Newsletter: November 2010

Table of Contents

SWG News

Library of Tirion

As the SWG has reached two very significant milestones (our 5th birthday and our 1000th story), we, moderators, thought that this is a good time to look back to the time before us. So we started considering the possibility of having a section in our Archive – tentatively named the Library of Tirion - devoted to all the wonderful writers and stories that were written before 2007 when the SWG Archive was made available as the single Silmarillion only site.

We want this project to be as inclusive as possible so we would love to have all our members’ input as regards what authors whose work isn't on the archive already are a must read for any Silm aficionado or what story you loved – if you had already been bitten by the Silmfic bug - that you would love to share with people who have joined us lately.

If you have any author or story that you would like to have in our Library of Tirion, please email us at

1000th Story Posted!

Shortly after the celebrations for our 5th birthday were over, we reached another milestone: our 1000th story! Himring’s reflection on love in times of war West Wind Blowing hit this landmark. We’re looking forward to the next 1000!

1000th story on the SWG archive

(Return to Top)

New at the Archive

Completed Works

Dark Prince ~ Book One. by Spiced Wine [Adult] (148486 words)
Summary: Lúthien was not the only offspring of Maia and Elf born in the Elder Days, but Vanimórë's tale was never to be sung in glittering halls. His mother was Elven. His father was Sauron. His birth was accomplished by the blackest sorcery of Morgoth Bauglir. He was forged as a double-edged sword is forged, as lethal and as beautiful. And they tested him to breaking-point. He would not break. “Until the sky breaks and the mountains fall into the Great Sea, and the End cometh, there is no world for us.” ~ Vanimórë Gorthaurion. The first of the Dark Prince series, the story of Sauron's son, born to be a weapon, a warrior, a servant of the Dark – or its eternal enemy. First Age to the War of the Ring.

Down. Out. Up. by Himring † [Teens] (2690 words)
Summary: What I was not going to write, but did:Down.What Maedhros thought as he jumped.Out. Up. Fingon takes Maedhros home to Tirion after his reincarnation. Finarfin insists on confronting him. Told from different points of view (Fingon, Finarfin and, briefly, Maedhros). Now illustrated by Alasse!

For Love or Money by Lady MSM [Teens] (22469 words)
Summary: After an argument with his stepmother, Feanor runs away from home, adopts a new identity, and finds a new life with master craftsman Mahtan and his family. Everything is perfect...that is, as long as they don't find out who he really is.

The Shipwright by clotho123 [General] (1654 words)
Summary: A possible glimpse into Círdan's history

The West Wind Quartet by Himring [Teens]
Summary: Emlinn, a Sinda, becomes Maglor's student and experiences the end of the Siege of Angband and the Battle of Sudden Flame.

They're dead... by Yirth-kaio [General] (2043 words)
Summary: An expanded drabble from B2MEM. The events take place in the IV Age

Toys in the Hall by Dawn Felagund [General] (1794 words)
Summary: Young Ereinion once sent his father Fingon to bed for a week with a poorly placed toy and learned much about his father as a result. Now, with Fingon dead, his people at war, and his world upended, Ereinion tries a similar tactic to learn something about his new foster-father, Círdan. Remix of Levade's This Ereinion, written for the Many Paths to Tread 2010 Remix Challenge.

Works in Progress

Ambarussa by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary:Did Amras really die when Fëanor and his sons burned the ships in Losgar?.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

Chasing Mirages by Russandol [Adult] †
Summary: A 'what if' tale of darkness, light, love and betrayal over the Ages of Eä.
Chapters added this month: Trust and Release.

Chasing the Stag by Amaranth [Adult]
Summary: An elusive presence haunts Celegorm on a solitary hunting trip and lures him from his path into a mystery-ridden chase where it is unclear if the son of Fëanor is hunter or prey…
Chapters added this month: Chapter 4 – The Venom of Jealousy.

Dark Lands by Spiced Wine †[Adult]
Summary: Vanimórë journeys south with Elgalad to a rich, corrupt city on the coast of Haradwaith, where an ancient darkness has the ruler under its hand. Death and madness unfold about Sauron's son; he was made Vala in the Bath of Flame, yet this old evil will flee from power, and Vanimórë is forced to endure slavery once more as he seeks to discover what dwells upon the Isle of Plagues.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 ~ In The Light Of A New Dawn ~, Chapter 2 ~ With Nought But Thee And Freedom ~, Chapter 3 ~ A Princely Court ~, Chapter 4 ~ The Road To Fate ~, Chapter 5 ~ Loveless Power ~, Chapter 6 ~ Troubled Waters ~, Chapter 7 ~ Far Into The South ~, Chapter 8 ~ Separation~, Chapter 9 ~ What Lies Under Under The Mist Of Gold ?~, Chapter 10 ~ Two Threads ~, Chapter 11 ~ Blood And Lilies ~, Chapter 12 ~ To Pluck A Golden Rose ~, Chapter 13 ~ The Players Of The Game ~, Chapter 14 ~ A Slow Unveiling ~, Chapter 15 ~ The Mists Grow Thicker ~ , Chapter 16 ~ The Desires Of A Despot ~, Chapter 17 ~ She ~, Chapter 18 ~ Cursed By Beauty ~, Chapter 19 ~ Is This What I Was To Become, Ilúvatar? ~, Chapter 20 ~ The Breaking Of A Storm ~, Chapter 21 ~ We Do What We Must ~, Chapter 22 ~ Light In The Dark Hours ~, Chapter 23 ~ Dances In The Dark ~, Chapter 24 ~ Thou Art No Longer A Slave ! ~ , Chapter 25 ~ A Woman's Place In The Court ~, Chapter 26 ~ The Black Ship ~, Chapter 27 ~ Calm After The Storm ~, Chapter 28 ~ Thou Art Temptation ~, Chapter 29 ~ In The Matter Of Comfort ~, Chapter 30 ~ 'I Cannot See...', Chapter 31 ~ Cleansed ~, Chapter 32 ~ 'I Will Hold.' ~, Chapter 33 ~ There Is Strength In Silver ~, Chapter 34 ~ And In Gold ~, Chapter 35 ~ Dark Lady ~, Chapter 36 ~ Unsafe Haven ~, Chapter 37 ~ New Notes In An Ancient Song ~, Chapter 38 ~ To Burn Alone In The Shadows ~, Chapter 39 ~ 'All Spins...' ~, Chapter 40 ~ 'Around The Games' ~ , Chapter 41 ~ The Wheel...~ , Chapter 42 ~ Begins To Turn. ~ , Chapter 43 ~ Words Over Wine ~ , Chapter 44 ~ Love Is More Than A Word ~ , Chapter 45 ~ Suffering Of The Soul , Chapter 46 ~ Behind The Screens ~ , Chapter 47 ~ Trust ~ , Chapter 48 ~ Eyes Of Fire, Souls Of Flame ~ , Chapter 49 ~ We Must Believe...~ , Chapter 50 ~ It Will Soon Be Over ~ , Chapter 51 ~ Night Thoughts ~ , Chapter 52 ~ She Is Nothing ~ , Chapter 53 ~ A Bittersweet Taste Of Freedom ~ , Chapter 54 ~ The Gathering Of The Tribute ~, Chapter 55 ~ The Walls Press Closer ~ , Chapter 56 ~ Steps In The Dance Of Death ~ , Chapter 57 ~ The Time Comes Soon Upon Us ~ and Chapter 58 ~ Games Of Blood, Words Of Love ~.

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. 
Chapter added this month: Chapter 8: Olwë, Chapter 9: The Twins at Ilmarin, Chapter 10: The Twins and Námo, Chapter 11: Deceptions and Chapter 12: Family Council.

Many Journeysby Elleth [Teens]
Summary:A gathering place for ficlets of varying length centered around the House of Fëanor (and lately, the House of Finwë in general), based on the word of the day from and various other prompts..
Chapter added this month: Perpetual.

On the Edge of Ruin, Part II by MithLuin [General]
Summary: "Memories" The childhood of Elrond and Elros, beginning with the attack on the Havens and ending with the events depicted in Part I.
Chapter added this month: The Chest.

Rise Again From Ashes by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: After spending millennia wandering Middle-earth, Maglor returns to Valinor, where he attempts to adjust to both his Valar-imposed restrictions and living once more with the Eldar.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 16, Chapter 17 and Chapter 18.

The Consort by Lady_Roisin [Adult] †
Summary: Not every important figure makes it into the historical records and not all the great stories are told from those who lead lives of virtue or did heroic deeds. This is the story of Isilmírë and how she played into the greater history of the late econd and early third age. This is book two of The Prodigal Series and it concerns Isilmírë's arrival in Armanelos and the royal court. She quickly becomes entangled in the dangerous web of events and machinations taking place there, especially after befrending a certain advisor to the King.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 23, Chapter 24, Chapter 25, Chapter 26, Chapter 27,Chapter 28, Chapter 29 and Chapter 30.

The Embalmer's Apprentice by Lyra [Teens]
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.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 8.

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: Ongoing Screenplays covering Professor Tolkien's epic tales
Chapters added this month: Chapter 5 and Chapter 6.

The Tempered Steel by Lyra [Adult]
Summary: Yes, it's yet another variation on the good old "Maedhros in Angband and what happened afterwards" theme! Because the Silmarillion is so brief about it that fleshed-out retellings never get old..
Chapters added this month: Part II, Chapter IX and Part II, Chapter X.

War of the Seasons by Lady_Roisin & Eli_14 [Teens]
Summary: Daeron and his comrades are trying to open the first playhouse in Imladris to stage their epic comedy. But is Imladris ready for such a form of entertainment?
Chapter added this month: Part 1.

You Live Your Life in the Shadow of the Mountain by darthfingon [Teens]
Summary: At the end of the First Age, religious feuds and civil unrest threaten Valmar and Tirion. A 'What-If' AU.
Chapter added this month: Desecration in the Face of the Lord.

Short Works

Name Five Characters Who Would Love To Attend A Family Reunion by oshun [General] (329 words)
Summary: This stated out as a Fannish Friday Five on Live Journal and then I decided to share, as it actually could fit the SWG 5th Birthday "Five Things" challenge.

Star People by Himring [Adult] † (135 words)
Summary:A short scene from the dungeons of Angband. No actual gore, but Angband is Angband...

The Omen by Ellynn [Teens](637 words)
Summary: Standing on Taniquetil, Varda and Manwë see an ill omen in the sky. Written for LJ LotR Community October challenge: Believe it or not (story should contain something supernatural or unbelievable).


An Essay on the Sons of Fëanor by Clotho123
Summary: I’ve almost forgotten why I even started this! Basically a story idea which in the end didn’t work out prompted me to try and collect all the additional information about the Sons of Fëanor contained in the HOME. Having collected the information I found I had decided opinions about such things as the nature of the fatal Oath and wanted to write them out, and from there it seemed only a short step to a full scale, fully referenced, essay on the Sons of Fëanor as they appear in The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth.I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into but it’s done at last. This is pretty much a final draft and any corrections, suggestions and comments would be welcomed..
This essay was posted to Livejournal in the following parts: Introduction, 1. The Oath, 2. The History of the Sons of Fëanor,3. The Sons as Individuals and Appendix I: Names and Appearances.

Biblical Motifs in Tolkien’s Silmarillion by Fiondil [General] (3855 words)
Summary: The Silmarillion sometimes reads like something from the Bible. That was deliberate on Tolkien's part. This essay explores three biblical motifs — Creation, the Fall, and what can be called the Saving of the Remnant — and how Tolkien uses them to weave his own unique story of Middle-earth..

(Return to Top)

Character of the Month Biography



Eärwen is one of the numerous female characters of The Silmarillion who are not given a long or complex independent storyline within the major texts. In the Index of Names to The Silmarillion, Eärwen's entry reads:

Daughter of Olwë of Alqualondë, Thingol's brother; wedded Finarfin of the Noldor. From Eärwen Finrod, Orodreth, Angrod, Aegnor and Galadriel had Telerin blood and were therefore allowed entry into Doriath. (1)

This noble lady is considered significant by her creator for her connections on all sides: as a mother, wife, aunt, daughter and friend of various characters found to be centrally involved in greatest events of Tolkien's fictional history. Eärwen's background links her personal story back to the original trek across the mountains to the sea when her father Olwë takes up the summons of the Valar, abandoned by his older brother Elwë (Elu Thingol), to lead their people to Aman. Tolkien does not tell us exactly when or where Eärwen was born, although Alqualondë might seem more logical than Tol Eressëa, principally because of her probable age in relation to that of her husband. Her marriage to Finarfin, the third son of Finwe king of the Noldor in Tirion, places her at the apex of the conflicts involving the Teleri and the Noldor in that last eventful period of the Years of the Trees in the Undying Lands.

The progeny of Eärwen play roles in the tales of the Eldar all the way up through the events recounted in The Lord of the Rings ushering in the Fourth Age of Arda. However, little is told of Eärwen's personal deeds or character traits, and yet there is no question that she embodies a central narrative importance. That the influence of her heritage upon her offspring determines certain events in Beleriand in the First Age is stated uniquely in the version in the Unfinished Tales.

He wedded Eärwen, the daughter of King Olwë of Alqualondë, and his children were thus the kin of King Elu Thingol of Doriath in Beleriand, for he was the brother of Olwë; and this kinship influenced their decision to join in the Exile, and proved of great importance later in Beleriand. (2)

Christopher Tolkien notes that the account in the Unfinished Tales introduces aspects not developed in other texts, most interestingly for this essay ". . . several features of which there is no trace in The Silmarillion: the kinship of Finarfin's children with Thingol as a factor influencing their decision to join in Fëanor's rebellion" (3).

Her significance as the mother of the children of the Golden House of Finarfin, who have a role as a group of particular importance within the scope of Tolkien's legendarium, cannot be overstated. Were it not for their relationship through her side of the family to Thingol, their grandfather Olwë's older brother, the offspring of Eärwen and Finarfin would have been no more welcome in Doriath than any of their other cousins were.

Alone of the princes of the Noldor those of Finarfin's house were suffered to pass within the confines of Doriath; for they could claim close kinship with King Thingol himself, since their mother was Eärwen of Alqualondë, Olwë's daughter. (4)

Much is made of the Vanyarin heritage of the children of Eärwen, but the bloodline connecting them to the Teleri is a significant factor in their story as well. The children of Eärwen are often noted as the wisest and most moderate of the Noldorin rebels. (See the list of the SWG character biographies here for the deeds and influences of Eärwen's noble children.) Their father and Eärwen's husband, Finarfin is the single one of Finwë's three sons who turns back upon hearing the Curse of Mandos and returns to assume the leadership of the much depleted Noldor in Valinor.

Doris Myers, one of the earliest critics of Tolkien's handling of the status of women in his work (5), "[n]otes that although in Williams' world (6) men and women are equals, in Lewis' and Tolkien's they are subservient to men" (7). One could argue that Tolkien does not necessarily view the women in his world as subservient to the men in strict sense that this is observed in the history of our primary world, but simply unworthy of detailed note in most cases. A reader could question the roles of the wives of significant Noldor at the time of flight from Aman. They are allowed to exercise their choice to stay or go when the decision is made by the vast majority of their people to leave Valinor for Middle-earth. Tolkien, however, is not forthcoming with any interesting anecdotes or developed reasoning relating to those choices. It is interesting to speculate how Eärwen might react to Finarfin's decision to accompany his older brothers. Even more fascinating might be an exposition of how Eärwen greets him upon his return to Valinor and whether she has heard about the kinslaying of Alqualondë by the time her husband arrives back in Tirion. The reader is left to speculation. Tolkien provides no information. He did explain earlier in the text of The Silmarillion something of the quality of her husband.

Finarfin was the fairest, and the most wise of heart; and afterwards he was a friend of the sons of Olwë, lord of the Teleri, and had to wife Eärwen, the swan-maiden of Alqualondë, Olwë's daughter. (8)

One does not learn whether or not Eärwen welcomes her errant husband back to Tirion. Does she encourage him to take upon himself the kingship of his people? And, if so, does she help him heal the terrible rift between their peoples caused by the kinslaying at Alqualondë? One might assume some part of these scenarios might be true since there is no story of an estrangement. At very least, one might assume that Finarfin is supported by his wife in taking upon the kingship of the Noldor in the absence of its majority and his older brothers.

One is presented with only one detail of the appearance of Eärwen and that is mentioned in connection with a description of the hair of her illustrious daughter Galadriel, which is said to have been

. . . golden like the hair of her father and her foremother Indis, but richer and more radiant, for its gold was touched by some memory of the star-like silver of her mother; and the Eldar said that the light of the Two Trees, Laurelin and Telperion, had been snared in her tresses. (9)

One does not learn if Eärwen is slight or tall, or even particularly beautiful. She described as having the silver hair attributed also to her uncle Elu Thingol (10) and his kinsman Celeborn (11).

Tolkien also gives us a glimpse into the personality of Eärwen in The Shibboleth of Fëanor. Speaking of Finrod, Tolkien remarks that "he had also from his Telerin mother a love of the sea and dreams of far lands that he had never seen" (12). Apparently, Eärwen had a hankering for adventure, not so dissimilar from that of her intrepid daughter Galadriel. We also might assume some strength of character on the part of Eärwen because of the influence she holds over Fingolfin's wife. It is told in one account that "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)" (13). In brief, Eärwen is yet another unsung heroine in Tolkien's legendarium with the potential for a fascinating life story, if the author had sought to tell it.

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  2. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn.
  3. Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-Earth, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn, introductory comments by Christopher Tolkien.
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor."
  5. Myers Doris T. "Brave New World: The Status of Women According to Tolkien, Lewis, and Williams." Cimarron Review 17, October, 13 - 19.
  6. Referring here to the famous Oxford Inklings: Charles Williams, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien, among others.
  7. Judith A. Johnson, J. R. R. Tolkien: Six Decades of Criticism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1986) 114, Questia, Web, 2 Nov. 2010.
  8. The Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië."
  9. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of Thingol and Melian": "he appeared as it were a lord of the Maiar, his hair as grey silver, tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar; and a high doom was before him."
  11. The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Mirror of Galadriel": "the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright."
  12. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  13. Ibid.

Read comments on this essay | Leave a comment on this essay
(You must have an account on the SWG archive to comment on essays. Click here to register for an account.)

View past character profiles.
View all archived stories about Eärwen.

(Return to Top)

Linguistic Foolery

All About Accents!

Darth Fingon

This column is short, mostly because I'm writing it on October 31st and have to take the Elflings to a pumpkin carving party in an hour and a half. As you can see, I'm already trying to pad it out and fill up space by mentioning stuff that is in no way relevant to the topic.

Of Tolkien's languages that appear within the timeframe of The Silmarillion, all are riddled with accent marks and special characters. Valarin is the worst offender, offering up such wonderful words as Ibrîniðilpathânezel (which means 'Telperion'). Adûnaic is not far behind with gems along the lines of Yôzâyan ('Land of Gift') and Adûnâim ('Númenoreans' or 'Westerners'). Khuzdul follows Adûnaic with the likes of Khazad-dûm, and all of us are familiar with Quenya's Fëanáro and Sindarin's Lúthien.

So what do those accent marks mean and how are they pronounced? To start things off in the most confusing way possible, one needs to understand that acute (á) and circumflex (â) accents in Tolkien's languages both mean essentially the same thing: a long vowel. So forget everything you've learned about accents in other languages. A Tolkienian accent means nothing more than a stretched-out vowel.

Valarin, Adûnaic, Khuzdul, and Quenya all use either one or the other to mark their long vowels (Quenya uses acute; the others use circumflex). Sindarin uses both. How lucky for us! In Sindarin, there is a minor distinction between the circumflex and acute accents. Sindarin circumflex accents appear most often in single-syllable words to mark long vowels that are pronounced with a little extra stress. When these words with circumflex accents are made into compounds, the circumflex will either become acute or disappear altogether. (See: dûn -> Dúnadan and gûr -> guren.) In Sindarin writing, no distinction is made between what we write as a circumflex versus what we write as an acute.

The diaeresis (ä, ë, ö) appears only in Quenya, and its function is to mark vowels that must be pronounced separately rather than assimilated into a diphthong or ignored completely. The ë in Fëanáro serves to remind us that ëa is pronounced as two separate sounds: fe-a, rather than fee to rhyme with English mean. An ë at the end of a word serves the same purpose, whether it stands alone (Valinórë) or with an i (Amárië). In both of these cases, the e needs to be pronounced as its own distinct letter: va-li-nó-re and a-má-ri-e.

In Quenya, a vowel with diaeresis will never appear by itself at the beginning or in the middle of a word. It will always show up together with another vowel (Eärwen) or at the end of the word (Alqualondë). Something like Lairëwen will never occur, no matter how nice it may look as a name for your OFC. Final ë always becomes plain old e when it ceases to be final by way of compounds.

Now, are we ready to confuse things up another notch? Okay, good. Here goes. None of these accents actually exists in the writing styles preferred by the speakers of those languages.

The accents exist only to facilitate transcription into Roman typography, and also to make things look prettier. The Quenya diaeresis, to start things off, does not exist in any way, shape, or form when writing with tengwar. Eärendil would be written Earendil; Eönwë would be written Eonwe; Mëassë would be written Measse. All the ë, ä, or ö does is remind non-native Elvish speakers (that is, all of us) using the Roman alphabet that these letters need to be pronounced separately. A native Quenya speaker would, presumably, already know that. It is therefore equally correct to write Feanáro as it is to write Fëanáro in your epic Noldolantë (or Noldolante, if you prefer) fanfiction. Diaereses are for show only. And to keep canatics from whining at you that you spelled Fëanáro wrong and 'don't-you-know-it-has-an-accent-over-the-E?'

Long vowels in cirth are represented not by accent marks but by entirely different runes: the letter û in cirth is not u with an accent, but something separate on its own, representing a related but ultimately distinct sound. The Roman alphabet does not have enough letters to accurately transcribe words written in cirth, so accent marks must be used. In tengwar, which do not have specific letters to represent vowels in the Quenya mode, short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are written with a short carrier topped by a vowel tehta OR the vowel tehta over a consonant, while long vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú) are written with a long carrier topped by the same vowel tehta OR the tehta doubled over the consonant. The Quenya tengwar mode makes it far more obvious that an accent denotes a doubled vowel. It is therefore acceptable to write out a doubled vowel s if you want to avoid accents: Feanaaro, Valinoore, Nuumenoore. This does, however, look a bit stupid for fanfiction purposes, and will inevitably confuse and infuriate readers.

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

Read comments on this essay | Leave a comment on this essay
(You must have an account on the SWG archive to comment on essays. Click here to register for an account.)

Current Challenge

Season of Change

As fall--or spring for those on the Southern Hemisphere--approaches and heralds another change in the season, this challenge is all about the seasons and how Tolkien’s world responds to them. As the writer, you can approach this from many angles. Here are some examples:

Challenges Revisited: Halls of Mystery

For much of the world, April is a time of rebirth. One of the most intriguing--and controversial--elements of Tolkien's mythology is his notion of Elven "immortality": that Elves who "die" spend a period of time in the Halls of Mandos before being reborn in new bodies. Different authors and researchers have interpretted and portrayed the Halls of Mandos in vastly different ways; indeed, a look back at the early drafts of the works that would become The Silmarillion shows that Tolkien also had conflicting ideas about the Halls of Mandos and the process of Elven rebirth. Early ideas presented in The Book of Lost Tales depict a hall that is "draped with dark vapours and its floors and columns were of jet" (while Nienna keeps a hall as well that is roofed with bats' wings!). Tolkien dabbled with the idea of Elves being reborn as the children of their children, being given new parents, or being remade into bodies like those they had inhabited in their first life.

So which is it? Perhaps the most reliable conclusion about the Halls of Mandos is that we know next to nothing about them at all!

This month's challenge offers you the chance to explore the place and ideas behind one of the most mysterious locations on Arda. Your story, poem, essay, or vignette should explore the Halls of Mandos or the ideas of Elven "death" and rebirth to take your readers on a journey through the surreal, inexplicable, or just plain weird.

Quote of the Month

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.
- Theodore Roosevelt

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!

(Return to Top)

Around the World and Web

Create for Life

On the weekend of November 12th to 14th, we will be holding Create for Life, an event inspired by Lady Roisin who hoped that in this way artists and writers would unite in order to promote cancer awareness and raise funds for research. All writers, artists, craftspeople, and creative folk are welcome to join us! If you want to participate please see the Create for Life community on LJ for more information.

LotR Genfic Community

The November Challenge will be a drabble challenge. These are to be "true drabbles" of exactly 100 words. They will have the theme "Pairs". Elements for the challenge will be two words that seem to "go together" in a pair, for example, "black, white" or "night, day" (they may or may *not* all be opposites) which should be used in the drabble. The challenge drabbles will be due the weekend of Friday, November 12, and will be revealed on Monday, November 15. To request your elements, please leave a comment to this post.


Every child comes across this simple playground rule: if you find something, it’s yours. Regardless of its morality, this unwritten law has played a great role in Middle-earth, and this is why our theme for this month is Finders Keepers.

Naturally, your story does not have to be based on a canonical event. Your characters could find whatever your wish them to find, be it as sinister as a riderless horse with a bloodied saddle, or as innocent as a rare plant growing in a desert land. Your story must include Aragorn and/or Legolas. They do not need to be main characters, but at least one of them must be mentioned.

The deadline for submission is November 25th. The Teitho website has more information.

National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo begins on November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. If you’re interested in the project, visit the NaNoWriMo homepage for more information on how to get involved!

A Long Expected Contest (ALEC)

It is important to take time regularly to remember and be thankful, and November's theme is to explore those memories that are most important: events that changed the world a great deal or very slightly, people who made a difference for good or ill, or even the tiny acts that shine as examples of beauty, peace, or evil. Entries are due by 26 November at midnight. Please see the ALEC website for more information.

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

Nominations for the 2010 MEFAs are closed and voting is underway! To learn more about participating in the MEFAs, see the Voting FAQ.

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

(Return to Top)

View Newsletter Archive