TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: February 2012

Table of Contents


SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month 2012: Bingo Baggins’ BINGO Bash

Back to Middle-earth Month is an annual challenge that honors Tolkien's universe and encourages creativity based on it. SWG and MPTT are hosting together again this year’s event: in honor of the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit, Bingo Baggins cordially invites you to a party in March to play--what else?--BINGO! Players will choose themed BINGO cards, each block of which contains a different challenge. The first player to complete a row of five challenges wins the game! All forms of Tolkien-based creative work are welcome!

For more information you can join B2MeM community on LJ or check at the SWG or MPTT. We already have 26 cards ready and many more are on the way! Heartfelt thanks to all the people who have contributed their fantastic ideas to the project so far!

The event will officially begin on March 1 with a new BINGO number posted daily. Currently, we are seeking help with creating BINGO cards. Ideas for new BINGO cards are due by February 21. (You may choose new BINGO cards to play at any time before or during the challenge.)

Want to participate this year? Check the following links for more information on the challenge:

B2MeM 2012 Rules
Choose Your BINGO Cards
Make a BINGO Card (or Ten!)
Choose Your Participant Banner

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

We want to congratulate all the members who participated as writers, reviewers, or volunteers in this year’s MEFAs. Well done!


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

Fall of Sauron by xxxVilda [General](1079 words)
Summary: Sauron the bad guy was good in the end, wasn't he? A take on Sauron's kin's feelings about his fall.

Isles of sleep by Aerlinn [General] (1671 words)
Summary: And in the twilight a great weariness came upon mariners and a loathing of the sea. Some will sleep until the very end of the world. Not every Valinorean explorer returns.

Just and Equitable Government by Himring [Teens] (6833 words)
Summary: In Mithrim, during Maedhros’s time of recovery, Maglor appears one evening at Fingolfin’s camp and asks Fingon to return to Maedhros’s side. On his way back to the Feanorian camp, Fingon remembers the incident that made him stay away. When he finally reaches his cousin, it turns out that there was something Maglor had failed to mention. With a vignette of Fingon on the quays of Alqualonde.

Season of Hope by Keiliss [Teens] (2918 words)
Summary: Midwinter in Sirion, a young king and a traumatized child: Gil-galad offers Elwing a new way of looking at Yule.

Surrender after the War of Wrath by Uvatha the Horseman [General] (3720 words)
Summary: This story explores Sauron's motives for surrendering after the War of Wrath, and for failing to show up for trial. It also explores Eönwë's, for letting him.

The Burning Cold of Snow by Erulisse [Teens] (3662 words)
Summary: Mordor was not only used by evil in the Third Age. It had been used by Morgoth in the First Age. Brushkût, an orc from Mordor is trained to join the troops at Angband and sets off with his regiment, walking through the dead of winter towards the far north.

The Weaving of Our Fates by Maglor Makalaure [General] (1342 words)
Summary: A drabble series on the sons of Fëanor. Featuring decisions and turning points.

Works in Progress

Almaren by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: The events after the Spring of Arda, seen through the eyes of three Valar and an Oarni
Chapter added this month: Chapter 4.

Chasing Mirages by Russandol [Adult] †
Summary: A 'what if' tale of darkness, light, love and betrayal over the Ages of Eä.
Chapters added this month: Annatar.

Elemental Spirits by Beatrisu [General]
Summary: Maedhros likens some of his loved ones to the elements.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1.

Many Journeysby Elleth [Teens]
Summary:A gathering place for ficlets of varying length centered around the House of Fëanor (and lately, the House of Finwë in general), based on the word of the day from dictionary.com and various other prompts..
Chapters added this month: Flight, Unspeakable and Tragedy.

Spirits of the Elements by Beatrisu [General]
Summary: Maedhros. Fingon. Nerdanel. Maglor. Fëanor. Elements.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

The Book of Short Tales by Lyra [General]
Summary: A place to store short ficlets and challenge responses that don't really warrant being archived on their own.
Chapter added this month: Random - The Key

The Elendilmir by pandemonium_213 [Adult]
Summary: 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.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 38: The Crow's Nest.

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 Four: Bolts from the Sky.

The Light That Binds Them by Adonnen Estenniel [General]
Summary: From the first, Celeborn sought to hold her. But she would not be tethered.
Chapters added this month: Freedom, Known, Shoreline and Grievance.

The Line of Kings by Michiru [Teens]
Summary: Exploring the lives of the Noldorin princes who would eventually produce the final king of the Noldor in Middle-earth.
Chapter added this month: Estrangement.

The Prisoner and the Hobbit by Dreamflower and pandemonium_213 [Teens]
Summary: A prisoner in the Halls of Mandos, although grateful to be alive, nonetheless finds his days to be monotonous, that is, until a most unusual person, and one whose life was affected greatly by the prisoner's masterwork, accepts an offer to begin a correspondence.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 7: Revelation and Reaction.

The Tempered Steel by Lyra [Adult]
Summary: Yes, it's yet another variation on the good old "Maedhros in Angband and what happened afterwards" theme! Because the Silmarillion is so brief about it that fleshed-out retellings never get old..
Chapter added this month: Part III, Chapter I .

The Traveller by Maglor Makalaure [Teens]
Summary: It is the tale of Kanafinwë Makalaurë, as he returns to Valinor and attempts to make amends for the deeds he has done, all the while struggling with the pessimism in his mind. He cannot decide whether life is really worth living, being torn between the love of his friends and family and a man who wishes to break him.
Chapter added this month: Chapter Seven.

The Swan's Song by Kimberleighe [General]
Summary: In which the tale of Thorondun and Alphiril is told.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Warping Arda by Clodia [General]
Summary: A collection of drabbles, mostly written for the LJ comm Tolkien_Weekly.
Chapter added this month: Good as New.

You Live Your Life in the Shadow of the Mountain by darthfingon [Teens]
Summary: At the end of the First Age, religious feuds and civil unrest threaten Valmar and Tirion. A 'What-If' AU.
Chapter added this month: The Oraistar of Oichimyaiva.

Short Works

Lending a Hand - Redux by Erulisse [General](111 words)
Summary: I wanted this to be sharper and to explain Isildur's feelings towards the elves with greater clarity. So I refined this a bit more. This is what I came up with. What thoughts are passing through Isildur’s mind after his defeat of Sauron? A bit of gallows humor in response to the prompt “lend”.

The Temptation of Knowledge by Erulisse [General] (107 words)
Summary: In response to the prompt “borrow”, what did Celebrimbor think about when he was facing Annatar for the first time? Did he think he was borrowing trouble?


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Character of the Month Biography

Rochallor

Oshun


Rochallor is the great warhorse of Fingolfin High King of the Noldor who carried his master to his final, desperate confrontation with Morgoth.

. . . filled with wrath and despair he mounted upon Rochallor his great horse and rode forth alone, and none might restrain him. He passed over Dor-nu-Fauglith like a wind amid the dust, and all that beheld his onset fled in amaze, thinking that Oromë himself was come . . .1

The etymology of the name Rochallor is based upon the word in Quenya for horse.

roch 'horse' (Quenya rokko) in Rochallor, Rohan (from Rochand 'land of horses'), Rohirrim; also in Roheryn 'horse of the lady' (cf. heru), Aragorn's horse, which was so called because given to him by Arwen (The Return of the King V 2).2

In the course of researching the story of Rochallor, this writer came across an unfootnoted assertion that Rochallor is one of the Mearas (the great horses of Rohan of whom Shadowfax is the most famous example). I was unable to find in the texts evidence of a direct connection. However, it does seem apparent and logical that Rochallor’s lineage may be traced to the horses brought by the exiled Noldor from Aman.

But their [Fingolfin and Fingon’s] chief fortress was at Eithel Sirion in the east of Ered Wethrin, whence they kept watch upon Ard-galen; and their cavalry rode upon that plain even to the shadow of Thangorodrim, for from few their horses had increased swiftly, and the grass of Ard-galen was rich and green. Of those horses many of the sires came from Valinor, and they were given to Fingolfin by Maedhros in atonement of his losses, for they had been carried by ship to Losgar.3

Alternatively, one could argue that there is no distinction between the breed of horses of which Rochallor is a named example and the so-called Mearas.

These were the mearas, who would bear no one but the King of the Mark or his sons, until the time of Shadowfax. Men said of them that Béma (whom the Eldar call Oromë) must have brought their sire from West over Sea.4

It is interesting to note that the first referral to Rochallor in The Silmarillion (the first citation at the top of this page) mentions also Oromë and, by implication, presents the reader with the visual image of the Vala riding his own grand steed Nahar as described in the first chapter of The Silmarillion.

And Oromë tamer of beasts would ride too at whiles in the darkness of the unlit forests; as a mighty hunter he came with spear and bow, pursuing to the death the and fell creatures of the kingdom of Melkor, and his white horse Nahar shone like silver in the shadows.5

The fascination with and the romanticizing of the bond between a hero and his noble steed is deeply etched into some primitive part of the human imagination. Generations of children, even those growing up in a setting where they infrequently, if ever, ride a horse, crave to read about great horses. A fantasy hero’s horse is often known by name, even when his wife and the mother of his children is not. The real world history of Alexander the Great and his famous horse Bucephalus has captured the imagination of storytellers and their audiences for more than a millennium.

Historically, the use of the noble steed as a symbol of all that is good and beautiful is nowhere more clearly developed than by Plato in The Phaedrus.6 Therein

Reason is depicted as a noble steed "straight and well-knit, with high neck and arched nose, in color white, with black eyes, a lover of honor in all temperance and modesty, a friend of true glory, . . ." whereas desire, or emotion, is a horse of a different color--"crooked, lumpish, ill-jointed, with a stiff neck, a short throat, a stub nose, in color black, with gray eyes, sanguineous, a friend of lust and boastfulness, . . . ." 7

Lynn Forest-Hill, Fellow of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture University of Southampton, has written an interesting article on the role of horses in Tolkien’s work, making the point that in writing his mythology for the English people Tolkien could have drawn upon evidence of earlier all-but-lost myths of the island.

The faithfulness of the horses of heroes is a familiar theme in many myths and legends, but Tolkien, in his literary quest to create a mythology for England, would have been hard pressed to find indigenous English myths or legends as sources for his horses and their heroes. England has little in the way of horse-based mythology although there is spectacular evidence that it once existed. The Iron Age Celtic tribes that once inhabited the island of Britain left evidence of the status of the horse in that society. On a hillside at Uffington just south of Tolkien's former home in Oxford, is a great stylised carving of a horse which may have been sacred to the Celtic horse goddess Epona. The green turf of the hill was cut away in prehistoric times, exposing the white chalk beneath, and while the cultural and symbolic significance changed through time, the carving has always been tended. As it lies close to another evocative ancient site, the neolithic burial chamber or barrow called Weyland's Smithy which Tolkien visited, he would have known of this mystical white horse.8

Tolkien includes and describes in detail several great horses in his legendarium. In The Lord of the Rings alone, we meet humble and diligent Bill the Pony, Glorfindel’s magnificent Asfaloth, Éomer‘s valiant Firefoot, and many more. Arwen sends Aragorn’s horse Roheryn to him with Halbarad so that he will be able to ride his own loyal horse and not a borrowed one, however gifted and well-bred, when he faces his greatest challenge of traversing the Paths of the Dead and engaging in the battle of Pelennor Fields.

Nowhere could I find a reference in the texts to the color of Rochallor. (Nahar, Shadowfax and Asfaloth are white, as is Plato’s noble steed in The Phaedrus.) Coloring aside, one might presume that Rochallor was a stallion and large. Most readers’ visual image of Rochallor would be the massive warhorse upon which is seated a perfect image of martial knightliness in the person of Fingolfin, the first among the great Noldorin warrior-kings in Middle-earth.

In the story of Fingolfin and Rochallor, Fingolfin has already succumbed to irrationality; his emotions have gained control over his reason. In a fit of frustration and rage, he allows his destructive impulses to command his own noble steed. Rochallor valiantly carries his master right up to the gates of Angband. There Fingolfin challenges the Dark Valar Morgoth to single combat. Although Fingolfin acquits himself well, maiming the dark lord, his assault is shown to have been a suicidal one from which he could not have emerged victorious.9

In The Silmarillion account, we are not told of the final fate of brave Rochallor. The noble steed, however, survives and, although harried by wolves, he escapes. His end no less tragic and heroic than his master is recounted in The War of the Jewels.

Now Rochallor had stayed beside the king until the end, but the wolves of Angband assailed him, and he escaped from them because of his great swiftness, and ran at last to Hithlum, and broke his heart and died. Then in great sorrow Fingon took the lordship of the house of Fingolfin and the kingdom of the Noldor.10



Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  2. The Silmarillion, "Appendix: Elements in Quenya and Sindarin Names."
  3. The Silmarillion, "Of Beleriand and Its Realms."
  4. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings, "Appendix A-II: The House of Eorl."
  5. The Silmarillion, "Of the Beginning of Days."
  6. J. Wright, The Phaedrus, Lysis, and Protagoras of Plato: A New and Literal Translation Mainly from the Text of Bekker (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1921).
  7. V. J. McGill, Emotions and Reason (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1954) viii, Questia, Web, 1 Feb. 2012.
  8. Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s Equestrian Epic, by Lynn Forest-Hill, http://www.tolkiensociety.org/ed/horses.html.
  9. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  10. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals.



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Funnies

Gothmog and Draugluin

Pandemonium_213

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

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

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

Gothmog and Draugluin by Pandemonium_213

Click to view full-sized.




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Current Challenge

It's All in the Numbers

Now that we all have entered the New Year and have to get used to writing 2012, we would love to issue a challenge regarding numbers. Numbers are all around us--be it in math, counting how much you have, or how many are surrounding you--numbers are a significant part of our lives. Numbers have a rich and diverse history in our own world: They have been used for many centuries, and ancient civilations had their own numbering systems.

Now take a step back and think about numbers in the world of Tolkien. From where did numbers in Arda originate? Who of the Elves might have come up with it? Did the Valar teach them or did they come up with a system in Cuiviénen? How about Men and Dwarves--from who did they gain this particular knowledge? Who of the Valar would have sung numbers into the Music of the Ainur?

You might also explore how an individual character would deal with numbers. Is she or he good at it, or who taught her to use numbers, or how important are numbers in his life?

Challenges Revisited: "You Can't Go Home Again"

At last worn by haste and the long road (for forty leagues and more had he journeyed without rest) he came with the first ice of winter to the pools of Ivrin, where before he had been healed. But they were now but a frozen mire, and he could drink there no more.

Thus he came hardly by the passes of Dor-lómin, through bitter snows from the north, and found again the land of his childhood. Bare and bleak it was; and Morwen was gone. Her house stood empty, broken and cold; and no living thing dwelt nigh.

-The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin"

What would happen if one of Tolkien's characters returned to a beloved home after a long absence? This challenge asks authors to pursue that very question. The return may be canonical--such as Túrin's return to Dor-lómin in the quote--or alternate universe, such as Fëanor's return to Tirion after many ages in the halls of Mandos. What and whom might the character encounter? What has changed? How has the character changed?

Quote of the Month

We chart our own destiny
We plan our life's course.
Love is the beacon we ride to,
Faith is the horse.

- Sandra S. VanOrman

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

LotR Genfic Community: February Challenge--Eye of the Beholder

The February Challenge will have the theme "Eye of the Beholder". Your story for this challenge will be a story inspired by art from last month's Art Challenge. Elements for the challenge will be one of the submitted art pieces. There were eleven works of art posted, and you may choose the one you wish to use. Since we may have more than eleven authors, you may choose one which has already been spoken for. For more information on how to participate, visit the LotR Community Challenges community.

Teitho: February Challenge--In the Name of Love

Holidays to celebrate love exist all around the world. Nowadays, the most widespread one is St. Valentine’s Day, which is why many associate February with love. There might not be an official date to celebrate love in Middle-earth (not one that we know of at least), but love plays a great role in Tolkien’s world, and it is because of love that light always triumphs over darkness in the end. This is why our theme for February is "In the Name of Love".

Any type of love works, as long as Aragorn and/or Legolas make an appearance in your story, or are at least mentioned. Entries are due by February 25. The Teitho website has more information.

Inklings Podcast: Participants Needed!

We are trying to establish a Silmarillion-centric podcast, and we need participants! There will be two formats for the podcast. One will discuss chapters of The Silmarillion, while the other format will include a reading of and discussion of a Silmarillion-based fanwork. Dawn has more details about the project on her LiveJournal. Never podcasted before? Don't worry--it's easy! All you'll need to get started is a computer capable of playing sound, a microphone, and a free Skype account.

Project moderators so far are Erurainon, Abby, and Dawn Felagund. While the project is still in its formative stages, we are hoping to record our first podcast in the New Year and are interested in finding out who is interested so that we can collect email addresses and Skype numbers and plan the first podcast! Please comment on Dawn's podcast post or drop her a line at DawnFelagund@gmail.com if you're interested in participating or have any questions.




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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