Fanfiction based on the legendarium of J.R.R. Tolkien has existed for at least six decades and has been, within the past two, one of the most consistently active online fanfiction communities. Despite this, the fandom has been relatively unstudied by fan studies scholars. This paper considers how Tolkien-based fanfiction corroborates and complicates current theories of fanfiction, focusing especially on a theory proposed by obsession_inc that proposes two types of fandoms: affirmational and transformational. Current thought places fanfiction at the transformational end of the continuum. Using quantitative survey data of authors and readers of Tolkien-based fanfiction, this paper offers evidence that Tolkien-based fanfiction contains significant affirmational components that are an intentional and valued part of many Tolkien fanfiction communities. Authors and readers regard authority, critical functions of fanfiction, and reparative purposes for fanfiction differently than the more commonly studied media fandoms. Yet one cannot say simply that authors of Tolkien-based fanfiction are more affirmational than other fanwriters; instead, evidence shows that authors and readers of Tolkien-based fanfiction navigate transformational and affirmational elements in complex ways, and community cultures often center upon members’ values and practices.



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