"I'm Your Pain When You Can't Feel" by Robinka

I have been part of fandom for nearly four years now, and I can honestly admit that one of the best things that happened to me during these years is meeting people – other fans of Tolkien. I am lucky to have met wonderful people who not only are extremely talented and very creative, but also are my dear friends. We share the love for the universe Tolkien created, but also we are a bunch of ordinary people who like to chat about our everyday life, about our good or bad days, our families and work. Simply about everything. Many of those bonds of friendship were forged when we commented on each other’s story and then started to exchange emails to talk about Tolkien, our stories, our favorite characters, etc.

As far as fandom is concerned, we offer support and help; we are each other’s beta-readers or simply listen to one another. We share ideas, we do brainstorming if need be, collaborate and co-write stories and, through all this, we get to know each other better. And even if we may never see each other in real life, we are friends, and this is an invaluable advantage of fandom.

I never imagined I would have so many wonderful friends and I feel blessed for having their friendship.


e couldn’t recall if he’d cried before, yet no pain he’d endured hurt him as gravely as his inability to further protect his companion in misery. Even though it was too late for tears, the urge was strong enough for his spirit to dwell a little longer in this cursed pit. If he could, he would have spoken of courage, loyalty and sacrifice, but his fleshless being granted him no such grace. Glancing at Beren, broken by grief, for the last time, Finrod gathered his will and sent him a wordless message of comfort. That much, he could still do.

Friendship's blade by Ranger1

Morgoth hung Maedhros on Thangorodrim by his wrist in Year of the Trees 1498 and was rescued Year of the Sun 5, possibly 23 or 24 Years of the Sun total. Fingon would know he was still alive because Morgoth would be sure all Noldor knew it to torment them. The rest is friendship.


ingon wobbled slightly as the Eagle ruffled its feathers. He kept his grip on the band around Maedhros’ wrist and around the knife. He shook his head to get the dirt out of his eyes and to position his head out of the biting wind. Leaning into the cliff, he tried to remember where to insert the blade to cut the tendons without thinking about the fact he was doing it to an Elf so much he would loose his nerve. He braced his body against the cliff and his mind against the future and raised the knife to the wrist. Then he stopped and wondered what he was doing. He looked at Maedhros.

Twenty-three years of the Sun hanging from an iron band on the face of a cliff had not changed him. The wind stripped the health from his skin, the cold bleared his eyes, the evil of Morgoth that kept him alive drained his vitality, the eyes still begged for death to end his suffering. Still he could feel the spirit that had brought him to call Maedhros Friend.

He cut off the hand and wrapped the stump, then asked the Eagle to fly them back to life.

"Captains of Doriath" by Hrymfaxe

This piece illustrates my first love in the Silmarillion – the Sindar of Doriath. I was confused and slightly bored by the Valar, a bit unimpressed with the Noldor and their "industrial" and stiff society and finally came unto the scene this people living in Arda Marred in a huge forest. I always have more sympathy for those characters who are not the main heroes, and the Sindar chose to seek their king instead of following the Valar, thus missing the chance of learning and growing at their side. Because I disliked the Valar, I was all the more taken with a people who were more or less outside their influence.

Excerpt from "Cat's Paws" by pandemonium_213

This excerpt from Cat’s Paws represents a darker side of friendship in which both parties have an agenda. Here, Annatar wishes to gain control over the Noldor via Celebrimbor and in turn, Celebrimbor – who provides the point of view - is keen to acquire the knowledge that Annatar genuinely has (to paraphrase Tolkien). Both use the auspices of friendship to achieve their goals.

One of the appeals of Tolkien to many is the binary presence of good versus evil as opposed to the gray areas of the real world. However, this dichotomy is less evident in The Silmarillion in which the villains are somewhat more nuanced than in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s writings in “Myths Transformed” (HoMe, vol. X) suggested an even more nuanced Sauron, one that may very well have been able to tap into his vestiges of original “good” nature to effect friendships and ultimately gain what he wished, at least during the Second Age.


ou keep alluding to these deep arts, Aulendil. When do you plan to reveal them to me?”

“When I can be assured that you will not reveal them in turn to the Lady. These can be perilous in the wrong hands, even if very few can wield them. I will teach you when I can trust you,” he said, tipping the glass to sip the last few drops of wine. He then refilled it and my near-empty glass as well.

“When you can trust me?" I said as I watched the churning wine in my glass catch the blue light of the lamps within the house. I turned to him as he pulled the bottle away. "Aulendil, you and I are not only colleagues. We are friends. If I give you my word that I will keep your confidence, then you can trust me. I would think you’d know that from these past fifty years…” My words trailed off. My emotions welled to the surface, and I was ashamed of myself for sounding pitiable.

Aulendil did not respond with humored derision as I feared he might. Instead he reached over and placed his hand on my forearm.

“And I consider you my friend, too, Tyelpo. More than a friend really. You’ve become like a brother to me, or at least how I imagine a beloved brother should be since I am an only child like you. A man may have brothers-by-blood, but then there are brothers-of-the-heart. I would wish you to be my brother-of-the-heart.”

"Memories of Friendship," an excerpt from "A New Day," by Oshun

Although, like most Tolkien readers, my first love was The Lord of the Rings, my affection and respect for the Professor increased dramatically when I finally read The Silmarillion. Of all the glorious tales that make up this epic history of the Elves, the one that has moved me most is the story of the friendship of Fingon and Maedhros. This excerpt is comprised of Fingon’s memories of the last time he spoke to Maedhros in Tirion.


ingon recalled the sky clouded with the smoke of countless smoldering torches and the scent of their oily fumes. He would never forget looking through eyes, bloodshot and itchy, upon Maitimo’s handsome, determined face illuminated in the red glow as he and each of his brothers drew their swords and, holding them aloft, joined in swearing their father’s oath. Beautiful and terrible they all had been in their fierce majesty. Findekáno had been enthralled and horrified in equal parts, as though seeing them as near mythic in potency, forgetting for a moment that these fearsome seven had long been closer to him than his own brother.

With the urgent voice of his father and his Uncle Arafinwë 's quiet droning in the background, Findekáno had pushed his way through the crowd to reach Maitimo. Finally he had been able to grasp Maitimo’s arm. His cousin had turned to him, his jaw hard and lips set in a thin line, and said, “Findekáno, I know not if you have cast aside all memories of our friendship, but surely your intellect will persuade you to follow us.”

"Fear not. We will come," Findekáno had answered.

"Who do you mean?"

"Atar, Turukáno, and I, of course."

Maitimo had clasped Findekáno's forearm firmly. "Do not let Artanis and Findaráto or their brothers fall back. I know they want to come as well." It seemed forever since he had seen Maitimo smile and strange that one finally came under such circumstances.

"For certain. You may trust me to speak with all of our cousins." The surging crowd had separated them. It was the last time he had been close enough to Maitimo to talk to him, until he had finally found him chained to the cliffs of Thangorodrim.

Excerpt from "Written in the Starlight" by Rhapsody and Robinka

Two people, living far away from one another, both equally in love with the universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien, one day sat together and started to muse on a ‘what if’ story. Having been inspired by another tale within the fandom, Rhapsody and I came to a decision that we should try our hand at bringing to life one of the greatest heroes of the First Age, one of the most favorite character of ours, and the most faithful friend of the Elder Days: Beleg Cúthalion.

And the adventure began.

Even when we write this narrative together, fond memories of the start, the many musings, and hours spent in friendship that now has grown beyond the fandom alone, we feel grateful that our shared love for Tolkien and The Silmarillion has brought us together. Before this, Robinka and I wrote together before with such joy, and this story is very dear to us, despite real life currently intervening in writing new material. In strength and friendship, we stand together, just as Mablung and Beleg in this excerpt.


e was about to shoot back a retort at Celegorm but saw Caranthir lean to the right as his horse trotted past Amrod’s and sneeringly address Túrin, “Neithan, you said, hmmm?”

In that moment, Beleg stopped believing this folly would ever bring about anything good. Hanging his head in utter shame, he silently followed the group as the horsemen reached the yard in front of Mablung’s quarters. The joy of returning home had vanished, leaving his thoughts darkened and his heart soured. Behind his back, the wardens piled up the Fëanorians’ weapons, which they had picked up from the path on the border.

“Valar, what have I done?” Beleg muttered, meeting Gwindor’s compassionate eyes.

“For what purpose?” Beleg asked bitterly.

“To return home,” Gwindor replied, looking around curiously while the wardens took their positions and glared at the visitors.

“And to bring vipers along, Gwindor,” Beleg whispered, lowering his gaze and sighing.

“Too late for remorse, Beleg.” Gwindor shook his head and the grip of his fingers on Beleg’s shoulder grew stronger. “Do not let bitterness consume you.”

When the preparations were almost finished and five more horses snorted impatiently in the yard, Mablung neared Beleg, who still stood aside. Gwindor, Túrin, and Maeglin mounted the steeds they had been given, but Beleg didn’t move. Mablung stopped in front of him and handed him his bow, quiver, dagger, and the black sword.

“You are not an enemy, Cúthalion,” Mablung said with a smile, unaware of Curufin’s angry look. “Welcome home.”

“Thank you, my friend,” Beleg answered with a sigh...

"Auld Lang Syne" by Noliel

The title for this submission is, of course, taken from that age old poem “Auld Lang Syne”. Sort of the song I’d imagine they’d be singing in the image above. So. Why did I submit, along with many others no doubt, something to do with these two for this sub-topic? What is it about them, specifically? After all, one might say, there are many other friendships in the Silmarillion. To name a few: Beleg and Turin, Galadriel and Melian, and Finwe and Thingol (which has recently begun to intrigue me). Yet had I submitted something else, it would have been a lie. Because the friendship with the "strongest personal meaning" for me (as recommended by the Guidelines), the one that latched onto my heart from that first heady read of the Silmarillion so long ago, has been, is, and will be that of Maedhros and Fingon.

I have always been a sucker for friendship tales. Completely. No other stories have the power to play with my emotions like ones about friends, perhaps because of my own experiences in that area. The problem for the longest time for me was that every story about friends that I truly loved had an enormous amount of heartbreak at the end. Not one had a happy ending. All were fraught with pain, bitterness, misunderstandings, death, or that horror of horrors, indifference.

And so it was that I read the Silmarillion, distraught in a dull way, and found Fingon and Maedhros. And... they had a happy ending. Okay, I'm not crazy, bear with me as to why it seems to me to have been a "happy ending". I know the two have gone through misunderstandings: the whole Morgoth sowing lies between the sons of Feanor and Fingolfin. But that didn't keep Maedhros from refusing his father point blank to burn the ships at Losgar. And there was certainly an element of bitterness--Fingon thinking that Maedhros had forgotten him at Losgar. Yet when he heard where Maedhros was, did he not abandon everything and straightaway set out to rescue his friend? Pain there was, too--Thangorodrim a prime example of both physical and mental for both of them. However, Maedhros healed and bridged the gap between the Noldor, and the two kept their friendship intact and strong ever after, sending gifts to each other.

Then there’s death. Both of them died, tragically and violently and in a blaze of fire. Strangely enough, this is where my happy ending comes in. Indeed, they both died--but they both went to the same place, no? Mandos? And I’d bet my last cent--if I was a person who gambled--that Fingon wouldn’t have left without Maedhros, whether he could or no. That’s the thing with them--they love each other so much that it just overshadows everything, and never has there been indifference between the two. And that is why I love them, draw them, write them--because they are what friendship means to me.

Excerpt from "In the Town Called Acceptance" by Dawn Felagund

Fandom is really quite different from the "real world" of writing. Writing is a lonely art, and anyone who has dipped her toes into the publishing world knows that it can be a bitterly competitive one as well. Only the most successful authors' stories introduce them socially to people they would not otherwise have the luck to know.

But not fandom.

In fandom, much of what we create and much of why we stay has to do with others. Fan authors cowrite stories, they help with betas and edits, they brainstorm and share ideas, swap characters and "bunnies," craft gifts for each other ... fan writing is far from a lonely art.

And isn't this how storytelling began?

In a bygone era, people told stories to capture history and craft their reality, to explain the unexplainable, to pass dark nights and celebrate special occasions. They told stories to others. It was not a lonely art, done in isolation and shared with few, but defined by its collectiveness. Storytellers picked up where others left off. They invented new details and led their characters down roads untrodden. Isn't this what we, as fan writers, do too?

And so, amid the scorn our community sometimes earns from "real" writers, I can only feel sympathy for all those lonely authors. I am grateful for the many wonderful people--many of them friends--that I have met in this fandom. I have had the unique opportunity to hear the voices of and see the world through the eyes of people from all over the world. We share in joy and sorrow. Our conversations, our triumphs, and our debates span oceans and timezones. The worlds we craft, in which our imaginations live, are not lonely places but occupied--and beloved--by all of us.

For Friendship, then, I have chosen an excerpt from my story "In the Town Called Acceptance." In this story, Celegorm learns the true value of his friendship with his brother Maglor, a brother who is opposite him in nearly every way. Yet, over the course of the story, the brothers learn to see the world through the other's eyes, and, from this, their friendship grows.

This story was also appropriate because it was written for a friend and inspired by my conversations with her. Thankfully, our world of writing is not such a lonely one, else this story would not exist.


t night sometimes, after supper, Macalaurë would play for us the songs that I heard coming muffled from within his music room. He’d sit at the front of the family parlor and we’d form a loose arc around him--even Atar--and listen in reverent silence. I believe that I learned to name my emotions based on Macalaurë’s songs, for--according to Atar, anyway--I had trouble as a young child putting abstract thoughts into words. “You learned every name for every species of moth to bump around our lanterns at night, but you could not name what made you cry when one came too close to the flame,” Atar teased me. Safe in his arms, I could laugh with him.

But emotions were not moths. Each species of moth bore a slightly different set of markings, a minor differentiation in shape and color. An eyespot on one and feathered antennae on the other. Moths were easily put to words but emotions: Emotions never seemed to bear the same set of markings. Just when I thought I had an understanding of pain, there came something new, something unnamed, and my eyes flooded with tears. How could a scraped knee and a broken heart both be called pain? And if pain is signified by tears, then what of papercuts that bleed but do not bring tears; what of the tears on Atar’s face when little Carnistir was born?

“What do you feel?” Nelyo was always asking me, Nelyo who sought such precision in language and was bothered that I would not--for he refused to understand the alternative of could not--name sadness, joy, and guilt. I was curled in his arms, having interrupted him in conversation with Macalaurë. I was small--only two years old--and had caught a beesting to the palm when I’d tried to bring him a fat, fuzzy bumblebee as a gift. When it had stung me, my hands had clapped together, killing it. What did I feel?

I named Macalaurë’s songs: one for the ache in my palm, another for the regret that I’d come to him with tears on my face and no gift in my hands, and yet another for the guilt that a life that had existed five minutes earlier still would but for me. Nelyo sat in startled silence, and it was Macalaurë who understood and laughed. “Yes, little one, of course!” he said, and he played the songs that I had named on the small harp that always seemed at his side.