This is a style guide for Tolkien-related articles in an effort to organize and standardize Tolkien-related articles, lists, categories, templates, and other items in general. Please note that this may change according to WikiPolicy or participant consensus. Please take particular note of the References section.

Participants can quote the style guide by the following: WP:MeS 1.6.2. (WP:MeS - Middle-earth Standards, section 1, subsection 6, number 2).

General rules

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Abbreviations

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  1. Abbreviations of names of books, movies, series, people, etc. should not be used in articles or lists (e.g. write out The Lord of the Rings, not LotR; Tolkien or J. R. R. Tolkien, not JRRT).

Bolding

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  1. Always use bold typeface for the topic of the article at first mention in the article.

Capital letters

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  1. Use capital letters according to British English. Wikipedia's Manual of Style states to "...use rules appropriate to the cultural and linguistic context".
  2. Use capital letters when writing about the races of Middle-earth, but lower-case when writing about individuals or groups of individuals i.e. Elves, Dwarves, Men, Hobbits, Orcs, Istari, Valar, etc. (e.g. "the hobbits walked down the road", "Hobbits have hairy feet", "the hobbit jumped over the fence", "the Elf lord bowed before them", "the orcs were running over the plain").

Categories

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See also: MeS 5.1.2 and MeS 6.1
  1. Before creating a category, please check to see if there is a same existing category or subcategory in Category:Tolkien, and consider if the subcategory is really necessary.
  2. Generally, do not categorize things twice. However, if two or more categories from different sub-branches apply, then it would be proper to use both.

Italics

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  1. Always use italics for titles of books, series, movies, game, etc. (e.g. The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, etc.)
  2. Use italics for "isolated words and phrases in other languages". In terms of Tolkien-related articles, this would include anything in the Languages of Middle-earth (e.g. Quenya, Sindarin, Rohirric, Khuzdul) as well as Old English. Note that italics should be used only for words from other languages, e.g. terms for objects and creatures (palantíri, mûmak, fëa), but not for personal or other names, e.g. of peoples or places (Eldar, Azanulbizar); if in doubt, consult the book indexes. For inserting translations of words in another language, see MeS 7.4.

Notability

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For more information, refer to Wikipedia:Notability (fiction) and Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not
  1. Be aware of fancruft and What Wikipedia is not. It may be hard not to go into detail, but Wikipedia is an encyclopedia focused on general interests, not on Tolkien's legendarium.
  2. Avoid inserting your interpretation, speculation, theories, analysis, etc. As stated by Wikipedia's no policy, no original research. However, if the interpretations, analysis, speculations, etc. are those of J. R. R. Tolkien or Christopher Tolkien, please make sure to include references from reputable sources (e.g. texts by Tolkien).
  3. Major characters/locations/items are given their own page only if the information on that character/location/item in the work of fiction is too long.
  4. Minor characters/locations/items or those whose page cannot be expanded further (e.g. five or more paragraphs) in terms of encyclopedic information should be merged within their respective lists.
  5. Articles that fail to satisfy notability guidelines should be tagged with the {{ME-importance}} template.

Punctuation

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  1. For quotations, use "double quotes" and 'single quotes' for nesting quotations a.k.a. "quotations 'within' quotations".
  2. Write formally. Avoid using contractions such as don't, can't, won't, would've, they'd.
  3. Avoid using slashes to join words. Instead, spell it out.

Style

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  1. All articles dealing with fictional "in-universe" material must be written in an out-of-universe (OOU) perspective. In the first place, consider stating where each piece of information is given in books, e.g. "Throughout The Silmarillion, ...", "In associated notes Tolkien stated that ...".
  2. Any article or section that is written in in-universe perspective should be tagged with the {{In-universe}} template.

Tenses

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  1. All articles that cover in-universe events before the time of the books must be in past tense, as decided as a consensus here; events at the time of the books should be in the literary present. Though it states in the Guide to writing better articles that generally fictional articles should be written in present tense, Tolkien-related articles are an exception, due to the fact that we are discussing more than just plots of novels, we are outlining the history of [what we now interpret as] a fictional world — the novels are written in past tense because they are memoirs meant to explain a mythical past of our Earth, much like the Greek Mythology. Also, keep in mind that much of the information is taken not from the novels, but from informational texts (e.g. The History of Middle-earth).

Usage and spelling

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  1. As stated by Wikipedia's style guide concerning spelling, "if an article's subject has a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, it should use that dialect". Since Tolkien was affiliated with England, all Tolkien-related articles should use British English (en-GB).
  2. Articles should include the template {{Use British English|date=June 2024}} as the first line.
  3. Talk pages should include the template {{British English|date=June 2024}} near the top of the page.
  4. Articles should use British syntax, such as the definite article in phrases like "The critic Jack Smith...".
  5. If you are unfamiliar with British spelling, use the very handy Wikipedia:Manual of Style (spelling) for reference.
  6. Take note of correct spellings of in-universe names, including diacritical marks (e.g. Éomer, not Eomer). Use diaeresis for final non-silent e in Quenya names (Manwë, Eönwë); for Old English names, use the spelling that occurs more frequently in the books (Ælfwine but simbelmynë).
  7. In general, use the newer, phonetic spelling appearing in later texts as well as The History of Middle-earth series, as opposed to the old spellings published in older texts (e.g. Númenórean, Enedhwaith, Nírnaeth). An exception to this rule is Noldor, which will be spelled with an ordinary N as decided here. Other exceptions should be discussed on a case-by-case basis before moving pages to 'fix' spellings.

Wikilinking

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For more information, please refer to Wikipedia's style guide on wikilinking.
  1. Create links ONLY if they are relevant to the context.
  2. Do not link regular, plain old English words (e.g. queen).
  3. Generally, there should not be duplicates of the same links. However, if you have made a link in captions or the infobox, it is a good idea to make the same link in the article.
  4. The following should be linked: real-world dates, places, people that have a major connection with the subject, technical terms, characters, etc.
  5. For linking to lists, see MeS 6.2.3.

Articles

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See also: MeS 5.1.1

Naming

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For more information, please refer to the Wikipedia's official policy on naming conventions.
  1. Most article titles are singular (e.g. Elf (Middle-earth)), unless the topics are merged in an article or a list.
  2. Avoid overusing parenthesis in titles of articles, unless there is disambiguation (e.g. List of Middle-earth Dwarves instead of List of Dwarves (Middle-earth)).
  3. Avoid the definite article ("the") and the indefinite article ("a"/"an") unless addressing the titles of a books, series, movies, etc. For more information, refer to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (books).

Introduction

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  1. Articles on in-universe material should begin with wording similar to "In [[J. R. R. Tolkien]]'s [[Middle-earth]], '''[subject]''' is a character/place/event...", which gives: "In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, [subject] is a character/place/event..." Alternatively: "[Subject] is a character/place/event in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings."
  2. The [name of the] subject of the article at first mention must be bolded, preferably in the first sentence in the article.
  3. The lead section should be about two to three paragraphs long. This should summarize the content of each section of the article, which should cover its in-universe history and its textual history; scholarly analysis of the topic; and its use in adaptations.
  4. Articles must not begin with a quotation. Wikipedia has a sisterproject, Wikiquote, where quotes can be placed.

Headings

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Book

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  1. All book articles must have the {{Infobox Book}} template at the very top of the page.
  2. The body sections should generally follow in this order with optional subheadings:
    1. Overview
    2. Background – for novels in which the back story is necessary in order for readers to understand the synopsis
    3. Synopsis
    4. Concept and creation – details the process on how the book was created; this includes development of the text, etymology, etc.
    5. Reception – how scholars and critics have received the book: this is vital to establish notability
    6. Adaptations
    7. Impact on popular culture
    8. Further reading
    9. See also
    10. References
    11. External links

Character

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  1. All character articles must have the {{Infobox character}} template at the very top of the page.
  2. The body sections should generally follow in this order with optional subheadings:
    1. Literature – the character's biography
      1. Appearances – possibly with subheadings for major book appearances
        1. Background
    2. Analysis – how scholars see the character, what themes are involved; this is essential to establish notability
    3. Portrayal in adaptations – this may include film, artwork, music, games and so on
    4. References
    5. External links
  3. Because all fictional articles must be in out-of-universe perspective, dates cannot be included after the first mentioned of a characters name. For more information, read the Manual of Style when writing about fiction.

Location

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  1. All locations should contain the {{Infobox fictional location}} template at the very top of the page.
  2. The body sections should generally follow in this order with optional subheadings:
    • Etymology
    • Geography
    • History
    • Languages
    • Analysis – how and why scholars see the location as significant: this is essential to establish notability
    • References
    • External links

Race

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  1. The body sections should generally follow in this order with optional subheadings:

References

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For more information, refer to Wikipedia:References.

All Wikipedia articles must be referenced. Primary sources are required to verify the facts but these do not contribute to notability, so a detailed factual article can be deleted if it is unsupported by secondary sources. Reliable secondary sources that provide detailed interpretations are required to establish the notability of the subject of the article, making it Verifiable.

How to reference

For Tolkien-related articles and lists, references to sources must appear in a section called "References".

Books and other sources that you use more than once should be listed after the References in a section called "Sources". You may find it convenient to list all your sources in this way, in case any are later reused.

Identify general sources using the {{cite book}} template for the books listed there. Use {{ME-ref}} to add citations to books by Tolkien such as The Two Towers and by major Tolkien scholars such as The Road To Middle-earth to the "Sources" list – these examples are entered as * {{ME-ref|TT}} and * {{ME-ref|ROAD}} respectively, which automatically creates a fully-formatted citation, giving the following results:

  • Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954). The Two Towers. The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. OCLC 1042159111.
  • Shippey, Tom (2005) [1982]. The Road to Middle-Earth (Third ed.). HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0261102750.

When citing books or papers, you should indicate where the specific content was referenced from. For a paper, provide the full page range of the paper, not just the page(s) you used. For books, provide author, title, chapter, date, publisher, and ISBN. For non-Tolkien books, list the pages used (not the whole book) in each reference to the book in the article text. For Tolkien books, since there are many editions, identify the chapter by number and title, e.g. '<ref group=T>{{harvnb|loc=ch. 1 "An Unexpected Party"}}</ref>'; please avoid page numbers as these are virtually useless given that every editor will have their own edition of the book.

Primary (Tolkien) sources should be grouped in a "Primary" reference list (using {{reflist|group=T|30em}}) above the main "Secondary" reference list. References to Tolkien's letters should look like this: '{{sfn|Carpenter|2024|#19 to Stanley Unwin, 16 December 1937}}'; again, don't use page numbers as there are several editions. Secondary sources should be referenced to a range of page numbers, or to a chapter or article, e.g. '{{sfn|Shippey|2005|p=123}}'. References to any of the 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth will be primary if citing J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth writings directly, or secondary if citing Christopher Tolkien's commentary on those writings.

What to reference
  1. For interpretations or opinions, you must cite reliable secondary sources, such as scholarly books of Tolkien research or peer-reviewed articles in Tolkien journals like Mythlore, Mallorn, and Journal of Tolkien Research.
  2. For simple, non-controversial facts about Middle-earth, use primary sources, such as published texts by Tolkien or the primary texts published in The History of Middle-earth edited by Christopher Tolkien.
  3. Every article must demonstrate the real-world significance (or "notability") of the subject. This requires references to non-trivial coverage of the subject in multiple independent secondary sources or tertiary sources.
Tagging
  1. If articles contain no references, they should be tagged with {{unreferenced}}
  2. If articles contain references only to primary sources, they should be tagged with {{primarysources}}
  3. Other articles which require more should be tagged with {{refimprove}}
  4. If there are any unsourced statements in an article, use {{ME-fact}}, which will automatically place the article in Category:Tolkien articles with unsourced statements.
  5. If an article does not assert notability as stated above, use {{ME-importance}}, which will automatically place the article in Category:Tolkien articles of unclear notability.

These tags are important as a request to editors to improve an article which does not meet wikipedia's quality standards. Please do not remove a tag unless the problem has been fixed. Referencing may seem tedious, but it is very important. If you would like help with referencing an article, please ask at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Middle-earth.

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For more information, refer to Wikipedia's style guide concerning External links.
  1. Remember that the External links serve as further reading, not advertisement. Wikipedia is not a link farm nor a web directory. Do not link to ten or more sites. There are exceptions to this case, but a vast quantity of external links are usually frowned upon. Three to four links are usually enough.
  2. The following sites should be linked: Official sites (that majorly relate to the topic), articles about the subject of article on other encyclopedias or vast resources (e.g. Encyclopedia of Arda, The Thain's Book, Annals of Arda, The TolkienWiki, Tolkien Gateway), and sites that contain neutral and accurate information that has not been mentioned in the article. On controversial articles that contain multiple points of view, have at least equal amount of sites presenting each point of view with a detailed explanation.
  3. The following sites that are occasionally acceptable: professional reviews reviewing books, movies, etc. (e.g. IMDB), ONE very informative fansite about the subject of article, web directory full of informative fansites.
  4. The following should be avoided and are generally not acceptable: fanlistings (because they are not generally informative), multiple fansites, web directories (for exceptions, see above).
  5. The following should not be linked on articles under any circumstances: sites with unverified original research, any form of advertising (whether it's a site or a product), any social networking sites, blogs, etc.

Lists

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Naming

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  1. Before creating a list, please check Category:Middle-earth lists. All new list should be added to that category.
  2. Lists should be named "List of..." If the topic is disambiguous, then 'Middle-earth' should be placed prior to the noun. Remember to take care of the sortkeys.

Layout

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  1. Lists should have a general introduction around one to five sentences.
  2. The list should contain all things related to the subject of the list. For example, if the list is about Hobbits, major characters must be included, along with the {{Main}} before the entry. In this case, the introduction of the main article should serve in the list.
  3. If a list contains less than 30 entries (approximately, use common sense), it is better organized using sections; if more, consider employing a bulleted list or a definition list, surrounding the entries with <div id="Entry name"> and </div> tags and breaking up the page with alphabetical subheadings.
  4. Lists organized as sections should contain {{TOCright}} template at the top; lists using alphabetical subheadings should contain {{CompactTOC8}} template after the lead section.
  5. For linking and redirecting to lists, see MeS 6.2.

References

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  1. Everything that is mentioned in MeS 2.4 applies for lists as well.
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  1. Everything that mentioned in MeS 2.5 applies for lists as well.
  2. In cases of having articles on several items of the list, it is best to link the encyclopedia instead of multiple links of different articles on the same encyclopedia.

Images

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For more information, please refer to Wikipedia's policy on images.
  1. Always tag the image you're uploading with image copyright tags. If you are not sure of the copyright, then it is best not to upload it.
  2. Always include a description of the image: where the image came from, what it is, etc.
  3. if available, place book illustrations first in the article, especially in infoboxes. Screenshots and other images from adaptations properly belong in an Adaptations section.

Fair use

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  1. ALL images under fair use (e.g. icons, logos, drawings, maps, flags, photos, etc.) should be uploaded in a widely-used format such as PNG or JPG.
  2. Always include fair use copyright tags. A list of images with the following licenses should be uploaded can be found here.
  3. You must include a fair use rationale as well as commentary.
  4. There should not be more than one fair-use illustration or photograph from the same artist in an article.
  5. All fair use images must be in low resolution (less than 100,000 pixels).

Templates

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Usage

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  1. On talk pages of articles, place {{ME-project}}.
  2. On talk pages of categories, place {{ME-project|class=category}}.
  3. On talk pages of templates, place {{ME-project|class=template}}.
  4. On talk pages of disambiguation pages, place {{ME-project|class=dab}}.

Redirects

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Usage and categorization

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  1. All articles about an in-universe topic should be placed under the most familiar name (in most cases, consult the index to Unfinished Tales); to escape coalescence of titles with unrelated topics, names in Sindarin and Quenya can usually be used. Any other widely-known designations for the topic used in books should have eponymous redirects pointing to the main article.
  2. All redirects should be included into Category:Middle-earth redirects, or into one its subcategories, if appropriate. This is done by placing one of the "MER" templates on the same line as the #REDIRECT construction:
    1. For redirects from titles similar to the name of an article but with a different spelling (this includes omission of articles and capitalization but not misspellings), use {{MER from alt spelling}}.
    2. For redirects from titles similar to the name of an article but missing diacritics, use {{MER without diacritics}}. (All articles with diacritics in the title should have one such redirect for accessibility reasons.)
    3. For redirects from other names and titles, including translations, use {{MER from alt name}}.
    4. Redirects from names or spellings that were used by Tolkien for some time but were later replaced with others should be created only if there is a possibility that they are entered by a user (e.g. Teiglin, Tevildo). If created, use {{MER from former name}}.
    5. For redirects that are unlikely to be used (including uncommon misspellings) but are preserved for historical reasons, use {{MERR}}.

Redirects to lists

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  1. If a topic is fully described in an entry within a list (or if a page has been merged into a list), a redirect should be created (or preserved) directing to this entry, using a construction #REDIRECT [[List#Entry]], where "Entry" is either the title of a section in a list or the id value of the <div> tag (see MeS 3.2.3).
  2. If the entry is devoted solely to the topic in question (e.g. Minor places in Middle-earth or List of Middle-earth horses), the redirect should be tagged with {{MER to list entry}} template; if the section in the list deals with several similar subjects (e.g. House of Hador) or the list is embedded into a larger article (e.g. List of Eagles and Geography of Númenor), use {{MER to section}}.
  3. Linking to an entry in a list should be done using a redirect, not directly with an anchored link (sc. use [[Thorondor]] and [[Gelion]] instead of [[Eagle (Middle-earth)#Thorondor]] and [[List of Middle-earth rivers#G]]).
  4. If you encounter a topic that does not have its own article or an entry in a list, create an eponymous redirect to any mention of this topic in any article and tag it with {{MER with possibilities}}.

Other

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Canon

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  1. For many aspects of Middle-earth, earlier and later versions of the stories are available. Wikipedia articles should not present a canon version of the legendarium, but should contain information about the different versions and history of the composition of the stories. One way to do this is to have a '==Concept and creation==' section in the article. Please source such material to the posthumously published works, such as The History of Middle-earth series, as well as sourcing literary analysis of such material.

Dates

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  1. For articles with many dates which differ from the stated standard reckoning use the {{ME-date}} template.
  2. The sequence 'T. A. 2950', calendar system before year, was frequently used by Tolkien and generally followed on Wikipedia.
  3. If an article contains several dates from the same reckoning period then include the sentence, "Dates are given in years of the [[Third Age]], unless otherwise noted." Subsequent references to this reckoning can then be simply numeric (e.g. '2918') with no identifying label. This system can also be used for article sub-sections which contain several dates from the same reckoning period.
  4. For articles with only a few dates (or only a few differing from the stated standard reckoning for the article) it is easiest to just spell out the reckoning period in full; 'in the year 3319 of the Second Age'.
  5. To escape confusion, do not use the abbreviation "F. A.", as it can refer to both to the First Age and the Fourth. For the former, use "Y. S." (Years of the Sun in the First Age, see note in the article), and the latter spell in full unless no confusion can occur.

Terminology

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  1. The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy, and is arguably (and according to Tolkien himself) not a novel either. Use the words "story" (for the story as a whole), "book", "books" (both for LotR, its volumes and the 6 books — but make clear which you are referring to), "volume", "volumes" (for the three volumes of LotR).
  2. When referring to adaptations, label them clearly as to avoid confusion with works of the same name (e.g. "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" rather than just "The Two Towers", and "The Lord of the Rings film trilogy" instead of "The Lord of the Rings films"), and label their creators when necessary. For films, mention the director, studio and date of release.
  3. Take note of correct singular and plural forms of terms. (E.g. an Uruk or one of the Uruk-hai, not an Uruk-hai: "Uruk-hai" = "Orc-folk"; mûmak is singular, mûmakil plural.)
  4. Avoid adaptation-derived terms to describe the original versions of characters, concepts, etc. Only use those terms to refer to their counterparts in adaptations, and point out that the terms are original to the adaptation (e.g. "Army of the Dead" should only be used in an adaptation context; use "Dead Men of Dunharrow" elsewhere).

Translations

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  1. Be aware of overusing translations for every article. Use translations only if it is relevant to the article.
  2. When inserting a translation of a word in another language, consider using the {{ME-lang}} template. It can be placed in the lead section if translating the article title.

Works inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien

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  1. Any Tolkien-related material which was created by individuals other than J. R. R. Tolkien should not be included in Wikipedia unless it is part of an adaptation which is notable in its own right (e.g. Hadhafang, Madril, and information taken from The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare). Even in that case the origin of such information should be clearly labelled.