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Old 03-20-2006, 08:28 AM   #1
Thinlómien
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LotR and subgroups

Has anyone ever noticed that there are certain groups which in LotR fans are more probably found?

(You can lynch me for using wrong terms though I'd prefer being corrected - I've no idea about slang terms in English...)

In Finland, LotR fans are mostly found among heavy-music listeners, computer geeks and hippies, though I think there were both more hippies and hippie-LotR-fans say twenty to forty years ago.

Funnily enough, I find features of all these subgroups in myself.

So the question is: in there where you live are there certain subgroups with more than average percentage () of LotR-fans? If there are, are they the same I mentioned?

I know nowadays that has changed and there are more and more LotR-fans in different groups because of the movies...

(Anyway, I don't count a 12-year old huge Orlando-fan who has seen the movies 100 times and maybe, with chance, read the book once - whatever she claims to be - a LotR-fan...)

Any comments?
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:43 AM   #2
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Interesting Thinlomien! I find here in Canada there are pretty much only dorks and geeks who like LOTR. Not that there is anything wrong with that! I guess I would fall into both those catagories. At the university I go to there is a medi-evil club, but I find that a little too "geeky" for my taste! Even though they do serve beer.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:08 AM   #3
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Not true Valier! I wouldn't generalize the whole of Canada to be dorky or geeky because they like LOTR. I would assume that there are alot of 'ordinary' people that like LOTR just as much as we do and don't consider themselves to be dorks. However, not all of them would find a site such as BD and obsess everyday over it like we do....I think we would fall in the geeky category for sure !
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:35 PM   #4
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The only one that applies to me (though slightly) would be computer geek. I'm not really into computers, just online killing.

Actually, none of the people I know who like LoTR really fall into any of those categories. The thing is, people I know are completely obsessed with LoTR (ie. annual Gathering of the Fellowship, dressing up, watching all three back-to-back-to-back, etc.) but none of them are nerds or geeks in any way. A love of fantacy doesn't necessarily place you in that catagory, though very often it does.
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien
In Finland, LotR fans are mostly found among heavy-music listeners, computer geeks and hippies, though I think there were both more hippies and hippie-LotR-fans say twenty to forty years ago.
What does 'heavy-music listeners' mean exactly? I think that I know but I'd rather be sure.

And though I use a computer daily, can code a bit and tear one apart (just enough knowledge to be dangerous ), I would not consider myself a computer geek. Once thought that I was a total nerd, but then went to a "Star Trek" convention, at which time I realized that I was trending more towards normal. The fact that I'm married and have children places me closer to the norm than the geek label.

Hippies!?! I love tie-dyed shirts, as nothing hides the stains acquired when my children decide to clean their hands on 'daddy's shirt,' but am definitely not into the hippy lifestyle at all.

Though those that read may be considered more geeky than football starry, I'd think that you can find Tolkien readers across many demographics.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:34 PM   #6
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I once had a theory that all those ostracized by society liked fantasy in general, and usually Tolkien in particular, as a form of escapism.

I now think it's utter rubbish. My sample was tiny and unrepresentative.
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Old 03-20-2006, 03:19 PM   #7
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the common denominator here is ...intelligence!no matter what your musical preference is...no matter what social status or age or point of origin...intelligent, literate,humourous people like LoTr.he appeals to a wide, general populace.i'm no dork or geek, i can barely use a computer, but there is something in tolkien that reaches down and grabs your soul.it awakens something in your being and draws you in. there's nothing nerdy about that..thats the legacy of a brilliant writer.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:23 PM   #8
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I hope you won't lynch me after this one.

There are many ways to differentiate people into two groups. One I can see here, is the difference between the "romantic-reactionaries" and the "modernist-activists". Tolkien surely was of the first class, and I guess many of his admirers are so too. Compare Tolkien to the modernists of his day (eg. the artists, writers, composers, choreographists of the 20's to 50's...) and you can see the difference.

But then he was taken in by the hippie-movement of the 60's, and the rest is "history"... Well the hippies anyhow fought against the then academic and abstractly intellectual art-scene as bourgeois-bluff. Not without a reason I think. Somehow a reactionary became the activist...

I was kind of a hippy as a young guy - and in a sense I am still (I still enjoy Jefferson Airplane, Frank Zappa and even Led Zeppelin) - and love Tolkien. By the same time I tried to make this love of Tolkien coherent with my radical social ideas. That was a tough one, and still is.

But surely I can see Tolkien in a different light now: calling for the best ideas of conservatism: love, trust, companionship, care for others... But still the institutions he kind of sanctified, are dubious to any social activist today: patriarchality, "family-values", social conservatism, sticking to the ways things have been in an idealized mode - not really seeing the suppressive structures behind them etc...

But surely people could be differentiated in regards of liking Tolkien in many other ways also...
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:48 PM   #9
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Tolkien is associated with geeks, yes, but just look at the kind of members on the Downs and they aren't stereotypical geeks by a long way. We have a solicitor, an accountant, several teachers and tutors, and um...a civil servant. Members seem to be into a wide range of interests too, and not everyone is just into Led Zep! Not that there's owt wrong with that (I have to say that, casting a sideways glance at the CDs... ).

One thing that everyone does seem to have in common is that all Tolkien fans seem to enjoy reading and watching films, and we do seem to be a discerning lot, judging by the comments we make. We also seem to be pretty literate - a lot of other more general forums are characterised by text speak and incoherent, unbalanced opinions. I wonder if that's something to do with being Tolkien fans or because this is a forum primarily about a writer's work?

But, ahem, I do have to admit, I have an internet addiction, I like gadgets, I like a lot of rock and alternative music (and a lot of the old 70s meandering and vaguely folky rock too) and I am a right old tree-hugger.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:58 PM   #10
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Nogrod, that is so cool. Not only are we from the same time, I also like Zep (No greater rock band!) etc, but liked Tolkien for seeing the world more as I do, which is much opposite of your POV. The beating back of the Sauron and Saruman, who to me wanted to control everything, to the Scouring of the Shire, which showed "sharing and gathering" in such a poor light, only made me resonate with Tolkien even more as I grew older.

So I guess, from what I've seen on this thread so far, with the exception this group being Downers, being able to type and having internet access, we might not have that much in common.
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Old 03-20-2006, 07:44 PM   #11
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To clarify for the original poster - he is simply looking for examples of common interests among Tolkien fans that you might've noticed. alatar summed it up nicely, I think:

Quote:
Though those that read may be considered more geeky than football starry, I'd think that you can find Tolkien readers across many demographics.
Thinlómien is not stereotyping, or looking for some narrow, always true classification/qualification system.

As for my own experience, I have found that many who like Tolkien also like good music. Led Zeppelin certainly was a reference point for me, and several others I know. When I was fifteen, I was able to move past my love of Queen. I lived and breathed Led Zeppelin for quite a while. It didn't take long to get past the studio albums to live recordings, websites, and figuring out what the songs were about.

There was a website then about Led Zeppelin lyrics (and the obvious/potential allusions to Middle-earth), eventually titled Stairway to Middle-earth (originally at http://www.auburn.edu/~speedhe/). It has now moved to http://www.ledtolkien.com (which redirects to http://www.dpo.uab.edu/~hayspeed/), though some of the personal content and less Tolkien-related content has been removed. Consequently, along with the newer graphics/layout, it feels a little less like the interesting little corner I found fascinating eight years ago. Nonetheless, just as Page had inspired my brother and I to pick up the guitar, Page and Plant inspired us to pick up The Lord of the Rings.

The only people at my high school who liked Tolkien (that I was aware of) were introverted and not ones to follow the crowd, but not antiestablish or nonconformists or something. Also, I often find '70s progressive rock fans that love Tolkien (possibly due to the focus on fantasy of each).
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:45 PM   #12
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I'm glad to say that I'm in a rather odd situation regarding the demographics around me, especially in regard to Tolkien. I'm at a relatively small undergraduate engineering school (Rose-Hulman, for those interested), and as such, the demographic definitely tends towards the somewhat geeky and nerdy.

And luckily, hand in hand with that seems to come a pretty widespread love for Tolkien. I do agree that there are many Tolkien fans who wouldn't be considered nerdy or geeky, but I can say with confidence that now that living in an area with a higher percentage of nerds and geeks does improve the odds of the next person you see being a Tolkien fan.

Just as an example of how nice it is to live in a place with Tolkien fans a-plenty: As many of you probably know, Battle for Middle Earth 2 recently came out, and while it does have some content I take canonical issues with, it does provide a fun way to recreate the land of Middle Earth. Naturally, those of us who are fans thought it seemed interesting, and we therefore managed to get copies for ourselves, and we've since proceeded to recreate legendary battle after legendary battle over out LAN. I don't just mean that we've thrown together armies of elves and orcs and thrown them at eachother (which we have done), but also that we select maps and intentionally recreate actual 'historical' Tolkien battles.

And the best part? We all just sit there and drool over the fact that we're playing with elves. After just one of us installed it, we crowded around his laptop and waxed giddy over the idea of experiencing a battle of Middle-Earth; and not just because we like computer games, but because we all find ME cool.

It's nice living amongst people of similar interests.

Oh, and being able to tell a Tolkien joke at lunch and having everyone laugh is a wonderful thing.

But back to topic, even though we do have those similar threads amongst us, geekiness and Tolkien, I will say that we vary in many other ways. We all like different music, have different majors, and even have different tastes in regards to other literature. I guess Tolkien's writing power, while it may tend towards certain demographics, definitely has the ability to bridge the gap and appeal greatly to people of very different tastes.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:27 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalwendë
We also seem to be pretty literate - a lot of other more general forums are characterised by text speak and incoherent, unbalanced opinions. I wonder if that's something to do with being Tolkien fans or because this is a forum primarily about a writer's work?
I must say, I don't think this is to do with Tolkien or writers in general, primarily.

It owes everything to the Barrow-Wight and the habitues of the Downs. It's a quite remarkable process, and I've never seen a forum, Tolkien or otherwise, like it. Particularly as elsewhere people can be intelligent, but still unpleasant to those they consider less so. But here-there is a real sense of equality and camaraderie.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:57 PM   #14
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Wow, the discussion is quite active here.

I agree that people who love Tolkien's books tend to read more than average people. I think they're (we, actually) better educated than most people, as well.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien
I think they're (we, actually) better educated than most people, as well.
Careful there. Hate to add "prideful boasters" to the subgroup list, and my ego is already overly inflated as it is...
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Careful there. Hate to add "prideful boasters" to the subgroup list, and my ego is already overly inflated as it is...
But really, most Tolkien-fans I know are academic people.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:08 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien
But really, most Tolkien-fans I know are academic people.
Meaning?

And, it also would be safe to say that most Tolkien readers are literate.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:13 PM   #18
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The "typical" Tolkien fan may vary from one country to another. Here in Germany, people of my age and gender are not usually fans of fantasy/science fiction. When I get together with fans, which isn't often, as I don't know many in my area, I find that many of the Middle-earth fans are fairly young and often male. Not that I'm complaining, mind you!

I'm a classical musician, so I don't share the musical taste that many of you mention, and I'm only interested in my computer when it functions satisfactorily. However, I have always loved to read, though more historical books than fantasy/SF. I love language, and that could be a common factor among Tolkien fans - meaning book fans more than movie fans.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
What does 'heavy-music listeners' mean exactly? I think that I know but I'd rather be sure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alatar
Meaning?
You ask me questions that confuse me...

Heavy music listeners = people who listen to heavy/ metal music. My category for the music is quite wide; I count bands like Nightwish as well as Iron Maiden and such.

Meaning? = What do I mean by academic people??? Well, most of of age Tolkien-fans I know are either university students or people who have an university degree at something.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien
You ask me questions that confuse me...
Sorry - it's not intentional. Sometimes confusion follows me like a hungry Warg.


Quote:
Heavy music listeners = people who listen to heavy/ metal music. My category for the music is quite wide; I count bands like Nightwish as well as Iron Maiden and such.
That's what I thought, but when you wrote "heavy music," I, being somewhat older and mostly out of touch with the current trends, just thought that maybe you were referring to something else and not heavy metal music. Plus your definition and mine (Quiet Riot, AC/DC, Def Leppard, etc) may differ.

Another more obscure definition of "heavy music," as we're also discussing Tolkien, may be some classical music or stuff by some physicist turned composer that may be above the heads of the many. One never knows, and so I asked.


Quote:
Meaning? = What do I mean by academic people??? Well, most of of age Tolkien-fans I know are either university students or people who have an university degree at something.
Okay, so you're just stating that many Tolkien-lovers that you know have extended education and nothing more (i.e. have high IQs or something). Is that because many people you know have degrees or are students, or of the group that you hang out with, those with degrees/are students like Tolkien? See the difference? Not that I'm asking you to do a study or provide scientific results or something, but just want to note the difference.

Thanks for this thread.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
That's what I thought, but when you wrote "heavy music," I, being somewhat older and mostly out of touch with the current trends, just thought that maybe you were referring to something else and not heavy metal music. Plus your definition and mine (Quiet Riot, AC/DC, Def Leppard, etc) may differ.
I count them too, though the LotR-fan heavy music listeners tend to be (as far as I know) the ones who don't particularly listen to the bands you mentions, though I don't know; clothing style does not always tell all kind of bands the person listens to.

Quote:
Okay, so you're just stating that many Tolkien-lovers that you know have extended education and nothing more (i.e. have high IQs or something). Is that because many people you know have degrees or are students, or of the group that you hang out with, those with degrees/are students like Tolkien? See the difference? Not that I'm asking you to do a study or provide scientific results or something, but just want to note the difference.
I can see the difference, but I'm still inclined to think so. If I'm not mistaken, most Finnish Tolkien society guys and 'downers (???) have an academic background. Besides, I'm probably not hanging on academic groups; I'm still doing my compulsory education...
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:01 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
I find that many of the Middle-earth fans are fairly young and often male.
That's a bit strange - in Finland I'd say most of them, or at least a half of them (us!!!) are female. At least in my age group or at the age group of people a bit older than me.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:33 PM   #23
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I have noticed that a lot of Goths like Tolkien, though more the 'trad' Goths than the cyber types, as they tend to be more into extreme comic books. But I found when I was at Uni you could always rely on a Goth to have a good Tolkien discussion with. These days though, young Goths are probably more likely to be into the Matrix and Sandman.

I've also noticed that a lot of alternative 'crusties' (which is not a very nice term, but UK Downers will know what I mean) are into Tolkien, and have to wonder which came first, the environmentalism or the being into Tolkien?

As for metal fans being into Tolkien - some are, some most definitely are not!
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:44 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar
The "typical" Tolkien fan may vary from one country to another. Here in Germany, people of my age and gender are not usually fans of fantasy/science fiction.

I'm a classical musician, so I don't share the musical taste that many of you mention

I have always loved to read, though more historical books than fantasy/SF. I love language, and that could be a common factor among Tolkien fans - meaning book fans more than movie fans.
You raise many good points, methinks.

I still like led Zeppelin, but if I would have to select just a couple of records of music to a deserted island, my choices would more likely include Satie, Fauré, Beethoven, Debussy, Strauss (not "the waltz-Strauss" ) - and maybe some Kate Bush to add on them... So we also do have manysided musical interests.

But I think the kind of miracle with Tolkien is, that he addresses so widely different kind of people at different times (see eg. the cases of myself and Alatar as an example of same time, different people).

And I duly think you are right in claiming, that people loving Tolkien seem to share some common love for language, stories and history - these of course can then be yielded to different purposes outside their birthright area of concern: the critique of technology and the enlightened ideas of secularization & "progress", escapism to a fantasy wonderland, individualistic society's aspiration for communality and honour & care, market-economy driven youth fan-culture (the movies f.ex.), and whatever.

But for something to be able to arouse all these different interpretations, there must be some substance first. And that I think Tolkien really had.

And in someway, that is no wonder: he has literally drawn from our "common memory", from myths and legends of so many people.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:58 PM   #25
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From simple observation and experiment, there are 'caste systems' (in public grade schools, if any older members have forgotten the days of the goths and geeks. This is based off of ninth to twelfth graders, so ages 13-18. Excuse the "terms," but this is what you get in a high school. Try and keep up. I'll say how interested they are.

I am a band nerd/non-partisan

I have a friend who is non-partisan (i think he's 'forum' material)

I know one kid who feel under the "popular" status last year, and is now in the "sub-popular/jock" range. (interested outside of the LotR and TH, but not 'into' it) Along with him two others who are of same status, and were pretty interested about the books and TH, but arnt 'self-motivated' The person above is another one who was in this "group", but he stayed interested. They al kinda read the books together.

Two friends who are band nerds, and they are typical fans-seen the movies, read LotR, and we talk [humorously] about LotR sometimes

One friend who is sub-jock, and he plays the video games, but has extended knowledge (knows who Glorfindel, Beorn are)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a typical American High School in Tolkien. Not really anything distinct; most of the....um...trying to think how to word this....."chronic literature and fantasy infactuaters" are mostly things more along the lines of Harry Potter and the Leagacy of the Drow series. It seems that anyone in the American youth counter-culture can learn Tolkien; all they have to do is pick up the book.



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Old 04-10-2006, 10:27 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Thinlómien
But really, most Tolkien-fans I know are academic people.
Then you don't know much... My dad is a Tolkien fan, but he ain't academically smart... more like street-wise he is....

In the Philippines, most Tolkien fans are people who go to the section of the bookstores that nobody else visits. Few city and national science school scholars know Tolkien, except when they're referring to the movies or comparing him to JKR and Dan Brown and George Lucas (They kill me whwnever I say Star Wars is somewhat based on LotR.). And science scholars are considered the pride of the cities as they are the most intelligent people their age...

Of course, in the city where I live, science school scholars are considered smartest, but I disagree because of two things:
1) I'm one of them, but I don't consider ourselves that academically smart;
2) There are only three city science scholars that appreciate Tolkien, including me.


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Old 06-08-2006, 01:33 PM   #27
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Here in the US, most people who like LOTR alot are considered nerds, but only if you go to school with your Dungeons and Dragons game hanging out of your backpack and the One Ring replica around your neck. Then people are like "that kid has no life". But if your like me here in Michigan, LOTR is the best, just it starts getting nerdy once you don that elf costume!
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Old 07-20-2006, 08:47 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yavanna II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thinlómien
But really, most Tolkien-fans I know are academic people.
Then you don't know much... My dad is a Tolkien fan, but he ain't academically smart... more like street-wise he is....
Throw me in with this group here; I don't necessarily think intelligence determines fanbases; it might help out and lead you to a certain genre or author, but it doesn't guarantee what you will or won't like.

I've noticed that where I live (eastern Kansas, in case that means anything), there is not a very big fan-base of Tolkien. If I want a Good 'n' Geeky (tm) Tolkien discussion, the only group where I'm almost assured of getting it is with the Drama Geeks. (Which presents no problem; I'm a theatre nerd myself).

Many of my friends (at least many of my intelligent friends) do not like Tolkien's work. The reasons that they put out are fairly good (not so much 'Dude...look at the size of that book..."), and I even agree with some of them, but for some reason I love his books and they don't.

One of the reasons people are drawn to Tolkien may be because it's a continuation of their interests. Thinlómien, you mention something about computer geeks. Well, most of the comp nerds I know are heavily into sci-fi, and reading LotR might just be following the path they laid out for themselves. I mean, sci-fi is just fantasy with numbers and chemicals, right?

I really can't say anything about metalheads (a term of endearment from me and my friends) and hippies; I don't have that much personal experience.

Besides, I'm not sure if there really is a factual answer to this question.
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Old 08-08-2006, 01:42 PM   #29
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As a friend of Thinlómien it is logical, that I side with her. But that isn't the reason I agree with her thought, here in Finland it seems to be as Thinlómien said. I really like hard rock and metal, spend much time on the Internet reading stuff, think of myself as a hippie of somekind and plan to go to university. Same holds for my neighbour, who is also a Tolkien-fan.

Though it might be that I don't discuss about books with people that aren't like me... But I doubt it.
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Old 08-20-2006, 05:08 AM   #30
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Thinking long and hard about subgroups, I propose that I'm a "wader". It means that I'm not fully immersed in anything that one usually thinks of a LOTR lover, now or even when I was in school.

I love to read, see movies, listen to music-a little of everything.
I only finished high school.
I played one year of baseball, softball, basketball.
Computer nerd-emails and a couple of websites are it for me!
Video games-do have a PS2 but only 3 games of which FOTR is one (only got to Helm's Deep)

So why am I here? I love a great story and LOTR is definitily one of them.
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