Newsletter: November 2013

Table of Contents

SWG News

Updates to the SWG Site Etiquette and Terms of Service

Over the past few months, various changes to our Site Etiquette and Terms of Service have been proposed and discussed. When the SWG moderators detect something missing or in need of revision, we mods discuss it first and draft a revision or addition to the existing Site Etiquette and ToS. This is then put before the members for discussion and comment.

The following changes have been made to the Site Etiquette and ToS:

Working Email Address Required. The following item has been added to the Terms of Service:

Upon registering with our archive or any future site features that the SWG might offer, members will be expected to provide a working email address. If an email address is found to be not working, the account will be locked, and the member can contact the moderation team to have the account unlocked and email address updated. In the instance of mass registrations of invalid email addresses that do not appear to be intended for legitimate use of the site, or other suspicious activity, the SWG moderators reserve the right to delete these accounts. An account with any legitimate past or present activity (including but not limited to entry of information into the bio page, review activity, posting stories or podfics, or creating a Favorites list) will never be deleted under this rule.

This FAQ has more information: What should I do if I forget my login or password? What should I do if the site won't allow me to register with my email address? What are the SWG's requirements for working email addresses?

Image Use on the Archive. The following revision has been made to the Author Etiquette to address the use of images on the archive:

Please take care to properly reference any sources that you use in your writing. This includes direct quotes from Tolkien’s works, direct quotes or original source material that belongs to other authors, and secondary source material, such as song lyrics or books. Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism and is considered unprofessional and unethical. (View the SWG Plagiarism Policy for more information.)

In order to protect SWG from copyright infringement, it is important that you do not reproduce all or most of a copyrighted work on the site without permission from the copyright holder. As this group is home to writers and artists, it is important that we protect the rights of all writers and artists—and so protect ourselves.

Likewise, while we allow the use of images in certain areas of the archive, members who use images in their stories, profiles, reviews, and other areas of the site must be legally allowed to use the image, provide proper credit to the artist or photographer, and follow other archive policies related to image use. Members who want to use images are strongly encouraged to view the SWG Image Policy for more information.

This FAQ has more information: Can we include images in our stories? What are the guidelines for using images on SWG?

Important!! If you use images on your profile or in your stories (aside from banners, which are obviously made to be displayed), please review the image use rules in the FAQ link above and make sure you are using images legally and with proper credit given to the artist/rights holder. Thank you to those of you who have done this already.

Multiple Accounts and Pseuds. The following addition has been made to the Site Etiquette:

Each member is permitted to register for one account on the archive. The sole exception to this rule is the creation of a second "pseud" account that participates on the archive independently from the identity of the primary account. Anyone interested in setting up a pseud account should read the Pseud FAQ before doing so.

This FAQ has more information: Am I allowed to set up more than one account on the archive? What are the rules for pseud accounts?

The translated ToS have not yet been updated but should be available soon. As always, questions should be directed to the moderation team at

We Need Podfic Recommendations and Podfic Readers for Our Featured Podfic

Every month, we feature a podfic of one of the stories in our archive as part of the newsletter. The Featured Podfic project is coming up on being a year old, and while we received enough recommendations when we started a year ago to last us until now, we are finally almost out of recommended stories to record. We hope that readers on our archive will take a moment to recommend a favorite story for our Featured Podfic project! We will take it from there and contact the author for permission and arrange for a reader to record the podfic.

We are also looking for readers willing to record stories for the Featured Podfic. You don't have to be an expert in making podfics--maybe you've never tried it at all but want to give it a go! We are here to provide support for readers who want to be involved with this project. If you'd like to receive emails when we need podfics recorded, please fill out the podfic reader form.

To learn more about podfic on the SWG archive (including how to add your own podfics to the archive!), please see our podfic page. To hear the stories recorded so far by our wonderful readers, visit the podfic section of the archive.

Welcome to Our New Members!

October has brought us seven new members of the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild: Ugly Duchess, Dagzy, Liantendil, bluedancingkittykat, Urgost, and Nyx. Welcome all!

We would love to know a little about your interest in The Silmarillion; perhaps you might wish to share a few facts about your fandom persona by updating your bio. In all likelihood you have already begun to explore the archive and other sections of our sdite, but if you still have any queries, you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find the answer or if you need any help at any time, do not hesitate to contact us at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Convergence by Tehta [Teens] (1900 words)
Summary: A few weeks after the events of Flawed and Fair, Ecthelion writes a letter. Or, at least, attempts to.

About Men by Silver Trails [General] (1972 words)
Summary: The Valar discuss about the nature of the Seconborn

Almaren by Silver Trails [Adult] (17865 words)
Summary: The last days of Almaren

Anger by Silver Trails [Teens] (1073 words)
Summary: Sometimes anger is all we have, and we can't let go of it

Gymnastics by Amaranth [Teens] (1507 words)
Summary: Little Ambarussa get in trouble playing funny gymnastics with their friends...

Mallorn Torment by Tehta [General] (1782 words)
Summary: An Elvish take on this business we call show. Also, a Third-Age Sindarin take on First-Age Noldorin history.

Memories by Silver Trails [Teens] (1905 words)
Summary: The Elves remember their family and lovers

Pillar of Stillness by PerpetuaLilium [General] (2012 words)
Summary: On the slopes of Meneltarma, Tar-Míriel the Queen remembers in anger.

Sharp Things in the Way by Dawn Felagund [Teens] (5548 words)
Summary: The consummate poet of the Sindar, Daeron recognizes his potential to shape his people's perceptions of the newly arrived Noldor but struggles to find the courage to assert himself. Inspired by meeting Maglor at the Mereth Aderthad, Daeron nonetheless finds himself besieged by perceived failure, until his final attempt to depict a peaceful history between their peoples might be too late. A remix of Himring's Maglor Plays For His People After Doriath and written as a Season of Writing Dangerously prize for Himring.

The Naughty Secrets of Oromë's Woods by Amaranth [Adult] (1707 words)
Summary: The depth of the forest hides many secrets... Set in Valinor during the Years of the Trees, thus names in Quenya. Celegorm is still young, though definitively of age

The Stars over Aglon by Himring [Teens] (1336 words)
Summary: Fingon on his way to Himring--and in Himring--and on his way back.

Uphill, Downriver by swampdiamonds [Teens] (5044 words)
Summary: Three border guards have an unexpected encounter on the North-marches of Nargothrond.

Works in Progress

Five Times That Nerdanel Said 'Yes' and One Time She Did Not by oshun [Teens]
Summary: This was written for the SWG 5th Birthday celebration based on the Theme: Five Things, updated to include numerous B2MeM 2012 prompts.
Chapter added this Month: Interlude: Sea Fever.

Golden Days by Lyra [Teens]
Summary: Nerdanel recounts the development of her relationship with Fëanor - from the earliest days to the estrangement. Pride and Prejudice in Valinor, really, with perhaps a helping of Much Ado About Nothing.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 14.

Many Journeys by 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..
Chapters added this month: The Best He Still Could Hope For, The Shaking Off of Nightmares and, Recalled to Life.

Some Futile Hope by Friendsheyho [Teens]
Summary: It is the Second Age of Middle-earth. Sauron is regrouping, the Rings are being forged, the Numenorians are beginning their descent into madness, and Glorfindel has been sent back to Middle-earth for...for what? Only time will tell, and when it does, all of Middle-earth will rise up to fight.
Chapter added this month: Part 2: Chapter 5.

The Archer's Triangle by Tehta [Teens]
Summary: Wherever Túrin goes, emotional turmoil is sure to follow. The marches of Doriath are no exception.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.

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.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 9 and Chapter 10.

The Great Tales of Beleriand: Definitive Edition by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: This story is inspired by the turning-point chapter (18. Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin) where so much happens and in which so much goes unexpanded. Of course prior to the occurences in this chapter much has already taken place, and there are allusions to past events as published in The Silmarillion and other works.
Chapter added this month: Part Twelve: Curds and Waybread.

The Lords that Fell by Taylor17387 †[Adult]
Summary: Tells the story of the rise and fall of the two dark lords, from the collapse of the fortress in Tol-in-Gaurhoth, to the collapse of Barad-dûr, and what came next. Mainly told from Melkor and Sauron's perspective. Continuation of my other fic: "The Burnt God", though it may be read separately. Occasional slash.
Chapter added this month: The Old Man at the Top of the Mountain.

The Shipwright Shrugs by Kitt Otter [General]
Summary: Short whatnots and nonsense about Círdan, spanning from Cuiviénen to Forever.
Chapters added this month: Vertigo and The Way the Tide Flows.

The Tempered Steel by Lyra [Adult]
Summary: The story of Maedhros' captivity in Angband, his rescue and his recovery is in the Silmarillion treated in a few paragraphs. This is a fleshed-out account of the events that may have befallen between Maedhros' imprisonment and his return to his old life... as far as that is possible.
Chapter added this month: Part III, Chapter VIII.

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: A collection of drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating.
Chapters added this month: Family, Music and On the Straight Road.

Short Works

A Woodcarver from Brithombar by Himring [General] (831 words)
Summary: Oderen, a traveling woodcarver, one of Cirdan's people, and Emlinn, his musician wife, happen to arrive in Maglor's Gap just a short time before the outbreak of the Battle of Sudden Flame. Maglor encounters Emlinn and takes her on as his student.

About Dwarves by Silver Trails [General] (485 words)
Summary: Aulë, Yavanna and Nienna visit Belegost

Master Swordsmith by oshun [General] (442 words)
Summary: Fëanáro wants to make swords.

Prodigal Son by Silver Trails [General] (892 words)
Summary: Oropher's younger son comes back home

Their Uncle's Letter by Himring [Teens] (737 words)
Summary: Elrond receives Elros's last letter.


Do You Believe in Ghosts? by oshun, Read by: Dawn Felagund [Teens]
Do You Believe in Ghosts? was originally published in October 2008 and was the Featured Podfic in the October 2013 newsletter. Time: 15:58.File Size: 14.6 MB.
Summary: Fëanor allows Amrod and Amras to sleep outside on a spooky autumn evening and the question of ghosts comes up.

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Character of the Month Biography

Lalaith (Urwen)


Lalaith, the second child and first daughter of Húrin Thalion Lord of Dor-lómin and Morwen of the House of Bëor and a kinswoman of Beren, stands out within the narrative threads woven together into the lengthy tale of the children of Húrin as a singular bright light. Unfortunately, it is one which will be swiftly and tragically extinguished.

The firstborn of that ill-fated couple is their son Túrin, whose story is recounted at great length in The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and in the Narn i Chîn Húrin section of Unfinished Tales.

Two years later, a girl child Lalaith, as blonde as Túrin is dark and as bright as he is shadowed, is born to Húrin and Morwen. She is credited with a joyful nature that lifts some of the heaviness from their people.

Túrin was the name of the eldest child of Húrin and Morwen, and he was born in that year in which Beren came to Doriath and found Lúthien Tinúviel, Thingol’s daughter. Morwen bore a daughter also to Húrin, and she was named Urwen; but she was called Lalaith, which is Laughter, by all that knew her in her short life.1

Lalaith is born in the aftermath of the Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame), a cruel time for the Eldar and the Edain and a particularly difficult period for her mother Morwen, who has recently survived the destruction of her homeland in Ladros and fled the scorched highlands of Dorthonion to the relative safety of Dor-lómin, along with other women of her people.2

Húrin wedded Morwen, the daughter of Baragund son of Bregolas of the House of Bëor; and she was thus of close kin to Beren One-hand. Morwen was dark-haired and tall, and for the light of her glance and the beauty of her face men called her Eledhwen, the elven-fair; but she was somewhat stern of mood and proud. The sorrows of the House of Bëor saddened her heart; for she came as an exile to Dor-lómin from Dorthonion after the ruin of the Bragollach.3

Húrin, whose trials and suffering come to rival or surpass the testing of Job of the Old Testament, is presented originally as a less stern figure than his stalwart wife but equally strong of will. He is said to resemble his grandfather Hador, who is the most illustrious of the leaders of the third house of the Edain, originally called the House of Marach, but renamed for him and know thereafter as the House of Hador. Húrin is said to be "fair of face and golden-haired, strong in body and fiery of mood."4 His passionate temperament is defined not as a sudden fire, but a steadily burning flame. Húrin has endurance.5 (See more about the relationship of Morwen and Húrin on this site in the Character Biography of Morwen Eledhwen.)

Lalaith’s brother Túrin is said to more resemble their mother in both character and coloring: a dark-haired child who grows into a handsome man, resembling the Noldor in appearance, but cooler and more reticent in temperament. Lalaith, in contrast, is the stereotypical golden child, sunny of disposition and easy to love.

Her hair was like the yellow lilies in the grass as she ran in the fields, and her laughter was like the sound of the merry stream that came singing out of the hills past the walls of her father’s house. Nen Lalaith it was named, and after it all the people of the household called the child Lalaith, and their hearts were glad while she was among them.

But Túrin was loved less than she. He was dark-haired as his mother, and promised to be like her in mood also; for he was not merry, and spoke little, though he learned to speak early and ever seemed older than his years.6

Túrin apparently does not get a break even as a little boy. But, despite the fact that he must be aware Lalaith is the favored child, he loves his younger sister.

At that time all the warmth of his heart was for Lalaith his sister; but he played with her seldom, and liked better to guard her unseen and to watch her going upon grass or under tree, as she sang such songs as the children of the Edain made long ago when the tongue of the Elves was still fresh upon their lips.7

During the early years of his children’s life, Húrin is often absent. When he returns home after traveling "with the host of Fingon that guarded Hithlum’s eastern borders,"8 his first observations of his daughter Lalaith are portentous.

‘Fair as an Elf-child is Lalaith,’ said Húrin to Morwen; ‘but briefer, alas! And so fairer, maybe, or dearer.’ And Túrin hearing these words pondered them, but could not understand them. For he had seen no Elf-children.9

The comparison of Lalaith to an Elven child is reminiscent both of her mother’s fabled Elflike beauty and also of the much-cited reference from Morgoth’s Ring relating to the similarity of Elven children to those of the Edain.

Nonetheless there was less difference between the two Kindreds, Elves and Men, in early youth; and a man who watched elf-children at play might well have believed that they were the children of Men, of some fair and happy people.10

Another line from the Narn i Hîn Húrin too beautiful not to cite is one which is also evocative of the alert and contemplative point of view of young Túrin, who figures so heavily in the account of Lalaith’s life there and in The Children of Húrin.

None of the Eldar at that time dwelt in his father’s lands, and once only had he seen them, when King Fingon and many of his lords had ridden through Dor-lómin and passed over the bridge of Nen Lalaith, glittering in silver and white.11

His sighting of the dazzling Elven warriors occurs at their crossing of the same gurgling water way of Nen Lalaith from which Lalaith’s name is derived. All of these events told of the childhood of Lalaith and Túrin occur after the breaking of the watchful peace of the nearly five-hundred-year-long siege of Angband, during the years of the High Kingship of Fingon and the building of the grand alliances of Fingon and Maedhros, which seek to boldly threaten Morgoth himself.

But the wiser were uneasy still, fearing that Maedhros revealed his growing strength too soon, and that Morgoth would be given time enough to take counsel against him. ‘Ever will some new evil be hatched in Angband beyond the guess of Elves and Men,’ they said. And in the autumn of that year, to point their words, there came an ill wind from the North under leaden skies. The Evil Breath it was called, for it was pestilent; and many sickened and died in the fall of the year in the northern lands that bordered on the Anfauglith, and they were for the most part the children or the rising youth in the houses of Men.12

This Evil Breath out of Angband might be compared to the plague or Black Death of our primary world, save that this Morgoth-bred pestilence primarily attacked children and the very young, the promise of hope for a future to the short-lived Edain.

The Evil Breath came to Dor-lómin, and Túrin took sick, and lay long in a fever and dark dream. And when he was healed, for such was his fate and the strength of life that was in him, he asked for Lalaith. But his nurse answered: ‘Speak no more of Lalaith, son of Húrin; but of your sister Urwen you must ask tidings of your mother.’

And when Morwen came to him, Túrin said to her: ‘I am no longer sick, and I wish to see Urwen; but why must I not say Lalaith anymore?’

‘Because Urwen is dead, and laughter is stilled in this house,’ she answered. ‘But you live, son of Morwen; and so does the Enemy who has done this to us.’

* * * *

But Túrin wept bitterly at night alone, though to Morwen he never again spoke the name of his sister.13

Húrin suffers at least as deeply as his wife or his son and heir at the loss of the ebullient toddler Lalaith, dead at the age of three years, and is far more demonstrative of his grief.

But Húrin mourned openly, and he took up his harp and would make a song of lamentation; but he could not, and he broke his harp, and going out he lifted up his hand towards the North, crying: ‘Marrer of Middle-earth, would that I might see you face to face, and mar you as my lord Fingolfin did!’14

But still Húrin is more than ready when Fingon calls him to battle again. He goes to fight in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad (Battle of Unnumbered Tears) with the same high hopes that Fingon and Maedhros bring to that most heartbreaking of all the Battles of Beleriand.

Húrin cries out "Aurë entuluva! Day shall come again!" as he fights his losing battle against the forces of Morgoth (Silm. 195). The tragic life of his son Túrin is a headlong rush into the darkness, hastened by every effort he makes to find the light.15

The beacon of Lalaith the happy child, with her capacity to lift the spirits of a beleaguered people in dark days, is remembered as a bittersweet moment in a harsh period, made more poignant by the fact that her father has predicted the brevity of her life and the darkness which will overtake her light.

Works Cited

  1. The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  2. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  8. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  9. Ibid.
  10. Morgoth’s Ring, Laws and Customs among the Eldar.
  11. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  12. The Children of Húrin, "The Childhood of Túrin."
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Flieger, Verlyn. Splintered Light: Tolkien's World, Revised Edition. Kent State University Press, Kindle Edition. 2002.

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Featured Podfic

A Minor Talent

Lyra (Read by Dawn Felagund)

Young Findekáno develops a passion for a song that continues to follow him as the events of the Silmarillion unfold.

Listen to or download "A Minor Talent."

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

The SWG Featured Podfic project presents a new recording of one of our archived stories each month. Have a favorite story that you'd like to hear? Recommend a story for the Featured Podfic project here. Visit our podfic page for more information on podfic, including how to get started with podficcing, add your own podfics to our archive, volunteer to read for the Featured Podfic project, or listen to and download other podfics on our site.

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Current Challenge

Turning Point

The Silmarillion has many moments when a character stands upon a crossroad: He or she will have to make a decision. At such a turning point in your story, the character realises that the journey or actions he or she is about to embark on or take will have a profound effect on either on the character or the world around him or her. Write about that moment that will define or alter the life of your character. How will he or she reflect on what is about to change and how does she or he look back on the way things were(in good, bad, or both ways)?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Challenges Revisited: Differing Perspectives

Choose a drabble or another work by an author that illustrates a single character's perspective. After seeking the original author's permission, write the same event--using all of the author's original conventions--from a different character's perspective.

Quote of the Month

A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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

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

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Around the World and Web

Articles of Interest

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

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

Tolkien's Triumph: The Strange History of 'The Lord of the Rings' by John Lennard

This essay is now available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book. It includes an entire section devoted to secondary works and fanfiction, with references to several authors including our very own members, Dreamflower and pandemonium_213.

The Silmarillion In Three Minutes: A Condensed Version of JRR Tolkien's History of Middle-earth

If you ever watched Lost you may remember how the 8-minute summary left you more confused than enlightened about what had gone on in the series. Well, this is the same. If you can bear the breakneck speed of the narrator, the over-simplification and the tongue-in-cheek, then it’s worth watching the video here, if only for the very minimalistic but effective graphic design.

There's More to Fantasy Than the Elves and Orcs of Tolkien

The conflict between good and evil is central to every great fantasy novel, but the way writers handle that dichotomy has become ever more nuanced. Read more in this article in The Guardian newspaper.

The 10 Most Unlikely Things that Were Influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien

And beyond most modern fantasy fiction, what else may have been influenced by Tolkien and his work? Ok, the authors of this article seem to struggle to come up with 10 original ideas, but still, read their findings < a href="">here.

Battle of the Somme: The 'Animal Horror' that Inspired J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien’s first “dragons” over Gondolin were Morgoth’s steampunk-style secret weapons, a blend of machine and beast. He wrote these first stories of his Fairie realms of Middle-earth while in hospital, straight after the Battle of the Somme, where Britain’s own secret weapon, the tank, had just been rolled out. Read more about how the war inspired Tolkien’s visions of good and evil in this article in The Telegraph.


Teitho: November Challenge--Letters

“Letters” can be interpreted as correspondence sent and received, or as the characters that make up the many alphabets of Middle-earth. Additionally, “letters” can dictate the format of your story—written as a letter, or as a collection of letters exchanged between characters.

The deadline for this challenge is November 25th. The Teitho website has more information as well as the full rules for this challenge.

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

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