She's stunningly beautiful and amazingly talented. A better archer than Legolas, more powerfully magic than Gandalf, and a single crystalline tear from her mysteriously-hued eyes can bring Boromir back from the dead. More importantly, every attractive male in Middle-Earth finds himself irresitibly, drawn to her fragile and/or fiesty beauty.
She's Mary Sue, LOTR style, and she's reached epidemic proportions, endangering canon characters's reasons for existing and causing them to behave in wildly out-of-character ways.
Who is this insidious parasite, who feeds on Legolas's declarations of undying love and a steady diet of gushing ff.net reviews from her author's friends?
Read on - knowledge is power.
It may seem a bit odd for a slash writer to hold an interest in Mary Sue fiction. To be sure, you will never see me authoring any fics where I mysteriously appear in Middle-Earth, where Legolas finds me in a swoon as he wanders through Mirkwood, only to instantly fall in love with me in a way so profound he doesn't understand it himself but is helpless to resist - oh, you get the idea. I also won't be joining any Mary Sue societies or mailing lists, and yet, the genre itself is fascinating to me, perhaps because I'm baffled by it's wide appeal among girls and young women who write het LOTR fiction. It's like witnessing the scene of an accident, really - it's hideous and disturbing but you just can't look away...
So, like any good researcher,
I've begun my studies with a classification system, in which
the Mary Sue can be readily identified.
LOTR Mary Sue Subtypes:
1. The "My Hot Elf Date" Mary Sue - one of the LOTR characters is brought to modern times and our girl is there to date him!
2. The "Pretty Elven Princess" Mary Sue - she's the daughter of a unknown king or a canon character and she's stunning!
3. The "Lost but Feisty Earth Girl" Mary Sue - she's been mysteriously transported to Middle-Earth, just in time for Mirkwood's prom!
4. COMING SOON: Miscellaneous LOTR Mary Sues - lesser known (but no less obnoxious) Middle-Earth Mary Sues.
Call me Raven Diamondheart:
Classic LOTR Mary Sue Names
Nienna, second daughter
Carelia, Princess of Ravenstar
Alatia the Adventurer
Kirilla Snow Maiden, Lady of the Forest
Cailet Elizabeth Winter
Can't Turn Your Head...? - For the masochist in you: Mary Sue and Mary Sue Parody links
subreality.com - a great place for lots of lovely Mary Sue parody fics
Official Fanfiction University of Middle-Earth - home of the Mini-Balrogs; okay, it's anti-slash and blatantly self-insert, but worth it
Lord of the MST - wonderful LOTR Mary Sue MSTs
Writer's Univeristy Mary Sue pages - lots if information on Mary Sue fics, including some justification essays
LOTR Mary Sue Litmus Test - take the test before you post. Please!
LOTR Fanfic Clichés and Mary Sue-doms - from the mind of Gil Shalos, a close-to-exhaustive list to be sure