It is with great pleasure that Emil Johansson and I announce the release of the Six Degrees of Sauron web application.
WHAT IS SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?
Many people are familiar with the theory Six Degrees of Separation or the related game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. The theory is that each person is separated from any other person in the world by no more than 6 hops*. Sauron is the main villain in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He also appears in The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. Since we are Tolkien fanatics, and since his writings feature an enormous cast of characters, we thought it would be fun to apply Six Degrees to Middle Earth. The Six Degrees of Sauron database includes characters from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. The Dark Lord is closer than you think!
*Here’s a real-life example. We know Cliff Broadway, who knows Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie director Peter Jackson, who knows his movie cast. So we are both only three hops from Ian McKellan, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch, and all the other talented actors from those movies! Another example of Six Degrees of Separation showing how many of the most popular fantasy, sci-fi, and horror movies are connected by a relatively small number of actors can be seen on this amusing infographic.
HOW DO I USE SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?
Six Degrees of Sauron was designed to be very easy to use. Simply enter the names of Tolkien characters in the “FROM” and “TO” fields, and click “SUBMIT”. Some of Tolkien’s character names are hard to spell. So, you only have to type a few letters, and then a drop-down menu of matching names appears. The results show the corresponding chain(s) of characters and how they know each other. The relationship types listed are:
Fellowship – the two characters were members of the fellowship to destroy Sauron’s ring
Erebor Quest – the two characters participated in the quest to defeat Smaug and reclaim Erebor
Spouse – the two characters were married
Kin – the two characters met and were related
Ally – the two characters met and were friendly, countrymen, or otherwise favorably disposed
Foe – the two characters met on a battlefield or were otherwise antagonistic
Master of/Servant of – one character was the servant of the other
Palantir – the two characters communicated with each other via a Palantir (a magical scrying sphere)
Great Music – the two characters were divine beings who participated in the Great Music via which Middle Earth was formed. Read more about The Ainulindalë, Tolkien’s moving creation myth, in The Silmarillion.
WHO CREATED SIX DEGREES OF SAURON?
Emil Johansson lives in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is a Chemical Engineering student. He is passionate about photography, the web, chemistry, and of course, the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. He maintains the popular Tolkien fan site lotrproject.com. Emil is @LOTRproject on Twitter.
Henry Herz lives in San Diego, and writes (with the help of his two sons) fantasy and science fiction (SFF) books for kids. He also interviews SFF & children’s book authors on his blog. Henry is @Nimpentoad on Twitter.
ANYTHING ELSE I SHOULD KNOW?
Six Degrees of Sauron is not associated with Middle-earth Enterprises, the Tolkien Estates, or Warner Bros. It is driven by love of Tolkien’s works.
Six Degrees of Sauron is based on the characters and plots of Tolkien’s writings. Characters and relationships that only appear in the movie versions are not included.
The Six Degrees of Sauron database is not claimed to be exhaustive, although creating it was exhausting. We don’t doubt that there may be mistakes or omissions. Six Degrees of Sauron is free to use, and therefore comes with a double-your-money-back guarantee.
If you enjoy Six Degrees of Sauron, kindly share the site with friends who’d appreciate it (or send it to foes who would not, but who you wish to annoy).