Newsletter: December 2017

Table of Contents

SWG News

Congratulations, Himring!

Amazing writer, supportive friend and prolific commenter, we would like to congratulate Himring on reaching a very significant milestone: she’s the first member of the SWG who has written more than 1000 comments. Congratulations!

Here's to many more comments (and stories, of course)!

The last 2017 Challenge: 30-Day Character Study!

Have you ever wanted to study a favourite (or not so much!) character in depth but never had the chance? This is your opportunity! During this challenge, you will choose one character whom you want to study and complete prompts and activities designed to develop a deeper understanding of that character. Not all prompts are written and you do not have to complete them all as some include questions to spur your thinking on a topic. All participants will receive a creator stamp, regardless of how many prompts they complete and there will be special stamps for those who complete higher numbers of prompts.

You will have two months to complete the challenge for a stamp, until 10 January 2018. There will also be an additional week, until January 17, to report your progress. In order to have more detailed information about the challenge, how to report your progress and how to post your responses, you can go to our challenges page. Here you will find all the prompts and further information to complete the challenge.

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!

Welcome to Our New Members!

A warm welcome to atheistcanuck, thrndlwood, eris_of_imladris, Gabriel, bluehair, and Failisse, who joined our Silmarillion Writers' Guild community during November.

We hope you are already exploring our site, and perhaps posting your own Silmfic creations. Why not review a story, poem or artwork to let the author or artist know that you enjoyed their work?

If you are unsure about how things work, check our Frequently Asked Questions. We're always keen to hear what brought you to the Silmarillion fandom and to the SWG, so why not share a little bit about your fandom persona by updating your bio? Anytime you need help, please contact the SWG mods at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

City of Singing Stone by Zdenka [Teens] (1738 words)
Summary: Rían falls unconscious on the Hill of Slain and awakes in Gondolin.

Faithless Is He That Says Farewell When the Road Darkens by bunn [General] (12720 words)
Summary: The War of Wrath lasted for forty-two years. It was neither a swift nor a certain victory. Here, in the middle of that great war, Celebrimbor, Elrond and Elros meet and work together. Elrond and Celebrimbor have complex feelings about the House of Fëanor. Elros, not so much.

Intermezzo by Grundy [General] (2125 words)
Summary: It's not easy to know that great events are afoot but be unable to take part in them. It's not easy being left behind.

Practice by feanorusrex [General] (2373 words)
Summary: Nerdanel wears a dress, Fëanor is really chill about it, and they practice some....stuff. 

Thangorodrim Triptych by lightofthetrees [Adult] (5210 words)
Summary: A set of three ficlets. The first explores Fingon's interactions with his father and siblings after returning from rescuing Maedhros. The second involves Maedhros, Mairon, smithing, and symbolism. The third is a heart-to-heart between Fingon and Maedhros in which Maedhros confesses that he is going to pass the kingship of the Noldor to Fingolfin.

The Death of Finwë by oshun [General] (3597 words)
Summary: Fëanor, summoned out of banishment by the Valar, arrives at the home of Eärwen and Finarfin the day before Manwë’s long to be remembered high feast on Taniquetil. No one knows what to expect from the Valar, but they certainly least of all expected the darkening of Valinor and the death of Finwë. (Written from Eärwen’s point of view.)

The Thlim Galdon by Silver Trails [General] (521 words)
Summary: Legolas of the Thlim Galdon wonders what is the brilliant light rising in the sky. This happens at the same moment that the Moon rises, and Fingolfin blows his trumpets as he nears Middle-earth. This is my entry to the Behind the Scenes challenge.

The Very Lands by Tyelca [General] (1662 words)
Summary: The Drowning of Nûmenor is felt all over Middle-Earth.

Visions by feanorusrex [General] (1264 words)
Summary: Nerdanel has a surpiring premonition. She definitely does not have a crush on Fëanor though. 

Works In Progress

Broken faith by Harnatano [General] (534 words)
Summary: When Curufin remembers his wife.

Challenges: 30-Day Character Study by oshun [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (942 words)
Summary: I am going to use this space for my contributions: meta, notes, links to stories, and links to artwork. (Actually short stories will get their own space, but snippets or ficlets might be posted only here.) Rating will be teens or lower, but I do not want to think or self-censor--not likely I will go higher than that.

I'll Be Yours If You'll Be Mine by NelyafinweFeanorion [General] (98848 words)
Summary:   Modern setting AU. Maedhros/Fingon. Maedhros owns a bookstore. Fingon is in grad school. Expect appearances from varied members of the House of Finwë. Except Finwë--he's already dead in this story. This is a modern take on how Maedhros and Fingon meet and develop a relationship. Brothers, sisters, family and roommates--the gang's all here! Cover artwork of Fingon and Maedhros by the incomparable cinemairon. So grateful, humbled and awed to have this amazing art be part of this story of mine. Check out the tumblr at

Morning Mist and Silver Sun by StarSpray [Teens] (6805 words)
Summary: A place to store drabbles and ficlets, mostly written for various prompts.

Ships in the Harbour by Himring [Teens] (1467 words)
Summary: In the harbour of Lindon, at the beginning of the Second Age, ships are being built--ships for the Edain to leave Middle-earth for Numenor, ships to carry the Elves to Valinor. At this time, Celebrimbor has an unexpected encounter and sees his path more clearly.

Taking Readings II by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (2117 words)
Summary: Anthology for short pieces that don't fit anywhere else.  Now posted: "The Second Dawn in Middle-earth" (Turgon & Idril) and "An Honourable Leader" (Finarfin & Gil-galad)

Short Works

A Warning Denied by Kaylee Arafinwiel [Teens] (440 words)
Summary: Dior was forewarned. Unfortunately, forewarned doesn’t mean ready to listen…  

Little Spiders in the Woods by LadyBrooke [Teens] (450 words)
Summary: Morwë and Nurwë may have been left behind with the rest of their family with no knowledge of events in Valinor (and little of what happens in Doriath), but the servants of Morgoth roam their woods as well.

Nerdanel by feanorusrex [General] (1 words)
Summary: Been writing so many fics about Nerdael that I thought I should try to draw her. Made with Krita. 

Rían at the Hill of Slain by Zdenka [Teens] (166 words)
Summary: Dying on Haudh-en-Ndengin, Rían has a prophetic vision and sings one last song of defiance.


Rían at the Hill of Slain by Zdenka [Teens] (166 words)
Summary: Dying on Haudh-en-Ndengin, Rían has a prophetic vision and sings one last song of defiance.

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Character of the Month Biography


Silver Trails

Tilion was a Maia who guided the vessel that contained Telperion’s last fruit. His story evolves along with Arien’s, the Maia who carried the last fruit of Laurelin in her vessel. In the first versions of the legendarium Tilion was not mentioned yet, but there was a young Maia, Silmo, loved by Irmo, and who would "lay in dreams by the pools of Estë"; he was in charge of watering the roots of Telperion, but he didn’t become the one in charge of the vessel of the Moon. That was Ilinsor, a spirit of the Air, Maia of Varda.1

In the first versions of the legendarium both Trees needed to be watered, and Silpion’s dew was kept in a cauldron named Silindrin. Laurelin was the elder Tree and Urwendi took care of watering it. Tilion only makes his appearance in a later version:

Urien [Arien] was a maiden who had tended the golden flowers in the gardens of Vána, while still joy was in the Blissful Realm, and Nessa daughter of Vána danced on the lawns of never-fading green. Tilion was a hunter from the company of Oromë, and he had a silver bow. Often he wandered from its course pursuing the stars upon the heavenly fields.2

In later versions there is no longer need to water the Trees, and Tilion is in love with Arien:

Tilion was a young hunter of the company of Oromë, and he had a silver bow. He loved Arien, but she was a holier spirit of greater power, and wished to be ever virgin and alone; and Tilion pursued her in vain. Tilion forsook then the woods of Oromë, and dwelt in the gardens of Lorien, sitting in dream beside the pools lit by the flickering light of Sipion.3

The last two versions of the tale are almost the same:

In the days of the Trees Arien had tended the golden flowers in the gardens of Vána, and refreshed them with the bright dews of Laurelin; but Tilion was a young hunter of the company of Oromë, and he had a silver bow. He was a lover of silver, and when he would rest he forsook the woods of Oromë, and went unto Lórien and lay adream by the pools of Estë, in the flickering beams of Telperion; and he begged to be given the task of tending ever the last Flower of Silver.4

We know that the Trees gave a last fruit after Melkor and Ungoliant killed them. The description of the "birth" of last fruit of Telperion is beautiful as it is written in the original Lost Tales version of the story. The final fruit was born seven days after the making of the Sun because the Valar’s sons and daughters (the Maiar), and even a few of the Valar, were distressed because the light of the Sun and the incessant heat was making their eyes hurt, and the plants and flowers wither. So Lórien (Irmo), who was sitting under Silpion (Telperion) trying to get some shadow, started to sing to the dead Tree:

Then Lórien sang to Silpion, saying that the Valar were lost ‘in a wilderness of gold and heat, or else in shadows full of death and unkindly glooms,’ and he touched the wound in the bole of the Tree.

Lo, even as he touched that cruel hurt, a light glowed faintly there as if radiant sap still stirred within….

One only was there at the branch’s end that opening shone of its own light and no mist or a sicold harmed it, but indeed waxing it seemed to suck the very vapours and transform them subtly to the silver substance of its body; and it grew to be a very pale and wondrous glistering flower, nor did even the purest snow upon Taniquetil gleaming in the light of Silpion outrival it, and its heart was of white flame and it throbbed, waxing and waning marvellously. Then said Lorien for the joy of his heart: "Behold the Rose of Silpion", and that rose grew till the fruit of Laurelin had been but little greater, and ten thousand crystal petals were in that flower, and it was drenched in a fragrant dew like honey and this dew was light.5

So, in the first versions of the story, Silmo begs to steer the fruit of Telperion’s car, but is denied. Ilinsor, a Maia of Varda, is given control of the vessel, together with other spirits of the air:

Now Silmo begged to sail upon the oceans of the firmament therein, but he might not, for neither was he of the children of the air nor might he find a way to cleanse his being of its earthwardness as had Urwendi done, and little would it have availed to enter Faskalan had he dared essay it, for then would Rána have shrivelled before him. Manwë bade therefore Ilinsor, a spirit of the Súruli who loved the snows and the starlight and aided Varda in many of her works, to pilot this strange-gleaming boat, and with him went many another spirit of the air arrayed in robes of silver and white, or else of palest gold….6

There was a pool that contained the pale dew that the Rose of the Moon still gave:

Hence was it that a pool was builded hard by the dark southern wall of Valmar, and of silver and white marbles were its walls, but dark yews shut it in, being planted in a maze most intricate about it. There Lorien hoarded the pale dewy light of that fair Rose, and he named it the Lake Irtinsa.7

There is an interesting explanation about the legend of “the man in the moon”:

… an aged Elf with hoary locks stepped upon the Moon unseen and hid in the Rose, and them dwells he ever since and tends that flower, and a little white turret has he builded on the Moon where often he climbs and watches the heavens, or the world beneath, and that is Uolë Kúvion who sleepeth never. Some indeed have named him the Man in the Moon, but Ilinsor is it rather who hunts the stars.8

So who was this Elf? Did he and Ilinsor converse while the latter carries the car of the Moon across the sky? Has the Elf shrunk into a smaller being so he can actually build a home on the Rose? This version was discarded, but it is an interesting insight into the building of Tolkien’s legendarium, what he kept, what he discarded.

There is another explanation for the dark areas on the moon’s surface in The Silmarillion:

But Tilion was wayward and uncertain in speed, and held not to his appointed path; and he sought to come near to Arien, being drawn by the splendour of her beauty, though the flame of Anar scorched him, and the island of the Moon was darkened.9

In the later versions of the story, it is the Moon that comes forth first, and its light welcomes Fingolfin’s host to Middle-earth:

First the Moon came forth, and even as it rose above the darkness in the West Fingolfin let blow his silver trumpets, and began his march into Middle-earth; and the shadows of his host went long and black before them.10

The light surprised Melkor and scared many of his creatures. He sent his servants, spirits of darkness, to assail Tilion, and there was a fight in the skies:

It is told in AAm [Annals of Aman] that ‘Tilion was the victor: as he ever yet hath been, though still the pursuing darkness overtakes him at whiles’, evidently a reference to the eclipses of the Moon.11

The Sun rose soon after, and everything “smoked and glowed like gold.”12 Fingolfin unfurled his blue and silver banners then, and the flowers awoke from the Sleep of Yavanna. Melkor hid his realm with the darkest shadows:

Therefore Fingolfin marched from the North unopposed through the fastness of the realm of Morgoth, and he passed over Dor-Daedeloth, and his foes hid beneath the earth; but the Elves smote upon the gates of Angband, and the challenges of their trumpets shook the towers of Thangorodrim. And Maidros heard them amid his torment and cried aloud, but his voice was lost in the echoes of the stone.13

This is the version published in The Silmarillion:

Isil was first wrought and made ready, and first rose into the realm of the stars and was the elder of the new lights, as was Telperion of the Trees. Then for a while the world had moonlight, and many things stirred and woke that had waited long in the sleep of Yavana. The servants of Morgoth were amazed, but the dark-elves looked up in delight; and it is told that Fingolfin set foot upon the Northern Lands with the first moon-rise, and the shadows of his host were long and black. Tilion had traversed the heavens seven times, and was thus in the furthest East when the vessel of Arien was made ready. Then Anar rose in glory, and the snow upon the mountains glowed as with fire, and there as heard the sound of many waterfalls; but the servants of Morgoth fled to Angband and cowered in fear, and Fingolfin unfurled his banners.14

In the old stories, Tilion’s (Ilinsor’s) final fate is linked to the death of Arien (Urwendi) at Melkor’s hands just before the Dagor Dagorath. This version of their fates was recounted to Gilfanon by Vairë (in The Book of Lost Tales, Vairë is the Elven storyteller of Tol Eressëa, not one of the Valië) in Tol Eressëa15:

'But as for the Ships of Light themselves, behold! O Gilfanon and all that hearken, I will end the tale of Lindo and Vairë concerning the building of the Sun and Moon with that great foreboding that was spoken among the Gods when first the Door of Night was opened. For 'tis said that ere the Great End come Melko shall in some wise contrive a quarrel between Moon and Sun, and Ilinsor shall seek to follow Urwendi through the Gates, and when they are gone the Gates of both East and West will be destroyed, and Urwendi and Ilinsor shall be lost. So shall it be that Fionwë Urion, son of Manwë, of love for Urwendi shall in the end be Melko's bane, and shall destroy the world to destroy his foe, and so shall all things then be rolled away.'16

We can read the last version of the Dagor Dagorath and Arien’s and Tilion’s fates in The Lost Road:

Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgement in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and Moon. But Eärendel shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive him from the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right hand shall be Fionwë, and on his left Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, coming from the halls of Mandos; and the black sword of Túrin shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Húrin and all Men be avenged.17

So as we can see, Tilion’s fate – in his different incarnations – is always linked to Arien’s. In a way, the story of the Lights created by the Valar come full circle, with the deaths of the bearers of the Trees’ last fruits and the rekindle of such Light after Fëanor comes out of the Halls and breaks the Silmarils.

Works Cited

  1. The History of Middle-earth, Volume I: The Book of Lost Tales 1, The Coming of the Valar and the Building of Valinor and the Commentary to this section.
  2. The History of Middle-earth, Volume VI: The Shaping of Middle-earth, The Quenta, §6.
  3. The History of Middle-earth, Volume V: The Lost Road and other Writings, Quenta Silmarillion, “Of the Sun and Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.”
  4. I am transcribing here the quote from The Silmarillion, “Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.” An almost identical quote can be found in The History of Middle-earth, Volume X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, “Of the Moon and the Sun. The Lighting of Endor, and the Hiding of Valinor,” §172.
  5. The History of Middle-earth, Volume I: The Book of Lost Tales 1, The Tale of Sun and Moon.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. The Silmarillion, “Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.”
  10. The History of Middle-earth, Volume XI: The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals, §53.
  11. The History of Middle-earth, Volume XI: The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals, Commentary to §54.
  12. The History of Middle-earth, Volume XI: The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals, §54.
  13. Ibid., §55.
  14. The Silmarillion, “Of the Sun and the Moon and the Hiding of Valinor.” Again, an almost identical quote can be found in The History of Middle-earth, Volume X: Morgoth’s Ring, The Annals of Aman, “Of the Moon and the Sun. The Lighting of Endor, and the Hiding of Valinor,” §173.
  15. The History of Middle-earth, Volume II: The Book of Lost Tales 2, The Story of Eriol or Aelwine at the End of the Tales.
  16. The History of Middle-earth, Volume I: The Book of Lost Tales 1, The Hiding of Valinor.
  17. The History of Middle-earth, Volume V: The Lost Road, The Quenta Silmarillion, “The Conclusion of the Quenta Silmarillion,” §31.

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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.

Christopher Tolkien Resigns as Head of the Tolkien Estate

Christopher Tolkien resigned from his position as director of the Tolkien Estate on August 31, 2017. The 93-year-old son and literary heir of J.R.R. Tolkien already hinted at the end of his involvement in the preface of the Beren and Lúthien publication, announcing it to (presumably) have been his final volume of his father's posthumous publications, although he has since been confirmed to remain J.R.R Tolkien's literary executor. Priscilla Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien's daughter, remains as one of the Estate's directors, along with other members of the Tolkien family.

Christopher Tolkien has done exceptional work in opening his father's legacy to the world, from The Silmarillion to The History of Middle-earth and many of the stand-alone volumes of Tolkien's work, both concerning Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien's literary work. The team of the SWG is deeply grateful for his dedication and wishes him the best for his future.

Read more on The Tolkien Society website and and a tribute to Christopher Tolkien on Middle-earth Reflections.

The Lord of the Rings Amazon TV Series

As the production of the Tolkien biopic continues, a new announcement rattled the Tolkien fandom in early November: Variety revealed that talks between the Tolkien Estate, Warner Bros., Netflix, HBO and Amazon for a The Lord of the Rings adaptation as a multi-season TV series were underway, a bid that finally went to Amazon as per their press release from November 13. HBO passed on the offer in favour of their own intellectual property. The show allegedly is supposed to fill the High Fantasy void left by the impending end of HBO's Game of Thrones, and will not focus on presenting an alternate version to the existing Rankin-Bass and Jackson movies. Rather it is intended to explore the backstory of The Lord of the Rings, with potential for a later spinoff. According to IGN, the show is set to film in 2019 and air in 2020. reports background on the rights questions involved in the making of the series.

Reactions from fans on social media and elsewhere around the web have, predictably, been mixed, from tentative enthusiasm to nostalgia for the Jackson movies and ponderings on similarities to Game of Thrones, ruminations on the show's effect on New Zealand tourism and possible storylines, the chance for Tom Bombadil to appear on screen, worry for Middle-earth to become 'marred' by visual fanfiction, and a miscellany of other responses. Actor John Rhys-Davies is not thrilled with the development, while Sean Astin considers it an intriguing idea.

Some Tolkien scholars and bloggers have also begun weighing in. Read posts by: John D. Rateliff (with followup posts), David Bratman, Marcel Bülles and Corey Olsen.

New Books on Tolkien

Amid the buzz about the Lord of the Rings TV series, Tolkien's works continue to inspire new non-fiction works. Anna Smol introduces Tolkien and Alterity, which "examines racialized, gender, and queer dynamics in The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and other works by Tolkien to arrive at an understanding of how alterity functions in those texts", as well as J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide, a, collection of Verlyn Flieger’s essays on Tolkien, and J.R.R. Tolkien: Romanticist and Poet. Read the post here.

More on Tolkienfic Comments: Authors Who Don’t Comment

One of the most interesting groups in Dawn Felagund's continuing research into the Tolkien fanfic community are the 13.5% of authors who, despite being comfortable with writing, do not comment. Dawn explores possible reasons for this behaviour: From commenting as a specialized skill, to experience and confidence, community involvement, interaction and encouragement, and commenting norms and the gift economy that fandom is often touted as, as well as barriers to commenting, she covers fannish behaviour and attempts to find ways to combat the growing anonymity in fandom communities in favour of more communication. Read Dawn's post here.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature: A Catch of the Breath by Susan Cooper

The J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature is an annual lecture on fantasy, sci-fi, and other speculative fiction, held at Pembroke College, Oxford. In 2017, Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising) is holding her hour-long lecture and Q&A A Catch of the Breath on the creation, mythology, fairytale and personal roots and process of fantasy fiction as a reminder of the universal in face of real-world adversity. There also is a short writeup on the lecture.


Fandom Stocking

It's holiday season, and the long-standing tradition of stuffing stockings is not restricted to offline life. Fandom Stocking has opened for Stocking signups, so if you'd like to give - and receive! - some extra goodies, leave your wishlist there! Signups run until December 14, and stockings are set to be revealed on January 6.

The Annual Femslash Kink Meme 2017

Do you enjoy higher-rated femslash? If so, Femslash Kink might just be the thing for you: The Annual Femslash Kink Meme is a yearly multifandom comment fic fest to promote and celebrate kink fic in femslash. Any canonically female character paired with any other is fair game, and the kink is your prompt. Ready? Prompting runs from December 5th to December 8th, and fills open on Saturday, December 9th. If you are participating, make sure to also include your fills AO3, and check out the #annual femslash kink meme tag on tumblr.

Chocolate Box 2017/2018

It may not even be Christmas yet, but it's never too early to think of the upcoming Valentine's Day. Chocolate Box is a pairing-focused fanworks exchange with the low-pressure minimum of 500 words or a nice sketch. Nominations are expected to open sometime in December, and signups shortly after, with a due date in early February and reveals on Valentine's Day. If you want to see your favourite Tolkien pairings represented in the tag set, make plans in the meantime, keep watching the community for schedule updates, and head on over when the time is ripe.

University of Washington Fanfic Survey

Researchers from the University of Washington are looking to better understand how people interact and engage with each other in online environments, specifically fandom. They've built a survey to find out more and would welcome participation.

Yulemoot 2017

Yulemoot is the annual seasonal gathering of The Tolkien Society, this year taking place at Gunmakers Arms in Birmingham on 2 December 2017. The event is open to anyone, beginning on 6pm. You're cordially invited, but please register your attendance on Facebook.

TexMoot, January 2018

Signum University is pleased to announce the first annual North Texas Literature & Language Symposium (aka “TexMoot”) on January 13, 2018, at Scarborough College in Fort Worth, Texas. This one-day event will include flash-paper sessions, a panel of invited guests, a keynote address by The Tolkien Professor, creative presentations, and lots of time for fellowship (open mic, games, and of course conversation!). Registration is $30.00 and includes lunch. The cost for undergrads is $25.00.

Fall/winter Tolkien/LOTR events: your ‘go-to’ list

Courtesy of, if you are desperate for Tolkien events to attend in the colder season, have a look at this list. From live-music LotR projections to the Tolkien Birthday Toast on January 3 to the Staffordshire exhibition and a Hobbit-based play, the lineup offers events for diverse Tolkien-related interests.

Tolkien Seminar 2018 in Kalamazoo, May 2018

Anna Smol reports: "Brad Eden has organized another one-day Tolkien Seminar on May 9th, the day preceding the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This event takes place in addition to the Tolkien sessions that will be part of the Congress." Read her blog post for the sizable list of presenters and topics.

Tolkien Sessions at International Medieval Congress Leeds, July 2018

Dimitra Fimi reports: "I am very pleased to announce that all six sessions on J.R.R. Tolkien I proposed for the International Medieval Congress at Leeds 2018 have been accepted!"

The sessions are: Memory in Tolkien’s Medievalism, I & II, ‘New’ Tolkien: Expanding the Canon, Tolkien: Medieval Roots and Modern Branches, I & II, and Tolkien in Context(s): A Round Table Discussion.

Calls for Papers

Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations: Escaping Escapism in Fantasy and the Fantastic (1/15/18)

What is the role of fantasy and the fantastic? Why—and perhaps more crucially, how—does the genre matter? Fantasy theorists frequently define the genre in opposition to what is possible and real: Kathryn Hume, for instance, sums it up in Fantasy and Mimesis as “departures from consensus reality”. Critics often scrutinize this departure as a negative, and disparage representations of the fantastic either due to their failure to depict real world issues or their presumed attempts at “escapism.” This perceived link between fantasy and escapism is so strong that dictionaries like the Oxford English Dictionary define escapism as “engaging in fantasy”.

Despite this association, a growing body of evidence asserts both that escapism can be healthy and that the fantastic can influence how its consumers perceive real world issues even when their representations are deemed problematic. For example, though readers and scholars have criticized the portrayal of minority groups in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, studies suggest that people who read the series are more accepting of stigmatised groups and more likely to vote for political candidates whose policies support these groups. And while some critics view the creation of fictional Secondary Worlds as a troubling detachment from reality, creativity scholars have drawn links between creating imaginary worlds as a child and high achievement in artistic and scientific fields later in life. Escapism is perhaps not as escapist as it was previously perceived to be, and even when it is, it can have a positive impact. The “escapism accusation” is being flipped on its head, with texts as disparate as Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock and Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Normal Again” presenting the rejection of the fantastic in favour of “reality” as the dangerous escapist behaviour. The traditional dynamic between escapism and the fantastic is constantly being changed and renegotiated.

This two-day conference seeks to examine and honour the relationship between escapism and the fantastic. We welcome proposals for papers on this theme from researchers and practitioners working in the field of fantasy and the fantastic across all media, whether within the academy or beyond it. We are particularly interested in submissions from postgraduate and early career researchers.

We will offer workshops in creative writing for those interested in exploring the creative process.

We ask for 300-word abstracts for 20-minute papers, as well as creative presentations that go beyond the traditional academic paper.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

Please submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word biography in separate editable documents (not PDF) to by Monday, the 15th of January 2018.

Mythmoot V Call for Proposals: Fantastic Frontiers

Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2018 Full name / Name of organization: Signum University / Mythgard Contact email:

What is Mythmoot V?

Mythmoot V combines academic conference, literary creative meet-up, and fan convention into one event. It creates a space for serious scholarship in fields that are only beginning to be considered in the academic world (such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, gothic, folklore, children’s literature, etc.) in a way that both academics and enthusiasts will appreciate.

Date: June 21-24, 2018 Venue: National Conference Center, Leesburg, VA Theme: Fantastic Frontiers

Call for Proposals:

“Transcendence, in Poe’s sense of the sublime, is the ability of the poetic soul to escape the boundaries of the natural world, of the physical body, and of modern reality in a dreamlike, enigmatic netherworld” (Rachel Boccio)

Frontiers fascinate us: neither one thing nor another, they mark out the known and the unknown, the boundaries between genres, or the place where stories start. Border-crossings and liminal spaces are frequently depicted in literature: forests, rivers, oceans, caves, outer space, and other perilous realms abound. Vistas stretching out to the horizon promise something new; liminal spaces and shadowy places tempt adventurers. There are also boundaries the works themselves cross or create: genre definitions, lines between “high” and “popular” art, historical eras, nationalisms, ideologies, languages/linguistic heritages, cultural symbols, academic disciplines, textual media, etc.

Join Mythmoot V as we celebrate and explore literary frontiers! Signum University is hosting Mythmoot V, a literary event for academics, friends, and fans. Mythmoot V will be held from June 21st to 24th, 2018, at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA. This year’s theme is: Fantastic Frontiers. We are accepting proposals for Papers, Panels, Workshops, and Creative Presentations (storytelling, music, visual arts, etc.) in the following areas:

Imaginative Literature—Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction from Mary Shelley and H.P Lovecraft to Ursula Le Guin and Neil Gaiman, exploring how these works depict or enact fantastic frontiers, their creation, and their transcendance.

Tolkien and Inklings Studies—Research on the works and lives of Tolkien, Lewis, Williams, Barfield, and their friends and contemporaries as they interact with each other, their modern context, and classic and imaginative literature, especially as they explore boundary-crossing.

Germanic Philology—Research on the relationships between language and literature in the past, present, and future.

Paper proposals should be 100-300 words. Paper presentations should be less than 30 minutes long and include 5-10 minutes for questions and discussion.

Panel proposals must be submitted in one inclusive email. Each paper should be described in approximately 100 words. Panels will be presented in 1.5-hour sessions, so each panel should include no more than 3 papers at 30 minutes each including 5-10 minutes for questions and discussion.

Workshop proposals should be 100-300 words. Workshops will be allotted 1.5 hours.

Creative Presentation proposals should provide a short description (100-300 words) of the presentation. Creative Presentations should be no longer than 30 minutes.

Proposal Submission: Proposals will be accepted through 15 March 2018. Send proposals to with a subject line of “Paper Proposal”, “Panel Proposal”, “Workshop Proposal”, or “Creative Presentation Proposal”. You must provide A/V requirements and a brief bio in order to be considered. Responses to the proposals will be sent before 15 April 2018.

Please Note!

Submission of any proposal is considered agreement by the presenter to attend Mythmoot and deliver the presentation if it is accepted. No presentations of any form will be delivered in absentia.

Visit for more details!

TWC Special Issue CFP: Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color (3/1/18; 3/15/19)

The editors invite the submission of short and long scholarly essays by and about people of color who self-identify as fans (“fans of color”), and about fan communities that have formed around media characters and texts that predominantly or prominently feature characters of color (“fandoms of color”). The editors are particularly eager to review contributions that involve methodological innovation, and/or draw on sources from historical periods other than the contemporary.

As both the scholars and objects fan studies have, to date, been predominantly white, we seek work from fan scholars of every ethnicity about their own experiences, and the experiences of people of color, in and with fandom.

Due date is March 1, 2018, for estimated March 2019 publication. For Submission Guidelineas and more information, visit Special Issue CFP at TWC Tumblr.

Special Issue CFP: The Future of Fandom (1/15/18; 9/15/18)

The Future of Fandom full CfP

This special 10th anniversary issue of Transformative Works and Cultures seeks to explore the future of fandom while looking back to its past. How might scholarship on fandom's past and present invite speculation about its future? And what might the possible futures invoked by technological, ecological, and political discourses mean for fandom's communities and practices? Science fiction in particular--the field whose strategies spawned fandom, and the genre in which much fan activity occurs--has used imagined futures to shed new light on the present and the past. In turn, studying where we are and where we have been allows us to imagine where we may be heading.

We invite essays that seek to historicize and contextualize fans, fan works, and fandoms across past, present, and future. Scholarship on fandom’s futures can open connections between technology and interfaces, fannish discussions and trends, fictions of imagined futures, and cultural and political changes in order to illustrate how fandoms may be understood in their historical contexts and cultural interactions.

This issue will feature a special section, “Predictions,” that will allow fans and academics to imagine fannish futures. We particularly invite personal and creative responses, including essays from the future, documenting trends that haven’t yet come to be.

Submission guidelines

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.

Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.

Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.

Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.

Please visit TWC's Web site ( for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT

Due date— January 15, 2018, for estimated September 15, 2018 publication.

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