For me, it was J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit". It put me on the path that led me to the wonders of Fantasy. (Although I think to be absolutely correct, perhaps Edith Hamilton's classic work on Greek Mythology would be more accurate as the kick-off. But it was "The Hobbit" which sent me into overdrive towards a mania.
From there it was anything to do with the Fantasy genre - the classics, modern outlooks, and then to sub-genres like Urban Fantasy and Shared World Universes. That category began with "The Incompleat Enchanter" and led to my own exploration into the shared universe of the Toobworld Dynamic.
Where was I going with this? Oh yeah!
But Tolkien has been the apex in my sorry excuse for a mind and I always hoped that one day I could legitimately place his Middle Earth saga into the world of Earth Prime-Time.
That world of Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits exist in two of the major fictional universes - BookWorld (coined by Jasper Fforde) and the Cineverse (coined by Craig Shaw Gardiner). And for the TV Universe, it has become part of several alternate dimensions - specifically the Tooniverse and Skitlandia. But as for the main Toobworld? Sadly nothing.
And yet there's been a hint that the world of Middle Earth once existed in Toobworld. A mere slip of a hint, and it needed some tweaking from Yours Truly, but it took 44 years for me to finally notice it.
'IT TAKES A THIEF'
"AN EVENING WITH ALISTER MUNDY"
King Armand of Mordera asked his old friend, gentleman thief Alister Mundy, to steal the King's most precious possession - his eleven year old daughter Carlotta. Armand wanted her spirited out of the country to save her life, fearing an inevitable coup staged by power-mad General Contell.
With the assistance of his son Alexander and SIA official Wally Powers (plus Italian crook Funello), Alister took it a step further - they arranged it so that the military's coup d'etat was derailed. (As Barney Fife would say, they nipped it; they nipped it in the bud.) The Morderian monarchy was secured. It could very well be that Carlotta is now the Queen of that country.
Take a look at these frame grabs of King Armand and General Contell:
Putting aside that General Contell must be the evil twin of Captain Stuebing, these uniforms make me think of those Victorian/Edwardian wardrobes in fictional locations like Hentzau and Caronia - stereotypical Balkan costumes.
Because of its location so close to the Russian borders, the Balkan territory is the home for many of the fictional European monarchies and republics under threat of Soviet domination in such Cold War series as 'Mission Impossible'. And I see no reason why another small portion can't be sliced out of some pre-existing Balkan nation in the Trueniverse to be the homeland of Mordera.
There are many fans of "The Lord Of The Rings" who have dabbled in cartography in order to fit the world of Middle Earth into modern day maps of the world. I would suppose they used the Shire as a starting point - where else but to be found in the cozy rural England of Tolkien's youth - and then branched out from there. Working with the materials provided by Tolkien with his own maps regarding distances, a lot of theories center on the Balkans as being the general location for Sauron's stronghold - Mordor.
So let's say that back in the early ages of the world, the Age of Legend, Mordor did indeed exist in that region, encompassing all of the countries to be found in the Balkans today, both real and tele-fictional. With the passage of Time, the topography was radically changed and the evil of Sauron faded from memory along with the Elves and other supernatural beings who once inhabited the world. Yet still traces of that Age survived, and one might be the name of Mordor itself. Only it had become diminished, perhaps to rob the name of its power over the minds of men. Over the eons, the only remnant of Mordor to survive could have been found in the kingdom's name of Mordera.
Perhaps it means "Little Mordor".....
Well, for now, it's just an idea. But one day, the world of Middle Earth as envisioned by Tolkien might be adapted for television - perhaps stories from "The Silmarillion". And when that happens, not only could we hopefully absorb Peter Jackson's six movies into Earth Prime-Time, but we could accept the Mordor/Mordera connection as being legitimate.
Published on the birthday of Frodo and Bilbo Baggins.....