At the end of that, I'll probably browse through Harry Potter to give my brain a bit of a break, and giggle over the fact that none of the characters seem to notice that calling the Dark Lord (of the Harry Potter series, obviously) "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" is naming him exactly as much as calling him "Lord Voldemort" or, say, "Tom." (The same thing happens in the movie The Village, incidentally, with all of the villagers referring to "the ones who must not be spoken of" as "the ones who must not be spoken of," and yet "the ones who must not be spoken of" [or, as I prefer to call them, "the ones of whom we must not speak"] are the one topic that they speak of continuously. Hmm.)
Okay, I'm done now. Go check out regender.com on Tamora Pierce's web site, it's disorienting.