Newsletter: May 2015

Table of Contents

SWG News

The SWG Is Turning 10!

Our 10th birthday on July 28 quickly approaches, and the SWG moderator team is busy planning what special events we are going to run in honor of this milestone birthday. We are pleased to announce the first special project that we will feature for our birthday celebration: birthday cards.

We all know people who make the Tolkien fandom a better place. In some cases, they are the authors and artists who have built upon Tolkien's world and given us new ways to see the books. But often they are the readers, commenters, beta readers, and friends who cheer us on and cheer us up, who help us find that quote we know is in the books, who read the most grammar-challenged of rough drafts, and who stay up late squeeing over a new idea or debating the finest of the fine points of canon.

It is true Tolkien tradition to give rather than receive gifts on one's birthday, and in that spirit, we plan to offer a series of customizable birthday cards to choose from and send to the people who make this fandom a wonderful place for you. We want to recognize the many ways that people participate in the Tolkien fan fiction community by offering many different choices. In order to make this possible, we will need help from artists, photographers, and volunteers who want to collaborate to create a selection of birthday cards. At this time, we are looking for the following:

Watch this space for more announcements as our birthday approaches!

Character List Additions and FAQ

We received a couple of requests from members to expand our offerings for "catch all" characters on the archive character list. These aren't specific characters in Tolkien's works but, rather, labels for the myriad other original, historical, mythical, and real-world characters that we create for our stories. Currently, we offer only Original Characters as a label, but since we received multiple inquiries about expanding our offerings this month, that suggests that writers and readers might find it useful to have more choices for how they can label their stories.

The Original Character(s) label will remain. In addition, we have added the following options to the archive character list:

Remember that all stories hosted on our archive must have a significant basis in The Silmarillion; please see our Silmfic FAQ if you need help determining if your story is eligible for the SWG, or email us at Beyond that, we accept Silmfic set in all genres and time periods, including crossover, historical fiction, and modern-day stories.

How do I know which character labels to include on my story?

Listing characters on your story is completely voluntary, and it's your call on which characters from your story you'd like to list or which of the labels above you'd like to use (if any). The function of the character list on stories is to help people find stories involving their favorite characters. When asking whether to include a character or not, you might want to ask yourself if someone looking to read a story about a particular character would want to find your story because it includes that character.

The new labels will necessarily create some overlap for some characters. For example, a story with an original female character could use the Original Female Character(s) label or the Original Character(s) label or both. Again, it is your call.

How do you determine which characters to add to the list?

We originally built the character list using the "Index of Names" in The Silmarillion. Therefore, all characters from The Silmarillion should already be on the list. However, many stories on our site use characters from other Tolkien works, such as The History of Middle-earth, Unfinished Tales, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings. Over the almost eight years of our site's existence, we've added many characters from these works as well, but it is possible that the character you need might not be on the list yet.

If you need a character added to the list, you can choose the Admin: New Character Needed option on the character list, and a moderator will contact you at the email address you have registered with the site. We check the site daily and generally respond within 24 hours, but if you don't hear from us within 48 hours, please send us a follow-up email. You may also email us at with the characters you need added to the list. In both instances, we will update the list and your story with the characters you requested, so you should not need to take any further action.

We will add characters to the master list if they appear in any of Tolkien's writings. This includes characters from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

We will not add characters to the master list if

New York Tolkien Conference

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The SWG will be represented at the upcoming New York Tolkien Conference, which will take place on June 13 at Baruch College. Oshun and Dawn will be presenting papers on the role of the sea and historical bias in Tolkien's books, respectively. We also hope other SWG members will be in attendance. If you plan on attending, please register soon; the conference is approaching its attendance cap of 150! For full details on the conference, please see the New York Tolkien Conference homepage. If you plan on attending, you must register for the New York Tolkien Conference here; admission is free (yes, really!), but you must be on the registration list or campus police will not allow you to enter the building. If you plan on attending, please email Dawn at; we may try to organize dinner or drinks after the conference if enough SWG members will be in attendance. At the very least, we SWGers can meet up at the conference!

The conference is also looking for volunteers and sponsors willing to donate to help keep the conference free and help produce the proceedings. As fans and academics alike can attest, conferences and conventions often come with a steep price tag, and it is admirable that the New York Tolkien Conference is keeping the conference free to make it accessible to as many people as possible. They are estimating their costs this year to be $3500, so if you can donate time or money to help keep the conference free and begin an annual tradition, check out the links above.

Welcome to Our New Members!

This month we welcome welnick73, Idunn, Skippy, theomniscientsociety, Scribe of Mirrormere, Castile181, quatrebras, Arien, Galadriel, paperbird42, xanderg, Raz Al Khil, sullhach, Menectrel, King Naugladur, killer_bunniez, and Olthaen to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild.

We hope you enjoy reading the stories, poems, and reference material, and listening to the podcasts you can find in our site. If something moved you or gave you food for thought, write a review to let its author know. If you are a writer, we hope to see you posting soon.

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

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

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

And Finally A Love Poem by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (1366 words)
Summary: In another dimension this is exactly what's happening: Fingon and Maedhros visit Nargathrond, and Finrod sees things he really doesn't want to.

Avenging Írissë by Scribe of Mirrormere [General] (1264 words)
Summary: After an unforgivable injustice, young Aredhel gathers her friends to plot on how to take down the king. A glimpse into Aredhel's childhood.

Face The Wind Alone by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (3795 words)
Summary: Finrod, Reborn, goes to visit Amarie, but isn't expecting the reaction he receives.

Fallen through the Cracks by Himring [Teens](1053 words)
Summary: On the Ice, Lalwen makes a disturbing observation... A crack solution (pun intended) to the problem of some of Tolkien's missing women. Crossover.

From The Wrack And Ruin by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (2655 words)
Summary: Fingon falls head over heels in love for the second time in his life.

Guest of the King by King Naugladur [General] (1334 words)
Summary: Eöl, the Dark Elf, receives an invitation from the Dwarves of Tumunzahar, aka Nogrod, for a feast. He goes as guest of the King. What awaits him there?

Harbinger by Keiliss [Teens] (3819 words)
Summary: “It feels like someone has a leash around the world and is pulling tight.” As Númenor sinks and the seas are bent, a storm lashes Lindon’s coast and Elrond has a vision of destruction.

In Flame Of Swords by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (1692 words)
Summary: Ninnachel fights, dies, returns to life.

In The King's Closet by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (1445 words)
Summary: Ninnachel has been called in to see Fingon again, and this time it's much less stressful an experience, for them both.

In The Planting Season by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (2789 words)
Summary: Fingon asks Ninnachel to take a letter to his son, and grants Ninnachel an unasked-for favour.

It Shall Be Cloudy Come Afternoon by Huinare [General] (4112 words)
Summary: As war presses in from the north, a woman of Cardolan meets a strange friend in the downs. Written during B2MeM 2015, responding to a prompt by Elleth for a gen or slash story involving Goldberry and the lady of the blue brooch (mentioned in Fellowship, "Fog on the Barrow Downs").

Like a Shooting Star, Leaping Skywards by Keiliss [Teens] (6953 words)
Summary: In the wake of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Galadriel has sent Amareth, a former friend, to guide Meril and her young son Gil-galad down the coast from Eglarest to Balar.

Memento Mori by My blue rose [General] (1372 words)
Summary: While sick with fever, Estel has a strange dream. Written for the March Teitho Challenge "Sickness".

Of Conversations and Stewed Rabbit by Makalaure [Teens] (1249 words)
Summary: "He had, above all, planned on avoiding Makalaurë, who had sent him five letters in the past month, imploring to meet him."

Once More, For the First Time by Elisif [Teens] (2900 words)
Summary: Maedhros and Fingon’s first attempt at re-establishing a sexual relationship after Thangorodrim and the challenges of that, for both of them.

Reprimand And Redress by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (2534 words)
Summary: Fingon must reprimand the unfortunate poet, but soon realises that the situation is somewhat more complicated.

Save One Good Thing by Amy Fortuna † [Adult] (1997 words)
Summary: In the wake of the Battle of Sudden Flame, Fingon finds himself isolated except for his son, and then has to make the hardest decision of his life so far.

Still In The Closet by Amy Fortuna [Teens] (1339 words)
Summary: In the midst of last plans before battle, Fingon and Maedhros discuss the complexities of gender, avoid the complexities of politics, and embrace the complexities of their dreams for the future.

The Council by Silver Trails [General] (1126 words)
Summary: What happens between the Kings in Aman after Manwë tells him that the Straight Road will be reopened?

The Greenbook of Tuckborough by Chiara Cadrich [Teens] (184275 words)
Summary: A tribute to Tolkien, with most of the exercices in style we owe him, but contradicting none of his writings: an adventure starting on a porch in the Shire, hobbits, giants, dunedain, goblins, elves, ents, trolls, eagles…, a visite to Imladris, an epic story about duty and fate, riddles,… and a ring!

The Loss of Tol Sirion (Apr 1, 2015) by Uvatha the Horseman † [Teens] (1989 words)
Summary: Sauron battles Luthien the great hound Huan for Tol Sirion and loses everything but the shirt on his back. No, make that everything.

The Old Maid's Tale by Elleth [Teens] (3276 words)
Summary: Tar-Míriel takes on a new handmaiden, and tells her part in the history of Númenor.

Until the Rain Stops by Elisif [Teens] (2517 words)
Summary: At a difficult stage in his life, a stranger appears at Ludwig van Beethoven's door.

Works in Progress

A Reunion in Dor Dínen by Scribe of Mirrormere [General]
Summary: As the host of Noldor make their way to Middle-earth, a reunion takes place in Dor Dínen.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Amid Varda's Halls by Scribe of Mirrormere [General]
Summary: A glimpse into Aredhel's childhood, when she beheld the stars in their true splendor for the first time.
Chapter added this month: Amid Varda's Halls.

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: I shall not look on your white walls again (Huor, Rian, Hurin, Morwen).

Bloody silmarils by Dilly [Teens]
Summary: In Gondolin, Turgon is depressed...
Chapter added this month: Women's rights.

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: Bring on the Dancing Nazgirls!, Echoes of an Unquiet Past and We Make a Good Team .

Code Red by Scribe of Mirrormere [Teens]
Summary: Aredhel runs into trouble after leaving Gondolin. Luckily, she is prepared. The Walking Dead fusion/zombie AU.
Chapter added this month: A Grey Matter.

Jewels by Silver Trails [Teens]
Summary: This is a series of short stories about the making of the Silmarils and the effect this had on the members of the House of Finwë.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 3, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5.

Maudits silmarils : maudits bonus du livre 1 by Dilly [Teens]
Summary: Bonus nawak à "Maudits silmarils".
Chapters added this month: What is best in life, L'Appel, La braguette and Le chagrin d'amour.

Prelude to Code Red by Scribe of Mirrormere [Teens]
Summary: A scene which takes place before the events of Code Red. Aredhel, bored during their journey to Dor-lómin, stumbles across a terrifying sight. Written for Legendarium Ladies April 2015.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Saving King Thràin by Chiara Cadrich [Teens]
Summary: Gandalf enters the fortress of the Necromancer.
Chapters added this month: Resting in Rhosgobel and Dol Gûldur.

Some Futile Hope by Friendsheyho [Teens]
Summary: It is the Second Age of Middle-earth. Sauron is regrouping, the Rings are being forged, the Numenorians are beginning their descent into madness, and Glorfindel has been sent back to Middle-earth for...for what? Only time will tell, and when it does, all of Middle-earth will rise up to fight.
Chapter added this month: Part Two: Chapter Nine.

Strangers in a Strange Land by My blue rose [General]
Summary: “It is said that Amandil set sail in a small ship at night, and steered first eastward, and then went about and passed into the west. And he took with him three servants, dear to his heart, and never again were they heard of by word or sign in this world, nor is there any tale or guess of their fate.” This is the tale of what happen to Amandil’s embassy.
Chapter added this month: Chapter One: Departure.

The Exiles by Silver Trails [General]
Summary: Círdan and Eonwë return to Middle-earth in search of the Elves and Maiar that remain there. This is the third fic in my AU arc: The Straight Road
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

The Golden and the Black by Amarie Vanyarin [Teens]
Summary: Glorfindel is not the only one of the rebodied to be sent by the Valar back to Middle Earth. After being mired in the Halls of Mandos for six millenia, Maeglin is sent back as well, though it is uncertain how much he welcomes the move. Especially as Iluvatar has decreed that the dark soul of the traitor of Gondolin be rebodied as an elfmaid. A story of redemption and of love.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 31: Last Days in Imladris.

The Maia and the Aulendili by Huinare [General]
Summary: It seems likely that a Maia of Aulë would have been on friendly terms with Mahtan's household. Most of the time. Curumo and four generations of one family.
Chapters added this month: The Palantír and The Spike.

The Family We Choose by Ilye [General]
Summary: As the Exiles return to Valinor after the War of Wrath, Anairë discovers that you can choose your family as well as your friends.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Unbroken by Olthaen [Teens]
Summary: Beleriand stands upon the edge of strife. After his home was razed, an elf finds himself entrusted with a secret that could destroy his family. Far away, another elf-maiden awoke after a massacre, challenged to overcome her fear and find herself. Set across the years of the First Age, the tale entwines the threads of courage, friendship and love.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1: Prologue, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4: An interlude, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6.

Where the Ocean Meets the Sky and the Land by StarSpray [Teens]
Summary: Eärendil has gone sailing again--the time through the skies--and Elwing is left to find a place for herself in Valinor, while the Valar prepare for war.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Worse Than That by Elisif † [Adult]
Summary: Fingon rescues Maedhros from Thangorodrim, in all its awful detail.
Chapter2 added this month: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Short Works

A Day in the Life of a Second Son by Makalaure [Teens] (709 words)
Summary: Maglor is used to being something of a punching bag by now.

Hour of Departure by StarSpray [Teens] (817 words)
Summary: Uinen was crying out on behalf of the Teleri, though Ossë and Ulmo remained silent.

The Doggerland Skull by Huinare [General] (868 words)
Summary: Two academics discuss a recently-excavated prehistoric skeleton.

The Straight Road by Silver Trails [General] (412 words)
Summary: Manwë summons the other Valar to the Mahanaxar

Twilight at the Sarn Athrad by King Naugladur [General] (918 words)
Summary: You are more or less familiar with the Elvish version of the Battles of Thousand Caves and Sarn Athrad. Here, you will see the story from a Dwarvish perspective.

What if Aegnor was Caranthir's soulmate? by Silver Trails [Teens] (545 words)
Summary: Caranthir is out of the Halls and Aegnor comes to see him. A What if Fic


Fragment: In the long days of Darkness by losselen [General] (264 words)
Summary: A fragment of a poem for Ancalimë, from a poetess who loved her.

Tevildo's Lament by Agelast [Teens] (651 words)
Summary: After his humiliation at the hands (and paws) of Lúthien and Huan, Tevildo decides to strike out for himself and has advice for young cats everywhere. [Poetry.]

Twenty Two Words by Amy Fortuna [Adult] (380 words)
Summary: Bilbo struggles to understand some of the words in a poem he's found.

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Character of the Month Biography

Beregar of Númenor


Little is known of Beregar aside from the fact that he is the husband of Núneth and father of Erendis.1 One is accustomed to read the histories of women who are only referenced in relation to the men in their lives: "Women are often mentioned only as the 'wife of' or 'mother of' some more historically significant figure."2 Tolkien is no exception in this regard. However, Beregar is one of the few male characters who is significant largely in relation to the role his daughter and granddaughter play in the history of Númenor.3 Another claim to fame for Beregar is the fact that his only grandchild, Tar-Ancalimë, the daughter of Erendis and Tar-Aldarion, becomes the first Ruling Queen of Númenor in 1075 of the Second Age.4

Beregar's daughter Erendis is exceptional in her dismissive attitude toward men, an attitude that she passes on to her daughter Ancalimë. It seems unlikely from the narrative of Aldarion and Erendis that his daughter learned this attitude from Beregar or her mother Núneth. He may have hoped she would accept the suit of Aldarion, the heir to the throne, but he does not seem a particularly overbearing father in the context of the time and place. Erendis, however, colorfully expresses her opinion of the male sex.

Men in Númenor are half-Elves (said Erendis), especially the high men; they are neither the one nor the other. The long life that they were granted deceives them, and they dally in the world, children in mind, until age finds them – and then many only forsake play out of doors for play in their houses. They turn their play into great matters and great matters into play. They would be craftsmen and loremasters and heroes all at once; and women to them are but fires on the hearth – for others to tend, until they are tired of play in the evening.5

This appears to define more the royalty in Armenelos than it does her father. But one does not receive enough information to say for certain if she is reacting to what she sees in the courtly circles around the King and his family because she was raised differently, or if Beregar also fits this description.

Beregar was highly regarded by the Númenórean royalty. In the narrative of the deeds of his daughter and her royal spouse, we learn that Erendis does not consider her family to be a high-ranking one in Númenórean society. When Erendis notices that Aldarion is drawn to her, she considers her family to be unequal to his in stature.

In those days there was no need, by law or custom, that those of the royal house, not even the King's Heir, should wed only with descendants of Elros Tar-Minyatur; but Erendis deemed that Aldarion was too high.6

Aldarion does not hold this position, and Beregar indeed was high enough to have been invited to festivities hosted by Tar-Melentur in Armenelos, along with great dignitaries and royalty.

To the feasting in Armenelos came one Beregar from his dwelling in the west of the Isle, and with him came Erendis his daughter. There Almarian the Queen observed her beauty, of a kind seldom seen in Númenor; for Beregar came of the House of Bëor by ancient descent, though not of the royal line of Elros, and Erendis was dark-haired and of slender grace, with the clear grey eyes of her kin.7

Aldarion and Erendis discusses the economic differences between the trading centers and ship-building centered in Rómenna and "the wool production in the Emerië, where were rolling downs of grass, and it was the chief place of sheep pasturage."8 Perhaps it is not an unreasonable speculation to opine that the father of Erendis might become a wealthy man with his northern and western connection. This might have been his overture into the circles of governance centered in Armenelos and Rómenna. We are not told why he is welcome in the environs of the King's court with his small family or why the Queen takes Erendis under her wing. The north of the country was known for its wool and its timber, so the needs of a consumer society centered around the court in the south may have meant markets and money for citizens like Beregar, who had access to this potential wealth. This is, of course, purely hypothetical. In any case, the point is clearly made in Aldarion and Erendis that Beregar did not share the noble blood of Elros son of Eärendil. Still the King entertained him and his family, and Beregar's status was such that Aldarion courted Erendis, with the approval of his parents.

Beregar descended from the House of Bëor, which is certainly not without its heroes and heroines. Beren, the spouse of Lúthien, hails from the House of Bëor, as does Morwen Eledhwen. Erendis is said to resemble Morwen in her beauty: "[n]one were more fair than Erendis, and they said that her eyes were bright as were the eyes of Morwen Eledhwen of old."9 More than once, the point is made that Beregar's daughter resembles his antecedents of the House of Bëor.

The Men of that house were dark or brown of hair, with grey eyes; and of all Men they were most like to the Noldor and most loved by them; for they were eager of mind, cunning-handed, swift in understanding, long in memory, and they were moved sooner to pity than to laughter.10

These people of the House of Bëor settled in north of the star-shaped island, in the part bordering on the sea called the Westlands. The region of the country whence Belegar hailed held resources that were much in demand in the south.

The chief and most ancient road, suitable for wheels, ran from the greatest port, Rómenna in the east, to the royal city of Armenelos . . . and this road was early extended to Ondosto within the borders of the Forostar, and thence to Andúnië in the west. Along it passed wains bearing stone from the Northlands that was most esteemed for building, and timber in which the Westlands were rich.11

Beregar's name is rooted in Sindarin, which also would have been his birth language in the Westlands.

Elsewhere, in a note on the languages of Númenor, it is said that the general use of Sindarin in the north-west of the Isle was due to the fact that those parts were largely settled by people of 'Bëorian' descent; and the People of Bëor had in Beleriand early abandoned their own speech and adopted Sindarin.12

Perhaps the single most interesting fact about Beregar's origins and what they foreshadow is that his roots are in the part of Númenor that gives rise in later years to the Faithful or Elendili (Quenya for "Elf-friends").13

On the one hand was the greater party, and they were called the King's Men, and they grew proud and were estranged from the Eldar and the Valar. And on the other hand was the lesser party, and they were called the Elendili, the Elf-friends; for though they remained loyal indeed to the King and the House of Elros, they wished to keep the friendship of the Eldar, and they hearkened to the counsel of the Lords of the West. Nonetheless even they, who named themselves the Faithful, did not wholly escape from the affliction of their people, and they were troubled by the thought of death.14

So, while in his lifetime, Beregar may have been considered, or even considered himself, less than the rulers in Armenelos, he hailed from that same part of the island that gave birth to the surviving loyalists to the Eldar, the Lords of Andúnië. His traditions and his heritage hold the roots of the Faithful.

Works Cited

  1. The Unfinished Tales, The Mariner's Wife, Aldarion and Erendis.
  2. Mona Holmlund and Gail Youngberg . Inspiring Women: A Celebration of Herstory. Saskatchewan, Canada: Coteau Books, 2003.
  3. See Erendis, the Mariner's Wife.
  4. The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, Appendix A, "Annals of the Kings and Rulers, I – The Númenórean Kings, (i) Númenor.
  5. The Unfinished Tales, The Mariner's Wife, Aldarion and Erendis, "The Further Course of the Narrative."
  6. The Unfinished Tales, The Mariner's Wife, Aldarion and Erendis.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of Men into the West."
  11. The Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor."
  12. Ibid.
  13. The Silmarillion, Akallabêth.
  14. Ibid.

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Current Challenge

Crime and Punishment

Throughout The Silmarillion, we see glimpses of justice, crime, and punishment in action. This challenge asks writers to tackle these topics head-on. Perhaps you want to write about a canonical incident that involves topics related to crime and justice: the imprisonment of Melkor, the exile of Fëanor, or the murder of Saeros. You could also approach the challenge by exploring how a group or culture handled crime and punishment. This challenge also begs for mystery fiction, in which characters investigate and solve a crime.

Challenges Revisited: The Circle of Life

Although the circle of life is something that we all witness and experience, in Tolkien's world, the life spans of several races run a different course. From conception to death, the peoples of Middle-earth all take different courses. The elves are bound to Arda and will only perish once Arda ends. Men, on the other hand, are gifted with death and go beyond Arda. The fate of Dwarves is a fascinating one:

The Dwarves add that at that time Aulë gained them also this privilege that distinguished them from Elves and Men: that the spirit of each of the Fathers (such as Durin) should, at the end of the long span of life allotted to Dwarves, fall asleep, but then lie in a tomb of his own body, at rest, and there its weariness and any hurts that had befallen it should be amended. Then after long years he should arise and take up his kingship again.
-Tolkien, The Peoples of Middle-earth, page 383

We would like to challenge you to write a story that addresses the question of life, (im)mortality and reincarnation, or re-embodiment.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Quote of the Month

"To go wrong in one's own way is better then to go right in someone else's."
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

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.

"Tolkien's 'Perfect' Elves" by Esteliel

Our own Esteliel takes on the idea that Tolkien intended his Elves to be perfect and the favorite of Ilúvatar's children in her essay Tolkien's "Perfect" Elves. Meticulously referenced, this essay makes a case against a common reading of Tolkien's texts.

Michael Drout: "Reflecting on Ruins"

In October 2013, Tolkien scholar Michael Drout gave a lecture at Carnegie Mellon University on "How to Read J.R.R. Tolkien" out of personal reminiscences, a discussion of the features of oral tradition, and images of stone and textual ruins. This layering of past and present is a feature of the Old English literature that Tolkien loved and studied professionally. Watch the Michael Drout lecture as part of Anna Smol's "Talks on Tolkien" series.

Fanfic, Fanfic, Fanfic

As fan fiction has become "more mainstream"--meaning that people outside of fandom now know that it exists--adapting to more scrutiny from outsiders can be challenging. Undie Girl of The Geekiary asks Why Is It So Hard to Talk about Fanfiction? and considers what happens when outsiders try to respond to fan fiction. During April, fandom got up in arms over possible-fic-theft-but-actually-a-phishing-scheme, but the idea that companies may want to steal and profit on our writing seems less remarkable than it might have five years ago. Writer Justine Manzano tackles Four Misconceptions about Fanfiction that are often heard as the genre gains attention. And fan fiction in The New Yorker?? I suppose we have gone mainstream.

And for fanfic insiders, check out these posts on perennially controversial topics: Charlotte Frost on AO3 kudos, Jae on content warnings, and Jordan West on writing diversity in fanfic.

"The Silmarillion Project": An Illustrated Silmarillion by Aaron Diaz

Author and artist Aaron Diaz provides a weekly illustration from The Silmarillion in the visually stunning Silmarillion Project. In his own words: "It’s a side project I do in my free time to create a painted illustration to accompany every chapter in J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion, as well as provide supplementary illustrations to round out the characters and world in general. My motivation is to create a Middle-Earth visually unique from the style of the Peter Jackson films. I like the movies, but I miss the days when there was more diversity and interpretation to Tolkien illustrations. A second motivation is to provide a greater representation of women and people of color in the narratives."

Vintage Illustrations from The Hobbit

On the subject of Tolkien-inspired art and illustration, Maria Popova's article Vintage Illustrations for Tolkien's The Hobbit from Around the World in Brain Pickings includes a collection of illustrations by Tolkien himself, as well as several international artists. The array of styles predicts the range of interpretations of Tolkien's texts by fan artists today.

Tom Shippey: "Politics in Tolkien: What We Can Learn From Hobbits"

Presented on 15 April 2015 at the Arizona State University, noted Tolkien scholar Tom Shippey considers politics, a word that Tolkien never even uses in his books. From the lecture summary: "Maybe silent politics is the best kind to have. In this lecture Professor Shippey, a noted commentator on Tolkien, modern fantasy, and modern reflections of the medieval world, considers matters which politicians have forgotten, turned their backs on, or taken for granted. In the hobbits’ Shire, and the wider world of Middle-earth which surrounds it, he sees both wisdom and warning." Watch "Politics in Tolkien" on YouTube.


Fandom Aid: Raising Money for Nepal Earthquake Relief

The community Fandom Aid is raising money for organizations assisting with relief efforts following the devastating 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal last month. The community offers buy-it-now options, an auction, and a place to request fanworks in exchange for a donation to a relief organization. The Great Hall of Poets, April Edition

April was International Poetry Month, but it's not too late to check out some Tolkien-themed poetry: TORn's Great Hall of Poets has released their April poems! And, yes, the Great Hall of Poets does accept submissions.

Love Your Fic Writers (and other creators as well!)

Tumblr user listentotheshityousay has declared May a month of appreciation for fanworks creators and fandom in general! Check out the daily themes for Love Your Fic Writers (and other creators as well!) this month if you need an excuse to show some fannish love.

Femslash Survey

Fandom researcher KBS is requesting femslash fans to help out with a survey about femslash and fandom. The survey is anonymous and all questions are optional.

Mythgard Institute: Summer Courses on Tolkien's Poetry and the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

The summer courses for the Mythgard Institute are now available. Tolkien's Poetry, taught by Professor Corey Olsen, explores Tolkien's poetic corpus. Dr. Amy Sturgis is also teaching a course on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The last day for registration is May 3.

If you've never taken a Mythgard course before, these are online courses that can be taken for Master's credit or audited. There are weekly readings and video lectures for all students, and students taking the course for credit also have a weekly preceptor session and papers. The Mythgard site contains more information about the courses and the experience of being a Mythgard student.

Mythgard Academy: Free Course on The Book of Lost Tales 2

The Mythgard Academy has completed their free, ten-week online course about The Book of Lost Tales 2, so be sure to check out ten weeks of podcasts on the book if you haven't already. The Mythgard Academy hosts regular courses for free about popular fantasy and sci-fi novels, as well as free guest lectures by fantasy and sci-fi scholars, so stop by to learn more about their upcoming events and watch this space for more on their offerings in Tolkien studies.

Surveys Galore!

Want to help some academic researchers better understand Tolkien fandom in the 21st century? Two big survey projects are ongoing in an effort to collect data and learn more about our fandom. Dawn's Tolkien fan fiction survey collects data on the habits, beliefs, and preferences of Tolkien fans who participate in reading and/or writing fan fiction. The World Hobbit Project is run by a team of media studies researchers who hope to glean more information on how audiences perceived the recent Hobbit films. Each survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Calls for Papers

Silver Leaves. Silver Leaves welcomes artwork submissions, and all academic, journalistic, reflective, and creative submissions pertaining to music in Middle-earth and fantasy music in general. There is also limited room for creative and non-fiction submissions relating to Tolkien's works, or to other fantasy works, which may fall outside of the theme of Issue 6. The deadline for all submissions is May 15, 2015. See the full Silver Leaves submission guidelines here.

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