Um - well. I am finally daring to reply.
I love the Lord of the Rings, and have reread it many times. As an adult, I notice different things in it than I did as a child. And it still strikes me as unique in many ways.
First, of course, the languages. I got really irritated when I read the (admittedly very clever) kid’s book, Ella Enchanted, and had to cope with the way she wrote Ogrish and other languages. It was just annoying. Tolkien’s languages hang together and make sense.
Second, the care and exactness with which he describes nature and the journey within it. You can really feel that you are in this world with the characters.
Third, as Ursula LeGuin pointed out, the “Mrs. Brown” factor. This is a book in which the humble people are the heroes. And that’s one respect in which it was really innovative. Most fantasies before this, I believe, involved knights and heroes and “chosen ones”. In this regard, the Potter books are a long step backward.
Finally, this is an epic quest of renunciation. It’s all about loss and partial victory, and loss as victory. Most of the Tolkien imitators are all about victory and winning - which completely misses the point.
But I have to admit - I love, love, love Scrivener, which is why I’m here. The program’s been a big boost to my writing. But I often feel a bit out of place here otherwise; so many people slam literature that I love and praise stuff I’ve never heard of or can’t stand.
Oh, well. We all get along, anyhow, don’t we?