This site is the offical home of my Tolkien Newsgroups FAQ, Custom Tolkien Booklist, and a number of my essays, as well as (only slightly less officially) the home of the older Tolkien FAQ and LessFAQ by W.D.B. Loos. If you have an interest in Tolkien, you can find something of interest here, whether you are just discovering the books or are a veteran of years of scholarly debate about Middle-earth. I hope you appreciate this site as much as I have enjoyed making it.
This page in particular is a bit of a relic: it's a reasonably complete list of all the content on this site, but I haven't worked terribly hard to keep it up to date lately. My Tolkien Meta-FAQ is a better way of navigating most of what's here, and some of the remaining purpose of this page has been taken over by the new guide to the Tolkien Usenet newsgroups. Still, it can't hurt to keep this page around.
Documents of general interest:
- A Custom Tolkien Booklist, listing all of Tolkien's writings about Middle-earth in an order customized to your own interests, and (optionally) notes on what you are likely to like and dislike in each book and how "canonical" it is.
The Tolkien Newsgroups FAQ by
Steuard Jensen (last updated 12 July 2009, as of this
page's last update at about the same time).
Frequently Asked Questions in discussions of the author J.R.R. Tolkien and his (sub)created world Middle-earth, including an introduction to netiquette and summaries of typical arguments in frequent debates. [Alternate text version, as a single file.]
The Tolkien FAQ by William
D. B. Loos (last updated 08 Jul 1996).
Frequenty Asked Questions about the author J.R.R. Tolkien: questions commonly raised by the first reading of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings; details of the background mythology and invented history which relate directly to the stories; biographical matters. [Alternate text version, in two parts: part 1 and part 2.]
The Tolkien LessFAQ
by William D. B. Loos (last updated 08 Jul 1996).
Less Frequenty Asked Questions about the author J.R.R. Tolkien: questions on his lesser known works; questions on deeper and/or more obscure details of the invented history, background mythology, and matters philological and theological. [Alternate text version, as a single file.]
Tolkien Links from the Tolkien Newsgroups FAQ:
- The rec.arts.books.tolkien newsgroup charter.
- The AFT Glossary, by Sir Confused-a-lot.
- The Usenet archive at Google.com.
- The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship, publishers of the excellent journal Vinyar Tengwar. The site includes one of the very best lists of resources for Tolkienian Linguistics both on and off the Web.
- Ardalambion, an excellent guide to Tolkien's languages.
- Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts for Windows, including some of the best TrueType fonts for Tengwar and Cirth that I have seen. The website and the font help files give comprehensive instructions for using Tolkien's writing systems for many languages.
- The Tengwar Annatar font family, a particularly lovely font collection.
- The Lord of the Rings Movie FAQ at TheOneRing.net.
- The FAQ of the Rings, by Stan Brown, answers a great many questions about the Rings of Power. It has slight overlap with the newsgroups' other FAQs, but its specialized nature allows it to address many questions that wouldn't fit in a more general FAQ.
- An annotated list of available U.S. editions of Tolkien's books. This detailed list includes information on textual errors, maps, paper and binding, and just about everything else you'd want to know before buying a book. The annotated list of Tolkien audio recordings at the same site may also be of interest.
- A guide to the information in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, consisting of a series of questions together with lists of letters that address the questions (the letters are referenced by number and, when necessary, by page number).
- A list of Tolkien-inspired music. (The list is sorted alphabetically by artist, and is on a single page which allows people to search for a specific title with their web browser. The downside is that loading the very long list can take a while. Each song's lyrics are available on their own page in a separate frame.)
- A comprehensive essay discussing the various theories about the identity of Tom Bombadil.
- My thoughts on the definition of "canonical" texts: "Tolkien's Parish: The Canonical Middle-earth".
- "A History of Thrain(s) in The Hobbit": A painfully detailed analysis of the known textual history of the characters named "Thrain" in The Hobbit. This essay may be of limited interest as it centers on the obscure question of when Tolkien first imagined King Thrain I (who founded Erebor), but I figure it's worth demonstrating that I occasionally put effort into story-external debates, too.
- My history reading Tolkien, as well as some general thoughts about his works.
- An essay (posted to r.a.b.t in response to a question by Michael Martinez) on the nature of magic in Middle-earth. As a word of warning, later in the thread I learned that there was a fair bit of good information on this topic in Morgoth's Ring, so I want to update this essay at some point.
- My Fellowship of the Ring movie review, posted the night after I first saw it and revised three days before the opening of The Two Towers. (Also, a text outline of what might be my own ideal cut of Peter Jackson's Fellowship.)
- My The Two Towers movie review, posted a few days after my first viewing and revised shortly before the final movie came out.
- My first thoughts on the Return of the King movie, a text file posted shortly after I saw the movie the first time. I intended to write a longer review eventually, but never quite worked up the momentum.
- Other projects still in the works include essays on the "true" Middle-earth canon and an essay on the nature and operation of the Rings of Power.
- rec.arts.books.tolkien: Despite the occasional (often on-topic) flame war, this is still the best place to go to discuss Tolkien on the 'net.
- alt.fan.tolkien: Similar to r.a.b.t, with many cross-posted threads, but generally a bit less scholarly in focus.
- Not a newsgroup, but a newsgroup project: to express our true feelings about copyright violations, the members of the group are compiling an E-text of The Lord of the Rings.