The Lord of the Rings

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Name: The Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King
Abbreviation(s): LotR, LOTR; FOTR, TTT, ROTK
Creator: John Ronald Reuel (J. R. R.) Tolkien (1892-1973)
Date(s): books: 1954-1955, films: 2001-2003
Medium: book, film
Country of Origin: England, UK, Middle-earth, New Zealand

Subpages for The Lord of the Rings:
The_Lord_of_the_Rings has no subpages to list.
External Links: Encyclopedia of Arda, Tolkien Gateway, Council of Elrond,, The One (TORn)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

In 1954-55 J.R.R. Tolkien published his epic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, divided into three books: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.[1]

Tolkien's View on Fandom

He wrote of a "deplorable cultus" of fandom, and stated that ""Many young Americans are involved in the stories in a way that I'm not". [2] He was referring to the "Go Go Gandalf" and "Frodo Lives" buttons and stickers that had cropped up on many American college campuses.

Peter S. Beagle wrote that he'd once told the Professor about a young man who "thought he was Frodo," and Tolkien said "I've ruined their lives."

Book Fandom

Letters to and from Tolkien after publication show that many readers became fans very quickly, asking questions about Middle-earth, the characters, and so on.[3]. In the 1960s, many people involved in the hippie counter-culture found resonance in LOTR, and it became not just a best-seller, but a part of the generational identity.[4] Groups of Tolkien admirers formed, including the Mythopeic society, The Tolkien Society, and shorter-lived gatherings, such as the Tolkien Fellowship at Michigan State University.[5]

Many words invented or adapted by Tolkien have become part of fannish vocabulary, including moot, mathom, pipeweed and smial. Fans used LOTR and Tolkien's later publications including the Silmarillion to teach themselves various of Tolkien's Elvish and Dwarvish languages and scripts. [6] [7]

The novel Bored of the Rings, a parody by the co-founders of National Lampoon, was published in 1969, suggesting that anti-fans were also quick to seize on the book.

Music Fandom

Tolkien's writings inspired hundreds, perhaps thousands of musical compositions, from classical[8] to death metal, perhaps most famously by Led Zeppelin.[9] [10] Rush's Geddy Lee and Motorhead's Lenny Kilmister both appeared in the Ringers documentary, talking about Tolkien's influence on them. In 2006, the Lord of the Rings Musical played in Toronto, moving to London for 2007-2008, but was not considered a success. [11]

Aca-fen and Academic Analysis of LOTR

  • University professors and other academics became enthusiastic about Tolkien and his works and began writing literary papers on them. Some were granted access to Tolkien's unpublished papers, with a resulting conflict between them and those who were not.[12].
  • other stuff here?
  • lit crit and college classes?
  • Semi-pro fans like Michael Martinez

The Line Between Tolkien Fandom and "Serious" Scholarly Studies

Partly because Tolkien himself was a university professor, some of the most enthusiastic fans are those writing the serious scholarly works about him. Tom Shippey, who for several years occupied Tolkien's chair at the University of Leeds and is on the editorial board of Tolkien Studies, is among Tolkien's most enthusiastic fans and himself a professional fantasy author.

Some feel it lies with those who embrace the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy but have little awareness of Tolkien's lesser and posthumously published works of both fiction and non-fiction.

Online Book Fandom

  • online fandom started early, by 1993: and rec.arts.books.tolkien
  • 1992 bibliography

Book Web Sites

Book Archives

(see also Category:Lord of the Rings Archives)

Film Fandoms

  • The zine Triode #18 (May 1960) contains a letter from J. R. R. Tolkien in response to Arthur Weir's essay "No Monroe in Lothlorien". Weir speculates on things like locations and casting for a film version (the "Monroe" refers to Marilyn, as Weir is vehemently against any "super-mammary Americans" in any of the female roles; he wanted Greta Garbo for Galadriel). Tolkien responds that based on his experience with scripts and 'story-line' he feels that "only an overwhelming financial reward could possibly compensate an author for the horrors of the conversion of such a tale into film." (Hammond and Scull, The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide - Chronology, p. 557).

Pre-2000 films

Rankin-Bass: Hobbit and Return of the King: Animated television movies

Ralph Bakshi: The Lord of the Rings Animated film, only the first part was produced

The Lord of the Rings films (2001-2003)

A huge amount of fandom activity is based on these films

The main web site: The One (TORn)

Before and during filming

Fan response to films

Continuing Fandom Activity

Pairings and Relationships

See: Category:Tolkien Relationships.

Fan Works

The Lord of the Rings has inspired a very large and creative fandom. LOTR creativity long predates the Internet, but many thousands of new fanworks, based on either the book or the films, can be found online.

Fan Art

Fanart includes:


The two broadest categories of fanfiction are FPF (fictional people fiction), about characters from the books and movies, and RPF (real people fiction), also known as LOTR RPS or Lotrips, stories written about the actors. Although some archives, communities, and challenges include both and some fans read and write both, many fans consider them to be separate fandoms.

Fanfiction Communities

These are some communities that encompass both RPF and FPF. See those pages for more community listings.


While the Lord of the Rings movie fandom is primarily an online fandom, it has seen a fair share of print fanzines along with a robust amount of Doujinshi. You can find listings under List of Lord of the Rings Fanzines as well as by clicking on the Category:Lord of the Rings Zines category and the LOTR Doujinshi Category.


Following the Peter Jackson films, making fanvids was a popular fan activity. Examples:

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Mailing Lists

See List of Lord of the Rings Mailing Lists.




Meta/Further Reading

See Also


  1. ^ Wikipedia:The Lord of The Rings
  2. ^ Quoted in Time Magazine, 2002-12-02
  3. ^ Letters of JRR Tolkien
  4. ^ Wikipedia:Tolkien fandom#1960s USA
  5. ^ Personal communication, 2008-10-12
  6. ^ Elvish Linguistic Fellowship
  7. ^ Ardalambion (Tolkien's invented languages), The Tolkien Language List
  8. ^ For example, see The Tolkien Ensemble and Johan de Meij's Symphony No. 1 "Lord of the Rings"
  9. ^
  10. ^ Works Inspired by JRR Tolkien - Music
  11. ^ Wikipedia:The Lord of the Rings (musical)
  12. ^ Wikipedia:Elfconners
  13. ^ a b The Fellowship of the Ring by Erik Davis, Wired, October 2001.
  14. ^ Announcement that RPF news will be included, March 27, 2008. (Accessed October 24, 2008.)