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Feb 212016

Another Mordor Update!

In working through the updates for Mordor 2016, I have been tackling a question that has rankled since I began this site about Mordor ~ The Land of Shadow.

The question of how to identify content that is Canon and that which is not…

Some Middle-earth fans cringe at the mere mention of the words ‘Tolkien Canon’, thinking this is for purists and text obsessed Tolkien Nerds and yet on the other hand you have diehard Tolkien Fans, who look on with disdain at any content that does not adhere to the writings of Professor Tolkien.

I fall somewhere in the middle, as does this website. Some 0f our content falls strictly into Canon, while other media plays fast and loose with Tolkien’s written text. Finding common ground between these two factions has been a mission of mine since the beginning, though oftentimes with only fair to middling results. In this latest update I am trying to remedy this problem.

Mordor by it’s very definition exists in the shadows of Tolkien’s writing, much of it undefined and left to the imagination. However, many who arrive here in The Land of Shadow.com come with a thirst for knowledge, that we try to slake with our pages about the dark creatures and places of shadow, illuminated images and words that expand on Tolkien’s vision.

So in order to make the definition of our content more clearly defined, we have created icons and pages that we hope illuminate what is Canon and what is not. If you look at the Mordor Menu at the top of the page you can see we have added The Library of Shadow as a menu option and pages defining The Tolkien Canon and Expanded Mythology are there.


In The land of Shadow.com we have chosen to break it down in this way. All content that is taken specifically from the published written works, diagrams and maps of J.R.R. Tolkien and the edited works by Christopher Tolkien, will be labeled under the Tolkien Canon. Whereas all content from films, video games, roleplaying games, trading card games, board games, images and maps that expand on the world of Middle-earth, will be under the label of Expanded Mythology.

Whenever possible, we will use this Icon to the left, to denote when the content is being taken directly from the Tolkien Canon, so that you will know where the material is sourced. You can go HERE to our Tolkien Canon page to get more detailed information on what we perceive the Canon to be.

You can always inquire through the comment section, if you have questions on a particular page about were the information is sourced.

Likewise we will use this Icon to denote when the content is from the larger Expanded Mythology of Middle-earth, as we term it in Mordor. You can go HERE for more details about the extended world as we define it.

Of course labeling content will not always be possible, such as in animated portions of this site, but whenever possible, we will try to make clear the source of information you are digesting.

The Tolkien Canon is pretty self explanatory, however the Expanded Mythology gets a little tricker to define. A simple definition for Canon, is whether or not it exists within Tolkien’s published works, if not then it comes under the heading of Expanded Mythology. The larger world of Arda and Middle-earth on the other hand are sometimes harder to define. Expanded Mythology can be broken down into two main types of Middle-earth material. One is content that could have happened within the context of Middle-earth history as written by Tolkien. The second type of Expanded Mythology content occurs in Middle-earth, but clearly conflicts with Tolkien’s written text. We call this Breaking Canon. I will point out several examples from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies to illustrate the difference.

lillytauriel527F2For events that might have happened with the context of Tolkien’s written works here is an example from The Hobbit and  The Lord of the Rings trilogies. In Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, he introduces the character of Tauriel from the woodland realm. There is nothing in her character creation, that directly conflicts with the written works of Tolkien. Such a character might well have existed, but was simply not written about in the books. Another good example of this is the character of Lurtz in The Fellowship of the Ring film.

The same could be said for the omission of the scenes from The Fellowship of the Ring, such as the Old Forest and the House of Tom Bombadil. If you watch The Fellowship of the Ring,  it’s possible that between the scene of the  hobbit crossing the Brandywine and  when they enter Bree, that the missing scenes from the book could conceivably have taken place, we just didn’t see them. It’s a stretch, but it is possible.

GoHomeSam53On the other hand, events in the narrative of the films that actually contradict Tolkien’s texts also come under the heading of Expanded Mythology, but are a bit harder to swallow. For instance in The Hobbit: DOS when the company of dwarves splits up and some go to the Mountain while the rest stay in Lake-town, is a direct contradiction to what Tolkien wrote.

In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King when Frodo accuses Sam of eating the waybread and coveting the Ring, he sends him home on the stair of Cirith Ungol, this is in direct conflict with Tolkien’s version of events. Not to mention being completely ludicrous!

The point I’m making here, is that the term Expanded Mythology of Middle-earth covers a lot of ground. Here in Mordor, we have chosen to stick with the former type of content, rather than the latter, choosing to keep within the bounds of Tolkien Canon even if its new content.

I hope this helps clarify our narrative content about Mordor and Middle-earth, here in The Land of Shadow.com

 February 21, 2016  Posted by at 7:03 am
  • CT

    Could you explain that again?….starting with “In working through the updates”……LOL

  • For a lot of Middle-earth fans, none of this Canon crap matters… LOL… but for some, it matters very much! Tolkien fans are a unique bunch, with a very strong literary bent. Unlike Star Wars fans, whose franchise is anchored primarily in the world of film, our fantasy realm is rooted in one of the most important literary works of the 20th century. Our hero is an English Professor… so, just think of this as another layer of fandom that you can embrace or leave along the road.

  • CT

    Personally speaking, I’m good with both. No doubt the books are classics, but the movies definitely added a new dimension to the books. They really brought to life the characters, and the world of middle-earth itself with amazing movie sets [Bag End, Mines of Moria, etc…..I could go on all day] and breathtaking landscapes. And the addition of some new characters doesn’t bother me in the least. Nor does the fact the movies didn’t follow the books word for word.. The simple truth of the matter is that books and movies are completely different mediums and often things that work well on paper don’t work out so well on film, and vice versa. And quite frankly, some things found in the books would not have translated well on film without butchering the tempo and overall pace ie Tom Bombadil. At the end of the day I really do believe the books and movies have complimented each other very nicely, and I think we’re all winners as a result.

  • Roberto Took

    I love the books first and foremost, even though it was the movies that introduced me to LotR. However, I find that so far all the legendarium I’ve encountered, (movies, lotro, and merp) have stayed true enough to the books that I can enjoy them without more than slight annoyance at some of the inconsistencies. Some things even feel like necessary steps such as skipping Tom Bombadil and the Barrows in FotR. That would’ve made the movie sharply change gears and take almost four hours!

  • Well said!