My range of emotions on this project are varied and conflicting. I guess I should start by admitting that I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan. I’ve read the trilogy numerous times and have read all of Tolkien’s back stories, such as The Silmarillion, though I have not gone so far a to learn elvish or any of the other languages Tolkien created. While I love the world he’s crafted, it’s extensive and can be confusing as hell. So, I think it’s kind of cool that someone documented all of the characters in all of his finished and unfinished works. However, I also think it’s kind of insane.
The Guardian’s Book Blog has reported on Emil Johansson, who began creating a complete genaeology of every character in Middle Earth when he was 14 years old. Johansson is now old enough to be working toward his chemical engineering degree and the project is so in-depth, it still isn’t done. He is currently 703 characters deep into the family trees, but thinks he has a little less than 100 to go before it is complete.
Johansson put his venture, called The Lord of the Rings Family Tree Project, online in mid-January and has received international coverage including a piece in Time magazine. (You can also like his project on Facebook.)
So if you want to refresh on all the hobbits, elves, and whatnots before watching The Hobbit on screen, now you know where to go.