TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

August's Challenges

This August, we turn our attention and our imaginations to the Second Age and the Akallabêth. As such, we are "replaying" our old Akallabêth challenge and encourage our authors to turn here for new inspiration this month!

Akallabêth in August

This month, we focus on one of the most tumultuous times in Arda's history: the Second Age and the rise and fall of Númenor. But even as Númenor was the central player during these times, the whole of Arda was affected by the events that affected the prideful and unfortunates alike of this doomed island.

Any story that is or might conceivably be part of the Akallabêth is acceptable for this challenge. If it's been a while since you've read the tales of the Second Age of Arda, why not crack open this oft-neglected chapter and see if inspiration finds you? Here are a few plotbunnies that might find a home in this challenge:

Quote of the Month

And out of the west there would come at times a great cloud in the evening, shaped as it were an eagle, with pinions spread to the north and the south; and slowly it would loom up, blotting out the sunset, and then uttermost night would fall upon Númenor. And some of the eagles bore lightning beneath their wings, and thunder echoed between sea and cloud.
The Silmarillion, Akallabêth

Character of the Month: Isildur

Introduction

Isildur. He's one of those characters from the Silmarillion whose name is just as recognizable to those only familiar with later ages as it is to Silmarillion aficionados. Lord of the Rings readers will recognize him as the man of Númenor who cut the Ring from Sauron's hand but refused to destroy it; such readers may also remember that he was killed at Gladden Fields, where the Ring was lost until Gollum found it. However, he did much more than fall to the Ring and die.

Through Tolkien's other sources, specifically the Akallabêth section of The Silmarillion and "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields" in Unfinished Tales, it's possible to gain a better idea of who this man was and why he acted as he did, and so gain a better understanding of later history. It is as easy to interpret Isildur's character based on The Lord of the Rings alone as it would be to read Fëanor based only his actions after the theft of the Silmarils. Much like Fëanor, those early years lay the groundwork for his character.

Family Matters

Isildur was born in Rómenna, a settlement in eastern Númenor*, in Second Age 3209. His grandfather Amandil and father Elendil were leaders of the Númenórean Faithful, and also were distant descendants of Elros's line through Valandil, Aldarion's cousin (9). At this time, Númenóreans tended to be divided into two factions: the Faithful and the King's Men. The Faithful were (as their name suggests) faithful to the tradition of friendship with the Elves; the King's Men tended to eschew such practices for more purely mannish customs, and followed Ar-Pharazôn, the king of Númenor from S.A. 3255 onward.

In previous centuries the Númenóreans had begun to grow jealous of the Elves' immortality, and Elf-influenced aspects of their culture such as the worshiping of Ilúvatar and the speaking of Elvish tongues became more and more frowned-upon, in some instances actually being declared illegal. Those Númenóreans who were more faithful to the ancient Elf-influenced ways gathered around Amandil's house (2).

The king during Isildur's childhood (Tar-Palantír, r. 3177-325) was significantly friendlier to the Faithful. He is said to have "given peace" (2) to Amandil's people, and also he re-instated the ancient worship of Ilúvatar on the holy mountain of Meneltarma, a practice that had been abandoned by previous kings. In the days of Tar-Palantír, Amandil and Elendil often came to the Númenórean capital, Armenelos, and were even friendly with Pharazôn (2). Even Tar-Palantír's name is significant: he is one of the few kings in the later years of Númenor who actually "took again a title in the Elven-tongues of old" (2). He also reinstated honoring the White Tree. This tree was a descendant of Galathilion, the gift to the Elves of Tirion from Yavanna, which was described as a "lesser image of Telperion" (1). Celeborn had given Elros a sapling from a descendant of this tree, before Elros left Middle-earth for Númenor, and so this tree was an important connection of Númenor's ancient friendship with the Elves.

However, even in Tar-Palantír's day, not all Númenóreans embraced the ancient ways. There was civil war between the Faithful and the King's Men, the latter of which gathered around Tar-Palantír's brother Gimilkhâd and his son Pharazôn. Pharazôn was well-known because of his fame as a captain in the Númenórean wars against the men of Middle-earth (which Númenor was trying to colonize at this time). He brought back many riches from Middle-earth and shared them generously with his father's followers, and so became a popular favorite among that people. When Tar-Palantír died without a son and the rule of Númenor passed to his daughter Tar-Míriel (later renamed Ar-Zimraphel), Pharazôn was able to force her to marry him against her will, and to usurp the rule of Númenor (2).

After Pharazôn became king, life grew much more perilous for the Faithful. Certainly as leader of the King's Men he was hostile toward the people he had recently struggled with in a civil war, yet for a time at least his friendship with Amandil and Elendil kept him from moving against their leaders. He had other matters to occupy him as well. Sauron declared himself openly in Middle-earth as the "king of Men," and Ar-Pharazôn took this as a challenge – perhaps a personal one, given that his renown--and indeed his kingship was based on his fame in the wars against the men of Middle-earth (2). Ar-Pharazôn sailed to Umbar and demanded Sauron's fealty, which Sauron feigned to give him. Sauron allowed himself to be taken back to Númenor as a hostage, and so he was able to corrupt Ar-Pharazôn.

Sauron may have been a prisoner in name, but "ere three years had passed he had become closest to the secret counsels of the King; for flattery sweet as honey was ever on his tongue, and knowledge he had of many things yet unrevealed to Men" (2). Pharazôn's other councillors recognized that Sauron had won the king's favor, and so began to "fawn" to him – all except for Amandil. As one might imagine, this drew Pharazôn's attention to the Faithful. Many of the Faithful gave up the Elvish ways and became King's Men. Tolkien says of this period, "Many fell away out of fear; and although those that remained still called themselves the Faithful, their enemies named them rebels. For now, having the ears of men, Sauron with many arguments gainsaid all that the Valar had taught" (2).

Tolkien does not tell us explicitly what part Isildur had in this period; it seems likely to me that he would have been sent back to Rómenna because his grandfather and father did not want him to be one of those who "fell away." And even if they did not fear for his beliefs, his family might have feared for his safety. Isildur and his younger brother Anárion are described as "young men by the reckoning of Númenor" (2) at this point in the Akallabêth. Young can often mean brash, especially for a man as brave and adventurous as Isildur was in later years. I believe that Isildur would have needed some familiarity with Armenelos and the royal residence in particular in order to accomplish what he did in the coming years, but he could have learned this familiarity during his youth while Tar-Palantír was king, or while Pharazôn was still friendly with Amandil and Elendil before the coming of Sauron. Certainly when Amandil "withdrew to Rómenna, and all that he trusted still to be faithful he summoned to come thither in secret," (2) Isildur would have been called to Rómenna if he was not there already.

And One White Tree

As Sauron gained more power over Ar-Pharazôn, he increasingly encouraged Ar-Pharazôn to cut down the White Tree. Ar-Pharazôn was reluctant to do this because Tar-Palantír had prophesied that, when the tree failed, so would the line of the Kings of Númenor (2). Amandil, however, did not trust Ar-Pharazôn to long resist Sauron, and so he "spoke to the sons of Elendil, recalling the tale of the trees of Valinor" (2).

Hearing the tales, Isildur "said no word, but went out by night and did a deed for which he was afterwards renowned" (2). He travelled from Rómenna to Armenelos, into the royal courts where the White Tree grew, and stole a fruit from that tree. That courtyard was "forbidden to the Faithful" (2) and was always under guard, but Isildur was able to pass through unnoticed long enough to steal the fruit. Isildur did not, however, escape unscathed. Tolkien tells us that "the guard was roused, and he was assailed." He was able to escape from Armenelos back to Rómenna, but he was so gravely injured that Tolkien writes further in this passage, "he had lain long and come near death."

The theft of the fruit of the White Tree is the stuff legends are made of. It is remarkable that he was able to escape alive, and perhaps even more remarkable that he risked as much as he did. He had to make it not only into Armenelos, but also into the very heart of the king's residence – and he escaped alive. If he had been caught he very easily could have been executed for treason or become one of the human sacrifices to Morgoth (2). Even if he was not killed in the initial attack, this deed put Isildur's life at risk.

The whole thing has a rather "Robin Hood"-esque quality to it, with the lord, stripped of his rightful position of power, taking the treasure from the evil king and restoring it to those people who need it most. Perhaps even more significantly, this deed is revealing about Isildur's strong character. He did not risk his life to save the lives of other Faithful (a laudable goal, but hardly a rare motive), nor was he trying to rescue something intrinsically valuable. The fruit of the White Tree was valuable to Isildur because it was a gift from the Eldar and a connection to the Elder Days; it was his grandfather's stories about the Two Trees that spurred him to action. And he took this task on himself without even being asked.

It is easy to see why Isildur of Númenor would have been a hero of the people of Númenor. However, he will soon be driven to Middle-earth, where the events for which he is best known will become darker and more controversial.

The Flight to Middle-earth

After Isildur stole the fruit from the White Tree, events in Númenor moved quickly toward the Downfall. Sauron convinced Ar-Pharazôn that immortality was the right of Men and that the Valar withheld it from them. Ar-Pharazôn then built a fleet of warships and sailed toward Valinor in order to make war against the Valar. In order to stop him, the Valar "laid down their government of Arda" (2) and petitioned Ilúvatar to protect Valinor. Ilúvatar "changed the fashion of the world; and a great chasm opened in the sea between Númenor and the Deathless Lands, and the waters flowed down into it, and the noise and smoke of the cataracts went up to heaven, and the world was shaken" (2).

In addition to drowning those Númenóreans participating in the attack on Valinor, this reshaping of the world also caused a tidal wave that swept over Númenor. Nearly all of the people died in the ensuing flood, but a small number of the Faithful escaped. Tolkien writes that nine ships "fled before the black gale out of the twilight of doom into the darkness of the world" (2). The storm separated the ships carrying Isildur's and Anárion's followers from those carrying Elendil's, driving the brothers to southern Middle-earth. Isildur eventually founded the city of Minas Ithil, which later became Minas Morgul (6). The lands settled by Isildur's and Elendil's people became the realm of Gondor, while the people from Elendil's ships established Arnor, and were the forefathers of Aragorn's people, the Northern Dúnedain.

The way in which these two groups of Númenóreans were separated raises a question that became important for later history. Were Gondor and Arnor two distinct realms, or were they the same political entity? If the ships of Elendil had not been driven from the ships of Isildur and Anárion, all of the Faithful likely would have settled into a single kingdom. The use of the name "Reunited Kingdom" (4) suggests that Gondor and Arnor were considered a single land, at least at one point; otherwise Gondor and Arnor would simply be referred to as the "United Kingdom." And Elendil is described as "high king" of the Númenórean realms, and says that the governing of Gondor was "committed" to his sons (7), rather than that land being given to them as an independent realm.

For all practical purposes, however, Gondor was ruled by Isildur and Anárion as a land distinct from Arnor. The two realms were separated by a great distance and, while Elendil could have spoken with his sons by palantír, the different stresses faced by the Númenóreans in Gondor and Arnor would have made it unlikely for the two realms to have been ruled as a single kingdom until they joined together in the Last Alliance. This question may seem academic and was probably not given much thought by Elendil and his sons themselves as they struggled to establish their realms; it did become important after the Last Alliance.

Gondor and Arnor did join together as part of the Last Alliance. To provide even a summary account of this conflict would go into much detail not relevant to Isildur's biography, since Isildur was not involved in many of the maneuvers. However, his role in the final battle was crucial. Tolkien writes about that battle,

It was Gil-galad, Elven-king and Elendil of Westernesse who overthrew Sauron, though they themselves perished in the deed; and Isildur Elendil's son cut the Ring from Sauron's hand and took it for his own. Then Sauron was vanquished and his spirit fled and was hidden for long years. (5)

After Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's hand, Elrond and Círdan encouraged him to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom, but Isildur refused, claiming that it was a weregild for the death of his father. This is probably the single most discussed event in Isildur's life. Isildur is often held responsible for all of the suffering of the Ring War, and indeed the wars between Orcs and the free peoples throughout the Third Age. And there is some truth in this allegation; while Orcs would likely have fought against Elves and Men with or without Sauron, they were certainly more organized and bolder than they would have been if Sauron had lost his powers, as he would have if the Ring had been destroyed.

While few doubt that Isildur was wrong not to destroy the Ring (even Isildur himself realized that eventually), some people who have debated this issue have also asked whether Elrond and Círdan aren't culpable as well. When Isildur refused to destroy the Ring, Elrond and Círdan were there as well. Should they have somehow forced Isildur to destroy the Ring? In general it seems a good thing to preserve an individual the right to choose his own actions, but was Isildur's right in this matter more important than the suffering caused by the Ring's continued existence?

As fascinating as these questions are, they are not purely a matter of canonical interpretation; the person answering the question will necessarily bring their own moral standards into play when considering these issues. Tolkien does describe the failure of the Last Alliance to destroy the Ring as a disastrous mistake (8), but he could just be referring to Isildur's choice not to destroy the Ring, not Elrond's and Círdan's complicity.

The Disaster of the Gladden Fields

Isildur may be best known for cutting the Ring from Sauron's fingers and for refusing to destroy it, but his story does not end there. Both his father and his brother Anárion died as part of the Last Alliance, so after Sauron was defeated Isildur had two far-flung kingdoms that needed to be ruled. He chose to rule Arnor himself, and entrust Gondor to Anárion's son Meneldil, but did not leave for the north immediately. Instead, he stayed in Gondor in the south, giving "counsel to Meneldil" (3) as well as helping to order the southern realm. He planted a sapling of the White Tree in Minas Anor (later renamed Minas Tirith) (3) and journeyed around the borders of Gondor to make a survey of that land (11).

The sources on this period make it even clearer that Isildur considered himself to be ruler of both Gondor and Arnor, not of Arnor alone. Tolkien tells us that after the fall of Sauron, Isildur "assumed the Elendilmir as King of Arnor, and proclaimed his sovereign lordship over all the Dúnedain in the North and South" (10).

Remember that, in the time before the Last Alliance, Elendil was high king of both Arnor and Gondor; Isildur and Anárion had ruled Gondor for Elendil, not as sovereign kings in their own stead. It seems that Isildur established a similar situation for himself here. He named himself king over both Gondor and Arnor and allowed his nephew to rule Gondor for him, while he himself traveled north to rule Arnor, much as father had done as high king. This question of whether Isildur gave Gondor to Meneldil or just gave him authority to govern it in Isildur's name becomes important later in the Third Age, when Anárion's line fails and Gondor has to choose a new king. The Gondorians reject the right of Isildur's heir to rule in Gondor, while the king of Arnor asserts that his position as the heir of Elendil gives the right to rule in both Gondor and Arnor. Tolkien's texts support this latter position, though Isildur left Gondor and allowed Meneldil to govern it, Tolkien's language makes it clear that Isildur did not give up rule of Gondor, and so it seems reasonable that Isildur's heir should be permitted to rule there.

Eventually Isildur did leave Gondor to return to the North. His wife and youngest son had stayed in Rivendell during the war, and that, combined with his duty to rule his father's realm, led him to take the quickest road he could rather than the safer of the two. He rode with his three eldest sons (who had fought with him in the Last Alliance) and with a company of two hundred knights of Arnor, but even such a large force as this was not able to protect him. They were attacked by Orcs at the Gladden Fields, between Mirkwood and the Anduin. These orcs attacked partly out of a desire for revenge against the people who had defeated Sauron, but Tolkien writes that they were also called by Sauron's Ring, which Isildur wore in a wallet on a chain around his neck (10). Most of Isildur's company was destroyed, including all three of the sons that were with him.

When it became clear that the Dúnedain were losing the battle, Isildur's sole surviving son (Elendur) urged him to flee the battle. This was not so much a tactical effort to save the king, or even a son's attempt to save his father: Elendur tells Isildur that he must get the Ring to Rivendell, where Elrond as one of the bearers of the three Elven-rings will know what to do with it. Isildur agreed, saying that he knows it was a mistake to take the Ring, and had intended to deliver it to Elrond and the other Ring-bearers when he reached the North. He did wear it so he can pass by the Orcs invisible, but doing so was very painful to him; Tolkien describes it as an intense burning (10), calling to mind the way that Morgoth could not bear to touch the Silmarils. With Isildur, however, the situation is reversed; the Ring is not a holy light, as was the case with the Silmarils, and it burns him because he is too good to touch something that bears the spirit of Sauron without pain.

The Ring allowed him to remain invisible, but Isildur was concerned that the Orcs might be able to track his scent, even if they could not see him. He tried to cross the Anduin so they would not be able to follow him that way, leaving his heavy armor on the eastern bank of the river so he could swim more easily. However, the Ring betrayed him, slipping from his finger into the mud, and so Isildur was visible once again. He was shot by Orc arrows in both the chest and the throat, and so died.

Tolkien's handling of these last few hours of Isildur's life is perhaps the most interesting of all. He does not lose the Ring, but instead vows to give it to the Elves and is later betrayed by it. He does not abandon his men in a hopeless battle, which would be an act of extreme cowardice; instead, he is relieved of his duty to lead them and tries to escape the battle so he can make a long and dangerous journey by himself. When at last he finds that he does not have the Ring any longer, for a moment he flounders in the reeds and seems willing to let himself drown, but then he finds his footing in the mud. Tolkien describes him in this moment as "only a mortal man, a small creature lost and abandoned in the wilds of Middle-earth" (10). This man stands in stark contrast to the man who claimed the Ring as weregild and refused to destroy it.

Conclusion

Tolkien gives us three very different portrayals of Isildur. In The Lord of the Rings he is the flawed king who allows Sauron's Ring to survive into the Third Age, setting in motion both the Quest to destroy the Ring and the larger Ring War. The Silmarillion gives a much fuller biography, telling us of his childhood and his earlier rescue of the fruit of the White Tree, but it does not focus on Isildur's later deeds as part of the Last Alliance. The Unfinished Tales gives perhaps the most nuanced portrayal of all; in "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields," Tolkien takes great pains to show Isildur's regret over not destroying the Ring, and how he was eventually able to overcome his loss of the Ring and die as "only a mortal man, a small creature lost and abandoned in the wilds of Middle-earth." As is the case with many of Tolkien's most compelling characters, Isildur is multi-faceted, complex – and fascinating. Each of these depictions of Isildur hints at the depth of his character, and together show him to be a very interesting character: ultimately worthy of compassion, but surely not without faults.

Sources
  1. The Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of Eldalië."
  2. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth.
  3. The Silmarillion, Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age.
  4. The Lord of the Rings, Prologue.
  5. The Lord of the Rings, "The Shadow of the Past."
  6. The Lord of the Rings, "The Black Gate is Closed."
  7. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A.
  8. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter #131.
  9. Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis."
  10. Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields."
  11. Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan."

* Correction, 2 August 2008: The settlement of Rómenna is located in eastern Númenor, not western. The original sentence stated that Rómenna was a settlement on the western portion of the island. Return to the corrected sentence.

† Correction, 5 August 2008: Elros departed from Middle-earth for Númenor. The sentence originally read that he departed for Valinor. Return to the corrected sentence.




Isildur's biography by Marta.

View past character profiles.
Read all archived stories about Isildur.



Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for more than two 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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org and we'll try to include your challenge in our next newsletter!

August's News

Happy Birthday, SWG!

At the end of July, our humble group celebrated three years of an active membership base. We thank all of our members past and current for helping us to build SWG into what it is today and look forward to another great year!

For more on our coming goals over the next year, see the birthday post on our Yahoo! group.

Akallabêth in August

Inevitably, it seems, "Silmarillion-based writing" comes to be primarily associated with "First Age-based writing." However, the Akallabêth is an important and intriguing part of The Silmarillion, and numerous authors have created amazing pieces of writing based on it. This month, we pause in our First Age fixation to appreciate the Akallabêth and writing set in the Second Age.

Firstly, there is our Akallabêth in August challenge. If ever you've been tempted to write a Second Age story, there is no better time to try! (And don't forget to add it to the challenge!)

For those less inclined to write about the Akallabêth, you might wish to refamiliarize yourself with the Second Age and reread this chapter in the book or refresh your memory with the Akallabêth chapter summary. Or, if you're curious about the major players in the Second Age, check out this month's character biography for Isildur, written by Marta, or for the more Elven-inclined, Oshun's biographies on Elrond and Gil-galad.

And, of course, we can't have an Akallabêth month without tipping our hats to the excellent authors of Second Age stories and poetry who post on our archive. Following is a list of all of the stories and poems posted on the archive thus far that take place in the Second Age, and we hope you'll give one or two of them a try! Please note that links go to the Table of Contents, where you can view the complete story information, and entries are listed alphabetically.

A high-king on his death. by ford_of_bruinen
Rated: General
Gil-Galad after his death...

All Our Yesterdays by Keiliss
Rated: Adult
The Last Day.

Broken Star by pandemonium_213
Rated: General
Sauron's last request of Celebrimbor. A double drabble epilogue of sorts to Cat's Paws.

Cat's Paws by pandemonium_213
Rated: Teens
Tyelperinquar/Tyelpo (Celebrimbor) and Aulendil (Annatar/Sauron) discuss brotherhood and the secret of the deep arts on an early summer evening in Ost-in-Edhil.

Elfstone by Gandalfs apprentice
Rated: General
Celebrimbor creates the Elessar.

Even Quicker Than Doubt by Keiliss
Rated: Adult
Set in the weeks before Elros departs for Númenor, Doubt explores the reason the twins chose different paths, Elrond’s emotional coming of age, the evolving relationship between Gil-galad and Glorfindel, and the reborn Elf’s adjustment to his new life in Second Age Lindon.

Full of Wisdom and Perfect in Beauty by Gadira
Rated: Adult
The History of the Downfall, from Ar-Sakalthôr´s accession to Ar-Pharazôn´s Armada.

Midwinter Sweetness by ford_of_bruinen
Rated: General
These are two different stories, the first one was a Christmas tale for Christmas 2004 and retells the Christmas Story in a Second Age setting.

Moon of the Sea by pandemonium_213
Rated: Adult
There are any number of unnamed women in Tolkien's canon who surely played important roles behind the scenes. One of these women is Elendil's wife, the mother of Isildur and Anárion. She figures as a supporting character in my WIP, The Elendilmir, but this strong woman is taking on a life of her own. So, to keep the bunnies from gnawing my ankles raw, I have been writing ficlets about Isilmë, some of which may blossom into full-fledged stories in the future.

One more minute by ford_of_bruinen
Rated: General
Another poem about Gil-Galad following his death.

Ossë's Gift by elfscribe
Rated: Adult
Glorfindel and Erestor's sea voyage from Umbar to Lindon is filled with intrigue and suppressed yearnings.

Risk Assessment by pandemonium_213
Rated: General
Noldorin journeymen and masters of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain discuss the secrets of lembas with a Sindarin apprentice to the Yavannildi.

Shards of Courage by Alassante
Rated: General
A squire is trusted with an heirloom of the king but at what cost to his honor?

The angel that came from the West by ford_of_bruinen
Rated: General
A poem about the elven smiths of Eregion and the making of the Dwarf rings.

The Apprentice by pandemonium_213
Rated: Adult
An ambitious young Noldorin man of Ost-in-Edhil lands a coveted appointment as an apprentice to the most skilled master smith of the Gwaith-i-Mirdain: Istyar Aulendil. The apprentice's mentor, a prodigy of the Aulënossë, has been sent to Middle-earth by the Valar and has knowledge of exotic and wondrous technology. Istyar Aulendil also has notoriously high standards. The apprentice must meet his mentor's expectations if he is to become a journeyman and work on an important new initiative.

The Beginning by oshun
Rated: Teens
Extended drabble on the theme of Elrond and Gil-galad.

The Consuming Darkness by Isil Elensar
Rated: General
It is written that Tar-Miriel was too late to reach the supposed safety of the Meneltarma when Numenor sank into the sea. But why was she late? What was so important that she would risk her life, knowing she would not survive?

The Eastern Sea (III) by Gadira
Rated: General
Part III of the Númenor Seas series, for the Sea Voyage challenge. Yehimelkor, the last High Priest of Melkor, stares at the sea thar robbed him of a loved one and bears his fate proudly.

The Elendilmir by pandemonium_213
Rated: Adult
A young child of Men befriends Sámaril, the troubled master smith of Imladris. The Noldorin craftsman experiences the joy and pain born of friendships between the Eldar and mortal Men and comes to question his people’s values as his life becomes entwined with Isildur’s youngest son and two powerful women of the Dúnedain. A sequel to The Apprentice.

The Land of Gift by Gadira
Rated: General
On the final fate of Tuor and Idril, and the roots of certain important events of the Second Age.

The last farewell of you and me by ford_of_bruinen
Rated: General
Elrond's and Elros' last meeting.

The Last Queen by Gadira
Rated: Adult
The cliché setting for the Downfall of Númenor... or maybe not so much?

The Northern Sea (I) by Gadira
Rated: Teens
Vignette based on Full of Wisdom and Perfect in Beauty. Alissha, entombed in her prison, surrenders to desperation.

The Promised Land by Rhapsody
Rated: General
Isildur and Anárion standing on the bow, hoping what good will come after the destruction of Númenor.

The Western Sea (II) by Gadira
Rated: General
Second fic in my arc about a certain Númenórean family of notorious traitors. This time I give you Melkorbazer, a character who also gets mentioned in my fic Full of Wisdom.

To Ward Winter's Chill by elfscribe
Rated: Adult
Sometimes it takes more than one night of passion to start a relationship on a sound footing. (Glorfindel/Erestor) Sequel to Osse's Gift.

Torn asunder by Rhapsody
Rated: General
What were Mithrellas thoughts on the eve when she left her family behind on Middle Earth?

True Gift by Tarion Anarore
Rated: General
An old, old Celebrimbor drabble, written once upon a time ago for the HASA Word of the Day challenge.

Woolgathering by pandemonium_213
Rated: Adult
In the waning years of Tar-Palantír's reign, a young woman of the Númenórean nobility and a shepherdess of Hyarastorni find pleasure in one another's company. They know that they must guard the nature of their relationship, but Elerína recalls what her grandmother told her of a great queen who loved a woman.

Around the World and Web

Tickets Are on Sale for 2008 Elffeast!

This year's location is the castle complex Balduinstein in Germany, near the city of Limburg. Participants enjoy a 13th-century old castle tavern, castle ruins, two Hobbit and a dwarf house, and the palatial Noldorinhome. The surrounding woods invites fall hunting, and we give thirsty travelers next-to-exquisite catering and a Rohan banquet including mead and wine. And, of course, you mustn't miss Fëanor’s sons offer the Evil Flames with their unforgettable fire show on Saturday!

Not many tickets are available, so act quickly to reserve yours by visiting the Elffeast website!

The Men of Middle Earth Awards

Nominations are open for The Men of Middle Earth Awards, which celebrates the extensive variety of pairings in the LOTR slash fandom. Awards are presented based on story length and pairing; winners will be announced on November 10.

Fics completed between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2008 are eligible; stories completed by December 31, 2006 can be nominated in the Classic Fiction category. And this year we're pleased to present a new authors award by pairing. Specific guidelines and eligibility requirements can be found here.

Join us in recognizing the wide range of LOTR slash pairings! E-mail mome.awards@gmail.com for additional information.

Alter Ego: A Multifandom AU Ficathon

Take your fandom to the movies!

This ficathon is based on the idea that you write your fandom-of-choice with a plot based on or paralleling a film/novel/play. The idea is to keep your fandom characters as close to their original selves as possible, but place them in a different plot and setting. The cast of Stargate SG-1 set to the story of A Knight’s Tale? Or you can keep them in their usual setting but having the plot worked in. What about the cast of House playing out 10 Things I Hate About You / Taming of the Shrew at PPTH? The variations are endless! There are no prompts for this ficathon so you are free to choose your details.

For more details, see Alter Ego LiveJournal community.

Multinational Betas

Nothing takes a reader out of story faster than slang or language that isn't correct for their country. This is the place you can go to find a beta to help you with the insider details of a country's culture or language. See the Multinational Betas LiveJournal community for more information on how to participate.

FanLib Archive Shutting Down

The multi-fandom archive FanLib has announced that they will be shutting down on Monday, 4 August 2008. They have provided a means for authors to download the stories and reviews that were hosted on the site. Please see their homepage for more information.

Reading LotR Aloud: Voice Post Community

The Reading LotR Aloud project periodically (every few months or so) has participants read another chapter aloud via voice posts. The Read_LOTR_Aloud community was set up as a central location where the voice posts can be gathered for the listeners' enjoyment, and new reading aloud sign-ups and assignments can be made. The first chapter is up here!




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