TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: December 2012

Table of Contents


SWG News

Welcome to Our New Members!

Welcome to our newest members! Lavender Prime, Artanariel, ediacaran, Friendsheyho, NerdyNerdanel, and Zlu and Luff have joined us during the month of November.

To make yourselves at home, perhaps you’d like to get started by browsing our Frequently Asked Questions. Or you might wish to spend a few minutes updating your bio to tell us a little about your interest in The Silmarillion, and maybe about other facts about yourself. If at any time you need any help, please do not hesitate to contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

Special Projects Updated

The Special Projects section of our site is where you can find links to past and ongoing events that fall outside the usual purview of our doings in the archive, References, and the newsletter. Links to all past B2MeMs, special events, funnies, and podfics are now available here. Over the years, we've hosted events to inspire our members' creativity and honor the books that have brought all of us together. The Special Projects section of the site is a good place to find stories and art to enjoy. If you're looking for challenges beyond those found in the challenges section of our site, you may find something to tickle your muses here. We hope you enjoy exploring this newly updated section of the site!


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

Burning Bright by Agelast [General] (1115 words)
Summary: The twins at Losgar: how they got there, and what they were left with. Written for B2MEM 2012.

Light play. by Urloth [General](3530 words)
Summary: The illusion that a silmaril can be stolen. The illusion that a silmaril is anything more than a silmaril.

Tales from Rivendell: The Passing of Hurin by Richard_Inglorion [Teens] (4732 words)
Summary: Elrond tells the story of Hurin's life, after his release from Angbad. His audience are Valandil, sent from Arnor, and Gandalf, who has arrived from the West at the beginning of the Third Age.

The Bird In A Cage by Himring [Teens] (7214 words)
Summary: Of the House of Finwe, Aredhel may be the one who most values personal freedom--and nevertheless we see her spending long periods confined: first to Gondolin, then to Nan Elmoth. This is a story about Aredhel's choices.

The Crossing of Celon by Himring [Teens] (4092 words)
Summary: Sartandur is one of the servants of Celegorm who left the sons of Dior (Elured and Elurin) to die in the forest in revenge for the death of their master. Maedhros, son of Feanor, Celegorm's brother, is searching the woods of Doriath, trying to find the boys and rescue them. With the remaining Feanorians, Sartandur is waiting for Maedhros's return.

Works in Progress

Ask Galadriel by NerdyNerdanel [General]
Summary: Confused? Concerned? Beset with worries? Then why not ask Galadriel! Whether you're an angsty teenager looking to get away from Nan Elmoth and explore the Noldorin side of your heritage or a hobbit consumed with envy over the size of your neighbour's taters, the Lady of the Golden Wood is here to help.
Chapter added this month: Tater envy and Half-Elven hair loss .

Loyalty Unyielding by Zlu and Luff [Adult]
Summary: This story follows Melkor and Sauron through the main Melkor-relevant events of the Silmarillion. Beginning with Morgoth's triumphant return to Angband with the Silmarils, through the consequences of the taxing battle with Fingolfin and the troublesome Quest for the Silmaril, all the way to Dagor Dagorath... and beyond. During the course of this story you shall see Melkor risen high and fallen low and you will learn a thing or two about the loyalty of a certain Maia. There will be moments sad and serious and those quite funny as well.
Chapter added this month: The Return of Melkor.

Peonies bloom and the world is full of liars. by Urloth [Teens]
Summary: Summer has come to Sirion, bringing heat and the unhoused. Baradui, a refugee from Doriath, finds her life threatened and that her only source of help might be a pitiously ill patient who can barely care of themself.
Chapters added this month: My house, where even the peony is dirt poor, The peony, slowly and grandly, starts to stir. and The charms of the ordinariness soothe the threat of anxiety.

The Great Tales of Beleriand: Definitive Edition by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: This is a complete re-working of my original two volumes. I have revised the story from the start for reasons of own satisfaction and I apologise in advance to all those that have already read the previous incarnations; indeed I would not expect any of you to start again, I must also thank those that have reviewed previously, your comments have been most insightful and encouraging. Thanks must go here to moderator Dawn Felagund who has transferred my old reviews to this new work; so now therefore in the interests of reader clarity I have deleted my original posts. That said, this story follows much the same arc as the last and is inspired by the turning-point chapter (18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin) where so much happens and in which so much goes unexpanded. Of course by the time this chapter takes place so much has already happened, and there are allusions to past events as published in The Silmarillion and other works.
Chapter added this month: Part Nine: Desperate Hearts

The Lost Boys by Lady MSM [General]
Summary: Scenes from the lives of the lads of Gondolin..
Chapter added this month: Reunion.

Short Works

A dispatch from the North Pole by Chilled in Hithlum [General] (967 words)
Summary: Just a little something that I plan to sent to my nephews in the tradition of the great man...

A Kingly Gift by Russandol [General] (201 words)
Summary: Ten years of faithful service are rewarded. A double drabble. A gift for elfscribe on her 10th Fandom Anniversary.

Rolling in the Deep by Rhapsody [Teens] (423 words)
Summary: On board of a swan ship, Celegorm is isolated from his brothers and father. As he deals with the aftermath of his first battle as a man changed, his fate is sealed.

The Thought by Rhapsody [Teens] (250 words)
Summary: That the relationship between Fëanor and Nernadel had its ups and downs is no secret, but what kind of impact did it have on their third son?

These Tears by Elvewen [General] (988 words)
Summary: Nienna's thoughts as the Nirnaeth Arnoediad ended.

Art

Gothmog and Draugluin by pandemonium_213 [Teens]
Summary: “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.
Pieces added this month: Lúthien dons Thuringwethil's bat garb. and It's a Deal!

Podfic

Paper by Dawn Felagund, read by Dawn Felagund (Time: 17:46. File Size: 16.2 MB.)
Summary: Curufin escapes to the realms of fantasy to escape the pressures of his family and discovers the thrill of first love. Paper was initially written in 2005 as a birthday gift for Fanged Geranium.


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Character of the Month Biography

Nessa

Oshun


In the Valaquenta section of The Silmarillion, Nessa is listed as one of the seven Queens of the Valar, or Valier (the feminine form of the word in Quenya, its singular being Valië). She is often listed last among the Valier, who also include Varda, Yavanna, Nienna, Estë, Vairë, and Vána. There are few references to Nessa in The Silmarillion and those largely concern her relationships to others; e.g., as the sister of Oromë and wife of Tulkas.

Nessa is known for her swiftness of foot and as a dancer as well,

His [Tulkas’] spouse is Nessa, the sister of Oromë, and she also is lithe and fleetfooted. Deer she loves, and they follow her train whenever she goes in the wild; but she can outrun them, swift as an arrow with the wind in her hair. In dancing she delights, and she dances in Valimar on lawns of never-fading green.1

The above description of Nessa in The Silmarillion recalls images of the Roman goddess Diana, who is also associated with deer and woodlands both and often pictured in the company of a deer. One of Diana’s characteristics, similar to a distinguishing element in the description of Nessa, is her affinity with animals in the wild. But,it is not only in classical Greco-Roman mythology but in the myths of Northern Europe that one finds goddesses who are associated with sprinting through the forest and befriending animals, particularly deer. English antiquarian and folklorist Dr. Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson writes of a feminine deity who also resembles Tolkien’s Nessa. Explaining that in the Scottish Highlands there are

. . . traditions of a local supernatural being who acted as guardian of the wild deer . . . . She approved of those who did not kill too many animals, particularly hinds. She is said to protect and milk the deer . . . ."2

Tolkien might have been influenced in his creation of the character of the Valië Nessa by one or the other or both of those deities, among other influences. This is the more serious side of Nessa. She has an even lighter side also.

Nessa’s husband Tulkas, who is known to be hardy and strong, is like her a singularly physical being among the Valar: “He delights in wrestling and in contests of strength; and he rides no steed, for he can outrun all things that go on feet, and he is tireless."3 Apparently Tulkas is a handsome and a vibrant fellow as well. “His hair and beard are golden, and his flesh ruddy . . . .”4 The impression Tolkien presents is of a personable, physically active couple. Tulkas is the one among the often taciturn Valar who “laughs ever, in sport or in war.”5 The two embody recognizably human traits, uniquely among the Valar, who usually are as easy or easier to imagine disembodied as they are in the corporeal forms with which they garb themselves from time to time for the comfort of the Eldar.

Nessa and Tulkas might disabuse the reader that all of Tolkien’s Valar leave one with the impression of lofty distance and a lack of visible expression of emotion. One learns in the texts that Tolkien did intend to communicate that the Valar, much like Norse gods and heroes, indulged in alcohol. Christopher Tolkien refers in footnotes relating to the Lay of Leithian that “there was viticulture in Valinor.”6 He goes on to point out that

after the accounts of life in the halls of Tulkas and Oromë in the tale of The Coming of the Valar . . . it is said that Nessa wife of Tulkas bore 'goblets o( the goodliest wine', while Meássë went among the warriors in her house and 'revived the fainting with strong wine.’7

Makar and his fierce sister Meássë are barbaric warrior demi-gods eliminated by Tolkien from the ranks of the Ainur after their appearance in The Book of Lost Tales. The entire drinking/feasting scene might be more anticipated in the Asgardian halls of the Norse gods than to those of the largely pious and well-behaved Valar of Tolkien’s legendarium.8 An even livelier description of that kind of carousing that may also found in The Book of Lost Tales follows:

His [Makar’s] was a house of mirth and revelry; and it sprang high into the air with many storeys, and had a tower of bronze and pillars of copper in a wide arcade. In its court men played and rivalled one another in doughty feats, and them at times would that fair maiden Nessa wife of Tulkas bear goblets of the goodliest wine and cooling drinks among the players.9

Oh, those rowdy Valar. Tolkien ameliorated this sort of behavior considerably in his later drafts. But one of the few mentions of Nessa in The Silmarillion is also a festive one. Having defeated Melkor, the Valar finally believe they are able to rest and Manwë organizes a celebration for them.

And it is sung that in that feast of the Spring of Arda Tulkas espoused Nessa the sister of Oromë, and she danced before the Valar upon the green grass of Almaren.10,11

It is hard to resist repeating the dancing references, since Nessa comes up so few times in the texts.

But most she loved to retire unto a place of fair lawns whose turn Oromë her brother had culled from the richest of all his forest glades, and Palúrien had planted it with spells that it was always green and smooth. There danced she among her maidens as long as Laurelin was in bloom, for is she not greater in the dance than Vána herself?12

So, if one relies upon the fuller body of Tolkien’s texts, Nessa’s life consists of drinking, dancing, running through the forest with deer, while married to the good-looking, physically fit, laughing Tulkas. Perhaps not a feminist’s ideal for a fantasy heroine, but there are far worse outcomes in The Silmarillion.




Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta.
  2. Hilda Ellis Davidson, Roles of the Northern Goddess (London: Routledge, 1998), 29, http://www.questia.com/read/104114032.
  3. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Lays of Beleriand, Footnotes.
  7. Ibid.
  8. The Book of Lost Tales I.
  9. Ibid.
  10. “Almaren: The first abode of the Valar in Arda, before the second onslaught of Melkor: an isle in a great lake in the midst of Middle-earth.” The Silmarillion, “Index of Names.”
  11. The Silmarillion, “Of the Beginning of Days.”
  12. The Book of Lost Tales I.



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Current Challenge

The Circle of Life

Although the circle of life is something that we all witness and experience, in Tolkien's world, the life spans of several races run a different course. From conception to death, the peoples of Middle-earth all take different courses. The elves are bound to Arda and will only perish once Arda ends. Men, on the other hand, are gifted with death and go beyond Arda. The fate of Dwarves is a fascinating one:

The Dwarves add that at that time Aulë gained them also this privilege that distinguished them from Elves and Men: that the spirit of each of the Fathers (such as Durin) should, at the end of the long span of life allotted to Dwarves, fall asleep, but then lie in a tomb of his own body, at rest, and there its weariness and any hurts that had befallen it should be amended. Then after long years he should arise and take up his kingship again.
-Tolkien, The Peoples of Middle-earth, page 383

We would like to challenge you to write a story that addresses the question of life, (im)mortality and reincarnation, or re-embodiment.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Challenges Revisited: A Gift of a Story

As the year draws to a close, many of our members have or are preparing to celebrate winter holidays of celebration and thanksgiving. 2007 is less than a month away, and we look back at another year of new experiences, new friends, and new stories. If you are at a loss for a new project for the month of December, then why not gift a story to a person who has helped and inspired you in the past year, based on his or her interests? Whether a beta-reader, reviewer, or just a good friend, drabbles, stories, and poems are a great way to show thanks and appreciation!

Quote of the Month

It is a curious sensation: the sort of pain that goes mercifully beyond our powers of feeling. When your heart is broken, your boats are burned: nothing matters any more. It is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.

- George Bernard Shaw

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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org 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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org 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.

"Perceptions of Slash" and "In Defense of Non-Canonical Shipping" by avi17

In the essay Perceptions of Slash, avi17 considers some of the troubling ways that fans often perceive GLBT characters and writers/artists who enjoy slash. In Defense of Non-Canonical Shipping started in protest to a rule on DeviantArt and ended up a defense of writers and artists who enjoy pairings outside of canon.

"Thoughts about Orodreth and Turgon" by Lady Brooke

Beginning as a challenge to say which character she preferred, Lady Brooke discusses in detail the oft-vilified characters of Orodreth and Turgon, with extensive discussion in the comments on her post. So ... which do you prefer??

"Rereading The Silmarillion: A Lament for Fingolfin" by Myaru

The Silmarillion maintains a feel of mythic distance, yet as Myaru points out, the death of Fingolfin is both poignant and heroic. A Lament for Fingolfin considers what makes this episode stand out from the rest of the narrative.

Just before The Hobbit becomes a movie blockbuster, the Tolkien Estate sues Warner Bros.

Most of us are likely to own at least a piece of merchandise. In 1968 Tolkien sold the sold the film, stage and merchandising rights of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, including the appendices, for less than £10,000, in order to pay an outstanding tax bill. Now the Tolkien Estate are claiming copyright infringement and breach of contract after Warner Bros has created casino games featuring Middle-earth characters and plans to market holiday resorts based on Tolkien’s world. Read more about the legal battle for non-tangible Middle-earth.

More on films - Peter Jackson, Please Film The Silmarillion: A Fan’s Open Letter

You may love them or hate them, but it is true that the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and—even before its release worldwide— The Hobbit have shaped or at least influenced the vision most of us have of Middle-earth and of the characters of these works. This is a letter to Peter Jackson, “pleading” him to film The Silmarillion, too.

A New Dinosaur Species Named after Sauron

The Eye of Sauron gets its own dinosaur, a flesh-eating species that lived about 95 milllion years ago. The fossil that remains is of the upper part of the skull, including an eye socket. Read more about the “Sauroniops pachytholus” dinosaur, recently unearthed in Morocco in 2007.

Is Tolkien Fandom a Cult? - An Article by Michael Martinez

Most of us readers of this newsletter are avid fans of Tolkien’s works, and in particular, of The Silmarillion. But, is there a reason to believe that fandom for the works of J.R.R Tolkien constitute a “cult”? Read the article by Michael Martinez about the Tolkien “cult” or, more accurately, Tolkien geekery.

Announcements

Teitho: December Challenge--Last Words

As we come to the end of each year, we think back on the highs and the lows; what we thought we'd do, and what we actually accomplished. We think especially of people we lost ... through death, divorce, or misunderstanding. We remember our last conversations with them – what we said and what we would say if we could call back those moments. In hindsight, we know what our last words to them should have been. That is the theme for this month's Teitho challenge: "Last Words".

So many times we wish we'd said more or parted without impatient words. This is your chance to make it right – or not – for someone in Middle-earth.

The deadline for this challenge (both art and stories) is December 25th. For instructions on how to submit your work and more information on the topic, visit the “Last Word” challenge page at the Teitho website.

Mythgard Institute Spring Courses

The Mythgard Institute has released their spring course schedule, which includes two Tolkien-related courses: The Story of The Hobbit with Dr. Corey Olsen and Tolkien's World of Middle-earth with Dr. Verlyn Flieger. All courses are online and can be taken for credit or audited. Visit Mythgard's website for more information on their program, costs, and registration information.

Oxford Tolkien Spring School

J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the best known authors of the twentieth century, and his books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have entertained and intrigued readers alike for decades, becoming some of the most popular books of all time. Many people will have read these novels, or seen the filmed adaptations, but have had little opportunity to take their interests further. To meet this need the Oxford Tolkien Spring School is being organised by the University of Oxford's English Faculty (where Tolkien taught for most of his career), aimed at those who have read some of Tolkien's fiction and wish to discover more. A series of introductory lectures by world-leading Tolkien scholars have been assembled, to take place in the English Faculty, University of Oxford, over the 21-23 March, 2013. See the Oxford University site for a list of speakers and registration information.

The Hobbit Movie to Be Released on December 14!

It's been years since we had a holiday-season Tolkien movie to look forward to and, at long last, Peter Jackson's The Hobbit will be coming to theaters for a December 14 release. If you're planning to see the new movie, watch our LJ community and email group for a chance to share your thoughts. We'll also be collecting links to our members' impressions of the new movie for a special link round-up in our January newsletter. Whether you plan to be first in line for the midnight show or whether you expect to hide until the end of January in hopes of avoiding the movie-madness altogether (your site owner got her midnight show tickets this morning!), the new movie will likely introduce a new wave of fans to Tolkien's fascinating world.




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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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