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The Residents of Tolkien’s Middle Earth Are 81 Percent Male

Life expectancy, gender breakdown, and declining longevity, and interesting trivia abound

smithsonian.com

The gender breakdown of the residents of Middle Earth. Photo: The Lord of the Rings Project / Emil Johansson

In the lands of Middle Earth, the fictional world at the heart of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga, 81% of all known residents are male. The men are males, the drawves are males. Heck, even the trees are mostly males. (Though, if you ask Gimli, the paucity of female dwarves may be a simple miscount.)

As part of his ongoing The Lord of the Rings ProjectEmil Johansson has put together a census of the populace of Middle Earth. By parsing the descriptions and histories as told in Tolkein’s many books, including those published after his death, Johansson put together statistics on the gender balance, life expectancies for different species and the long-term decline in the longevity of humanity.

Something bad must have happened to human healthcare. Photo: The Lord of the Rings Project / Emil Johansson

The census adds to the project’s efforts to chart a massive family tree for all the characters of the realm, a sprawling map where we see that Belladonna Took and Bungo Baggins beget Bilbo, the protagonist of The Hobbit, but also the end of that branch of the Baggins line.

More from Smithsonian.com:
The Hobbit You Grew Up With Isn’t Quite the Same As the Original, Published 75 Years Ago Today
Real Life Hobbit Village Proves the Greenest Way to Live is Like Bilbo Baggins
Master of Middle Earth

About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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