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 Mordor ~ The Land of Shadow.com come with a thirst for knowlege, 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 Tolkien Legendarium 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 Tolkien Legendarium.
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 world of Middle-earth in the Tolkien Legendarium, as we term it in Mordor. You can go HERE for more details about the Legendarium 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 Tolkien Legendarium gets a little tricker to define. A simple definition for Canon, is whether or not it exists within the Tolkien published works, if not then it comes under the heading of Legendarium. The Tolkien Legendarium on the other hand is harder to define. Legendarium content can be broken down into to 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 Legendarium contend does occur in Middle-earth, but clearly conflicts with Tolkien written text. I will point out several examples from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies to illustrate the difference.
For events the might have happened with the context of Tolkien’s written works here is and example from The Hobbit and one from The Lord of the Rings. 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.
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.
On the other hand, events in the narrative of the films that actually contradict Tolkien’s texts also come under the heading of Legendarium, 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 Tolkien Legendarium 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 Middle-earth. We are open to new content in the expanded Legendarium, as long as it doesn’t directly conflict with Canon, while at the same time building on the world of Middle-earth.