Newsletter: April 2013

Table of Contents

SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month 2013

March is over and another journey into Middle-earth: The Scavenger Hunt: Expedition in the Abecedarium has finished. As we’ve grown accustomed writers and artists have produced numerous wonderful pieces to delight and entertain us.

Back to Middle-earth Month is a big event every year that would be impossible for one or even a few people to tackle alone. Each year, we have dozens of participants, and hundreds of responses are created. The mods of the sponsoring groups (of which the SWG is the original B2MeM group!) owe a big thanks to all of our volunteers this year. Every year, one of the highlights of B2MeM is the gorgeous banners, icons, and other artwork to commemorate our participants who forsake laundry, homework, and sleep in order to keep Middle-earth alive in our hearts and minds. This year's bannermakers managed the herculean task of not only creating participant banners, a daily banner, and Reading Week banners but an icon for each and every prompt that we offered. A huge thanks to Zdenka, Lyra, Elleth, and Nath for their generous contributions of time, effort, and art to this year's event!

Our LiveJournal community is always hopping during March, and it would be impossible to find anything without the help of our tagging volunteers. Indy took the lead this year as our tagging mod who managed the not-insignificant task of developing the tagging guidelines and figuring out the best way to make them work for the community. She was assisted by our tagging volunteers Zdenka, Brooke of Lorien, and Foxrafer. Thank you all for keeping the community so well organized!

The mods of the groups who sponsor B2MeM do the behind-the-scenes work of planning the event this year. Once again, this year's B2MeM was a triumvarate of Tolkien fan groups: the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, with mods Dawn, Rhapsody, Angelica, Tárion, and Russandol; Many Paths to Tread, with mods Dreamflower, Cathleen, and Sandy; and Arda Inspired, with mod Mirach. Thank you all for making this monster of an event happen year after year.

And finally, a huge thank you to our participants and members! This was the first year that the B2MeM community members helped to plan and select this year's event, and we are grateful to all who offered us feedback when we asked. And, of course, this event would never happen without the writers and artists who share their talents with us each year. Thank you all.

If you were too busy during March, remember you can always pick any prompt and create any type of fanwork with it. B2MeM 213 guidelines are here and all 2013 prompts can be found here. And if you didn’t have time to read all the stories you wanted, this year we have added ...

Back to Middle-earth Month Reading Week!

In order to encourage reading and reviewing stories and artwork, from April 1 through April 7 we are having a special week where the main activity will be just that: read, review and claim one of the gorgeous banners specially made for this part of the event.

Reading Week guidelines can be found here, and Reading Week banners can be found here.

If you need help finding something to read, Rhapsody has kindly made a list of all the stories posted to the B2MeM 2013 community. Stories and art posted on March 1-15 can be found here and stories and art posted on March 16-31 can be found here. Stories and art posted in April up to this point can are listed here. To search for entries by character, prompt, format, or genre, use the master list of tags here.

April Is International Poetry Month

Tolkien was a lover of poetry whose studies of Old English poetry continues to influence the field today, and whose own fiction he liberally sprinkled with original poems. Every April, the SWG participates in International Poetry Month. Poetry is one of the oft-overlooked forms of Tolkien-based transformative work, so in the month of April, we encourage our members to check out one of the many Silmarillion-based poems on our archive or try your hand at writing your own.

Need some help getting started? Check out a list of poetic forms on the Word Shop (and remember that we have Poetic Form and Poetic Language BINGO cards available if you need some extra inspiration). To take a lead from the masters, check out Bartleby's poetry and anthology collections and the Academy of American Poets. Poem Hunter maintains a collection of poetry by J.R.R. Tolkien.

"Preview" Bug on the SWG Archive and General Bug Reminder

We've had an uptick of reports of the "preview" bug lately, with some members spending quite a bit of their time, thinking they're doing something wrong, before contacting us for help. Given this, we want to offer a friendly reminder about this long-enduring bug so as to hopefully minimize stress and repeat attempts to post stories (because we'd all rather authors spent their time writing rather than archive-wrangling! :).

When adding a story to the SWG archive, at present, if you click the Preview button, the Preview screen will show that the story has been assigned to a series. The story is not actually assigned to a series. Adding a story and placing that story in a series are completely separate steps, and it is impossible, from the Add Story screen, to place a story in a series. If you click Add, the story will be posted to the archive with no series assignment.

This bug has been around for years. It is essentially harmless but extremely annoying, as it prevents people from posting or causes people to make multiple attempts to add a story, thinking they are doing something wrong. It is our hope that the next software release, which is currently in beta, will squash this bug once and for all.

Whenever you encounter a problem on the archive, the best place to look first is the main archive page. Here, we maintain a list of any current bugs of which we are aware and the steps to take to work around that bug until we can fix it. If you don't see your problem there, please contact the moderators ( so that we can try to solve the problem.

Welcome to Our New Members!

Welcome The Wavesinger, Naurring, PerpetuaLilium, Elenyanar, dread delthar, hermioneliu, JD Paradox, Duilwen, Ho_Altava, Ninniach, Aeternitas, Yavieriel, Innin, and AnnieRose, who joined the SWG in March! Welcome, all, to the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild!

We hope you have already found your way around our site and begun reading, reviewing or posting at the archive, but if you are still exploring you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. Also, tell us a little bit about your fandom persona by updating your bio. And anytime you need help, please contact us at

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New at the Archive

Back to Middle-earth Month 2013

Hand Over Fist by Agelast [Adult] (844 words)
Summary: Maedhros’ hands -- a paean of sorts.

Heart-stung by Agelast [Teens] (2476 words)
Summary: The thought of their ancient friendship stung his heart. Written for the Friendship theme for B2MeM 2013, Day One.

In the Bleak and Early Morn by Elleth [Teens] (3099 words)
Summary: A story for B2MeM 2013, combining the prompts for archetypes, good and ill, and back to lands you once did know (days one, two and four respectively): Maglor's wife, a Sinda of Mithrim, learns about the events of Alqualondë, and confronts her husband about his actions, differing beliefs, and the future.

Lords of the West by Marta [Adult] (4235 words)
Summary: Olwe and Fingolfin had more cause than most to resent the Valar's tendency to leave dark lords unchallenged. A meditation on courgae, tragedy, and divine inaction.

Sculptress by Alquien [General] (467 words)
Summary: Artistic vision often equals foresight.

The Beautiful Ones by Elleth [Adult] (8177 words, incomplete)
Summary: Before the discovery of the Quendi by Oromë, a young Indis and her lover try to make sense of each other and the world around them, while the threat of Morgoth upon Cuiviénen increases. Originally written for Aliana's Bechdel Action/Adventure challenge, continued for B2MeM.

The Book of Short Tales by Lyra [General]
Summary: A place to store short ficlets and challenge responses that don't really warrant being archived on their own.
Chapters added this month: B2MeM '13 - Knowledge vs. Ignorance - The Price, B2MeM '13 - Friendship - Eulogy , B2MeM '13 - Judgement - The Flammifer's Wife , B2MeM '13 - March 12 - Broader Minds, *B2MeM '13 - March 4-12 - The Lucky Ones , B2MeM '13 - March 17 - Bested , B2MeM '13 - March 18 - Debts Repaid, B2MeM '13 - Zeal - Love and other rash vows , B2MeM '13 - March 28 - Dark Fruit and B2MeM '13 - Friendship - Forgiveness .

The Bread Maker's Lament by Agelast [Teens] (1411 words)
Summary: Mounds of earth, or people's lives. A young woman, living in First Age Hithlum, grapples with grief and loss, and bakes bread.

The Downfall by Marta [Adult] (871 words)
Summary: "Nine ships there were: four for Elendil, and for Isildur three, and for Anarion two; and they fled before the gale out of the twilight of doom into the darkness of the world. [...] And all the coasts and seaward regions of the western world suffered great change and ruin in that time; for the seas invaded the lands, and shores foundered."

The Fallen by Dawn Felagund [Adult] (2802 words)
Summary: In her youth, Amarië of the Vanyar was an idealistic and gifted poet, a rising star among the Vanyar. Many thousands of years later, having weathered unimaginable loss, Amarië is called to Lórien to witness the awakening of her once-beloved and newly reembodied Finrod. For B2MeM 2013, Day One, archetype and loss of innocence.

The Glory in 'Glorious' by Himring [Teens] (614 words)
Summary: The Fingolfinians and the Feanorians encounter each other after their shared victory at the Dagor Aglareb.

The Unwillingby Independence1776 [General] (216 words)
Summary: An Avarin tribe sails to Valinor. Rated General. There is an oblique reference in here to something Maglor mentioned in Chapter 7 of RAFA. Many thanks to Elleth for the beta. This was written using the first and third "A" prompts for B2MeM 2013.

When We Were Very Young by Marta [Teens] (2102 words)
Summary: "And it came to pass that Tar-Palantir grew weary of grief and died. He had no son, but a daughter only, whom he named Míriel in the Elven-tongue; and to her now by right and the laws of the Númenóreans came the sceptre. But Pharazôn took her to wife against her will..." (The Akallabeth)

While These Visions Did Appear by oshun [General] (597 words)
Summary: These are my responses in graphic format to B2MeM 2013 prompts.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
--Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Completed Works

Broken Things by Innin † [Adult] (11579 words)
Summary: Sauron was not always wholly evil, and after he was freed from Morgoth, he turned from the darkness for a while. But meeting a wandering minstrel proves too much for his newfound convictions, and leaves Maglor in grave danger. Written for Iavalir at My Slashy Valentine 2013.

Brothers by Silver Trails [General] (1048 words)
Summary: Maglor and Celegorm search for Caranthir...

Echoes by Idle Leaves [General] (1622 words)
Summary: At the Mereth Aderthad, Finrod and Maglor meet for a long-overdue discussion.

In Neldoreth, the Muddy Season by PerpetuaLilium [General] (2720 words)
Summary: Doom falls on Tinúviel, and it is at least as earthbound as ethereal.

No Victory Without Cost by Tarion Anarore [General] (1078 words)
Summary: "The deeds that we shall do shall be the matter of song until the last days of Arda." Maglor at the end of an age. The fulfillment of more than one promise.

Overcoming by Innin [Adult] (3907 words)
Summary: Years after the Darkening, Anairë rides to Alqualondë to seek comfort with her friend Eärwen. Written for Porn Battle XIV, for the prompts 'friendship, loss, forgiveness'.

Silver Bells and Honey Cakes. by Urloth † [Adult] (2164 words)
Summary: Finrod and his werewolf

The Art of Long-Distance Grandparenting by Kaz [General] (7343 words)
Summary: Why did Glorfindel return to Middle-earth? Maybe the Valar decided they needed a messenger. Maybe he felt he still had something to do there and begged them to let him return. Or maybe it went something like this... It's the early Second Age and Idril is worried about her grandsons. In the course of this she waylays new arrivals to Valinor, tries to find her footing with her own grandmother, schemes with Tuor, Finrod and Glorfindel, and finally sets a plan into motion.

The Feast of the Morning. by Urloth † [Adult] (3505 words)
Summary: Matimo hears of Findekáno's morning.

The King's New Bridge by Chilled in Hithlum [General](1147 words)
Summary: A second crack at the retelling for children of the Fall of Nargothrond... with apologies to Danny Kaye!

The Tapestry by Keiliss [General] (3926 words)
Summary: Yule on Balar in F.A. 515, or how a little Noldor pragmatism changed the fate of the world.

Tipping the Scales by Innin † [Adult] (1382 words)
Summary: After Maedhros has yielded the crown of the Noldor to Fingolfin, he and Fingon must negotiate the new power dynamics between them. Written for the Porn Battle XIV: Fiery Fourteen. Prompts used: Scars, love, fierce, heartbeat, pride, anger, darkness, flame, defeat

Works in Progress

50 Prompts: AU Silmarillion by Urloth [Adult]
Summary: 50 Prompts resulting in 50 AU Silmarillion based or related drabbles or ficlets.
Chapters added this month: Prompt: Loss, Prompt: History (OC, Balin son of Funduin) and Prompt: Correction (Curufin and family) .

East-front by Gwenniel [Teens]
Summary: They named it the Union of Maedhros. Maedhros was to be the right hand of the High-King, the Commander of Troops in the upcoming war. Moments of happiness are mixed in the dire political tension before the upcoming war, the war where all bonds of loyalty will be tested.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.

In The Interest of Historical Accuracy by Duilwen [General]
Summary: In Eregion in the mid-Second Age, an ambitious young scholar sets out to understand the last remaining followers of the House of Fëanor.
Chapters added this month: Prologue: In which the author, noting the inadequacy of existing accounts of the motivations, movements, and dispensation of the supporters of the House of Fëanor, sets out to redress such, Chapter 1: In which the author’s journey and first encounter with the Feanorians is detailed; appended is a description of the Darkening and the murder of High King Finwë and Chapter 2: In which are recounted, among other details never previously recorded, the events surrounding the Oathtaking

Sparks by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: Short stories set at any point in the RAFA 'verse, from the Years of the Trees to RAFA itself. Updates will be random and each story will have a separate rating.
Chapters added this month: Negotiation, Plans and Determination, Inferno, Flying, The Unwilling and Picnic.

Strange Fates by PerpetuaLilium [Teens]
Summary: Eregriel and Síreth are two young elves of Lothlórien in the later years of the Watchful Peace. They are in love and in fact betrothed, yet they have chosen to put their ceremonies off for many years, until they can come to some conclusion about what implications the unusual features of their union may have for its validity, in accordance with the local application of the Laws and Customs. Then, during a sudden spate of instability, Síreth, with Eregriel, is chosen to take part in Lórien's first extensive diplomatic interaction with the realms of Men in centuries. They must manage their relationship and cultural expectations across the years and leagues that follow.
Chapters added this month: Lothlórien Fish Cookeries and A Question of Fëar.

Tengwa malta by Sky [General]
Summary: A mosaic of memories of the Elder Days
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.

The Beginning of the End by Urloth [General]
Summary: How Liltafinwë Tyelkormion lost his father and became Gildor Inglorion.
Chapter added this month: Part One.

The Burnt God by Taylor17387 [Adult]
Summary: Melkor has been imprisoned in the halls of Mandos for all too long. The day of the trial is approaching, and now he's willing to do almost anything to convince his jailer of his change of heart. From then onwards, everything seems to go downhill for him. Will things improve upon his arrival at Angband?
Chapter added this month: Punishment.

Short Works

A Song About Kingfishers by Himring [General] (366 words)
Summary: Maedhros and baby Maglor

Not Like Lúthien by lindahoyland [General] (906 words)
Summary: How alike are Arwen and her famous foremother?

Once by Innin [Adult] (924 words)
Summary: Haleth and Caranthir meet in the forest of Thargelion, both with a particular itch to scratch. The encounter goes quite different than expected, for one of them. Written for the Porn Battle XIV, for the prompts "angry, red, once".

Sunrise by ford_of_bruinen [General] (519 words)
Summary: The first sunrise

Sunset by ford_of_bruinen [General] (551 words)
Summary: Cirdan arrives to Sirion after the sons of Feanor attacked the town.

Things of Comfort and Joy by LadyBrooke † [Teens] (762 words)
Summary: In Valinor, the effects of the rebellion are still very visible to the Noldor. Nerdanel and Aredhel are unwelcome in the city, both as reminders of the past, and as the two who flaunt the rules on fidelity.


Tata's lullaby by ford_of_bruinen [General] (91 words)
Summary: A simple lullaby as imagined by the elves at cuivienen


A Ponderous Tome by Oshun, read by Dawn Felagund [General] (Time: 6:21. File Size: 5.81 MB.)
Summary: A short character study of a youthful Elrond and a reflection on an aspect of his relationship with Maedhros and Maglor; in response to Day 26 of the B2MeM challenge. The prompt is: “a teacher who played a key role . . . . write a character who educated his people in some way.”

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Character of the Month Biography

Rúmil of Tirion


When reading Tolkien's various works, we are introduced to Rúmil of Tirion as a Noldorin loremaster of great repute. Among a people recognized for their creativity, avidity for knowledge, and love of words, Rúmil is known as one their greatest men of letters: "Rúmil, most renowned of the masters of the lore of speech, first devised letters and began recording in writing the tongues of the Eldar and their songs and wisdom."1 By fashioning their first alphabet Rúmil enabled the Noldor to extend their passion for the acquisition of knowledge into its transmission through the written word.

Throughout the various texts in The History of Middle-earth collection, Rúmil is named variously as Rúmil of Valinor, Rúmil of Tûn, Rumil of Túna, the sage of Kôr, the sage of Tûn, the sage of Tirion, and the Elf-sage of Valinor. He is referred to also as one of the Lambengolmor of the Noldor. The term Lambengolmor is used to refer to the loremasters, but may be strictly translated as "Loremasters of Tongues."

Both Tolkien himself and Christopher Tolkien as his editor express throughout the collected works that the sense of depth and history of Tolkien's histories of Arda depend upon the continuing reference to a more ancient and epic past.

And the very fact that The Lord of the Rings establishes such a powerful sense of a real time-structure (far more powerful than can be done by mere chronological assertion, tables of dates) provides this necessary vantage-point. To read The Silmarillion one must place oneself imaginatively at the time of the ending of the Third Age—within Middle-earth, looking back: at the temporal point of Sam Gamgee's ‘I like that!'—adding, ‘I should like to know more about it'. Moreover the compendious or epitomising form and manner of The Silmarillion, with its suggestion of ages of poetry and ‘lore' behind it, strongly evokes a sense of ‘untold tales', even in the telling of them; ‘distance' is never lost.2

The ancient and grandest of those accounts are credited to the recordkeeping of Rúmil the éminence grise of Noldorin loremasters. Even Fëanor would have looked to Rúmil as the preeminent authority among his people. Rúmil is assigned the authorship of the bulk of the first chapters of the Quenta Silmarillion comprising the earliest chronologies and narratives of the history of Arda, of the legendary creation of the world, and the earliest recorded doings of the Valar and the Eldar. Relating to The Ainulindalë: The Music of the Ainur, Morgoth's Ring states: "This was made by Rúmil of Túna in the Elder Days. It is here written as it was spoken in Eressëa to Ælfwine by Pengolod the Sage."3

The reader actually encounters Rúmil as a speaking character in The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, wherein he answers questions of Eriol (later replaced by Ælfwine). Throughout the numerous emendations, deletions and additions to Tolkien's history, Rúmil remains. This is emphasized in the following useful note:

Commentary on the Link between The Cottage of Lost Play and The Music of the Ainur

Thus it was that the Ainulindalë was first to be heard by mortal ears, as Eriol sat in a sunlit garden in Tol Eressëa. Even after Eriol (or Ælfwine) had fallen away, Rúmil remained, the great Noldorin sage of Tirion ‘who first achieved fitting signs for the recording of speech and song' (The Silmarillion p. 63), and The Music of the Ainur continued to be ascribed to him, though invested with the gravity of a remote time he moved far away from the garrulous and whimsical philologist of Kortirion. It is to be noted that in this account Rúmil had been a slave under Melko.4

To imagine that Rúmil escapes from thralldom under Melkor in Middle-earth to make the trek with his people across the continent and sail to Aman, surviving to be the foremost scholar of a Golden Age of Noldorin accomplishments, adds substantial gravitas to his character. It gives him the persona of a battered hero of a valorous people. In research for this paper no reference was found as to whether Rúmil was one of the Quendi who awakened at Cuiviénen, but whether he is one of the unborn or not, one is easily able to place him into that category of the eldest and most ancient, passing along hard-won wisdom and knowledge centered in vast experience.

In the edited and published version of The Silmarillion he is described thusly: "Rúmil - A Noldorin sage of Tirion, the first deviser of written characters (cf. The Lord of the Rings Appendix E II); to him is attributed the Ainulindalë." Tolkien scholar Verlyn Flieger compares the height of Noldorin creativity, sometimes referred to as the Noontide of Valinor, to the period of the Renaissance in Western Europe and its aftermath.

Tolkien's characterization of the Noldor could stand as a historian's description of any of the great civilization builders of past ages; closer still to home, it is a telling depiction of our own Western Renaissance and post-Renaissance culture: "Great became their knowledge and their skill; yet even greater was their thirst for more knowledge, and in many things they soon surpassed their teachers. They were changeful in speech, for they had great love of words, and sought ever to find names more fit for all things they knew or imagined . . . . Then it was that the Noldor first bethought them of letters, and Rúmil of Tirion was the name of the loremaster who first achieved fitting signs for the recording of speech and song, some for graving upon metal or in stone, others for drawing with brush or with pen" (Silm. 63). Here is quintessential humanity, seeking knowledge, devising new things, developing language, inventing writing, above all, making ever newer and more precise names for what they perceive and, equally important, what they are capable of imagining.7

The characters of Rúmil, originally intended to be used for the writing of Qenya (an earlier version of the language of the high Elves which is a precursor to Quenya), are called sarati, whereas the individual characters of the Fëanorian alphabet have always been called tengwar in Quenya.8

Fëanor surpasses Rúmil in that even though he is born much later in the history of the Eldar, the Spirit of Fire excels as well in Rúmil's primary fields of language and history, but, additionally, Fëanor is a maker and builder of things. One imagines Rúmil at a desk or in the library; Fëanor appears to move easily between his desk and the forge, not to mention working as a builder and architect to spearhead the construction of the port city of Alqualondë, and traveling about Aman extensively to explore and study nature directly.

As a maker, Fëanor surpasses all his kindred. He is "of all the Noldor, then or after, the most subtle in mind and the most skilled in hand" (Silm. 64). Improving on the letters devised by Rúmil, he creates the Tengwar of Fëanor, an uncial or cursive script of calligraphic beauty. Fëanor's Tengwar makes writing—an instrument for the conveyance of meaning but at the same time wholly separate not just from the thing meant but from the word that means it—into something close to an artifact, a thing beautiful in itself.9

For the influence of his letters alone, Rúmil would have been a great man among the numerous outstanding men of the Noldor. His lore formed the basis for the history of not simply his own people, of the creation of their world, but of all of the Eldar and the Valar. His alphabet was a leaping off point for the Tengwar of Fëanor which were used throughout the Third Age of Arda and beyond, in Middle-earth as well as Valinor. An educated man among the Third Age Gondorians, like Denethor or Faramir, not to mention the Númenóreans, would have been familiar with both Rúmil and Fëanor.

There is one note in the Appendices to The Lord of the Rings, which could be read to contradict the degree to which Fëanor's alphabet depended upon that of Rúmil.

The Tengwar were the more ancient; for they had been developed by the Noldor, the kindred of the Eldar most skilled in such matters, long before their exile. The oldest Eldarin letters, the Tengwar of Rúmil, were not used in Middle-earth. The later letters, the Tengwar of Fëanor, were largely a new invention, though they owed something to the letters of Rúmil. They were brought to Middle-earth by the exiled Noldor, and so became known to the Edain and Númenóreans. In the Third Age their use had spread over much the same area as that in which the Common Speech was known.10

As a historian and geographer of the Noldor, Rúmil is also credited with a number of sources within Tolkien's legendarium, including perhaps most uniquely the work of describing the lands and continents themselves and his detailed maps of the geography of Arda. This material dates to writing Tolkien produced in the 1930s and is called Ambarkanta, The Shape of the World.12

The significance in particular of the Ambarkanta, which maps and charts all of Arda, cannot be underestimated.

Rúmil is credited as well in his capacity as an expert at languages of being an expert among the Noldor in the tongue of the Valar. In The War of the Jewels, Pengolodh addresses the possible inquiry into whether the Valar would even require their own language. He asserts that since the Valar maintained incarnate forms, indeed even long before the Eldar came to Aman that they necessarily possessed their own language. He goes on to state that few among the Eldar mastered that language. Two notable exceptions were Rúmil and, of course, Fëanor. In passages relating to this question, Pengolodh elaborates:

'But without argument we know that they [the Valar] did so [have their own tongue]; for there are references to the Lambe Valarinwa [Valarian tongue or language] in old lore and histories, though these are few and scattered. Most of these references appear to be derived, by tradition of mouth, from "the Sayings of Rúmil" (I Equessi Rumilo), the ancient sage of Tirion, concerning the early days of the Eldar in Aman and their first dealings with the Valar. Only part of these Equessi were preserved in the memory of the Lambengolmor during the dark years of the Flight and the Exile. All that I can find or remember I have here put together.'13

The more one searches among the texts for references to Rúmil the more one realizes how significant his influence is, for better or worse, upon the deeds of the Eldar. Historians have a profound effect upon a people, serving up to them a distillation of their collective consciousness. When considering the Noldor, if one may make jokes that Fëanor invented everything, one could as easily say that Rúmil wrote nearly everything (or served as the primary source for others who desired to collect those stories).

In reviewing the accounts of Rúmil and his work, one might almost wonder if he serves, in fact, to some degree as Tolkien's alter-ego. Rúmil-like Tolkien recorded the history of his world, he was a master of its languages, he created its first alphabet, and he drew the maps. One is reminded of the oft-quoted section from Humphrey Carpenter's biography of Tolkien, "when he wrote The Silmarillion Tolkien believed that in one sense he was writing the truth . . . that he was doing more than inventing a story."14

Rúmil was for his contemporaries, and the generations of mortal men who read his work thereafter, what Tolkien is for his devoted readers, their preeminent guide to the history and languages of Arda.

Works Cited

  1. Morgoth's Ring, The Annals of Aman.
  2. The Book of Lost Tales, Part One.
  3. Morgoth's Ring, Ainuindale.
  4. The Book of Lost Tales, Part One, The Music of the Ainur, commentary.
  5. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  6. Flieger, Verlyn. Splintered Light: Tolkien's World, Revised Edition.
  7. Vinyar Tengwar 37, "The Túrin Prose Fragments: An Analysis of a Rúmilian Document," Arden R. Smith.
  8. The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar.
  9. Flieger, Verlyn. Splintered Light: Tolkien's World, Revised Edition.
  10. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, "Appendix E: Writing and Spelling."
  11. The Book of Lost Tales, Part One.
  12. The Lays of Beleriand, Preface.
  13. The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar.
  14. Carpenter, Humphrey, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography, Allen and Unwin, 1977.

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The OTHER Lays of Beleriand

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The Lays JRR Tolkien did not write for very good reasons. Aiwen's MEFA-nominated and hilarious poetry compilation is read and includes original music by the author.

Listen to or download "The OTHER Lays of Beleriand."

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Current Challenge

Arda Underground

Through the imagination and the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, we have strolled the wide marble avenues of Tirion, welcomed the sun from the walls of Gondolin, and watched the ships of the Eldar moor in the habors of Andúnië. We have kept the company of heroes and kings and seen the great events of history unfold in majesty and splendor. But where the streets grow narrow and rugged, where the torchlight fails and the bright voices fade, what can you discover of the people of Middle-earth?

This challenge asks writers to take the dark back streets of one of Arda's cities, to explore an unsigned tavern or hovel, and to meet the people too insignificant or unsavory to make it into the history books. The piece you create for this challenge should touch on the lives of the ordinary folk; explore an issue like poverty or crime; or consider a subculture, counterculture, or underground in one of Arda's cities.

Challenges Revisited: Inspiration

As a group predominantly peopled by writers and artists, we understand as well as any the power of inspiration. This month's challenge turns to consider inspiration.

Your characters inspire you--but what inspires them? For this month's challenge, we ask our writers to consider what inspires their characters to act and create. The Silmarillion is full of creative geniuses and heroes alike. What drove them to the deeds that shaped the history of the early ages of Arda? Perhaps it was a person: a spouse, a sibling, a teacher. Or maybe it was an event that allowed them to realize their potential to influence the course of history. Or maybe it was something darker: jealousy, lust, or a desire for power.

The story might consider the moment of inspiration, or it might consider the repercussions of the actions or creation inspired. Are you looking for ideas? The Silmarillion is full of artists; what inspired the greatest (or even unknown!) creations of people like Celebrimbor, Daeron, Fëanor, Aulë, Sauron, Varda, and Nerdanel? What inspired characters like Beleg, Morwen, Húrin, and Glorfindel to the heroic actions that they took? What inspired characters like Melkor, Thingol, Túrin, and Finarfin to ttake he rather unique outlooks they had when compared to the rest of their people?

The possibilities are boundless so, in the end, what inspires you?

Quote of the Month

Out of the closets and into the museums, libraries, architectural monuments, concert halls, bookstores, recording studios and film studios of the world. Everything belongs to the inspired and dedicated thief... Words, colors, light, sounds, stone, wood, bronze belong to the living artist. They belong to anyone who can use them. Loot the Louver! A bas l Originality, the sterile and assertive ego that imprisons us as it creates. Vive le sol -- pure, shameless, total. We are not responsible. Steal anything in sight.

― William S. Burroughs

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

Articles of Interest

Each month, the SWG newsletter features links to articles that our members might find interesting. Do you have something you'd like to suggest? An interesting essay or discussion going on in your journal or blog? Drop us a line at and we'll add your article, essay, or post to our next newsletter!

It should go without saying, but just in case it bears repeating, any opinions expressed in these links are not necessarily that of the SWG and its moderators.

"Music in Middle-earth" by Gene Hargrove

It's International Poetry Month, we have a featured podfic set to music, and we're all still probably shaking those Hobbit songs from our heads, so there's no better time to explore what music might have been like in Middle-earth. Gene Hargrove's Music in Middle-earth considers how Tolkien's poetry might be adapted to music.

"Astronomical Objects above Middle-earth" by Per Lindberg

Per Lindberg's webpage includes a concise listing of the various astronomical objects found in Tolkien's books, with translations and Modern-earth equivalents, when known.

"A Fragment, Detached: The Hobbit and The Silmarillion" by John D. Rateliff

The author of The History of The Hobbit considers the question of how The Silmarillion and The Hobbit are connected in the essay A Fragment, Detached: The Hobbit and The Silmarillion, presented for the International Congress on Medieval Studies of Kalamazoo in 2012.

"List of Smut-Writing Guides" from Owlcritic

Erotica is a major fanfic genre, but anyone who goes searching for adult-rated stories knows that quality adult fiction can be hard to find. Owlcritic's list includes guides on how to write all kinds of adult-rated fiction.

"Fanfiction & Capitalism, and Why I Think They Are Related" by Hobbitdragon

Have you ever been told that you have talent as a writer, if only you'd focus your efforts on "real" writing? Hobbitdragon takes on the question of why fan fiction is so widely denigrated as a creative pursuit in the short essay Fanfiction & Capitalism, and Why I Think They Are Related.


LOTR Community April Challenge: Poetry

The April Challenge will have the theme "Poetry" in honor of National Poetry Month, and you are asked to try your hand at verse! This month, you choose your own elements for the challenge: choose any line from any poem or song by J.R.R. Tolkien to use as your inspiration, and include it in your header, next to "Elements". The April Poems will be due Sunday, April 14th. See the LotR-Community LiveJournal for more information on how to participate.

Teitho: March Challenge--Smells

Our April theme is Smells. Do you remember the smell of the book when you first read the Lord of the Rings? Maybe it was fresh, just out of press, or old, musty smell of yellowed pages. You can clearly imagine both, don't you? It's because the sense of smell has it's centrum in one of the oldest parts of human brain, and makes the most permanent memories. And just like in our world, there have to be many various smells in Middle-earth, yet the paper of the books cannot convey them. This is a task for you this month: through your words or picture, let us experience the smells of Middle-earth! In your story, you can use any smell you want, pleasant or unpleasant. It can please the senses, or warn of danger, like the change in the air before a storm or the smell of some dangerous creature approaching. It can trigger a memory, long forgotten, that resurfaces with the remembered smell. In pictures you can depict something with a strong or characteristic scent, that we could clearly imagine when looking at it. The deadline for this challenge (both art and stories) is April 25th. For instructions on how to submit your work and more information on the topic, visit the Smells challenge page at the Teitho website.

Of Elves and Men Big Bang Stories Posted

The OEAM Big Bang stories have been posted! There are four new Tolkien stories available. Read the OEAM stories here.

Fancake Round 28: Canon Alternate Realities

Fancake is a thematic multifandom rec comm where all members can post recs, and fanworks of all shapes and sizes are welcome. Our theme for this round is canon alternate realities. Use this theme to recommend fanworks. The round will stay open until March 15th. See the Fancake community for more information on how to participate.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fall of Arthur Available for Pre-Order!

Christopher Tolkien has resurrected another of his father's abandoned scholarly projects: the translation of a text about King Arthur. The Fall of Arthur will be released on May 23, 2013 and is currently available for Amazon pre-order.

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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