Newsletter: June 2009

Table of Contents

SWG News

Akallabêth in August

Every August, we focus on the Second Age, turning the spotlight on the many talented Second-Age authors in our group and encouraging others to reread the Akallabêth and possibly try writing a story about it. So why are we bringing this up now? In June??

This year, we want to do a bit more for Akallabêth in August, and we need your help. We will be putting together a month-long "retelling" of the Akallabêth in the form of stories, poems, ficlets, and artwork focused on the history and events of the Second Age, and we need writers and artists who would be willing to create a work to contribute to this project.

We are looking for:

We invite all of our members to contribute to this event if they wish to do so.

But what if I don't know much about the Second Age? I haven't read the Akallabêth in ... Wow, I can't even remember how long!

What a better way to learn than to revisit this important book in The Silmarillion and write from the perspective of a new character! You do not need to be a Second-Age expert to contribute to this project.

What if I've already written a story about the Akallabêth? Can I contribute my story to the project?

Usually, for projects such as this, we accept works that have been posted or published online already. This time, however, we would like only works that have never been publicly posted online before. Participants are welcome to create a new story, poem, ficlet, or artwork for the topic they have chosen or, if they have a work that has not been put online before, to contribute that piece to the project.

For this reason as well, we ask that participants refrain from publicly sharing their work until it has been published as part of the event. After that, of course, you are free to put it wherever you'd like on the Internet!

Authors who work with beta-readers or writing groups are welcome to do so as long as the work is not publicly posted before the date that it is "revealed" as part of the Akallabêth in August project.

As always, we will also spotlight the existing Second-Age work in our archive to highlight the talents and achievements our authors have shared here so far.

I love the Second Age, but I'm afraid I'm just not cut out for rehashing the texts. I have my own verse and my own OCs and my own quirky way of looking at things.

This project is not intended as a substitution for or a "rehashing" of the published Akallabêth. We all own The Silmarillion and can read what Tolkien had to say about the Second Age if we want to. This project is meant to go beyond the published text to show the events of the Second Age from a variety of perspectives, illuminating characters, events, concepts, and cultures that are only sketched in the text. This is not a round-robin or collaborative writing exercise, although authors who wish to work together are welcome to do so. We will quite likely end up with conflicting views and characterizations, and that is fine: The opportunity to look at the Second Age from a variety of perspectives is one of our goals for the project.

If you're interested in contributing to this year's Akallabêth in August or have any questions about the project, please email us at All participants who want to write a short story will have the opportunity to choose an event from the Akallabêth they'd like to write about. Assignments will be given on a first-come-first-served basis. Authors who wish to write more than one short story will be able to choose from the remainder after all have made their first choice. Ficlets and poems will be used to fill the gaps and accentuate the events about which longer works have been written. Artists will be able to choose an event to illustrate or choose to work with a specific author (again, on a first-come-first-served basis).

We are also looking for Second-Age-related articles for that month's newsletter. As always, essays are welcome to be submitted to the Reference library as well, although we ask researchers interested in having their work put forth for Akallabêth in August to allow adequate time for the Reference Library's review process. Please contact us at for more information on writing for the newsletter or for the Reference Library.

New in References: "Exile, Wyrd and the Anglo-Saxon Warrior Ideal in The Wanderer and Tolkien's Quenta Silmarillion," by Esteliel

As a professor of Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien's stories are undeniably influenced by the literature of this early people. Esteliel's "Exile, Wyrd and the Anglo-Saxon Warrior Ideal in The Wanderer and Tolkien's Quenta Silmarillion" considers how exile, fate, the warrior ideal, and masculinity in the Quenta Silmarillion were influenced by the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer.

"If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred..."(1)

This is the note on which Tolkien ends the Quenta Silmarillion, which at once makes apparent the two perhaps most important undercurrents of his mythology: fate and ruin. Tolkien's study of Beowulf (2) can be seen as one important source of inspiration for these paramount qualities of Old English elegiac poetry, yet there is more Anglo-Saxon poetry that influenced him. In the mid-1930s, Tolkien was collaborating with E.V. Gordon on a critical edition of The Seafarer and The Wanderer, although Gordon passed away before their work could be published (3). Read more ...

Revisiting the Status of Our Message Archive on Yahoo! Groups

Last month, we reconsidered the question of whether to leave our Yahoo! group's message archive available for reading by the public. This reconsideration came because, when the archive was changed to public readership last year, we promised to revisit the question in a year's time so that if members found their experience changed for the negative, their concerns would be addressed and the archive possibly reverted to members-only reading status.

The results of the poll indicate that 81% of respondents are happy with the archive remaining public or have no preference, so it will continue to be available for reading by the public.

A Reminder about the Appropriate Use of Images on the Archive

As the Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards (MEFA) season gets underway, the issue of where images can be used on the story archive always arises. Many of our members' stories are nominated in the MEFAs every year, and it is natural to want to celebrate by displaying the nomination--and, later, the winners'--banners alongside the nominated story.

Authors are welcome to display images anywhere on the archive where they do not share space with other authors. Authors are welcome to use images in their stories, in the notes on those stories, and in their profiles. We ask authors not to use images in the story summary.

Why? Story summaries show up in a variety of places on the site, often alongside stories written by other authors. Because images load slower than other page elements--especially on slow or dial-up connections--images can impede readers' access to all stories on a page, even those stories by authors who aren't using images in the summary. Secondly, images can disrupt the page layout or act as a distraction, again resulting in fewer readers for authors who don't use images in their summaries. Given this, in the interest of fairness to all of our authors, we ask that authors use images only on parts of the site that they do not share with other authors.

We encourage authors who want to celebrate their nominations to use a note in the story summary and include their banners in the story notes. Story notes show up on the table of contents, as well as at the top of the first chapter. The full FAQ on the subject can be found here here.

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Character of the Month Biography

Elros Tar-Minyatur


Elros is the brother of Elrond (1), son of Eärendil the Mariner and Elwing the White. The particulars of the story in the published Silmarillion of the early life of the two brothers are minimal. They dwell at Sirion with Elwing, while Eärendil makes numerous sea voyages into the West. When the remaining sons of Fëanor march upon Sirion, hoping to regain the Silmaril, which Elwing holds, she casts herself into the sea, taking the Silmaril with her. Maglor and Maedhros then take Elrond and Elros captive (2). The account of their capture is that “Maglor took pity upon Elros and Elrond, and he cherished them, and love grew after between them” (3). The implication from that short description is that they are reared for a considerable period of time in the company of Maglor and Maedhros in a nurturing environment. Love takes time to grow and develop.

An alternative version of their early life is that the twins were abandoned in a cave behind a waterfall and found there unharmed. This one seems to imply that they were not long in the custody of Maglor and Maedhros. In a letter, which also examines the root of their names, Tolkien details that second scenario:

Elrond, Elros. *rondō was a prim[itive] Elvish word for 'cavern'. Cf. Nargothrond (fortified cavern by the R. Narog), Aglarond, etc. *rossē meant 'dew, spray (of fall or fountain)'. Elrond and Elros, children of Eärendil (sea-lover) and Elwing (Elf-foam), were so called, because they were carried off by the sons of Fëanor, in the last act of the feud between the high-elven houses of the Noldorin princes concerning the Silmarils; the Silmaril rescued from Morgoth by Beren and Lúthien, and given to King Thingol Lúthien's father, had descended to Elwing dtr. of Dior, son of Lúthien. The infants were not slain, but left like 'babes in the wood', in a cave with a fall of water over the entrance. There they were found: Elrond within the cave, and Elros dabbling in the water. (4)

In The Silmarillion the name of Elros is said to mean Star Foam (5).

When, at the end of the First Age, the Valar declare their decision that the two brothers, commonly referred to as the Peredhil or half-elven (6), must chose to live out their lives as Elf or Man, it is Elros who chooses to assume mortality.

The Valar indeed may not withdraw the gift of death, which comes to Men from Ilúvatar, but in the matter of the Half-elven Ilúvatar gave to them the judgement; and they judged that to the sons of Eärendil should be given choice of their own destiny. And Elrond chose to remain with the Firstborn, and to him the life of the Firstborn was granted. (7)

Elros ascended the throne as the first King of Númenor when he was but 90 years of age, young by the reckoning of Elven-kind. He built the City of Armenelos there and established a dynasty.

Thereafter he was known in the Scroll of the King by the name of Tar-Minyatur; for it was the custom of the King to take their titles in the forms of the Quenya or High-elven tongue, that being the noblest tongue of the world, and this custom endured until the days of Ar-Adûnakhôr (Tar-Herunúmen). (8)

Folkloric-tale heroes seem nearly always to possess characteristic weapons and/or heirlooms. Tolkien does not depart from this familiar trope in the case of Elros. In Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales, we find a listing of those. In addition to “Aranrúth, the sword of Elu Thingol of Doriath in Beleriand, that had descended to Elros from Elwing his mother,” (9) he is said to have inherited the Ring of Barahir, Tuor’s axe, and the Bow of Bregor of the House of Bëor (10).

Only the Ring of Barahir father of Beren One-hand survived the Downfall; for it was given by Tar-Elendil to his daughter Silmarien and was preserved in the House of the Lords if Andunië, of whom the last was Elendil the Faithful who fled from the wreck of Númenor to Middle-earth. (11)

The provenance of the Ring of Barahir, fascinating and too long to cover in this biography, features in the histories of Finrod Felagund, Beren and Lúthien, and finally that of Arwen and Aragorn. The story of Barahir’s ring is emblematic of the ways in which the tales of the sons of Eärendil and Elwing link the events of the First Age to the resolution of the story of the Eldar in Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings. “In them alone the line of the heroic chieftains of the Edain in the First Age was preserved; and after the fall of Gil-galad the lineage of the High Elven Kings was also in Middle-earth only presented by their descendants” (12).

Elros also is said to have been the longest-lived of any of Tolkien’s characters among the race of Men.

"Elros Tar-Minyatur ruled the Númenóreans for four hundred years and ten. For to the Númenóreans long life had been granted, and they remained unwearied for thrice the span of mortal Men in Middle-earth; but to Eärendil's son the longest life of any Man was given . . .” (13)

And further on the subject of long life:

"But to Elros, who chose to be a king of Men, still a great span of years was allotted, many times that of the Men of Middle-earth; and all his line, the kings and lords of the royal house, had long life even according to the measure of the Númenóreans. But Elros lived five hundred years, and ruled the Númenóreans four hundred years and ten." (14)

The importance of Elros in the continuing story of Elves and Men throughout Tolkien’s legendarium is described not only in the account of events recorded in the published Silmarillion, but almost more significantly in The Lord of the Rings. The heritage of Elros manifests itself in the portrayal of various central characters of The Lord of the Rings.

Much is made of consideration of the bloodline of Elros in the discussions of the rulers of Númenor and their choice of partners. This ancestry carries with it physical characteristics, both in appearance and in its contribution to the length of life beyond the measure of ordinary men. Tolkien’s favored coloration, that of grey eyes and dark hair, given to so many of his heroes, Elf and Man, is also apparently passed through the blood of Elros, although not exclusively. In the tale of “Aldarion and Erendis” it is written that “though not of the royal line of Elros, Erendis was dark-haired and of slender grace, with the clear grey eyes . . .” (15). That tale and others of Númenor reference the past practice of Númenórean royalty to attempt to preserve the bloodline of Elros.

In The Lord of the Rings we are given several examples of the signs of that heritage in Denethor, Aragorn, and Faramir, in particular. In The Return of the King, Gandalf speaks of this relating to Denethor and Faramir:

He is not as other men of this time . . . by some chance the blood of Westernesse (16) runs nearly true in him; as it does in his other son, Faramir, and yet did not in Boromir whom he loved best. He has long sight. He can perceive, if he bends his will thither, much of what is passing in the minds of men, even of those that dwell far off. It is difficult to deceive him, and dangerous to try. (17)

In this case the reference may be to some preternatural ability to read the thoughts of others. Whether it refers to Tolkien’s concept of mind-to-mind communication, or Ósanwe-kenta, (18) or to some other magical/more-than-human characteristic, perhaps reaching back into a bloodline linked to Melian the Maia, is not explained.

There is also further reference to Faramir’s link to that lineage in his dreams of the great wave. Again, the author presents us with a paranormal ability dating back to Númenor and the bloodline of Eros: that of holding memories of events which the character has never himself experienced.

'It reminds me of Númenor,' said Faramir, and wondered to hear himself speak.

* * * *

'Yes,' said Faramir, 'of the land of Westernesse that foundered and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.' (19)

Again possible characteristics relating to this blood link to the line of Elros are raised relating to Aragorn. There is, of course, the healing powers of Aragorn, and the entire discussion of the “hands of the King are hands of healing” (20) and the implication that this is somewhere related to that same heritage and that he might possess “some forgotten power of Westernesse” (21) shown in his ability to bring both Faramir and Éowyn back to consciousness. Of course, Aragorn also has the physical traits: tall, dark, youthful into old age, and long-lived.

These threads leading into Lord of the Rings seem to reinforce the interconnectedness of the entire history of Elves and Men to Tolkien’s storytelling. Accounts of the kingship of Elros in Númenor do not seem to indicate much more than that he was a wise ruler, a builder, respectful of the Valar and cherished his ties to Elven-kind. Elros is far from one of the grand principle characters of great deeds and obvious courage in The Silmarillion. However, in his case, his lineage and the legacy he left in Númenor and its links to Tolkien’s later work make him a central figure in Tolkien’s legendarium nonetheless.

And from these brethren alone has come among Men the blood of the Firstborn and a strain of the spirits divine that were before Arda; for they were the sons of Elwing, Dior's daughter, Lúthien's son, child of Thingol and Melian; and Eärendil their father was the son of Idril Celebrindal, Turgon's daughter of Gondolin. (22)

Works Cited

  1. See SWG character biography of Elrond.
  2. The Silmarillion, "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath."
  3. Ibid.
  4. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #211.
  5. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  6. See also SWG character biography of Elwing for the lineage of the Peredhil.
  7. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth.
  8. Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros: Kings Of Númenor.”
  9. Unfinished Tales, "Description of The Island of Númenor," footnote 2.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Appendix A, I (i).
  13. Unfinished Tales, “The Line of Elros: Kings Of Númenor.”
  14. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth.
  15. Unfinished Tales, “Aldarion and Erendis.”
  16. Blood of Westernesse is a term that Tolkien uses to refer to the Men of Númenor, their descendants, and particularly the Dúnedain. Tolkien says that the word Westernesse is “. . .derived from rare Middle English . . . where the meaning is vague, but may be taken to mean ‘Western lands’” (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #276.)
  17. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, “Minas Tirith.”
  18. “Ósanwe-kenta: Enquiry into the Communication of Thought,” J. R. R. Tolkien, Vinyar Tengwar (No. 39).
  19. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, “The Steward and the King.”
  20. The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, “The Houses of Healing.”
  21. Ibid.
  22. The Silmarillion, “Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath.”

View past character profiles.
Read all archived stories about Elros.

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Linguistic Foolery

Elvish Families and What They Wore

Darth Fingon

A while back on a writing discussion board, a question arose about Elvish families and the words they would use for different relatives. That is, would the Elves, who seem to like making up exact words for everything they encounter, have a specific title for a third cousin once removed on the mother's side, or would said third cousin once removed be simply referred to as 'kinsman', as we often see in Tolkien's writing? In addition to this question, people were interested to know if any words for relatives outside of the immediate family existed, as available Elvish wordlists only ever seem to provide the usual father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister. Are there words for grandparents and cousins? Well, read on to question one.

Second, I was asked by a reader of last month's column to research any possible words for Elven underoos, so check out question two for words related to clothing.

As with last month, all of the words provided here are from Tolkien's earliest wordlists and as such are not necessarily compatible with the later, refined versions of Sindarin and Quenya. Therefore, as with the words from last month, I do not recommend using any of these in works of fanfiction.

Also, as with last month, a G before a word indicates that it is Gnomish (pre-Sindarin), while a Q indicates Qenya. Now on to the questions.

1) Do Elves have specific words for various extended family members, or is everyone just 'kinsman'?

Well, it just turns out that the answer is yes to both of those scenarios. There are specific words for various extended family members, but at the same time, there are also words like 'kinsman' that are hazier in their distinction, and words for 'cousin' that can be applied not only to actual cousins, but also to anyone you might be related to somehow.

Grandparents and Ancestors

Most people are familiar with the words adar and atar, meaning 'father'. Another word for 'father', G eithog/eithweg, also mean 'ancestor' in a more generic sense. Similarly, G mavwen/mafwyn/mavuin means both 'mother' and 'ancestress'. G mam means both 'grandmother' and 'mother'. But G dâd is listed as meaning only 'grandfather'. The Q words for 'grandfather' and 'grandmother', haru and haruni, likewise do not have any other meaning.


The most generic words are G bôr ('descendant', presumably male), Q yondo ('male descendant', 'great-grandson', 'grandson'), and Q hilmi ('descendants', 'offspring'). Other listed words for grandchildren are more specific: Q súyon means 'grandson', but that grandson has to be the son of one's daughter. G sion is listed as 'grandson' with no distinction as to whether this is a daughter's son or a son's son, but because of its similarity to both súyon and the G word for 'daughter' suil, it's possible that the title of sion is restricted to a daughter's son only. Its female equivalent, 'granddaughter', is G siel. Also related is the prefix G si- or sin-, meaning 'granddaughter of'. 'Grandson of' is G ho- or hon-.

Niece and Nephew

In addition to meaning 'grandson', Q súyon is also listed as 'nephew', with a similar restriction: it means only the son of one's sister. Another word for 'nephew' is Q fion, which also means 'son'. Similar-sounding G fwion also only means 'sister's son', and G fwîr means only 'sister's daughter'. Both of these are related to the feminine patronymic prefix G fwi-. No words are listed to indicate what a brother's son might be called, but something similar to fwion and fwîr could be improvised using the male patronymic prefix G go- or gon-.

Cousins and Kinsmen

This category has the most words by far. Let's start with the closest and work our way out.

Related to the words G hethos and hethir ('brother' and 'sister' respectively), we have words for male and female first cousins: G hethren and hethres. Also related to these words is G hethrin, which means (in relation to brothers and sisters) 'having both parents the same' or (in relation to cousins) 'having two grandparents the same'. We also have G goredhweg, 'male cousin', and goredhwin, 'female cousin'. On the Qenya side there are ettani, ettaresse, resse ('female cousin') and ettanu, ettarendo, ettaréro, rendo, réro ('male cousin'). Also the first non-gender-specific word of the lot: Q etta, 'cousin'.

The words for 'second cousin' are G gedren (male) and G gedres (female), related to the word G ged, meaning 'kinsman' (and also 'friend'). G ress means both 'female cousin' and 'female relative'; its male counterpart is G ren(d). Similarly, the words Q resse ('female cousin'), rendo, and réro ('male cousin') listed above can also mean 'kinswoman' or 'kinsman' in a more generic sense. A final word for 'blood kinsman' is G nosied.

Uncle and Aunt

No words could be found in this category.


Only two words exist in this category: G bedhren ('brother in law' or 'kinsman by marriage') and G bedhres ('sister in law'). Both of these words are related to G bedhin, 'married', and bedhri, 'wedding'. No Q equivalents are given, but we do have Q vestanoina, 'related by marriage'.

2) Would Elves have worn underwear, and is there a word for it?

Whether or not Elves would have worn underoos is a debate beyond the scope of this lowly linguistics article, but I can answer the question about whether or not a word exists. And the answer to that is, alas, no. I looked through all my sources and could find nothing at all to do with undergarments. In fact, I found remarkably few clothing words at all. So I'll just list all the early Elvish words for clothing in order to make the answer to this question look longer and more thorough.

baith - clothes, garment, dress (G)
gwab - garment (G)
baithri - clothing (G)
bacha - jacket, coat (G)
habin - shoe (G)
habach - wooden shoe (G)
vaima - robe (Q)
patinka - slipper, shoe (Q)
laupe - tunic, shirt (Q)
qilta - belt (Q)

Apart from a few more words for jewellery pieces, and words for weaving and knitting, that's it as far as Elvish clothing goes. Tolkien was rather vague on this subject.

Have a question or item you'd like to see discussed in a future instalment of Linguistic Foolery? Send an email to and share your ideas.

View past Linguistic Foolery columns.

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A Sense of History

Beowulf in Beleriand


As we all know, JRR Tolkien was between 1925 and his retirement in 1959 Professor of Anglo-Saxon and then Professor of English Language and Literature at Oxford University. As such his main topics of study were the languages, literature and culture of the Anglo-Saxons, a Germanic tribe who invaded the British Isles around the 4th century and remained dominant until the Norman Conquest in the 11th century. The question that comes up is how deep was the influence these professional interests played on his Secondary Universe. The clearest indication is, of course, the development of languages. But can traces of these early societies be found in Middle-earth? Are Elvish and Mannish societies of the First Age based on real historical models?

What did Tolkien study?

As it has been said, Tolkien's academic studies focused mostly on the Anglo-Saxons. Who were these? They were some of the peoples who invaded Britain as of the 4th century, coming from the northwest of Germany and South of the Scandinavian Peninsula and who shared their culture with other Germanic tribes (a.k.a., Barbarians) who were at that time invading and settling on what had been the Roman Empire. Unfortunately for historians, theirs was a society that lived mostly at the margins of literacy, so most of the written sources that can be used are at best fragmentary, written by their enemies (the Romans) or the people who suffered their attacks (the monks) or collected centuries later by their successors who had already been influenced by other cultures (Christianity, most often). One of the prime sources for the study of these early Medieval societies is Beowulf, one of the few surviving texts that make up the earliest literature of the post-Roman British Isles and the object of one of Tolkien's most famous academic works, the essay Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics (1936).

What was Anglo-Saxon society like?

Most historians agree that there were two significant bonds that held this mobile and violent society together: the loyalty that bound lords and followers and duty to the family members.

In Tolkien's time, the clan structure--that is groups united by kinship and descent from a common ancestor--was the most widely accepted form of organization though later historians have reconsidered this idea. Instead, the basic unit of society is thought to have been the war band, a group of warriors who followed a leader in war and looting expeditions, bound by personal rather than tribal bonds. The leader of the band was the strongest warrior, who became leader because of his fighting prowess, not any hereditary principle. In a highly violent society it was of the utmost necessity to be led by somebody whose military success was more or less assured. The main obligations of the lord were to protect his followers both in war and in peace and to be generous in the distribution of the booty (hence "the ring giver"). In return, the followers were expected to fight for him to their death if necessary and follow him into exile. The worst crime was desertion, and anybody who refused to follow their lord in need would become an outcast, which amounted to a death sentence since nobody would come to his defense if attacked. And this severance from the group affected not only him but also his extended family, who would also lose the network of support and protection necessary to survive. The family were also involved if one of their members was murdered: in this case they were entitled to revenge on the slayer and his family if he was not turned in or, in later centuries, to receive material compensation. Oaths were the reaffirmation of the bonds between a lord and his followers and were not lightly cast aside.

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Current Challenge

Fanon Inverted

"Fanon" is a detail or idea invented by fans of a work that is expressed so prevalently in the community that many consider it to be factual or even think it came from the texts themselves. Fanon is celebrated by some, scorned by others, proudly flaunted, sheepishly followed, and denied outright, yet as members of the Tolkien fan-writing or -art communities, fanon touches us all and, whether we like it or not (or even know that we're doing it!), shapes our works as well.

For this challenge, we will take a fanon about which we feel passionately--whether "passion" be best defined as love or loathing--and turn that fanon on its head, writing something that goes against the fanon norm in fandom.

Challenges Revisited: An Elf Falls into Modern-earth

Is there a fanon more controversial than the notion of the girl who falls into Middle-earth and, with a flash of her emerald-sparked violet eyes, effortlessly snares the affections of the most handsome prince in the realm? Back in September 2006, we inverted this particular genre and asked our authors to write about an Elf (or any other Tolkien character) finding himself or herself "fallen" into our modern world.

Many writers have done successful comedies and dramas based around the idea of Tolkien's characters arriving somehow in modern times. What if a character arrived somehow in the modern world? What might s/he think? Or perhaps the character has been here all along: Maglor, Daeron, or Celeborn, to name three examples. Whatever the means you use to get them here, this challenge asks you to experience modern life through the eyes of First-, Second-, and Third-Age Silmarillion characters.
Quote of the Month
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.
-Dr. Frankenstein, from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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

LotR Genfic Community: "The Wedding of Your Nightmares" Challenge

June weddings seem a natural for next month's theme, but we wanted something just a little different, something with a twist, so for this challenge, think up a wedding disaster! Was the wedding threatened by fire, flood or natural disaster? An invasion of enemies or unpleasant relatives? Did the bride break a nail? Was the groom nearly late? So much can go wrong on that Big Day! Your element will be taken from that famous poem about weddings. Visit the LotR GFic LJ community for more information and to sign up!

A Long Expected Contest

In honor of June brides everywhere, the theme for June is Love. It doesn't have to be romantic love however - it can be the love of friends or family. It does not have to be based on documented events or characters in the books and the words in the theme do not have to be included in the fiction. Each writer has until June 30 to turn in the story to Please include the proper formatting for LiveJournal. If you have any questions about how to do that, feel free to ask.


At Teitho, the challenge for June is Strange Encounter. What draws us to the world Tolkien created is not only the characters. To a large extent, it is also the fact that Middle Earth is a place of many wonders and surprises. To read Tolkien means exploring strange and unknown lands and people. And while Tolkien's descriptions are full of detail, he leaves gaps as well. So who can know what creatures and wonders await at the far corners of Middle Earth - or just around the next bend in the path for that matter? If you want to participate in this challenge, head over to the website to see all further info. The deadline for this challenge is June 25th.

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

Nomination season is underway! Nominations for the 2009 MEFAs will be accepted 22 May through 30 June. For more information, see the nominations FAQs.

Important dates are as follows:

30 June. Nominations will not be accepted after 11:59 PM GMT
7 July. Authors must complete the nomination forms and email their liaison by 11:59 PM GMT
31 July. Categorization is finalized
31 August. Reviewers should set their reviewing goal by 11:59 PM GMT
31 December. Voting ends at 11:59 PM

Tom Shippey's Review of The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and More!

Times Online has posted Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey's review of the newest posthumous Tolkien publication, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún. Read it here. Other reviews have been published on Deseret News,, and The Washington Post.

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