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So you think you know your epic fantasy? You've read Tolkien and T.H. White and a whole bunch of other writers. You know the difference between Eddings (The Belgariad) and Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros). You know the name of Gandalf's horse, his traveling companions, and his arch enemy...but is it enough to call yourself "Grand Elf of Epic Fantasy?" Below you'll find twenty-- sometimes easy, but more often tough--questions designed to sort the elves from the hobbits. Print them out if you like, test yourself and your friends and partners. See how you do. Much luck, brave wayfarers. You'll find a link to the answers at the bottom of the page. And remember, no using your magic powers to cheat or confuse your opponents. (-:


1. Although Tolkien was a British citizen who lived most of his life in England, working as a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, he was actually born in this country:

a. Norway
b. Denmark
c. South Africa

2. Whilst Tolkien was at Oxford he formed a close friendship with this other great writer of fantastic literature:

a. C.S. Lewis
b. Rudyard Kipling
c. H.G. Wells

3. In the first book of the Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Rings, the name of the tavern where Frodo tries on the ring and makes himself invisible in front of a roomful of people is:

a. The Merry Mule
b. The Prancing Pony
c. The Brimming Bucket

Classic Series

4. Ursula K. LeGuin wrote her first Earthsea novel in 1968. In this book we meet Ged, who becomes The Wizard of Earthsea. Ged is the character's true name, but names have power in LeGuin's universe and he's more commonly known as:

a. Sparrowhawk
b. Graywind
c. Darkraven

5. Although Frank Herbert's Dune is science fiction, in many ways it reads like epic fantasy. Like Tolkien, Herbert was a world builder. He worked on a huge canvas, creating a complex feudal society, complete with secret societies, monsters and medieval strongholds. There are references to Dune in many epic fantasies. One of the most often pointed out is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, where his sorceror-nuns, the Ais Sedai, are noted for the tight control on society, their power, beauty, and agelessness. Just like these women from Dune:

a. The League of Ten
b. The Bene Gesserit
c. The Spacing Guild

6. Speaking of Robert Jordan, which year was the first book in the Wheel Of Time series, The Eye of The World, published?

a. 1988
b. 1989
c. 1990

King Arthur and His Circular Knights

7. In T.H. White's classic retelling of the legend of Camelot, The Once & Future King, Arthur doesn't begin life as Arthur, but rather as an orphan with this unfortunate name:

a. The Wart
b. The Newt
c. The Stoat

8. Most modern day interpretations of King Arthur and the knights of the round table owe a debt to the fifteenth century writer, Thomas Mallory, who collected all the various tales, myths and half-truths that were hanging around at the time and threw them all together in his Le Morte D'Arthur, which was printed in 1485. Little is certain about Mallory, except that he was a knight who fought in the French Wars (and may have seen Joan of Arc burned at the stake) and that he wrote the Le Morte D'Arthur while in jail. According to official records Mallory was arrested for:

a. Rape
b. Cattle lifting
c. Larceny
d. All of the above

Food & Drink

9. English writer, Diane Wynne Jones wrote The Tough Guide To Fantasyland , which is a fun book lampooning all the traditions of epic fantasy. In it she skewers such fantasy staples as STEW, which is the food of choice in most fantasy lands, and is always thick and brown and meaty, and BEER which is always dark and bitter and frothing with foam. However, certain foods and drinks often rise above the standard fantasy faire. This dish in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series has proven so popular with readers that Mr. Goodkind has now posted the recipe online. Is it:

a. Herb Soup
b. Spice Soup
c. Winter Soup

10. The Blue Wine of Astibar was featured in this book by Canadian writer Guy Gavriel Kay:

a. A Song For Arbonne
b. Tigana
c. The Fionovar Trilogy

Fantastic Art

11. When this artist was commissioned to paint the cover for the Renaissance fantasy, The Golden Key, written by Melanie Rawn, Jennifer Roberson and Kate Elliott, he painted a self portrait on the cover. Who is this artist:

a. Keith Parkinson
b. Doug Beekham
c. Michael Whelan

Otherwise Known As

12. Robin Hobb is the bestselling author of the Farseer trilogy and the Liveship Traders series, but she also wrote the wonderful urban fantasies, Cloven Hooves and Wizard of the Pigeons, under this name:

a. Megan Lindholm
b. Madeline L'Engle
c. Jane Lindskold

13. New epic fantasy, The Runelords, was written by David Farland, who is also known as this award-winning SF writer:

a. Dennis McKiernan
b. Dave Wolverton
c. Stephen Lawhead

Star Wars

14. Which bestselling fantasy author has written the novelization to Stars Wars: Chapter 1, The Phantom Menace:

a. David Eddings
b. Terry Brooks
c. Stephen Donaldson

Women in Uniform

15. In The Deeds of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon, the heroine runs away from home to join a band of mercenaries. Ms. Moon writes with unusual depth and insight about the world of barrack life. This may be because Ms. Moon actually spent time in the armed forces. Did she join:

a. The Marine Corps
b. The Army
c. The Navy Seals

What's In A Name?

16. Roger Zelazny's Amber is probably one of the best loved fantasy series of all time. In the first novel, Nine Princes in Amber, the hero, Corwin, finds himself in a hospital room with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Eventually he discovers he's one of nine princes of the true world, Amber. And his father is named after this Shakespearean character:

a. Iago
b. Caliban
c. Oberon

17. Marion Zimmer Bradley's popular Darkover series is set in a cold mountainous world where magic is worked in great matrixes by an elite aristocracy known as:

a. The Com'yn
b. The Magus
c. The Chosen

18. The harsh northern landscape of A Cavern of Black Ice, by J.V. Jones, is peopled by warring clans with ancient histories and long-lived hatreds. One of the clans is named Dhoone, in honor of the classic adventure novel Lorna Doone written by:

a. Robert Louis Stevenson
b. Richard Blackmore
c. Sir Walter Scott

19. The Gormenghast Trilogy is a huge, gothic rambler of a series, set in a shambling castle that boasts layer upon layer of cellars and secret rooms. Its "kitchen boy makes good in an ancient and cavernous fortress" plot has been influencing writers of epic fantasy ever since. The first book in the series was published in 1946, and was written by:

a. Mervyn Peake
b. John Fowles
c. Gunter Grass

The Last Word

20. What epic fantasy series ends with the sentence, "Peace, tremulous, unexpected, sent a taproot out of nowhere into Morgon's heart." Is it:

a. Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy
b. Jack Vance's Lyonnesse Series
c. Patricia McKillip's Riddle Master Series

I warned you it wasn't easy! So, what you really want to know is "How did I do?" The answers can be found here, along with a ranking system so you can discover whether you're a Grand Elf of just a plain Little Hobbit!

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