Newsletter: May 2017

Table of Contents

SWG News

Changes to LiveJournal's ToS and How That Impacts Our Community

The SWG has maintained a community on LiveJournal since 2005. As many of you may have heard by now, LiveJournal--which was purchased by the Russian company SUP several years ago and moved its servers to Russia earlier this year--has changed its Terms of Service in some pretty major and disturbing ways. Many of these changes are directly contrary to the values of the SWG.

First and foremost, the new ToS obligates us to mark content that is "adult" according to Russian standards (where the recent Beauty and the Beast film was given the equivalent of an NC-17 rating for a few seconds of two men dancing together):

9.1.3. Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as "adult material" by using Service functions.

Now those of you who have been around for a while might remember that SixApart (the U.S.-based company that owned LJ before selling it to SUP) tried something similar with respect to adult content. Journals/communities or posts marked as "Adult" cannot be accessed by minors (and anonymous users must verify their age to access them). The difference is that 6A did not require users label content as adult. They reserved the right for the Abuse team to apply such a label if content was flagged. (Which I also didn't agree with but was several shades less bothersome than this rule, since the 6A rule came with no penalty.)

This one does:

10.3. The Administration shall not verify the compliance of Content and/or Users’ actions with the terms and conditions hereof and with the applicable laws; however, it reserves the right at its own discretion or upon the request received from the competent authority and/or the substantiated request by another entity without User’s prior notice, marked Content as an "adult material", take measures specified in clause 2.5 hereof and restrict the access to Blog/Community for certain Users.

2.5 Users breach hereunder may cause termination of his/her access to his/her Account or deletion of such an Account as well as full or partial deletion of the Content or suspension thereto without prior notice.

10.3 wields badly translated and garbled English grammar like a champ and is therefore hard to understand, but it seems to state that reports of "adult content" on a journal or community now allows LJ to delete that post or the entire journal/community.

This violates our values in two major ways. First of all, we have always trusted our members to decide for themselves what content they are comfortable reading. Likewise, we trust parents to decide what their minor children are mature enough to read. As such, while we provide authors the opportunity to rate or attach warnings to their work (or to label the work clearly if they prefer not to rate and/or warn), we have never restricted access to content based on our or anyone else's judgment of what is "appropriate" for a particular user to read.

Secondly and more importantly, we have never rated slash or femslash higher than gen or het works. And given Russia's dismal record on LGBTQ+ issues, to comply with their law, I can only presume that anything containing homosexual relationships would have to be marked as adult content, even if it contained no sexual content. As a mod team, this is deeply offensive to us and runs contrary to our values as a group that recognized the value and contributions of all of its writers and recognizes the dignity of all human beings, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Since we would not hold writers or stories with LGBTQ+ characters to different standards than we hold writers of heterosexual characters, this essentially forces us to label the entire LJ community as Adult.

My inclination as the founder and owner of this group is to refuse to follow the new ToS. It flies in the face of our group's values and, indeed, part of the reason the SWG even exists (considering the homophobic atmosphere in Tolkien fandom when the SWG was formed and my commitment to welcoming all Silmarillion stories, regardless of pairing, equally). However, this means that the posts or the entire community could be deleted, which is not a decision lightly undertaken.

This opens an additional question of what to do with the content on our LJ community. Our LiveJournal community (along with our Yahoo! Group) is the oldest SWG space. It is older than the website. It contains invaluable history from the early years of the SWG, as well as fanworks that may not be found anywhere else.

The SWG has maintained a Dreamwidth community for some time now. We decided, however, when we set up this community not to import LiveJournal posts into it. It seemed a violation of our members' rights to post their work on another site without their consent. Of course, at the time, our community did not face the threat of deletion. The circumstances have changed quite a bit.

Given the changes to the LJ ToS, we as a group have important decisions to make concerning this community. The mod team decided this was something that needed to be discussed and decided on by all SWG members and friends who wish to offer an opinion. After all, this is your community as much as it is ours.

We have two questions to settle:

1. Are we willing to comply with the new ToS, which would require labeling our entire community as "Adult" and would restrict access to our community by minors?

2. What, if anything, do we want to do as far as importing posts on this community to a backup on Dreamwidth? (Please note that users who do not want their posts on Dreamwidth could opt out of this, or contact us to delete their posts on DW at any time.)

Let me also be very clear about what we are not doing. We are not proposing to shut down our LiveJournal community. We are not encouraging use of the DW community over the LJ community by users who prefer LJ. Many people prefer LJ, and we hope to continue to offer a space here for those users.

Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey on these issues related to the new LiveJournal ToS. Both SWG members and non-members are welcome to participate, and you do not need to use the LJ community to participate. There is a space on the survey form for additional comments related to this issue.

If you have questions or would prefer to offer your feedback over email, you can reach our moderator team at We will collect survey data on May 15, 2017, so please participate before then. We'll post a reminder here on our website and on our social media satellites as that date approaches.

April/May Challenge: "A Woman’s Sceptre"

“Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.”
~ Mary Wollstonecraft

For this month’s challenge, each participant will receive a quote from a woman who has advanced the cause of women’s rights or participation of women in the arts. You may use any part or all of the quote. If you wish to participate in this month’s challenge, leave a comment on our LiveJournal or our Dreamwidth, drop us an ask on our tumblr, or email us at Challenge entries are due on our archive by May 10 to receive a stamp.

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!

Welcome to Our New Members!

A warm welcome from the SWG Moderators to newtonpage, Anna_Wing, mithrial, Isilloth and Laerthel, who joined the Silmarillion Writers' Guild during April.

We hope you have already begun reading, reviewing or posting at the archive, but if you are still exploring or unsure about how things work around the site, you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. Also, would you share a little bit about your fandom persona and what brought you to SWG by updating your bio? Anytime you need help, please contact the SWG mods at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Handful of Light by Zdenka [General] (1181 words)
Summary: If Míriel never married Finwë or had a child, if she put all her energy into her craft instead of giving birth to Fëanor . . . what might have happened?

Feanor, The World's Worst Son-In-Law (Apr 1, 2017) by Uvatha the Horseman [General] (6782 words)
Summary: In which the sons of Feanor watch funny cat videos on the Palantir

Golden Light by bunn [General] (7868 words)
Summary: "All his life, he would remember that moment: the silver bells of Hithlum greeting the rising sun, and then, as if in answer to the bells, voices raised in song, the voices of the Eldar, impossibly clear, impossibly beautiful. " In which Hador Lórindol comes to Hithlum, swears fealty to Fingolfin, and follows his lord to the end. And doesn't regret a thing. (Well, maybe that one embarrassing misunderstanding about the Feanorians....) Thanks to pp for beta reading.

Heritage by Lady MSM [General] (1035 words)
Summary: While on the road, Tuor tries to get directions, but gets something entirely unexpected instead.

In the Dark Mansion of the White Lady by just_jenni [Teens] (1294 words)
Summary: Before Aredhel decides to leave Eol she dreams about her first love. Written for the B2MEM 2017 prompt: "I love the silent hour of night,For blissful dreams may then arise, Revealing to my charmed sight, What may not bless my waking eyes." - Anne Bronte.

In Wisdom... by just_jenni [General] (1735 words)
Summary: Melian wrestles with her feelings about Elu Thingol and laments some of her decisions concerning the Doom that befell them.

Jewel of Hope by lindahoyland [General] (712 words)
Summary: Galadriel muses on the past and finds hope for the future.

Lake Helevorn by Silver Trails [Teens] (3780 words)
Summary: A few scenes in Thargelion, written for the game board Green Path of the B2Me2017 event.

Looking Up by Lyra [General] (1497 words)
Summary: Andreth muses on the present, the past, and a potential future. Contains incredibly unsubtle allusions to the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth and implications of character death.

Of the Coming of Fingolfin to Mandos and his meeting with Fëanor by bunn [General] (7328 words)
Summary: How *do* dead elves get to the Halls of Mandos anyway? And once they get there, what do they say to one another? Fingolfin could feel his temper rising, predictable, and yet he could not stop it. His years of kingship vanished in the mist. He was the younger, less talented, less cherished brother again, but one with a list of grievances that had grown very long. “What more did you want of me?” he said. “I gave my word. He is my father too, and he was king of all of us!"

Of the Last Alliance by just_jenni [General] (793 words)
Summary: Elendil and Gil-galad exchange their thoughts at the end of the seven-year siege before the Gates of Mordor.

Pride by just_jenni [General] (1533 words)
Summary:  Immediately after the darkening of Valinor, Anaire and Fingolfin have a conversation about Feanor.

Soldier by heget [Teens] (8843 words)
Summary: The story of the sixth companion of Finrod and Beren to die in the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

Stone and Light by Fernstrike [General] (644 words)
Summary: The Silmaril is set in the Nauglamir, and nothing good comes of it on either side of the ensuing conflict.

The Eight-Pointed Star by Tyelca [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (7945 words)
Summary: Short stories about the House of Fëanor for the Fëanorian Week. Day 1: Maedhros - After being rescued from Angband, Maedhros suffers from nightmares and has some dark thoughts. Day 2: Maglor - Maglor brings his new charges to bed, and wishes the Ambarussa had lived. Day 3: Celegorm - On their way to Nargothrond, Celegorm realizes he loves Lúthien. Day 4: Caranthir - Caranthir the Dark settles in Thargelion and meets first Haleth and later Ulfang. Day 5: Curufin - In the final moments before his death, Curufin reminisces. Day 6: Ambarussa - As revenge for Celegorm, Amrod and Amras assassinate Dior’s twin sons. Day 7 : Fëanor & Nerdanel - Fëanor intends to propose to Nerdanel.

The Ghost of Malice by just_jenni [Adult] (1272 words)
Summary: Sauron turns elves into orcs

The Wise and the Lovely by StarSpray [General] (594 words)
Summary: Melian knew even before she went to see her daughter that Lúthien was planning an escape from Hírilorn.

There Will Be Singing by StarSpray [Teens] (1125 words)
Summary: "So the great darkness fell upon Valinor. Of the deeds of that day much is told in the Aldudénië, that Elemmírë of the Vanyar made and is known to all the Eldar. Yet no song or tale could contain all the grief and terror that then befell." - Of the Darkening of Valinor

Under Bright Stars by just_jenni [General] (952 words)
Summary:  Finrod shares tales and songs around the fire with Beor's son Bregor.

Waste Paper by Himring [Teens] (1076 words)
Summary: Maedhros has been re-embodied and is living in Findekano's house in Tirion. But where is Nerdanel? Maedhros is suffering from the worst kind of writer's block. In some ways, it turns out, he is not so very different from his mother. [Now added: a fourth chapter]

Works In Progress

A Different Kind Of Peace by Tyelca [General] (5743 words)
Summary: During various moments in his life, Celebrimbor is forced to reconsider the meaning of peace.

A lasting anathema by Harnatano [General] (32591 words)
Summary: {Title changed because I have never been happy with the former one} 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. Curufin's pov. Canon based, more like a personal combination between the different versions given in HoME and the Silmarillion. 

A Song of Ice and Fire by My blue rose [Teens] (5320 words)
Summary: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ~ Leo Tolstoy. A non-chronological look at the early life of House Fëanor in Aman, from its various members. 

Don't Explain by Gwidhiel [General] (37024 words)
Summary: Galadriel's return to Aman prompts Indis to reflect on the state of her fragmented family and defunct marriage.

Excession by hennethgalad [Teens] (5603 words)
Summary: Celeborn falls under the shadow, and is drawn back to the light by Galadriel.

Feanor Never Planned to Fall in Love by Erulisse [General] (479 words)
Summary: I made an original artwork from charcoal and pastels for 2014's B2MeM. It was entitled "Feanor Never Planned to Fall in Love". Now, three years later, I have developed the story behind that picture. Here's the full effort - Feanor Never Planned to Fall in Love in illustration and text. 

Her Father's Daughter by Grundy [General] (2103 words)
Summary: Findis was the only one who stayed.

Of Eol & Aredhel by gamil-zirak [General] (24874 words)
Summary: This is the tale of Eol and Aredhel as told from a different perspective. Some may like it and others not so much. As the author I can only hope that many will read it. I hope you all enjoy the story.

Taking Readings II by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1255 words)
Summary: Anthology for short pieces that don't fit anywhere else.  Now posted: Last Light and First (Vana, OFC)

The Embalmer's Apprentice by Lyra [Adult] (133682 words)
Summary: Faced with the choice between execution or working on the preservation of dead people, young Azruhâr finds himself drawn into the increasingly political struggle between progress and tradition, science and superstition.

The Hammock of Finrod by hennethgalad [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (2910 words)
Summary: more of Laurëlot 

'the hidden paths' by hennethgalad [Teens] (1952 words)
Summary: Orodreth and Curufin in Nargothrond.

The Pavilion of Finrod by hennethgalad [Teens] (1911 words)
Summary: more of Glorfindel and Finrod

(the rings of) Power by just_jenni [Adult] (1459 words)
Summary: Celebrimbor laments, in confession style, the part he played in creating the Rings of Power.

The Robes. by hennethgalad [General] (2532 words)
Summary: more Laurëlot. Glorfindel and Finrod learn more about each other over breakfast.

The Seven Gates by Laerthel [Teens] (80387 words)
Summary: The long and weary road from the birth of the Union of Maedhros to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the downfall of the Sons of Feanor and the construction of the last Great Gate in Gondolin. (Canonical gap-filler with few liberties taken).

Short Works

A Bat's Tale by Lingwiloke [General] (408 words)
Summary: Even the mighty ones sometimes need help.

A Cloak of Magic by LadyBrooke [General] (200 words)
Summary: Thuringwethil was once an elf, and perhaps she will be again. 

The Greycloak's Foster-Sons by Kaylee Arafinwiel [General] (478 words)
Summary: Takes place after "The Fosterling Prince Arrives". Lord Brandir of Doriath (OC) - Oropher's maternal grandfather, Elu's foster-son, and royal loremaster, meets his new 'brother'.

The Weaver and the Broideress by Lingwiloke [General] (244 words)
Summary: Vairë's thoughts on a certain resident of the Halls of Mandos. (Written for the Tolkien Secret Santa 2016 on tumblr)

What if Lúthien Had Fallen for Celegorm? by Silver Trails [General] (338 words)
Summary: This is a "what if" fic I don't remember ever posting here. You could assume that Celegorm had a dream about this. =)


In Arda Fair by Tyelca [General] (292 words)
Summary: Two brothers and their thoughts about Arda.

Never Shall I See The Place by LadyBrooke [General] (127 words)
Summary: Never shall I see the place, Where Enel woke and Enelyë roamed.   A poem of a Sindar/Silvan elf in Valinor.

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Character of the Month Biography



Barahir is best known as the father of Beren One-hand (of the renowned couple Beren and Lúthien) and as the original recipient from Finrod Felagund of the famed Ring of Barahir. He was born in the 400th year of the First Age of Arda and died 60 years later. Although he eventually became the heir to the House of Bëor, Barahir was the last born of his parents’ children, inheriting his lordship from his older brother Bregolas, who preceded him as the third Lord of Ladros. Barahir and Bregolas had three sisters, Bregil, Hirwen, and Gilwen.1

Barahir married Emeldir, a formidable woman in her own right (more on her below), and she bore him his only child, Beren, later called Erchamion after the loss of his hand. She was also of the House of Bëor, but descended through the line of Belen, the second of Bëor’s sons, while Barahir traced his lineage to Balan, the first son of Bëor.2

The House of Bëor was to reach extreme importance in the future of Middle-earth. Bregolas was the great-great-grandfather of Eärendil, while Barahir was the great-grandfather of Elwing.

The House of Bëor and the Lords of Ladros

The House of Bëor is referred to as the First House of the Edain because their grouping comprised the first Men who left the area of Hildórien to make their way west into Beleriand.3 The progenitor of the House of Bëor, who was originally named Balan, received the name of Bëor as a vassal to Finrod Felagund and later was called Bëor the Old because of his long life.4 The people of the House of Bëor are said to have resembled the Noldor:

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.5

The people of Balan/Bëor were the first Men that Finrod Felagund met and befriended, the ones who learned to love and respect the son of Finarfin: "Felagund dwelt among them and taught them true knowledge, and they loved him, and took him for their lord, and were ever after loyal to the house of Finarfin."6 When Finrod after many years desired to return to Nargothrond, Bëor begged to follow him and lived out the rest of his life there.7 While Bëor’s descendant Boromir was head of their house in 410 First Age, Angrod and Aegnor gave the Bëorians the region of Ladros in Dorthonion.8 The people of Bëor remained there, continuing in their loyalty to Finrod Felagund until their dispersal in the violence and destruction wrought in the Battle of Sudden Flame.

The Dagor Bragollach

The Dagor Bragollach (translated from Sindarin as the "Battle of Sudden Flame") was the fourth battle of the Wars of Beleriand in the First Age. Galadriel refers to that series of conflicts called the Wars of Beleriand, along with others, in The Lord of Rings when she says, "together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat."9 One reads the history of the Dagor Bragollach with a sense of growing horror that this is to be a watershed moment not only for the House of Bëor but within the history of Middle-earth.

Up until that point, despite skirmishes, smaller battles, and a need for constant defensive alertness, the restive peace in the northern parts of Beleriand was held by the Noldorin lords and their allies against the forces of Morgoth. During that period, the lords of Noldor expanded their fiefdoms and formed alliances with the Sindarin in the north, as well as with the Men of the Edain moving into Beleriand from "the eastward regions of Middle-earth."10 The Noldor and those allied with them constructed and maintained defensive fortifications and largely held their borders against the forces of the Dark Lord. But this relative peace would not hold, as Morgoth had planned and prepared a surprise assault during the latter part of that period of relative quiescence. The paragraph describing that sudden devastating attack is among Tolkien’s most beautiful, suspense-laden pieces of prose. It is nearly impossible on this writer’s part to let pass the opportunity to cite it:

There came a time of winter, when night was dark and without moon; and the wide plain of Ard-galen stretched dim beneath the cold stars, from the hill-forts of the Noldor to the feet of Thangorodrim. The watchfires burned low, and the guards were few; on the plain few were waking in the camps of the horsemen of Hithlum. Then suddenly Morgoth sent forth great rivers of flame that ran down swifter than Balrogs from Thangorodrim, and poured over all the plain; and the Mountains of Iron belched forth fires of many poisonous hues, and the fume of them stank upon the air, and was deadly.11

This sudden offensive after nearly four hundred years of the Siege of Angband completely shattered the world of the enemies of Morgoth. Even with warning, it is likely there could have been no possible preparation which could have alleviated the wreckage wrought by that initial assault. Thus, many were lost—"and the foes of Morgoth were scattered and sundered one from another."12 But those who survived the initial fire storms and surprise attacks continued to fight:

During this 'fourth of the Great Battles, Dagor Bragollach,' for instance, the siege of Angband is ended by Morgoth's sweeping offensive, which scatters the Noldor as those elves who survive flee south or into the hidden land of Doriath. Two of Finarfin's sons, Angrod and Aegnor, fall in battle; Finrod himself is surrounded and saved only by the heroics of Barahir and his men, but all 'cut their way out of battle with great loss' (Silm 181-82).13

The lords of House of Finarfin and their dependent peoples bore the brunt of Morgoth’s fiery assault upon the Elves and Men to his immediate south—King Finrod Felagund’s younger brothers Angrod and Aegnor both died in the initial attack. Bregolas, lord of the House of Bëor, and a large part of his warriors were killed. Barahir, the brother of Bregolas, survived to take leadership of the House of Bëor. He returned to Dorthonion; however, most of his people fled from their homes and took refuge in the fastness of Hithlum.14

Barahir managed to hold Dorthonion against Morgoth’s relentless pressure until only twelve of his men remained. The last dozen included his son Beren, two nephews, and nine servants. Those stalwart survivors were hunted like beasts, hiding upon the moors.

His wife Emeldir, a fighter herself, would have liked to have remained with these few warriors, but the Bëorian women and children forced to abandon their homes and flee were in desperate need of a leader. Emeldir took up that role, and after great hardship and loss, she led them into the relative safety of Brethil. Because of her courage and leadership, she became known as Emeldir the Man-hearted.15

When he heard that Finrod Felagund was trapped in a skirmish near the Fen of Serech, Barahir rushed with a small group of his bravest and best warriors to his rescue. Forming a wall of spears around Finrod, they cut their way out of the battle at great loss.16

Reduced thereafter to waging what we might call guerilla warfare today, Barahir and his small group continued to contest the domination of Dorthonion. Finally in 460 of the First Age, their location was betrayed to Sauron. The hideout of the surviving comrades was discovered and they were attacked and eliminated while Beren was away on an errand. When Barahir was killed, an Orc captain severed his hand upon which he wore the ring. Aware of its value, both practical and emotional, to his family, Beren hunted down the Orc, killing him and retrieving the ring.17

The Ring of Barahir

Barahir came thither with the doughtiest of his men, and broke the leaguer of the Orcs and saved the Elven-king. Then Inglor [later changed to Finrod] gave to Barahir his ring, an heirloom of his house, in token of the oath that he swore unto Barahir to render whatsoever service was asked in hour of need to him or to any of his kin. Then Inglor went south to Nargothrond, but Barahir returned to Dorthonion to save what he could of the people of Bëor.18

Now Finrod Felagund had been well aware and grateful that, without the intervention of Barahir and his warriors, he would never have survived. He gave Barahir a ring which was fated to cost the Elven king his life, but also to play a huge part in the future of Middle-earth and the final destruction of the last of the remaining successors to Morgoth. The ring acted as a token of Finrod’s vow of aid to any of Barahir's kin who carried it and was brought originally from Valinor.19

When Beren fell in love with Lúthien and sought to make her his wife, Thingol demanded the bride price of a Silmaril from Morgoth’s crown, a seemingly impossible task to fulfill. But Beren swore to secure it. In his performance of this seemingly semi-suicidal venture, Beren travels to Nargothrond and presents the ring to Finrod. The Lord of Nargothrond does not hesitate to fulfill the promise he had made to Barahir and follows Beren to his doom. When Lúthien shows up to rescue Beren, arriving just a little too late to save Finrod’s life, she finds the Elven king slaughtered by a werewolf and Beren, the sole survivor of their party, weeping over his body: "Thus King Finrod Felagund, fairest and most beloved of the house of Finwë, redeemed his oath; but Beren mourned beside him in despair."20

Beren again retrieves the ring. Over the years it passes from Dior to Elwing and finally to Elros, who carries it to Númenor with him. The Unfinished Tales account of the ring states that,

Only the Ring of Barahir father of Beren One-hand survived the Downfall; for it was given by Tar-Elendil to his daughter Silmarien and was preserved in the House of the Lords of Andúnië, of whom the last was Elendil the Faithful who fled from the wrack of Númenor to Middle-earth.21

Most readers first encounter the Ring of Barahir not in The Silmarillion, but in The Lord of the Rings, when Elrond passes it to Aragorn as an heirloom of his house and sign of his worthiness to pursue the reunification of the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and hence the liberation of Middle-earth from the hold to Morgoth’s last lieutenant Sauron. (For an interim link in the provenance and chain of ownership for the Ring of Barahir on its way to Elrond, see my Character Biography of Arvedui .) Aragorn then gave the ring to Arwen when they pledged their troth on the Midsummer’s Night of 2980 of the Third Age on the hill of Cerin Amroth in Lothlórien.22 Chronologically within the histories, this is the latest report in the texts that we have of the Ring of Barahir. Its trail stops with Arwen.


To return again to the sense of loss and all-around tough times within which the history of Barahir’s life is set and his legacy formed, William A. Senior wrote most pertinently in his essay "Loss Eternal in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth" that "[t]he issue of loss, along with that of wonder, may in fact be deemed central to modern fantasy."23 In The Silmarillion, according to Senior’s essay,

Tolkien uncompromisingly narrates the course of hundreds of years of war against Morgoth that laid waste parts of the world and destroyed the princes and peoples of the Noldor. We witness the destruction of Beleriand, Gondolin, Nargothrond, and Doriath; the violent and often horrible deaths of Finwë, Fingolfin, Finarfin [sic], Fëanor and all his sons, Finrod, Fingon, Beleg, Glorfindel, Turgon, and Elenwë, to mention but a few; the destruction of Barahir, Hador, Beren, Tuor [sic], Húrin, Galdor, Huor, and countless others among men, elves, and dwarves.24

This sense of devastating loss, which also echoes the dark fatalism of the Norse epics of which Tolkien was so fond, is certainly central to The Silmarillion and most particularly evident in its Chapter 18, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."25 We move from a world wherein the shaky balance between the forces of light and darkness is directly threatened and, to steal the words from the poet W. B. Yeats, "[t]hings fall apart; the centre cannot hold; [m]ere anarchy is loosed upon the world, [t]he blood-dimmed tide is loosed. . . ."26 And yet within that smoke-blackened and terrifying world, where the center no longer holds, there remain unwavering heroes like Barahir, with his determination and his hard-won family heirloom, who project hope down through the Ages and into the eucatastrophe27 of The Lord of the Rings.

Works Cited

  1. The War of the Jewels, The Later Quenta Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of Men into the West."
  2. Ibid.
  3. The Silmarillion, "Of Men."
  4. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  5. The Silmarillion, "Of the Coming of Men into the West."
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel."
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of Men."
  11. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  12. Ibid.
  13. W.A. Senior, "Loss Eternal in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth" in J.R.R. Tolkien and His Literary Resonances: Views of Middle-Earth, ed. George Clark and Daniel Timmons (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000), 177.
  14. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  18. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals, §146.
  19. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  20. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  21. Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor," Note 2.
  22. The Lord of the Rings, "Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, The Númenórean Kings, The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen."
  23. W.A. Senior, W. A., "Loss Eternal," 176.
  24. Ibid.
  25. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  26. W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming," in Collected Poems (London: Macmillan Collector’s Library, 2010), Kindle edition.
  27. Tolkien invented this word which he defines most briefly as "the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued it is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce)." The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 89.

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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.

More about the Bodleian 2018 Tolkien Exhibition

Last month the news broke that "the Bodleian Library is set to release a book – Tolkien: The Maker of Middle-earth – next year to accompany a major Tolkien exhibition due to take place at the Library.

The exhibition, due to take place in June 2018, will feature an unparalleled collection of Tolkien manuscripts, letters, illustrations and other material from the Bodleian’s Archives. The Bodleian houses the majority of Tolkien’s archives, and many of the items have never before been publicly exhibited."

More information, including a list of exhibition highlights, has since been released, saying that the exhibition "will examine the scholarly, literary, creative and domestic worlds that influenced Tolkien as an author and artist, allowing visitors to engage with his works as never before."

One of the highlights are "letters of appreciation from a wide range of admirers including poet WH Auden, singer Joni Mitchell and author Iris Murdoch". Some excerpts from them can be found here.

Journal of Tolkien Research Volume 4, Issue 1 (2017) Available

The first 2017 issue of the Journal of Tolkien Research is now available online for free, featuring essays on architecture in Tolkien's works, the question of Hobbits, Eucatastrophe and medieval legend, Tolkien, fairy stories and the Gospel, as well as a number of book reviews of recent Tolkieniana publications. A list of contents of upcoming issues has also been made available.

'She died' -- The Choice of Lúthien and the Destiny of the Elves

Last month's SWG Character of the Month biography featured Oshun's take on Arwen Undómiel; if her work piqued your interest, you may also find this text worth reading to explore the connections between Arwen and Lúthien as well as their impact on and importance for the narrative of The Lord of the Rings not just in a Watsonian sense that influences one of the novel's central characters, but also in the Doylist idea of lending greater depth to the construct of Middle-earth by alluding to the First Age.

“Thus Wrote Pengolodh”: Historical Bias, Its Evidence, and Its Implications in The Silmarillion (Video)

A video recording of Dawn Felagund's Tolkien in Vermont paper is now available on the Heretic Loremaster.

She writes:

"The paper considered two big questions: 1. Who wrote The Silmarillion? Or–is there evidence for the Númenórean tradition (beyond Tolkien saying more or less, “Hey, I think Númenóreans are involved in some way!), or is the Quenta Silmarillion essentially an Elven text? I argue that it is, looking at some new evidence for why the narrator must be Eldarin.

2. What is the evidence for historical bias in The Silmarillion? I cover some of what was included in Attainable Vistas but also present some new evidence showing that The Silmarillion is a biased text that favors Gondolin and Doriath while going to lengths to downplay and negatively depict the Fëanorians."

On Writing Aman, or the Balance between the Mythic and the Real

On the Heretic Loremaster, Dawn Felagund raises a question: "How does one worldbuild a place like Aman?" and the question of the purpose behind the worldbuilding and the story it supports, drawing a distinction between the hallowed place it is described as in the Silmarillion, the contradictions in the texts, and the very human Elves of her fanfic Another Man's Cage and its trappings. She concludes that "[o]ne can extrapolate outward from these supposedly greatest of the residents of Aman to assume that the land is not as impeccable as the rhapsodizing of the narrator of The Silmarillion would have us believe. To look no further than the dust of diamonds upon one’s shoes in walking there, to never glimpse the faces of those who dwell there and what hides behind their eyes, is to be so dazzled by a beautiful illusion as to miss what matters."

Ecology and the Death of the Two Trees

In more Aman-related news items also concerned with worldbuilding, AnthropologyArda on tumblr posted a thought-provoking piece about the impact the Darkening may have had on the Undying Lands, that fan-writers especially may find interesting. The author factors in different mitigating ideas to develop ideas about possible scenarios, depending on the magnitude of the event, the involvement of the Valar, the experience of the Elves in the face of potential environmental collapse.

Podfic and the Silmarillion Fandom

Chestnut-Podfic addresses the matter of podfic in the Silmarillion fandom, writing: "I am curious about the podfic consumption of Silmarillion fandom. I am aware that I’m in a particular niche of that fandom that’s quite specific temporally and in terms of primary platforms, but I just finished my April statistics and have some questions and observations. Below the cut is a bunch of rambling, but I have some questions at the bottom that I’d actually be interested in answers to!"

She discusses possible reasons for the scarcity of podfic: Monofannishness, the age of the Silmarillion fandom and its possible aversion to newer platforms, the lack of infrastructure as cause and effect, as well as the matter of language, in particular names in Quenya and Sindarin that may hamper podfic production. She finishes with a short questionnaire for podficcers and listeners both. Make sure to read through the post's notes for followup discussions!


The Return of Least Expected

Least Expected, the first Tolkien fanfiction archive to welcome slashfic, was active from September 1999 to February 2002, and contained just under 900 stories, many of them not hosted anywhere else. After 15 years, the archive has been unearthed from storage and will be moving to AO3 via Open Doors, in order to preserve the history of Tolkien fandom as best as possible. If you had stories in the archive, it's important for you to get in touch! Please see Amy Fortuna's post or the AO3 News announcement for further details.

Every Woman Exchange

Every Woman is a fanfic and fanart exchange for works involving women. Each participant must make either a fanfic of at least 500 words or a fanart at a minimum of nice sketch stage. Nominations of your favourite female characters run from May 1-7, and signups from May 12 - 19. Find more information on the nomination process here

Tumblr Tolkien Week

The first few months of the year tend to be a busy time in Tolkien fandom, with events aplenty. Coming up next is Tolkien Week, which places its focus on the book-based parts of fandom from May 15-21. Fanworks are to be posted in #tolkienweek.

Mythmoot Registration Deadline Approaches

Mythmoot IV: Invoking Wonder… takes place from June 1-4 in Leesburg, Virginia. Find the preliminary schedule here, but hurry. Registrations close on May 7, 2017.

Omentielva Otsea: The Seventh International Conference on Tolkien's Invented Languages

Registration has opened for Omentielva Otsea; the deadline is May 25. The conference takes place from 10 – 13 August 2017 at California State University, East Bay, Hayward Campus. More information will soon be issued on the website.

MythCon 48

Mythcon 48 takes place in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois from July 28 - 31, 2017.

The Mythopoeic Society is launching into a series of 50th anniversaries: the founding of the Society in 2017; the initial solicitation of articles for Mythlore in 2018; and of our Mythopoeic conferences in 2019. For the fiftieth anniversary of our Society, we are relating to gold - all that is gold!

Oxonmoot 2017

Oxonmoot is an annual event hosted by The Tolkien Society which brings together around 200 Tolkien fans, scholars, students and Society members from across the world. It has been held annually in Oxford since 1974 on a weekend close to Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday (22nd September) and is the key event in the Society’s annual calendar – if you want to come to any Tolkien event, come to Oxonmoot.

Oxonmoot is a three- or four-day event and since 1991 it has always been in a picturesque college of the University of Oxford. The college supply meals and accommodation for the weekend, so we effectively “take over” the college and enjoy an exclusively Tolkien weekend!

Oxonmoot 2017 is being held over 4 days from the afternoon of Thursday 21st September until lunch time on Sunday 24th September, at St Antony’s College.

Calls for Papers

Tolkien and Jackson Fan Studies Special Issue

Proposals are sought for fan studies scholarship on any aspect of fan production, creation, or activities relating to J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium and/or Peter Jackson's live-action film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The papers will be published in a special theme issue of The Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR).

Timeline: Deadline for submission to editors: June 1, 2017 (Proposal or First Drafts) Deadline for submission to JTR: September 30, 2017 (Final Drafts) Co-editors: Katherine Larsen klarsen@gwu.ed Robin Anne Reid The Journal of Tolkien Research (JTR) is a peer-reviewed electronic journal published on ValpoScholar, the publishing and institutional repository of Valparaiso University (supported by Bepress). It is an open access journal; content is published immediately once peer reviewers and editors have deemed it appropriate and ready for publication.

Find more publication notes in the CfP.

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.

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