• 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:

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
Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app

Swedish police are struggling to know what to do with a new batch of criminal reports filed by teenagers upset about a controversial app that allows users to post comments and pictures anonymously. READ  

National
Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

UPDATED: A Swedish runner who filmed himself beating his bus in Sundbyberg in north west Stockholm over the weekend is now planning to a similar challenge on the capital's Metro system. READ  

Regional
Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden
Strong winds are battering Stockholm and the east coast of Sweden. Photo: TT

Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden

Heavy rain and wind have left thousands without electricity in eastern Sweden, with ferries also disrupted by the storm. READ  

National
Sweden's benefit agency website down
Sweden's Social Insurance Agency is experiencing problems. Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency website down

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website was out of action on Monday, as officials promised that the technical fault would not delay benefit payments. READ  

Elections 2014
Budget headache for new coalition partners
Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson with Per Bo from the Green Party. Photo: TT

Budget headache for new coalition partners

UPDATED: The Social Democrats have been holding talks with the Green party to try and agree on a future coalition budget. But questions remain over how they will work together on issues including defence and nuclear power. READ  

National
US runaway banned from name change in Sweden
'Wanted' photograph of David Hemler used by US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Hemler lives and works in Uppsala. Photo: Shutterstock

US runaway banned from name change in Sweden

A US airman who deserted from the military three decades ago and moved to Sweden has failed in his bid to get his old name back, because a Swedish court says he can’t prove his identity. READ  

My Swedish Career
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sharleen in action. Photo: Sebastian Bularca

Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet a Canadian who came to Sweden for love and now works in Lidköping, custom-making guitars. READ  

Regional
Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden
Stockholm experienced heavy rain on Sunday. Photo: TT

Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden

After heavy rain broke off the September sunshine in eastern Sweden on Sunday, forecasters warn more bad weather is on the way. READ  

Tech
World car record on Malmö bridge

World car record on Malmö bridge

The longest electric car parade on a bridge between two countries was formed on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark on Sunday, with environmental campaigners breaking several other world records in the process. READ  

National
Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash
The damaged ferry is being inspected on Monday. Photo: TT

Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash

UPDATED: A ferry crashed into a pier in the port of Helsingborg in southern Sweden on Sunday night, with two people taken to hospital following the collision. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
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

849
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
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN