Excerpt from "The Understanding of a Father" by Ellie

The death of an elf often brings the hope of a return to life later in Valinor. It must have been hard for the elves who returned to Valinor via Mandos’ Halls after the rebellion of the Noldor. But what about those who never left Valinor who had to deal with the return of kin? For them death meant reunions with those lost to them in the rebellion, but could those sheltered in the Blessed Realm ever really understand what happened to their loved ones in Middle-earth? In my story “The Understanding of a Father”, I explore the feelings of Glorfindel’s father as he tries to cope with the moodiness of his eldest son returned from Mandos’ Halls while at the same time preparing to go to fight in the War of Wrath. In the following excerpt, Glorfindel attempts to explain to his father who never left Valinor what had transpired for him when Gondolin fell.


y nephews died in my brothers’ arms during that last battle as my brothers later died in mine. But at least I was there for them, Atar! I took care of my little brothers as you told me to before I left, but…but I could not save them in the end just as I could not save my own sons that night.

Forgive me for not saying anything of this to you before now, but I did not know how. I could not forgive myself for failing them, for failing you. I should have realized you would understand. But… it never occurred to me that you would ever feel in your heart the helplessness and the ache at the departure and deaths of my brothers and I that I have felt at the loss of my sons.”

My tears continue to fall, but no longer for me. Now they are for him. So this is what has haunted and changed and destroyed my child, bereaving me of my first born son.

Now I understand more fully why he has been so distant since his return. I wish I could do something – anything to try to comfort him, but I know not what. If Mandos could not relieve this burden he still carries, how can I? How can I…

I look into Glorfindel’s tear-streaked face which is so like my own. I see sorrow, anguish, and pain staring back at me from behind the eyes of a penitent little boy who knows there is nothing he can do to mend what has been broken. Yet I also see the shadowed horror of a husband and father who has lost his family. I recognize in him everything I saw in the mirror everyday after my children left.

"Gift" by Ranger1

Finrod is always shown as wise and seeking understanding. Men are shown as thinking Elves feel superior as the Firstborn and immortal. Here both ideas meet and understanding wins. It is the Gift to the Elves from Iluvatar.


inrod stared at Beor the Old, or rather at his body. Though he cast his mind as far as he could, he no longer felt his friend.

Belen, second son of Beor said, “We call this death.”

Finrod said, “I know. It is known to us as 'The Gift to Men from Iluvatar', but none of us knew it as so final.”

“Does this make us weak, my lord? Do you pity us?

"Nay it makes me grieve the more for all of you must come to this. In this I am not Lordly.”

Belen stared at Finrod, and understood.

"And there will be no comfort for you" by Robinka

In my fourth year in university, I had the course of English literature, and among many books there was also The Silmarillion on the list of our readings. I thought I would give it a go, and I failed miserably. I remember snorting with dismay and asking myself in wonder whether J.R.R. Tolkien had really known more of the alphabet than the letter ‘f’ alone, and if so, why there were so many f-names that could be so easily confused. Now, I can only laugh at my attitude at that time.

I guess I could write an entire dissertation as to why The Silmarillion is my favorite book, but since I have a specified number of words, I need to limit myself to saying that I think I simply had to grow up to be able to understand this book. It took me a few years, I admit. After the initial failure, I read The Lord of the Rings, which I quite liked, and then I decided to return to The Silmarillion. This time, it seemed to be a piece of cake. Then, I got to read a Polish copy of Unfinished Tales and I became addicted to the universe painted with words by Tolkien. I swallowed English copies of the books in a short time, right before Peter Jackson’s first movie came out in cinemas here. And because of the movies, I dove into the world of fan fiction.

For a long time, I was a lurker and an avid reader, until a chance came and I tried my hand at writing. Truth be told, fan fiction written in Polish never appealed to me as much as stories written in English. I reached the point where fan fiction meant the English language, and frankly, my attempts to write fan fiction in Polish are hopelessly pitiful. I should forget I have ever written them.

As much as I consider the LotR movies the main reason behind my first plunge in fandom life, I have never considered myself a die-hard fan of these books. I like them of course, and I was one of the people who ranted about Glorfindel’s absence in the movies, but in truth, The Silmarillion has been essential as far as my fandom involvement is concerned. I will never tire reading it over and over again. I suppose it is for what a reader can find between the lines. We can fill all blank spaces on our own. The characters, some of them given a few lines of mention, are just sketched and beg to be developed, and this is, in my humble opinion, a great advantage of this book. For an eager mind, it is a bottomless source of themes, hints, inspiration, tracks worth following until we can come up with a fully rounded creation and be proud of our achievement. This book also means a riddle to discover with delight and a fascinating world to interpret in as many ways as one can think.

Excerpt from "Return to Me" by Dawn Felagund

One of my key interests as a Tolkien researcher, and as a fanfic author, has always been the halls of Mandos and other issues of "eschatology"--that branch of study dealing with nebulous matters of death, afterlife, and resurrection. The body of work I'm amassing on this subject is becoming so impressive that it's depressive. Part of me--and more than one person close to me--wonders why. Why death? I bustle about my daily life in perpetual cheer, enamored of color and life, pursuing art in its myriad forms for the joy and enlightment it brings to life ... so why death? Why constantly return to writing about death?

For the answers, I suspect, in part. Real life holds no easy answers. Fiction is different. In Tolkien's world, we understand what happens with death. There are answers to be found. There are rules, clearly written within the bounds of books. Within these rules, it is possible to ask questions and to consider things often too difficult or painful to ponder in real life. Death in Middle-earth is far less frightening than death on Modern-earth, but it's equally real in both places. Through confronting it here, within the safe confines of rules and certainties, I find it less difficult to confront in life, with all its incertitude.

The story "Return to Me" was my first serious foray into writing about the halls of Mandos and eschatology. It represents then, in a way, my fascination with this topic. In the excerpt below, Finarfin is summoned to the halls of Mandos to oversee the re-embodiment of the first of the exiled Noldor to be granted a second chance at life: his son Finrod.


ow--?" Arafinwë wept, although tears refused to manifest. I should never have to ask about the death of my own son. Not here. Not in Valinor. But Námo would not say, except to intone, "It was a violent death. You may wait until I have healed him, if you wish not to see."

Not to see … it would be a blessing. Ignorance, sometimes, was the greatest gift. Nolofinwë would not tell him how their father had died. It had wound its way through whispered rumor and Arafinwë had learned eventually anyway, piece by piece, but for those first years, he’d been able to indulge himself in hope: No fear. No pain. Let it have been quick and easy.

Of Findaráto, he now thought the same: No fear. No pain. Let him have died beneath a swift blade in battle. Or unknowing, quickly, from a blow to the head, a fall from his horse, perhaps. I do not want for him the honor of having suffered; I wish for him a death humiliatingly silly and swift, where he was blissfully ignorant of it until the moment that his spirit was rent from his body. I care not if the songs in which he is remembered make a mockery of it, but I ask: No fear. No pain. Please.

With ignorance, Arafinwë could have his wish, he knew. But he also knew that Findaráto would bear the memory of his death--swift or not--until the ending of the world, and so with unshed tears hot in his eyes, he felt himself move forward as though carried by the will of the floor beneath his feet, his head shaking: "No. I wish to know. I wish to see him healed."