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Frank Beddor
Jared Hoffman
November 24, 2023

Battle of the IPs: Alice In Wonderland VS. The Lord of the Rings

Hey everyone, I’m back again with another Alice Versus blog. Tonight’s title card fight is a real heavyweight match. In the red corner, we have our reigning champion, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the blue corner, weighing in at a respectable whatever three books weigh, we have The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien vs. Carroll, high fantasy vs. absurdist satire, the Balrog vs. the Jabberwock. Two may enter but only one can be victorious. Let’s get right into it with our first section.

Sir John Tenniel illustration from Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Illustration of the Doors of Durin from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings"

Global Cultural Impact:

In this first round of our showdown, we’re going to find out who’s had the most impact around the globe.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): When Lewis Carroll’s whimsical and surreal world of Wonderland was first introduced to the world, it was unlike anything people had ever read before. Its influence spans literature, film, art, and fashion. Wonderland’s timeless appeal transcends cultural boundaries, making it a cherished part of literary and artistic culture worldwide.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic high-fantasy masterpiece has garnered a global following that spans generations. Its influence extends to literature, film, and even the formation of entire subcultures. Tolkien’s world-building and rich mythology have left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre.

Winner: Both? – Here’s the thing, these books are both massive in terms of cultural impact. Both books are leaders in their respective genres, Alice in absurdism and LOTR in high fantasy. Trying to measure their impact is like trying to count sand, and I don’t want to count sand. So… It’s a tie.

The Balrog and Gandalf fight in a scene from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings"

Critical Acclaim – The Literary Realm:

In this category, we’ll explore the critical reception of the original works, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. After last round’s stalemate, I’m sure one of the two will take the lead here.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s surreal and satirical masterpiece has earned immense critical acclaim. Literary critics and scholars have celebrated it as a timeless work of imaginative storytelling and a profound exploration of Victorian society. It is widely recognized as a classic of children’s literature and has left an enduring mark on the literary world.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): The trilogy has received unparalleled acclaim in the fantasy genre and beyond. Critics and scholars have hailed it for its intricate world-building, rich character development, and thematic depth. The work is often cited as a seminal piece of literature with enduring significance.

Winner: Both – Really? Another tie? I guess so, I mean, both books were critical successes in their own right so it’s hard to compare. I know it’s my job to compare them and I even tried to sway it in Alice’s favor but seriously this feels like another tie.

Orlando Bloom as Legolas in "The Lord of the Rings" film trilogy

Linguistic Influence:

Now, let’s delve into the linguistic impact of these fantastical worlds, including phrases and expressions they’ve introduced. I really need a winner here, ties don’t look good, that’s why soccer isn’t big in America.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s work introduced phrases like “down the rabbit hole” and “mad as a hatter” into common usage, adding whimsy and eccentricity to everyday language. Carroll’s linguistic creativity has even inspired new words, such as “chortle.”

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s extensive language creation, including Elvish languages like Quenya and Sindarin, has captivated linguists and language enthusiasts worldwide. Phrases like “One Ring to rule them all” and “My precious” have become iconic.

Winner: Both – NO! Another tie? Aw man if this was a pay-per-view fight people would be pissed. Carroll’s work is still undefeated in the sense that it has become such a part of our everyday language that people don’t even think of the source material. Tolkien created TWO languages and even invented a few words outside of those languages, such as “Ent.” As much as I don’t want it to be, in my mind and my heart, I know this is a tie.

Alice looks down the rabbit hole in "Alice in Wonderland"

Books Sold:

Next, let’s examine the number of books sold for each work. I swear if this is a tie, I’m going to stop writing this.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s literary masterpiece has sold over 100 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 100 languages, and is available in over 300 editions.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic trilogy has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling book series in history. It has been translated into numerous languages, captivating readers around the world.

Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Thank God. Okay, we finally have a winner here. In the category of books sold, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland secures its victory. 100 million for one book beats 50 million per book.

Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn in "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"

Box Office Success:

Okay, now that we have a leader in this bout, I feel better about writing this. In this round, we compare the box office success of film adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Film Adaptations): Many film adaptations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland have been successful at the box office, especially Tim Burton’s $1 billion behemoth, captivating audiences with their imaginative interpretations.

The Lord of the Rings (Film Adaptations): Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings trilogy have grossed over $2.9 billion at the global box office, receiving critical acclaim and 17 Academy Awards, and becoming one of the most beloved and successful film series in cinematic history.

Winner: The Lord of the Rings – Aaaaaand we’re tied back up again… Damn. The Lord of the Rings film adaptations secure their victory, both in terms of earnings and critical acclaim. Back to square one…

Single cover for Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"

Influence on Music:

Okay, it’s all tied up. This one is for all the marble. If it’s another tie I will never write again. No, no, don’t cry. It will be okay. I’m sure Frank’s other blog writers, if they work hard enough, one day, will display a similar (but slightly less than) amount of charm, wit, and attractiveness. I know you will all miss me but I just can’t have another tie here. Okay, with my preemptive goodbye, let’s explore how Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings have influenced the world of music.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll): Lewis Carroll’s whimsical and surreal world has inspired numerous songs, ranging from psychedelic rock to alternative music. Bands and artists have drawn inspiration from Wonderland’s fantastical elements and nonsensical whimsy, incorporating them into their lyrics and compositions.

The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien): J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic saga has had a profound impact on the realm of music. From progressive rock to folk metal, musicians have crafted songs and entire albums inspired by Middle-earth. Tolkien’s rich mythology and themes of heroism and adventure resonate deeply with musicians and their audiences.

Winner: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – I actually have my eyes closed in anticipation. I can’t look. Who’s the winner here? NO WAY! WE HAVE A WINNER. In the category of influence in music, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland emerges as the winner. While both works have inspired classic musical creations, the whimsical and surreal nature of Wonderland has been a particularly fertile ground for artistic expression in music.

Alice, the March Hare, and the Mad Hatter at the Mad Hatter's tea party in "Alice in Wonderland"


In this captivating duel between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings, both works have demonstrated their profound impact on literature and popular culture. But as we all know there can be only one winner, unless it’s soccer, but thankfully this isn’t. The winner here, in a narrow victory, is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland!

Wow, okay, normally, at the end of these Alice Versus blogs, I usually throw the losers a bone by giving their fans cool mashup images for them to take home with as a consolation prize. But, in this instance, since they were so evenly matched, I’ve decided that the mashups will be given out not as a consolation prize but as a symbol of joint friendship between two literary juggernauts.

First off, Gandalf went a tad mad and became a hatter…

An old wizard sitting at a table enjoying a beverage.

Next, Frodo and friends visit Wonderland and enjoy the Valley of Mushrooms. I wonder if they brought any Longbottom Leaf?

Hobbits sitting in a field of mushrooms.

Last, we have Hatter Madigan if he came to aid of Gondor for the Battle of Pelennor Fields. I wonder how he would’ve done against the Nazgul?

A dashing soldier in plate armor.

Alright, that was fun, let me know if you have any other mashups you want to see here. Hopefully, you enjoyed this blog. Let me know what you think below.

Meet the Author:

Jared Hoffman graduated from the American Film Institute with a degree in screenwriting. A Los Angeles native, his brand of comedy is satire stemming from the many different personalities and egos he has encountered throughout his life. As a lover of all things comedy, Jared is always working out new material and trying to make those around him laugh. His therapist claims this is a coping mechanism, but what does she know?

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