View Full Version : deep background.

11-07-2014, 23:25
How far into the far reaches of the background have people delved? I've spent many an hour browsing the LotR section of my local bookshop trying to find another book containing another sliver of information. Some of my favourite parts are the poetry story of tom bombadil.

Lord Hurin
12-07-2014, 00:07
The background is very developed in places. Tolkien was methodical in his details about the "good guys" and thus there is a list of every King of Rohan, Gondor, Arnor and Chieftain of Arnor from Eorl to Eomer and Elendil to Aragorn, even beyond and onto their respective sons. On the other hand, I don't believe Tolkien himself even named any Easterlings of the Third Age and very few Haradrim. Likewise, there were no place names beyond "Rhun" and "Harad" for their lands.

Karak Norn Clansman
15-07-2014, 21:39
It's deep and detailed in genealogy for Elven and Edain houses, and pretty deep in some of the history sections like Silmarillion. It's definitely deep in Elven language and maybe also culture.

However, Lotr's background, fine as it is, don't have the down-and dirty details about city life like you can find in WHFB Empire background. It also don't have the kind of background facts, not that relevant to the stories, that you've come to expect from modern fantasy. Tolkien was e.g. surprised when people were drawn into his world and wanted to know more, not only about history, cultures and wars, but about mineralology ("Where are the Mithril ores? Got a geological map?") and a thousand other real "background" background.

It's also surprisingly shallow about much of the gods' mythology stuff. There are nice hints about things, and you really want to learn more about the doings of the colourful guy Tulkas, but there seem to be little to read about their adventures apart from the war against Melkor and making of the world/light stuff.

And it's got a big blind spot for the eastern and southern lands. GW's take on them is very fine in my opinion, especially for Harad. You've got to read really carefully not to miss the glimmers of sweeping description you get about them in Silmarillion and the like. A Dwarf fan like myself is also found wanting for more after reading all there is about Dwarfs in Tolkien's works.

Some cool things which you would have expected more flesh on the bones for, so to speak, come out as pretty shallow even in Silmarillion. This is especially true for the seven sons of FŽanor plus their realm(s), who seems to have had only some more development in the late-age writings of Tolkien, published in some of the most peripheral books if I remember correctly. You'd also have expected a map with some major roads and cities in Hithlum to show up somewhere, but I haven't even seen a city name there be mentioned.

Whatever you do, don't miss the Siege of Gondolin. It's one of Tolkien's best pieces, and breathes quality like his RotK battle scenes. It's only a shame it didn't got returned to and polished to perfection and to fit everything else, because its writing in the early years of Tolkien's Middle-Earth shows off in some places.

18-07-2014, 06:49
It's something to wonder about, weather or not this information exists, maybe it's part of the writings that Christopher has yet to decipher. I love the background, all the extra details. As I say the legend of Tom Bombadil and how he got goldberry are a delight to read. Maybe there is no grittiness, no inner city struggle like Warhammer, but this was one mans mythology, an academic game if you will, not the writings of countless people over a span of 30 years and more. Question, how do people such as beorn come into the world? He's neither man, elf or dwarf who breathed life into him?

Autumn Leaves
28-07-2014, 19:19
Christopher better have some sons so they can go on and carry the family tale onwards.

01-08-2014, 14:32
Christopher better have some sons so they can go on and carry the family tale onwards.


Back on topic: Personally, I love the background. There is some stuff that isn't covered as much as I'd like (Dol Guldur and The Necromancer), but even then, you get an idea of what happened. I wish he focused a bit more on dwarves though.