[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/JRRTolkien.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300: He's a smiling Oxford don [[GoodSmokingEvilSmoking with a pipe]]. How can you ''not'' like and trust him?]]

->''"How, given little over half a century of work, did one man become the creative equivalent of a people?"''
-->-- '''The Guardian''', concerning ''Literature/TheSilmarillion''

'''John Ronald [[OddNameOut Reuel]] Tolkien''' (1892-1973). English linguist (born in Bloemfontein, South Africa), university professor (Leeds and Oxford), Anglo-Saxon historian, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_British_Empire CBE]], and writer. The man who brought HighFantasy (and, it could be argued, literary SpeculativeFiction as a whole) to the modern public. His most famous complete works are his tales of "Middle-earth": ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' and its prefatory novel, ''Literature/TheHobbit''. A later work, ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', was published in 1977, shortly after he died. In 2007, a fourth book about Middle-earth was edited from many manuscripts to form a consistent narrative, and published as ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin''.

Tolkien was a [[CunningLinguist polyglot]] who spoke well over a dozen languages and had some comprehension of up to forty. He even [[{{Conlang}} made up a few of his own.]] Let's just say there aren't many authors who kept interfering with the foreign translations of their books (correctly, see for instance the article on translator Creator/AkeOhlmarks) to point out how the translators aren't translating things properly into ''their native languages''...

'''[[Franchise/TolkiensLegendarium Tolkien's Legendarium]]'''

The collective term for all the stories about the world of Middle-earth (not actually the world's name, but the name of a super-continent in a world generally referred to as "Arda" by the peoples therein; it is used here for convenience's sake, being the name far better known to the general reader).

The earliest drafts of the great stories of the legendarium were written around the time of [[WorldWarOne World War I]], and continued to grow from there on. Tolkien worked on the legendarium for most of his life, continually exploring it further, developing and changing it again and again.

The first book published, ''The Hobbit'', actually wasn't intended as part of the legendarium, only to borrow some material. When Tolkien began writing the ''Hobbit''-sequel that was to become ''The Lord of the Rings'', he moved the story of both books into the Middle-earth setting. This fact is responsible for the seeming inconsistencies in tone and canon between ''The Hobbit'' and the other Middle-earth works; this is often mistaken for the world and story having matured up by those who [[OlderThanTheyThink do not know it existed before]]. He also made some minor changes in a later edition of ''The Hobbit'' to match better with ''The Lord of the Rings'', while also providing an in-universe justification for the original discrepancies in the latter.

The published books are:
* ''Literature/TheHobbit'' (1937)
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' (originally published in three volumes, 1954--55)
* ''The Adventures of Tom Bombadil'' (collection of "in-universe" poetry, 1962)
* ''The Road Goes Ever On'' (collection of "in-universe" music, 1967)
* ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' (1977)
* ''Literature/UnfinishedTalesOfNumenorAndMiddleEarth'' (1980)
* ''Literature/TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth'' (12 volumes, 1983--96)
* ''Literature/TheChildrenOfHurin'' (2007)
* ''The History of The Hobbit'' (2007)


Only the first four were published during his lifetime; the rest were published posthumously by his son Christopher. Of these, ''The Silmarillion'' and ''The Children of Húrin'' consist of a single narrative edited together from Tolkien's texts, while the rest are collections of Tolkien's material (with commentaries and notes by his son), ranging from complete narratives to early and new drafts, to essays and small fragments.

Additionally, there are several titles used for collective bodies of stories (which are used in the fictional world, and also real-world terms to include all relevant material independently of published books): the "Ainulindalë" and "Valaquenta" (the creation of the world), the (''Quenta'') ''Silmarillion'' (the First Age), and the "Akallabêth" (History and Downfall of Númenor in the Second Age).

'''Other Works'''

His other works include several shorter tales (including several written for his children) and his academic writings; among these works are.
* ''Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics'': This lecture redefined the importance of ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'' as a poem, rather than "a relic of the past". Tolkien himself also translated the poem. This translation was released in May, 2014 with several notes on the text from his lectures along with "Sellic Spell", a sort of thought experiment by Tolkien to show what the original legend of Beowulf may have looked like without the historical elements.
* ''Literature/FarmerGilesOfHam''
* ''Literature/TheFatherChristmasLetters''
* ''Literature/LeafByNiggle''
* ''The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún''
* ''Mr. Bliss''
* "Literature/OnFairyStories" (1939): Essay discussing fairy tales as a genre.
* ''Literature/{{Roverandom}}''
* ''Literature/SmithOfWoottonMajor''
* Translations of medieval Old and Middle English literature, including the best-known modern versions of ''Literature/SirGawainAndTheGreenKnight'', ''Pearl'' and ''Sir Orfeo''.
* ''The Fall of King Arthur''

The collected ''Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien'' are a valuable source of information, both regarding Middle-earth and his personal life and views. Tolkien also aided in compiling the ''Oxford English Dictionary'', and worked on the Jerusalem Bible, a respected Roman Catholic translation.

His greatest fiction was based off his linguistic research and invention. His work on this subject filled well over a dozen volumes.

Think you'd like to have a legacy like this guy's? Start [[SoYouWantTo/BeTheNextJRRTolkien here]]!
----
!!Tropes:
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* AllThereInTheManual: The Appendices made up nearly half of ''The Return of the King''.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Tolkien himself was troubled by the UnfortunateImplications, but having evil creatures warped by the Dark Lords was essential to the narratives he'd constructed. He never found a satisfactory explanation of what orcs were corrupted from and how they could ''all'' be evil. To his credit, he managed to give each Orc that had a name a unique if still evil personality, and Elrond mentions that ''all living beings save for elves'' were found on both sides in the final battle against Sauron. This presumably includes Orcs and trolls.
* ArtifactOfDoom: The One Ring and the Nine Rings.
* ArtistDisillusionment: Although Tolkien's works were huge with the Counterculture of TheSixties, he cared very, VERY little for the numerous fans he came in contact with and who [[MisaimedFandom considered his works as representative of said movement]].
* AttentionDeficitCreatorDisorder: Not so much because there were too many projects, but because Tolkien was a perfectionist and had a day job as a university professor. Christopher Tolkien is ''still'' publishing the works never released in his father's lifetime.
* AuthorAppeal: In case you missed it, Tolkien likes linguistics, trees, music, NorseMythology, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Tolkien dark-haired grey-eyed women.]]
** A Traditionalist Catholic, Tolkien regarded his work as representative of his faith.
* AuthorAvatar: WordOfGod points to [[Literature/TheSilmarillion Beren]] and [[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Faramir.]]
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Frequently so in Middle-Earth. Most of the named characters are Warrior Princes or the equivalent for their culture. Even the hobbit protagonists are mostly the well-to-do ones, except Samwise.
* AuthorPhobia: Tolkien was bitten by a poisonous spider when he was a toddler in South Africa and narrowly escaped death. Many of his works feature giant, malevolent arachnids, including the spiders of Mirkwood, Shelob, and Ungoliant. Nontheless he claimed he had nothing conscious against spiders, routinely jarring and rehoming those he found in the bathtub, but used them that way because one of his sons is arachnophobic. (There was one upside to this event: the doctor that treated him is theorised to have been the basis of [[BigGood Gandalf]].)
** Tolkien credits his survival immediately following the spider bite to his black nanny, who snatched him up and sucked out the poison.
* BadassSanta: Father Christmas
* BecameTheirOwnAntithesis: He used this trope to show to which extent corruption could change people, when related with power.
* BittersweetEnding: Half of the endings. The other half are just [[DownerEnding just plain depressing]].
* BlackSpeech: ''The Lord of the Rings'' is the TropeNamer.
%%* BlessedWithSuck
* BlowingSmokeRings: Creator/JRRTolkien was apparently [[http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/tolkien23345.gif pretty good at blowing smoke rings]], a talent he gave to Gandalf and several other [=LoTR=] characters.
* BringNewsBack: As described in the extended account of the disaster of Gladden Fields.
%%* ButNowIMustGo
* CanonWelding: Up until after beginning to write ''The Hobbit'', Tolkien considered the mythology of ''Literature/TheBookOfLostTales'' and ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' as a completely separate project. Only while writing that book he picked up the idea that Bilbo's quest took place in the same world as the War of the Silmarils. The ''Lord of the Rings'' first dubbed this world "Middle-earth" and furthermore integrated Tom Bombadil, another unconnected character invented much earlier.
* CashCowFranchise: With all of the books about Middle-Earth out, along with several movies (with a live-action, three-part Hobbit coming in 2012/13), several games, and tons of merchandise based on films and books, quite a bit of money has been made on Tolkien's world.
* CleverCrows / CreepyCrows: Often show up as symbolic birds -- crows are generally a bad omen, though ravens are good guys (and can talk) in ''The Hobbit''.
* ConLang: How many he made depends on where you draw the line between them, and what counts as "a language" vs. "a few words," but the number is large. [[http://folk.uib.no/hnohf/howmany.htm See here]] for an essay discussing just how many. His academic paper [[http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/vice.htm "A Secret Vice"]] discusses the use of ConLang as an art form, which hadn't been seriously studied before then. He also claimed his writings about Middle-earth were "primarily linguistic in inspiration."
* ConstructedWorld: Arda, the world containing Middle-Earth and the Blessed Realm.
%%* CoolOldGuy
%%* TheCorruption
* CreationMyth: ''The Silmarillion'' begins with one, called "Ainulindalë", or "The Music (literally "singing") of the Ainur". The Ainur are basically the equivalent of the angels in Christianity.
* CrypticBackgroundReference: ''The Lord of the Rings'' is full of these, an ''The Hobbit'' has a fair few as well. Until you read ''The Silmarillion'', they might be totally opaque. Many do refer to things Tolkien fleshed out somewhere, though some are entirely mysterious despite all the posthumous publications.
* CueTheSun: The first rising of the newly-created sun in the west, after the outer world had lain in darkness for eons, is described with great drama, and suitably frightens the evil forces of the Dark Lord. In later events, especially when dealing with trolls as in ''The Hobbit'', the timely arrival of the sun can be dramatic and very welcome.
* DarkIsEvil / LightIsGood: A repeated theme throughout the legendarium. Well, they ''usually'' are, though there are exceptions.
%%* DeadpanSnarker
* DearNegativeReader: In his introduction to the second edition of ''The Lord of the Rings'':
--> Some who have read the book, [[TakeThatCritics or at any rate have reviewed it]], have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible, and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.
* {{Determinator}}: Tolkien was positively in love with this Trope; nearly every protagonist in his books is an indefatigable force for Good who refuses to give up no matter what the odds. [[spoiler: And most of the time they succeed.]] To a degree the Professor himself was one: a shell-shocked war veteran who will go to great lengths to win his One True Love.
* {{Doorstopper}}: ''The Lord of the Rings'' isn't a trilogy, it's a single book too large for most publishers to bind in a single volume. When you add ''The Hobbit'' and all the posthumously published material on top, Middle-Earth will fill a whole shelf of a bookcase.
* DrivesLikeCrazy: He wrote and illustrated the humorous story of ''Mr. Bliss'', based on his own driving mishaps. Reputedly the Professor was a poor yet brave driver whose creed was "Charge 'em and they scatter!" In old age he gave up driving altogether and turned to cycling.
* EasterEgg: All of Tolkien's works about Middle-earth, as well as the many volumes of unpublished works edited by his son, have inscriptions (usually on the title page) that can be transliterated from his fictional alphabets.
* EldritchAbomination:
** Ungoliant in ''The Silmarillion''. She's some sort of gigantic, light-devouring, shadow-belching, vaguely spider-shaped ''thing''. She might be a FallenAngel, maybe, or she might be something that crawled out of the Void at the dawn of time. Or something. Nobody knows! At least she's dead now... we think. Probably.
** The "watcher of the water" in ''The Lord of the Rings'' -- nobody, not even Gandalf, has a clue what it is.
** "Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. [[TimeAbyss They are older than he]]. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day." *shudder* That is all we ever learn of them.
* TheEveryman: Hobbits, who also double as the AudienceSurrogate in a world of mighty wizards and brave warriors.
* EvilCannotComprehendGood: Invoked.
* EvilIsDeathlyCold: Flip-flopped. Morgoth turned the northern arctic region freezing cold by delving his evil underground lairs there: the Nazgul, too, seem to induce or prefer cold and have an explicit fear of fire. On the other hand, certain other evil entities, such as Balrogs and Dragons, are closely affiliated with deadly ''heat.''
* EvilOverlord: Morgoth, Sauron, Saruman, etc.
* EvilTowerOfOminousness: Sauron's Barad-dûr.
%%* EvilWeapon
* ExploringTheEvilLair: In ''The Lord of the Rings'' and ''The Hobbit''.
* TheFairFolk: Tolkien's treatment of the High Elves was a reaction to the way elves were dealt with in contemporary fiction -- either as this or as childish fairies. In Tolkien only ignorant Men like Boromir regard Elves as TheFairFolk. However, Tolkien's conception then [[FollowTheLeader caught on among later fantasy writers]] and in the end people like Creator/TerryPratchett reacted in turn back towards TheFairFolk.
** Fair Folk like traits do occur in some of the lesser known works, notably the Lingerers(elves who stayed on Earth and whose spirit burned up most of their body) and the Unbodied(ghosts of elves who refused to stand judgement before Mandos). The first are good but mysterious, and the second are dangerous and sometimes evil(including doing things like trying to steal the bodies of mortals so they can have their own.
* FairyTale: In the lecture/essay "Literature/OnFairyStories", Tolkien put forth his view on the genre of fairy tale.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: With the exception of the Shire itself, which was modeled on the idealized 19th-century English countryside, the cultures of Middle-Earth are roughly equivalent to those of Dark Age Europe based on political situations and cultural aspects.
** The political situation of Gondor and Arnor may remind one of Byzantium and Rome, who faced threats from the East (Huns, Ottomans, etc.) at various times in their history. Strangely, when Tolkien was asked about this comparison, he said that he regarded Gondor as being closer to AncientEgypt.
** Gondor was a direct descendant of Númenor, whose culture sounds Punic. The fact they were bilingual (speaking both a Semitic-like Adûnaic language and Elvish Sindarin), were a seafaring people, and worshipped an evil god named originally Melkor ("He who arises in might") match Ancient Carthage: speaker of both Punic and Greek, seafaring, worshipped a powerful and occasionally evil god who demanded human sacrifices and was named ''Melqart'' (an elision of ''Milk-Qart'', "King of the City").[[note]]It is important to note that the Punic Melkart was one god among many, the sacrifices were mostly conducted in times of crisis, and the people sacrificed were the small children of the ruling nobles as a token of shared sacrifice--like Rome, Carthage was an aristocratic republic, but unlike Rome, it didn't have an elaborate set of institutions formalizing relations among them. This made it important to emphasize the shared sacrifice in dangerous times.[[/note]]
** Umbar is a more direct equivalent of Carthage: a maritime power of Númenórean descent locked in a bitter rivalry with Arnor and Gondor. As the Third Age goes on, the Umbar-Gondor rivalry almost mirrors that of Venice and Byzantium. Castamir the Usurper's takeover of Gondor with the help of Umbar has some similarities to the Venice-led Sack of Constantinople in the 13th Century.
** The Rohirrim have aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture, and have been compared to Vikings that rode horses rather than ships. Their Eotheod ancestors are based on the then-perception of Goths as a people of Germanic horse-warriors. The Rohirrim military is still this while their language has developed into the later Germanic language of Anglo-Saxon. The fact they had been a people of warrior-peasants whose entire culture ran around the horse and who lived on ''plains'' (as opposed to the hilly landscape of the British Isles) also makes them comparable 16th-19th century Russian {{Cossacks}}.
** The Southrons are a vague, nonspecific representation of African peoples, as in the medieval writings Tolkien emulated, which always spoke of these in exotic terms. Similarly, the Easterlings are a vague representation of nomadic peoples from the East (i.e. Huns, Tartars, Mongols). However, the Easterlings of Khand are called Variags, a term used for Viking mercenaries in Constantinople.
** The Dwarvish language is inspired by Semitic languages and their displacement throughout Middle-Earth draws comparisons with the Jewish diaspora, but the Dwarvish culture resembles more that of Early Middle Ages Germanic peoples: metalworkers, builders, axe-armed.
** Note that the languages he based his invented languages on do not necessarily determine the cultural equivalence of the people who use them. Sindarin was based on Welsh, and Quenya on Finnish, but Grey Elves aren't Welsh, and High Elves aren't Finns.
* FantasyPantheon: The Valar resemble Norse deities in a lot of ways, though they are in fact a CouncilOfAngels, and the usually avoid interfering directly in most events, since when they do ''continents'' tend to blow up or sink.
* FantasyWorldMap: Tolkien started making these for Middle-Earth not long after he started writing the stories.
%%* FireForgedFriends
%%* FiveRaces
* FranchiseZombie: As explained above, ''The Lord of the Rings'' came into existence only because the publishers wanted a sequel for the immensely popular ''Hobbit'' while Tolkien was more interested in working on his legendarium. Tolkien avoided the negative effects of this trope by incorporating both ''LOTR'' and ''The Hobbit'' into his mythos that was part of the (then unpublished) ''Silmarillion''.
* GiantSpiders: Ungoliant in ''The Silmarillion'', her daughter Shelob in ''The Lord of the Rings'', and her descendants in Mirkwood in ''The Hobbit''. All of them are hideous, evil, and sentient.
%%* GollumMadeMeDoIt
* GondorCallsForAid: ''The Lord of the Rings'' is the TropeNamer.
* GoodIsBoring: It was going to play a part in "The New Shadow", the abandoned sequel for ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'':
-->'''Tolkien''': I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall, but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless — while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors — like Denethor or worse.
* {{Gotterdammerung}}: ''The Silmarillion'' includes a prophecy about how the world will end, complete with some kind of final battle against the forces of evil that will vanguish them utterly.
* GreenAesop: He loved nature and stated that the internal combustion engine was mankind's most evil invention. The destruction of nature by industry is a common theme in his work.
* HappilyMarried: Tolkien got married to his first love, Edith Bratt, and they remained happily married until her death. He thought that a marriage must strive for being happy and fulfilling, and his works have plenty examples (Beren and Luthien, Aragorn and Arwen, Thingol and Melian...). However his books also have many subversions (Finwe and Indis's, Feanor and Nerdanel, Aldarion and Erendis...) and aversions (Eol and Aredhel's marriage was not happy. He was an abusive and controlling jerkass who charmed her into marrying with him and got her accidentally killed).
* HealingHands: "The hands of a king are the hands of a healer."
%%* TheHerosJourney
* HiddenElfVillage: Elves often end up surviving only in these -- in Beleriand they were killed everywhere until the last survivors were holed up in places such as Doriath, Gondolin, Nargothrond, and the Isle of Balar. In the Third Age, the few High Elves who hadn't abandoned Middle-Earth to sail West were hiding in Rivendell, Lothlórien, and the Grey Havens.
* HighFantasy: Often consider the TropeCodifier, though in reality the "magic" in the Middle-Earth legendarium is exceedingly subdued compared to the likes of ''Literature/HarryPotter'', ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', or ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''.
* {{Hobbits}}: The TropeNamer, if not the TropeMaker.
%%* HonorBeforeReason
* HowlOfSorrow: In ''Farmer Giles of Ham''. When Giles rides off to slay a dragon, his dog Garm howled all night because he thought Giles would be killed.
* HumansAreWarriors: All humans except the men of Bree are warriors. Hobbits also avoid warfare, but even these get a few good blows in from time to time. The Edain, the three main human tribes allied to the Elves, fit this exactly. They got to Elven country by hacking their way through Morgoth's servants. They were allowed land in exchange for fighting for the Elves, which they did with great vigor.
* IAmXSonOfY: The standard form of WarriorPrince self-address in the Tolkien universe. Hobbits seem to be the only race in Middle-earth that consistently adopt surnames.
* IGaveMyWord: Many characters in Middle-Earth are very serious about keeping their sworn word ... even when they've sworn to do something horrible that they know is wrong and want to avoid doing.
* IHaveManyNames: Tolkien's love of language extended to creating (and changing, and replacing, over and over) names, titles, and epithets for his characters. Some of them have just one or two names, but others have half a dozen or more. And since most actually meant something in one or another ConLang, every time he changed some words in a language he'd go and fiddle with the etymology or spelling of several names, or just invent new ones.
* InhumanlyBeautifulRace: Elves in Tolkien's works are almost invariably described as being good looking. The three best looking females in Middle-Earth are all Elves. The Valar and Maiar also count, although they cheat, since their bodies are artificial and custom-made, so their beauty is limited only by ego and imagination.
* [[InterspeciesRomance Inter-people Romance]]: [[TearJerker Aegnor/Andreth]] (StarCrossedLovers), Finduilas/Túrin (one-sided, [[TriangRelations Type 5]] with Gwindor->F->T), Lúthien/Beren (married and mortal), Idril/Tuor (married and immortal), Arwen/Aragorn (married and mortal), Mithrellas/Imrazôr (married until she pulled a MissingMom), Melian/Thingol (angel and immortal elf -- Thingol died, but we can assume he was probably reincarnated).
%%* LadyOfWar
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap: The Middle-earth focus on the northwest coast of the largest continent, which equals Europe. The Great Sea is the Atlantic. (And yes, it ''actually is'' Europe and the Atlantic, despite Tolkien's failure to make the landmass resemble the real world.)
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: In-universe, the Middle-Earth books are translations of the writings of Bilbo (who wrote ''Literature/TheHobbit'' and translated ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' out of Elvish), Frodo and Sam (who wrote ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''), and the Anglo-Saxon sailor Ælfwine (who stumbled upon Tol Eressëa in the Middle Ages and learned of the Elder Days from the Elves).[[note]]Ælfwine was written out of the published ''Silmarillion'' by Christopher Tolkien, but since he appears in JRRT's writings after ''[=LotR=]'', he apparently never abandoned the idea.[[/note]]
* TheLostWoods: Mirkwood and the Old Forest especially, but also Taur-nu-Fuin and to some extent Fangorn as well. Though he loved trees, Tolkien knew the mythic trope of the pathless, ominous forest.
* ManlyTears: Tolkien showed no shame about having Badass characters weep when the situation merited it.
* {{Mithril}}: The TropeNamer.
* {{Mordor}}: The TropeNamer.
* MostWonderfulSound / HellIsThatNoise: [[invoked]]Part of Tolkien's aim in devising the Elvish languages and the BlackSpeech. He deliberately tried to make one sound beautiful and the other sound ugly, at least to his own aesthetic senses.
* MysteriousBacker: Eru and the Valar in all of his works.
%%* {{Mythopoeia}}
* NarrativePoem: Some stories of Middle-Earth are told, in their longest and most detailed form, as poetry.
* NearVillainVictory: Tolkien coined the word "eucatastrophe" to describe this trope.
* NoManOfWomanBorn: ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is co-TropeNamer with Creator/{{Shakespeare}}.
%%* NoOneGetsLeftBehind
%%* NurseryRhyme
* OnlyOneName, {{Patronymic}}s: While IAmXSonOfY and IHaveManyNames are more common, some (usually minor) characters are known only by a single name, or only by their parentage.
* OurElvesAreBetter: Very much not, [[TheThemeParkVersion even if many people mistakenly think so]]. Yes, Elves are in many ways more powerful, "magical" and skilled than mortals (they had better be, as they have long enough to practice), and they are less susceptible to corruption, but corrupted they can be. They are quite capable of stupidity, chauvinism, and screwing up monumentally –- possibly ''more'' than humans in fact, as greater power can have bigger results. In addition, humans were created to be ImmuneToFate, with the ultimate destiny of ourselves and the world left undetermined.
** Doubters are referred, for a start, to the story of Fëanor, the greatest creative genius in the history of the Elves, whose stubbornness and selfishness led to the centuries-long exile of almost his ''entire clan'' of the High Elves, the Noldor, from the Blessed Realm, to civil war in that same Blessed Realm between two of the three clans of the High-elves, to the destruction of the Elven kingdoms of Beleriand and of Beleriand itself, to civil war between elves in Beleriand who should have been allies, and to the deaths of himself and almost all his sons.
** Elves do, however, appear to be this in ''The Lord of the Rings'', since it isn't concentrating on Elvish history, and so most of their bigger mistakes are found elsewhere. Besides, most of the especially wicked, stupid, and foolish elves had gotten themselves killed before the end of the Third Age. The elven leaders in ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' -- Elrond (Rivendell), Thranduil (Mirkwood), Galadriel and Celeborn (Lothlórien), and Círdan (Grey Havens) -- have all lived to see the decline of their race in Middle-Earth, and are trying to do what is best for their people while offering what assistance they can to the other races. Also, considering that Galadriel, Celeborn, and Círdan lived through the entire war against Morgoth that destroyed Beleriand, and that Elrond saw what the folly of his people could do (he lived through one of the elven civil wars as a small child, and witnessed Sauron co-opting Eregion), they had all probably wisened up to not repeat the mistakes of the past.\\
\\
Now, since the trilogy is the most popular and well-known of Tolkien's works, this means it's easy for people to get the wrong impression. This being said, Galadriel is shown to be just as susceptible to the One Ring's power as anyone, although she is one of the handful who resist its power. And Celebrimbor's mistakes in Eregion are briefly discussed at the Council of Elrond.
* PalantirPloy: The Palantír devices in ''The Lord of the Rings'' are the trope-namers.
%%* PeopleOfHairColor
* ProphecyTwist[=/=]NoManOfWomanBorn: No man can kill the Lord of the Ringwraiths? Good thing men aren't the only ones with swords, then.
%%* ProudWarriorRaceGuy
* MenDontCry: [[AvertedTrope Averted frequently.]]
** Aragorn is so overwhelmed with grief at the death of Boromir, weeping bitterly over the latter's body, that when Gimli and Legolas come upon the scene, they think at first that Aragorn himself has been mortally wounded.
** Also, Gandalf ''encourages'' Sam, Pippin, and Merry to weep when Frodo is going away forever.
--> ''"I will not say 'do not weep', for not all tears are an evil."''
* RightfulKingReturns: In ''The Return of the King''.
* RingOfPower: Not the TropeMaker, but perhaps the TropeCodifier for non-mythology-fans.
* RoyalBlood: Tolkien firmly used this trope in his legendarium. Whatever his views in real life, in Middle-earth Royal Blood often Equals Asskicking, rightful authority, great skill, longevity, and so forth -- though not necessarily wisdom or ''goodness'' (see Fëanor & sons, and Ar-Pharazôn)
%%* SacredHospitality
* SamusIsAGirl: [[spoiler:Dernhelm of Rohan]] is a woman!? [[NoManOfWomanBorn Oh]] [[ProphecyTwist crap...]]
%%* SecondHandStorytelling
%%* SeriousBusiness
%%* ShadowArchetype
%%* ShortCutsMakeLongDelays
%%* ShownTheirWork
* SpeakFriendAndEnter: ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is the TropeNamer.
%%* {{Sssssnaketalk}}
%%* StormingTheCastle
* SupportingLeader: Former TropeNamer (The Aragorn) and possibly TropeMaker.
* TakeThat
** In response to a letter from a potential German translator/publisher of ''Literature/TheHobbit'', who wished to know whether Tolkien was of "Arisch" extraction (which infuriated him considerably):
-->I regret that I am not clear as to what you intend by ''arisch''. I am not of ''Aryan'' extraction: that is Indo-Iranian; as far as I am aware none of my ancestors spoke Hindustani, Persian, Gypsy, or any related dialects. But if I am to understand that you are enquiring whether I am of ''Jewish'' origin, I can only reply that I regret that I appear to have ''no'' ancestors of that gifted people.
** Tolkien wrote two letters, one tactful, the other less so, and told his publisher to send whichever he liked. The tactful letter was sent and later lost, leaving only the more combative version to survive.
** Tolkien also sent a StronglyWordedLetter to Creator/AAMilne, complaining about the AdaptationDecay from ''TheWindInTheWillows'' in ''Toad of Toad Hall'' and saying that his children were appalled. Somewhat HilariousInHindsight as Tolkien fans are famously equally stringent about AdaptationDecay in Tolkien's own works.
* TenderTears: Tolkien is rare amongst Western artists for creating consistently sensitive and soft-hearted men who do not see crying as shameful or dishonorable.
* ThemeNaming, various kinds: Theme Family Naming (including ThemeTwinNaming and AlphabeticalThemeNaming), naming conventions along a dynasty (be they birth or ruling names), or general ones (e.g. the hobbit tradition of naming girls after [[FloralThemeNaming flowers]] or [[RockThemeNaming gemstones]]).
* ThrowingDownTheGauntlet: Fingolfin does this to Morgoth himself in ''The Silmarillion''.
* ThunderboltIron: It's called galvorn. The black swords of ''The Silmarillion'' and ''The Children of Húrin'' are made from it.
* TimeAbyss: The Valar, Maiar, and Tom Bombadil are all either as old as the entire world, or ''older''. See also EldritchAbomination
* TheTimeOfMyths: The vague/imaginary time in the real world's prehistory during which the stories of the legendarium take place -- so long ago that the sun and moon don't enter the picture until halfway through the First Age.
* TragicHero: Several in Middle-Earth, such as Túrin Turambar.
* TranslationConvention: None of our real-world languages exist in the Middle-Earth stories, and so the common TranslationConvention applies. When not convention-translated, names and speech make use of either Tolkien's constructed languages, or of a real-world language used as stand-in for a fictional one. The latter ones are not chosen randomly, but to represent the relation between the respective "proper" languages, or a certain image. Languages regularly replaced by stand-in languages in the text are: "Westron" a.k.a. the "Common Speech" is ''always'' rendered as English (as it is the Third-Age-novel's POV-character's language), the Rohirric language by Anglo-Saxon a.k.a. Old English (to appear vaguely familiar to the hobbits' Westron-English), and the language used by the Dwarves[[note]]i.e. ''not'' Dwarvish as such, which is much more like an Afro-Asiatic/ Semitic language. The Dwarves refuse to speak their own language in the presence of outsiders, except for the occasional battle cry and place name. They even use names derived from the language of Dale rather than let non-Dwarves know their True Names[[/note]] and the Men of Dale by Old Norse. Information on the "translation" and what these languages "really" look like, can be found [[AllThereInTheManual in various appendices and additional texts]].
* TurnTheOtherCheek: Several of their characters (Fingolfin, Frodo...) try to be forgiving and merciful even when they have got his lives threatened.
%%* UniverseChronology
* VillainDecay: Tolkien's conception of evil is that it intrinsically is a diminishing, self-destructive force. Most of his villains have far-reaching plans or even noble goals at the beginning but they end up wasting their power with [[EvilIsPetty petty, useless acts of destruction]]. Morgoth goes from want to steal the Creation to try to make everybody's lives miserable. Sauron goes from want to conquer the world in order to repair it to be a power-hungry tyrant. Saruman goes from being an older-than-Earth angelic being that plotted to take over Middle-Earth with his cunning, technology and a massive army to employ ruffians to harass hobbits.
* WalkIntoMordor: TheMovie of ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' is the TropeNamer. The phrase doesn't appear in the book, however.
* WarIsHell: Constant theme since [[http://greenbooks.theonering.net/guest/files/040102_02.html Tolkien is a WorldWarOne vet]]. He did not consider it "romantic" at all.
* WarriorPrince: By the bucketload. Most named characters in ''The Silmarillion'' are these, and boatloads more show up in ''The Lord of the Rings'' and ''The Hobbit''.
* WhatCouldHaveBeen
** Tolkien once proposed coauthoring a scholarly book on linguistics with his academic colleague and friend Creator/CSLewis. Lewis started the manuscript, but unfortunately they never got around to finishing it. [[http://www.txstate.edu/news/news_releases/news_archive/2009/07/CSLewis070809.html]]
** For that matter, it's hard to keep from feeling wistful when reading the many fragments of unfinished stories and poems collected by his son Christopher in ''Literature/TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth''. There's even a whole volume of them entitled ''Unfinished Tales.'' So much was left unwritten or severely cryptic, or abandoned years before ''The Lord of the Rings'' and never revised. Much will remain unknown about Middle-earth and its characters.
* WhenTreesAttack: The Ents were created because Tolkien had seen a production of ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'' as a child and was disappointed when it turned out that the forest itself didn't actually attack.
* WorldBuilding: Tolkien not only loved this and spent a lifetime doing it, he had theological theories about the processs.
* WorldShapes: Arda, the world containing Middle-Earth, started out flat. Only after the downfall of Númenor (Atlantis) was it made round. Later Tolkien decided this was stupid because Middle-Earth is supposed to be the real world, but his attempts to write a round-world creation story were consistently less beautiful than the flat-world versions.
* WorldTree: The Two Trees of Valinor, the long-lost sources of the holiest light, were sacred trees of vast size, on whose branches the sun and moon were eventually grown as one fruit and a single flower, and their light kindled the Evening Star (a.k.a. Venus). They are closely tied to the repeated uses of trees and light as symbols of goodness in the legendarium, and of the tragic loss of the beauty of the ancient world.
* WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants: For ''The Lord of the Rings'', as shown by ''The History of Middle-Earth''.
* YesVirginia: Wrote ''Literature/TheFatherChristmasLetters'' to his children, which thoroughly convinced them that Santa was real.
* YouShallNotPass: Gandalf's speech in the movie ''Film/TheFellowshipOfTheRing'', while a slightly paraphrased variation of the speech in the book, is the TropeNamer.
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