TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: May 2011

Table of Contents


SWG News

Summer Project: Site Redesign

Earlier this month, we announced that one of the summer tasks that we will be tackling is the redesign of the site. Our intention is to revamp our looks in a way that will not affect the functionality of the site or change the goals of the present design: to be as accessible and as easy to use to as many of our users as possible. We will always choose functionality over flashiness. In addition, the current layout will continue to be available on the archive portion of the site for members who wish to use it.

As we begin to make preliminary decisions about our new design, we are very keen to receive our members’ suggestions. We want to hear what works for you in the current site design, as well as your suggestions for what we could change to make the new design better. A lot of people have already given us their input and opinions but everybody counts, so don’t hesitate to tell us about your likes (and dislikes, of course) at the LJ thread about our redesign goals or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

Summer Project: Art Gallery

We have always sought to include the Tolkien art community in our group as much as possible but, unfortunately, this has often been limited to participation in special events. This summer, we hope to expand artists' opportunities to participate in the SWG by adding a gallery to the site where our artists will be able to share their Silmarillion-related artwork.

As part of the opening of the gallery, we will be featuring an Artist of the Quarter. The Artist of the Quarter will provide artwork for the banner on our website, where currently we have the group logo. This will be the single graphic on our main pages after the site redesign.

SWG on Dreamwidth

Dreamwidth users can now share their Silmarillion-based writing and art or post discussions related to The Silmarillion on our Dreamwidth community! The Dreamwidth community will be run in the same way that our LiveJournal community has been run for the past six years.

Library of Tirion

We sincerely hope you’re enjoying the stories that we have been adding to the Library of Tirion. Many people have given us their suggestions and the authors we have contacted – even if they had left the fandom years ago – responded fantastically to our requests. Have you remembered another author whose work you’d like to see in our Archive? You can either email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org or use the Library of Tirion request form.


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New at the Archive

Works written for B2MEM 2011

B2ME Day 30 - Leaving or Returning Home by Erulisse [General] (100 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 30 - Leaving or Returning Home. Homecoming in a true drabble.

B2ME Day 31 - Stupidity by Erulisse [General] (150 words)
Summary: B2ME Day 31 - Stupidity. Stupid is as stupid does.

Elwing Speaks of Sons by Adonnen Estenniel [General] (115 words)
Summary: Elwing foresees the fate of her children.

Folly by SurgicalSteel [Adult] (272 words)
Summary: For the B2MeM 2011 Challenge: Day Thirty-One: Valinor "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."- Friedrich Schiller
Write a story or poem or create artwork that illustrates this quotation. Could the downfall of Númenor have been prevented had the Valar acted differently?.

Laurië Lassi – Golden Leaves by Esteliel [Teens] (8149 words) Complete.
Summary: Glorfindel's past, from his youth in Aman to his death at Cristhorn and his eventual return to Middle-earth. A collection of drabbles and small ficlets written for Back to Middle-earth Month 2011.

Marta's Mathoms - BMEM 2011 by Marta †[Teens](16468 words) Incomplete
Summary: A series of stories written for Back to Middle-earth Month 2011.

Spring Cleaning by Russandol [General] (1364 words)
Summary: Manwë and Varda get ready for a celebration at Ilmarin, their halls upon the peak of Taniquetil. Written for B2MeM 2011, Day 31: Valinor.

The Book of Short Tales by Lyra [General](5696 words) Incomplete
Summary: A place to store short ficlets and challenge responses that don't really warrant being archived on their own.

Completed Works

Heart Song by Erulisse [Teens] (1223 words)
Summary: Originally composed for HA's Nazgul of the Month Forum - April - Elrond the Bard, I wrote this story featuring a young Elrond learning about love and loss.

The Leavetaking of Arwen by Anna_Wing [General](3571 words)
Summary: In which the Queen of Gondor and Arnor makes a decision.

Works in Progress

Ambarussa by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: Did Amras really die when Fëanor and his sons burned the ships in Losgar?.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11.

Burning Bright by by Keiliss [Adult]
Summary: The outbreak of war in Eregion and the hiding of the Rings of Power as experienced by a musician, a lord with an agenda set beyond the sea, an exiled princess and an elf with an uneasy conscience. Cameos by Durin the Deathless and Annatar, the Giver of not always welcome Gifts.
Chapter added this month: Part 6/12.

Chasing Mirages by Russandol [Adult] †
Summary: A 'what if' tale of darkness, light, love and betrayal over the Ages of Eä.
Chapter added this month: Time (This chapter fits two prompts of B2MeM 2011.).

Elegy for Númenor - Volume 1: Journey to Umbar by elfscribe [Adult] †
Summary: Chronicles the last days of Númenor from the time Sauron "surrenders" to Ar-Pharazôn to the fall of the empire. Love, lust, greed, betrayal, fate, and heroism all combine into an epic story with many characters.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 20 - Rude Awakenings.

Full of Wisdom and Perfect in Beauty by Gadira † [Adult]
Summary: The History of the Downfall, from Ar-Sakalthôr´s accession to Ar-Pharazôn´s Armada. Long saga. (Rating for possible future transgressions).
Chapters added this month: Middle-Earth and The Heart of Darkness, Part I.

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND vol 2 by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: I had some difficulty deciding where to end the first volume, but I had as a jumping off point the sojourn of Hurin and Huor in Gondolin and the knowledge that they acquired there regarding the lore of the Eldar. This presents an opporturnity to delve into the past, as it where, and look deeper at some of the main protagonists in the form of back-story. Although it is not my intention to completely slow down this tale with a SHADOW OF THE PAST volume and I still don't quite know yet how I can contrive this to the reader's and my own satisfaction. However, the main thrust of this volume that is set 'in the present' will follow the arc of Hurin coming into his inheritance as Lord of Dor-Lomin and other events beside (eg. The Fall of Barahir.)
Chapters added this month: Chapter 2 and Chapter 3.

In Darkness Bound by Fiondil [Teens]
Summary: In the aftermath of the Darkening, three kings search for meaning in the midst of tragedy. One seeks absolution; another, vengeance, while the third merely endeavors to salvage what he can from the disaster and protect his people from future harm. All may find what they are looking for, though not necessarily in the way they expect, for, as always, the Valar have their own agenda. 
Chapters added this month: Chapter 61: Preparations for Departure, Chapter 62: Mission to Alqualondë , Chapter 63: Audience With Olwë, Chapter 64: Preparations Advancing, Chapter 65: Ingwë Alone, Chapter 66: Plots and Counterplots, Chapter 67: Persuasion Unavailing, Chapter 68: The Faring Forth and Chapter 69: A Deathness of Swans.

The Singer's Girl by Lady MSM [Teens]
Summary: Andril didn't mean to get involved in all this, really. Is it her fault that an exiled prince and his family are living two miles away from her village? And is it her fault she's got a weakness for talkative, musical boys? A sort of romantic dramedy..
Chapters added this month: Chapter 8 and Chapter 9.

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

Short Works

A Crash Course in History by Himring [General] (264 words)
Summary: Maedhros readsThe Lord of the Rings(the Imladris edition). In honour of Oshun, Biographer-in-Chief, on the occasion of her birthday. Fingon/Maedhros.

Flight by Erulisse [General] (105 words)
Summary: For Tolkien Weekly challenge, a drabble about dragons and the separation of loved ones.

Soul Brothers by Erulisse [General] (102 words)
Summary: At the Awakening, two brothers experience the good and bad about life on Middle Earth. A drabble for Tolkien Weekly - Fell Creatures-Orcs.

Poetry

Forest's Rulers by Erulisse [General] (84 words)
Summary: For Tolkien Weekly’s Fell Beasts Challenge - Spiders. Because it is National Poetry Month, I present a poem drabble for Spiders...

He of Hope and Despair by Adonnen Estenniel [Teens] (154 words)
Summary: The ever-faith of Gorlim son of Angrim marks the road to doom.

Valley of Twilight and Stars by Adonnen Estenniel [General] (131 words)
Summary: Nan Elmoth's trees look upon the love of two maids and their lords.

Elwing Speaks of Sons by Adonnen Estenniel [General] (115 words)
Summary: Elwing foresees the fate of her children.

Library of Tirion

Across the Sea by Alena [General] (12,566 words)
Summary: A lost young woman comes to Alqualondë with tales of pity and wonder, bringing hope, heartbreak, and most unexpectedly, the beginnings of healing.

Mighty Sword by lanyon [General] (3,350 words)
Summary: Turgon looks back.
First published: April 4, 2003.

Talking Hurts by Lipstick [Adult] †(9122 words)
Summary: Maedhros is rescued from Thangorodrim, Maglor tries to talk him back to sanity.
First published: September 20, 2003.

Under the Curse by Finch [General](32406 words)
Summary: The love of two fallen Elves: Maedhros and Fingon.
First published July 8, 2002.

When I Am Wise by Deborah Judge [General] (1685 words)
Summary: At the end of the First Age, Elrond and Elros must choose between mortality and immortality.
First published June 17, 2002.


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Character of the Month Biography

Arakáno

Oshun

Arakáno is a Noldorin elf, the sibling of some of the best known among his compatriots who left Valinor to pursue their ambitions in the land of their forbearers. He is said to be the youngest child of Finwë’s second son Fingolfin and his wife Anairë. Like her son Arakáno, Anairë is not mentioned by name in The Silmarillion. She is described in The Shibboleth of Fëanor, where she is designated as Noldorin: "Fingolfin's wife Anairë refused to leave Aman, largely because of her friendship with Eärwen wife of Arafinwë (though she was a Ñoldo and not one of the Teleri)" (1).

Arakáno, however, does follow Fingolfin and accompany his older siblings Fingon, Turgon and Aredhel to Middle-earth. In a footnote to The Shibboleth of Fëanor, Christopher Tolkien explains:

The third son of Fingolfin, Arakáno (Argon), emerged in the course of the making of the genealogies. A pencilled note on the last of the four tables says that he fell in the fighting at Alqualondë; this was struck out, and my father noted that a preferable story was that he perished in the Ice. It is curious that this third son, of whom there had never before been any mention, entered (as it seems) without a story, and the manner of his death was twice changed before the remarkable appearance here of 'the first battle of Fingolfin's host with the Orks, the Battle of the Lammoth', in which he fell. (2)

Arakáno was a character added late but much pondered, given that Tolkien is reported to have changed his mind at least three times about his final demise within his published notes. He first suggests that Arakáno dies at Alqualondë, later perhaps that he is lost on the crossing of the Grinding Ice, and finally, he is definitively described as dying in the newly inserted Battle of Lammoth. Said battle does not even exist in any of the narratives of the coming of the Noldor into Middle-earth and the accounts of the Battles of Beleriand in the published Silmarillion.

An interesting aside is that the text of The Shibboleth of Fëanor is a single typewritten document, with handwritten notations, the draft of which he produced after 1968 (3). Much fascinating information about the background, small descriptive details and names of the significant major characters among the Noldor is to be found there. One can only speculate how Tolkien might have incorporated much of the new and altered information into his existing, much older narrative. Despite its lack of smooth insertion, one can only welcome its existence since our knowledge of the exiled Noldor would be far poorer without it.

If the Battle of Lammoth had been inserted into the chronology of the Wars of Beleriand as recounted throughout The Silmarillion, it would fit between the Battle under the Stars (Dagor-Nuin-Giliath) of Fëanor and company against the advance forces of Morgoth and the arrival of Fingolfin’s company at Lake Mithrim. Or, perhaps, the re-write required would have been more extensive and the Battle under the Stars might have been reworked to include the presence of Fingolfin’s forces. This, of course, would have caused a need for alteration of a series of other elements in the overall storyline. In The Silmarillion, the Battle under the Stars and the death of Fëanor occur some significant period of time before Fingolfin and his host reach that area of North Beleriand.

In the account in the Grey Annals (XI.30) Fingolfin, after the passage of the Helkaraxë, 'marched from the North unopposed through the fastness of the realm of Morgoth, and he passed over Dor-Daedeloth, and his foes hid beneath the earth'; whereas in the present note his host was attacked in Lammoth 'at unawares as they marched southwards' (see the map, XI.182). (4)

As a separate military encounter, it is described as a pitched battle between the Orcs and Fingolfin’s host that Fingolfin wins. But not without losses and included among those is the life of his youngest son.

We are not given any hair or eye color for Arakáno, nor do we know if he was single or married. However, we are told that he “was the tallest of the brothers and the most impetuous” (5). The tallest is a common trope in Tolkien’s writing. Everybody is tall, taller or tallest. But more impetuous than Fingon, dragon slayer and single-handed rescuer of Maedhros from Morgoth’s realm? This reader would like to hear of the exploits which prove that Arakáno is more impetuous. Such over-the-top, bigger-than-life characterizations are probably one small part of the impetus for why some Tolkien’s fans adore the Noldor and others cannot stand them. There is a logic among some readers that villains, which is how they choose to see the Noldor, should not be so big, bold and beautiful.

Tolkien did what many good writers before him and since have done: taken flawed, ill-fated characters and invested them with human and, therefore, identifiable weaknesses but undeniably attractive virtues and gifts. He told his history of the Eldar within a universe of not a merciful Christian god or Christ-like figure, but fallible Valar who distinctly lean more in the direction of pagan demi-gods rather than angels of any Judeo-Christian tradition. Tolkien, like many great authors, John Milton among them (6), whether by conscious intent or not, has sparked a debate about the degree to which the history of his anti-heroes is a tragedy or a morality tale. For many readers, the former is more interesting than the latter. Critical readers are often drawn to complexity over simplicity, to shades of grey over black and white, especially when it comes to considering the human condition.

Arakáno becomes a more interesting figure if one is to imagine him as notably impetuous among his immediate family and fellow Noldor. Unfortunately, Tolkien did not live to develop Arakáno’s story and weave it into his more complete narrative, so his story as one receives it now is merely an introduction. Not even Christopher Tolkien is willing to second-guess which alterations to the bigger story might have been made to enable Arakáno’s character to fit comfortably within it.

Author’s note: Thank you very much, IgnobleBard, for a fast and dirty copy check on short notice.




Works Cited

  1. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor. Christopher Tolkien note 40.
  2. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  3. The Peoples of Middle-earth, Late Writings.
  4. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor. Christopher Tolkien note 40.
  5. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  6. For example, J.K. Rowling in her Harry Potter series, not to be compared to John Milton or Tolkien, often bemoans the fact that her character Draco Malfoy is so fascinating to young readers: “People have been waxing lyrical about Draco Malfoy, and I think that's the only time when it [a view of a character distinct from the one she intended] stopped amusing me and started almost worrying me. I'm trying to clearly distinguish between Tom Felton, who is a good-looking young boy, and Draco, who, whatever he looks like, is not a nice man” (MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling, July 16, 2005.) She may be an engaging writer but is clearly not a psychologist. Of course readers will be attracted to a complex young character with gifts and terrible flaws, particularly if those exist within a set of mitigating circumstances and there are choices made by the same character for good as well as evil.



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View all archived stories about Arakáno (Argon).


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Current Challenge

With a Bit of Fairy Dust

No matter on what continent you might be at this moment, both spring and autumn are times of change making you look at life and the world around you from a different perspective. So why can’t we look at The Silmarillion in a new way? This challenge gives you the opportunity to try and see how your favourite character would star in a fairy tale! Give it a try with the following fairy tale writing prompts as an example!

Unleash your imagination by looking at fairy tales of old and mix them with Tolkien's own Mythopoeia. Or make up your own fairy tales featuring your own characters or such stories told by your characters! There is a multitude of possibilities to explore and we challenge you to find one. No holds barred regarding your imagination, that this challenge about!

Challenges Revisited: Three Silmarils

Write a story of any length concerning one of the three quotes. You may--but do not have to--use the quote in the story if you'd like. Although all three quotes concern Fëanor, the quotes certainly apply to a broad range of characters, and your story may be about any character you choose.

If you're feeling extra ambitious, of course, you're welcome to do a series of stories involving all three!

Quote of the Month

Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work. Remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.
~ Daniel H. Burnham

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

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


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Around the World and Web

LotR Genfic Community: May Challenge--The Merrie Month of May

The May Challenge will have the theme "Merrie Month of May". Stories should be humorous in nature. The element for the challenge will be a starter sentence, which should be included in the text of the story (not necessarily as the first sentence). The May challenge stories will be due the weekend of Friday, May 13, and will be revealed on Monday, May 16. To request your element, please leave a comment to this post.

Teitho: May Challenge--Names

Our theme for May is "Names". Strider was known by many names, as was Gandalf. How did they get them? What did they mean? Perhaps other characters come to mind? Your story could also be about the impact of a name. Gondorians often bore names out of history. Boromir I received a Morgul-wound in battle. He died only 12 years into his Stewardship. Did our Boromir feel a 'shadow' from his naming? Did he share his trepidation with Aragorn or Legolas? What about choosing a name for a child? According to LACE, Elven infants sometimes received 'names of insight'. Is that how Legolas' name was decided? Perhaps it's about naming a fear. What fears do you think our heroes struggle to conquer – or to hide? As always, we look forward to seeing the tales you weave. Aragorn and Legolas do not have to be main characters, but at least one of them has to be mentioned. The deadline for this challenge is May 25th. The Teitho website has more information.

A Long Expected Contest (ALEC): May Challenge--A Mother's Love

May is a time when we traditionally show our mothers how important they are in our lives, or to remember how much we miss them if they are no longer with us. May's theme, therefore is to examine the many facets of the mother-child relationship. Deadline for entries is May 21. Please see the ALEC website for more information.

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

The 2011 MEFAs are quickly approaching! MEFA policy changes and a schedule for the new season have been posted. MEFA volunteers are also needed to keep the awards running smoothly.




Around the World and Web is provided for our members to inform them of events in the larger Tolkien community. SWG is not affiliated with and does not endorse the groups that we feature in Around the World and Web, and we are not responsible for content on sites outside of our own. Please use discretion and caution when visiting unfamiliar sites on the Internet.

Would you like to see your group or event featured on Around the World and Web? See our Promotions Page for more details or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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