Every Man a Warden


As Dave Weigel blogged below, Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax has died. It was Gygax, more than anyone else, who turned Tolkien fandom from a premodern pose into a postmodern, participatory phenomenon: Rather than merely reading about hobbits and elves, fantasy fans could enter Middle Earth themselves and create their own adventures. Granted, most of those adventures tended to sound the same. (If you've ever endured a D&Der's detailed account of how he spent his weekend, you'll understand what I mean.) But we knew that from the title, right? On one level it's a liberatory vision, one where anyone can create a world for everyone else to play in. But Gygax gave it a Foucauldian twist: In the end, each of those worlds is still a dungeon.