Tolkien FAQ

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Tolkien FAQ aka The Tolkien Frequently Asked Questions List has been an electronic document online since the early 1990s. Its purpose is to give answers and debate common questions and misunderstandings usually occurring among readers of Tolkien's legendarium. The topics range between the role of the Shire as England, the pointed ears of the Elves or the fate the Entwives. While the FAQ points out clear answers that are covered from the books, some of the answers rely on less known sources, like The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

The FAQ has been hailed as "superb ... well written and well documented" and generally acceptable by the Tolkien fandom. Also, most of their conclusions have even been strengthened by more recently-published information[1].


The FAQ was compiled in 1993 by William D.B. Loos, while Carl F. Hostetter and Wayne G. Hammond are credited among the contributors of the FAQ[2]. Presumably, it originated from the Tolkien Newsgroups in Usenet and from there circulated through mailing lists, BBSs and several websites. Traditional addresses of the FAQ of around that time were http://ganet.acns, and[3]. One version of the FAQ was updated on March 28 of 1994, while the last (and as of yet, final) revision was made on July 8 of 1996.


The document is composed of two parts; each part contains the following sections:

  • Tolkien And His Work
  • (General History of Middle-earth)
  • Hobbits
  • Elves
  • Dwarves
  • Istari (Wizards)
  • Enemies
  • Miscellaneous

The main part contains questions (and answers) concerning Tolkien, his work, and details concerning The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit; the second part, called LessFAQ, contains questions on more obscure topics, usually having to do with The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales and contains the section "General History of Middle-earth". Some websites reproduced the FAQ as one single part.

As of the last (1996) version of the FAQ, some entries are noted to be "in their final form" while others are noted as "being unrevised" and still remain so.


In the late 1990s, Steuard Jensen, created a "Newsgroups FAQ" which contains questions, hints and guidelines concerning membership and behavior in the Usenet newgroups rec.arts.books.tolkien and The third section contained both parts of the FAQ, and expanded by a new third part titled "The Great Debates"; this new part summarized common hot topics of discussion and possible solutions to the controversies.

As of 2009, the Newsgroups FAQ is still expanded, maintained and updated and presently has a different structure.


External links[edit]