I'm working in a videogame set at the end of the Third Age in Middle-earth, and I would like to properly use Middle-earth materials, flora and fauna. I've been looking at MERP (a tabletop RPG) publications, they're great, but I'm aware of them adding non-canon elements. For example, adarcer metal.

The problem is, how do I know what is non-canon? Is there any compilation with canon material? Some publication or website. Based on this question, I suspect there is none, but checking Tolkien's novels and letters by myself would be pretty crazy.

Ideally I would have descriptions and explanations of their special properties. If not, I'll use MERP stuff, but at least it would be great to know what's canon.

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    Checking against Tolkien gateway is usually a good bet. Additionally, spelling “Middle-earth” correctly is a good start. – Edlothiad Jan 30 '20 at 11:44
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    If your videogame is commercial, you'll very likely run into rights issues unless you've already obtained approval. – Adamant Jan 30 '20 at 11:59
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    It should be a concern. Trademarks and copyright aren't things you only have to care about when creating a product you intend to sell. – Anthony Grist Jan 30 '20 at 13:51
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    What makes you think most or all of the plants and animals aren't exactly what you'd find in modern, medieval, or ancient Europe? – Zeiss Ikon Jan 30 '20 at 13:56
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    @RobertF there is no confusion. It’s “Middle-earth” and nothing else. Tolkien is incredibly consistent on this matter. – Edlothiad Jan 31 '20 at 9:03

I typed "middle-earth anachronisms" in the search bar which led to this:


But there are only three questions there and I remember answering a few other questions on similar topics.

Including: How did non-native plants find their way to Middle-earth?1

And: What modern day items are mentioned in JRRT's writings?2

And: Did the Shire import any goods?3

And: What was the value of the Shire and everything in it?4

So those are some places to look for native and non native plants and animals mentioned in Middle-earth.

And here is a link to another question about Middle-earth materials:

What material are weapons and armors in the Middle-earth forged from?5

  • I'm curious if some of the New World foods mentioned in Lord of the Rings, like potatoes, are really potatoes or instead a "potato analogue" - a potato-like tuber that grows in Middle-earth? – RobertF Jan 30 '20 at 17:23
  • "Dwarves have never taken to matches." from The Hobbit, can't give a page number, though. – Zeiss Ikon Jan 30 '20 at 17:55
  • New World foods mentioned are tomatoes, potatoes and tobacco. Tomatoes were revised out of the text, tobacco was introduced by Numenoreans who might have been to the Americas. Leaving potatoes... I suppose it's possible they're really parsnips or something, or maybe the Numenoreans brought them too then they died out before the modern era. – Showsni Jan 30 '20 at 18:03
  • @Showsni not sure how the Numenoreans could travel west when they were banned from it? – Edlothiad Jan 30 '20 at 20:32
  • @Edlothiad: Numenorean sailors reportedly circumnavigated the globe after the destruction of Numenor. Prior to that, they had sailed to the uttermost east and seen the Gates of the Morning. One presumes that the Americas, at that time, were located in the far east, which became the West when Valinor was removed and the world wrapped into a nice sphere. – Shamshiel Jan 30 '20 at 23:38

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