Mary Sue Litmus test: Lord of the Ring adaptation

Author's note:

No one forces you to do this test; it's not a life-and-death trial where you get into dark dungeon if you fail, nor is it some sort of final exam for your graduation. While at it, be absolutely honest with yourself; no one's grading your result, so there's no need to take pains to cheat. I did not compose this test in the hope to discourage authors; if anything, it's for fun - if you aren't self-critical and feel that you want to bury your head in some hole once you finish this test. " Credit of inspiration to the Original MS Litmus Test.

Additionally, if you want to discuss anything, here's one shameless plug: Unofficial Forum.

  • Is the character named after you, or do you name your handle/pen name/etc. after your character? (This can be your first name, middle name, or the name you go by in chat or irc.) [10]
  • Is the character's name an unusual spelling of a more common name or word? [1]
  • Is the character's name unusual in another way?
    1. A female with a male-sounding name?[1]
    2. A name the character chose for him or herself, because s/he "didn't want to forget"?[1]
    3. A name that doesn't seem appropriate for where the character originates? (i.e. an elven-sounding name even though the character originates from Earth? A Japanese name even though the character originates from Europe?) [1]
    4. Does this name coincide with any of Middle-earth's original character? [1]
  • Does the character have a really cool name that you wish you had?[1]
  • Is the character's name in the title of the story?[5]
  • Does the character have more than one name? (i.e. a nickname or a pseudonym that other you use to refer to the character)[1]
  • Did you spend more than a day looking for just the right name?[1]
  • Have you considered naming your pet or child the character's name[1]?

  • Is the character the same gender as you?[1]
  • Is the character a member of some race you make up yourself? (Unicorn, sprite, nymph...) Add two extra points if she is the last survivor of her race.[3]
  • Is the character a hobbit or an elf? [2]
    1. The character didn't know that until she/he finds the Fellowship/gets transported to Middle-earth? [1]
    2. Does the character get transformed into another race, i.e. elf, hobbit? [2] (Add one extra point if it's done for "love".)
  • Is the character really, really young? (In his/her teens, for instance.)[1]
  • Is the character older than the Firstborn, or just as old? "Older than the time"? "Old as the Valar"? [1]
  • Is the character in the same age as you? (Same range of age counts; doesn't need to be exactly the same as you.) [1]
  • Or is the character at the age you would like to be? [1]
  • Does this character have incredibly attractive physical features such as to rival Tinuviel or Arwen, in male case, Elflords? [1]
    1. If the one who sees her attractive is Legolas. [3]
    2. If the one who sees her attractive is Frodo. [3]
    3. If the one who sees her attractive is Aragorn. [3]
  • Do you describe the character's appearance with over-frequency? (Every chapter? Every - ugh - paragraph?) [2]
  • Is your character's physique highly unusual? (Multi-colored hair/eye - eek?) [2]

  • Is the character transported from Earth in twenty-first century? [10]
    1. For no reason other than magical door that appears out of nowhere? [5]
    2. Through a wish? [5]
    3. Through a dream? [2]
  • Has the character already read LOTR from the first book to the last? [4]
    1. So she/he can predict everything that's going to happen? [2]
    2. Or does she/he suddenly pick up amnesia upon arriving in Middle-earth? [1]
  • Is the character a hybrid of more than one race? (Add one extra point if it's half-hobbit, half-elf.)[2]
    1. And the usual rules don't apply to him/her? (i.e. a hobbit that doesn't have hairy feet?) [3]
  • Was the character adopted or did he/she otherwise live with people who were not his/her parents as a child? [1]
  • Does the character suffer from guilt about something terrible that s/he did in the past?[1]
    1. Do the other characters eventually convince her/him that it was not his/her fault?[1]
    2. Is the guilt involved with any kind of romance/lover? (Add an extra point if this will lead to some sort of sob-fest.) [1]
  • Does the character have a very good singing voice? (Add three extra points if this will be used in enthralling any of the canonical characters.)[3]
  • Is there another Ring involved with the character, or is the character involved with any of the existing Rings of power? [2]
  • Does everyone end up liking the character?[1]
  • Do animals that are usually untamed, such as Shadowfax, bend to the character? [2]
  • Does the character fall in love with your favourite character? [2]
  • Does your favourite character fall in love with your original character? (Add three extra points if their relationship is without obstacle, or develops within less than ten chapters, or involves uncharacteristic love triangles. Add nine points if it's all of the above.)[2]
  • Everyone in the Fellowship approves of the character? [2]
    1. Even Gimli? [1]
    2. Even Gandalf? [1]
    3. Even Aragorn? [1]
  • Does the character possess such virtue that he/she manages to reform other characters? (i.e. Convincing Denethor not to burn himself along with his son, etc. Reforming any character at all counts.) [5]
  • Do canonical characters act outrageously out-of-character when they're around your original character? (If it's out of love/hate in extreme, add one extra point.)[9]
  • Is the character able to resist the Ring's seduction? [1]
  • Does the character beat Legolas into elf-stew in archery? [1]
  • Does the character convert Aragorn into roasted meat in swordsplay? [1]
  • Does the character have any relation to the Valar/Maia/etc? Or is sent by the Valar? [5]
  • Does the character, appearing as an ordinary human, has more powers than what she/he seems? [2]
  • Is the character able to hack through a horde of orcs and emerge unscathed? [1]
  • Is the character able to hack through a horde of orcs and emerge unscathed? [1]
  • Is the character able to stand toe-to-toe against any figure of power (i.e. Sauron, Saruman, Galadriel, Gandalf) without breaking a sweat? (That's an analogy. If she/he breaks a sweat or two, this still counts.) [5]
  • Does the character sense/know when there're orcs/Black Rider/etc. nearby for no reason? [1]
  • Can the character change form that gives him/her benefits? [3]
  • Would you like to be friends with the character if you met him/her in real life?[1]
  • Do you think everyone who reads the story should automatically like the character and want to be friends with the character?[1]
  • If someone tells you he/she doesn't like your character/story, do you take it as a personal attack on you?[1]
  • Do you ever pretend, just to yourself, that you are the character, with the same strengths and abilities?[1]
  • Do you put author's note something along the line of, "I know it's been done before, but give this one a chance - I promise it's different!" (If your author's note says something contradictory to this, take out three points.)[3]
  • Do you share a lot of traits with your character? [1]
  • Is the character involved with any kind of prophecy? [2]
    1. One that predicts him/her as a being that would impact the quest to destroy the One Ring? (ala, "Without her, the Quest is doooomed!") [2]
    2. One that predicts him/her as some sort of chosen one? [2]
  • Does the character save the day and/or another character's life?[3]
    1. Through magical/mystical intervention? [1] (If the character uses powers involved with the Ring, add one extra point.)
    2. Through divine intervention?[1]
    3. Through dying?[3]
    4. Through almost dying?[2]
    5. Does everyone go into mourning?[1]
    6. Does s/he get not-dead by the end of the story?[4]
    7. Will s/he get not-dead in the sequel?[4]

    Possible highest score: 193


    0-15 - Pretty much safe from the dreaded Ms./Mr. Dreadfully Perfect and Cliched.

    16-25 - Middle-path character. Possible MS, but still fairly safe if things don't go awry.

    26+ - Be careful. Unless you really are sure and know what you're doing, try altering things a bit.

    35+ - Full-scale Mary Sue. If you really like the character, go ahead, by all means. There's no quarantee the readers will like the character, though.