Newsletter: July 2014

Table of Contents

SWG News

Silmarillion (Re)Reading

No, you haven't missed any-read sessions: there’s been a small summer break so “Of Beleriand and its Realms” and "Of the Noldor in Beleriand" will both be due on July 13. And then, on July 27, we’ll be discussing “Of Maeglin” (oh, Aredhel!).

You can check the previous discussions at the Silmarillion (re)read tag.

July 19th Is the International Day of Femslash!

As we do every year, SWG encourages our writers and artists to produce femslash works in honor of the International Day of Femslash, an annual fandom holiday that seeks to promote the femslash genre by saturating fannish spaces for one day each year. This year's event will take place on July 19, and as always, we invite our members to write and share femslash on our archive on that day. (Art and other media are welcome on our LiveJournal and Dreamwidth communities.) Find out more at the Femslash Day website.

Welcome to Our New Members!

A warm welcome to our new members this last month: tookandbaggins, TheTolkienFellowship, HisoHiso, DaevenUre, carsonsworkshop, and Blue Slug. We hope you enjoy the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild! We hope you enjoy your time at our archive, and would love to hear what brought you here. So why not write a short bio of your fandom persona, to let us know how you discovered The Silmarillion, who your favourite characters are, or what brought you to our site? Also, if you have doubts about posting or reviewing, or other queries, start by browsing our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for, or if you need assistance, email the SWG mods at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Mere Shadow by Elisif [General] (1034 words)
Summary: Maedhros can do little to assuage his his brother's grief over Thingol's Quenya ban.

And Our Vow Remember by Lingwiloke [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1081 words)
Summary: Finrod haunts Curufin and Celegorm after his death in Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

Bound, and waiting. by Haeron [Adult] (9617 words)
Summary: Erestor uncovers the mystery behind Glorfindel's golden collar, and recalls the day of the doom that sundered them.

Daylight Stars by Friendsheyho [General] (1978 words)
Summary: "He's getting better," Idril had told her quietly. "And he was never really all the bad." It was those words that led Nimloth to come that day, to face someone she had put out of her mind. But Idril hadn't been there for the Second Kinslaying. She hadn't see him. She almost turned around until she remembered that Idril had been there for the First. Fic: Nimloth visits Maedhros.

Himling by Friendsheyho [General] (1008 words)
Summary: He had to see it. He had to see it at least once. Elrond visits Himling for the first and last time.

No Silmarils - no problems by Blue Slug [General] (2140 words)
Summary: “Yet he (Maglor) yielded at last to the will of Maedhros, and they ..., laid hands on the jewels. ...Each of them took to himself a Silmaril, for they said: “Since one is lost to us, and but two remain, and we two alone of our brothers, so it is plain that fate would have us share the heirlooms of our father.” This is where it all began. Maedhros and Maglor meet strange creatures from another world...

Of Mandos and Chocolates by MisbehavingMaiar [General] (3724 words)
Summary: Melkor is brought to trial before the Máhanaxar and found guilty, sentenced to three ages of imprisonment and four ages of servitude. When he is unchained in Aman, the Vala finds the world full of strange new inventions...

The Lords that Fell by Taylor17387 † [Adult] (124104 words)
Summary: Tells the story of the rise and fall of the two dark lords, from the collapse of the fortress in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, to the collapse of Barad-dûr, and what came next. Mainly told from Melkor and Sauron's perspective. Continuation of my other fic: "The Burnt God", though it may be read separately. Occasional slash.

Tone Deaf by Erulisse [General] (1243 words)
Summary: It is known that evil came into the world through the efforts of Morgoth. But why did his efforts always result in evil rather than good? Why did the other Valar turn their backs on one who was beautiful and placed high in the sight of Eru? Here is one possible reason.

Wandering Light by Suzelle [General] (3392 words)
Summary: Elrond and Elros return to Sirion, take up sailing lessons with Círdan in Balar, and are forced to confront aspects of their past they’d both rather avoid.

Works in Progress

Atanatari: Of the Three Houses of the Edain by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: A collection for stories about the Edain. First story: Carved in the Mind (Turin tells Finduilas how he made friends with Sador).
Chapter added this month: Carved in the Mind.

Even More About Maedhros by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Collection for slightly longer pieces featuring Maedhros as a protagonist. First story: Maedhros and the Palantir.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Maudits silmarils, livre 1 by Dilly [Teens]
Summary: A Gondolin, Turgon déprime... Une parodie crack du Silmarillion façon Kaamelott.
Chapters added this month: La mode, La température des elfes, L'ivresse and Unagi.

Summer's End by oshun [Teens]
Summary: This is really not a love story, although it is centered upon the relationship of Maedhros and Fingon and told from their points of view. It is more a personal exploration of the politics of the exiled Noldor in the early days of establishing their kingdoms in Middle-earth. For the Noldor, the personal is always political. There is humor, conflict, scandal, and a crazy mixture of discord and affection, which characterize the Finweans. It has plenty of self-indulgent evidence of my rather romanticized obsession with the glorious princes of the Noldor (male and female). This story is set in an amorphous, vague time frame shortly before the founding of Nevrast, before the Mereth Aderthad. Written for Sultry in September fic swap for Burning_Nightingale, who requested Maedhros/Fingon among other characters. The story elements, which I am trying to provide are: "Angst or fluff (or both), either something plot-driven or character study. Optional ideas I would be interested to see include; something to do with horses, a piece of jewellery featured, something incorporating a major canon event, something about a journey in the wilderness, something about the beauty of nature, a battle or fight."
Chapter added this month: Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

The Birds of the Temple Garden by Huinare [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Mairon kickstarts the new Cult of Melkor in Armenelos. What does one do with inept acolytes, heretics, and abandoned gardens?
Chapter added this month: The Incurious.

The God in the Mountain by MisbehavingMaiar [General]
Summary: One of the newly awakened Vanyar at Cuivienen makes a dangerous journey to gather a precious resource.
Chapter added this month: The God in the Mountain.

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: A collection of drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating.
Chapter added this month: Until the Change of the World.

Short Works

La dernière nuit by Dilly [Teens] (121 words)
Summary: Drabble, Hurin/Morwen.

News from Tirion by Silver Trails [General] (964 words)
Summary: Omar comes to visit Maglor with news about his family

The Lonely Isle by sithisit [General] (650 words)
Summary: of the invasion and downfall of Tol Eressëa

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Character of the Month Biography

Círdan the Shipwright


Círdan the Shipwright is one of Tolkien's few important characters who plays a substantial role throughout the entire history of the Elves in Middle-earth. His story begins upon the shores of Cuiviénen. Following Elwë and Olwë, he assumes leadership of a significant portion of his people on the great trek from the mountains to the sea. At the advent of the First Age, his people may be found on the west coast of Beleriand, where he ruled as Lord of the Elves of the Falas, establishing settlements and engaging in shipbuilding and sailing.1 Círdan is also a party to the struggle against Sauron in the Second Age, holding, for a time, one of the three great Elven rings. And, after the triumph of the free peoples of Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age, he captains the last ship which leaves from the Grey Havens to sail to Elvenhome. (Although the date and circumstances of said "last ship" are not clearly stated anywhere, it would almost certainly would have left no earlier than a few years into the Fourth Age.")

Círdan 'The Shipwright'; Telerin Elf, lord of the Falas (coasts of West Beleriand); at the destruction of the Havens after the Nirnaeth Arnoediad escaped with Gil-galad to the Isle of Balar; during the Second and Third Ages keeper of the Grey Havens in the Gulf of Lhûn; at the coming of Mithrandir entrusted to him Narya, the Ring of Fire.2

Some of the most detailed and explicit information relating to Círdan, his origins, and his significance among the early leaders of the Eldar, is contained within in the section entitled "Círdan" in the "The Last Writings," which encompasses some of Tolkien's latest notes added to his legendarium published by Christopher Tolkien in The Peoples of Middle-Earth.

The very first mention of Círdan in Tolkien's published works is in The Fellowship of the Ring, in one of those precious allusions within The Lord of the Rings to the depth and breadth of history of Tolkien's created world. Therein, a reference is made to him and his realm when listing those in attendance at the Council of Elrond: "and with him was Galdor, an Elf from the Grey Havens who had come on an errand from Círdan the Shipwright."3 Again, later in that same chapter, when Elrond tells the story of Isildur and the Ring, we learn that Círdan was right at the side of Gil-galad when he fell. He joined then with Elrond in counseling Isildur to destroy the Ring.

But few marked what Isildur did. He alone stood by his father in that last mortal contest; and by Gil-galad only Círdan stood, and I. But Isildur would not listen to our counsel.4

One also learns in "The Council of Elrond" chapter that Círdan is counted among the great Elven powers remaining in Middle-earth at the end of the Third Age. Galdor raises the question of whom, if anyone, in Middle-earth might hold power enough to stand up to or destroy Sauron.

What power still remains lies with us, here in Imladris, or with Círdan at the Havens, or in Lórien. But have they the strength, have we here the strength to withstand the Enemy, the coming of Sauron at the last, when all else is overthrown?5

Most readers of The Lord of the Rings, however, remember encountering Círdan most clearly in the final pages of The Return of the King, where he is introduced as an actual speaking character and receives a clear physical description.

As they came to the gates Círdan the Shipwright came forth to greet them. Very tall he was, and his beard was long, and he was grey and old, save that his eyes were keen as stars; and he looked at them and bowed, and said 'All is now ready.'6

Sadly, one must address the beard

Over the years, Círdan's beard has been raised within some of those unsatisfyingly circular discussions that periodically surface on the internet, all too often peppered with remarks like, "I think recall reading somewhere that …" So, we might as well cover it here and get it out of the way. First, one does not find in The Lord of the Rings any statement that Elves are beardless. The most frequently cited and easily accessible reference to the fact that Elves are easily physically distinguished from mortal Men is the passage describing Legolas' observation of an Elvish strain apparent in the appearance of Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth.

At length they came to the Prince Imrahil, and Legolas looked at him and bowed low; for he saw that here indeed was one who had elven-blood in his veins. 'Hail, lord!' he said. 7

But there is no mention of beards herein. One must refer to The Unfinished Tales for that particular bit of information.

. . . among the last writings of my father's on the subject of Middle-earth, there is a discussion of the Elvish strain in Men, as to its being observable in the beardlessness of those who were so descended (it was a characteristic of all Elves to be beardless); and it is here noted in connection with the princely house of Dol Amroth that "this line had a special Elvish strain, according to its own legends" (with a reference to the speeches between Legolas and Imrahil in The Return of the King V 9, cited above).8

Michael Martinez pinpoints another direct reference in his essay, "Why Does Círdan Have a Beard?"

How is it that Elves are beardless if Círdan has a beard? . . . the Elvish Linguistic Fellowship published a text in Vinyar Tengwar issue 41 (July 2000) which seems to settle the issue. Christopher Tolkien published the majority of a text in The Peoples of Middle-earth which he titled "The Shibboleth of Fëanor" . . . . Vinyar Tengwar Issue 41 included other [my emphasis] parts of the "Shibboleth", among which was an editorial comment that reads:
The following etymological note pertains to the name Russandol in the discussion of the name Maitimo in the numbered list of names of the seven sons of Fëanor (XII:352-52). A marginal note against that discussion provides the detail that Nerdanel "herself had brown hair and a ruddy complexion". A note elsewhere in the papers associated with this essay reads: "Elves did not have beards until they entered their third cycle of life. Nerdanel's father [Cf. XII:365-66 n.61] was exceptional, being only early in his second."9

Círdan is very old, easily old enough to have reached that "third cycle of life." We know from material cited in various sources, which will be detailed later in this essay, that Círdan is the oldest of the named surviving Elves in Middle-earth. He is far older than those who are perceived as the old-timers mentioned in The Lord of the Rings, like Elrond or, even more so, Galadriel and Celeborn, who impress the Fellowship by their venerability, their aura of having endured long years and vast experience:

. . . but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory."10

We have no idea of an exact age for Celeborn, although one might assume he is significantly older than Galadriel. We do, however, know that Círdan was acknowledged as one of the eldest of the Elders of his race, while Galadriel was still in pigtails skipping around her parents' halls in Tirion. Elrond, of course, is three generations younger than Galadriel. We find no record in the texts of whether Círdan awakened at Cuiviénen or was born later, but there are kinship references which might imply shared family members (see more on this below).

Círdan's history before the return of the Noldor to Middle-earth

In the case of Círdan, Tolkien has provided late additions to his background, which provide important insights into the history of this significant character. Círdan is mentioned often in the texts without embellishment. Further details may be found within Christopher Tolkien's compilation, which he entitles "Last Writings."11 The particular segment focusing upon Círdan was written in the 1970s on the reverse side of a sheet of Tolkien's notes relating to Glorfindel12 and is rich in facts which can be found nowhere else. Christopher Tolkien describes with succinct eloquence the notes on Círdan in the "Last Writings" thusly:

This text is remarkable in that on the one hand nothing is said of the history and importance of Círdan as it appears elsewhere, while on the other hand almost everything that is told here is unique.13

Tolkien states therein that the name Círdan is Sindarin for "shipwright."14 It is this connection to shipbuilding and to the sea that persists throughout the entire narrative connected to this character and predates the major events of the period immediately preceding the First Age and shortly thereafter.

Before ever they came to Beleriand the Teleri had developed a craft of boat-making; first as rafts, and soon as light boats with paddles made in imitation of the water-birds upon the lakes near their first homes, and later on the Great Journey in crossing rivers, or especially during their long tarrying on the shores of the 'Sea of Rhûn', where their ships became larger and stronger. But in all this work Círdan had ever been the foremost and most inventive and skilful.15

Reference is made also in a footnote to the "Last Writings" to an earlier, ancient name for Círdan: "Pengolodh alone mentions a tradition among the Sindar of Doriath that it was in archaic form Nowë, the original meaning of which was uncertain."16

One learns that Círdan takes leadership of those early Quendi who

. . . loved water, and before the Separation never moved far from the lake and waterfall of Cuiviénen, and those that moved into the West became enamoured of the Sea.17

Círdan is also identified as kin of Elwë, who will become known as Thingol King of the Sindar, the representative of the Telerin people chosen to accompany the Vala Oromë to Aman to see the light of the Trees, and his brother Olwë, later to become King of the Teleri in Aman. (In this context it is unclear whether the term "kin" is intended to mean a close blood relation or merely indicating a clan or tribal relationship to one another as members of the Telerin division of the initial three groupings of the Quendi.) In the article "Quendi and the Eldar," a closer blood relationship seems to be implied when Tolkien digresses on the use of the word sindë for the hue "grey, pale or silvery grey,"18 remarking that

Elwë himself had indeed long and beautiful hair of silver hue, but this does not seem to have been a common feature of the Sindar, though it was found among them occasionally, especially in the nearer or remoter kin of Elwë (as in the case of Círdan).19

Círdan is nonetheless clearly one of the three principal leaders of his people. When Elwë goes missing on the long trek to the sea, it is Círdan and his followers who continue longest in the searching for their acknowledged leader. Tolkien describes this act of loyalty as resulting in a poignant loss for Círdan (the postponement of a wish that he would not finally fulfill in its entirety for long Ages into the future).

Thus he forfeited the fulfilment of his greatest desire: to see the Blessed Realm and find again there Olwë and his own nearest kin. Alas, he did not reach the shores until nearly all the Teleri of Olwë's following had departed. Then, it is said, he stood forlorn looking out to sea, and it was night, but far away he could see a glimmer of light upon Eressëa ere it vanished into the West. Then he cried aloud: 'I will follow that light, alone if none will come with me, for the ship that I have been building is now almost ready.' But even as he said this he received in his heart a message, which he knew to come from the Valar, though in his mind it was remembered as a voice speaking in his own tongue. And the voice warned him not to attempt this peril; for his strength and skill would not be able to build any ship able to dare the winds and waves of the Great Sea for many long years yet. 'Abide now that time, for when it comes then will your work be of utmost worth, and it will be remembered in song for many ages after.'20

This passage is a prophetic one which points to his assistance to both Elves and Men during the First through Fourth Ages of Arda. Círdan is noted, therefore, to have received a prophetic message as well as being one who possesses the gift of foresight (more on that below).

The role of Círdan in the early years of First Age Beleriand

The account in The Silmarillion of the First Battle of the Wars of Beleriand, fought before the arrival of the Noldor in Middle-earth, describes how Círdan led his Elves of the Falas as active combatants in an attempt to support Thingol. When Melkor's Orcs drove a wedge between Thingol and Círdan's people, the Telerin leader led an attack against the flank of the Orcish forces from the west. But Círdan was successfully driven back all the way to the sea.21 However, he did manage to withdraw with his people into their own fortified cities, holding off a complete rout of the Elves of the Falas. The upshot of that First Battle was a disproportionate loss of lives on the part of Denethor's Green-elves, whom Thingol had recruited as backup for his forces.

For those of Ossiriand were light-armed, and no match for the Orcs, who were shod with iron and iron-shielded and bore great spears with broad blades; and Denethor was cut off and surrounded upon the hill of Amon Ereb. There he fell and all his nearest kin about him, before the host of Thingol could come to his aid. Bitterly though his fall was avenged, when Thingol came upon the rear of the Orcs and slew them in heaps, his people lamented him ever after and took no king again.22

The mitigated victory of Thingol against the forces of Morgoth left the Grey-elves of the area of Doriath cut off from Círdan and the Teleri. Thingol withdrew to Doriath, which Melian the Maia then encircled with girdle of enchantment. Thingol had lost the ability to forge any new defensive alliances with the people who had followed Denethor in the past. And, most significantly, Thingol's retreat into his protected enclave left the people of his most loyal supporter, Círdan, isolated and under siege in the Havens of the Falas.

This is the Beleriand into which the first forces of the returning Noldor march. This picture could inspire a thoughtful reader to understand why Círdan, in all of his wisdom and even with forebodings of dark secrets, chose to maintain far better relations with the exiled Noldor than Thingol ever did. It also gives teeth to Maedhros' famous reaction to Thingol's message to the newly arrived Noldor that he considers himself to be the only Eldarin King in Beleriand.23 Maedhros, recalling the state of Beleriand upon their arrival, says:

A king is he that can hold his own or else his title is vain. Thingol does but grant us lands where his power does not run. Indeed Doriath alone would be his realm this day but for the coming of the Noldor. Therefore in Doriath let him reign and be glad that he has the sons of Finwë for his neighbours not the Orcs of Morgoth that we found.24

Círdan's besiegement is only broken by the arrival of that first wave of the exiled Noldor, the Fëanorians, who, attacked by Melkor's forces, engage them in battle and effectively wipe them out. The Dagor-nuin-Giliath (Battle-under-Stars) is the second battle of the Wars of Beleriand and the first test of the military capability of the Noldor, which, enhanced by residual Amanyarin magic, overshadows that of the courageous and doughty Sindarin warriors.

The Noldor, outnumbered and taken at unawares [by Morgoth's Orcs], were yet swiftly victorious; for the light of Aman was not yet dimmed in their eyes, and they were strong and swift, and deadly in anger, and their swords were long and terrible.25

The Orcs of Angband were no match for these exiled rebels still freshly self-righteous and undefeated, led by Fëanor, who, as might be expected, is "consumed by the flame of his own wrath."26

The Orcs fled before them, and they were driven forth from Mithrim with great slaughter, and hunted over the Mountains of Shadow into the great plain of Ard-galen, that lay northward of Dorthonion. There the armies of Morgoth that had passed south into the Vale of Sirion and beleaguered Círdan in the Havens of the Falas came up to their aid, and were caught in their ruin.27

The result of this battle is that the Círdan's Havens are free again and the balance of power has shifted in Beleriand, most notably for Melkor and for Thingol.

Seeing that a watchful peace has been established in Beleriand and looking forward with optimism to building new realms and expanding the areas of security and prosperity into those areas, Fingolfin calls for a gathering of the Eldar, the Mereth Aderthad or Feast of Reuniting. An impressive collection of the widely dispersed Elven peoples attend this convocation.

. . . there came also great numbers of the Grey-elves, wanderers of the woods of Beleriand and folk of the Havens, with Círdan their lord. There came even Green-elves from Ossiriand, the Land of Seven Rivers, far off under the walls of the Blue Mountains; but out of Doriath there came but two messengers, Mablung and Daeron, bearing greetings from the King.28

Thingol's refusal to attend and to send only two representatives may be contrasted with Círdan the lord of the Falas personally leading a substantial contingent of Falathrim. While Thingol holds himself aloof in Doriath, Círdan engages with not only the newly arrived Noldor but with the other Elven peoples who have lately been separated from Thingol and Círdan by distance, cultural differences, and danger.

Continued in Part 2.

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Of Beleriand and its Realms."
  2. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond."
  4. Ibid.
  5. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond."
  6. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Grey Havens."
  7. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Last Debate."
  8. Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn. Notes at the end of that section by Christopher Tolkien.
  9. Why Does Círdan Have a Beard? by Michael Martinez. Jan 13, 2012.
  10. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel."
  11. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings." Círdan section.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings." Footnote 29.
  16. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings." Footnote 30.
  17. The War of the Jewels, "Quendi and the Eldar."
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid. Celeborn is another so-called kin of Elwë with the unusual silver hair.
  20. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Last Writings."
  21. The Silmarillion, "Of the Sindar."
  22. Ibid.
  23. "I am the Lord of Beleriand, and all who seek to dwell there shall hear my word." The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor."
  24. The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor."
  25. Ibid.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Ibid.

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Current Challenge

And the Winner Is ...

The Silmarillion is full of characters at the peak of their physical and intellectual capabilities, characters both wise and wondrous. What happens when Middle-earth's top contenders face off against each other? This challenge asks writers to pit two characters against each other to see who wins. Characters can fight physically or match their wits or even magic. From epic clashes in the tradition of Fingolfin vs. Melkor or Finrod vs. Sauron to the more everyday struggles of who will win a game, an argument, or the hand of a loved one, we look forward to seeing who will be named a winner.

Challenges Revisited: Sea Voyages

The sea is an important part of Tolkien's mythology, and changes are often signaled by sea voyages. For example, the fates of the Eldar changed when they sailed to Aman and again when Fëanor brought them back. Eärendil saved the people of Middle-earth from Morgoth, and it began with a sea journey; the defeat of Sauron began with the escape of Elendil and his sons by sea. Numerous also are the people who lived by the sea and, presumably, made sea journeys a part of their daily lives: the Teleri of Aman, the Elves of the Havens, and the Númenoreans name just three.

This month's challenge asks authors to create stories centered on or including sea voyages, whether one of the important journeys that shaped the fate of Arda or an everyday foray along the coast.

Quote of the Month

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

~Loren Eiseley

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.

Economics in Fantasy Literature, Or Why Nerds Really Like Stuff

In Tolkien’s pre-industrial world, as in many other fantasy worlds, rural life is idealised and “technology” is often linked to evil. Mass production is only mentioned with regards to weaponry, the manufacturing of other goods is glossed over or ignored, and there is a widespread predilection for unique, often magical items. Is this phenomenon mirrored in our nerdy, real-worldly desire to own “limited” edition” items from our favourite fandoms? Read more in this article at The Hooded Utilitarian .

Before the Númenóreans Came

The War of Wrath saw the demise of Melkor and the destruction of half the world. In Morgoth’s Ring, Tolkien provides a lot more detail about those centuries of the Second Age before the Númenóreans reached the shores of Middle-earth, and Michael Martinez summarises these events in this article in his blog.

J.R.R. Tolkien Called Teaching 'Exhausting and Depressing' in Unseen Letter

J.R.R. Tolkien, who famously wrote the first line of The Hobbit while marking exam papers, told a fellow teacher that "all teaching is exhausting and depressing" in a previously unknown letter which has just come to light. Find out more in this article in The Guardian.

The Sundering of the Elves

A neat chart to show the different groups of Elves derived from the original three tribes that awoke at Cuiviénen is available from


LotR Genfic Community: "Summer Breeze" Fixed-Length Ficlet Challenge

It's time for our annual July Fixed-Length-Ficlet Challenge, which will have as the theme "Summer Breeze". Interested authors can reply to this announcement and claim a number between 101 and 400. No one will be allowed to have a number previously claimed. Whatever number you choose will be the word count for your ficlet-- if you choose 237 your story must have exactly 237 words! The July challenge stories will be due Monday, July 14th. See the "Summer Breeze" challenge announcement for full details.

Fyeahsilmpocs Needs Your Submissions!

The tumblr fyeahsilmpocs is looking for graphics, gifsets, art, fic and meta featuring people of colour in Tolkien's world. This blog was created to celebrate diverse casting in the Silmarillion fandom. Learn more about the blog on their about page or submit your work on their submissions page.

Registration Is Open for Mythmoot III!

Mythmoot III: Ever On will take place at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum, Maryland, on Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11, 2015. Details are being worked out and will be announced as they are confirmed, but we can tell you now that there will be familiar and new features, all geared to encourage participants to laugh while they learn. Early-bird registration at a reduced price continues through August 31, 2014. Visit the Mythmoot III page to learn more and make your reservations.

The Tolkien Society - Calling the 40th Oxonmoot

Oxonmoot is the annual conference hosted by the Tolkien Society. It brings together Tolkien scholars and students of all genres. Held in Oxford, the venue this year will be the Lady Margaret Hall. In 2014, Oxonmoot will last an extra day, running from 11th-14th September. For more information, and to book a place, visit the Tolkien Society’s Oxonmoot webpage.

Call for Proposals: The Mithril Turtle

2014 is the sixtieth anniversary of Lord of the Rings. The Mithril Turtle is the University of Maryland College Park’s commemoration of this important literary and cultural milestone. A variety of events are planned for September 1 – October 17, 2014.

Among these is an interdisciplinary discussion series. Tolkien’s created world is realistically and compellingly realized, making it ideal for creative exploration of a wide range of disciplines. We invite proposals that use the lens of Lord of the Rings and Middle-earth to focus attention upon cutting edge research and scholarship. More information, including contact information and a list of possible topics, can be found at the Mithril Turtle webpage. For best consideration, proposals are due July 20, 2014.

Call for Papers: Popular Culture Association 2015

The Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference, to be held in New Orleans, April 1-4, 2015, is now accepting submissions for papers. There are several subject areas that might be of interest to Tolkien fans, including Tolkien Studies, Fairy Tales, Children’s/YA Literature, Gothic, Horror, Medievalism in Popular Culture, and Science Fiction & Fantasy, and more. Paper submissions are due by 1 November 2014. For more information see the Popular Culture Association conference website.

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