TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: November 2012

Table of Contents


SWG News

Introducing Podfic on the SWG Archive

The SWG mods are pleased to announce that we are now able to accept podfics on our archive! A podfic is a recording of a story in MP3 form that you can listen to on your computer or MP3 player, similar to an audiobook. By allowing podfics on the archive, we hope to make our member's work available in formats that readers can enjoy even in places where reading isn't possible.

If you're new to the concept of podficcing--as, indeed, many of us on the mod team were!--it's a pretty easy technology to catch onto. With just a computer microphone and audio-editing software--Audacity is free and can be learned in less than an hour--you can get started recording your favorite stories. Many services exist for hosting your audio files, and we are also happy to host your podfics on our site.

To promote this new site feature, we're also planning to share a Podfic of the Month in our newsletter, recorded from a text story on our archive. We are accepting recommendations for which stories we should record first, and we also need volunteers willing to help us record these stories in audio form.

If you'd like to learn more about how to add podfics to the archive, the Podfic of the Month project, or podficcing in general (including links and resources), visit Podfic page! If you want to get involved in helping us grow this new section of the site, you can

Welcome to Our New Members!

Welcome to our newest members who joined us during October: FromMidworld, belegur, Aranel379, ronin3042, and anuhealani.

Make yourself at home. Post your stories, or read and review those of others. Whatever brought you to the Silmarillion Writers Guild, we hope you enjoy yourselves here. Why not browse our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more about us, and about what you can do in our community? Or, if you still have queries, do contact the moderators at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

In Time by Maglor Makalaure [General] (2875 words)
Summary: A short romance between Maglor and his lover, a somewhat tense discussion with his father, and a lecture from his brothers.

The Beautiful Battlements of the Fortress on Himring Hill by oshun and IgnobleBard [Teens] (1153 words)
Summary: Written at the request of Moetushie-–in the form of a comment fic on her LJ. Not much of a plot, simply Fingon and Maedhros sitting in a room at the top of Himring Hill Castle K-I-S-S-I-N-G. With a Beta read by Ignoble Bard and with some serious help from him in closing it--on the co-writing credit: he wrote the last sentence; I edited it lightly. (Without him, I probably couldn't write at all, too fraught with self doubt.)

The Feel of a Blade by Maglor Makalaure [General] (2701 words)
Summary: Maglor tastes the way of a warrior for the first time.

Works in Progress

The Lost Boys by Lady MSM [General]
Summary:Scenes from the lives of the lads of Gondolin..
Chapter added this month: Family Planning.

More Than One Hundred Words About Maedhros by Himring [General]
Summary: Short pieces that are not drabbles and are part of my Maedhros series.
Chapter added this month: The Sound Of Our Voices.

Of Anbor And Azruphel by gamil-zirak [Adult] †
Summary: A tale of romance between a wild man of Middle earth and a lady of Numenor, told with the epic backdrop of the last 2 years of Numenor. A study in the politics and relations of the time. Hope you enjoy it!
Chapter added this month: The Seeds Of An Avalanche.

Of Draugluin by Huinare [Teens]†
Summary: Wherein a denizen of Utumno is roped into a peculiar project, the repercussions of which are inescapable.
Chapter added this month: Aldar.

The Line of Kings by Michiru [Teens]
Summary: Exploring the lives of the Noldorin princes who would eventually produce the final king of the Noldor in Middle-earth.
Chapter added this month: Making Plans .

The Swan's Song by Kimberleighe [General]
Summary: The tales and travels of Gil-galad's chief counselor during the Second Age.
Chapter added this month: Chapter Nine.

Short Works

The Goblin Town Gates, Long Gone Before by Dwimordene [Teens] (110 words)
Summary: Thou art that.

The Tale Of The Telerin Flute Player by Himring [Teens] (536 words)
Summary: After the War of Wrath, Maglor's wife, a musician of Telerin descent who remained behind in Valinor, learns that her husband has written his most famous composition while in Middle-earth--and that it is entitled Noldolante: The Fall of the Noldor.

Unsnarl My Body by Agelast [Adult] (955 words)
Summary: Written in response Oshun's The Beautiful Battlements of the Fortress on Himring Hill. Maedhros has trouble sleeping. Maedhros/Fingon (vague) smut.

Yvi in Formenos by oshun [General] (516 words)
Summary: When he encounters a new harvest worker, a farmer in Formenos is reminded of the great march under starlight across the east of Middle-earth to the shores of the Great Sea.


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Character of the Month Biography

Elurd and Elurn

Oshun


Eluréd and Elurín are famous in Tolkien’s legendarium as the little lost princes whose tragic demise is recounted in the story of the assault upon Doriath by the Feanorians and the ruin of Thingol and Melian’s magnificent city of Menegroth. The War of Jewels reports that, in the year 500 of the First Age, twin sons are born to Dior and Nimloth.1 One usually does not write a single character biography for two individuals, no matter how closely linked, but, in this case, there is no mention whatsoever in any of Tolkien’s writings of either one of them independent of the other.

Their father, usually referred to as Dior Eluchil, is the only offspring of one of Tolkien’s most famous mixed marriages, that of Beren and Lúthien. The grandparents of the lost boys on their father’s side are Elu Thingol and Melian the Maia. Dior, the first of the legendary Peredhel.2 in Tolkien’s complicated histories, is not actually half-Elven himself, but half-Edain, one-quarter Elven, and one-quarter Maiarin. Nimloth, the mother of the twins, a kinswoman of illustrious Sindarin lineage herself, is fully Elven, which would make Eluréd and Elurín only one-quarter-Edain, but one-eighth Maiarin and fully five-eighths Elven. Nimloth, like so many of Tolkien’s characters, has an interesting and somewhat contradictory backstory also.

Nimloth is said to be the niece of Celeborn in accordance with the version that Celeborn is a Sindarin elf, the grandson of Elmo brother of Thingol and Olwë Telerin King in Alqualondë in Aman, as recounted in Unfinished Tales (5) and Appendix B to The Lord of the Rings(6). "Elmo's son was named Galadhon, and his sons were Celeborn and Galathil; Galathil was the father of Nimloth, who wedded Dior Thingol's Heir and was the mother of Elwing"(7).
(5) Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn and of Amroth King of Lórien.
(6) The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King, Appendix B.
(7) Unfinished Tales, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn and of Amroth King of Lórien.3

An earlier set of names is used for the boys in the account of their birth in the index known as The Tale of the Years: "500. Elrún and Eldún twin sons of Dior are born."4 Christopher Tolkien chooses in his edited version of The Silmarillion to use the later names Eluréd and Elurín.5

In naming them, their parents choose to point to their connection to the Eldar and specifically to their great grandfather Elu Thingol, the most famous of the leaders of the Sindarin people, the King of Doriath, who liked to fancy himself as the sole Lord of Beleriand. (See SWG Character Biography of Elu Thingol). The names of both princes refer back to that illustrious patriarch.

Eluréd Elder son of Dior; perished in the attack on Doriath by the sons of Fëanor. The name means the same as Eluchíl. [This is heir of Elu.]

Elurín Younger son of Dior; perished with his brother Eluréd. The name means ‘Remembrance of Elu (Thingol)’.6

As nearly as one can surmise from the text of the published Silmarillion, Eluréd and Elurín were born while their parents lived with Beren and Lúthien in Tol Galen in Ossiriand, which is described as "the Green Isle, in the River Adurant, southernmost of the streams that falling from Ered Lindon flowed down to join with Gelion."7 Their surviving sister is Elwing, who will become the wife of Eärendil, the son of Idril and Tuor, and the mother of Elrond and Elros.8

Lost children comprise a theme in storytelling that almost certainly predates written literature. A particularly compelling model of that plot might involve a mystery surrounding the disappearance of two little princes, who vanish or are kidnapped and are presumed killed, starved to death, or even eaten by wild beasts, under circumstances which would amount to murder or at very least the intent to harm. When one reads this story, one is drawn to consider instances recounted in real history, as well as those in myth and legend.

Recent news of the possible discovery of the bones King Richard III of England in a car park in Leicester has led to a renewal of the discussion of the mystery of the disappearance of that much maligned king’s nephews, often referred to as the Princes in the Tower. There has always been an audience, from the time of the Tudors to the present day, for more speculation, accusations, argument, and tales about those children’s possible end. Tolkien would have been quite familiar with that ever-fascinating piece of unresolved English history. The parallels are stunning. The claim of the Princes in the Tower to the throne of England was not only a possible obstacle to its appropriation by their uncle Richard III, but a much greater threat to Richard’s usurpers of the House of Tudor.9

Eluréd and Elurín may have held a claim to the Silmaril, taken at such cost from Morgoth by Beren and Lúthien, and flaunted by their father Dior. Their disappearance, however, did not in any way facilitate its seizure by the sons of Fëanor, who temporarily lose their chance to seize it when young Elwing is whisked away to safety with it in her possession. Similar to prevalent but unproven theories of the demise of the lost sons of Edward IV of England, which claim that Richard killed them or ordered them to be slain, Tolkien states in one of a few apparently abandoned versions that Dior’s sons were murdered outright by the Fëanorians.

Eluréd and Elurín, before they came to manhood, were both slain by the sons of Fëanor, in the last and most abominable deed brought about by the curse that the impious oath of Fëanor laid upon them. But Elwing was saved and fled with the Silmaril to the havens of the surviving Eldar at the Mouths of Sirion.10

The words "in the last and most abominable deed" do not fit with what follows as the story for the quest for the Silmarils continues to unfold. The sons of Fëanor are driven to future kinslayings in Christopher Tolkien’s published version of The Silmarillion.

Artist and fantasist Terri Windling, who has also written several non-fiction articles exploring archetypal themes of fairy tales and fantasy, examines aspects of the genre of lost children in an article cited below. Although she concentrates mainly in the referenced article upon children who are found again, she remarks aptly that the lost child in folk and fairy tales is

. . . not, however, a mere fantasy cliché; it's a mythic archetype, springing from some of the oldest stories of the world. This archetype includes not only those characters who are literally orphaned by the death of their parents, but also children who are lost, abandoned, cast out, disinherited by evil step-parents, raised in supernatural captivity, or reared by wild animals.11

The list of stories which may be compared and contrasted with that of Eluréd and Elurín is a long one. In English language poems and ballads, one encounters numerous versions of the tale of the Babes Lost in the Woods. And we are all familiar with the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. Additionally, most of us were first also in our childhood presented with the legend of Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. We heard it told as a legend or myth, while at one time it was treated as history. Those twins are said to have been conceived by a god or demigod, snatched from their mother, and raised by a wolf, only to survive and change history. One cannot beat that for good storytelling.

Among Tolkien’s various drafts of the story of Eluréd and Elurín, he also toys momentarily with the idea of their survival, or the hint of it at least.

Nothing certain is known of their fate, but some say that the birds succoured them, and led them to Ossir.12

Christopher Tolkien chooses to include in the published Silmarillion the version of the lost twins’ tale that seemed to him the most coherent and fully developed.

There fell Celegorm by Dior’s hand, and there fell Curufin, and dark Caranthir; but Dior was slain also, and Nimloth his wife, and the cruel servants of Celegorm seized his young sons and left them to starve in the forest.13

This is also in the draft of the story containing in its continuation the largest number of important narrative elements, explaining how the assault of the Fëanorians upon Doriath to retrieve the Silmaril, failed in more ways than one. Not only did it destroy that fabled marvel of the City of a Thousand Caves, but the bloody battle did not regain the Silmaril for its instigators; rather, it resulted in the deaths of three of Fëanor’s sons. Tolkien presents his audience with a loss for all parties and a critical defeat for the Fëanorians in a string of losses in a long drawn-out losing struggle.

Of further significance for a reading audience fascinated by the quest for the Silmarils, it provides a means for holding their interest in the fate of those tragic almost-heroes struggling courageously and futilely under the damnation of the Curse of Mandos. Interest would sharply wane if Tolkien presented them as evil unmitigated. Maedhros and the sons of Fëanor do not kill or cruelly abandon the children, but the deed is done by wicked servants of Celegorm, who, in sorrow and rage at the loss of their leader, leave them to their fate in the forest.

Of this Maedhros indeed repented, and sought for them long in the woods of Doriath; but his search was unavailing, and of the fate of Eluréd and Elurín no tale tells.14

The conclusion of the tragic tale of the little lost princes of Doriath brings us full circle back into the center of the foremost story of The Silmarillion—the continued quest for the Silmarils and Doom of the Noldor. Maedhros is frustrated even in his act of repentance, his desire to rescue and succor those innocents, perhaps doubly inspired by the pain of the related loss of three of his own brothers. Meanwhile the princes’ fate remains a mystery, subsumed into the larger tragedy of that long road to defeat predicted when the Noldor set out upon their doomed quest.




Works Cited

  1. The War of the Jewels, The Tale of Years.
  2. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names." Peredhil is the plural for the Sindarin Peredhel, meaning Half-elven.
  3. SWG Character Biography of Nimloth of Doriath.
  4. The War of the Jewels, The Tale of Years.
  5. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath."
  6. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  7. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath."
  8. Ibid.
  9. The New York Times, Leiscester Journal, September 23, 2012. "Discovery of Skeleton Puts Richard III in Battle Once Again," by John F. Burns.

    " . . . . those who believe that Richard has been the victim of a campaign of denigration — begun by the Tudor monarchs who succeeded him and deeply entrenched over the centuries in British popular consciousness — hope the renewed attention will spur scholarship that will correct the injustice they say has been done to his reputation. . . .

    "The version that has prevailed since his death, initially nurtured by the Tudors to entrench their legitimacy, has cast Richard’s 26 months on the throne as one of England’s grimmest periods, its excesses captured in his alleged role in the murder in the Tower of London of two young princes — his own nephews — to rid himself of potential rivals."
  10. The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Problem of Ros."
  11. "The Orphaned Hero in Myth, Folklore, and Fantasy" by Terri Windling, Summer 2007, The Journal of Mythic Arts: Articles: Myth & Folklore, http://www.endicott-studio.com/rdrm/rrOrphans.html
  12. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals.
  13. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath."
  14. Ibid.



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View past character profiles.
View all archived stories about Elurd and Elurn.


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Current Challenge

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 Aul 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:

Challenges Revisited: It's Magic!

Lets bring a little magic into our fanfic! So many of our stories are written very realistically, as if the events are taking place in the present day. However, Tolkien's stories do include magical elements, from the Silmarils to the duel between Finrod and Sauron to the magical cottage in The Cottage of Lost Play from the Book of Lost Tales I. Other aspects of daily life for the citizens of Middle-earth--Elven "mind-speak," for example--seem magical to us, in the modern world.

This challenge asks authors to incorporate elements of fantasy or magic into a story. Whether "canon magic" or that of your own imagining, let's break our grip on reality and see how well we can transport an audience to a distant and truly magical place.

Quote of the Month

The clouds were disappearing rapidly, leaving the stars to die. The night dried up."

- Andr Breton, The Magnetic Fields

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

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


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Around the World and Web

Articles of Interest

Each month, the SWG newsletter features links to articles that our members might find interesting. Do you have something you'd like to suggest? An interesting essay or discussion going on in your journal or blog? Drop us a line at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org and we'll add your article, essay, or post to our next newsletter!

It should go without saying, but just in case it bears repeating, any opinions expressed in these links are not necessarily that of the SWG and its moderators.

Attention, all Arthurian legend fans!

A previously unpublished poem by J.R.R Tolkien, "The Fall of Arthur", will be released by HarperCollins in May 2013. Our own Oloriel alerted us at mymiddleearth.com, and a bit more information can be found in the article in "The Guardian" which includes the opening lines of the poem.

Tolkien and Nostalgia: A Scholar links Tolkien and Homer

Philosophy professor David OConnor believes the Lord of the Rings trilogy "is meant to reflect on a darker side of nostalgia at the core of human nature". Read about the similarities between Odysseus and Frodo Baggins in this article published in September in "The Observer".

The Ineluctable Wave a classical comparison of Númenor and Atlantis

Nenyia, Handmaiden of Vairë writes in The Council of Elrond about the origin of the tale of Númenor as a result of trying to "explain" the Quenya term "Atalant" ("Downfallen").

Time to get together at the Green Dragon for a nosh and a natter

Will you be anywhere near Westford, MA at the end of March 2014? If so, you may wish to attend the Downfall of Sauron Party and the Middle-earth Poetry Slam. The 3rd Conference On Middle-earth, Part 2, has been announced. Check their website for more details and registration.

How Was Beleriand Destroyed in the War of Wrath? by Michael Martinez

Michael martinez starts by paraphrasing The Princess Bride" (did that catch your attention?): Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much! It just so happens that Beleriand was only MOSTLY destroyed. Theres a big difference between mostly destroyed and all destroyed. Mostly destroyed is slightly left intact. With all destroyed, well, with all destroyed theres usually only one thing you can do.

In this article he interprets the available material to describe how the War of Wrath might have been fought, and how it affected Middle-earth at the end of the First Age..

Announcements

LotR Genfic Community: November Challenge -- A River Runs through It

The November Challenge will have the theme "A River Runs Through It". Stories will feature rivers. Please indicate in your comment if you have a preference for a certain geographical region of Middle-earth. You will be given the name of a river from that location to include in your story. The prompt for the challenge will be the name of that river. The story does not have to include the actual presence of the river, so long as it is mentioned in the story. The November challenge stories will be due Wednesday, November 14th. Comment on this post to request an element for the challenge.

LotR Genfic Community: November Art Challenge -- Water

The November Art Challenge theme for the LOTR Gen community is "Water". Any media is welcome!

Art for the November challenge should feature water in some form, any form, in Arda. Deadline for submissions is 17th November. The lotr_community LiveJournal community provides full details on how to participate.

Teitho: November Challenge--Seed

Inside it was filled with a grey dust, soft and fine, in the middle of which was a seed, like a small nut with a silver shale.
'What can I do with this?' said Sam.

What would you do with such a precious gift from Galadriel, the seed of a mallorn tree? What would you write or draw? "Seed" is the November topic at Teitho. The deadline for this challenge (both art and stories) is November 25th.

For instructions on how to submit your work and more information on the topic, visit the Seed" challenge page at the Teitho website.

Odyssey Workshop for Fantasy, Horror, and Sci-Fi Writers

For seventeen years, Odyssey has pursued its mission to help developing writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror improve their work by holding its annual six-week, in-person workshop in Manchester, New Hampshire. Three years ago, Odyssey expanded its mission, taking the teaching techniques that are so effective at the workshop and adapting them to create online classes. The online class schedule for 2013 includes:

Three-Act Structure in Fantastic Fiction
Getting the Big Picture: The Key to Revising Your Novel
Bodies and Heartbeats: Crafting Character from the Inside Out

Application deadlines begin in early December, depending on the course. The Odyssey website has more information.

National Novel Writing Month

Every year, during the month of November, intrepid writers from around the globe set out on the quest to write 50,000 words worth of a novel in just one month. If you're looking for an excuse to play with the muses and take on that big project you've been putting off, you might want to consider signing up for NaNoWriMo, as it's affectionately known by it's participants.




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

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


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