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"I'm a fully realized creation!": bodies of work and creative processes in The Adventure Zone and The Lord of the Rings

Bumas, Adam (2020) "I'm a fully realized creation!": bodies of work and creative processes in The Adventure Zone and The Lord of the Rings. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Podcasts have been given relatively little scholarly attention, as the medium is so new very little
framework exists to discuss it. This thesis seeks to provide an example by comparing a podcast
to a more commonly discussed work. It focuses on The Adventure Zone, a popular “actual-play”
podcast by the McElroy family of podcasters that tells a fantasy fiction narrative through the
medium of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. The narrative of The Adventure Zone’s
Balance storyline is compared to that of The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien’s foundational
fantasy text, particularly as it pertains to how they were created. Both stories were developed to
follow on from narratives more conventional and popular but less personal and complex, and
used pre-existing non-narrative material made by the creators: Lord of the Rings used Tolkien’s
unpublished “legendarium” to create a sequel to The Hobbit, and The Adventure Zone used the
style and content of the McElroys’ other podcasts to complicate and subvert a simple pre-written
Dungeons & Dragons adventure that became the starting point of the story. Comparing the two
works’ creation, narrative and impact provides a rich example of the relationship podcast
narratives have with more conventional literary ones.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bumas, Adamahb48@pitt.eduahb48
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorBest, Mark T.mtb6@pitt.edumtb6
Committee MemberCampbell-Tanner, Lorilmc5@pitt.edulmc5
Committee MemberMurray-Twyning, Amyamytwyning@pitt.eduamytwyning
Committee MemberKimbro,
Date: 1 May 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 April 2020
Approval Date: 1 May 2020
Submission Date: 11 April 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 57
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: McElroy brothers, McElroy family, McElroys, Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, podcasts, podcast, new media, narrative, The Adventure Zone, My Brother My Brother and Me, criticism, comparative literature, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, role-playing games, role playing games, actual-play, actual play, fantasy, sub-creation
Date Deposited: 01 May 2020 20:04
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 20:04


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