The Tolkien fandom is the fandom surrounding the books written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is known for being made up of some extremely hardcore and protective fans; this may be why many canon protection initiatives have been started by Tolkien fans.
Issues with the Canon Edit
The canon itself is extremely complex. The Lord of the Rings is probably the only book that is (mostly) unquestionably canon. The Hobbit was not originally meant to really take place in Arda, so, while the events of it are canon, some things mentioned in it might not be. The others – The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, and the History of Middle-earth series – were all published post-humously and were edited by Christopher Tolkien. This is not to imply that Christopher Tolkien somehow "taints" the canon – on the contrary, Tolkien fans are indebted to him for all his hard work – just that there are some questions that he can't answer simply because he isn't his father.
One example of contradictions within the canon is the identity of Gil-galad's father. Originally, he was a descendant of Fëanor, but JRRT decided against that, so that isn't a problem. However, no one knows for sure whether Gil-galad's father was Fingon or Orodreth. Even if it is Orodreth, Orodreth could be the son of Finarfin and the brother of Angrod, or the son of Angrod and the grandson of Finarfin. And that's without getting into what his original name actually is (Gil-Galad is an ëpessë, a kind of nickname). While fans can argue over which is the most likely version, it's impossible to know for certain. This is only one of a number of issues.
Divisions Within the FandomEdit
There are a number of different factions inside the Tolkien fandom. Many of them are fairly unimportant distinctions, based on issues like whether or not Balrogs have wings or how many Glorfindels there are. While these are not irrelevant for the PPC – one could not, for example, make "giving Balrogs wings" a charge – there are really only two main factions that are significant for the purposes of the PPC:
People Who Like the MoviesEdit
These includes both people who have read the books and people who have not. The first group can be further divided into people who read the books before seeing the movies and people who read them after seeing the movies. While the people who read the books often irritate by incorporating bits of the movies into their fanfics, it's generally the people who haven't read the books who cause the most problems for the PPC. Watching the movies simply does not give one anywhere near the same level of understanding of Middle-earth and its inhabitants that reading the books does, but this is only one of many problems.
The group within this faction that usually writes the worst Suefics are fangirls who learned about Middle-earth for the first time after watching the movies and became smitten with Legolas, Aragorn, Frodo, or one of the other characters – or, to be more accurate, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, or Elijah Wood. Their stories frequently involve Mary Sues arriving, often after falling into Middle-earth from a different world, and falling in love with that character. A particularly infamous – and common – type of Middle-earth Mary Sue is the Tenth Walker, in which the Sue joins the Fellowship of the Ring.
There are, of course, members of this group who respect the books and don't cause problems for the PPC (or may even be part of it). Some of them say that, while watching the movies, they were able to separate the movies from the books, and watch them as movies, not as adaptations of The Lord of the Rings.
People Who Don't Like the MoviesEdit
People in this group are frequently referred to as "Tolkien Purists." This group, too, has several different divisions within it, based on which books the person has read. One thing most all of them agree on is that the movies strayed too far from the books. There are also some, though not the majority, who dislike the idea of a movie of The Lord of the Rings on principle. Generally, people in this group don't cause problems for the PPC – and some are in it – because that they found the movies too far from the books means that they must have some level of respect for the books. Also, they obviously must have read the books, which means they have at least a basic level of knowledge about Arda.
Just because they respect the books does not, of course, mean purists are without flaws.
Issues with FanfictionEdit
Fanfiction can be a touchy subject among Tolkien fans. While there are many who enjoy reading and writing Arda-based fanfic, there are some who argue that Tolkien would probably not have wanted people writing fanfic based on his works. In some of his letters, Tolkien did express disapproval towards people who presumed to meddle with his world.
On the other hand, he did also talk in his letters about his vision for a "body of more-or-less connected legend...I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd." (Letters, 131.) It's debatable if this could be construed to include fanfic, however.
It is certainly true that he would not have approved of some of the fanfic being written about his characters, regardless of how he felt about fanfic in general. He was, after all, a devout Roman Catholic, and this is reflected in his characters and world. Of course, his personal beliefs that he incorporated into Arda – Elves' strict monogamy, for example – are canon and must be treated as such.
- "Know Your Sues!" (LotR edition), by Tungsten Monk (link broken)
- "Know Your Sues!" (LotR edition), Part II: "The Modern Gurl Cometh!", by Tungsten Monk (link broken)