Newsletter: April 2010

Table of Contents

SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month!

March was Back to Middle-earth Month, and thirty-four writers and artists joined us to create fiction, poetry, and artwork as part of a quest game to fight (and hopefully win!) the Final Battle. The event officially won't end till 4 April, when we'll find out if participants mustered enough strength to defeat Melkor.

So far, more than 130 challenge entries have been created with more being added this week! You can find them all here or find the Silmarillion-based entries here.


This year's event was by far the most ambitious that the SWG has ever undertaken and a lot of people are to credit for its success. A huge thank-you goes out to the game moderators: Angelica, Russandol, Lady Roisin, Bobby, Tárion Anaróre, SurgicalSteel, and Rhapsody. These intrepid and tireless volunteers not only took my (Dawn's) idea that consisted of little more than OME-we-should-totally-do-this, made sense of it, and made it work but also helped to put together the event, build the site, and run the event once it was underway. B2MeM would not have happened without them. As the saying goes, many hands make light work: Comods, any sanity I have remaining is entirely to your credit!

Neither would B2MeM have happened without the more than thirty writers and artists who decided to go out on a limb with us this year for an event like no other we've done before. Your patience, creative talent, sense of adventure, and bottomless store of good humor made this an event to remember. I don't think I am alone (and hope that I am not!) in having met new friends, enjoyed work by artists and authors formerly unknown to me, and had a good laugh nearly every day. Thank you all for sharing your talents with us this past month--we'll see you again next year!

B2MeM 2010 Group Photo by Mirach

Thank you, Mirach, for the group photo of our B2MeM 2010 characters! From left to right:

back row - Maglor, Caranthir, Maedhros, Melian (to my mind Maiar are taller than elves), Elladan & Elrohir (or Elrohir & Elladan, Esme's personal escort), behind them Asfaloth & Glorfindel (not Glorfindel & Asfaloth), Ecthelion, Celeborn, Éowyn, Imrahil, behind him Ossë (who else can have blue hair, really...), Amarië & Finrod, Celebrimbor, Halbarad (of course), Haldir, Aragorn (somebody showed him a magazine with photos from Oscar), Daenar (wearing his wings visible for the photo)

front row - Nerdanel, Handy, Aunt Esme, Beleg, before him Túrin, Ornisso the Tiredly Appreciated, Beren, Mhauri, Eärendil and Mithbathir the mûmak

Fëanor is taking the photo

April Is International Poetry Month!

April is International Poetry Month! Poetry is often challenging or just plain intimidating even for the most skilled Tolkien authors but, this month, we invite you to try your hand at crafting verse!

Not sure where to begin? The Word Shop has an extensive list of poetic forms and terms. has an impressive collection of poems and poetry anthologies. The Academy of American Poets has still more (and a poem-a-day for International Poetry Month!). And, of course, Tolkien was an avid poet as well. Find a collection of his poems on Poem Hunter.

Many writers here at the SWG have shared their poetry with us in the past. Not sure you're up for writing your own poem yet? Why not check out one of two of them and leave the author a comment? Following is a list of poems by our SWG authors!

After all are gone by ford_of _bruinen
After Amputations by Ithilwen
The angel that came from the West by ford_of _bruinen
Awakening by ford_of _bruinen
Bedtime Tales of the Sun by Dawn Felagund
Begging and Betrayal by ford_of_bruinen
Beleg by ford_of _bruinen
Consumed by Vicki Turner
The Dancers by Elleth
Descent by Lady Roisin
Embers by Elleth
Faded and Pale by ford_of _bruinen
Falling by ford_of _bruinen
Feanorian Fates series: Eru's Lament by Alassante
Feanorians by Vicki Turner
The first to fall by ford_of_bruinen
Flight to Doriath by ford_of _bruinen
Glorfindel Reborn by ford_of _bruinen
A high king on his death by ford_of _bruinen
Hope Across Helcaraxe by Mistrali
How I Wish by Dawn Felagund
If I were a wood elf… by Robinka
I married for love by ford_of _bruinen
I seek answer by ford_of _bruinen
The King and the dreamer is dead by ford_of_bruinen
The last farewell of you and me by ford_of _bruinen
A letter at the twilight of my days by ford_of _bruinen
A little jewel by ford_of _bruinen
The Longings of the Eruhini by Ithilwen
Lost by ford_of _bruinen
Love poem by Oshun
A lullaby by ford_of_bruinen
Maedhros's Lament by ford_of _bruinen
Maedhros the Red-haired Elfie by Cirdan
Maeglin by ford_of _bruinen
Maglor's Song by Robinka
Maglor's whisper by ford_of _bruinen
Mourning Luthien by ford_of _bruinen
A Mighty Bridge Invisible by Noliel
Nargothrond by ford_of _bruinen
Nienor is lost by ford_of_bruinen
On alien shores by ford_of_bruinen
One more minute by ford_of _bruinen
The OTHER Lays of Beleriand by Aiwen
Philosophia to Philomythus and Misomythus by Pandemonium 213
"A Poem for My Father" and "Creator" by Dawn Felagund
Regrets by ford_of _bruinen
Rising by Dawn Felagund
Seagull flight by ford_of_bruinen
Seek the Horizon, Numenor's Sons by Dawn Felagund
Seven Falls by Dawn Felagund
Soft by ford_of _bruinen
Songs of Arda Marred by Ithilwen
Souls already lost by ford_of_bruinen
A soul in pain by ford_of _bruinen
Teler by Dawn Felagund
Tevildo by ford_of_bruinen
This Darkest Son by ford_of_bruinen
Three Sides to the Same Story by Fireworks
Turin Turambar by ford_of_bruinen
The Wanderer by Ithilwen
Wild by ford_of_bruinen
With heavy steps by ford_of_bruinen
"Zimraphel" and "I Who Loved Her" by Noliel and Dawn Felagund

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Character of the Month Biography

Turgon the Wise


Turgon the Wise is the second son of Fingolfin and his wife Anairë (1). Born in Aman, presumably in Valinor, during the Years of the Trees, Tolkien gives him the same year of birth as his first cousin Finrod Felagund (2). As a grandson of Finwë by his second wife Indis of Vanyar, Turgon is one-quarter Vanyarin and three-quarters Noldorin. The significance of the scions of the House of Finwë in the Tolkien's created history cannot be overstated, and Fingolfin's children (3) Fingon, Turgon and Aredhel are no exception, playing significant roles in many of the most dramatic events recounted in The Silmarillion.

In the early parts of the published Silmarillion, Turgon is overshadowed by the impressive feats of heroism of his elder brother Fingon. Later in the narrative of the First Age, however, it is Turgon of all of the House of Finwë, save perhaps Fëanor, who receives the most page space. This is based largely upon the role of Turgon as the king of Gondolin. Tolkien's world-building begins in earnest with his story of the rise and fall of the Gondolin. The tale of the city of Gondolin encompasses pivotal plot elements for the account of decline of the Eldar and the rise of the race of Men. The details relating to the intervention of divinity in its founding, the geography of the area, the plans of the city and its construction, and Gondolin's political organization, including the characteristics and heraldry of its twelve nobles houses, are among the most complex of the settings and backgrounds for Tolkien's tales.

Turgon is the Sindarin name adapted for use in Middle-earth based upon the Quenyan name of Turukáno (4), apparently his mother name. (Tolkien gives Sarafinwë as Turgon's father name (5).)

The Ñoldor in exile as a rule chose one only of their names to be given a Sindarin shape; this was the name, usually, which each preferred (for various reasons), though the ease of 'translation' and its fitting into Sindarin style was also considered. (6)

In The Shibboleth of Fëanor, Tolkien notes that it is likely that the adaptation of Turgon as a replacement for Turukáno "shows knowledge of the sound-changes distinguishing Sindarin from Telerin, but disregards meaning" (7).

The reader's first insight into the character of Turgon occurs in the account of that fateful night in Tirion when Fëanor convinces an overwhelming majority of his people to leave Aman and follow him to Middle-earth. Turgon is shown as hostile to Fëanor and his words. While his brother Fingon is spoken of as "being moved also by Fëanor’s words, though he loved him little" (8), conversely, Turgon is said to have adamantly disagreed with Fëanor's arguments to the point of nearly provoking violence in that assembly.

. . . and many quailed to hear the dread words. For so sworn, good or evil, an oath may not be broken, and it shall pursue oathkeeper and oathbreaker to the world's end. Fingolfin and Turgon his son therefore spoke against Fëanor, and fierce words awoke, so that once again wrath came near to the edge of swords. (9)

Turgon, however, joined his father, brother and cousins in leaving Valinor for Middle-earth.

Fingon and Turgon were bold and fiery of heart, and loath to abandon any task to which they had put their hands until the bitter end, if bitter it must be. So the main host held on, and swiftly the evil that was foretold began its work. (10)

Turgon was one of the first of the Noldor to experience first-hand the sorrows foretold by the Curse of Mandos. Among the Noldorin princes, only Turgon has a wife explicitly named as accompanying her partner to Middle-earth. Sadly, Elenwë the wife of Turgon is lost in the crossing of the Helcaraxë (11). Their daughter Idril, however, narrowly survives the trek across the ice. The result of Elenwë's death on the ice is that Turgon, unlike Finrod or Fingon, for example, is unable to overcome his aversion for the House of Fëanor.

Tolkien scholar Michael Martinez asserts that "Turgon was undoubtedly the wisest of Fingolfin's children, and for a reason not disclosed he was one of Ulmo's favorites among the Noldorin princes" (12). The wisest in Tolkien's legendarium is a bit like the most beautiful—all of the important Elves are wise and/or beautiful. It may be indisputable, especially with a name that includes the honorific "the Wise," that Tolkien considers Turgon the wisest of Fingolfin's children, but to the average reader the reasons are less than immediately obvious.

Turgon is a contradictory personality. On the one hand, Tolkien calls him wise, but his choices do not always point to impeccable judgment. For example, in relation to his sister Aredhel, one might wonder whether his judgment is poorer in assuming, given her description as one of the more rebellious and headstrong among Tolkien's women characters, that she could happily settle into a hermetically sealed-off secret city or that he should trust her to leave that city and return without serious incident. Later in the text, one might assume that Turgon exercises wisdom in placing his trust in Tuor, Maeglin not so much . . .

Seriously, the reason for adding the descriptive title of "the Wise" to Turgon's name does not translate well in the context of the contemporary understanding of the concept of wisdom. (See a similar discussion in the section "Wisdom among The Elves" in the biography of Finrod Felagund on this site.)

Turgon's enmity toward the House of Fëanor appears not to have faded over time, unlike that of the other greatest lords among the Noldor like Fingolfin, Fingon and Finrod, who placed the necessity of unity among their people's against Morgoth's forces over any residual resentment. One cannot imagine Turgon harboring Curufin and Celegorm at Gondolin the way that Finrod did at Nargothrond. Despite Turgon's passionate antipathy for the House of Fëanor, he is not depicted as a cold-hearted elf. Concerning Turgon's relations with his extended family, he is said to have been particularly close to Finrod Felagund, something which speaks in Turgon's favor. The texts state that Aredhel "was under the protection of Turukáno who loved her dearly" (13). She, a woman of restless temperament, surely must have returned that affection to have endured the confinement of Gondolin for some 200 years. Turgon is willing to extend his hospitality and open his heart to the young mortal brothers Huor and Húrin of the House of Hador, allowing them to enter Gondolin and, even more significantly, leave again later. The Silmarillion states that he welcomes Maeglin into his inner circle, looking "with liking upon Maeglin his sister-son, seeing in him one worthy to be accounted among the princes of the Noldor" (14).

And, finally, Turgon extends to Tuor son of Huor the same generosity of affection he had given his kinsmen of the House of Hador,

. . . so high did Tuor stand in the favour of the King that when he had dwelt there for seven years Turgon did not refuse him even the hand of his daughter. (15)

One often finds least tolerable in others characteristics or faults which one shares. Turgon found Fëanor's arrogance and attachment to the fruits of his labor abhorrent. Yet these same flaws in Turgon himself might be seen as those which principally lead to his own downfall. When considering the details of the life and work of Turgon, one aspect manifests itself beyond all others. Turgon was a builder, an elf who strongly manifested the most stereotypically Noldorin aspect of elven wisdom: "Kurwë ‘technical skill and invention’" (16). Turgon's appetite and ambition, most clearly manifested in the planning and construction of his two cities Gondolin and Vinyamar, are notable, even among the ascendant post-exile Noldor. The implication is clear that Turgon possessed the wisdom of kurwë (interpreted by this reader as practical application), which doubtless had to have been based upon a solid foundation of ñolmë (which can be taken to comprise comprehensive general knowledge of a more abstract nature which would encompass the contemporary fields of both letters/arts and the sciences); however, he does seem a bit short on ingolë (17) (which one might extrapolate from Tolkien's discussions on his definitions of wisdom is the perfect synthesis of knowledge without any arrogance borne of self-interest). The only exiled Noldor who seems to have achieved anything approaching that level of virtuous detachment might be Finrod.

Founding of Vinyamar

Early on during the First Age when the princes of the Noldor are dividing up vast tracts of land among themselves, Turgon determines to build himself a fine city by the sea. In the fiftieth year of the Sun, he constructs a stronghold, naming it Vinyamar, in Nevrast at the northwestern-most part of Beleriand.

At the coming of the Noldor many of the Grey-elves lived in Nevrast near to the coasts, and especially about Mount Taras in the south-west; for to that place Ulmo and Ossë had been wont to come in days of old. All that people took Turgon for their lord, and the mingling of the Noldor and the Sindar came to pass soonest there; and Turgon dwelt long in those halls that he named Vinyamar, under Mount Taras beside the sea. (18)

In Nevrast, Turgon seeks to create a beautiful city of stone towers and high walls. Tolkien describes Tuor's first sighting of the long-abandoned city.

Beneath its long slopes [those of Mount Taras] in bygone days Turgon had dwelt in the halls of Vinyamar, eldest of all the works of stone that the Noldor built in the lands of their exile. There it still stood, desolate but enduring, high upon great terraces that looked towards the sea. The years had not shaken it, and the servants of Morgoth had passed it by; but wind and rain and frost had graven it, and upon the coping of its walls and the great shingles of its roof there was a deep growth of grey-green plants that, living upon the salt air, throve even in the cracks of barren stone. (19)

The Founding of Gondolin

A portentous dream foments the opportunity to fulfill a personal wish for Turgon. On the occasion of a doubtlessly much-needed recreational trip into the wilderness with Finrod, both Turgon and Finrod are visited in their dreams by the Vala Ulmo. Each separately receives instructions for building strongholds against the enemy. These dreams finally result in Turgon finding a suitable location for the hidden city of Gondolin and cause Finrod to delve the caves of Nargothrond.

With the construction of Gondolin, Turgon takes his pride in craftsmanship even further than he did in the case of Vinyamar, seeking to re-create the Noldorin capital in Valinor, which had been built under the tutelage of the Valar in collaboration with the Vanyar. Turgon wanted his secret city to be nothing less than a Middle-earth reproduction of Tirion upon Túna with its incomparable white walls, terraces and towers. After he erects Gondolin entirely in secret, Turgon also clandestinely moves the entire population of Vinyamar, Noldor and Sindar alike, into the new city, which is then sealed off from the outside world.

A significant warning from Ulmo, however, is one that Turgon will not heed:

But love not too well the work of thy hands and the devices of thy heart; and remember that the true hope of the Noldor lieth in the West and cometh from the Sea.'

And Ulmo warned Turgon that he also lay under the Doom of Mandos, which Ulmo had no power to remove. 'Thus it may come to pass,' he said, 'that the curse of the Noldor shall find thee too ere the end, and treason awake within thy walls. Then they shall be in peril of fire. But if this peril draweth nigh indeed, then even from Nevrast one shall come to warn thee, and from him beyond ruin and fire hope shall be born for Elves and Men. (20)

Satisfied that his people are safe and Gondolin is strong, Turgon does not allow any of his own people to issue forth to war until the heartbreakingly tragic Nirnaeth Arnoediad (the Battle of Unnumbered Tears). Meanwhile, the Elves and Men outside of the gates of Gondolin face renewed hostilities from Morgoth's forces. Turgon fears this is the possible beginning of the downfall of the Noldor, unless they are able to secure aid from the West. He commissions the covert building of ships at Sirion and the Isle of Balar. From there Gondolorhim mariners set sail

seeking for Valinor, to ask for pardon and aid of the Valar; and they besought the birds of the sea to guide them. But the seas were wild and wide, and shadow and enchantment lay upon them; and Valinor was hidden. Therefore none of the messengers of Turgon came into the West, and many were lost and few returned; but the doom of Gondolin drew nearer. (21)

The detailed story of Aredhel's abandonment of Gondolin, her return and tale of Eöl and Maeglin is not detailed in this article. (See the biography of Aredhel Ar-Feiniel on this site.) As the time for the Battle of Unnumbered Tears draws near, a bitter, haunted Maeglin (a complicated, mesmerizing villain if one is drawn to the dark, tortured Heathcliffian sort) hovers around an increasingly uneasy and yet practical-minded Idril.

One presumes with a sense of foreboding and disappointment that none of Turgon's secret sailors have found their way to the West and assistance from the Valar is not foreseeable. Turgon at last decides to break his isolationist policy and joins Fingon's forces in the Year of the Sun 472 in the Fifth Battle of Beleriand, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. One of the most stunning passages of The Silmarillion describes the arrival of Turgon's warriors.

But now a cry went up, passing up the wind from the south from vale to vale, and Elves and Men lifted their voices in wonder and joy. For unsummoned and unlooked for Turgon had opened the leaguer of Gondolin, and was come with an army ten thousand strong, with bright mail and long swords and spears like a forest. Then when Fingon heard afar the great trumpet of Turgon his brother, the shadow passed and his heart was uplifted, and he shouted aloud: 'Utúlie'n aurë! Aiya Eldalië ar Atanatári, utúlie'n aurë! The day has come! Behold, people of the Eldar and Fathers of Men, the day has come!' And all those who heard his great voice echo in the hills answered crying: 'Auta i lómë! The night is passing!' (22)

At the end of the battle, Turgon once again meets Huor and Húrin.

The field was lost; but still Húrin and Huor and the remnant of the house of Hador stood firm with Turgon of Gondolin, and the hosts of Morgoth could not yet win the Pass of Sirion. Then Húrin spoke to Turgon, saying: 'Go now, lord, while time is! For in you lives the last hope of the Eldar, and while Gondolin stands Morgoth shall still know fear in his heart.'

* * * *

Then Huor spoke and said: 'Yet if it stands but a little while, then out of your house shall come the hope of Elves and Men. This I say to you, lord, with the eyes of death: though we part here for ever, and I shall not look on your white walls again, from you and from me a new star shall arise. Farewell!' (23)

Huor's words to Turgon foreshadow the coming of his son Tuor to Gondolin, Tuor's marriage to Turgon's daughter Idril, and the birth of their son Eärendil.

With the death of Fingon in the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, the High Kingship of the Noldor passes to Turgon. One might wonder how effective of a high king Turgon could be isolated in Gondolin, particularly during a period when in the aftermath of the rout by Morgoth leaves the Noldor and their allies in a state of disarray, fragmented, scattered and badly in need of leadership. In any case, Turgon's reign as high king is not to be a long one. A mere thirty-eight years pass from the death of Fingon in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad to the fall of Gondolin.

After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, when Turgon and his troops have returned safely to Gondolin, Tuor son of Huor is instructed by Ulmo to deliver a message to Turgon, which he does.

And he gave warning to Turgon that the Curse of Mandos now hastened to its fulfillment, when all the works of the Noldor should perish; and he bade him depart, and abandon the fair and mighty city that he had built, and go down Sirion to the sea.

But Turgon had become proud, and Gondolin as beautiful as a memory of Elven Tirion, and he trusted still in its secret and impregnable strength, though even a Vala should gainsay it. (24)

If Turgon had heeded Tuor's warning from Ulmo, the events might have transpired in a dramatically different manner (although the force of the Doom of Mandos upon the cursed Noldor prevents one from believing all would have been well). Tuor, however, along with Idril is one of the lights in this dark ending. One Tolkien scholar contrasts Tuor to his cousin Túrin, for whom nothing goes right.

His [Túrin's] parallel cousin Tuor is Redeemed Man, whose continual self-sacrifice and devotion to the powers of good earn him entrance into the most concealed of Elvish realms, the Hidden City of Gondolin, passing successfully through its seven gates.42 There he weds the king's daughter, Idril Celebrindal, and it is their son, Eärendil, who will provide the salvation of Middle-Earth from the torments of Morgoth.
42Carpenter, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien 115. (25)

It is the ill-fated Maeglin's capture by Morgoth that leads to the betrayal of the location of Gondolin, although one could speculate that it would not have been long in any case before it would have been discovered.

Morgoth hurls a massive military force at the hidden city on the feast day of the Gates of Summer.

At last, in the year when Eärendil was seven years old, Morgoth was ready, and he loosed upon Gondolin his Balrogs, and his Orcs, and his wolves; and with them came dragons of the brood of Glaurung, and they were become now many and terrible. (26)

Despite heroic resistance by the great lords of Gondolin, it becomes obvious that the city must fall. Turgon refuses to leave, ordering Tuor to lead the surviving populace to safety. Tuor and Idril gather as many as they are able and escape through a secret tunnel Idril had caused to be constructed beneath the city of Gondolin.

Of the deeds of desperate valour there done, by the chieftains of the noble houses and their warriors, and not least by Tuor, much is told in The Fall of Gondolin: of the battle of Ecthelion of the Fountain with Gothmog Lord of Balrogs in the very square of the King, where each slew the other, and of the defence of the tower of Turgon by the people of his household, until the tower was overthrown; and mighty was its fall and the fall of Turgon in its ruin. (27)

The Question of the High Kings of the Noldor

It is interesting to note the impressive number of misapplied or inappropriate titles or designations relating to Tolkien's fictional world that may be found when one does a cursory review of the most readily available commentaries about almost any feature of his legendarium. One encounters numerous references to the High Kings of the Noldor in online Tolkien encyclopedias and other informational sites. Most commonly they are listed chronologically as: Finwë, Fëanor, Fingolfin, Fingon, Turgon and Gil-galad. Some lists insert Maedhros between Fëanor and Fingolfin while others omit him.

In point of fact, Tolkien uses the term High King in the traditional sense of a ruler who wields authority over and/or demands allegiance from a group of other kings. For example, King Arthur of myth and legend deserves the title of High King because he is described as having won control over the numerous petty kingdoms of Britain. Among the ancient Greeks, Agamemnon arguably might be described as an example of a high king, bringing together as he did under his direct authority and command the princes and kings of the city states which comprised Homeric Greece.

Yet, even Robert Foster's The Complete Guide to Middle-earth misuses the term High King of the Noldor. In the index to that book, he defines the term "House of Finwë" as the "Royal house of the Noldor. From its members were chosen the High Kings of the Noldor in Eldamar and Middle-earth" (28, emphasis added).

Tolkien, however, explicitly names Finwë as simply the king of the Noldor in Aman, noting that

Finwë was king in Tirion and Olwë in Alqualondë; but Ingwë was ever held the High King of all the Elves. He abode thereafter at the feet of Manwë upon Taniquetil. (29)

And further confirms that the only high king among the Elves in Aman was Ingwë of the Vanyar.

Now it came to pass that Finwë took as his second wife Indis the Fair. She was a Vanyar, close kin of Ingwë the High King, golden-haired and tall, and in all ways unlike Míriel. (30)

It appears that the kings of the Noldor in Middle-earth assumed the title of high kings after the lands to the North and throughout Beleriand had been divided up among the princes of the Noldor into petty kingdoms. The claim to kingship which Maedhros relinquished in favor of Fingolfin would not have been that of High King of the Noldor, but simply King of the Noldor, the extension of Fëanor's claim to the succession from Finwë as his eldest son. It seems to have been Fingolfin's organization, direction and maintenance of an alliance among of those petty kingdoms that makes Fingolfin the first High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth. The first use of the term High King of the Noldor in The Silmarillion is in "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."

Now Fingolfin, King of the North, and High King of the Noldor, seeing that his people were become numerous and strong, and that the Men allied to them were many and valiant, pondered once more an assault upon Angband. (31)

With the fall of Gondolin and the death of Turgon, the last of High Kings of Noldor born in Aman, "Ereinion Gil-galad son of Fingon was named High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth" (32).

Works Cited

  1. Although Anairë is not mentioned in The Silmarillion, she is named in The Shibboleth of Fëanor, where she is stated to be Noldorin. "Fingolfin's wife Anairë refused to leave Aman, largely because of her friendship with Eärwen wife of Arafinwë (though she was a Ñoldo and not one of the Teleri)." The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  2. Morgoth's Ring, Annals of Aman, note to "Commentary on the Fourth Section of the Annals of Aman."
  3. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor. A third son Arakáno is entered into the texts by Tolkien in the course of the making of the genealogies, but his story is never worked into the narrative of The Silmarillion.
  4. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  5. Parma Eldarlamberon (of the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship), Vol. 17, "Words, Phrases and Passages in Various Tongues in The Lord of the Rings," p. 113.
  6. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  7. Ibid.
  8. The Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor."
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Michael Martinez, "It's All in the Family: The Finwëans,"
  13. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  14. The Silmarillion, "Of Maeglin."
  15. The Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin."
  16. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  17. Ibid. "Ingolë (ňgōlē) Science/Philosophy as a whole; ňolmo a wise person; ingólemo one with very great knowledge, a ‘wizard’. . . The wizards of the Third Age - emissaries from the Valar - were called Istari ‘those who know’."
  18. The Silmarillion, "Of Beleriand and Its Realms."
  19. Unfinished Tales, Of Tuor and His Coming to Gondolin.
  20. The Silmarillion, "Of the Noldor in Beleriand."
  21. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  22. The Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad."
  23. Ibid.
  24. The Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin."
  25. Curtiss Hoffman, The Seven Story Tower: A Mythic Journey through Space and Time (New York: Insight Books, 1999) 217, Questia, 26 Mar. 2010.
  26. The Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin."
  27. Ibid.
  28. Robert Foster, The complete guide to Middle-earth: from the Hobbit through the Lord of the rings and beyond.
  29. The Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië."
  30. The Silmarillion, "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor."
  31. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  32. The Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin."

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Gothmog and Draugluin


“Gothmog and Draugluin” follows the antics of two Tolkienian icons who were not all about smiting and devouring but had fun, too. Little Gothmog lives in Thangorodrim with his mom (Ulbandi Fluithuin) and dad (Melkor, Black Foe of the World). Melkor’s right-hand man and Gothmog’s babysitter -- Professor Thû ("I'm not a babysitter. I'm an observer!") -- makes appearances, too.

Gothmog and Draugluin also share this space with “Stinky Pete” Mêshûgganâscar, Maia of Mandos, and his pals.

Pandemonium_213 issues the standard disclaimer that Gothmog, Draugluin, Melkor, Ulbandi, Professor Thû, all the Elf dudes, Stinky Pete and his Maiarin pals, their Valarin bosses and whoever else shows up are the property of the Tolkien estate, and that this irreverent comic strip is drawn (badly) for fun and games but not for profit.

Gothmog and Draugluin by Pandemonium_213

Click to view full-sized.

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Current Challenge

To Be Free

Freedom means many things to different people. It has been the cause of wars and underlies dreams of peace. Many of the greatest works of literature discuss freedom in one way or another.

J.R.R. Tolkien's books are no exception. Freedom is a theme throughout his works and is often a primary motive for his characters. For this challenge, we ask you to show a character working to achieve freedom. While the actions of major characters like Fëanor and Lúthien might come first to mind, your story need not focus on epic quests for liberty but may also focus on small, everyday attempts to win freedom.

Challenges Revisited: The Duel of Songs

It's International Poetry Month, and we challenge you to a duel of songs!

J.R.R. Tolkien was an avid poet, and poetry filled his stories, from his first tentative imaginings in The Book of Lost Tales to the songs we all know by heart from The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. As April is National Poetry Month, it seems fitting to spend the month looking at Tolkien's poems and those by other authors based on his works.

This month, we encourage our authors to try their hand at poetry based on Tolkien's works. Not sure where to begin? The WORDshop has links to pages about dozens of poetic forms. Try a triolet, a tritina, or a tanka. Make us laugh over limericks and sigh over sonnets! Or maybe you tend to skip the poems in the books (don't worry, a lot of us do!) and want a refresher course? has much of Tolkien's poetry in one spot.

And, of course, don't forget to check out the poems by our SWG authors here.

Quote of the Month

Tu fui, ego eris."What you are, I was. What I am, you shall be."

Roman epitaph

Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for more than three years' worth of challenges to inspire your writing!

Have an idea for a challenge? Some of our most popular challenges have been created by you, the members of SWG! If you have a plotbunny gnawing at your ankle, a favorite quote, or a favorite character that you think might inspire others as well, please send an email to and we'll try to include your challenge in our next newsletter!

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Around the World and Web

LotR Genfic Community: April Non-fiction Challenge

we would like to invite you to submit a non-fiction piece as your entry to the April Challenge. We will assign no theme or element-- write your essay or research or informative article on whatever topic you choose. We ask only that it be focused on Tolkien or his world, and not merely a rant of likes or dislikes. The April challenge essays will be due the weekend of Friday, April 16, and will be revealed on Monday, April 18. You do not need to request an element, but please leave a comment to this post if you think you would like to participate, or if you have any questions.


At Teitho, the challenge for April is Pranks: April is famous for its All Fool's Day, a day of no-holds-barred hoaxes and practical jokes all over the world. In Middle-earth, too, surely pranks have played an equally important part. Even in dark times, everyone needs an occasional relief from the strain of duty. No close-knit military unit is complete without some practical jokes. The deadline for this challenge is April 25th. If you want to know more and/or participate, please visit the website.

The Shire Kitchen: Sixth Annual Recipe!Fic Challenge!

The LJ Community shire_kitchen would like to announce its Sixth Annual Recipe Fic Challenge. This is a chance to find a creative way to share your very favorite dishes as well as have the fun of writing a story! The theme for this year’s challenge will be: Special Ingredient!. (Interpret the phrase any way you want!)

THIS year there will be a special incentive to enter the Challenge. All authors who enter are eligible to have their name randomly drawn, to win this apron!

Yes, one lucky person will get this one-of-a-kind piece of wearable art! To see more details of the apron and how it was made, look here!

If you are interested in winning the apron, here are the rules and guidelines for the Shire Kitchen Recipe!Fic Challenge 2010!

Around the World and Web is provided for our members to inform them of events in the larger Tolkien community. SWG is not affiliated with and does not endorse the groups that we feature in Around the World and Web, and we are not responsible for content on sites outside of our own. Please use discretion and caution when visiting unfamiliar sites on the Internet.

Would you like to see your group or event featured on Around the World and Web? See our Promotions Page for more details or email us at

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