Something that really chaps my ass is the incorrect spelling of Middle-earth, when people just drop the hyphen and capitalize the E… REALLY?
“The invention of languages is the foundation. The ‘stories’ were made rather to provide a world for the languages than the reverse. To me a name comes first and the story follows” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
As anyone who’s immersed themselves in the writings of Professor Tolkien know, it’s the ‘language’ that informs the story as much as the narrative, and Tolkien’s use of words and special characters is what gives depth and realism to this world.
OK… so perhaps I’m getting a bit cranky in my old age, but it’s clearly Middle-earth…. not Middle Earth. It amazes me how often I see this in blog postings and articles in entertainment magazines about Tolkien’s mythical world. I pride myself in NOT being a self-righteous Tolkien purist, but come on folks… Middle-earth is the primary name of the world in Tolkien’s mythology and it would be like misspelling Star Wars or Star Trek. The name Middle-earth has been out in the world for over 60 years and to me there is no excuse for not spelling it correctly if you’re writing about it.
Now, I don’t put this same requirement on those who only have passing knowledge of Tolkien’s writing, what bothers me are those who consider themselves part of the Tolkien Community or who are selling products to those of us who make up the community and yet and don’t take the time to get it right. An example that comes to mind is the film in preproduction about the life of Professor Tolkien. The title of the film is Middle Earth. I suppose they might have done this for legal reasons, since both the Tolkien Estate and Middle-earth Enterprises hold a list of words associated with Middle-earth and are known to be serial litigators. However, if this is the case, then why not choose another name, because if you want to irritate fans of Tolkien that’s a good way to do it.
I have theory about those who misspell Middle-earth… they are more then likely people who either haven’t read the books or the books didn’t leave a big impression on them. They have seen the movies and believe they know all about Middle-earth. Having never read the books or seen the word written down, they have no idea they are misspelling it.
For those of us who love the books, you can’t help but be affected by the way the words look on the page. It’s such an important aspect of the experience of reading Tolkien.
I have to admit that running a Middle-earth themed fan site has it’s challenges, especially when it comes to staying on top of all the grammatical accents and special characters. As many of you can attest to, I’m not the best of spellers and sometimes get screwed by spell-check. If you comb through the writings here in Mordor, you’ll likely see our share of mistakes, even though we go to great pains to stay accurate to Tolkien’s nomenclature. However, you’ll never see us spell the word Middle-earth incorrectly… NEVER!
So what do I have to say to those who can’t take the time to spell Middle-earth properly?
Get your shit together!
End of Rant.