Can Tomi Adeyemi Become The Nigerian Tolkien?

Can Tomi Adeyemi Become The Nigerian Tolkien?

The fantasy genre as we know it would transcend cultures.

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The novel "Children of Blood and Bone," written by Tomi Adeyemi is a unique feature in the fantasy genre, for it is not focused on the Eurocentric perspective of employing mythical creatures and rites of kingship from European mythology, rather from African mythology.

It is clear from interviews and Tomi Adeyemi's biography that she studied extensively the African cultures that were transported to Brazil. This type of research can easily relate to J. R. R. Tolkien studying and teaching Anglo-Saxon literature and history, which eventually provided the inspiration to create Middle-Earth.

A striking similarity between these two writers' personal lives is that they lived in societies completely different from the ones they based their novels off of. In J. R. R. Tolkien's case, he was born in South Africa when it was originally a British colony before moving back to England. Tomi Adeyemi is a first-generation American born to Nigerian immigrants. In this way, the societies which they based their fantasy worlds off of become subjects of fascination, primarily when they feel that there is a deficiency. Tolkien himself did not like the fact that England did not have its own authentically English literature without influence from the Norman French who conquered England in 1066. Likewise, Adeyemi did not like the fact that there were not a lot of fantasy characters that looked like her.

Just like Tolkien who employed the use of words, place-names, and terminologies from European languages such as Finnish and Anglo-Saxon, Adeyemi employs songs, chants, and place-names from Western African tradition.

A dispute to my claim is that "Children of Blood and Bone" is a Young Adult novel and does not encapsulate more of the expansive universe that it contains. My rebuttal is that "The Hobbit" originally began as a Children's novel before the "Lord of the Rings" series was written, which became more intricate and grown-up. I would hope that Adeyemi's work goes through the same cycle, especially since this first novel deals with some pretty adult themes such as murder, sexual abuse, and morally complicated characters such as Inan and Roen.

There are differences that dive deeper than the layout of the stories and into the world itself. While Tolkien seemed intent on trying to replicate pre-Norman Conquest Britain (going so far as to say that the Lord of the Rings takes place in Britain's past), Adeyemi goes the opposite direction. She seems to base it off a fantasy world in post-colonial Nigeria's future. I say this because the characters mention that the empires which closely resemble the European powers that dominated the world were destroyed due their obsession with magic, which led the king to attempt execute all of the Orisha.

Basically, Tolkien wanted to go back while Adeyemi wants to go forward. I would say that she is on the path of becoming like J. R. R. Tolkien but in a completely different way. While the book series is published in America, I will say that it would provide a cornerstone for Nigerian fantasy literature.


Summedbyfells. "Bust of J. R. R. Tolkien." Flickr. Taken on March 6, 2012. Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0. Changes include cropping and combining with image of Tomi Adeyemi.

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How To Stop Being The Toxic Person That You Would Normally Cut Out Of Your Own Life

It's so much easier to pin a problem on someone else than it is to look deep within yourself and take responsibility for the things that you've done. But that's all part of growing up.

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I'm sure you've heard it before...

"Cut someone out of your life if they negatively impact your mental health."

"You need to cut off friends, family, anyone that is bad for you and your future."

"You will be so much better off once _____ is gone from your life."

At this point in your life, you've probably cut off one or more people who you believed weren't good for you. You were prioritizing yourself, and that meant letting go of someone, regardless of the memories, bond, and love that you had for them. It was probably difficult, but somewhere down the line, you knew that you did what was best for you. And you stood by that decision.

But how many times have you been the problem?

How many times have you sat down and took the time to analyze a situation, only to come to the conclusion that YOU'RE the one that's messing up? And that if you changed x, y, and z, you could save or help your relationship with your friend, family member, or significant other.

Probably not very often.

It's so much easier to pin a problem on someone else than it is to look deep within yourself and take responsibility for the things that you've done. But that's all part of growing up. At some point, I hope you realize that you weren't so perfect either, after all. And when you do, this is what I want you to think about:

We all go through different phases of our lives, and it's okay to understand and acknowledge that this phase doesn't represent the best version of yourself. Character development isn't a strict upward slope, where you start off being a shitty, underdeveloped, immature person, but then progress into being an angel. There are going to be ups and downs. There are going to be moments where you're really disappointed in yourself, and can't believe that you let yourself slip up to that degree. We all have flaws, we all make mistakes. But also all have so much potential.

As long as you're willing to put in the effort to change (because everyone around you deserves that), then you're on the right track. And I'm proud of you for having the emotional maturity to self reflect and be better. That's the first step.

And the next step is going to involve putting everything you're saying into practice. I can't promise you that it's going to be easy. And I can't promise you that you're going to drastically permanently change overnight. If I did, I would be lying. But what I can promise you is that everything you're going to do will be worth it in the long run. I hope that's enough of a reason to dig deep for a new you.

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'Barbarians Rising'...To Be Burned By The Sun

Mercy and this mini-series are for fools.

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"Friends, Reh'omans, Baw-bah-ree-uns, countrymen, lend me yoh ee-uhs," said Antony with his chin in the air, wearing my centurion helmet. "I come to bury this mini-series, not to praise it. The evil that men do lives awf-tuh them; the good is oft inter-red with thay-uh bones."

Just like how this series ended in 2016, what good it had rested within it while the evil seems to pervade, and by evil I mean misinformation and boredom. This will not just be a review (at least not like the reviews I did in the past), rather a deeper analysis of what went wrong with this docudrama, aesthetically and historically. The reason why I am passionate about writing this article is because this mini-series. Even for a few episodes, this series still had the responsibility of educating the public about the Barbarians.

Of course, the lack of recorded documents left room for cliché moments like the villain circling around the hero, the sadistic character taunting his victims, the leader giving off his heroic speech, and (I must say this) an Emperor Joffrey. Speaking of which, this mini-series was trying too hard to imitate "Game of Thrones," in terms of putting in the dark themes that are typically associated with it. Even the actors who played Ser Meryn Trant and Dickon Tarly starred in this mini-series.

Playing into the dark themes of Boudicca's episode, she snapped the neck of a crow, which may not have happened. Cassius Dio, a Roman writer, did explain that Boudicca prayed to the Celtic war goddess Andraste with a rabbit between the folds of her dress. So why couldn't Boudicca just whisper her prayers to a rabbit she was holding instead of attempting to appear ruthless without some need to keep pace with Game of Thrones? Did there also really need to be drama with Alaric losing his sister? Did Alaric even have a sister? If there must be characterization, the History Channel could have made Alaric's internal conflict about wanting to find a place to call his new homeland or whether to just take Rome itself, because of the fact that he belonged to a nomadic Germanic confederation of tribes.

Glaring parts of the mini-series that were missed were the Barbarians who actually changed the tide of Western Roman history who were left out. These include Odoacer, the Barbarian king who officially overthrew the Western Roman Empire in 476; Clovis, who founded the Frankish kingdom; and Arbogastes, who was a Frankish guard for Emperor Valentinian II who was debated to have personally killed him. Hannibal's Carthaginian Empire, I highly doubt, would have been part of any oppressed group since they rivalled in power to the Roman Republic.

I was more interested in the scholars and famous people who provided commentary in this mini-series than the actors. You would think those would be the boring parts, but they provided more context and fascination than the narratives did. It is a tragic disappointment both as a historical work and as a narrative work.

If there were any parts that I liked, I did like the scenery of the Vandal Kingdom, since the hazy, yellow African-Mediterranean fog juxtaposed perfectly with the Roman architecture. I also thought that the actor who played Geiseric was genuinely menacing and I would definitely picture the real Geiseric being as menacing as he was towards the Catholic priests. It would have been hair-raising to hear Richard Brake snarling in Vandalic or Latin, but all of that was destroyed when he commanded "Hurt them." Not "Kill them" not "Execute them" not "Torture them," but that non-threatening line completely destroyed Geiseric's limited chance to bring life to a series as vine-consumed and ruinous as the Western Roman Empire itself.

Quite honestly, I preferred the History Channel programs from the Aughts, where there were dramatizations of what may have happened at the discussed time periods, but there was no need to put in storylines since the scholars' commentaries and the narration became storylines in themselves. It would be one thing if inaccuracies and clichés co-existed in a historical FICTION television series, but this is a series that claimed to be accurate as a docudrama.

If this was broadcasted from the History Channel, then the producers of this show should have had creative consultants come from scholarly backgrounds of Latin language and Ancient Germanic languages. Yes, it may have taken a lot more time for the actors to recite their lines in the reconstructed languages of the Visigoths, Vandals, and Romans, but that time would've been worth it.

I highly doubt that Modern British English posh with some Ancient Roman stentorian arrogance would have been spoken by the Barbarian tribes and the Romans in this time (just saying). But a cringing moment for me when the focus comes to language comes from Boudicca's storyline when she is told "Mercy is for fools" by the Roman general who scourged her back, and before she burns a Roman settlement, she repeats those words in her exotically menacing tone "Meh-see is fuh fools." Of course, Boudicca's language that may have been spoken was not documented, but it has been verified that her tribe spoke a language related to Welsh and Breton, which are also of the indigenous Brittonic Celtic family. It would have been one thing if that phrase was translated into Latin and Brittonic Celtic.

I know that it was released two years earlier from the time this article was written, but when the mini-series is continuing to be reproduced (for payment), then it deserves to be critiqued in its harshest fact-checking. As a reference to the title, I will say that this mini-series had Icarus-levels of ambition that ultimately turned a potential for an examination of the cyclical nature of oppression into yet another action-packed, ancient world flick.

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