Literature is curious in that it is formed by and also forms the basis for a language. Stories, especially the really good ones tend to stick to our minds and form the basis for new concepts and solidify images of a given archetype in our minds. For instance, you’ll notice that “Robin Hood” is now associated with the idea of a good thief or one that steals for just reasons and that “Merlyn” has come to be associated with wise men in general or powerful wizards that can be found in books like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
With the surge of even more works of fantasy in the modern age and the vast variety of media that it can be received in and not just books as we also have television, tabletop games, computer games and more. Even Arthurian legends that would otherwise be accessible in the regions of the Far East save for the occasional books that are sold there are now almost widely known through other forms of media and vice versa. I mean, just think, before the 60s, hardly anyone has ever heard of the word “ninja” but now everyone seems to be familiar with Japan’s shadowy mercenaries.
Now, after the introduction of more modern fantasy like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter we get all kinds of new neologistic words like hobbitses (plural for hobbit, at least according to the hobbitses’ own grammar anyway) and orc, which really has no root in more traditional myth and folklore and is more or less Tolkien’s own creation; although to be fair, he did borrow some ideas like trolls and ogres and there are references of “orc” being associated with some sort of pig-monster. Even the modern idea of many fantasy tropes and creatures are based on ideas of Tolkien such as talking, Western-styled dragons, dwarfs being spelled dwarves and hobbits (or “halflings” as they are more commonly referred to in other media) coming to be known as the more innocent people of a fantasy setting and are often used as an audience surrogate.
Well, at least we can expect a bit more as epic fantasy films like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and others have become popular again. There’s also quite a bit of hype at the release for Desolation of Smaug, the second installment for The Hobbit film trilogy, coming this year in December.