When We Fought A Lot of Dwarves

Benjamin Markovits at the TLS:

And yet there were probably also ways in which the characters we created revealed something about us. I liked outsiders of various kinds, half-orcs and thieves, sympathetic fringe types; partly, no doubt, because I never stayed anywhere long enough in my childhood to be an insider. For some reason, I also preferred shorter races, halflings and dwarves, and identified with the Bilbos and Gimlis of the world rather than the Aragorns and Boromirs – the tall, powerful men – although I was six foot six (and a deeply frustrated benchwarmer on the basketball team) by the time I finished high school. D&D grew out of Middle Earth and drew on William Morris-style fantasies of medievalism. I read Morris, too (The Defence of Guenevere), and like any good American loved the Cotswolds (which we day-tripped into during our Oxford years). The charm of the English countryside suggests a life in which you can walk out of one small world, through fields, hills and countryside, to enter another, and this is also the romance of Dungeons & Dragons.

more here.