Here's some more Gygax on the subject:>Tolkien includes a number of heroic figures, but they are not of the "Conan" stamp. They are not larger-than-life swashbucklers who fear neither monster nor magic. His wizards are either ineffectual or else they lurk in their strongholds working magic spells which seem to have little if any effect while their gross and stupid minions bungle their plans for supremacy. Religion with its attendant gods and priests he includes not at all. These considerations, as well as a comparison of the creatures of Tolkien's writings with the models they were drawn from (or with a hypothetical counterpart desirable from a wargame standpoint) were in mind when Chainmail and Dungeons & Dragons were created.>Take several of Tolkien's heroic figures for example. Would a participant in a fantasy game more readily identify with Bard of Dale? Aragorn? Frodo Baggins? or would he rather relate to Conan, Fafhrd, the Grey Mouser, or Elric of Melnibone? The answer seems all too obvious.
Translation: Lord of the Rings is BORING, its heroes are SHIT, and if you're DMing or playing a game where all your Fighters are Gimli instead of Conan or those parts of the movies where Legolas shield surfs and solos an oliphant because he can double jump and climb up a bridge even as it's falling, you're DOING IT WRONG.
D&D Wizards fly, teleport, polymorph, and shoot fire and lightning.
Gandalf makes precariously-balanced rocks fall.
On the martial side of things, you are supposed to be John Carter, the strongest man on the planet, jumping 80 feet into the air and kicking four-armed yetis through three sand dunes before hitching a ride on an flying, neon-colored manta ray and rescuing the scantily-clad princess from the clutches of crazy psychic bug-people, sailing off to a city with skyscrapers made from the hollowed-out bones of a long-dead spacewhale,
not a grungy hobbit from Dirtsylvania with even odds of dying to a wolf or three rats.