The five are from 1970's Canada actually, not 1980's, as far as I could tell. They were not kidnapped by Loren, they were invited as guests to celebrate the king's jubilee -- odd thing to do, I agree, but nothing to do with the war which Loren had no idea was coming. In the second book they made their own choice to return to Fionavar and participate in the war. I'm not sure how you expected to them to react to what they saw. Mental breakdowns? Screaming and running away? Become Unbelievers like Thomas Convenant? Perhaps Loren picked them (Matt Soren actually pointed them out) for being the mentally-strong sort who could handle things. Kim and Jennifer did have their mental breakdown moments, then moved past it and did what they had to do. Paul and Kim both acquired knowledge of Fionavar that prepared them. Kevin didn't especially deal well, but he focused on helping his friend deal with stuff that had nothing to do with Fionavar. Dave pushed the eject button and ended up in the one place where he was needed. They were largely observers for that first book, until they chose to be more. They were invited to do things that seemed rather innocent and harmless. Kim -> old lady wants you to visit her cottage. Paul, Kevin -> come hang out with the prince's crew and ride down south with us on this awesome prank. Jennifer -> come shopping with the light elf and hear him sing. Dave -> keep watch on a good kid and come hunting with my tribe. Innocent, harmless. I'd also say the society they encountered was not radically different. They were liberal arts students of history, art, law, mythology, etc. They must have recognized the cultural parallels with medieval periods of their own world. Seems to me they were believably able to adapt to it. Reading various GGK interviews, I can say he wrote Fionvar for a few specific reasons: 1) he wanted to overturn or subvert traditional Tolkienesque high fantasy by mixing in the mythologies of many other cultures (Greek/Roman, Celtic/British, Native American, Norse, Arabian, etc.) and treating some of them in nontraditional ways (his Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot was a unique inversion of the traditional Arthur story - doomed to repeat the love triangle as punishment for the crime of his youth); 2) to get Tolkien "out of his system" after spending a long period immersed in Middle-Earth helping edit the Simarillion; 3) and to get his feet wet writing something which he did not have to do a lot of prior research since he was familiar with those mythologies already. I love his later works, but in some ways they are less ambitious, except perhaps Tigana.