Tolkien Fan Fiction Sources (Or, “The Silmarillion” as a Gateway Drug)

It’s been a while (too long!) since I posted Tolkien Fanfic Survey data. I’m not going to make my usual mistake of promising regular posts at a certain interval, but while I’m on summer break, I’d like to get more of this information out there.

This week, I took a look at the sources Tolkien fan fiction writers use when crafting their stories.

What sources do Tolkien fanfic writers use infographic

If you prefer the same information in text form, you can find it–and discussion of the data–below the jump.

The data on sources for Tolkien-based fan fiction punctures a couple of myths about fan fiction: 1) that fan fiction writers really only care about throwing characters in bed together and don’t care about their sources and 2) particular to Tolkienfic, the specter of the movieverse fan.

Tolkien Fanfic Writers Are Well-Read

On the first point, the data shows that Tolkien fanfic writers are well-read. They work with multiple books, including the challenging posthumously published and “supplemental” texts, and the longer they write Tolkienfic, the more books they are likely to pick up and work with. Here are the percentages of Tolkienfic authors in my survey who used* each source in their fan fiction (n = 640):

Text Percentage
The Hobbit 74%
The Lord of the Rings 89%
The Silmarillion 78%
Unfinished Tales 51%
History of Middle-earth 52%
LotR Film 60%
Hobbit Film 51%

*Note too the word used here. I did not ask which sources authors had read but which they used in their fanfic. In all likelihood, the number who had read these texts would be higher, possibly much higher, if I’d asked about that.

Not surprisingly, The Lord of the Rings was the most-used text as a source for fan fiction. But the data for the posthumously published books surprised even me, as a Silmarillion writer: 78% of authors used The Silmarillion and just over half used either Unfinished Tales or The History of Middle-earth.

When I venture into the broader Tolkien fandom, my impression is that readership of these books is not nearly so high. (Please note that these are impressions, not backed up by data!) It’s not uncommon to encounter a decades-long Tolkien fan who has not read The Silmarillion, either because they have little interest or because they can’t get through it. And it’s rare to meet a fan whose not a fanficcer whose read one of what I call the supplementary texts: the collections of drafts, notes, and unfinished works that comprise Unfinished Tale and The History of Middle-earth. That’s not to say that these fans are doing fandom wrong, just to point out that one cannot assume that Tolkien fans will necessarily seek to read everything he published, and “Tolkien fan” usually means “has read LotR and The Hobbit.” In the scholarship, the same is true. Increasingly, Tolkien scholars are addressing The Silmarillion and the supplementary texts, but it’s not uncommon to find scholarship that ignore these completely, especially older scholarship.

Pure Movieverse Authors Don’t Really Exist

As most people know, I became a Tolkien fan because of the Lord of the Rings films, which encouraged me to read the books–including The Silmarillion–and The Silmarillion prompted me to begin writing fan fiction. When I entered the Tolkien fan fiction community back in 2004, hot on the heels of the LotR film trilogy and after a mass influx of new fans,** movieverse fans were a source of angst and panic in the fanfic community. Authors who thought the Elves really fought at Helm’s Deep and didn’t know who Glorfindel was and melted over Figwit instead of Faramir as was proper were looked down upon, and archive policies often aimed (explicitly or not) at excluding them. The term canatic was popularized by my friend JunoMagic at this time for a reason: the attitude toward canon errors–and movieverse fans by implication–suggested that fanfic writers were unspooling and rewriting Tolkien’s beloved books one blond-haired Legolas at a time.

**I have not crunched the numbers of date of entry into writing Tolkienfic using the complete data set. However, the preliminary data set that I presented at Mythmoot III shows a spike in fanfic participation around the release date of the LotR films–even a decade later and after many of these fans had likely long departed from the fandom! (See page 3.) The preliminary data set has stayed pretty close to the full data set whenever I’ve compared the two, so I see no reason not to distrust it now … although I will get on the ball and make/publish a graph for entry data using the full data set.

While I can never go back in time and survey fan fiction writers at the close of the LotR film trilogy, this survey was run during the tail end of the Hobbit film trilogy, and so the results are, I think, nonetheless illustrative. The survey was also heavily promoted on Tumblr, where there was more Hobbit film fandom activity that on the other Tolkien sites that promoted the survey (not as heavily), so I suspect I’ve captured more Hobbit film fans than I would have if I ran the survey again today or if it hadn’t received this level of attention on Tumblr. Despite this, the survey suggests that pure movieverse fans are exceedingly rare. Only three authors out of the 640 who responded to this question used only the films as sources. That’s less than a half a percent–or, put another way, you’d have to assemble 200 Tolkienfic writers in a room to have a chance of finding one writing only movieverse fic. (And based on what my data shows about the progression of most Tolkienfic authors through the texts, it’s possible that you wouldn’t even find them at all today: that they would have moved on to writing bookverse as well or simply stopped writing Tolkienfic.)

This doesn’t mean that Tolkienfic writers don’t use the films–the data show that a majority of them do–or don’t start out inspired by the films or writing mostly/entirely based on them, but this is a short-lived state, and those writers who stick with Tolkien fanfic overwhelmingly read and begin incorporating the books into their stories.

The Progression of Source Texts

As I was working on the data for this week’s post, one statistic caught my eye: 78% of writers who used The Hobbit as a source (n = 369) also used either Unfinished Tales or The History of Middle-earth. In fact, this group used those two supplementary sources (UT and HoMe) more than any other group I looked at, even Silmarillion writers. (73% of authors who identified The Silmarillion as a source [n = 365] also used UT and/or the HoMe.)

But when I looked at the authors who had listed The Hobbit as a source and removed those authors who also listed The Silmarillion (n = 103), I found the lowest use of those supplementary sources: Only 17% of Hobbit writers who did not use The Silmarillion listed UT and/or the HoMe.

This suggested to me that Tolkienfic writers tend to enter at the same place in the sources and then follow a progression through the sources. Looking at data on how long writers in each respective group had been writing supported this progression.

There are two points of entry. Some authors begin writing fanfic because of (and at least partly based on) the films. This was the group of authors who wrote using The Hobbit but not The Silmarillion: 95% of them also used the Peter Jackson Hobbit trilogy as a source. These authors who were using The Hobbit but not The Silmarillion had written Tolkienfic for  a median average of three years.

(If you’re wondering about those three authors who had not yet progressed to the books at all, one of them had been writing for two years, and two of them had been writing for one year. That’s a tiny sample size, but the median average of that is one year.)

The other point of entry is The Lord of the Rings books. Authors who used LotR but not The Silmarillion as a source also wrote for a median average of three years. These authors used the supplementary texts the second least with only 20% using UT and/or HoMe. In the group of Hobbit authors, the low use of the supplementary texts makes sense, as these texts have relatively little to offer an author working primarily with The Hobbit. The same is not true for LotR authors, however: Several chapters in Unfinished Tales and four volumes of The History of Middle-earth pertain primarily to LotR. Yet this group of LotR authors did not progress to UT and the HoMe.

Instead, authors interested in moving beyond The Lord of the Rings next delve into The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. It is important to note that, aside from filmverse fans, The Hobbit is a secondary text and few authors create fan fiction based on the sole inspiration of the Hobbit book. In fact, only one participant in the entire study identified The Hobbit book as the only source they used.

Moving into The Silmarillion appears to be the point where authors pass the gateway to geekdom, as I called it in my infographic. Reading The Silmarillion is the only factor I could identify that predicted a high level of use of UT and the HoMe. Silmarillion authors had been writing a median average of five years, and they appear to have used those extra two years to read and study deeply enough of other texts in the legendarium to begin incorporating them into fanfic. Writing for a median average of six years were those authors who identified The Silmarillion and UT and/or the HoMe as sources also, suggesting that authors are working with The Silmarillion for long before wanting the extra information these supplementary texts offer; Silmfic authors progress pretty quickly to using UT and the HoMe in their stories as well. (It helps that one can use these texts without having to read them in their entirety, unlike the more novelistic texts.)

What this suggests is that filmverse authors who write Tolkien fanfic for more than a short time progress quickly into using the books. Some authors begin with the books: usually LotR. And while not all authors progress through all of the books, a great many of them do, regardless of whether they start with filmverse fanfic or LotR bookverse fanfic. Granted, this survey probably did not capture filmverse fans who wrote for a brief duration before losing interest. A friend of mine once compared most media fandoms to a flash fire: intense but brief before authors move on to the next show or film to capture their attention. It’s possible that my survey missed these “flash fire” authors or that they wouldn’t have been invested enough in the Tolkien fandom to feel like I wanted their opinions on this survey. But the Tolkien fanfic community in general (like a lot of bookverse fandoms) resists this flash-fire mentality, which isn’t surprising given the amount of commitment that the source material requires.

A Note on Other Sources

Some may have wondered what happened to Tolkien’s other Ardaverse books, especially The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien and The Children of Húrin. Neither of these were on the list participants could choose from, although they could add them in if they wanted, and some did–but only a few. Other participants added various secondary sources, such as fan-run websites, discussion groups, wikis, and social media sites like Tumblr. Others specifically mentioned that other fans’ headcanons and fanons were sources they used.

At first, I dismissed these responses under the assumption that these participants hadn’t understood what I was asking. I wanted to know which of Tolkien’s books they used to write fanfic. Didn’t they get that? And then I realized that I was very much framing my “correct” response to the question–which asked simply “What sources do you base your fan fiction on?”–from the vantage point of a scholar, not a fan: someone who attaches greater authority to the author and other experts (like Christopher Tolkien or Humphrey Carpenter) rather than fans. (This was not an comfortable realization for me to come to, believe me!) But participants who took the time to note that they used other fans’ interpretations in forming their own were shifting authority precisely as fan scholars have suggested fanfic writers do, away from the author and scholars/experts and toward fellow fans or democratic concepts like “fanon.” If I run this survey again, I would add not only the Letters and Children of Húrin to the list but might dig deeper into the idea of fandom authority. I asked some questions about this on the survey, so I will hopefully be able to crunch and publish some of that data in the weeks to come.

Conclusion

Tolkien fanfic authors are an exceedingly well-read bunch. They use texts that not only veteran Tolkien fans tend to avoid, like The Silmarillion, but routinely work with texts that many scholars have been content to ignore, like Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth.

As I noted above, this doesn’t mean that fanfic authors are “better fans” (and it certainly doesn’t mean that fans who don’t work all the way through the progression–39% of authors did not use UT or the HoMe in their stories–are somehow inferior or producing poorer-quality stories … although the median years writing for this group was only two years, so they may have simply not gotten to these more difficult texts yet). However, I think it reveals how purposes for reading differ between “Tolkien fans” and the smaller subset of “Tolkien fanfic writers.” All Tolkien fans begin reading for the pleasure of inhabiting such a richly imagined world, but Tolkien fanfic writers also crave information. They want details about characters and the world Tolkien built so that they can write deeper stories. This leads them to pick up texts where the payoff when reading for pleasure alone–the title alone of Unfinished Tales is off-putting in that regard–is relatively low. Because they are not reading solely for pleasure or to become immersed in Middle-earth (hard to do when you’re being interrupted every few paragraphs by Christopher Tolkien bearing commentary!) but also to mine for information: They are reading more like scholars.

They are also falling victim to what Tolkien called in one of his letters (#247) “unattainable vistas.” The Lord of the Rings, where most fans start when reading Tolkien, provides a story that is immensely satisfying on its own. If one can resist the hints at a deeper world, then one can end there. But progressing on even to The Hobbit, the horizons broaden, and those unattainable vistas become harder to ignore. The relatively skeletal Silmarillion provides not nearly the sense of satisfaction, and that is why it becomes the gateway: to achieve that deeper understanding requires going into Tolkien’s drafts, notes, and unfinished ideas in UT and the HoMe.


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“Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey” by Dawn Walls-Thumma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

You may use, share, repost, or reprint the statistics and information in this post in any nonprofit project. If you do so, you MUST credit me with my name (Dawn Walls-Thumma in academic/professional contexts or Dawn Felagund in fannish contexts) and link to the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey category on my blog: http://themidhavens.net/heretic_loremaster/category/tolkien-fan-fiction-survey/

For permissions not covered by this license or any questions, email me at DawnFelagund@gmail.com.

See the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey masterpost for more information on this project, permissions, et cetera, et cetera.

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9 Responses to “Tolkien Fan Fiction Sources (Or, “The Silmarillion” as a Gateway Drug)”

  1. hennethgalad says:

    oh wow, serious number crunching !

    unattainable vistas eh ? ( i must confess to being a Faramir fan rather than a Figwit fan…) but it may be
    that the obsessiveness that drives people to read Silmarillion would have driven the same people to read
    the obscure stuff even if Silmarillion had been written out fully (we’d all need immortality for that to happen !)
    insatiable appetites… ‘highbrow’ bingeing… (bingeing, what an awful word, sorry)

    i’m not derided the marketing cunning of Tolkien, the unattainable vistas were deliberate, the hooks are all there;
    but its a velcro thing, he wrote it for exactly the kind of people who would get Fëanorian over it, and we did…

    (what a cool real name you have ! i was once married to a Polish guy whose name was Paprocki, which is ‘ferny’,
    yes, i was Mrs Ferny ! )

    • Dawn says:

      it may be that the obsessiveness that drives people to read Silmarillion would have driven the same people to read the obscure stuff even if Silmarillion had been written out fully

      That’s very possible! The Silmarillion is a challenging book and attracts a Certain Kind of Fan for sure. 😉 Also, fanfic writers read differently than general fans do (I’m pretty sure there’s research about this … I need to find it), so seeking new information to build characters and worlds seems a pretty normal behavior. After all, even the LotR writers move on to read the Silm and usually then UT and HoMe …

      he wrote it for exactly the kind of people who would get Fëanorian over it, and we did…

      He did! I don’t find it a coincidence that I’ve met a lot of really brilliant (outside of fandom) people in this community. I do think it satisfies the kind of mind that enjoys that level of detail and the amount of conscious thought he put into his worldbuilding. I’ve enjoyed other fantasy worlds but never to the level of wanting to write about them like I do Tolkien, nor to the level of wanting to research them as a scholar. (Perhaps the ‘verse I can see being the only one that might interest me in that capacity is Harry Potter.)

      what a cool real name you have !

      😀 It’s a mishmash of my unmarried last name (Walls) and my husband’s (Thumma) to form the family name we both use. We knew we wanted to marry each other from the time we were 15. When the time finally came (we were 23), I assumed I’d keep my name because names are a funny thing for people, and I didn’t want my soon-to-be husband to feel pressured into changing his name, which comes with a lot more criticism and baggage for a guy than it does for a woman. (As a woman, I’d be criticized for not changing my name, but I was prepared to handle that.) I remember plain as day sitting and waiting for a movie to start, and we started talking about our names, and I told him I didn’t plan on changing mine. His response: “That’s fine, but I thought we might both hyphenate!” Since that was my preference anyway, albeit unspoken, we became Walls-Thumma a couple weeks after that.

  2. Himring says:

    With regard to people not mentioning Tolkien’s other Ardaverse books, I wonder whether other people, like me, sometimes get a bit vague about what HoME includes? If I think about it, of course I know that HoME is only that numbered series of books, but when I say I’m using HoME for fan fic, I’m not consciously excluding the Letters and CoH, etc.–what I really mean is that I’m using anything Ardaverse I can conveniently lay my hands on–although I may well rely on those various secondary sources to help me find it.

    • Dawn says:

      I think it was mostly an experimental design flaw on my part. I should have included both CoH and the Letters as choices on the list, and I didn’t. And you’re right that people who might have ticked those off may have thought, “Why yes, I write about Turin so I use UT!” without thinking of CoH because it wasn’t a choice right in front of them.

      If I do this again (I probably will in a few years, assuming I can get it IRB-approved somewhere!), then that’s an error I will definitely fix.

  3. Sian22 says:

    As a jrr (lol andFaramir!) fan since 1975 I am often amazed at how some take the concept of canon so seriously… I have had arguments with fellow authors over what one puts in a fic clealrly labeled as AU! The influence of his world and books travels deep and feels so pure it can be hard to let go. I have read everything he or Christopher ever penned in search of detail, not to slavishly recreate but to have that influence sink in and come back out as something new. Time and again I come back to Carpenter and John Garth to refresh my sense of the man behind the world and where its roots lie. As a Silmarillion lover with no deep need to write in that paddling pool ( others do it so well why would i start?) I smile at the concept that it is complicated. No more so than lotr itself for me…I have a friend who rereads it aloud every year just for the pleasure of hearing the words. That it is inaccessible i think is a myth.. UT and HoME are essential to me..and although the reading in UT is stop and start by virtue of CT editing, gems are still there.

    Thank you so much Dawn for tour work on this..it is fascinationg.. I can’t remember if there were respondant background questions in the survey but it would be interesting to know what occupations jrr. Fanfic writers have. Given The group quickly delves into many sources they are on whole research minded.. From my own experience there are many many folks with science or engineering training.. Or swing to journalism or writing original fic. The need to research seems innate

    • Dawn says:

      I am often amazed at how some take the concept of canon so seriously

      Me too! My study of the legendarium, with respect to fanfic, has been to 1) learn the small details that JRRT already invented (e.g., hair colors, timelines, geography, various names of characters/places) and 2) like you said, to create the sense of Middle-earth in fiction that is otherwise new.

      When I started writing Tolkienfic, people often used the AU label as a defense against canatics. I was advised once to label a story as AU because my Elves slept with their eyes closed.

      I don’t know if you saw the presentation that Oshun and I did last summer at the New York Tolkien Conference, but it explored the cultural differences on different archives and sites, and we definitely found that sites varied quite a bit–and often in surprising ways–on how far authors were willing to stray from canon.

      I can’t remember if there were respondant background questions in the survey but it would be interesting to know what occupations

      Unfortunately, I didn’t ask this! It might be an interesting question to consider in the future. One reason I didn’t ask it (nor about nation of origin) is that I was worried it would reveal identities too easily and compromise the anonymity of the study, i.e., if a fan worked in a career that is not common, I would be able to identify who that person was if they had in the past shared that career with me or with fandom at large. And some of the questions are those that people might not answer if they were not anonymous.

      But what I could do in the future is ask about education level and/or vague career categories versus specifics.

      My impression is that the vast majority of Tolkien fanfic writers either have college degrees–many have advanced degrees–or are in school working on their degrees. Not all of the writers I know are employed, but even those who are not employed have completed a four-year degree.

      The need to research seems innate

      Yes! I think that’s a key. I often say that our canon is not for the faint of heart. It does not involve curling up on a sofa and binge-watching a show. The texts are hard and complicated and contentious. They become less rewarding as fiction as one proceeds beyond LotR and TH … yet something makes us persist, and I think you’re right that this is it.

  4. Oshun says:

    This is a wonderful, wonderful resource. And you present the numbers in a very interesting way here. It seems heavily weighted toward writers who came to Tolkien fanfiction with The Hobbit films. Well, that is to be expected. If I felt like a dinosaur in the old Tolkien fandom because I was a Tolkien fan for decades before the LotR movies. I must be a breed of dinosaur whose origins are lost in the mists of time now! (For what it is worth, I am not dead yet!)

    I cannot help but wish we could have the figures from ten years ago. The Hobbit at that time was largely referenced, as I recall, by readers who chose to produce stories set in Mirkwood and featuring Legolas and/or Thranduil (Jael the Scribe fairly well dominated the fandom in relationship to Thranduil and Hobbit references before The Hobbit movies, if MEFA First Place awards count for anything). The Hobbit wasn’t a rarely read book before the films–it was quite familiar to most serious fanfic writers–but was more rarely written about. (But, of course, I am speaking from impressions. I don’t have the numbers to back up my observations.)

    and it certainly doesn’t mean that fans who don’t work all the way through the progression–39% of authors did not use UT or the HoMe in their stories–are somehow inferior or producing poorer-quality stories

    I do recall in my early days in the Tolkien fandom that there were a few quite accomplished (and popular) LotR writers who fairly strictly limited themselves to movie-verse (Your Cruise Director is one who had quite a body of LotR fiction and was nominated for several Mirthril Awards).

    There were others whom I am not remembering at the moment–I don’t know where they are now, if they moved onto other fandoms or stopped writing fanfic entirely or even are published authors outside of fandom. (There are a number of former LotR fanfic writers who are active or have been in the m/m romance genre whose works have been marketed through various e-book publishers and in paper book form as well.)

    Some of those may have been among those who read Tolkien’s works, but they did not use them as a major resource for their fanfic, but did find LotR movieverse a great source of inspiration, along with popular fanon. I remember online discussions when canon facts were raised and someone would frequently interject a strong opinion prefaced by, “I am sure I read somewhere that….” Very casual approach to the texts in those days. But they had, god forbid, heard of Laws and Customs Among the Eldar!

    And the movie-verse writers did consult online sites for Elvish names although it was frustrating (for me at least) to see how they mixed and matched Quenya and Sindarin names and vocabulary with no care for who actually spoke what, where, and when!

    • Dawn says:

      It seems heavily weighted toward writers who came to Tolkien fanfiction with The Hobbit films.

      Yes, it would be, given that it was run during 2015. I’m hoping to do another survey, maybe in 2020 (assuming I have some sort of institutional affiliation that would give me access to an IRB). One of the things I find myself most curious about is seeing how those fans have changed in their participation, and how many of them no longer participate at all. I can say that the spike from the people who joined the fanfic community with the LotR films–I’m one of them–is still very obvious in the data, even more than ten years out. I’m curious if this will hold for the Hobbit films, which don’t seem to have the pop-culture currency of the LotR films and were more of the “flash fire” fandom, to borrow a description you once used.

      I cannot help but wish we could have the figures from ten years ago.

      ME TOO. If ever I gain access to a time machine, I promise to accomplish this. 😉

      I do recall in my early days in the Tolkien fandom that there were a few quite accomplished (and popular) LotR writers who fairly strictly limited themselves to movie-verse

      I remember this as well. I wonder how long these writers participated. Did they ever move into bookverse? Did the movies sustain them for years? Or was their participation more like that of the “flash fire” media fanfic writer, and once the films faded from the cultural foreground, they lost interest?

      I feel like the books sustain fanfic for long durations in part because one must always return to them and mastery of them takes years and years of reading, rereading, and concentrated work. I am never surprised to see media fandoms flash, then wither and die so quickly, and as much as I adored and continue to adore the LotR films–they are why I’m here–I don’t see them sustaining fanfic the way the books do.

      someone would frequently interject a strong opinion prefaced by, “I am sure I read somewhere that….” Very casual approach to the texts in those days.

      I also recall this. I wonder how much of this was a product of the fact that a lot of people didn’t have access to the texts and there weren’t many reliable secondary resources outside of word-of-mouth shared on mailing lists, forums, journal communities, etc.

      Today, information is so much easier to come by. For one, there are any number of “illegal” versions of the texts out there, not to mention growing availability as actual ebooks, but there are also a greater number of reliable secondary sources. If I forget a piddly fact–something like an obscure Quenya name–I’ll often pull it from a Tolkien wiki using Google-fu rather than dig through the books (even though they are right above my desk and I don’t even have to get out of my chair to reach them!) And citing sources is much better than it was even five years ago. (With thanks to you and your bios for helping to make that the norm, because of course the bios are one of those secondary sources that I think make it possible to achieve a high level of knowledge about the legendarium without actually cracking open a HoMe volume.)

      I think that casual citing of sources also had a shelf life because it was sometimes incorrect information. I remember very clearly, on the Henneth-Annun discussion list, claiming as fact that Nerdanel was red-haired and even citing the text it came from. A fellow list member gently challenged me on it, and when I went to check the source to refute her (probably not nearly so gently!), I found–much to my chagrin, believe me!–that I was wrong. That fanon had misshaped the details I remembered from that text so that I remembered it saying something that it did not. I would have laid $100 down that I was right. It was a learning experience for me that led me to check sources and cite religiously, and I suspect others went through similar experiences that led to more careful use of the sources as well.

      • Oshun says:

        Was just talking about this the other day on my LJ, the assuming also that one knew something because of reading and inference and finding out that one was wrong when one stumbled on the actual piece of text. Appearance is one of those things–hair color, etc. I always assumed Miriel Serinde would be dark-haired. Researching her bio told me otherwise. I messed this week writing my first battle scene and getting the setting wrong. I think I am gonna leave it and explain in a note what really happened! That was the battle in which Haleth’s father and brother were killed. (I still, having read the references over and over, cannot imagine the canon setting–but that is probably based on my ignorance of battles and fortresses in general. Where are all those gamer battlefield experts when I really want them?)

        I think on the question of how long did various movie-verse writers last? The couple of ones I am thinking about was least five years? One’s own canon essentially becomes like writing original fiction, I think. I did to want to expand my world to include more and more corners of Tolkien’s world. Not everyone needs that when they have Boromir living and working as Steward of Gondor and his little brother running Ithilien. They’ve got a world and want to tell people about it.

        It’s funny how statistics can be so skewed also. The long-timers in your survey are five-year veterans or less. Everyone I know best in the fandom (and it is quite number) have been have been active for well over ten or ten at least! (I do have a couple of buddies in 5-8 year range. But hardly anyone newer. I do keep meeting new people, but we often have different favorite areas of the canon to explore and develop. Hobbit film verse just did not take off for me, despite the attractive actors.)

        So, yeah, no time-travel is available. But that does not mean that whole huge balloon of activity in the Tolkien fandom post-LotR film trilogy did not happen and generalizing while leaving those people out is not accurate either.

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