• Sweden edition
 
'Intellectual Bad-Ass' plots Tolkien universe

'Intellectual Bad-Ass' plots Tolkien universe

Published: 18 Jul 2012 15:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 18 Jul 2012 15:36 GMT+02:00

“I don’t mind being called a nerd, but I prefer the term Intellectual Bad-Ass,” says Emil Johansson, a man who has earned himself the adoration of a global fan base.

Why?

This self-proclaimed geek has taken on the mammoth task of tracing and documenting every branch of the 900 character strong family tree of JRR Tolkien’s iconic set of stories.

On top of this, he just added a timeline and map to the online project last week, giving viewers what he deems to be a more “complete experience”.

These functions, which are also available on the Android App that was released in March, allow Tolkien enthusiasts a clearer insight into character movements and event settings.

“The beauty of this project is the fact that it is something which can never be completed,” a perpetually passionate Johansson tells The Local, adding that he has been working on the project for seven years so far.

“I’m a creative person, and with the statistics of the characters in the books to work on too, this is certainly something I can see myself working on for a very, very long time.”

The student has certainly found a niche that has caught the eye of people from all parts of the globe, operating from his base at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.

News of his progress has intrigued people in the US, Australia and beyond.

"My weirdest piece of fan mail came from a hotel in the US – they wanted a PDF version of the family tree to hang on the walls of their hotel rooms," he recalls.

"Of course, I couldn't provide it to them just yet, as to do so would give a sense of finality to the project, when there is still plenty to discover and plenty of mistakes to rectify.”

Johansson, who grew up in Jönköping, read The Hobbit for the first time in Swedish at the age of 11 and says he fell in love with the magic long before he watched the blockbuster films.

“I have been fortunate enough to have read the books before seeing the first film. This is very important for me, and if I hadn't done so I don’t think this project would exist," he says.

“Reading the books allowed me to create my own sense of these magical worlds, untouched by the movies. When I saw the movies they enhanced and brought my visions to life, but at the same time I would recommend anyone to read the books before seeing the films. If you watch the movies first, you can’t create a world of your own.”

When Johansson began working on the family tree in 2005, armed with only a one metre squared area of paper, he realized soon that working on paper was limiting.

“I worked on the project by hand for a long time, and I thought I had it all finished, but when I realized that there were several errors, and that there was a lot more to discover, I decided to take the project online," he explains.

“I’ve never had any proper programming training, so it was really a case of just Googling around and seeing what I could find out. But this was all part of the excitement for me.

"I love taking on new challenges, and this combination of my love for Lord of the Rings and my curiosity to find out more on the programming side is what keeps me motivated every day.”

Despite his love for the high fantasy novels, Johansson admits he would be “terrified” to bump into JRR Tolkien, author of the books that spawned a whole new language – Elvish – were he still alive.

“I’d be honoured to meet Tolkien, obviously, but at the same time I’d be terrified to know what he thought of my site," he says.

"He found it so curious that people got so absorbed in his novels. He never understood how people could devote so much time to the legend and history surrounding the stories, so I don’t think he’d understand me.”

Johansson’s next goal is to continue expanding his statistics and numbers about the novels, after entering a large quantity of them into his own database.

“I want to continue expanding the numbers side of things, as I’m always looking at new ways to keep the challenge fresh and exciting for me. I also plan to make a chronological version of the tree, too,” he explains.

Asked if he thinks the magic of the trilogy had gone to his head, the 21-year old remains defiant.

“I think I am certainly still an 11-year old boy at heart, and I take pride in that. If you can keep a childish sense of creativity and curiosity then I think you’re bound to be much happier and content in your life.”

So far, Johansson has managed to track down the heretical whereabouts of 914 of the 900+ characters that Tolkien spawned.

Take a look at Emil Johansson’s LOTR project for yourself at the link below.

Joe Lynskey

Related links:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

20:36 July 18, 2012 by Paul_225
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:43 July 19, 2012 by Opinionfool
Wow hot news!

The English broadsheet newspaper The Guardian (one of the major serious newspapers in England) featured this *Swedish* originated project back in January of 2012. Some consider Sweden a backwater but really it takes more than 6 months for a Swedish news web site to pick this up!

But well done to Emil Johansson for the effort. Shamre The Local couldn't have put in as much.
11:32 July 23, 2012 by EP
What a nerd ... nothing intellectual bad-ass about that ... he should get out and get a tan and stop with the sock-and-sandals
12:39 July 24, 2012 by Opinionfool
@EP #3

The efficient display of hierarchical data is good intellectual bad-add activity. It has applications in various domains, software engineering where object hierarchies are needed for documentation, genetics where the inheritance of some trait or illness needs to be mapped, genealogy where the family relationships need to be displayed --- useful when the geneticists need to see how else might have to be told about some mutation. That Johansson uses LoTR characters as exemplars does not mean that the techniques he is using are restricted to sock-and-sandals applications. His not getting a tan may have provided a break through in the display of such important data. Plus his work was first reported in the British press back in January (see #2 above) when it wouldn't have been sensible to get a tan.
13:45 July 27, 2012 by skogsbo
intellectual sad a$$, next he'll be writing an elfish dictionary, to put on his bookshelf next to the klingon one.
11:56 July 29, 2012 by Opinionfool
@skogbo

An elvish dictionary is likely to sell more than a Swedish one or even a Swedish/English/Swedish one. The Klingon one probably already has out sold the Swedish ones.
00:53 August 6, 2012 by capt
Just the man to pick up the story where JRR left off. I could read another trilogy
Today's headlines
Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages
Peanut photo Shutterstock

Allergic Swedes demand separate metro carriages

A Swedish allergies association has asked Stockholm public transport officials to set aside certain carriages on the metro for those with allergies - banning nuts, animals, and strong fragrances in transit. READ  

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door
Flag photo: Shutterstock

Most Swiss want Sweden to be next door

Who said there were hard feelings between the oft-confused Swiss and Swedes? A new survey shows that Swiss people would rather have the land of Abba as their neighbour over anyone else in the EU. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: TT

What's On in Sweden

Plenty of events around Sweden to get your teeth into this weekend, with Sunday capped off with a free visual-music concert in central Stockholm. READ  

Elections 2014
Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls
The Allliance party leaders. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT

Red-greens stay way ahead of Alliance in polls

While the gap between the red-greens and the Alliance is decreasing, the opposition is still far ahead, scoring 48.8 percent of support in a fresh poll. The Alliance came in at 37.7 percent. READ  

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait
Striker Magnus Eriksson sprints onto the pitch at the end of Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö end 14-year Champions League wait

Malmö overpowered Salzburg on Wednesday night to become the first Swedish team to reach the Champions League since 2000. READ  

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony
Queen Silvia. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish royals boycott Chuck Berry's ceremony

Members of Sweden's royal family have revealed that they boycotted the Polar Music Prize ceremony on Tuesday, due to Chuck Berry's past conviction for human trafficking. READ  

Swedish Tetra Pak factory to shut down
Photo: TT

Swedish Tetra Pak factory to shut down

A Tetra Pak factory in southern Sweden is set to shut down due to a decrease in demand, meaning 250 Swedes risk losing their jobs. READ  

The Local List
Ten false friends in the Swedish language
Photo: The Uppsala Koala

Ten false friends in the Swedish language

Never, ever take the Swedish language at face value. This is a language where "puss" means "kiss" and "kiss" means "pee". And that's just the beginning... READ  

Sami museum hit in suspected tear gas attack
Permanent exhibition on the life of Sami nomads. Photo: Bengt Oberger/Wikipedia

Sami museum hit in suspected tear gas attack

The Sami museum in northern Sweden had to be evacuated after two attackers sprayed an unknown substance which left several people violently ill. READ  

Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Emir Selimi: The winner of the 2014 Raoul Wallenberg Prize. Photo: Charles L. Sjölander

Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize

A Roma man has been hailed as "inspirational" after scooping this year's Raoul Wallenberg Prize for setting up an organization to help stamp out racism against the community. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

744
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se