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    Default Use of the word 'the' in titles

    What do you all think? We have series like "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Wheel of Time" and "The Sword of Truth." Would they sound better like "Lord of the Rings" and "Wheel of Time" and "Sword of Truth"?

    I don't like using the word 'the' too much because it's already so common. Maybe I'm just nitpicking over nothing, but I'm curious to know what people think sounds better.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    The use of the article "the" helps emphasise the uniqueness or supremacy of the object in question.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    What do you all think? We have series like "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Wheel of Time" and "The Sword of Truth." Would they sound better like "Lord of the Rings" and "Wheel of Time" and "Sword of Truth"?

    I don't like using the word 'the' too much because it's already so common. Maybe I'm just nitpicking over nothing, but I'm curious to know what people think sounds better.
    It's not just any Lord of the Rings, it's THE Lord of the Rings. It's not just any Wheel of Time, it's THE Wheel of Time. It's not just any Sword of Truth, it's THE Sword of Truth.

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Shouldn't this thread be called "The use of the word 'the' in titles"?
    Last edited by The Succubus; 2012-11-06 at 08:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Quote Originally Posted by The Succubus View Post
    Shouldn't this thread be called "The use of the word 'the' in titles"?
    Nah, that would focus on a specific and/or supreme use, and leave all other such uses of 'the' out of discussion, when that's what the discussion is about.

    Although I like "The titular use of the word" as a title.


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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Nah, that would focus on a specific and/or supreme use, and leave all other such uses of 'the' out of discussion, when that's what the discussion is about.

    Although I like "The titular use of the word" as a title.
    Actually, it wouldn't. The use of the title "The use of the word 'the' in titles" wouldn't be using the word "the" in the singular/specific/supreme usage, it would be using "the" to refer to all the possible uses of the word "the".

    Now, get thee to a nunnery!

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    I know it messes up my alphabetised lists.

    I've seen film and music names listed as

    Lord of the Rings, The
    Sword of Truth, The
    Wheel of Time, The

    and so on, but that just looks silly.

    Especially when it comes to band names. I don't think I would ever want to hear a song by "Rolling Stones, The".
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    Thanks for the input all. The Parallel Planes it is. Peruse if you wish.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    It gets very confusing with bands like The The.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rawhide View Post
    It's not just any Lord of the Rings, it's THE Lord of the Rings. It's not just any Wheel of Time, it's THE Wheel of Time. It's not just any Sword of Truth, it's THE Sword of Truth.
    Bear in mind, though, that it limits your ability to write sequels. Tolkien managed to milk LotR for all it was worth, but once he'd killed off Sauron, there really wasn't much else he could do with it. I mean, it's "The Lord of the Rings"; there's not any story left once the eponymous Lord is dead, right? Now, if he'd called his series "A Lord of the Rings," he could have just written a fourth book by bringing in Sauron's little brother, Sauronito, and calling the next series "Another Lord of the Rings."
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll View Post
    It gets very confusing with bands like The The.
    Which is, of course, sorted as The, The so as not to confuse the two.

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Bear in mind, though, that it limits your ability to write sequels. Tolkien managed to milk LotR for all it was worth, but once he'd killed off Sauron, there really wasn't much else he could do with it. I mean, it's "The Lord of the Rings"; there's not any story left once the eponymous Lord is dead, right? Now, if he'd called his series "A Lord of the Rings," he could have just written a fourth book by bringing in Sauron's little brother, Sauronito, and calling the next series "Another Lord of the Rings."
    He could have dragged out the 'cleansing of the Shire' part. But he didn't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Bear in mind, though, that it limits your ability to write sequels. Tolkien managed to milk LotR for all it was worth, but once he'd killed off Sauron, there really wasn't much else he could do with it. I mean, it's "The Lord of the Rings"; there's not any story left once the eponymous Lord is dead, right? Now, if he'd called his series "A Lord of the Rings," he could have just written a fourth book by bringing in Sauron's little brother, Sauronito, and calling the next series "Another Lord of the Rings."
    Excellent proof that Tolkien made the right title decision.

    My general advice for this kind of thing is to avoid using "the" if it's unnecessary. If you want to draw attention to a specific thing, or draw attention to the entirety of the category, use "the." Otherwise leave it off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Bear in mind, though, that it limits your ability to write sequels. Tolkien managed to milk LotR for all it was worth, but once he'd killed off Sauron, there really wasn't much else he could do with it. I mean, it's "The Lord of the Rings"; there's not any story left once the eponymous Lord is dead, right? Now, if he'd called his series "A Lord of the Rings," he could have just written a fourth book by bringing in Sauron's little brother, Sauronito, and calling the next series "Another Lord of the Rings."
    No, it really doesn't. There are plenty of stories with sequels that have completely different names. Take Batman Begins and the Dark Knight. Also, the Lord of the Rings is a (sort of) sequel to the Hobbit.

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Meh, who cares about The Sword of Truth, when you could have The Sword of a Thousand Truths!

    In all seriousness though, prefixing with "The" tends to add a dramatic effect that helps distinguish your sword from all the other swords. Also I'd like to point out that Tolkien originally intended The Lord of the Rings to be one complete work, and thus, there wouldn't have been a fourth book.

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    But if Tolkien had his way, and not the editor, The Lord of the Rings would've most like been filled with a couple of ten thousand more long and descriptive adjunctive words.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    I think I must have selective blindness, because I honestly never noticed the "the" in any of those titles. Probably in no small part because I often see them abbreviated as LotR, WoT, and (haven't yet but probably will SoT). Notice a complete lack of the letter 'T' in front of any of those.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Epic View Post
    Also, the Lord of the Rings is a (sort of) sequel to the Hobbit.
    That only reinforces my point. What's LotR about? A bunch of hobbits fighting the Lord of the Rings! Clearly, he initially intended to capitalize on The Hobbit by making a new book with four hobbits instead of just one. Now, had he called his original work A Hobbit, he could have called the new work Several More Hobbits and been done with it. Too bad for him Bilbo Baggins was already established as the hobbit. He had to come up with an entirely new noun for his title and shoehorn in an extra plot about people with noble claims over jewelry to justify it.

    As a side effect, the new work was so different that he was compelled to cut Bilbo altogether and replace him with a "nephew" named Frodo, lest readers get confused as to why Bilbo was the star of two separate franchises. Granted, he could have saved himself the trouble if he'd just called the trilogy The Hobbit II: The Hobbit Versus the Lord of the Rings, but that would have just been silly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neftren View Post
    Also I'd like to point out that Tolkien originally intended The Lord of the Rings to be one complete work, and thus, there wouldn't have been a fourth book.
    Then how do explain The Silmarillion (or, as Tolkien often referred to it in his letters, Literally Everything Except Hobbits)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    That only reinforces my point.
    No. It really doesn't.

    What's LotR about? A bunch of hobbits fighting the Lord of the Rings! Clearly, he initially intended to capitalize on The Hobbit by making a new book with four hobbits instead of just one.
    No. That's wrong too. Tolkien didn't want to work on a sequel to the Hobbit after it was done. He wanted to focus on other literary works concerned with Middle Earth. He was compelled by his fans and publisher to write a sequel he didn't what to do.

    Now, had he called his original work A Hobbit, he could have called the new work Several More Hobbits and been done with it. Too bad for him Bilbo Baggins was already established as the hobbit. He had to come up with an entirely new noun for his title and shoehorn in an extra plot about people with noble claims over jewelry to justify it.
    Or he just could have called the sequel the Hobbits.

    As a side effect, the new work was so different that he was compelled to cut Bilbo altogether and replace him with a "nephew" named Frodo, lest readers get confused as to why Bilbo was the star of two separate franchises.


    You're seriously saying the only reason Bilbo wasn't the protagonist in the Lord of the Rings is because it's a completely different franchise from the Hobbit and that would confuse people? You clearly underestimate people. I think people can accept the fact a character goes on to star in other works. Here's a little secret: it happens a lot in fiction. Look at comics and every spinoff that ever existed. Heck, I'm this dates all the way back to ancient civilizations.

    Granted, he could have saved himself the trouble if he'd just called the trilogy The Hobbit II: The Hobbit Versus the Lord of the Rings, but that would have just been silly.
    Yeah, I'm sure J.R.R. Tolkien - a man who mastered Old English and even invented his own language - was too dumbstruck to think of a more creative and original title. I'm sure that's the only reason the Lord of the Rings wasn't about Bilbo: he couldn't think of a cool enough sequel name for the Hobbit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Then how do explain The Silmarillion (or, as Tolkien often referred to it in his letters, Literally Everything Except Hobbits)?
    The Silmarillion isn't exactly about the Fellowship or those involved with the Fellowship. It's a collection of other stories set in the same universe (albeit a different time period). It's not a narrative sequel, let alone a fourth book in a series. From a publishing standpoint, The Lord of the Rings was originally one book split into three parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    That only reinforces my point. What's LotR about? A bunch of hobbits fighting the Lord of the Rings! Clearly, he initially intended to capitalize on The Hobbit by making a new book with four hobbits instead of just one. Now, had he called his original work A Hobbit, he could have called the new work Several More Hobbits and been done with it. Too bad for him Bilbo Baggins was already established as the hobbit. He had to come up with an entirely new noun for his title and shoehorn in an extra plot about people with noble claims over jewelry to justify it.

    As a side effect, the new work was so different that he was compelled to cut Bilbo altogether and replace him with a "nephew" named Frodo, lest readers get confused as to why Bilbo was the star of two separate franchises. Granted, he could have saved himself the trouble if he'd just called the trilogy The Hobbit II: The Hobbit Versus the Lord of the Rings, but that would have just been silly.



    Then how do explain The Silmarillion (or, as Tolkien often referred to it in his letters, Literally Everything Except Hobbits)?
    I was nearly certain this was a joke until your comment on The Silmarillion.

    Btw, does anyone else ever see itallics? I never get italics between my itallics tags.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Btw, does anyone else ever see itallics? I never get italics between my itallics tags.
    What browser do you use?

    I used to have the same problem when I used Opera. Turned out that Opera doesn’t do faux italics. (Or at least it didn’t several major versions ago.) Since I didn’t have a separate italic version of my default font, Opera wouldn’t display italics at all.

    The default fonts for the forums are Verdana,​ Geneva,​ Lucida,​ Lucida Grande, ​Arial, ​and Helvetica, in that order. If you somehow don’t have any of those fonts, you need to check your browser’s default sans serif font.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shhalahr Windrider View Post
    What browser do you use?

    I used to have the same problem when I used Opera. Turned out that Opera doesn’t do faux italics. (Or at least it didn’t several major versions ago.) Since I didn’t have a separate italic version of my default font, Opera wouldn’t display italics at all.

    The default fonts for the forums are Verdana,​ Geneva,​ Lucida,​ Lucida Grande, ​Arial, ​and Helvetica, in that order. If you somehow don’t have any of those fonts, you need to check your browser’s default sans serif font.
    That's it then. I'm on opera and there's nothing I can do about it, since I'm on a wii. I really need to get a new computer.
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    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    That only reinforces my point. What's LotR about? A bunch of hobbits fighting the Lord of the Rings! Clearly, he initially intended to capitalize on The Hobbit by making a new book with four hobbits instead of just one. Now, had he called his original work A Hobbit, he could have called the new work Several More Hobbits and been done with it. Too bad for him Bilbo Baggins was already established as the hobbit. He had to come up with an entirely new noun for his title and shoehorn in an extra plot about people with noble claims over jewelry to justify it.

    As a side effect, the new work was so different that he was compelled to cut Bilbo altogether and replace him with a "nephew" named Frodo, lest readers get confused as to why Bilbo was the star of two separate franchises. Granted, he could have saved himself the trouble if he'd just called the trilogy The Hobbit II: The Hobbit Versus the Lord of the Rings, but that would have just been silly.



    Then how do explain The Silmarillion (or, as Tolkien often referred to it in his letters, Literally Everything Except Hobbits)?
    It made me laugh, at least.

    Regarding alphabetisation, unless this is done automatically by some sort of electro-wizard thinking device, you can of course just ignore any "the"s and sort as normal, which I would recommend. When it comes to media players, I know that iTunes has a system for ignoring "the" as part of the sorting while retaining it as part of the title. Unfortunately it gets a bit screwed up when you transfer it to iPod, but I'm sure Apple will get around to fixing that one of these decades: it's only been a problem since about 2002, after all.

    In general, I find that "the" in the title tends to make it sound more definite, but also sometimes slightly more pulpy (see: anything that John Grisham's ever written). If you want to make something sound abstract and literary, stripping out extraneous "the"s can help.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    \
    In general, I find that "the" in the title tends to make it sound more definite, but also sometimes slightly more pulpy (see: anything that John Grisham's ever written). If you want to make something sound abstract and literary, stripping out extraneous "the"s can help.
    hmmm... as a test of this, compare these titles of random science fiction works, as chosen from being some of the most expensive sci-fi books on Amazon:

    Earthblood vs The Earthblood
    Everborn vs The Everborn
    Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft vs The Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft
    At Mountains of Madness vs At the Mountains of Madness
    Ringmakers of Saturn vs The Ringmakers of Saturn
    Ringworld vs The Ringworld
    Dune Messiah vs The Dune Messiah
    To Escape Stars vs To Escape the Stars

    as another interesting one, here's a bunch of random ones from the cheapest . See if you can guess which one's the original. I'm just gonna pick the cheapest Fantasy books.

    Kingdoms of Light vs The Kingdoms of Light
    Bewitched and Betrayed vs The Bewitched and Betrayed
    Honoured Enemy vs The Honoured Enemy
    Tomes of the Dead: Words of Their Roaring vs The Tomes of the Dead: Words of Their Roaring
    Revenge of Rose vs Revenge of the Rose
    World Fall vs The World Fall (bonus points: is the series Seven Circles or The Seven Circles?)
    Shapechangers vs The Shapechangers
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft vs The Dark Worlds of H. P. Lovecraft
    This here is a case where the effect of the "the" is especially strong for me. The first title indicates that these are some, or probably most of the dark worlds of Lovecraft, but the second title makes it seem like this book contains ALL the dark worlds, without expection.
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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    I agree with others here, there's a time and a place. I feel the same way about band names (though lean towards the lack...I've only been in one band with a "The" and I didn't name that one).

    Though "wheel of time" works just as well as "the wheel of time", since it's all about cycles and rebirth. But "dark tower" isn't as strong as "the dark tower" and "weaveworld" works better than "the weaveworld"...in the first case it's a singular place. In the second, it's a created state of a world, that could be applied to any world in the right circumstances...

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    Default Re: Use of the word 'the' in titles

    I think it depends on how much the title makes sense in universe.

    Example 1: The Harry Potter books.

    • Harry Potter and THE Sorcerer's Stone. There's only one in question here. there may have been others in the universe, we don't know. But here only one is an issue.
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. THE Chamber.
    • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This one only concerns Sirius Black, one particular prisoner. There's a whole bunch, but we only care about one.
    • Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. Needless to say, there's only one.
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As they call themselves.
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Who is THE Half-Blood Prince?
    • Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Well, you wouldn't exactly say just "deathly hallows" would you? THE specifies the plural in this case, methinks.


    Example 2, because the Harry Potter one is somewhat skewed due to having "Harry Potter and" before the titles: The Lord of the Rings. Generally, when you refer to a Lord in third person and you specify what he is Lord of, you say The. The Lord of (Place Name). The Lord of (Kingdom). The Lord of (Objects/People/Concepts). We abbreviate it as LOTR, just because we know and we're too lazy to add T to TLOTR. But how people abbreviate it doesn't change how the book is actually titled.

    Example 3: TOOTS. *sagenod*
    We never say "TOOTS" when we abbreviate. We only ever say "OOTS" and we know what we're talking about. But in spoken conversation, especially those of you who have RL friends who also read the comic, you'll notice that saying "Order of the Stick" sounds bizarre in context. You can say "There's a new Order of the Stick comic", sure, because in that sentence the word "a" takes over "the" as an article, but "have you read Order of the Stick today?" Nah. Sounds off.

    "Have you read Order of the Stick?"
    "Have you heard of Order of the Stick?"

    It calls for a "the".
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