The Lord of the Rings/WMG

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The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG:

General in-universe WMG

The Elves going into the West are feeding Sauron's armies.

No, not literally, although that could well be the case. Mordor is a rather barren place, and the fishing in Nuln can't be great. But Tolkien explicitly states that the orcs were created out of "twisted" elves. We can presume then that there is a process by which elves can be transformed en masse into orcs via Sauron's power and likely torture as well, mentally breaking them down into savage beast, which is what they are physically reformed into. Now think about it - where is Sauron getting that many elves from? After Dagorlad, the Elvish corpses are still intact in the Dead Marshes. So logically, there is only one place they could be coming from. The Elves sail into the West ... go all the way around the world, where they hit the rear end of Mordor, are captured and turned into orcs. Not quite the sort of afterlife they were anticipating, but maybe elves can't actually reach the Blessed Isles after all.

The Tooks have elvish ancestry.

The Fallowhides are often described with traits, that, for hobbits, have an elfish bent to them (slight physical appearance, interest in music and hunting, and being overall more social with them) An "absurd" reference in The Hobbit is made to the saying that one of the Tooks must have taken a fairy wife, which explains why they're so odd. Interestingly, the Hobbit uses the word "Fairyland" to describe where elves are going (similar to how 'goblin' and 'orc' generally refer to the same creature.) suggesting fairy may be another word for elf. There's clear evidence humans and elves can have children, and hobbits are aware they're not that physically unrelated to Men, so it's certainly possible.

The Orcs created the idea for Sting and swords like it.

They told Sauron, and he used his influence with the elves to convince them of the design.

Think about it. The glow is not there to tell Orc enemies that the Orcs are there, but to help the Orcs find them wherever they're hiding. The glow helps them out, just like a lighthouse guides a ship.

  • Maybe orcs can't see the color blue?
  • Even if they can't see blue, they can see light. And there don't seem to be any other sorts of glowing swords.
  • Except the Elvish swords like that were made in Gondolin during the First Age.

Perhaps Maeglin made them when he betrayed Gondolin. After all, he was the son of Eol, a great elven smith.

Magic is nuclear.

Middle-earth is filled with uranium. This is why the subterranean races are either suffering from stunted growth (Dwarves) or hideously deformed (Orcs). Orcs are so radioactive that certain fluorescent materials will react to their presence, and are used in swords. Sauron and Saruman both detonate nuclear weaponry; Saruman in the explosion that destroyed the Deeping Wall, and Sauron as the Great Signal, the mushroom cloud from which leads to the Dawnless Day. The Crack of Doom is the swimming-pool reactor that powers Sauron's workshops, and dropping the highly radioactive Ring into it leads to a critical mass.

(Based on an SFX column by Dave Langford.)

  • This theory actually goes way back (at least by the Internet's standards), and it might even be true. Mithril sounds very similar to titanium; in the original Siege of Gondolin, the Balrogs attacked riding mechanical dragons with "fires in their bellies"; various texts mention the Numenoreans having ships that could sail into the wind and arrows that could fly over the horizon. Moreover, a technologically advanced First Age would fit with the theme of steady decline characteristic of the setting: the end of the Third Age really was an unsophisticated place, but their ancestors were far more advanced and more knowledgeable, as well as taller, stronger, longer-lived... Tolkien had zero fondness for technology as it existed in his day -- his views on early-20thC industry can be deduced from The Scouring of the Shire -- and his professional career was focused on the Voelkerwanderung of the Dark Ages; but Lewis had a penchant for science-fiction which quite possibly rubbed off on him.

Every orc death strengthens Melkor-Morgoth

An extension of the above, that the Orcs were created via Melkor-Morgoth spreading himself thin. Every time one was destroyed, that power would logically return to him. Given how many orcs were left when he was sealed into the void, it means that every time an orc was killed after that, he would have become closer to breaking the seal. Logically, this means that either he could break out any time now, or there's still a few orcs and miscellaneous fiends lying around keeping his power away from him.

  • This logically explains Melkor-Morgoth's We Have Reserves military policy. He was conserving resources. The more orcs died on the battlefield, the smoother his recycling capability -- allowing him to whip up the next batch.

Old Man Willow is one of the old ents from the time when the Old Forest was part of Fangorn.

Treebeard probably knew him by name. The source of his malice is the same that corrupted the Barrows: the evil of the Witch-king.

  • He's implied to be a Huorn: they're stated to be wilder and more dangerous and much more prone to taking vengeance on other races. It's easy to see a huorn without the moderating influence of an active Ent in the vicinity becoming like Old Man Willow.

The Entwives never left.

Trees, like all plants, are hermaphroditic, having both male and female reproductive parts. The entwives were not physical beings but the "female" persona of the ents. Over time and ages however, they were "lost" -- their feminine "mojo" was lost.

  • Not all plants are hermaphroditic, though your idea does have disturbing and funny implications.

The Entwives went to the Shire.

A hobbit mentions having seen a tree walking while on patrol there. And it is the sort of terrain (farmland) that they say they like in Treebeard's song.

  • And somebody, or something, besides Bombadil is influencing the trees of the Old Forest to leave the Shire and its inhabitants alone as long as the hobbits leave them alone. There's a lot of Huornishness, and even Entishness, to the Old Forest. Bombadil probably knows the score, but he won't tell on them.

The reason the Fellowship didn't ride the eagles into Mordor was Sauron's air force

In the Silmarilion and the Book of Lost Tales, it is written that Sauron taught the Numenoreans how to "sail against the currents and the wind", which presumably involved steam power. Ironclads and air ships are also mentioned. Now, as we all know, Numenor got destroyed by Eru. But, since Sauron taught them how to make the things, he would still have the ways to make these things in his head! In the appendix for the Lord of the Rings, it states that Aragorn sneaked into Mordor once disguised as someone else. While there, he must have stumbled upon one of Sauron's secret underground airship factories, where he was building a fleet of air ships to unleash on the world once he had completed enough of them. Sometime during the Council of Elrond (we probably didn't see all of it), someone mentioned the eagles, and Aragorn had to shoot the idea down.

  • So that's what the Numenorean "iron bows" were.
  • Or, more simply, Sauron had a lot more of those flying critters than the ones the Ringwraiths rode on, and they made Mordor's airspace unattackable until Sauron's fall. That's why Gandalf could ride one to save Frodo and Sam afterwards -- the creatures had fled in fear after Sauron fell.
  • Here's a simpler explanation: it wouldn't have worked because Sauron could control the air itself. See the Caradhras chapter.
  • It's implied that Caradhras itself is attacking the Fellowship, not Sauron, although nothing's definitely stated...
  • I thought the same thing as the above troper, the fell beasts would probably have eaten them or caught them and done something much, much worse.
  • Someone actually sent a letter to Tolkien asking why the Fellowship haven't flown to Mordor. He got so angry he draw the logo of the Mordor Air Defense and sent it in the reply. True story.

The Eagles refused to bring the Fellowship to Mordor.

After the clusterfuck that ended the Second Age, the Eagles were very wary of anything to do with that Ring, if it could corrupt the once-brave and noble Men. In their eyes, mankind had to prove that they were still capable of standing up to the darkness as in yesteryear, before they would do anything in return. Gandalf tried to convince them to help with the quest, but the Eagles refused once they learned the old wizard would be restoring the throne of Gondor in the process.

  • Alternately, they might have refused because they'd heard a prophecy that Eagles of the next Age would be reduced to non-sentient birds no bigger than a goose, and wanted to postpone the diminishment of their kind as long as possible. The Wargs could've heard a similar prophecy about wolf-kind's future, and sided with the bad guys in self-defense, to try to ensure that the Ring would never be destroyed and the Third Age continue forever.
  • Or they feared the corrupting influence of the ring could tempt an Eagle to fall from grace; The Hobbit explicitly states eagles are not predisposed to be kindly, and some are outright jerks.

The Witch-King is Aragon's ancestor.

The Witch-King was once a great king before becoming Sauron's servant. He is also of Numenorean descent. Aragorn is a descendant of Isildur, who himself is a descendant of the long line of Numenorean kings, this may include the Witch-King. Nothing else is known of the Witch-King, other than he was alive around the Second Age, while Aragorn was born in the Third Age. The Witch-King was one of the nine great kings of men who became wraiths, so he may have some family connection with Aragorn.

  • Not vertically. Aragorn descents through the Northern Dúnedain from the Númenorean Elendili; his paternal line (once broken by Silmarien) goes to the line of Kings up to Elros Tar-Minyatur. The Witch-king was not a insular Númenorean, but a Second-Age continental human, probably of colonial Númenorean descent. As such he can't be Aragorn's ancestor. Unless you want to propose that some southern Black Númenorean Witch-king descendant sneaked north and married into the Northern kingdom, and she or one of her descendants married one of the Kings of Arnor/Arthedain/Chieftains.
  • Maybe the Witch-King isn't his direct ancestor. They may still have some relations.

One of Aragorn's descendants screwed up big time

Middle-Earth is supposedly Europe tens of thousands of years ago. The cyclopean ruins dotting the continent that were ancient even in Homer's time and far beyond the tech level known in the era they were built are supposedly all that remains of the Third Age. But, as the above summary hints, something big happened, historically, that caused the technological level of mankind to plummet. By the time of Homer, the ruins of Arnor and Gondor were thought to have been built by giants, since they had no other idea how they could have been made. All knowledge of the era, despite the great libraries of Minas Tirith, was lost until Professor Tolkein found the Red Book of Westmarch and the Silmarillion, and translated them. The fact that humanity had such a major societal crash implies that the person in charge -- one of Aragorn's descendants -- failed to keep it together. Theories on what happened include these:

  • Civil War
  • Invasion by men out of the East
    • Given that Europe's current population, save the Basque people of northern Spain and southern France, are descended from invaders from the East (the Proto-Indo-Europeans), this idea has a ring of truth to it.
      • I partially support this. I would say that the Easterlings did invade, but only subjugated the Men of the West and forced them to speak our language. Especially in Western Gondor and west of the Misty Mountains. The reason I think this is the DNA evidence in the region. In Western Europe today, the vast majority of men still carry what in the LOT Rverse would be the Numenorean (Celtiberian) marker (R1b), as opposed to the Easterling (Indo-European) marker (R1a). If you want to find a majority R1a population, look in the Balkans/Black Sea region.
      • Appendixes state that Aragorn conquered the Easterlings and basically annihilated their culture (it was based on worshiping Sauron and Melkor, and both are "dead") and helped them revive an older one their evil overlords had suppressed. They wouldn't have been able to invade unless the empire had already crumbled, but a rebellion is possible.
      • Actually it says little more then that he had a lot more wars to fight which was to be expected(before modern weaponry made war to big a wager, it was a normal event for any ruler). It also says, I believe that "all were subdued". But it does not say that their culture was annihilated which would have required more ruthlessness then Aragorn possessed.
  • Rebellion
  • History repeating itself, with Gondor going the way of Numenor - in all respects.
  • Construction of technology beyond their means, which destroyed them
  • The escape of Melkor-Morgoth/Shai'tan
  • Whatever unexplained catastrophe rearranged the continent's geography
  • Stuff with things.

The idea hobbits aren't adventurous is a "modern" idea to discourage young hobbits.

An early reference to Gandalf in The Hobbit casually mentions him being responsible for hobbit boys and girls going off in the world to have adventures. Likewise, Hobbits were historically wanderers who later settled down, suggestion the "modern" hobbit is much like the modern-day human.

    • Pippin & Merry complain about hobbits being overlooked in "the old stories", and several races don't seem to recognize hobbits. However, they also joke that an elf is silly for not being able to tell the difference between a hobbit and a man, who claims "sheep may look different to other sheep". This suggests many races who didn't know about hobbits may simply have assumed they were a type of Men or even human children (which even hobbits grudgingly admit), in a similar way that Gandalf has been confused for an elf. Thus there might have been many adventurous "men" or young children who were actually hobbits, who never clarified the matter or were enlarged for the sake of a good story.

Gollum's death was suicide.

Gollum knew perfectly well that the Nazgul would be coming once Frodo put the Ring on in Mount Doom. He knew what would happen if Sauron got the Ring. He also knew that the Ring was the only thing keeping him alive, and in any case he wouldn't be able to destroy it in a million years. So he threw himself into the lava with it in his hands, thus keeping it for himself and destroying it at the same time.

Tom Bombadil is...

  • The One, aka Eru aka Ilúvatar. The Ring has no affect on him whatsoever, and in fact, he makes the Ring disappear briefly! When Frodo puts on the Ring, it is said he is putting one foot in the Wraith world and if he wears it too long, risks becoming a wraith. But the "wraith world" is not necessarily an evil place, for, because of the Ring, Frodo is able to see Glorfindel's "other side" the side that exists in the "wraith" or "spirit" world when Glorfindel goes all badass at the Ford of Bruinen. Tom does not disappear when he puts on the Ring, because the Ring has nowhere to pull him to, he already exists totally on "the other side" as the One. In a way, by making the Ring disappear, Tom is pulling the Ring all the way over to "the other side" with himself. Gandalf remarks at the Council of Elrond to the affect that it is notsomuch that Tom has power over the Ring as that the Ring has no power over him, which fits in with Tom as the One, since a creation cannot be higher than the Creator, but the One being a Creator that doesn't muck around with the free will of his creations (but doesn't mind extending a helping hand every now and again). Even Tom's habit of incessant singing fits this theory.
    • The whole idea was Jossed by Tolkien in 1954, as he has stated in his letters that The One has no incarnation in Middle-earth. This naturally depends on how heavily you accept the Word of God.
  • Aulë the Smith. Aulë is unique among the Valar in being fonder of life in Middle-earth than in Heaven, as the god of created objects he would naturally have power over the Ring, and he is romantically involved with an earth-mother goddess who is described in similar terms to Goldberry. Only he has the means, motive and opportunity.
    • A longish essay (on painful background, unfortunately) on this premise is here.
    • Oromë was like that too, and I could more easily imagine him as Bombadil than Aulë, whose fascination with created and non-living things just doesn't fit with Tom's close-to-nature lifestyle. Also, his nature as the "Eldest" being on Middle-earth would support this, as, if this troper remembers correctly, Oromë was the first of the Valar to set foot on Middle-earth and certainly the only one to remain there for any length of time.
      • Or he's one of the Maiar, since Gandalf seems to view him on equal terms, not as a servant would his master.
      • If he was a Maia, wouldn't he be seduced by the ring like his fellow Maiar? Gandalf refuses to even touch the ring because of the danger is poses to him, and Saruman eventually falls to that temptation. A Vala, on the other hand, would be above such petty bits of jewelry.
      • Not really. The Maiar would act in different ways. Maybe Tom has no reason to want to take the ring at all or maybe he might not have a sense of evil because in the book he is comical and does most of his mischief in a off-hand way. But all the others in the series show hints of evil in them (Except of course the Vala and Eru).
  • The Witch-king of Angmar. Explained here.
    • As strange as that theory is, it does look like it has textual backup.
    • But why didn't he just keep the ring after he made it disappear? Or when he almost didn't give it back?
    • The article brings up the quote, "They were... in no way deceived as to the real lordship of the Ring." Nazgul are some of the only creatures who know instinctively that they can't take the Ring's power for themselves. Thus they're the only ones Sauron trusts to bring the Ring back to him. Sauron perhaps didn't count on the fact that the Witch-King could disobey him and live a double life as Tom Bombadil, but the Witch-King is not under Sauron's direct control when Sauron doesn't have the Ring in his possession.
  • A construct, possibly created by Iluvatar and/or the Valar as a sort of corporeal gaming-avatar through which to vicariously observe and savor His creation as its natives do. The One Ring couldn't affect Tom, for the same reason it never turned the chain it was strung on invisible: it doesn't work on objects, only living creatures. This resolves the contradiction in which Treebeard is described as the oldest living thing to walk Middle-Earth, yet Tom has been around since the very beginning: Tom isn't a living thing.
  • Best theory this troper's seen yet: He is the Secret Fire incarnate. His having power over the Ring rules him out of being anything less than a Vala (Gandalf, elves and plenty of Men and dwarves are tempted by it, so he can't be any of those). He is "the Master of wood, water and hill" - which is three Valar's domains (Orome, Ulmo and Yavanna) - he beats them all. He is the "Eldest" who was in Middle-earth even "before the Dark Lord came from Outside" (Melkor was the first being to come to Ea after its creation, even before the Valar), and "if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall, Last as he was First" - conquer Middle-earth and you destroy the Fire keeping it alive. It makes sense of Goldberry saying "He is" in reply to "Who is he?" (which prompted a letter to Tolkien saying that sounded too much like "I am who I am", which in turn prompted the above 1954 letter denying that) - he isn't Eru per se, but the Fire "is with Ilúvatar" - and apparently the Secret Fire is the Holy Spirit [dead link], so he kind of both is and isn't Eru (per Tolkien's Catholic worldview). It's all there in the link.

Dragons were created from the corrupted bodies of Eagles.

Evil in Middle-Earth can't actually create anything; they can only change things. The brutish and hideous orcs come from the beautiful and wise elves; rocky trolls come from wooden ents; flaming, chaotic balrogs are suspected to come from shining, righteous Maiar. On the side of evil, this leaves the dragons: enormous, flying reptiles, of firey breath, shrewd tongues, and immense strength. On the side of good, this leaves the giant eagles: enormous birds of immense strength, wise tongues, and mysterious natures. Put two and two together.

  • Interesting theory, but it seemed to this Troper that when Melkor was making the dragons, he went through a series of prototypes, starting with a regular serpent, then evolving them to have fire and later wings, then causing evil spirits to possess them, until he had the finished product.
  • The first dragons were flightless, wingless reptiles possessed by evil spirits (fallen Maiar) so their bodies must have been bred from reptiles, possibly by making fallen Maiar take physical form to mate with them.

The Nazgul's flying steeds are the cursed forms of each one's old steed.

If you were a king in medieval times, particularly in a fantastical one, you had to have at least a favored steed. The Nine Kings, in life, each had their own steed, but once the Rings were bestowed upon them, a foul side-effect occurred. Not only did the kings dissolve into foul forms beyond death, so too did their steeds. As opposed to the Nazgul's transformation into cloaked phantoms, their steeds morphed into massive flying monsters. Over time, this form became their Game Face, and they can walk the Earth as horses for periods of time, but they're just as doomed as their masters.

Balrogs have wings... constructed from their shadows.

When "the shadow rose up like two great wings", the balrog's shadow was just constructing itself into a pair of capable wings. He was seriously raring to fly, but Gandal's epic moment broke his concentration, causing his wings to break apart.

Aragorn was trained in sword fighting in the same way as the ring wraiths while they were men.

Almost totally confirmed in the movies. Before attacking the Uruk-Hai near the end of the first one, Aragorn holds his sword up in front of his face almost exactly like the ring wraiths. Coincides with the above theory that Aragorn is related(however distantly) to the Witch King. If they were related, wouldn't their training be the same?

  • The ringswraiths might've been taught by elves, as Aragorn was.
    • The Ringwraiths would not have been elf-friends; Sauron wouldn't have entrusted the Nine Rings to them if they were, and four of them were from the easter lands where people traditionally didn't get along with elves. Also, the gesture described above is just the ordinary swordsman's salute which 'officially' opens the battle; just about everyone trained in swordsmanship with Western blades does it.

The Silmarillion is not accurate

At least, not in its earlier chapters. Its quite explicit that its just a translation of a historical document the Elves wrote. The thing is... how do they know about what happened before Cuivienen? Anything from before they woke up in The Silmarillion is just a mixture of Elvish mythology, rumor, exaggeration, and Valar Lies to Children. Its even possible that some of the early Cuivienen era stuff is not entirely accurate, given that they probably didn't learn how to read and write until decades after settling down in the Undying Lands, and what they did remember was inevitably colored by biases and personal perspectives or misconceptions.

Peoples of Middle-earth

Hobbits Became Humans Under the Influence of Entish Draughts

Merry and Pippin probably picked up a few recipes during their visits with Treebeard. These became popular, and led to a steady increase in the size of Hobbits. Eventually the younger and larger generations began interbreeding with Men, leading to the loss of their racial identity. The influence of Hobbit genes can still be seen in some modern Humans.

  • This theory comes directly from the Rankin-Bass animated Return of the King.
  • So I'm part hobbit? Sweet! :D
  • Jossed. Tolkien says that Hobbits are smaller now and they hide from us, meaning that they're still here but don't appear to humans.
    • Indeed, Tolkien gives the hobbits a rather depressing Downer Ending: at some point in the future of the books, they lost their homeland, once again becoming wandering vagabonds like their ancestors, but this time they lost their craft and skills, along with their history and became physically smaller, ending up as hunter-gatherers always on the move, avoiding the Big Folk in terror (which indicates that humans were responsible for the destruction of the Shire and the hobbits' further strife).

Hobbits are a cross between humans and bunnies.

I know this seems random, but think about it! They're small, cute and cuddly, they've got pointy ears and big, furry feet, they tend to eat a lot (and seem to have a very fast metabolism) and they live in holes in the ground!

Elves are six-fingered.

They count in base 12, and there doesn't seem to be any textual evidence to the contrary.

  • Remember that joke about how Tolkien could go on for pages about trees and not say the elves have pointy ears? Funnier now, isn't it?
  • With Tolkien, hard to tell. There are base-12 human cultures that count knuckles using the thumb. (Each finger that isn't a thumb has three knuckles, and there are four fingers that aren't thumbs; that adds up to twelve.)

The elves used to have pointy ears.

Orcs are a race of reanimated corpses.

This explains how they're Exclusively Evil, and why Sauron calls himself The Necromancer in The Hobbit.

  • Normal orcs are descended from reanimated elf corpses. Uruk-hai are Frankenstein Monsters, mixing elven and human corpses.
    • It's implied in The Two Towers that Uruk-Hai are Orcs cross-bred with Men.
      • In the novel version, there was a race of cross-breeds created by Saruman, but they were a separate race from the Urak-Hai created by Sauron. Some could pass for human, though most had obvious signs of mixed heritage.
  • This is supported by the fact that Tolkien got the name from the tale of Beowulf; in Old English, "orc-neas" means "devil-corpse" or "walking dead". Yes, they had zombies in Old English, too.
  • From the brief description in The Silmarillion it sounded like Orcs were created via the torture/mutilation/brainwashing/etc of living Elves. But this works, too. After all, torture and mutilation are known to kill...
    • That's certainly the case in The Silmarillion, which was gathered from J.R.R. Tolkien's notes by his son, Christopher; but the man himself was never entirely satisfied with the explanation, and was constantly trying alternatives, though it seems he never managed to find one that he liked.
  • There is some support for this in The Silmarillion that Christopher published, actually. It mentions how Melkor-Morgoth was greatly reduced because of how much of his evil power went out into his hordes of evil creatures. Maybe in the form of animating elf-corpses?

Hobbits were created by Eru himself, specifically to handle the One Ring.

Consider this: the origin of Hobbits is shrouded in time, they're explicitly said to possess a greater endurance against magical corruption (specifically, that of the One Ring) than any other creature, and besides all the events to do with the Ring, they factor very little in Middle-Earth's history, if they ever did. Also consider that, despite the gambits pulled off by the forces of darkness, Eru, by virtue of being Eru, would know that these things would happen, and would have some power to stop them. So, Eru, around the time the Men were waking up, created the Hobbits; or, Eru made the Hobbits very late in Middle-Earth's history, and retconned their world and history in. That way, once the fate of evil in the world finally rested on Sauron and his Ring, the Hobbits could dispose of it (which they do).

Middle-earth in time and space

The novel actually takes place in the future, on another planet.

In about 300+ years, scientists find a way to take an inhospitable planet and give it the ability to support life. One of the first planets colonized was dubbed "Middle Earth" due to it being not quite Earth, not quite anywhere else making it a middle ground, if you will.

Creatures like orcs and elves came about as the military's attempts at creating bio-weapons to aid in battle. Orcs were their first attempt, but failed miserably due to them being super-strong, but incredibly dumb and easy to kill. Elves came next, designed to just be better than humans at everything. This worked well at first, but unlike orcs, the elves had minds of their own, and didn't like being treated like property. This lead to a rebellion war which the elves naturally won.

And hobbits? More than likely they're the end result of an eccentric billionaire commissioning a genetic experiment splicing human DNA and rabbit DNA. See the above post.

  • "He was twitching 'cause he's got my axe EMBEDDED IN HIS NERVOUS SYSTEM!" Now how would Gimli have known that if the series took place in the past?
    • People have known about the nervous system for a very long time, though for most of it they haven't know exactly how it works. Nerves are not a new invention - there's a reason why "nervous" is is a term of everyday speech, rather than medical lingo. In any case, the general knowledge of physiology was greater in the Third Age of Middle-Earth than in any known historical period before the modern times.
  • Orcs came after elves, Middle Earth is not the name of the whole word (it's actually named Arda and Tolkien confirmed it's in earths "past".
  • The moon and stars are exactly the same as ours, with some constellations and even particular stars quite clearly identified. (Menelvagor = Orion; Earendil's Star = very explicitly Venus; etc.)
    • The red star seen low in the south by Frodo at Rivendell is Fomalhaut (which technically isn't red, but appears so in Northern latitudes because its light has to pass through so much of Earth's atmosphere at such a low angle).
  • I've theorized this too. There's a general theme of "losing technology" throughout the ages. In the First Age, there were ships made of "mithril and elven-glass" that could fly in the sky and through space (i.e. spaceships). A long time ago, the planet was colonized, but the population wasn't able to keep up its technological might and fell back into the Iron Age. All the magic that seems to remain around is the remnants of Sufficiently Advanced Technology that they no longer completely understand. Only how to use it.

The events of the Lord of the Rings took place during the interglacial period before the last ice-age, and the events of the Silmarillion occured during and after the preceding that ice-age.

The lower sea-level and extensive ice-caps during the ice-age created a land-bridge between North America (Valinor) and Middle Earth (Europe), allowing the second party of Noldor to cross the Grinding Ice after Fëanor abandoned them. The drowning of Númenor, the apparent removal of Valinor, and the changes wrought to the western coast of Middle Earth were nothing to do with divine punishment, but were simply the result of sea levels rising at the end of the ice age, and the absurd story about a flat earth becoming round is simply a myth that developed to explain the changes.

Similarly, many of the accounts of Morgoth's activities - raising up and throwing down mountains, the smoke and fire issuing forth from his underground forges, the shaking of the earth when they were at work, etc) are actually mythologised accounts of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes). The "War of Wrath" and the resulting destruction was either an exceptionally violent eruption and earthquake, or the result of a meteor impact (Earendil casting down Ancalagon the Black and destroying Thangorodrim).

The Fourth Age, the age of Man, began during the last interglacial, but all traces of its civilizations (and of course, the civilizations of the previous Ages) were lost when a new ice age (the most recent one) began. This was also responsible for the changes in geography between then and now.

  • Interestingly, placing the Fourth Age some time after the sinking of "Atlantis" (obviously a corrupted form of the Quenya name for Númenor, despite what Tolkien himself claimed) and before the last ice age places it in the same time frame as the Hyborean Age
    • So the Red Book of Westmarch and the chronicles of Conan represent different mythic traditions relating to the same era?

The Men of Middle-earth became the people of Europe.

The Northmen (relatives of the Houses of Beor and Malach, including the Rohirrim) became the Germanic (and Slavic?) peoples. The Dunlendings and other relatives of the House of Haleth became the Celts. The Dunedain of Gondor became the Greeks and Romans.

  • Don't forget the Easterlings, or, as we know them, the Indo-Europeans, whose invasions and conquering did destroy pre-existing cultures and civilizations (save for the Basque).
    • Eh? FYI, Indo-Europeans include the Germanic, Celtic, Slavic, Italic, Greek.
      • Exactly. Nearly all the people of modern Europe save for few oddities like the Basque and the Finno-Ugrians are of the Indo-European stock, meaning that most of us descend from conquerors who took over the lands thousands of years ago. Nothing is left culturally of the nations which preceded them. Yes, our ancestors destroyed the countries of Middle-Earth in Tolkien's mythology.

The Blue Wizards are responsible for the creation of Judaism and Zoroastrianism

As the above guess mentions, Lord of the Rings is supposed to have happened far back in our own history. In Unfinished Talesof Numenor and Middleearth, Christopher Tolkein mentions that his father had written in a letter that, most likely, the Blue Wizards had gone into the east to do missionary work (and, implicitly, kept doing so even after the last ships had set said for the True West). Being immortal, they might have been at this for quite some time trying to spread the word of Eru. That word got corrupted by word of mouth a fair bit along the way.

  • It's also possible that they are responsible for several polytheistic religions as a result of attempting to spread word of the Ainur. Which ones is anybody's guess, as the idea of pantheon isn't as distinctive and recognizable.
  • Think on this: they were essentially immortal, there is no record of them ever going home, and there is no record of their deaths. Unlike elves, they would keep their immortality in the changed world. They might still be around somewhere.
  • Sort of jossed in that Dwaves are symbolic of the Jews. Not the greed part, but that they awoke before the elves and have their 'thing' with Aule ala Old Testament.
    • Nitpick: The Dwarves were only allowed to wake after the Elves (they're not called the Firstborn for no reason), and the Elves had also been thought out before. So wether you count the invention or the actual appearance, Elves come first both times.

The extensive and somewhat contradictory mythology that is Middle-Earth belonged to an actual people.

About 1000 years ago, a wayward group of Britons, cast out from their homeland by some force or another, traveled to the mysterious fjords of Scandinavia (possibly southernmost Norway). Hearing tales of mighty Norsemen and lessons of the Christ-Jesus, these Britons began to cultivate their own mythology, blending these outside elements with their native British myths. They were spread thin, but kept a respectable territory, from their original landing-spot in the Norse lands down to Denmark and northernmost Germany. These people, now calling themselves "Gondorins", after their "lost" kingdom, told wild tales of the hosts of men and elves and mighty spirits battling numerous forces of evil (whose demographics changed with location). In turn, they helped to influence both Norse mythology and ancient Christianity; from them came the idea that Dwarves were a separate race from Elves, and from them came the idea that the forces of Heaven and Hell fought or once fought. Sadly, they have vanished from the Earth, and no one claims to come from their stock. However, thanks to the efforts of historian J.R.R. Tolkien, and the remarkable preservation of the Red Book of Westmarch, the Gondorins live on.

The war against Morgoth in the First Age was the most recent Ice Age

J.R.R. Tolkien stated in one of his letters that the Third Age ended about 6,000 years ago, and the Middle-Earth calendars show that the First Age had ended about 6,000 years before the end of the Third Age. The most reent Ice Age ended 11,700 years ago. The Last Glacial Maximum was the time when Morgoth held sway over Middle-Earth. When the Valar captured him, things started to thaw out, causing the Bølling-Allerød interstadial. When he darkened Valinor and returned, he brought a sudden cold snap, which was the Younger Dryas period. Angband was surrounded by icy mountains = glaciers, and a cold north wind blew steadily south from the area, just as high pressure over continental glaciers causes wind to blow out from their edges steadily. With his defeat, the current interglacial began. Even by 6,000 years ago the sea hadn't yet finished rising, and the isostatic rebound of the continents hadn't finished, which is how the land and coasts changed after the end of the Third Age (unless there was another catastrophe, related to the collapse of the Third Age civilizations when Aragorn's descendant screwed up, as above).

We even have the Druedain (Drughu, Pukel-men, Woodwoses) aka the Neanderthals. Obviously they survived the end of the Ice Age in small numbers, but even the fossil record of their extinction can be explained: after the First Age, the few surviving Druedain joined the Numenoreans. Later they abandoned Numenor and returned to Middle-Earth, long before it's fall, because they didn't like the direction things were going. Thus they disappear from Middle-Earth and the fossil record. Since their surviving numbers were so small, when they returned to Middle-Earth, they came back in such small numbers that they don't show up in archaeology. And by the end of the Third Age they were clearly nearly extinct.

LotR is propaganda

Original manuscript is pro-Gandalf propaganda. It was all a conspiracy to control the flow of pipeweed.

See also David Brin's historical revisionist argument below, claiming a royalist succession plot.

It was all a conspiracy to control the flow of pipeweed coming out of Shire. Gandalf, who is widely acknowledged to be the Chessmaster in the series, managed to convince everyone the Ring was a "weapon of mass destruction", and propped up Frodo as a sort of Waif Prophet, when in fact the Ring was a minor artifact or hoax. It explains everything - non-magically.

The premise of the Quest and the justification of the military manouevers needed to support it was all Based on a Great Big Lie - that Gandalf made to Frodo in Bag End. Much like the Children's Crusade to return a piece of the True Cross to Bethlehem, the notion of the One True Ring had great appeal to peasants, who believed in the legends of the Elves and the myth of the Great Rings, and Gandalf used this as a smokescreen for large-scale regime change.

As noted in the book, Gandalf used a mix of blackmail, rhetoric and magic tricks right out of The Man Who Would Be King in order to establish his friend Aragorn's claim to the Gondorian throne, enlisted a foreign Rohanian force to impose him on the Gondorian people, and "a coalition of the willing" to wage war against the (admittedly poorly governed) kingdoms of the south and east.

All of this can be traced back to Saruman, the real hero of the story, whose efforts to modernize the production of pipeweed and bring Middle-Earth into the 31st century were thwarted by Magnificent Bastard Gandalf, who wanted right-wing Dúnedain militia to have a monopoly on the means of production for Middle-earth's most valuable resource (note the hints throughout the story about pipeweed's importance) -- in order to fund their constant guerrilla campaigns elsewhere. A rigorous Straussian or Marxian analysis can thus demonstrate that, much like the Trojan War, it was all a fight over resources.

Desperate, Saruman sought a protective alliance with the dictator Sauron in hopes of building a modernist coalition to counter the agression and imperialism of the aristocrats and their claim of being "Ringbearers"; unfortunately, petty landowners refused to embrace land reform, and the Shire's resources continued to be exploited by tribal Hobbit chiefs who spent no money on the betterment of infrastructure. Sauron sent in nine "observers" to check the power of the brutal Ranger militias, who were financing themselves on the black-market with the export of pipeweed crop, kicking off the excuse for Gandalf's elaborate psy-ops mission to claim that "a Weapon of the Enemy has been found".

Unfortunately, history is written by the victors, and Aragorn commissioned The Lord of the Rings to be written from the perspective of the Hobbits, to re-interpret the historical record and create an extensive hagiography for Gandalf. (In reality, it was compiled in Minas Tirith, at least 60 years after the Hobbits are said to have lived.)

All the (non-miraculous) facts in the book are mostly true, (Gondor's scholars were unable to cover up events) but put a pro-Gondor spin on everything and created a whole overlay of miracles and magic to justify the notion that Sauron's Ring, an entirely legendary object equivalent to the Holy Grail, had been found in a hobbit hole (!) and that only Frodo, a minor local mystic who believed in elves, could return it to Gondor's rightful fiefdom of Mordor (which had, not un-coincidentally, been recently lost to the infidels) and provide salvation -- not hard work, technological betterment, or resistance against the Numenorean invaders!

It was really all about cornering the market in poppy pipeweed trade and preventing Saruman from obtaining access to Western goods, and to punish him for seeking a defensive alliance with Sauron, under the theory of containment.

He who controls the pipeweed controls the economy (the mechanism of addiction was not widely known in ancient times) and was capable of using their economic influence to oppress the non-Numenoreans and keep Middle Earth locked in permanent Medieval Stasis.

Sauron tried to prove he had no such weapons, and that the Ring was purely myth and legend, and Frodo's ring a mere trinket -- a Red Herring whose only useful ability was invisibility and to cause health and mental problems for the wearer.

However, Sauron's hands were tied since he himself had promoted the notion that he was a God-King, and had the orcs known he did not in fact posess such magical weapons, he would have been quickly overthrown. In back-channel negotiations, Sauron's sympathizers and peace activists pointed out that the notion of a ring with the Informed Ability to create military victories and "cover the land in the shadow" of the wearer was inherently ridiculous, and that Gandalf was engaging in a fear-mongering campaign talking about "the all-seeing eye of the enemy" and "a Nazgul under every bed". But a volcanic eruption, no doubt engineered with high explosives, destroyed the evidence.

  • Not sure where the Elves fit in this historical analysis. It is clear they were either entirely mythical figures introduced into the story to legitimize our heroes, or offscreen historical figures elevated to the status of immortals, or perhaps they were an actual aboriginal tribe of Magical Native Americans who had been the subject of various claims and superstitions after being brutally displaced by human incursion on their hunter-gatherer way of life.

The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King is pro-royalty propaganda.

It was written to justify a coup by the exiled royal house of Gondor and a war against the so-called lesser races like orcs and Easterners. In reality, Mordor was trying to help Gondor defend itself from Rohan and Aragorn. Aragorn hired hobbit mercenaries to sneak a nuclear bomb into Mordor, and the resulting explosion killed millions, including the noble Sauron.

  • David Brin [dead link] agrees.
    • A better theory is that David Brin makes up everything he says in his essays. In reality, he loves LOTR, but he's jealous that he didn't come up with the idea.
      • A still better theory is that Brin is a LOTR fan but also a still-stronger fan of the Enlightenment, and this is his psyche's way of reconciling his fandom with his sociopolitical convictions.

Mordor was merely a political rival to Gondor and Rohan, LOTR is a propoganda piece justifying Sauron's assasination and the genocide of the Orc nation.

  • And subsequent annexing of all that fertile volcanic soil (further enriched by the blood and corpses of innocent She-Orcs, whelps and hospital inmates/old folks). Much of the narrative was completely made up, and the Orcs were mostly quite decent folk. Except Krishnak, whom really was summarily executed for mistreating a P.O.W.

Sauron, seeing the West gearing up to screw him over and destroy his ring, sent his CIA-equivallent to get it back. When that failed, he sent small diplomatic envoies to Rohan and Gondor, both of which were, to a man, killed, gift-wrapped, and sent back to him, an open declaration of war. A small scout group of Orcs, finding a pair of people matching the description of the last guy with the ring were found and brought in for questioning. Krishnak was being a dick to one of them, and the squad leader had him decapitated. This scout group was, again, slaughtered. Rohan under seige? Pure fiction. Helm's Deep was bombed by Theoden himself to justify him sending calvary to help with Gondor's seige of Mordor. Saruman had very little to do with it, but as Isengard housed a small Mordor outpost, he got the finger pointed at him.

Melkor, Sauron and Witch-king were all noble if tragic heroes attempting to protect Middle-earth from insanity of the Valar.

See Michael Aquino's Morlindale for details. Among other things, orcs had bad tempers because they had been abused and slaughtered by the elves for thousands of years.

  • That tends to happen when you live with them, since they like to kill and destroy. Also, since they're like this way because of the Dark Lords....
    • In the mythology of Morlindalë much of this is Elvish propaganda; in this work the orcs were a shadow of the elves, formed to retain a natural balance that the elves in their immortality and superhuman abilities broke (Ungoliant's misery was likewise caused by the creation of the Two Trees). Orcs were mostly just miserable and wretched creatures who were hunted by the elves for no reason, other than hate they themselves couldn't explain, which was due to this connection, and this situation persisted until Melkor came along and taught the orcs how to fight back.

Lord of the rings was propaganda BUT Sauron and Saruman were still no heroes. Winners write history both sides had valid points and bad points but really it was just an imperialist war between two opposing factions ( Gondor wanted to cultivate the volcanic soil in Mordor and Mordor wanted acces to pipeweed in the shire.

Adaptations of The Lord of the Rings: In-universe WMG:

In-universe WMG: Peter Jackson's films

The Movies are based on a newer but still equally valid version of The Red Book of Westmarch

Bilbo is explicitly named unreliable narrator for misrepresenting his encounter with Gollum in his memoires. He also councils Frodo to leave stuff out of stories that might be disliked by his audience and that he would have liked to gone over notes with him. Bilbo would have no trouble with a "souped-up" version of the story if he thought it would please an audience. In the original story, Frodo and Sam are mentioned to be reluctant to change anything Bilbo wrote, but your average hobbit (who Sam specifically points out don't ever find out much about what happened) probably wouldn't mind revisions after a few generations.

  • Similarly, Tolkein's forward in the book shows his support for applicability. As someone who actually got to have early ideas of a filmed production of his book shown to him, presumably he would not sensible mind changes for concepts no long popular or relevant (e.g., the emphasis on mystic kingship de-emphasized, Sam and Frodo's relationship being less classist and more as initial equals)

Grima murdered Theodred.

Sure, Theodred was severely wounded in battle and maybe he would have died anyway. But when he lived long enough to be brought home, Grima decided to make sure he wouldn't make it. In the scene where he finds Eowyn mourning over Theodred's body, he really doesn't sound surprised he's dead. Tolkein letters even make reference to Grima's work with "subtle poisons", perhaps how he earned the nickname Wyrmtongue in the first place.

Gothmog recieved his massive swelling from a fight with Shelob.

Judging by their staff, Sauron's corps would never let a deformed-from-birth Orc so much as march in an army, let alone lead one, so Gothmog must have recieved that massive deformity prior to his induction in the Dark Army.

Before his becoming a lieutenant, Gothmog was confined to simple sentry duty atop Cirith Ungol, keeping the many unruly orcs in line. One day, however, Gothmog caught some loathsome little snaga teasing Shelob in her lair. She attacks, but Gothmog steps in. Fending Her Ladyship off, Gothmog walks away with only a tiny nick from the Giant Spider's fangs. Unfortunately, he has an adverse reaction to spider venom, and so grows puffy.

Unicorns exist within the film-verse.

During the raid on Minas Tirith, the forces of darkness eventually bring out Grond, an enormous wolf-headed battering ram. From the back, it's pushed by a gaggle of trolls (like most large wheeled evil structures), but from the front, it's pulled by two enormous, one-horned, rhinoceros-like creatures. They're never identified by any name, didn't appear before, and never appear again.

A variety of ancient unicorn, called the "Monoceros", resembles these creatures; "[it] has the head of a stag, the feet of the elephant, and the tail of the boar, while the rest of the body is like that of the horse; it makes a deep lowing noise, and has a single black horn, which projects from the middle of its forehead, two cubits in length". Naturally, unicorns as we know them are not the size of elephants, nor are on the side of darkness, but it wouldn't be the first time a familiar beast was re-interpreted through inclusion into Tolkien's mythos.

The moth was Radagast

In the film canon, Radagast dies at some point before Gandalf's imprisonment in Isengard. Instead of leveling up like Gandalf does, the brown wizard opts to return as a moth. In that form, he is able to carry messages to the eagles and is indirectly responsible for saving Gandalf from Isengard and Sam and Frodo from Mount Doom. That possibility would explain why Radagast never appears in the The Lord of the Rings films, but is a character in The Hobbit movie.

Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG:

Cross-universe and Out-of-universe WMG

Tolkien came up with two big plot points because he was annoyed by the prophecy twists in Macbeth

I have no idea if this is confirmed by Word of God, but it seems too perfect to be a complete coincidence. Anyways, as a schoolboy, little Johnny Tolkien once had to read William Shakespeare's Macbeth for his English class. He liked the story for the most part, but one part of it always rubbed him the wrong way: the part in Act IV where the witches tell Macbeth the prophecies about how he'll be defeated. He expected two awesome plot twists, but got two lame cop-outs instead.

There's the first one: "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him". "Cool!" Johnny Tolkien thought to himself. "An evil king who gets defeated by an army of Badass walking trees? What a perfect ending!" He was dismayed, though, when he found out that the prophecy actually meant: "Macbeth will be vanquished when Macduff's soldiers hold up a bunch of tree limbs and make it look vaguely like the forest is moving". So he vowed that when he wrote his own story, he would include actual marching trees. Hence, he gave us the Ents, who defeat Saruman by marching against Isengard.

Or there's the other one: "No man of woman born can harm Macbeth". Johnny Tolkien expected a cool Prophecy Twist from that one, but was dismayed when the twist turned out to be: "Macduff was born by c-section...which technically doesn't count as being born from a woman". "That's your idea of a cool plot twist?" he thought. "Wouldn't it have made more sense if a woman had bypassed the prophecy and killed him instead?" Hence, he gave us the Witch King's death at Eowyn's hands. He's protected by a prophecy saying "No mortal man can kill him", so he gets killed by a woman. It made more sense, and it felt cathartic.

  • Confirmed by Word of God, somewhere. Tolkien was annoyed by the weak outcome of those prophecies.

The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia take place in the same continuity

According to Tolkien, Eru Ilúvatar the creator of the entire Middle-Earthverse is the actual Judeo-Christian God, and according to C.S. Lewis Aslan is suppose to be Jesus Christ, and if The Emperor-Over-the-Sea is Aslan's father, than He is the same person as Eru Ilúvatar which technically puts both series in the same continuity.

  • Aslan is an allegory to Jesus, he is not supposed to be the same character the way Eru is. That said, the Wood Between the Worlds means you can link them (and many other settings) together with no issues.

Tolkien was a tabletop fantasy/adventure game fanatic time traveller

Seriously... Tolkien travels back in time Terminator-style, because that's possible where and when he is from, to see the birth of his obsession, only to find that it hasn't been invented yet. So he writes The Hobbit to keep himself busy. When he realises how easy it is to exploit the market, he uses all those old clichéd concepts thrown out by his contemporaries; thus was born the Lord of the Rings. He even based the concept on an RP he had played himself.

  • It doesn't have to be Terminator-style, does it? A Time Portal would seem more Tolkien's style.
  • This theory is supported by Middle Earth itself, time stands still and people from Isildur's reign wear exactly the same pseudo-medieval clothes seen during the War of the Ring, 3000 years later. And they still use swords and axes? It's obviously a universe inspired by Golden Axe.

The Movie is an MMO being played on The Matrix.

Most of the main cast play it in character (except during a few battle sequences where Legolas' player couldn't help showing off just a little). Agent Smith (who plays Elrond) plays it his days off, so he doesn't care for things like "method acting".

Saruman is possessed by Starscream

It explains everything.

Tom Bombadil is from Wonderland.

He just plain doesn't fit in Middle-earth; he's much more "fairy-tale" than anything else that exists, with magical powers and implied incredible age despite being apparently human. His bit of the story is a cheerful diversion from the main plot, and almost seems to belong to another tale altogether.

  • Alternatively, he's from Oz.
    • He's the Shaggy Man. Remember when the Shaggy Man rescued Ojo from the man-eating plant? He whistled a tune, and the plant let Ojo loose.
  • Tom Bombadil is Santa Claus, and Sauron is the Grinch. Tom, who of course is really the spirit of Middle-earth incarnate, switched rings on Frodo, claiming the Ring for himself. At the proper moment, he used the Ring to throw down Sauron, reducing him to powerlessness. Over the long centuries that followed, the Ring darkened his heart until he became Santa Claus, lord of greed, bringer of strife. It's all explained here.
    • Or maybe he was just hanging around Middle-earth during that hundred-year-or-so period when he was kept out of Narnia by the White Witch.
  • Tom Bombadil is Thomas Covenant. He's just enjoying a holiday after his fairly harrowing adventures in a foreign land. What, the name wasn't a hint?
  • Tom Bombadil is the Green Man from folklore, the manifestation of the British/Shire countryside. At least metaphorically.
  • Tom Bombadil represents the reader. You are Tom Bombadil. He can see Frodo when he's wearing the ring, which has no power over him and Elrond says a world ruled by Sauron would have no interest for him but he could not take the ring himself.
    • Alternatively, Tom is Tolkien himself. There's never been a more obvious author proxy. His immunity to the story's internal logic also makes him a Mary Sue.
  • Isn't anyone going to say he's a Time Lord?
    • He's actually an incarnation of Suzumiya Haruhi, when she was going through an obsession with medieval fantasy.
      • Alternatively, since he's male, he's an incarnation of Kyon, because everyone knows He's the power behind the power.
  • Clearly Tom is actually a Refugee From Discworld. You know it's true.
    • Clearly a wizard, most likely Ridcully in his more cheerful moment or the Dean after getting drunk enough to not mind being stuck in a forest. Someone must have made a new Roundworld with a different backstory, or changed the backstory of the original from before that business with the crabs.
    • Maligree?
  • Alternatively, Tom Bombadil is Ash's dad.
  • Silly tropers, everyone knows that Tom Bombadil is Voldemort!
    • Tom Bombadil is also Satan.
  • Tom Bombadil is Jesus, Tom shows many signs of being Eru aka God, in fact the only reason Tom can't be Eru specifically is that Tolkien himself said that Eru has no physical incarnation on Middle-Earth, however all of the reasons for Tom being Eru work just as well as him being Jesus without the Word of God denying it.
  • Tom Bombadil is a Jedi - or more specifically, the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker as played by Sebastian Shaw (1983 original release) instead of the 2004 DVD release which had him replaced with Hayden Christensen. Think about it.
  • It's darker than you think.

Every theory that's a Perspective Flip of LotR was influenced by Sauron himself.

In his modern incarnation as Uwe Boll, no less. Remember, Sauron, like Uwe, can never truly create, only copy and corrupt.

  • Alternatively, they're just jealous they didn't come up with the LOTR first.
    • Tying this into the second amendment to the next theory, this means that David Brin is actually Sauron.
      • Which, incidentally, says absolutely nothing about the validity of his arguments.
  • This explains why in a suppressed 2010 interview, Boll said that he passed time between projects "reforging the Nine." In possibly related developments:
    • Since last year, Seltzer and Friedberg have sported suspicious-looking "class rings."
    • Computer enhancement of Boll's interview photo reveals a suspicious looking pair of "beading projects," apparently marked with the Tengwar for "Mc G" and "P.W.S.And."

Middle-earth and Narnia are on the same continent

The former is a Left-Justified Fantasy Map, the latter is one of the few subversions, they both sort of fade into nothingness on the inland sides, and the creators knew each other. It's quite possible Tolkien and Lewis mapped a continent and tore it in half on a north-to-south axis.

  • Jossed by a statement referenced in one of the Tom Bombadil theories- "he has stated in his letters that The One has no incarnation in Middle-earth", a statement which I apply here to Aslan.
    • Not quite. Having no incarnation in Middle-Earth is not the same thing as having no incarnation on Arda.
  • Narnia is explicitly (as per The Magician's Nephew) located in an alternate universe from Earth's. Middle-earth, on the other hand, is Earth many thousands of years ago. Also note that Middle-earth (Endor) is the name of the whole continent, not just the western bit we see on most maps.
  • When you flip a map of Middle Earth over and upside-down, then compare it to a map of Narnia, you'll see Ettinsmoor and Mordor are in the same area, the top-right. And both are barren, featureless plains, surrounded by a perfectly square range of mountains. A massive polar shift, caused by the cataclysmic events at the end of Tolkein's world, moved the points of the compass around to form Narnia as we know it!
    • It needn't be so dramatic. Which direction is "up" on a compass is a cultural thing, for instance when the Chinese invented it they used South as "up" on their maps.
    • It is entirely possible that they occupy two different areas on the same mega continent. Ettinsmoor and Mordor are simply the place in which they intersect. This would leave a sizable gap between the two areas. A gap that could accommodate The main/Land of Oz and its associated areas quite nicely.

Sauron runs the British government.

The Shire got paved over by the British government when they built the gigantic ring freeway around metropolitan London. The men in bulldozers never realized they were causing a hobbit holocaust by leveling the little hobbit hills. Tiny hobbit skeletons form the underlay of the highway. Sauron finally had his revenge, and then he caused the British to build the Millennium Dome.

  • I find the phrase "tiny hobbit skeletons" hugely funny, and it disturbs me immensely.

Middle-earth is just Shanarra in another few hundred thousand years.

spoiler: Compare Shanarra and Earth. Fast-forward a bit and see what happens. The four wizards are just a group of people who found the place with the Sword and the Druid knowledge.

The video game Lord of the Rings: Conquest is translated from an old Gondorian war epic

Anyone who has played the good campaign in that game knows that it plays merry hell with the continuity. There is a very good reason for that. While The Lord of the Rings was translated from the Red Book of Westmarch, the game was based on an old epic poem written hundreds of years after the War of the Ring. The poem exaggerated many aspects of the war, adding additional heroics to the Men of the West (such as an attack on Minas Morgul and the battle in Moria). Apparently, one of the holders of the Red Book got ahold of a copy of the poem, and it has been held by the Tolkien Estate for the last few decades. They licensed the poem to EA and Pandemic, who made a game out of it.

Balin was a Zionist; Moria is Eretz Israel; the Balrog is the Arabs

Moria/Khazad-Dum was the lost homeland of the Dwarves, who are well-established to be counterparts to the Jews. Balin goes back to try and reestablish their great kingdom, but just as he's getting started, the power that occupied the land destroys the project. This is what a lot of observers (including David Ben-Gurion, in his darker moments) thought would happen if a Jewish state were established: the Arabs would march in and end the project forever. Especially considering that Tolkien was writing before 1948, it's not too much of a stretch to say that the fate of the recolonized Khazad-Dum is what he was afraid would be the fate of the Zionists. Since Tolkien was at least somewhat sympathetic to the Zionist project, it's not too much of a stretch.

    • The Balrog awoke from eons-long slumber after the dwarves dug too deep into the mountain. Where does that fit?
      • That would be the Romans causing the Diaspora. I didn't say it a perfect analogy.

The film Willow takes place late into the Fourth Age.

By the time of the events of the movie the Dwarves and Elves have very nearly or entirely vanished and Aragon's kingdom has long since shattered into various small warring kingdoms like Nockmaar and Galadorn. The Nelwyns are the descendants of the Hobbits.

The Ring was never entirely destroyed.

Somewhere between the time of Isildur being killed and Smeagol finding The Ring, it eroded in the water until a tiny chip of it was broken off. This fragment of gold was still imbued with the power of the Ring, making people desire it. At one point this chip was lodged in an oyster, and layed dormant for thousands of years, creating a gigantic pearl. Then, millions of years after Frodo destroyed the Ring and Sauron, a poor diver named Kino discovers the pearl created from the Ring-chip, thus bringing about the event's of John Steinbeck's The Pearl.

The Nazgul are refugees from the world of Narnia.

"Nazgul" is a reasonably common Kyrgyz woman's name. Middle-Earth names don't tend to be taken from Central Asian languages; Narnian names, on the other hand, do (Aslan, Tash, Caspian, and so on). Obviously the Nazgul came from Narnia at some point, and brought their collective name with them.

Tolkien meant for the series to work without magic, possibly as a slight counterpart culture to our world.

Frodo could be bearing a crucial part of a nuclear weapon that had a sporadically functional tracking device instead of a ring, Elves would be snipers from a more developed country with better technology and more access to vaccines etc. to allow them longer lives. Dwarves could be a mining people with more advanced technology than the men of Gondor, but less than that of the Elves. Hobbits are nomads that settles in Gondor territory a long time ago, but are not seen as integrated into the culture, and are also seen slightly as hillbillies. Pipe weed is pot. Sauron has invented nuclear weaponry, and possibly cloning/genetic modification (orcs). The enormous eagles and winged mounts of the Nazgul are early airplanes.

Sauron is Sonic the Hedgehog

Sauron is considered unkillable as long as The One Ring exists. And as any Sonic player will tell you, Sonic also cannot be killed so long as he has at least one ring.

Sauron eventually became Dark Matter.

Sure, he ended up being utterly destroyed at the end of the Third Age, but even death may die, through strange eons. Millions of years after the War of the Ring, Sauron reconstitutes himself into a new form. He lacks his former armies, and Mordor fell to the wayside epochs ago, but his Mind Control and ability to raise up a few minions were retained, along with a few new powers.

Gandalf is The Doctor.

It's no co-incidence that part of his Elvish name basically means "traveller".

After the business with the War Games, the High Council of Time Lords originally marooned the Doctor on Middle-earth, reasoning that there'd be less chance of him breaking his parole if they stranded him somewhere without much in the way of technology. They reckoned without him bumping into a bunch of Sufficiently Advanced Valar and setting himself up as a 'wizard'. Then the Doctor being the Doctor, he just had to go and get involved.

When Gandalf was introduced in The Hobbit, he was a slightly tatty, gregarious (yet still intense at times) vagabond, but following his near-fatal battle with the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings, he showed up as a white-haired, no-nonsense patrician with a more refined taste in clothes.

After the War of the Ring, he saw Bilbo and Frodo safely to the Undying Lands, then "borrowed" the Silmaril that the Valar had placed as a star in the night sky (they'd actually just launched it into a geosynchronous orbit), and used its power to jump-start his TARDIS.

He shaved and put his second incarnation's clothes back on before he left Middle-earth, reasoning that, knowing his luck, he'd probably wind up on 20th century Earth, and whoever found him probably wouldn't be comfortable wandering around the woods with a heavily-bearded man wearing what was essentially a big white dress.

(A few hundred years later, he finally realised that he needed to return the Silmaril in time for the Dagor Dagorath, so he popped back to Middle-earth in his Seventh incarnation, this time posing as his own, slightly clownish 'cousin', who was apparently a dab hand at bird calls...)

River Song : "I hate good wizards in stories. They always turn out to be him."

The whole thing is an ancient tale inspired by a turf war between medieval wizards, and the search for a Horcrux.

Each part of the story is merely a "translation" of the conflict, its characters, and its events into terms tribal Muggles could understand.

  • Sauron was a powerful Dark wizard, and the One Ring (naturally) was his Horcrux.
  • Gandalf and his brethren were mighty wizard lords, wishing to crush the threat of Sauron before he overtook the world.
  • Elves were the wizards of the old Germanic lands, isolated from Muggles who would wish to harm them.
  • Dwarves could have been goblins, and hobbits could have been wild house-elves (or some wild variety of elf, now gone).
  • When the "Elves" left for Valinor, the wizarding peoples were emigrating to Britain, where they could live more peacefully.