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Old 12-15-2013, 01:28 PM   #1
Galadriel
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Tolkien Why do you like the Tolkien fandom?

That is, assuming you do like it. If you don't, I'd still like to know why. I do think there's a difference between enjoying Tolkien's work and enjoying the Tolkien fandom.

For me, the reason is this: while the Tolkien fandom, like all other big fandoms, can get nutty, it tends to be, well, more sane, for want of a better word. Just to clarify, I don't count dressing up as Gandalf or Fingolfin, or reading Tolkien's books again and again, as 'insane'. What I do call insane is, for instance, getting pointlessly aggressive towards people who happen to dislike a character you are fond of. That, in my opinion, is excessive. Of course we have our puritans (!) and our Legolas fanatics, but on the whole, I find the Tolkien fandom to be generally more pleasant, more accepting, and more welcoming than other fandoms, such as, say, the Game of Thrones fandom, which I have dabbled in for a while. There seems to be more of a 'come, let us all sit by the fire and tell each other stories' air than a 'let us completely tear each other apart over which character is cooler' one. The latter occurs, I think, but not nearly as much as it could. There is some snobbery, but I'll take a bit of snobbery over snarling, frothing-at-the-mouth fanatics.

Or maybe I'm just deluded.
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:42 PM   #2
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I don't know, but now I'm glad I've dodged Game of Thrones....

Kidding. I like Tolkien fandom because I tend to find people who cherish beauty and truth. Tolkien did; and some (not all) of those who love him are drawn to what he loved, naturally and sympathetically. You could call it limbic resonance I suppose....
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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I don't know, I am probably not sufficiently exposed to other fandoms. However there are at least a few members here who are sufficiently biased that I want the popcorn franchise if they should ever meet. And I speak as someone whose loathing of Luthien is legendary and inspired a gauntlet throwing thread when Fordim and I squabbled on the virtues of Faramir v Aragorn.... he called darling Faramir a dweeb! I ask you... a gauntlet was too good for him
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:49 PM   #4
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I would also say that the Tolkien works do seem to attract people who are astoundingly intelligent and with a wide knowledge base (what do they know of Tolkien who only Tolkien know?), others and sometimes the same are extremely creative, or amusing or show high levels of compassion and empathy. It is a stimulating group of people to be around if daunting. There are exceptions of course... not necessarily here but Tolkien fandom has introduced me also to people so boring and obnoxious that I would cross Oxford Street in rush hour to avoid and sub-Vogonic poetry.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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I don't know, I am probably not sufficiently exposed to other fandoms. However there are at least a few members here who are sufficiently biased that I want the popcorn franchise if they should ever meet. And I speak as someone whose loathing of Luthien is legendary and inspired a gauntlet throwing thread when Fordim and I squabbled on the virtues of Faramir v Aragorn.... he called darling Faramir a dweeb! I ask you... a gauntlet was too good for him
Personally I never liked either Beren or Lśthien. Faramir...pretty neutral about him, really. Even if he was most like Tolkien, if we are to believe our professor.

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I would also say that the Tolkien works do seem to attract people who are astoundingly intelligent and with a wide knowledge base (what do they know of Tolkien who only Tolkien know?), others and sometimes the same are extremely creative, or amusing or show high levels of compassion and empathy. It is a stimulating group of people to be around if daunting. There are exceptions of course... not necessarily here but Tolkien fandom has introduced me also to people so boring and obnoxious that I would cross Oxford Street in rush hour to avoid and sub-Vogonic poetry.
Well put, though I'd rather say his works attract people who are astoundingly tolerant and quite kind. I think, really, that Tolkien's fans do pick up these qualities from his books, even if to a small extent. Certainly we have our obnoxious nutters, but seriously, go onto the Game of Thrones fandom on tumblr and you will see much more than the relatively harmless term 'dweeb' - and not directed at fictional characters. That's generally one of the reasons I really enjoy the Tolkien fandom. Foul language is usually kept to a minimum (there are exceptions!), compared to other fandoms. If there is aggresion, it is usually reserved for ideas and characters - not people. I'm quite convinced the Tolkien fandom is considerably less nasty than most. (I know I've only used GoT here, but I am in other fandoms, too)
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:16 PM   #6
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I don't know, but now I'm glad I've dodged Game of Thrones....

Kidding. I like Tolkien fandom because I tend to find people who cherish beauty and truth. Tolkien did; and some (not all) of those who love him are drawn to what he loved, naturally and sympathetically. You could call it limbic resonance I suppose....
That's an interesting point, and not one I have actually thought of before.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #7
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My reasons are similar to Mithalwen's. There is very deep and genuine compassion at the heart of Tolkien's works, and what one reader who wrote to Tolkien called "sanctity."

I haven't read Game of Thrones. I did enjoy the Harry Potter series immensely, but it doesn't stand up to discussion the way Tolkien's works do. Plus the moral code/values behind it always feel rather calculated. It just doesn't generate discussion in the same way.
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Old 12-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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My God daughter is very involved in Terry Pratchett fandom and both she and her brother both loved Harry Potter and were more involved in it, perhaps because they grew up with it. I have read both and have a lot of time for both authors perhaps because although their worlds are not as wondrous to me as Arda, they both have a palpable love of language and lore even if they have not created languages like Tolkien did.. and a measure of my love of Tolkien is linguistic.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:24 AM   #9
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If you don't, I'd still like to know why.
I don't quote this because I dislike the 'Tolkien fandom', given that I really have little engagement outside the Downs, but at the same time I'm a touch sceptical about fandom in general. A shared or mutual interest can give people a sense of community and belonging, which in the right circumstances can be a very positive and healthy thing. On the other hand, I think it can also, in the wrong circumstances, enable the entrenchment of opinions, defensiveness and obsessive behaviour. Fandom worries me when it becomes an in-group, a shared self, hostile to non-fans, the out-group, the other. On a place like the Downs, where reasoned debate is the order of the day, this isn't an issue. On larger forums and elsewhere I think it's more noticeable. I could present some slightly more involved armchair psychology but that's basically the gist of my feelings. I like to think of myself as an "enthusiast."

On a related note, it's hard to pin down a fandom, isn't it? Take Tolkien as an example. I think the 'fandom' here is a touch different to the 'fandom' which posts gifs of Richard Armitage on tumblr.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:17 AM   #10
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I don't quote this because I dislike the 'Tolkien fandom', given that I really have little engagement outside the Downs, but at the same time I'm a touch sceptical about fandom in general. A shared or mutual interest can give people a sense of community and belonging, which in the right circumstances can be a very positive and healthy thing. On the other hand, I think it can also, in the wrong circumstances, enable the entrenchment of opinions, defensiveness and obsessive behaviour. Fandom worries me when it becomes an in-group, a shared self, hostile to non-fans, the out-group, the other. On a place like the Downs, where reasoned debate is the order of the day, this isn't an issue. On larger forums and elsewhere I think it's more noticeable. I could present some slightly more involved armchair psychology but that's basically the gist of my feelings. I like to think of myself as an "enthusiast."

On a related note, it's hard to pin down a fandom, isn't it? Take Tolkien as an example. I think the 'fandom' here is a touch different to the 'fandom' which posts gifs of Richard Armitage on tumblr.
I would call that the PJ fandom, Zigūr.

You make some very good points about fandom becoming an 'in-group...hostile to non-fans, the out-group, the other'. I personally like to differentiate between a 'fan' and a 'fanatic'. "Enthusiast" is so erudite.
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Old 02-07-2014, 07:57 PM   #11
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That's generally one of the reasons I really enjoy the Tolkien fandom. Foul language is usually kept to a minimum (there are exceptions!), compared to other fandoms. If there is aggresion, it is usually reserved for ideas and characters - not people.
The first web-group on Tolkien I recall joining I no longer recall the name of. But it was the official web-forum for the forthcoming Jackson films, though it had mostly moved away from the films into discussion of the books. The official moderator, appointed by the company who ran the forum, had long vanished. It seemed no-one was actually running this or any of the forums listed by the company. No moderators. Nothing.

Surprisingly this worked, because most members wanted it to work. A member who went by the name Prism-Cat was sort of unofficial moderator because everyone very much respected her and liked her. But she had no power to force anyone to do anything. That eventually became the problem.

There were two posters, teenagers, who filled their many posts with obscenities. I believe this was tolerated because there was nothing anyone could do. Eventually one of these persons became sort of a leader of a party which seemed to be increasingly attempting to take over the group.

Again there was nothing anyone could do. Eventually I and a few others left for other forums. The purveyor of obscenities eventually joined one of the other forums of which I was a member, and was banned from that forum after only three of his posts. Then one day, upon looking into the old forum, I found it entirely changed, run by a different company, with an entirely different format. I found the old forum by logging in by some other method.

There was now a moderator, an employee of the company. The old forum was no long listed as in any way connected to the film. The company moderator was involved with setting up elections to establish a new permanent moderator. The purveyor of obscenities was still around, but every one of his old posts had been deleted. But neither I or any of the others who had quit returned to posting there. We had apparently all got used to discussions free from rudeness and obscenities.

All the forums run by the company were closed down about a year later.

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On the other hand, I think it can also, in the wrong circumstances, enable the entrenchment of opinions, defensiveness and obsessive behaviour. Fandom worries me when it becomes an in-group, a shared self, hostile to non-fans, the out-group, the other. On a place like the Downs, where reasoned debate is the order of the day, this isn't an issue.
Indeed! But is academia that different? It used to be that sf and fantasy works were generally not allowed to be discussed or taught. But they have gradually crept in, originally through special courses in “popular culture”. Earlier still works by Charles Dickens were forbidden as too popular. I recall an early academic sf conference in Toronto in which someone questioned what official qualifications sf author Alexei Panshin had which allowed him to speak at the conference.

I originally mostly dropped out of sf fandom after being very active in it, being tired of the increasing mass of self-obsessed personalzines. I dropped out of Tolkien fandom in total disgust at the dishonesty of Glen GoodKnight and his Mythopoeic Society.

I partially returned when web forums began to appear when the Jackson films were announced. I dropped away and returned again to web fandom over the years. Then when I recently retired and had more time, thought of getting involved again. I started to make submissions to Tolkien fanzines which were published. I found out from the web that there was a local Tolkien Society group here in Toronto, and found out when their next meeting was.

The meeting was poorly attended. When I arrived the only other person at the pub was she who is known here as Galadriel55. Galadriel55 was very courteous and polite to a boring old geezer, and very, very knowledgeable on Tolkien matters. We talked for over two hours until a few others turned up. Galadriel55 mentioned that she was a member of a Tolkien web-forum and that it was called Barrow-Downs.  “Why I’m a member of that group!” I said.

About two weeks after the meeting I thought of checking out Barrow-Downs again to see if I could find this girl of whom I only had the first name and not her log-in. I expected it to take a day, or forever. But in fact it took almost no time at all. All one had to do was to look at a few posts by one who at the time posted more prolifically than anyone else to discover that she lived in Toronto and was of Russian origin. Bingo! Also her posts were amazing: lively, vibrant, and very, very intelligent.

It had been years since I posted here and took me about another week to get my old id back.
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:14 AM   #12
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I'd say maturity. (though, I've seen old people fighting like kids ) That's all I can say for now. I'll add something later, if I got to.
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