TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: June 2016

Table of Contents


SWG News

The SWG at the NYTC

Once again, the SWG will be represented at the New York Tolkien Conference as SWG founder Dawn and biographer Oshun return for their second year as presenters. This year, to ensure that they are not scheduled to present at the same time and forced to miss the other's talk (like last year), they are presenting together in an act of synergy that will rival Tolkien's greatest duos ... well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but surely they can at least manage Gollum and Smeagol. The title of their talk is "The Borders of the (Fictional) World: Fan Fiction Archives, Ideological Approaches, and Fan Identity" and will be all about fan fiction archives and how they express fandom culture and fan identity in the Tolkien fanfic community. See the full programming list here.

The New York Tolkien Conference will take place at Baruch College on July 16. Tickets can be prepurchased for $11. This year's theme is The Inklings and Science, with keynote presentations from Kristine Larsen and Jared Lobdell, although the programming ranges beyond the theme. Stop by if you're in the area and say hello! The registration page can be found here.

Welcome to Our New Members!

We are pleased to welcome quietbeansidhe, Elthadrail, Elwing, and Dryope as new members of the Silmarillion Writers' Guild.

We hope you're already reading and enjoying the stories, poems and reference material, listening to the podcasts in our site, and perhaps posting your own material. However, if you are stuck and need help, you can start by browsing our Frequently Asked Questions. This page contains information about the archive, challenges, reviews, ratings, our definition of "Silmfic", and much more. If you can't find what you are after, or if you need assistance for any other reason, do not hesitate to contact the SWG mods at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

We would love to know what awakened your interest in the Silmarillion, or other details about your fandom persona that you are happy to share, so why not update your bio?


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

Blood, Song, & Silver by MisbehavingMaiar † [Adult] (14595 words)
Summary: Celebrimbor, Lord of Eregion recieves an emissary from the West claiming to be a Vanya smith. The teachings he comes bearing are controversial; how to imprint thoughts and wills into matter using Song, and words of power. As the emissary gains support with king and court, their relationship becomes entangled with secrets and the weight of the past.

Columbine Blue by Dryope [General] (1509 words)
Summary: Gorlim returns to his old home and reminisces about his former life.

Do What Matters by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (2036 words)
Summary: Ninnachel and Baindir engage in a little roleplay and armour kink.

Edge of the Wave by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (1043 words)
Summary: It's the night the Oath of Feanor was taken. Maedhros has doubts. Fingon comes to comfort him.

I Find No Peace by Zdenka [Teens] (1015 words)
Summary: After the end of the War of Wrath, Feredwen, a follower of the sons of Fëanor, decides not to return to the Blessed Realm.

Promise You Won't Forget by heget [General] (1900 words)
Summary: The story of the ninth companion of Finrod and Beren to die in the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

River-Mother and River-Daughter by Zdenka [General] (3445 words)
Summary: Before the Sun or Moon rose, the River-mother sang to the waters and they awoke.

smile, for your lover comes by Agelast † [Adult] (4626 words)
Summary: Prodigal, you have given me love – therefore I to you give love! O unspeakable passionate love. Maedhros navigates new realities -- with the help of Fingon and Maglor. Written for Smut Swap 2016.

Songs of Sun and Shadow by Zdenka [General] (2032 words)
Summary: Melian asks Finrod, on a visit to Menegroth, to test the abilities of her young student in songs of power.

The Golodhrim by Silver Trails [Teens] (11774 words)
Summary: The first days in Caranthir's new realm.

The Hardest Part by Ginger [Teens] (6271 words)
Summary: The night before Fëanor and his sons leave for Formenos, nerdanel remembers her life with her husband and ponders the choice she made not to follow him in exile and how it'll change all their lives. She tries to find hope and courage in the midst of resenment, distress and determination. Inspired by October 2013 challenge "Turning Point."

the heart's filthy lesson by Agelast [Adult] (4200 words)
Summary: Celebrimbor learns a painful lesson in love. Written for Smut Swap 2016.

Water, Wood and Stone by Zdenka [General] (1119 words)
Summary: Elwing makes a friend in the woods of Doriath.

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.
Chapter added this month: A Poet's Fate .

Approaching Rivendell by Ysilme [Teens]
Summary: 100 drabbles with Elrond Half-Elven through the ages, focussing on the creation of and the living in Rivendell.
Chapter added this month: Construction.

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 herbmistress.

Bitter Dregs by Aiwen [Teens]
Summary: Diplomacy is generally a poor source for exciting stories… except when it goes horribly wrong, leaving Gil-galad and the ambassadors of Gondor and Arnor at death's door, and an assassin on the loose. If any of them dies, can the alliance between the Elves and the Numenorean Exiles survive?
Chapters added this month: Care for a Coffee? and So Much for That Idea.

Bringing Trouble to Barad-dur by Aiwen [Teens]
Summary: In the Halls of Mandos, Celebrimbor and Gil-galad receive a unique assignment: go as ghosts to Barad-dur and distract Sauron from his war against the free peoples of Middle-earth. MEFA 2010 Humor Incomplete 3rd place winner.
Chapters added this month: The Battle of the Pelennor in Barad Dur and The Witch-King's Mother.

Drabbles: The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales by Zdenka [Teens]
Summary: Drabbles set during the First and Second Ages of Middle-earth. (Exactly 100 words as counted by MS Word.) Please see table of contents for individual summaries and warnings.
Chapters added this month: Let the Star Rise, Driftwood, The Last Work, Fall, Weather, The Last Ship, Concealment, Shadow, In Doubt, Sign of the Faithful, Facing the Shadow, Gift and Change of Course.

Lake Helevorn: A Summer Romance by Himring [Teens]
Summary: Uncanonical take on Caranthir's canonical wife: in my 'verse she is not an elf. (No, not Haleth--and not a dwarf either, although I like that version.)
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1: A Summer Romance.

More Than One Hundred Words About Maedhros by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Short pieces that are not true drabbles and are part of my Maedhros series.
Chapter added this month: Fingon Toasts the Stars (free verse).

Middle-earth Poetry (Silmarillion version) by Zdenka [Teens]
Summary: Tolkien-related poetry on various subjects, mostly written for B2MeM. (I've only cross-posted the Silmarillion poems here; the version on AO3 and MPTT includes the LOTR-related ones also.)
Chapters added this month: A Lost Song, The Fall and Erendis to Aldarion.

One Star in the Sky by VCalien2015 [Teens]
Summary: The Dagor Dagorath approaches, and nearly all of those slain in the wars of the past Ages have been reborn to prepare themselves for the Last Battle. Among them is Curufinwë Fëanáro, last to leave the Halls of Mandos and tasked with earning his redemption. Fëanáro and his kin begin together the days which will lead them to the End, the guilt of the past mingling with joy long-lost, recalling at last what it is to truly live.
Chapter added this month: Alqualondë - Part II.

The steel of their will by Harnatano [General]
Summary: After their flight from Himlad, until their flight from Nargothrond, Celegorm and Curufin will have to face the abyss of their defeat, the bitterness of their broken pride, and the tempting shadows of greed. Through envy, frustration, pain and resentment, they will have to choose which path to follow, unaware that their choices will affect all the people of Beleriand. Written from Curufin's pov. Canon based, more like a personal combination between the different versions given in HoME and the Silmarillion.
Chapters added this month: Dilemma and Beyond fear, rage awaits.

Short Works

A Voice Like the Sea by Zdenka [General] (303 words)
Summary: Elrond remembers an old song.

Arrow in Flight by Zdenka [Teens] (847 words)
Summary: Aredhel deals with Fëanorians, family, and the Ice. (A sequence of eight drabbles.)

Bright Things by Zdenka [Teens] (927 words)
Summary: Newly arrived at the Havens of Sirion, the child Elwing tries to comfort herself with memories.

By the Rivers of Beleriand by Zdenka [Teens] (536 words)
Summary: As the end of their journey nears, Rían remembers Dorthonion.

Catch the Waves by Zdenka [Teens] (300 words)
Summary: Celebrimbor, his family, and unfixable problems. (Triple drabble.)

Damask and Dark by Zdenka [Teens] (300 words)
Summary: Held captive in Nargothrond, Lúthien dreams of Beren and exchanges one prison for another. (Triple drabble.)

Fall by Ginger [Teens] (879 words)
Summary: Tears come out from your eyes. The flame that once so brightly burned in them is now flickering. Soon, it will fade away. You are going to die, Tyelperinquar... or the last instants of the life of Celebrimbor. Translation.

Green Eggs and Silmarils by Zdenka [General] (430 words)
Summary: A silly retelling of the Silmarillion in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Light and Labor Past by Zdenka [General] (147 words)
Summary: The smiths of Eregion prepare to face Sauron. (The narrator is Feredwen, an original character.)

Light-weaver by Zdenka [Teens] (374 words)
Summary: Someday, she will devour the light-weaver.

Memories of sorrows past by Elwing [General] (751 words)
Summary: The Unfinished Tales mention that Celeborn and Galadriel live in Rivendell some time in the second age. Elrond wonders why they have come.

Midsummer Prayer by Zdenka [General] (144 words)
Summary: Míriel keeps Erulaitalë as best she can. (Fixed-length ficlet.)

Nike Adjusting Her Sandal by heget [General] (912 words)
Summary: I was asked from a tumblr prompt about head-canons for various traits about Nerdanel and/or Indis, and the answer evolved into a vaguely romantic character study, though can be read as close friendship between two wise and creative ladies.

Paths of Exile by Zdenka [Teens] (642 words)
Summary: Moments on a Fëanorian’s journey, from the Oath to the fall of Ost-in-Edhil. (A sequence of six drabbles.)

Responsibility by Elwing [General] (799 words)
Summary: Elwing and Melian meet in Valinor.

The Gift of a Look by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (858 words)
Summary: Baindir and Ninnachel's first time together, by the shores of Lake Mithrim.

The Messengers of Celegorm by Zdenka [Teens] (843 words)
Summary: After Lúthien’s capture by Celegorm, the Silmarillion says “Celegorm sent messengers to Thingol urging his suit” and “Thingol was wrathful” (understandably!). But what happened to the messengers? (A sequence of eight drabbles.)

The Mists of Memory by Zdenka [Teens] (713 words)
Summary: During the Fëanorian invasion of Doriath, Feredwen is briefly snared by memory.

Three Sentence Fics: Tolkien by Zdenka [Teens] (718 words)
Summary: A collection of fills written for rthstewart's 3 Sentence Ficathon in 2013 and 2015, for Tolkien-based prompts. (Mostly Silmarillion, with one for Farmer Giles of Ham and Sir Orfeo, and one non-Tolkien crossover.)


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Character of the Month Biography

Thuringwethil

Oshun


Thuringwethil is a villain who appears in the tale of Beren and Lúthien. For a relatively obscure character, who appears only briefly and is mentioned but four times by name in The Silmarillion, she is known among readers and perhaps viewed as an intriguing creature or one whom readers love to hate.1 This might be partly because she is one of the all too few women characters in Tolkien’s work, or the interest in her could be rooted in a widespread enthrallment with vampire stories. Women readers of Tolkien and writers of Tolkien fanfiction crave to read and tell a story from a female point of view. It is not impossible, in this case, that the readers’ interest in this character is more strongly based on gender and power than upon her ability to startle, frighten, or horrify.

Thuringwethil is described as female and a vampire; however, her nature is not explicitly named in the texts. Because of her ability to shift shapes, many speculate that she might be of the Maiar. We know that Melkor perverted Maiar to his will, best known among those being Sauron, and the texts state that there are numerous Maiar unnamed in the recording of the histories:

With the Valar came other spirits whose being also began before the World, of the same order as the Valar but of less degree. These are the Maiar, the people of the Valar, and their servants and helpers. Their number is not known to the Elves, and few have names in any of the tongues of the Children of Ilúvatar; for though it is otherwise in Aman, in Middle-earth the Maiar have seldom appeared in form visible to Elves and Men.2

The origins and exact type of being that Thuringwethil is cannot be found in the texts. We do know, however, that after the war between Melkor and the Valar, before the coming of the Elves, there remained in Middle-earth many hostile elements associated with the Dark Vala. One could assume that among those Sauron might not have been the only of the Maiar, but simply the greatest:

Nonetheless the Valar did not discover all the mighty vaults and caverns hidden with deceit far under the fortresses of Angband and Utumno. Many evil things still lingered there, and others were dispersed and fled into the dark and roamed in the waste places of the world, awaiting a more evil hour; and Sauron they did not find.3

Theodora Goss, Hungarian-American fantasy writer and lecturer at Boston University, noted that the fascination with vampire-like creatures dates to ancient times:

Tales about creatures resembling vampires have existed in various cultures, probably back to the beginning of human culture itself. Such creatures may be demons that suck blood or reanimated corpses. In the Sanskrit Baital-Pachisi, for example, King Vikram promises a magician that he will bring him a Baital, a spirit that animates dead bodies. He finds the Baital hanging from a tree like a bat.4

So the association of bats and vampires reaches into antiquity for its origins. Goss goes on to explain, however, that the "vampire as we know it comes primarily from Eastern European folklore, filtered through a long literary tradition."5

Vampire Thuringwethil and werewolves might have been a surprise to first-time readers of The Silmarillion, not expecting to find horror fiction tropes in Tolkien. But the Professor is unlikely to have looked to popular fiction or scary movies for his inspiration, but to one or another of numerous older traditions. Thuringwethil herself is described in The Silmarillion’s "Index of Names" as, "Thuringwethil ‘Woman of Secret Shadow’, the messenger of Sauron from Tol-in-Gaurhoth who took the form of a great bat, and in whose shape Lúthien entered Angband."6

Both Sauron and Thuringwethil take the forms of bats or vampire-bats in The Silmarillion. Thuringwethil is called "the bat fell"7 of Sauron: "She was the messenger of Sauron, and was wont to fly in vampire's form to Angband; and her great fingered wings were barbed at each joint's end with an iron claw."8

The mention of Thuringwethil in The Silmarillion is a small but compelling detail within one of the central stories of the Elder Days, the story of Beren and Lúthien. For nearly two years after Morgoth breaks the over four-hundred-year-long Siege of Angband with his surprise attack across the north of Beleriand in the Dagor Bragollach,9 the Noldor were able to defend the isle of Tol Sirion, which had been fortified by Finrod Felagund and was being held by Orodreth.10 But it fell at last to Sauron, who by then had become "a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, lord of werewolves."11 Driving out Orodreth and taking control of the isle, "Sauron made it into a watch-tower for Morgoth, a stronghold of evil, and a menace; and the fair isle of Tol Sirion became accursed, and it was called Tol-in-Gaurhoth, the Isle of Werewolves."12

When Beren sued Thingol for the hand of Lúthien, the King of Doriath demanded a Silmaril as a bride price. Beren then called upon Finrod Felagund to fulfill his oath sworn upon the Ring of Barahir13 to assist him in fulfilling his quest for a Silmaril, and Felagund joined him. Beren and Finrod were intercepted and fell, along with their small company from Nargothrond, into the hands of Sauron and were imprisoned in the pits of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Lúthien, however, intuited their dire situation, confirmed by her mother Melian the Maia, and determined that she would rescue Beren and his supporters on her own.14 After a series of adventures and misadventures, Lúthien is kidnapped by Celegorm and Curufin and taken to Nargothrond. Hindering her quest temporarily, this abduction gains her in the end the incomparable assistance of Celegorm’s famous Huan the Hound of Valinor.

Celegorm and Curufin imprison Lúthien in Nargothrond, "[b]ut Huan the hound was true of heart, and the love of Lúthien had fallen upon him in the first hour of their meeting; and he grieved at her captivity."15 Huan helps Lúthien escape her captors, and he carries her to the Isle of Werewolves, where Beren and Finrod are held captive. Although not in time to save any but Beren, Huan, with his strength and loyalty, and Lúthien, with her Maiarin powers, are able to defeat Sauron, who then abandons the isle in the form of a vampire in order to escape:

Then Sauron yielded himself, and Lúthien took the mastery of the isle and all that was there; and Huan released him. And immediately he took the form of a vampire, great as a dark cloud across the moon, and he fled, dripping blood from his throat upon the trees, and came to Tar-nu-Fuin, and dwelt there, filling it with horror.16

This point is where, lacking any explicit description of the death of Thuringwethil, that one must attempt to detect how she meets her demise. Lúthien basically tears apart and destroys Sauron’s fortifications and dungeons as she retakes the island of Tol-in-Gaurhoth. The anonymous author or authors of the brief biography of Thuringwethil on Tolkien Gateway plausibly deduce that she must have been slain either by Huan or in the collapse of the walls of the fortress of Minas Tirith on Tol-in-Gaurhoth.17

The next time we encounter any mention of Thuringwethil, it is in the context of Lúthien, at the suggestion of Huan, using the skin of Sauron's messenger bat as a disguise. Huan managed to salvage her bat skin or cloak and produces it later when it is much needed in order to enter into the halls of Angband and take the Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth:

By the counsel of Huan and the arts of Lúthien he was arrayed now in the hame of Draugluin, and she in the winged fell of Thuringwethil. Beren became in all things like a werewolf to look upon, save that in his eyes there shone a spirit grim indeed but clean; and horror was in his glance as he saw upon his flank a bat-like creature clinging with creased wings. Then howling under the moon he leaped down the hill, and the bat wheeled and flittered above him.18

One of the most dramatic mentions of Thuringwethil is chronologically the last--Lúthien’s impersonation of Sauron’s servant when she first attempts to gain admittance into the halls of Angband clad in the skin of the vampire bat. Lúthien appears before Melkor’s throne. Her disguise, which was good enough to get her that far, did not pass his inspection. When asked who she is, she replies:

'Thuringwethil I am, who cast
a shadow o'er the face aghast
of the sallow moon in the doomed land
of shivering Beleriand.'

And Melkor, no fool, for all his villainy responds:

'Liar art thou, who shalt not weave
deceit before mine eyes. Now leave
thy form and raiment false, and stand
revealed, delivered unto my hand!'19

Melkor might have seen right through that bat-suit, but Lúthien’s light magic is stronger than his dark in the end, and she and Beren steal the Silmaril. Such is the end of Thuringwethil’s tale, a discarded bat skin on the floor before Morgoth’s throne.




Works Cited

  1. For example, searches on 3 June 2016 show that of Archive of Our Own hosted 43 stories which included Thuringwethil and that the Silmarillion Writers Guild had an additional 14 works listing her as a character.
  2. The Silmarillion, Ainulindalë.
  3. The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of the Elves and the Captivity of Melkor."
  4. Goss, Theodora. Folkroots: Vampires in Folklore and Literature, Realms of Fantasy. Accessed 3 June 2016.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The Silmarillion, "The Index of Names."
  7. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  8. Ibid.
  9. Is the fourth of the great battles of Beleriand in the First Age, the Battle of Sudden Flame. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. The ring was given to Beren’s father Barahir when he saved the life of Finrod Felagund in the Dagor Bragollach. At that time, Finrod pledged to aid any scion of Barahir who presented him with this ring. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  14. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  15. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Luthien."
  16. Ibid.
  17. Tolkien Gateway, "Thuringwethil." 3 June 2016.
  18. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Luthien."
  19. The Lays of Beleriand, "Lay of Leithian," Canto XIII.



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Current Challenge

Proverbs

"To know a people's popular proverbs ... is to begin to know that people."
~Morton W. Bloomfield and Charles Dunn, The Role of the Poet in Early Society

Many of the cultures that Tolkien studied as an academic are known for their gnomic writings and especially their use of proverbs. Not surprisingly, his own writings are filled with sayings often interpreted as proverbs. Your task for this challenge is to do what scholars Bloomfield and Dunn suggest: Begin with a proverb and then write about what it shows about the people who preserved it. If you need some ideas, you can find thousands of proverbs from Tolkien's books on @TolkienProverbs!

Any story inspired by a possible proverb from Tolkien's books is acceptable for this challenge. You might show how proverbial wisdom inspires a young person to make a particular choice. Perhaps you'd rather explore the origins of the proverb: the person or event that inspired it. You might show a culture at a moment where they decide to continue following the wisdom of a particular proverb or to abandon it. Many are the proverbs and approaches that could offer inspiration for this challenge!

Challenges Revisited: Sibling Rivalry

Because the month of June falls partly under the sign of Gemini, this lighter challenge poses an AU question: If you could "fall" into Middle-earth, who would you choose as your sibling? Write an AU story where an original character--you!--tries to influence his or her canon sibling in some way or in which you choose a sibling to influence you. For example:

Quote of the Month

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
~ Winston Churchill

― Langston Hughes

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

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


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Around the World and Web

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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org 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.

Articles of Interest

Tolkien's Annotated Map Acquired by the Bodleian Library

An annotated map of Middle-earth discovered last year among books owned by the late Tolkien illustrator Pauline Baynes was recently auctioned to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. A library spokesman stressed the importance of maps to Tolkien's creative process. Read the article here.

Tolkien's MO in Writing - Reconstruction!

Promin-blog offers an intriguing take on J.R.R. Tolkien's writing methods, arguing that instead of the common view of some Tolkien scholars, "I think Tolkien was trying to reconstruct the ‘real’ (as possible) events and persons who later became archetypes for a wide array of cultures."

An Academic Tolkien Reader

A year of Tolkien-related research has yielded a list of Silmarillion scholarship for tumblr user veliseraptor, which she shares with interested readers in in a blog post. While not exhaustive, it offers pointers in particular toward topics like race and gender in Tolkien's works.

Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey: Tolkien Fan Fiction Community Demographics

Now that her Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey has concluded, Dawn Felagund has begun to crunch and share the data. A round-up of posts so far can be found on the SWG Community, with links to the introductory post, the writing and reading habits of participants, as well as age and gender. The most recent post on writing and reading habits as related to genre can be found here.

Ancalagon the Black: A Case Study

On tumblr, user Nolondil attempts to make sense of the largest of Tolkien's dragons, Ancalagon the Black, examining in-universe historicity and narrative models to consider whether his immense size was in fact consistent with the inner reality of Middle-earth. Read the post here.

Wrangling with Elwing, or Confronting My Own Sexism in Reading Her Story

At The Heretic Loremaster, Dawn Felagund puts her view of Elwing and her actions during the sack of the Haven under new scrutiny, in particular as related to the Sons of Fëanor and and the male figures like Dior and Eärendil surrounding her.

None Of This Is New: An Oral History of Fanfiction

Jordan West at The Mary Sue gives a brief overview over the historical predecessors of internet fanfiction and the implications coming with re-telling and re-mixing of stories as a mode of human storytelling in this essay. True to the title, Dawn Felagund also already considered the topic in a blog post on Heretic Loremaster in 2009.

Queer People Write Fan Fiction to See Themselves in Mainstream Culture

While not news to many readers and writers of fanfiction and participants in fandom communities, this article at The Slate examines the role of fanfiction as a queer space and its role in re-imagining our favourite stories.

Announcements

Tolkien Society Seminar 2016

The Tolkien Society Seminar 2016 will be held on Sunday 3rd July at the Hilton Leeds City. The Seminar this year will consist of a series of talks on the theme of Life, Death, and Immortality in Tolkien’s life and works. Find more information on the seminar's programme and booking here.

New York Tolkien Conference 2016

The New York Tolkien Conference is an annual conference celebrating the work of JRR Tolkien and the Inklings and takes place at Baruch College, New York, on Saturday July 2016. The 2016 theme is The Inklings and Science. Find out more at the conference website.

Return of the Ring - Proceedings of the Tolkien Society 2012 Published

The two-volume proceedings of the Tolkien Society's "Return of the Ring" conference held at Loughborough University during August 2012 have been published. The first volume focuses primarily on Tolkien’s life, examining the influence of war, philosophy, and religion on his mythology. The second volume is much more diverse, covering themes from medievalism and romanticism through to fantasy and modernity. Find out more about the contents of the two volumes here.

High Towers and Strong Places: A Political History of Middle-earth Published

TORn Library contributor Dr Timothy Furnish has just published the first of a two-volume analysis of JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth: High Towers and Strong Places: a Political History of Middle-earth. Furnish applies primary world analysis — political, cultural, social, and economic — to Middle-earth’s 7,000 years of recorded history. Read more here.

Remix Me Challenge - Signups are Open

Remix Me is a claims-based multifandom remix challenge where participants offer up specific stories they'd love to see remixed and claim the particular stories they want to remix. Find the schedule and Rules and FAQ, and refer to their Dreamwidth community for challenge-related updates.

M/M Rares Fic Exchange - Signups are Open

M/M Rares is an annual fanwork (fanfiction and fanart) exchange for rare slash pairings. Participants either write a fic at least 1000 words long or create an original work of art focusing on a slash pairing another participant has requested. As this is an exchange, creators receive a 1000+ word fic or original work of art featuring a slash pairing they requested in return. Click here for exchange information.

Hug Your OC Day

Rannadylin on tumblr proposes June 17 as Hug Your OC Day, to celebrate fandoms' original characters. The tag to participate is #hug your oc day, "the better to share the OC love and celebration and pamper our babies just a little".

RarePair Fest - Nominations Are Open!

The fifth round of RarePair Fest has opened nominations. The fest is to celebrate rare relationships in all fandoms. Canon or non-canon relationships are welcome. They may be slash, het, femslash, or any combination of the aforementioned. Find the nomination guidelines here and the FAQ here. Nominations close on June 14.

Calls for Papers

Literature of the Hidden and Fantastic

The conference is organized by The Honors International Studies Program at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and will take place on the UAFS campus in Fort Smith, Arkansas on September 23rd and 24th, 2016. Find more information on Literature of the Hidden and Fantastic on their website.

Potential speakers are free to explore any aspect of fantasy, including, but by no means limited to, criticism on works by fantasy authors, interdisciplinary approaches to the genre, and scholarship on fantasy theory. Critical, philosophical, historical, philological, theological, or pedagogical approaches are welcome.

We encourage work from institutionally affiliated scholars, independent scholars, and graduate students.

Contact email: dennis.siler@uafs.edu

The deadline to submit abstracts is Friday, August 5th 2016. Please send an abstract (max. 350 words) detailing your proposal for a 20-minute paper, and a brief biographical note, to the following address: Susan.Buchanan@uafs.edu

Mythgard Midatlantic Speculative Fiction Symposium

The Mythgard Institute at Signum University is pleased to announce the third annual Mythgard Midatlantic Speculative Fiction Symposium (known affectionately as MidMoot III) on September 24-25, 2016 at the University of Maryland at College Park. We are accepting proposals now for short presentations intended to foster discussion. Presentation topics are welcome in the following areas: Speculative Fiction, History of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Critical Approaches to Science Fiction and Fantasy, The Inklings, Contemporary Speculative Fiction Authors, The Interplay between Speculative Fiction and Other Literary Genres, The Future of Speculative Fiction.

To propose a paper, please submit a 100 to 200-word abstract that includes your name, email address, and academic affiliation (if any), along with the title of your presentation. Individual presentations should be around 15 minutes long, leaving an additional 15 minutes for discussion. so please plan accordingly. Abstracts should be sent to midmoot@mythgard.org by July 31, 2016. Acceptances will be sent by August 15. We look forward to hearing from you and hope you can enjoy the symposium with us!

Popular Culture Association: Tolkien Studies Area

This year's Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association conference will take place in San Diego, April 12-15, 2017. The Tolkien Studies Area welcomes proposals in any area of Tolkien Studies (the Legendarium, adaptations, reader reception and fan studies, media and marketing) from any disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective. Sessions are scheduled in 1½ hour slots, typically with four papers or speakers per paper session. Roundtables may have five-seven speakers.

For individual papers, please submit a title and 100-word abstract with a working bibliography. For roundtables or complete paper sessions, please submit titles and abstracts for all papers, along with a paragraph describing the central theme and the names of chairs, participants, and respondents (if any). For each participant, please provide a mailing address, institutional affiliation, and e-mail address.

For more information, see the PCA/ACA conference website or the Tolkien Studies at Popular Culture Public Group on Facebook. Submit all paper and panel proposals here.




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