Newsletter: February 2016

Table of Contents

SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month 2016: Memories

It’s that time of the year again when writers, artists and Tolkien fans in general revisit Middle-earth to rediscover all its wonders. 2016 is a significant year: we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of B2MeM! So, this year, like Bilbo next to the fire, we will be revisiting memories.

To celebrate our B2MeM anniversary, we will offer all of the prompts from all previous years. In other words: if there’s a prompt or event you wish you could have used or been a part of, here’s your chance! There are no sign-ups, no claims, and no deadlines: if you see a prompt from a previous B2MeM event you like, just pick it and have fun.

Want to volunteer to make icons or banners? Do you know about the "collaboration post"? Find a couple of useful links under the Announcements section in "Around the World and Web".

More Spam Reviews

We started the year with more unwelcome visitors. A few of our members contacted us, puzzled at having received review notifications; when they clicked the link embedded in the notification email, they found no new review. The reason for this was a new spam attack. Our mod team swiftly dealt with the offending user account and deleted the spam reviews from the database, but... failed to post a notice to warn the affected authors. So the good news is that if you received one of these notifications, you did not face a screen full of spammy text; however, we apologise for the lack of a warning post to avoid the disappointment of finding out there was no review after all. Once more we request that you contact the moderator team as soon as you come across a spam review, so that we can minimise the impact on the site and all of our members.

Issues with Special Characters - Resolved!

Our web hosting company "helpfully" updated the SWG site web server software without warning. This resulted in a couple of glitches, the most noticeable of which was the replacement of all accented or otherwise special characters (abundant in Tolkien's elvish names and terms) with diamond-shaped placeholders in story titles, character lists, and even story texts. Our mod Rhapsody publically challenged our webhost for their lack of response to the ticket raised two weeks earlier to report the issue, and we were soon given a workaround. Dawn posted a special mod announcement here with more details, and to report that everything is back to normal.

Welcome to Our New Members!

This month we welcome Eldaranel, Narnil, AppleBobxx, R A Sharkey, Aglarondaer, kingbilbo, Encaitariel, artanisnerwen, and Kath to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild.

We hope you're enjoying reading the stories, poems and reference material, and listening to the podcasts you can find in our site. If you are a writer, we look forward to you sharing your stories soon. If you prefer reading, why not leave a review to let other writers know you enjoyed their work?

What brought you to the Silmarillion fandom, and to the SWG? If you would like to share your Tolkien-related interests, or tell us a bit more about your fandom persona, go ahead and update your bio.

Our Frequently Asked Questions provide a lot of useful information about the archive, like challenges, reviews, ratings, our definition of "Silmfic", and much more, but if you can't find what you are after, do not hesitate to contact the SWG mods at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Slow, Tremulous Cadence by The Wavesinger [Adult] (6966 words)
Summary: A ball in which no-one dances, and the morning after. (Featuring angst, politics, conversations, foreshadowing, and a guest appearance by doors. Yes, actual doorways. Also some Maedhros/Fingon.) Written for Platinum_and_Diamonds for the 2015 LotR Secret Santa exchange.

An Enquiry into the Matter of Gilmith of Dol Amroth by Elleth [General] (1784 words)
Summary: As it is part of my own and Éomer's shared origin, we have taken some interest in the geneaologies of Dol Amroth, Lothíriel wrote, and although the Line of Princes is documented in detail, mysteries continue to surround the women of its beginning, namely the Silvan Elf Mithrellas and her daughter Gilmith.

An Oath Once Sworn by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1056 words)
Summary: Just before the Union of Maedhros, Araloth overhears one conversation, and remembers several others. (Written for Himring for Fandom Stocking 2015)

An Unexpected Welcome by Independence1776 [General] (2129 words)
Summary: They stared at their father and then at Maglor. Arwen eventually said, “Welcome to Imladris.”

As the Light Lies on These White Walls by Elleth [General] (1343 words)
Summary: Moments before the first descent into Gondolin.

Beating the Bounds by Kenaz [Teens] (12082 words)
Summary: When Erestor was young, his father had shown him their family’s heirloom: a primitive map of Cuiviénen and the inland sea scratched out on deer hide in ink made from soot and oak galls, the work of his father’s father. To the east of the Orocarni was written in the ancient cirth, Here be Monsters; a warning that what lay beyond was unknown, and best left unexamined. Erestor knew, as his grandsire had known, that some things were best left unexplored. Yet like his grandsire, he pressed on in spite of this knowledge.

Behing the mask of bitterness by Harnatano [General] (3394 words)
Summary: An exploration of the dynamic between Curufin and Celebrimbor in Nargothrond, how the father struggles with his own issues and mental blindness after the loss of Himlad and how Celebrimbor tries to bring his father back the way he used to be. Celegorm as the 'unfortunate' witness of it. + a cat.

Butterfly Wings by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1979 words)
Summary: The queen of Arthedain is rescued by a stranger. Random conversation ensues. (AKA there isn't much plot the backstory makes up for it?) This is the last of my B2MeM stories from last year.

Fountain, Flower, Sword by Kenaz [Teens] (11802 words)
Summary: “Everyone knows the heart of Ecthelion is as cold as ice. Only the quest for vengeance heats his blood.” Glorfindel’s words were delivered as a jest, but he knew as soon as he heard them ringing from his mouth that he had failed to disguise the bitterness that colored them.

Like Mother, Like Daughter by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1097 words)
Summary: Except not really. Two moments from the lives of Erendis and Ancalimë. Written as a treat for Tallulah for the 2015 LotR Secret Santa exchange.

New Year's Night by Elleth [Teens] (5354 words)
Summary: On the plains of Northern Rhûn in the early Years of the Sun, a young woman of the Kinn-lai goes on a perilous journey to rescue her missing sister.

Not The Last Farewell by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1148 words)
Summary: In the chaos that follows the Oath, Elemmírë says farewell to her lover. (Written for Scribe_of_Mirrormere for Fandom Stocking 2015)

Reminders by Elleth [General] (1826 words)
Summary: One winter in Eriador, Maglor receives a summons to Imladris for the season, and finds more than he bargained for along the way.

Scene by Candle-Light by Elleth [Adult] (1772 words)
Summary: Sometimes Aerin comes to Morwen for comfort.

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled by The Wavesinger [Adult] (2355 words)
Summary: Finduilas makes a decison that will alter certain paths, including Nienor's. (Written for Amy Fortuna for Fandom Stocking 2015)

Song of the Stone by Dawn Felagund [General] (2306 words)
Summary: Newly arrived at Khazad-dûm in the Second Age, the Elven loremaster Pengolodh presents a portion of his new book to Narvi only to discover that his understanding of the “great profit” that existed between the Dwarves of Belegost and the people of Caranthir in the First Age is not quite what he assumed. Written for Zdenka for the 2015 LotRGenfic/MPTT Yule Exchange.

Taking the Endless Way by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1283 words)
Summary: A queen (and general) finds her way into the Forest, again, and the past finds its way to her. Written as a treat for Amy Fortuna and Elleth for the 2015 LotR Secret Santa exchange.

Tall and Bright and the Wind in Her Hair by The Wavesinger [General] (1553 words)
Summary: Snippets from the tale of Galadriel and Andreth, and a love never meant to be. Written for as a treat for Elleth for the 2015 LotR Secret Santa exchange.

The Mystery of the Missing Cake by The Wavesinger [General] (1771 words)
Summary: The Midwinter cake is missing, and Idril, Aredhel, and Meleth go on a quest to find it. (Written for Elleth for the 2015 MPTT Yule Exchange)

The Rarest Flowers Blossom in Winter by Sleepless_Malice [Adult] (18208 words)
Summary: For many years Elrond has already desired Maglor, and for nearly as long he thinks he runs after unrequited feelings – until one night in winter he finds out that he is gravely mistaken. [warning for pseudo-incest]

The Second Gamble by Keiliss [General] (3423 words)
Summary: Fate, Ulmo's goodwill, and a family history of stubborn determination bring Idril to a reunion she had never thought possible.

The Sentiment of Steel by Kenaz [Teens] (8716 words)
Summary: The Sentiment of Steel, or "Sentiment du Fer": a fencer’s ability to use his sword to feel and manipulate the opponent’s sword. A concept with which Glorfindel and Ecthelion are far too familiar.

The Silmarillion : Flight of the Noldor by R A Sharkey [General] (31846 words)
Summary: A dramatic retelling of the events depicted in The Silmarillion and The Unfinished Tales. Part 1 of 6, Flight of the Noldor deals with the war between Feanor and Melkor over the Silmarils, and the exodus of the Noldor from Valinor to Middle Earth.

Tread the ground on which wisdom walks by Harnatano † [Adult] (4783 words)
Summary: Nargothrond. Celebrimbor has the biggest crush on Finrod, but one night, he unfortunately discovers the surprising nature of the relationship between the king and his father.

Two for Tragedy by Sleepless_Malice † [Adult] (9737 words)
Summary: Finrod thinks it's a wise idea to throw a masquerade ball. Orodreth thinks it is wise to change his looks completely. Finrod thinks it is wise to get drunk and flirt shamelessly in public with the one he thinks is Curufin. Orodreth cannot resist his brother's charms... [written for the following prompt] - FinrodxOrodreth with mistaken identities AND Nauglamir-kink (it is not on the list but I need it in my life!!)

Voices of the Sea by The Wavesinger [Teens] (1473 words)
Summary: Always, always, Mithrellas hears the sea: Nimrodel, Nimrodel. (Written for Elleth for Fandom Stocking 2015

What Is and What Should Never Be by Kenaz [Adult] (4644 words)
Summary: When he returned victorious from Middle-earth with Sauron as his trophy, Ar-Pharazôn kept this hostage naked, in chains, and under guard in the most remote of his cells. She had been enjoined from looking upon him then because Ar-Pharazôn mistrusted him, feared him as an asp not yet defanged. Later, still guarded but no longer in bonds, Ar-Pharazôn moved Sauron from the dungeon to a suite of unembellished rooms where he might interrogate him more conveniently, and he barred her from looking upon him then because he believed her weak and easily guiled by Sauron’s lies. Now the prisoner had been exalted, called Mairon rather than Sauron, given a seat of honor in the king’s house, and she was the one kept under guard, forbidden to look upon him because she might offend him as one of the Elendili. Ar-Pharazôn had been right the first count: whether in shackles or in silks, Mairon was not to be trusted. He had been very wrong on the second: it was not she who had been easily guiled. On the third...well, she would soon know for herself.

Where the Lilies Grow by Elleth [Teens] (1798 words)
Summary: Niënor takes Finduilas into the gardens of Nargothrond - and it turns out far better than either of them imagined.

Works in Progress

Animal Skins by Ilye [Teens]
Summary: AU in which Celegorm is captured by Morgoth instead of Maedhros, and rescued by Aredhel instead of Fingon.
Chapters added this month: Bird of Prey, Lone Wolf, White Hart and Celegorm.

At the sign of the drunken goose by Chiara Cadrich [Teens]
Summary: The Landlord of the Drunken Goose welcomes you in his common hall to hear horror tales gleaned along the greenway, or gentle saucy rhymes from the Shire.
Chapter added this month: The tale of Master Gigolet .

Burning Bright: Answers in the Dark by Keiliss [Adult]
Summary: In which Galadriel goes to Lórien, Erestor visits Númenor, Elrond is under siege in a valley somewhere in the Misty Mountains, and Glorfindel doesn't get to go anywhere.
Chapter added this month: Lessons Learned.

Discrete Elements by pandemonium_213 [General]
Summary: A catch-all for short ficlets, largely centering on yet another OFC in the Pandë!verse, namely Culinen (referenced in various fics, including The Elendilmir and The Writhen Pool), who eventually becomes the master of the Guild of the Heart (healers' guild) in Ost-in-Edhil, and who contributes to the "eldritch alleles" of J. Robert Oppenheimer, Hypatia of Alexandria, and Hedy Lamarr (among others!) in the alternative history of the Pandë!verse. Ratings will be given per chapter.-
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1: The King's Arrival.

Golden Days by Lyra [Teens]
Summary: Nerdanel recounts the development of her relationship with Fëanor - from the earliest days to the estrangement. Pride and Prejudice in Valinor, really, with perhaps a helping of Much Ado About Nothing.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 18.

Half Past Ten in the Rose Garden by grey_gazania [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Caranthir discovers that this romance thing is a lot harder than it looks.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 2.

Maudits silmarils, livre 2 by Dilly [Teens]
Summary: A Gondolin, Turgon déprime... Une parodie crack du Silmarillion façon Kaamelott et Sacré Graal. Suite du livre 1. Premier chapitre : Le Prince.
Chapter added this month: Le Prince.

Memories of Starlight by Levade [General]
Summary: Bits and bobs, drabbles from challenges and other small stories that don't fit anywhere else. Some are related to other stories, like Malaise, and others are just oddbits. Various ratings and characters.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 Fire and Chapter 2 Pet.

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax by The Wavesinger [General]
Summary: (Also cabbages, and kings.) Ficlets which are, even by my standards, too short to stand alone (and aren't part of a series).
Chapters added this month: This Last Embrace and Ownership Rights.

The Golodhrim by Silver Trails [Teens]
Summary: The first days in Caranthir's new realm
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Adult]
Summary: A collection of drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating.
Chapters added this month: Avarin femslash, Oromë finds the Quendi, Insomniac Maglor in Himring and Lúthien on Tol Galen .

Where the Ocean Meets the Sky and the Land by StarSpray [Teens]
Summary: Eärendil has gone sailing again--the time through the skies--and Elwing is left to find a place for herself in Valinor, while the Valar prepare for war.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 2.

Short Works

Another Bite at the Apple by Himring [Teens] (699 words)
Summary: In Mithrim, after the rescue of Maedhros: Fingon and his half-orphaned niece Idril and an apple, a special one.

Bone-deep by Agelast [Adult] (361 words)
Summary: Maglor in balladry -- a crossover with the ballad, The Twa Sisters.

The Master of Mirecourt by The Wavesinger [General] (712 words)
Summary: A young luthier is apprenticed to the one they call the Master. (Written for Independence1776 for Fandom Stocking)

The Swanships by heget [General] (848 words)
Summary: They are the equal -if not greater- in worth to the Silmarils.

What Comfort I May by The Wavesinger [Adult] (584 words)
Summary: Afrer Alqualondë, Aredhel grieves for her lover.

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Character of the Month Biography



The Vala Oromë, always in the company of his mighty steed Nahar, was the most reluctant among his brethren to leave the lands of Middle-earth and return to Aman. Along with Nahar, the Great Hunter1 continued to ride those forests throughout the Years of the Trees.2

Nahar is the name of his horse, white in the sun, and shining silver at night. The Valaróma is the name of his great horn, the sound of which is like the upgoing of the Sun in scarlet, or the sheer lightning cleaving the clouds. Above all the horns of his host it was heard in the woods that Yavanna brought forth in Valinor; for there Oromë would train his folk and his beasts for the pursuit of the evil creatures of Melkor.3

The next reference to Nahar is in the first chapter of the Quenta Silmarillion itself. Oromë clearly loves his horse (or is that projection on my part here?—what's not to love about a great, beautiful, white horse, who delights in chasing evil creatures in the earliest tales of Middle-earth?) and animals love Oromë. The reader is presented with Oromë and Nahar as inseparable partners in their Middle-earth adventures throughout the Years of the Trees.

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 monsters and fell creatures of the kingdom of Melkor, and his white horse Nahar shone like silver in the shadows. Then the sleeping earth trembled at the beat of his golden hooves, and in the twilight of the world Oromë would sound the Valaróma his great horn upon the plains of Arda; whereat the mountains echoed, and the shadows of evil fled away, and Melkor himself quailed in Utumno, foreboding the wrath to come. But even as Oromë passed the servants of Melkor would gather again; and the lands were filled with shadows and deceit.4

One of the most charming mentions of Nahar is one that inserts a note of touching realism into a narrative thus far steeped in the mythic tone of the Valaquenta and moves the tale from the deeds of the Valar to the tales of the Elves as they are to be recounted in the Quenta Silmarillion and the other histories of Middle-earth. (One may say the story shifts from prehistory and backstory into the main events of The Silmarillion.) The Great Rider5 upon his trusty steed is to be found riding as usual through the dark and dusky starlit forest. It is the horse who first alerts his master to the Elves walking in starlight near the shores of Cuiviénen.

And on a time it chanced that Oromë rode eastward in his hunting, and he turned north by the shores of Helcar and passed under the shadows of the Orocarni, the Mountains of the East. Then on a sudden Nahar set up a great neighing, and stood still. And Oromë wondered and sat silent, and it seemed to him that in the quiet of the land under the stars he heard afar off many voices singing.6

He neighs in excitement and interest, not aggressively, but as though to say, "Who are you? I know you are out there." And then he stops and waits in silence, listening until his master becomes aware as well of those faraway voices singing. What a moment! It is Nahar who brings the authenticity and vividness to this scene. Tolkien uses the horse to move from a formulaic fairytale-like retelling of events from a distant make-believe world and instead draws the reader into the point of view of Oromë. A scene of a starlit shadowy forest comes alive, silent but for the predictable ambient sylvan sounds coupled with the scents of nature. Then the horse detects the presence of a previously unknown creature, one who not only speaks, but sings. Oromë guesses that this can only be the long-awaited Quendi or Firstborn of Eru. Based upon this description, one must adjudge that it is, in fact, Nahar, rather than Oromë, who first encounters the Elves.

Another interesting fact about this splendid horse is that his name in The Silmarillion is derived neither from Quenya nor from Sindarin, but from Valarin, the language of the Valar and Maiar. We are told in the article Quendi and the Eldar that "[f]ew of the Eldar ever learned to speak Valarin, even haltingly; among the people as a whole only a small number of words or names became widely known."7 That same article states that the name Nahar is derived of the form that is recorded by Rúmil as Næχærra.8 No one will hold it against you if you cannot pronounce that root word. Even among the Eldar, probably only Fëanor would have been willing to try: "[B]efore the growth of his discontent, [Fëanor] is said to have learned more of this tongue than any others before his time."9 I cannot resist quoting Tolkien on Valarin here (the citation is too beautiful to let pass): "For the tongues and voices of the Valar are great and stern, and yet also swift and subtle in movement, making sounds that we find hard to counterfeit; and their words are mostly long and rapid, like the glitter of swords. . ."10 In any case, Nahar is a form simplified and adapted for Eldarin ears and tongues.

To backtrack a little, Melkor had already been up to his soon–to-be-repeated tricks when Nahar and Oromë came upon the Children of Ilúvatar. The Dark Vala had spread rumors of and sent out evil dark riders from whom the Eldar must flee or meet the direst consequences: "Now Melkor greatly hated and feared the riding of Oromë, and either he sent indeed his dark servants as riders, or he set lying whispers abroad, for the purpose that the Quendi should shun Oromë, if ever they should meet." This meant that, when Oromë and Nahar rode first among the Eldar, the fearful Elves withdrew and hid themselves from them. But this avoidance of Oromë was not to last for long.

Thus it was that when Nahar neighed and Oromë indeed came among them, some of the Quendi hid themselves, and some fled and were lost. But those that had courage, and stayed, perceived swiftly that the Great Rider was no shape out of darkness; for the light of Aman was in his face, and all the noblest of the Elves were drawn towards it.11

Oromë races back across the sea to inform his brethren of the awakening of the Quendi and the machinations of Melkor that place them under immediate threat. The Valar make terrible, destructive war against Melkor and his monsters in Middle-earth.12 After defeating Melkor and binding him, the Valar then debate amongst themselves about what should be done with the Elves and cannot instantly come to an agreement. The majority of them "feared for the Quendi in the dangerous world amid the deceits of the starlit dusk; and they were filled moreover with the love of the beauty of the Elves and desired their fellowship."13 Eventually, they settle upon a plan to remove them from the dangers of Middle-earth.

When Oromë organizes the long march of the Elves over the mountains and across half a continent to bring them to the sea and carry them to the lands of the Valar, Nahar is an important figure: "It is told that when the hosts of the Eldalië departed from Cuiviénen Oromë rode at their head upon Nahar, his white horse shod with gold; and passing northward about the Sea of Helcar they turned towards the west."14

The chapter "Of Thingol and Melian" tells of how Elu Thingol, the erstwhile leader of all of the Teleri, encounters Melian the Maia in the forest and falls under her enchantment, forgetting his people and staying with her, resulting in division within the ranks of the Teleri—including those who eventually leave to cross the sea in response to the summons of the Valar and those who stay in Middle-earth searching for their missing leader.15 When a large portion of them finally reunite with Thingol, they become known as the Sindar, "the Grey-elves of starlit Beleriand."16 One reads of a comparatively short-lived period of near-idyllic peace among the people of Thingol and Melian, during which time they secure and develop their kingdom. It is during that time frame that Oromë and Nahar are mentioned again.

In Beleriand still at times rode Oromë the great, passing like a wind over the mountains, and the sound of his horn came down the leagues of the starlight, and the Elves feared him for the splendour of his countenance and the great noise of the onrush of Nahar; but when the Valaróma echoed in the hills, they knew well that all evil things were fled far away.17

Meanwhile, in the land of the gods, where the departed Elves finally have settled into a world supposedly far from the grief or threats of Middle-earth, and where they should have been happy and well-cared for under the Light of the Two Trees of the Valar, strife once again appears. The Valar forgive and unleash a supposedly repentant Melkor (indeed, it staggers the imagination, but that's how the story goes) and he immediately begins to foment discord.18 The upshot is that unrest takes root from seeds planted perhaps by the Valar themselves, coupling their less-than-perfect understanding of the Eldar with their desire to both protect and control them. Melkor, however, is the malicious and skillful gardener of these flowers of discord.

The development of strife among the Noldor in Valinor and the Valar's inept handling of it is a long and important story and must be dramatically curtailed here. Melkor hooks up with Ungoliant, a massive light-eating spider, and together they kill the Two Trees, stealing all light from the world, as well as murdering Finwë King of the Noldor, the great Fëanor's father, in order to secure the greatest artifacts of the Noldor, the Silmarils, which contain within them what remains of that precious light. The Valar as a whole seem unable to prevent or mitigate this catastrophe, but it is Oromë and Nahar, with some early assistance from Tulkas, who eventually pursue Melkor into Middle-earth, where they lose the sinister Vala in the darkness.

Then the pursuit was begun; and the earth shook beneath the horses of the host of Oromë, and the fire that was stricken from the hooves of Nahar was the first light that returned to Valinor. But so soon as any came up with the Cloud of Ungoliant the riders of the Valar were blinded and dismayed, and they were scattered, and went they knew not whither; and the sound of the Valaróma faltered and failed.19

This is last direct intervention of Nahar into the stories of the peoples of Middle-earth we read of in the tales of The Silmarillion. One does encounter the occasional inconclusive discussion among Tolkien aficionados of the relationship of Nahar to the origins of the famous Noldorin horses, many of whose "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."20 Further, and perhaps related, is the apocryphal references online to unspecified citations showing that it is written somewhere in Tolkien's work that the Mereas are descendants of Nahar. I did not find such a reference anywhere. (If anyone else does know of such a citation, please comment and provide it.) It definitely says in the Indices to The Lord of the Rings that the Rohirrim believed that the horses of their noble line, the Mearas, were descendants of Amanyaran horses brought by Oromë to Middle-earth.

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.21

In conclusion, what can be more fitting to end the biography of a historic and valiant horse in the history of Middle-earth than a beautiful piece of prose wherein he is mentioned if not by name, then by obvious reference.

Fey he [Theoden] seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them.22

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  2. The Silmarillion, Valaquenta.
  3. Ibid.
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of the Beginning of Days."
  5. The Great Rider is one of the names given to Oromë in The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor."
  6. The Silmarillion, "Of The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor."
  7. The War of the Jewels, Quendi and Eldar, "Note on the 'Language of the Valar'."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. The Silmarillion, "The Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor."
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. The Silmarillion, "Of Thingol and Melian."
  16. The Silmarillion, "Of the Sindar."
  17. Ibid.
  18. The Silmarillion, "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor."
  19. The Silmarillion, "Of the Darkening of Valinor."
  20. The Silmarillion, "Of Beleriand and its Realms."
  21. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Appendix A, "The House of Eorl."
  22. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Ride of the Rohirrim." [Emphasis added to highlight the allusion to Oromë astride Nahar.]

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Current Challenge

Current Challenge: But I Won't Do That

I would do anything for love,
I'd run right into Hell and back
I would do anything for love
I'd never lie to you and that's a fact ...
And I would do anything for love, but I won't do that

We've all been in Meatloaf's shoes. We've all insisted that, no matter how ardently we feel about a person or passion, that we draw the line at doing that.

This month, we ask you to consider what "that" is for your character: the one thing that she or he refuses to do, no matter what. And what happens when she or he ends up having to do it anyway?

Your story can be serious, perhaps involving the many wars, kinslayings, and other tragic events of The Silmarillion. Or it can be humorous: What one commission would the young artisan Nerdanel refuse (and what happens when it is offered to her at a price she can't refuse?) Sauron is all about repentance until Eönwë suggests--what exactly?? The key is to put you character into a tough spot and see how he or she extricates himself--or doesn't!

Challenges Revisited: 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?

Quote of the Month

When traveling with someone, take large does of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee.

― Helen Hayes

Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for more than three years' worth of challenges to inspire your writing!

Have an idea for a challenge? Some of our most popular challenges have been created by you, the members of SWG! If you have a plotbunny gnawing at your ankle, a favorite quote, or a favorite character that you think might inspire others as well, please send an email to and we'll try to include your challenge in our next newsletter!

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Around the World and Web

Articles of Interest

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

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

The State of the Field in Tolkien Scholarship

In the continuing discussion around the state of Tolkien scholarship (as shown in our previous newsletters), Tolkien scholar Douglas A. Anderson deplores "some alarming trends in recent Tolkien scholarship, ranging from pure sloppiness and the lack of copy-editing, to the more serious lack of engagement with existing scholarship in the field". Find his blog post here.

Bibliographic Resources for Tolkien Research

Two new bibliographic resources for Tolkien research have just been made available. Mythlore Index Plus: an index of everything published in Mythlore, the Mythcon conference proceedings, Tolkien Journal, and by Mythopoeic Press, as well as Janet Brennan Croft's Bibliographic Resources for the Study of J.R.R. Tolkien, compiling a review of journals, databases, bibliographies, and other sources for when embarking upon research in Tolkien studies.

Tolkien's English Mythology (Revisited)

Scholar and editor Simon J. Cook has revisited and updated his understanding of Tolkien's English Mythology, shining a light on the development of Tolkien's search for the ancient English mythology. Read his re-assessment here.

Doing Tolkien Wrong

User Truepenny on Livejournal reflects on Tolkien's influence and detriment on the fantasy genre, citing not merely replicated worldbuilding clichés and a slavish adherence to the Quest narrative, as well as his seemingly effortless linguistic and mythological knowledge that leads emulators of his work rather than his process to fall short of the mark. Read Truepenny's post here.

Elves in Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts

The manuscript containing one of the earliest known references to the word “elf” has been digitised by the British Library and is available to view online. The rather (but not exclusively) more sinister use than in Tolkien's work has been commented on by the Professor both in his Beowulf materials and his letters. Read more at the Tolkien Society, and find out more about mentions of Elves at the British Library website, including the possible origin of Morwen's epithet, Elfsheen.

Constructing Lothíriel: Rewriting and Rescuing the Women of Middle Earth from the Margins

Karen Viars and Cait Coker make a powerful case for the use of fandom and fanfiction as tools to flesh out the marginalized female characters of Tolkien's Legendarium, taking especial care to note Tolkien's use of female characters and associated tropes and fandom itself, before making a case study of Lothíriel of Dol Amroth. Read the essay here.


Back to Middle-earth Month 2016 Announcement

Back to Middle-earth Month began in 2006. To mark the event's tenth anniversary this year, all 3291 collected prompts from previous rounds will be available for creating to your heart's content under the theme of Memories. To commemorate earlier runs of B2MeM, daily prompts from earlier rounds will be posted on their respective days, accompanied by retrospectives throughout March. B2MeM is also looking for banner/icon makers and offers a collaboration post if you are looking for a partner in crime.

International Fanworks Day on AO3

The Organization of Transformative Works will be hosting the AO3 International Day of Fanworks again on February 15, celebrating with a Feedback Fest, a Short Fanworks Challenge exploring the fannishness of characters, essays on the personal meaning of fanworks, stories about fan activism, and a chat featuring fun and games. You are also welcome to decide for an event of your own and inform the maintainers on AO3. Read more on their IDF Page.

Femslash February 2016

Femslash February has begun on tumblr, with many activities and prompts dedicated to explore love, lust and longing between female characters. Oh Femlash has compiled explanations and a helpful link list, Femslash Revolution is offering a prompt list, and Femslash Prompts Daily has #femslash february tag to find what else is happening.

For the Tolkien fandom, Silmladylove is playing a femslash-oriented version of Fanworks Drabbletag: fill a prompt someone else has left with a quick fanwork, and earn the right to send in prompts of your own! See the announcement post for the game rules, and their prompt list to play!

Half a Moon Challenge 2016

Half a Moon is a fourteen day challenge celebrating female characters in fandom, which will run from February 1 through Valentine's Day. Fanfiction, vids, recs, art, picspam, icons, meta, fanmixes, and outside links to content fitting the theme of this community are all welcome--the only rule is that the primary focus must be on a female character or characters. Half a Moon has communities on LJ, DW and tumblr, and a schedule for their event has been posted here.

Heroine Big Bang

Heroine Big Bang has opened for its fourth round! All fandoms are welcome for this female-centric Big Bang, with the only requirement that you write a female-centric story of up to 25k minimum or create a corresponding piece of art. Author and artist signups are currently open. Read their info post here.

The Final Rare Ship Swap

The Rare Ship Swap Exchange is heading into its final round. Sign up to write a 1,000-word piece of fanfic or a piece of on the ship(s) of your choice, and receive a gift tailored to your own requests. Sign-ups are open until February 9, and gifts are due on April 19. Read the community for more information, a FAQ, and links to signing up. The tag set contains pairings for all three of Tolkien's major works.

Art Fever Fanart Exchange

Art Fever is a multi-fandom fanart fest and exchange. The first round will start in late January and end in early April. The exchange will be held on AO3 and the fest will be on LiveJournal. Find the fest schedule and links here.

Calls for Papers

Tolkien Society Seminar 2016: Life, Death and Immortality

The theme of ‘Life, Death, and Immortality’ has been chosen to commemorate 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme. J.R.R. Tolkien fought in and survived this dreadful battle, but lost his close friend and fellow T.C.B.S. member Rob Gilson. With the death of G.B. Smith later that year, the First World War undoubtedly shaped Tolkien’s outlook on life and death, with mortality and immortality looming large in the Middle-earth legendarium and other writings. Read more about the conference here.

The Tolkien Society Seminar provides a friendly environment to present short papers of between 15 and 30 minutes. First-timer speakers are particularly welcome. Proposals of no more than 250 words should be emailed to Daniel Helen at by Friday 25 March 2016..

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.

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