Talk:List of Middle-earth characters

Latest comment: 2 years ago by Rwv37 in topic Inclusion criteria

Names in Tengwar etc edit

When we have pages on nonfictional characters whose native name is not in the Latin alphabet we usually include the name written out. Should we, for example, write "Elbereth" out in Tengwar as well as the Latin alphabet? Marnanel (talk) 21:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)Reply

That would result in unending strife, as not only are there several scripts used in parallel by the peoples of Middle-earth, which therefore would have to be represented. But there are also many different ways and modes which can be used to write a single script: just take your example of Tengwar. And on top of that, like the languges, all of this also has a story-internal history: which scripts are used by whom, at which point in history, how and for what purpose, creating a multitude of ways to write something, all of which are valid. ~ (talk) 11:54, 4 December 2008 (UTC)Reply

Request for comment on articles for individual television episodes and characters edit

A request for comments has been started that could affect the inclusion or exclusion of episode and character, as well as other fiction articles. Please visit the discussion at Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(fiction)#Final_adoption_as_a_guideline. Ikip (talk) 11:19, 3 February 2009 (UTC)Reply

Duplicate: List of Middle-Earth Peoples edit

This article seems to be of the same subject as List of Middle-earth peoples. I don't believe both are needed. I believe characters is a better term than peoples, to reinforce the fact that these are are works of fiction.TheGrimme (talk) 15:17, 13 September 2011 (UTC)Reply

Not at all. This article deals with individual characters but the other one lists peoples as in ethnic groups, not "people" as in several persons. De728631 (talk) 18:47, 13 September 2011 (UTC)Reply

Hobbit names edit

It would seem preferable to list Hobbits by their firstnames rather than surnames. Some change their surname, e.g. by marriage, or Sam's family Gamwich > Gamgee > Gardner. Some have no known surnames, e.g. Nob, Marcho & Blanco. What do others think? Jungleboy63 (talk) 10:29, 17 November 2018 (UTC)Reply

"Thuringwethil" listed at Redirects for discussion edit


An editor has asked for a discussion to address the redirect Thuringwethil. Please participate in the redirect discussion if you wish to do so. ―Susmuffin Talk 07:59, 1 December 2019 (UTC)Reply

Inclusion criteria edit

At present, this page is a list of notable characters from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium. At the same time, many Middle-earth character articles are being deleted for notability reasons (see here). Per the policy on alternatives to deletion, some editors might find it desirable to merge or redirect non-notable Middle-earth characters to this page. However, this would be more useful if we loosened the inclusion criteria to allow non-notable characters a list entry.

As an example, Rían (a woman of the First House of the Edain in the First Age) used to have her own article. After being proposed for deletion, it was instead redirected here. But unfortunately, this redirect does help users as Rían does not have an entry on this list. An entry on Rían would preserve the content from the old article, and make the redirect useful.

In my opinion, simply loosening the inclusion criteria to all characters would be appropriate. But I'd love to hear other resolutions. Pinging users from some previous discussions @Jack Upland and Hog Farm: opinions?

BenKuykendall (talk) 23:46, 7 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

I agree about the pointless redirects. The same is occurring at Middle-earth#Geography. However, I don't think that WP:PRESERVE applies. With Rian and her kinsfolk, it has been decided they don't belong in an encyclopedia. I don't understand the point of this list in any form. This list has recently changed from an index of articles to an index of articles with a brief description (thanks to Hog Farm). I think if a character is notable enough to have her or his own page and doesn't appear in the plot summary of any of the books etc, then she or he is too minor to include in an encyclopedia. To include all Middle-earth characters would be inappropriate. This would include everyone mentioned in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, its appendices, The Silmarillion, and all the other posthumous publications that keep being published. This could snowball into an astronomical load of fancruft, hundreds and hundreds of characters — I can't estimate how many. Tolkien had a tendency to name every character, like Ohtar, Isildur's esquire, and to elaborate on characters that were only mentioned in passing in his original novels. To make this work, I think you would need a criteria below WP notability but above being all inclusive, but I can't suggest one.--Jack Upland (talk) 02:07, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I worked on this mess into this form mostly because there was a row at AfD of people wanting to redirect the various figures and there was no obvious place to redirect. After seeing the results of reworking this page, I'm starting to think that suggesting this as a redirect point was a bad idea. This article doesn't really serve any point besides being a fancruft list. The scope's too broad, and there's no obvious criteria for inclusion. Tolkien names literally thousands of figures in his works. Like Jack Upland's example, Ohtar, the guy who is mentioned as carrying a broken sword around once and not mentioned again to the rest of my knowledge. Or the several-thousand years of genealogies referenced in the appendix to The Return of the King, where scores (maybe hundreds, I haven't counted) of figures are referenced once and then never mentioned again. I can't come up with an obvious criteria for inclusion. It would be pointless to mention everybody, as the list would become way too long, and creating a standard of notability would eliminate the people that would get redirected here. The closest thing to a solution that I can come up with is to make the standard at this list notability. For the redirects, the idea should be to redirect the figure to the section of the plot summary of the work in which he or she appears. And if the character is not mentioned in any plot summary, then RfD should probably be the fate of that redirect. I think that solution works better than the idea I originally had for this list. As for Middle-earth#Geography, I will admit that part of the redirect problem is my fault, as I have voted to redirect several of those articles. Either the section needs a detailed expansion (honestly, that option would probably cross the fancruft line), or there needs to be a culling of the redirects. My instinct is to cut down on the redirects, either through retargeting a few, or RfD. Baranduin would be better off redirecting to The Shire, List of Middle-earth rivers would probably be better off being eliminated. So, in short, I think that the threshold for this list should be notability, and the redirects should either be retargeted to the works the figures appear in, or if the figure is so minor that they are not mentioned in the plot summaries, deleted at RfD. @Jack Upland and BenKuykendall:. Hog Farm (talk) 02:43, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Jack Upland and Hog Farm: thanks for the feedback! I am fairly convinced by the argument that, without a requirement for notability, this list would become unreasonably large. Moving forward, I guess the solution is to push for deletion of truly non-notable characters and locations, or merge/redirect to pages that actually discuss the topic. Per the existing redirects, I see a fairly strong case to delete 15 irrelevant redirects to List of Middle-earth characters. But for related pages, I'm not sure what should be deleted. There are a whopping 374 redirects to Middle-earth, and surely most of them are not mentioned in the article. Then, List of Middle-earth Elves, which seems headed for deletion or merger has 85 redirects. I know cleaning up redirects is fairly low priority, but it seems odd to have so many unhelpful redirects to a few pages. BenKuykendall (talk) 03:10, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
@BenKuykendall: I'm starting on the Middle-earth redirects right now. There seems to be three types of redirects there: redirects to terms actually mentioned in other articles, which I've been working on redirecting to the applicable articles, legitimate redirects, and redirects to be deleted. The RfD people are probably gonna hate me by the time I'm done. Hog Farm (talk) 03:14, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I think these kind of problems were inevitable given the scale of the Scouring of Wikipedia. Another thing on Ohtar before he's forgotten. He does have in-universe notability in that without him Aragorn would never have got the broken sword. Those kind of arguments have been used in the past. So, unfortunately, I think if we lowered the threshold we would get a deluge.--Jack Upland (talk) 04:42, 8 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

*Comment If we limited it to all characters who either did something or had actual dialogue I could support it. This should only apply to the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I think we need to think a little more deeply on inclusion in backstories. People mentioned one time in light of their cats, mentions as being dead when the actual action takes place, or only appearing in apendixes and the like should not be included. Also do not include Arathorn, since he may be mentioned, but only in a patronimic form.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:48, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

  • Comment I think even my proposal would be too easy to misuse. After having thought a bit more about the guidelines on avoiding in-universe writing, I think virtually every LotR related article violates these rules. What we need is for someone to start with the article on Gandalf and add more on development and impact. Then do the same for Frodo. If I am reading the article on Frodo right, originally Tolkien was going to have Frodo be the son of Bilbo. So at some point Bildo as a permanent bachelor was not Tolien's plan. Galdalf we need more and better discussion of his literary function in the Shire. I am less than convinced we need any mention that he obliquely appears in the Silmarillion. Our plot summaries need to remember that although Tolkien names everything we do not have to. We also need to cut back on the trappings of the real world. At least we killed the listing of various army sizes, but we need to majorly cut back on explicit mentions of dating.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:56, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • The most scarry thing is some of these truly minor character articles were in the first 100,000 ever created on Wikipedia.John Pack Lambert (talk) 00:59, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
    • @Johnpacklambert: That's the problem with the Middle-earth character coverage. I feel like there are definite arguments to be made in favor of making a list of characters, but there's no good inclusion criteria short of inclusion. My best idea was "For a character to be included on this list, the editor must be able to produce two complete sentences of information that is neither genealogical nor speculative", but even that opens the floodgates. I'm starting to think that the best solution is either to redirect non-notable characters to the works in which they appear and/or create a section at the articles about Tolkien works specifically designated as a list of prominent characters with a short description for each. Hog Farm (talk) 01:07, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

I think List of The Hobbit characters is a very good list. The inclusion criteria all named characters appearing in J. R. R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit is quite specific, and the list is a good length (43 items). Would List of Lord of the Rings characters, with a similar criteria, be overwhelmingly large? Almost certainly we would need to exclude "characters" mentioned in the appendixes, but as Johnpacklambert points out there are plenty of "characters" mentioned in backstories, songs, patronimics, etc. as well. Do we have an estimate of how many characters appear in LotR? The Tolkien Gateway has 130 characters in their list, which, all things considered, isn't crazy. If we could keep our list to a similar length, I would support its creation. BenKuykendall (talk) 01:53, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

  • The Hobbit is about Tolkien's only work that does not go overboard on naming names. For LotR my test is "any inclusion criteria that would list Queen Beruthiel is too broad". The naming of hobbits in An Unexpected Party alone gets much more out of hand than anything we see in the Hobbit. Maybe if we limit it to A-characters with actual names and B-characters who do something or say something. While the basic 15 characters of the Hobbit are largers than the fellowship of the ring, the Hobbit also lacks deep dives into history. Elrond does not even name who in Gondolin was "kin to him", which to me says that Tolkien at that point had not decided that Elrond's father was a child nearly killed in the destruction of Gondolin and his grandmother was the sought after elf maiden key to the city's fall. LotR is at 6 times the length of the Hobbit.John Pack Lambert (talk) 13:14, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Comment The Hobbis list is written too much in universe style. Reports on plot fiction generally should be written in present not past tense. The exceptions on that list are probably Bullroarer and the Old Took.John Pack Lambert (talk) 13:22, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Comment I don't know if anyone has a copy of ROTK on hand, but somewhere in the appendices is a list of every named figure, place, and object referenced in the text. I believe that numbers way more than 130. Hog Farm (talk) 15:02, 13 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • To look at this from another direction, a desirable property for an encyclopedia is closure: that everything mentioned is defined. Large places and characters will be defined in their own articles; smaller ones can be defined either in articles on the larger elements, or (failing that, and very much second-best) in lists. I might add that very minor characters may need no more than a mention in a family tree: such things are a compact (e.g. six siblings in a horizontal row) way of showing a lot of relationships without verbiage, and they can be reliably cited to Tolkien himself (and they are discussed by major Tolkien scholars such as Tom Shippey). If we do all that, we will have A-, B-, and to some extent C-characters covered satisfactorily without fuss. I think, by the way, that we need to reorganise (merge) the navbars as there are too many of them and they're now very sparsely populated. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:43, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
    • At the moment, we are getting a REALLY bad list as there are lots of entries that contain circular links from deletions/redirects: what we need is NOT just to remove those, but to replace them with short cited descriptions of the characters. The current "Joe Doe was an elf, son of Dirk Doe" relied on having individual elf articles. Since we're removing those, this list needs serious work to keep the encyclopedia in a decent state. But having nosed about a bit, I'm coming round to the view that the list will never work (at most "second-best", as I said above), and that we should redirect to non-list articles, the more specific the better: in which case, the list should be deleted. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:54, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
      • @Chiswick Chap: I'm starting to wonder if we need to create sections at the article of each of the works themselves about the characters of each work. That would probably take the reader to more useful information than they are getting now. Hog Farm (talk) 15:04, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
        • That would be one approach, and it might indeed be less dreadful than the current state. The best and most natural thing for a Wiki/hypertext to do is of course to describe the characters and places as you go along, i.e. woven into the text of the article where the characters and places are needed, rather than as either a separate list article or a separate list section within an article. I think we should do our best to find specific and "natural" homes for redirects. This applies to places as well as to people, e.g. Cirith Ungol ==> Mordor#Ephel Duath, not to Middle-earth. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:08, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
          • Agree with Chiswick Chap here. Though long-term, even that sort of content may get pruned, so the redirects will probably be permanently unstable. The 'advantage' of these long lists (which served as appendices of a sort) was that they were stable (yes, saying that is a bit ironic seeing as many of the lists are no longer there!). :-) Carcharoth (talk) 17:04, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Hm. The redirection mess is quite extensive. Who'd have guessed that List of Middle-earth rivers, now deleted (nice work, lads) is the redirect target for Blue Mountains (Middle-earth), Geography of Middle-earth, Gulf of Lhun, Iron Mountains (very riverlike, those), Middle-earth roads, Tower Hills, and the mountain of Zirak-Zigil? Among dozens of others, of course. This is a shocking mess, indeed a total shambles. Basically, all the links need to go to more sensible targets. The List itself just points to Middle-earth#Geography, which contains a paltry four sentences, all uncited. Not a pretty sight. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:59, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Responding to a couple of points: "cleaning up redirects is fairly low priority" - redirects are cheap and in this case often contain edit history of content merged to other articles, so those who did the redirections many years ago never saw a 'need' to clean up the redirects (many of which have been orphaned by the recent deletions). As Chiswick Chap has pointed out above, indiscriminate deletion of redirects can mess up the ability of readers to navigate the existing content. I absolutely get that under current standards, there is a need to clean-up in the Tolkien topic area, but the likely result of this wave of deletions is that it will make the articles that are left behind harder to understand. Those voting for the deletions are effectively forcing tidying up of what is left behind (and that is in many ways a good thing), but given that, there does again need to be some consideration given to the pace at which this is happening. If some of the content was around for many years, the clean-up does not have to happen over a few months. We could go a bit slower and take a year, and the wiki would not fall apart in the meantime. On the general point of how to handle incidental mentions, I think some articles may have adopted the approach of effectively creating lists in the form of footnotes, sort of like an appendix added to an article. That cannot be done for everything, but can work in some cases. Carcharoth (talk) 16:49, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

  • On the general point of how to handle incidental mentions, I think some articles may have adopted the approach of effectively creating lists in the form of footnotes, sort of like an appendix added to an article. I haven't seen this before! Can you share an example? BenKuykendall (talk) 16:53, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
    • I can't find it right now. If I do find it again (and am not imagining it) I will give an example. It would only really work where the content is suitable for using as an aside, and some editors (who dislike the overuse of footnotes) would push back against it anyway. Carcharoth (talk) 17:01, 14 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I think the redirects were done badly, and I think it was sight unseen. It would be better to have no redirect than a redirect that leads to something irrelevant.--Jack Upland (talk) 09:27, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • I would urge all people to read the general guidelines on fictional plot and avoiding in-universe writing. These seem to me to say 1-use present tense (which has been severly lacking in most LotR articles, a few movie related ones do, but that is rare), 2-do not write in a style expected of real world events, which seems to me (or maybe is implied) to mean do not overly name places and things and avoid putting in dates. Tolkien may have a name for every sword and horse, but we do not need have to always repeat them. We also do not have to repeat all names.John Pack Lambert (talk) 19:07, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • On the same hand, sometime when names make sense, such as the name of a dragon, if we are not going to create seperate articles, we can give brief explanations of the think in the article. Thus in the article on Hurin, we explain that Glaumdrag is a dragon and that the name of another character is designating a Balrog.John Pack Lambert (talk) 19:11, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • I think at this stage we need people to go through all the surviving articles and ask of things 1-is the name needed. 2-if it is needed, but we no longer have an article on it, can we describe it here? If that does not seem to be the best place to describe it, we also need to ask, where would be the best place to describe it. In a few cases, like the article on Gondor, the content seems to have become too inclusive. Do we really need such indepth descriptions of all parts of that land? I also sometimes wonder if our articles on The Shire delve further into the politics of the place than Tolkien's writings justify. At least we have been freed of the size tables of forces in the competing armies.John Pack Lambert (talk) 19:12, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Yes, we need to lose the in-universe nonsense, replacing it with short and simple plot or character summaries. For the places, much of it can be coped with far better with maps; it's both more Tolkienian, and more encyclopedic, as one map can replace many paragraphs of this-is-just-to-the-southwest-of-that-next-to-the-other-feature, which is unreadable anyway. I'll have a go at one or two to see how it may work out without too much fancy cartography. The stricture to "go through all the surviving articles" is a great deal of work and will take time to do properly. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:29, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
I think usage of maps would be good, if they could be created in a way that doesn't infringe copyright. I'm also very unsure about all these genealogical charts. At the moment, those genealogies are used as an excuse not to include content, rather than an aid to understanding the content. I'd almost rather see a brief references to any notable relationships of characters (relationships that have a bearing on the character, the fact that Elrond is Arwen's is important, the fact that Finwë and Celebrimbor are related is not) than having extremely detailed charts at every elf or half-elf's page. Maybe other editors feel differently, but I think there are better ways to present the familial ties in ME that are actually relevant to the plot than those tables. Hog Farm (talk) 20:56, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
The problem is that the notable Elves and Aragorn are more or less related to each other through the events of the First Age. In fact, Arwen is Aragorn's cousin many times removed since he is a descendant of Elrond's brother. Elrond in turn is related to all three houses of the Eldar which is an important element in the legendarium as notable elves (other than Glorfindel or the Mirkwood "royals") will almost always be more or less closely related to the man who eventually takes over the free world. So to understand these complicated relationships, I think the family trees are quite helpful. De728631 (talk) 22:03, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
The past tense plot summaries are based on a consensus that was reached years ago at the Middle-earth WikiProject. The main reasoning for using past tense instead of present was that Tokien intended his works to be a legendary past of the real world, a mythology of England if you will. And per WP:FICTENSE, "discussion of history is usually written in the past tense and thus 'fictional history' may be presented in that way as well." De728631 (talk) 19:50, 15 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

I think this discussion is becoming unfocused. Yes, there are multiple problems across WikiProject ME. But deciding on "to what extent can we list non-notable characters" is a fairly specific question, hopefully with an attainable answer. These other questions are great, but perhaps we should ask them elsewhere and loop back to our thoughts on this list. BenKuykendall (talk) 00:09, 16 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

It's nice that now each of the characters has a blurb written about them, so we know at a glance who they actually are. I rather prefer the old list with every single character ever mentioned; because it was a convenient reference list, but that might just be because I'm a diehard fan - other people might not find the list as helpful... If we're going to make this a list of "notable" characters, however, it might be helpful to have a definition of what "notable" is. Also, am I correct in assuming that this article is still a work in progress? Because several characters that I would consider notable enough to make the list (e.g. Finarfin, Fingolfin, Ar-Pharazôn) do not appear here. Last of all, if this list will only include notable characters, I don't think Lalaith should be included, since she plays no major part in the story and she's really only mentioned briefly in passing. ARoyalPrincess (talk) 01:05, 17 January 2020 (UTC)ARoyalPrincessReply

  • @ARoyalPrincess: Right now, the criteria is more characters with an article. Lalaith is currently at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Lalaith. See also Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Fingolfin and Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Finarfin. Hog Farm (talk) 02:16, 17 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Haven't read any part of the discussion except for the original post. I'll just add that I expected coming to this article to get a list of character article like most other list of character articles on, but instead got this pointless index of articles. If I wanted an index of articles I could have used Category:Middle-earth characters. This article is a clear misunderstanding of the notability guidelines and how list articles work. Not every entry in a list needs to be notable for an article or even have an article. If the desire is to limit the list so not every mentionable character is listed, then the inclusion criteria can be for "main" characters only. What is a main character in a book? That might be a bit subjective, but that's why any objection can be discussed on the talk page. I'd say that a main character is a character that has a major role in either a book or a short story (see Silmarillion chapters). --Gonnym (talk) 11:08, 5 March 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Saying that a "main" character has a "major role" is tautological. I think it's hard to make that determination. For example, in LOTR, Butterbur appears twice and is mentioned at the Council of Elrond. He has a pivotal role because he fails to deliver a letter. Radagast is only mentioned at the Council and briefly afterwards. I think Arwen only appears twice and has very little dialogue. Lobelia Sackville-Baggins appears more often, I think.--Jack Upland (talk) 17:02, 5 March 2020 (UTC)Reply

I wound up here after discovering, to my surprise, that Odo Proudfoot has no entry on Wikipedia (though he is mentioned on more than one page). I'm certainly not saying that he should have his own page, but other franchises with many, many characters have, seemingly successfully, dealt with this exact same sort of problem by having both a main page like this one for "notable" characters, plus an additional page (or pages) for characters in general. For example, Star Trek has List of Star Trek characters for "main and major" characters, akin to this Middle-earth page. But it also has pages for characters in general: List of Star Trek characters (A-F), List of Star Trek characters (G-M), List of Star Trek characters (N-S), and [[List of Star Trek characters (T-Z). Star Trek is not the only franchise for which this sort of thing exists on Wikipedia, and I think it serves a valuable role (I, for one, have looked up minor characters' entries in Wikipedia many times, for more than one franchise). Perhaps the same thing could/should be done here? In summary, WE! WANT! O! DO! <clap, clap, clap-clap-clap> WE! WANT! O! DO! <clap, clap, clap-clap-clap> -Rwv37 (talk) 18:33, 24 September 2021 (UTC)Reply

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Two character articles edit

@Hog Farm, Octopus4359, 2600:387:b:7::68,, and 2600:387:b:5::6b: Instead of undoing each-other's changers, can we decide on a uniform way to deal with two character articles like Eärendil and Elwing and Galadriel and Celeborn? I am of the opinion that such articles should have two entries in the list, one for each character. This fits with the alphabetical organization of the page: if you are looking for Celeborn, you aren't going to be looking under G. What is the case for combining the list entries? BenKuykendall (talk) 05:01, 7 February 2020 (UTC)Reply

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