Nerding Out

This Database Painstakingly Chronicles a Family Tree of Tolkien Characters

Talk about a big data project!
screen shot 2012 07 30 at 11 47 40 am 400x302 This Database Painstakingly Chronicles a Family Tree of Tolkien Characters

Bilbo is impressed, but also bewildered. (Photo: Gossip Cop)

Do the infinite wonders of the Internet know no bounds? We’ve just been alerted to the magnificence that is the Lord of the Rings project, an extensive catalog of every character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world of Middle Earth, including both a family tree and an entire section of the project devoted to number crunching.

There’s even an Android app. For once, you iPhone owners can only look on in envy.

It’s enough to satisfy even the most enthusiastic of hobbit genealogists (and hobbits are well known to be almost as fond of genealogy as they are of snacks and pipe-smoking). 

Nor is this the work of some mere dilettante who read The Hobbit, watched the Peter Jackson trilogy and called it a day. Included in the dataset are books published after Mr. Tolkien’s death, including the interminable Silmarillion. The work of an chemical engineering student named Emil Johansson, he’s been working on the site since last November and has since added and classified 923 characters. The process apparently hasn’t always been a bed of roses, either:

 This Database Painstakingly Chronicles a Family Tree of Tolkien Characters

Via LOTRproject.com

But thanks to Mr. Johansson’s diligence, we now have an authoritative source to which we can point and say that hobbits have a life expectancy of 96 years, as opposed to the 195 years a dwarf can count on. Not all the numbers are fun, though: We were very sad to learnt that a mere 19 percent of characters named were female. Says the blog’s authors: “The low number of females is not due to lack of females in Middle-Earth but due to the fact that Tolkien did not describe many of them.”

Our only questions is this: When will noted Tolkien fan Peter Thiel step up with the grant this organization so richly deserves?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com