I also agree that drawing much inspiration from Tolkien would be bad for KQ. The Lord of the Rings has a very "high," melancholy tone in which the imminent passing of the heroic age, the time of elves and demigods, is always keenly felt. I'm not sure KQ should ever be so elegiac (although, admittedly, Roberta wanted to do something Tolkienesque with Mask of Eternity).
In fact, King's Quest is an embodiment of much that JRR Tolkien hated about the fantasy of his era--e.g., there are diminutive, mischievous elves and winged fairy godmothers, the sort of simple characters and deus ex machinas the Victorians loved putting in children's tales and which Tolkien despised. In KQ the powers of good also invariably win out over evil, whereas Tolkien preferred to emphasize that even the biggest victories over the forces of darkness come only at a great price.
That doesn't mean there can't be some more "adult" things done with the lore, though. For example, the KQ Companion and the KQ novels all make clear that fairies and elves can be evil, or at least chillingly indifferent to human sensibilities. Although good elves and fairies do exist, humans should approach any such encounter with great caution.
Two good 20th century book series to look at, in terms of the proper background for KQ, would be CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia and Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, both of which were important inspirations to Roberta Williams.
Last edited by ATMachine; 04/08/2011 at 06:34 pm.