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Tolkien FAQ



Frequently Asked Questions about the author J.R.R. Tolkien.

This FAQ about the author J.R.R. Tolkien was compiled and written by William D.B. Loos loos@hudce.harvard.edu with numerous contributions by others.

-01 Acknowledgements (Tolkien FAQ)
The following individuals made suggestions and contributions to ...
-02 Commonly used abbreviations (Tolkien FAQ)
General:
-03 Who was J.R.R. Tolkien anyway?
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Englishman, scholar, and storyteller ...
-04 Were the languages presented in _The Lord of the Rings_ real languages?
Most certainly they were, especially the Elven languages Sindarin ...
-05 What does it mean when people (or Tolkien himself) speak of him as having been the "editor" of _The Lord of the Rings_ ?
The fiction Tolkien sought to maintain was that _The Lord of the ...
-06 How thoroughly realized was Tolkien's fiction that he was the "translator" of _The Lord of the Rings_ ?
Very thoroughly indeed. The scenario was that of course hobbits ...
-07 Why is Tolkien's work, _The Lord of the Rings_ in particular, so difficult to translate (into other languages of our world)?
Because his interest in, skill with, and love of language are man-...
-08 Did the events in _The Lord of the Rings_ take place on another planet or what?
No. Tolkien's intention was that was that Middle-earth was our ...
-09 Was the northwest of Middle-earth, where the story took place, meant to actually be Europe? (Tolkien and his work)
Yes, but a qualified yes. There is no question that Tolkien ...
-10 Was the Shire meant to be England? (Tolkien and his work)
In this case, the balance between actually *was* and was based ...
-11 What were the changes made to _The Hobbit_ after _The Lord of the Rings_ was written, and what motivated them? [This question refers to the major revisions made to the Gollum chapter, "Riddles in the Dark", not to the multitude of minor changes made elsewhere.]
-12 Were Hobbits a sub-group of Humans?
Yes, beyond question. There were three statements to this effect....
-13 Did Hobbits have pointed ears?
Only slightly. Tolkien described Bilbo thusly for purposes of ...
-14 When was Bilbo and Frodo's Birthday? To what date on our own calendar does it correspond? (Hobbits)
The date on the Shire calendar was September 22 (FR, 29). Both ...
-15 Was Gollum a hobbit?
Yes, beyond all doubt. Gandalf's opinion alone: I guess they ...
-16 Did Elves have pointed ears? (Tolkien)
They were evidently somewhat pointed; more so that human ears, ...
-17 Did Dwarf women have beards? (Tolkien)
It seems they did. In the note on Dwarf women in Appendix A it ...
-18 Who were the Istari (Wizards)? (Tolkien)
The Wizards were Maiar (spiritual beings of lower rank than the Valar) ...
-19 Of the Five Wizards, only three came into the story. Was anything known about the other two? (Tolkien)
Very little. No names given them in Middle-earth are recorded, just the ...
-20 What happened to Radagast? (Istari (Wizards) - Tolkien)
Radagast was said to also have failed his mission, but it's tempting ...
-21 What was the relationship between Orcs and Goblins? (Enemies - Tolkien)
They are different names for the same race of creatures. Of the two, ...
-22 Who or what was Tom Bombadil? (Tolkien)
This question has been a widely debated, sometimes far too vehemantly....
-23 What became of the Entwives? (Tolkien)
No definite answer was given to this question within the story....
-24 Commonly Used Abbreviations (Tolkien less FAQ)
General:
-25 Was there a change of tone between Book I and the rest of _The Lord of the Rings_ ?
Yes. Originally, the world of the Hobbit was not the same as the world ...
-26 Why did Tolkien fail to publish _The Silmarillion_ during the eighteen years which followed the publication of _The Lord of the Rings_ ?
No definitive answer is possible, but a several serious obstacles can be ...
-27 What exactly happened at the end of the First Age? (General History Of Middle-Earth - Tolkien)
The Noldorin Elves had made war on Morgoth (referred to as the Great ...
-28 In terms of the larger worldview, what exactly took place at the Fall of Numenor? (General History Of Middle-Earth - Tolkien)
The world was changed from a flat medieval world to the round world of ...
-29 Did Frodo and the others (Bilbo, Sam, and Gimli) who passed over the Sea eventually die, or had they become immortal?
They remained mortal. Tolkien's conception was that a creature's natural ...
-30 In _The Hobbit_, Bilbo called the spiders Attercop, Lazy Lob, Crazy Cob, and Old Tomnoddy. What do the words mean?
Notes in _The Annotated Hobbit_ identify Attercop, Lob, and Cob as ...
-31 Were Elves reincarnated after they were slain? (Tolkien)
Yes. In addition to a number of general statements to this effect at ...
-32 Was Glorfindel of Rivendell (whom Frodo met) the same as Glorfindel of Gondolin, who was slain fighting a Balrog? (Tolkien)
This has been a matter of great controversy. It was unplanned ...
-33 How were Eldar in Valinor named? (Tolkien)
They had two given names ('essi'), one bestowed at birth by the ...
-34 What brought on the sinking of Numenor? (Tolkien)
The Numenor story was Tolkien's re-telling of the Atlantis legend (...
-35 How could Ar-Pharazon of Numenor defeat Sauron while Sauron wielded the One Ring? (Tolkien)
He did not actually defeat Sauron himself. The invasion fleet of the ...
-36 What happened to the Ring when Numenor was destroyed? (Tolkien)
Nothing. Sauron carried it back to Middle-earth, though there might be ...
-37 Where did the Southrons come from? Were they part of the Atani? (Tolkien)
Yes. All humans, East, West, North, or South, were. Humans first ...
-38 What were the origins of the Dwarves? (Tolkien)
They were made by Aule, the smith and craftmaster of the Valar. This ...
-39 If, as has been told, only Seven Fathers of the Dwarves were created, how did the race procreate? (Tolkien)
In the _Silmarillion_ account of the making of the Dwarves, only ...
-40 What was the origin of the Orcs? (Tolkien)
A fundamental concept for Tolkien (and the other Inklings) was that Evil ...
-41 What was the origin of Trolls? (Tolkien)
No one seems to know. Apparently, though, they were made (as ...
-42 Who was Queen Beruthiel? (Aragorn mentioned her during the journey through Moria.) (Tolkien)
The reference is to Book II, Ch 4 A Journey in the Dark: 'Do not be ...









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