"Duty, Country, Honour" by Rhapsody the Bard

Maglor is one of my absolute favourite characters, especially since I was not so enamoured with the elves that appeared in The Lord of the Rings. This elf caught my attention, tackled me, and never let go until this day. As a character, he is often portrayed as a soft spoken and gentle person. However, the more I wrote him, approaching him from many different angles, I could not help to wonder what drove him. How was he, a son of Fëanor, able to survive all of this and still find justification for what he considered the best to do for his House and people? How could he write his masterpiece and, a day later, simply kill those who would stand in his way? How could a character like this move a reader to write a story about him, evoke emotions, and stir thoughts without ignoring the darker side of this character? All of these traits woven into one personality intrigued me and is the source of many works from my hand featuring this character.

When I wrote this piece, a reviewer told me that it was hard to imagine that this elf, or any other Fëanorian for that matter fought for honour. After all, they were driven by an Oath. However, in my opinion, words that formed an oath, culminating in their doom, cannot be the sole reason alone, and could this ever be the case for every war? Studying the speech of MacArthur, which this piece is solely based it is, in essence, a warrior’s tale. In our history, and Tolkien’s legacy, there has always been a great need for men who would fight for our freedom or our cause in war.

One can not always oversee the consequences of such sacrifices and this will always isolate those who fought from those who did not, those who could truly understand the horrors they saw and experienced. This also seems the case whenever the nobility and trustworthiness of the Fëanorians is disputed. I know that with this piece that I have evoked that emotion, the same warning the General gave and, perhaps, is also true for those who will never believe what sacrifices these Noldor made to defend their realms.

In Tolkien’s case, he did not only tell the story of those who won. No, he also told the tale of the mighty houses that fell during the monumental battles, or kinslayings, that ultimately took place. It is striking to note that none of the seven died in war, but during the culmination of their own machination. Still, this does not take away from the fact that, as warriors, they willingly chose to take and defend the dangerous lands in the North.

This fact brings me back to Maglor’s motivations. Can a bard become a warrior? Tolkien turned a gentle person--a scholar like himself--into a soldier, and the professor, just as Maglor, fought the enemy himself and yet, in a way, knew that those who fought on the other side believed in their cause with just as much honour and determination. Which brings me back to the hallowed words...Duty, Country, Honour.



t is my plight, being his son, to follow him wherever he would lead us. Duty lay heavily on me and his gaze--unrelenting, steadfast, and determined--there would not discharge from it. This is what I was ought to be, leaving all doubts behind me. Duty defines us: it is in our blood, the tears we shed as we sought our way out of here, forever seeking the light that he stole from us, demanding nothing more than the truth. None shall understand me; I know this, and many shall place us in darkness with the evil we fought.

I embraced the highest moral law in all I have done and still will do: fighting for what is right, sacrificing all I ever wanted for the noblest cause thinkable. For honour, I faced death in battle and danger, often wondering or questioning the restraints placed upon us in his design. All have called upon me, and I gave all accordingly, forever praying for peace each time I pick up my bow and draw my sword to fight the darkest foe. None shall understand me; the sufferings I faced and tried to bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

These green lands and long beaches, this is what I inherited: an inevitable end after all that has passed. I cannot return to whence I came, the shadow always remained serving as a warning to remain vigilant for his return. Yet, old memories haunt me: those of glorious victories and profound loss as those who I had sworn to protect fell away. Sometimes I still hear the crashing of sword upon armour, the roaring sounds of creatures and dangerous fires scorching my neck. Always defending, never yielding. None will understand how three words defined my life: Duty, Honour, and Country.

"Amon Ereb - the last king" by Hrymfaxe

One thing I love about Tolkien is how I can always discover new stories to tell; how an episode that I barely glanced at before catches my attention and I feel compelled to illustrate it or even elaborate upon it by filling in the gaps. The green-elves of Ossiriand had my sympathy for their connection to nature, but suddenly there was a connection with some other thoughts and they grew in importance in my own private Tolkien hierarchy. There are so many stories like these and I enjoy discovering them.

"War" by Moreth

The first time I was fascinated by Tolkien's world was as a teenager – then the fascination was mainly about language construction. I was being subjected to learning three new languages at school (okay – I enjoyed it really!), and it made sense (to me) to geek out over someone who was inventing a language.* Anyway, after that I never really put Middle-earth down – I read favourite books/series in a very non-linear fashion, however! I hadn't picked up The Silmarillion for some years, but once I did, the fact that it is presented as a continuous story, but has such huge gaps in the storyline did something bizarre in my head. What exactly are these "lies of Morgoth" that come between Fingon and Maedhros? What is Eöl doing hanging about in Nan Elmoth? How come it goes so horribly wrong between him and Aredhel? What happened at Alqualondë, and why? Why do I have all these random questions looking for answers...?

Of course you can make up some really very interesting answers... Laugh all you will, it took me a quite a while to figure out that what you do with these is write fanfic. Yeah, I was a little slow on the uptake there; the blank pages at the end of the book clearly exist so that you can rewrite the ending! Anyway, this really is B2MeM for me with a different perspective - and I'm glad to have met you guys and found your answers to all these questions - as well as starting to writing my own (idiosyncratic) versions...

* I have to admit it has been years since I played with this stuff... and I am wary of poking sleeping dragons ;)


onfusion and shouting. Noise and fire. Father yelling. "Follow... and bring your bow!" With no bow to hand, I snatch up my hunting knife, and run out into the chaos and the dark.

The figure before me pads swiftly forward, and I throw out my hand, crying out, hoping to stop him. Everything feels wrong. Who is this Golodo in strange clothing, carrying weapons?

Then pain as my hand is knocked sideways. Something hits my chest. Hard. It hurts beyond bearing.

Someone screaming. Is it my voice? I can't breathe.

I'm cold. So very cold.

Nana, the stars are fading...


It seems we've practised forever and it makes everything so easy. Foot forward. Twist his knife sideways. Strike now.

He stares at me in shock before he starts screaming. Bending double. Hands pressed against his chest. Trying to stop the blood. Trying to breathe. Trying not to die.

But I have learnt my lessons well. That one can be ignored. Look for the next danger. Choose your target. Foot forward...

And it's only afterwards that it's not easy. When we look at what remains. When we see what we did. And then, oh no... then it's not easy at all.

"War of Wrath" by Ranger1

What we know of the Vanyar is that they lived near the Valar, did not leave with the Noldor, and sang in joy. That indicates love of the Valar and loving obedience. They would go to the War of Wrath to defeat Morgoth, but they would not love it.


onwe watched as Ingwe led his troops to the parade ground.

“How went today’s fight?” He asked.

“Horrible, horrible,” Ingwe replied. “we advanced and became outnumbered. We attacked and were stopped. The Orcs came and surrounded us. We fought as well we might, like Children of the One, like Elves. I bring you the Balrog Gandum’s head.”

“Then you have the victory this day?”

“Yes, we do.”

“What do you want for your force for this, honor, glory, praise?

“I want rest. I want quiet. I want the end of Morgoth. That is all I ask of this war.”

Excerpt from "Letting Go" by Ellie

Whenever there is a war, there are those who go away to fight (they usually get the good stories) and there are those who are left behind. In the War of Wrath, the most notable person left behind was Ingwë. For someone who considers his royal subjects to be his children, the pain and guilt at letting them go into danger, let alone into war, must have been unbearable. He had led the Vanyar on two different occasions to a paradise, a land of safety and holiness (first to Valinor and then to dwell at the feet of the Valar). How horrible it must have been to send them off to war against Morgoth in Middle-earth, knowing he could not be there to lead them, to care for them, to protect them. The following is an excerpt from my story “Letting Go” where I explore his feelings on the night before the departure of Vanyar for the War of Wrath.


e knew he could trust his beloved Ingil with his own life and with those of the many generations of his sons – for every male of the line of Ingwë chose to go away to fight this war. Certainly as patriarch of the house of Ingwë, he feared for their well-being and for how they would be changed when they returned to Valinor whether by ship or by Mandos’ Halls. Yet he would be strong and let them go. But the muster of the other neri of the Vanyar to depart and face this evil as well…

Could he stay here every day looking on the faces of the wives and mothers and daughters and sisters, the kin left behind? Could he endure their eyes when they so obviously missed their men-folk and yet looked to him with loving trust, knowing he had asked their family to do the right thing? What was he to say when news started to come home to them - if it ever did - reporting the deaths of kin? How much would his own heart bleed every time he learned that a son of the Vanyar - let alone a blood son of Ingwë - had gone to the keeping of Mandos?

How would he bear this burden? How would he bear this pain? How could he possibly love away the grief to come with weak platitudes and simple reassurances and make it all better?

Sniffing quietly, he wiped his eyes on his sleeve. How would he stand before his warriors tomorrow and send them away with pride and blessings knowing so many might not return?

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

For the “War” subtopic, Rhapsody and I have chosen a very dynamic scene of our co-authored story “Written in the Starlight”, in which we have Beleg and his companions as well as the sons of Fëanor engage in a skirmish with orcs.

We did want to enrich the story and provide our readers with not only some insights into the relations between our characters solely, but also we wished to allow the audience the glimpses at diplomacy, conflicts, politics, alliances and finally wars. Not to mention that we consider our characters masters of warfare and the art, if one can say so, of combat, but that, I think, is obvious.

In this scene we portray the chaos and the uncertainty of not knowing if you will be the victim or the victor. On the battlefield it is important that someone guards your back and you do the same. All in all, this scene portrays the dynamics of war where sudden turns of the tide can either be for good or bad, just as the many battles Tolkien has drafted himself held the same ingredients.


úrin! To the left!” Beleg shouted, answering a powerful stab of an orc’s blade with a force that swiped the beast to the ground, already dead. Túrin shot a murderous glance at the attacker, retreating imperceptibly, his hand moving in a full circle. The sword he held made a smooth line along the orc’s chest. Another one threw a dagger, which was soon blocked in midair by the stranger’s weapon flying straight and clashing when steel met steel. Túrin turned to give the dark-haired elf a nod of gratitude. The other just smiled, continuing his deadly procedure.

The four warriors ran down the slope, closer to the cliff, driving the remnants of the orcs’ party to the edge. The orcs either nosedived off, tumbling down the stony walls, or managed to turn onto the narrow path that led to the grassy fields below the mountains. Beleg halted as his gaze fell upon the distant land at the foot of the mountains. It seemed that another battle had just taken place there. Several horsemen rode back and forth along the valley, their horses galloping so that their masters could defeat the orcs, who ran around shrieking. With Gwindor by his side, Beleg made his way down in haste, intending to force their attackers further, just in front of the riders. Túrin and the dark-haired elf followed them, and the four soon came into the view of one of the horsemen.

One of the knights turned his horse. The animal reared on its hind legs; the hooves clashed in the air as the rider urged it into a full gallop at once. With his sword raised, the warrior and the horse barreled through the field, closing the distance to the few remaining orcs and their four assailants.

Excerpt from "The Conscript" by Dawn Felagund

Though the stories we write are more often than not firmly rooted in fantasy, I believe that that which makes our characters and their experiences come to life on the page is anything but. I wrote "The Conscript"--excerpted below--when talk was heightening in the United States about reinstating the draft. We were up to our necks in Iraq, and there seemed no other way. And, as the wife and friend of young males who would be eligible, this frightened me. It still does. And so I wrote from the point of view of a bookish young man--a "geek," like so many of my friends--who suddenly found himself as a soldier. I often wonder how much of Tolkien's work--where war is so common--was touched by his own experiences and the political realities of his day and if, one day, the irreverent scrawlings of a frightened young woman will remind someone of ours.


he document left by the messengers was not written by Maedhros--instead by a scribe--but the signature at the bottom is his. His name is different now--denoting ugliness, utility--and his left-handed script is more economic than that once wrought with his right, but I know that flourish beneath the vala, and it is his.

The message is plain: I am being conscripted.

"Each household under the lordship of Maedhros Fëanorion is to send one male into the military service of their lord, to defend the realm against Morgoth."

My father was made lame in the Dagor Bragollach and so--heart thudding violently inside my chest--I realize that will be me. The bookish son of a farmer without even the courage to present a silver ring to the maiden down the lane … it would be laughable, if I was not so terrified.

The messengers left also a sword.

"He shall report to the gates at Himring within three moons' time. He should bring his weapon."

The sword is brutal in its simplicity. The Noldor, it seems, forewent concern for beauty in arms when they lost the will to feign empathy in their summons to the same.

"Let the havens burn" by Sirielle

Maedhros leading his army to the havens of Sirion. This is one of scenes from The Silmarillion that keeps coming back to me - the encounter of Maedhros and Elwing finalized with her escape through a window. But it' not the escape that captures me most but the moment he enters the room, the impression he makes, his gestures, words he says - all what makes her jump leaving children behind. My Maedhros never got to that window so far, I only managed to put him behind her door once, now he is approaching the havens with madness and destruction. One day we'll eventually break the door and find out why she was so desperate to jump.