TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: November 2014

Table of Contents


SWG News

Silmarillion Re-Reading

The end of the Quenta is drawing near and the fascinating topics of the Second Age are beckoning but it’s not too late to join the discussions. To catch up with the previous discussions, visit the "silmarillion reread" tag on our LiveJournal. The following chapters were covered during October:

Of Turin Turambar (fanworks rec post)
Of the Ruin of Doriath (fanworks rec post)

This is our schedule for this month:

November 2: Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin (fanwork rec post)
November 16: "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath"
November 30: "Akallabêth"
See the full Silmarillion (re)reading schedule here.

Remember that each chapter has special recommendations of both stories and artwork. Don’t miss them!

Welcome, Elleth, as Our New SWG Tumblr Mod!

We are proud to announce and that Elleth has become the moderator of our blog on Tumblr! A great writer, wonderful artist, Tumblr expert and one of the first people to join the SWG back in 2007, it’s a real pleasure to have her on our moderators’ team. Follow us on Tumblr to keep up with news from within the group and Silmarillion fandom.

HASA Story Rescue Project

As probably most of you already know, the Henneth-Annûn Story Archivewill close down at the end of the year. The SWG, together with Many Paths to Tread and Faerie, have undertaken a project to try to save as many HASA stories as possible on the belief that every story, every poem, every drabble is a part of our shared history and losing them is a loss for all of us as members of a vital and active fandom. We are pleased to report that every one of the stories on HASA is now being worked on by a volunteer and many sections have been completed! This month, we will begin working on the next stage of the project by beginning to contact authors for permission to archive their work on another site. If you’re willing to lend a hand, please contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org

Every manner of help, participating actively in the rescue project, spreading the news, informing authors who may be unaware of the situation, is most welcome.

HASA authors: If you need help archiving your stories on another site before HASA closes, the following archives have extended assistance to HASA authors: the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, Many Paths to Tread, Faerie, and the Faramir Fiction Archive. All you need to do is to contact the site administrator(s) of the site(s) where you'd like to archive with permission to move your work, and they will archive your stories for you.

Welcome to Our New Members!

October has been a quiet month for new registrations. We are pleased to welcome Mirlasse, losselen and Amy Zheng to the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild.

Most likely you’ve already found your way around our site to read, review or post at the archive. However, if you are still unsure about something, for example site etiquette, or our definition of "Silmfic", you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. We’d love to know what awoke your interest in the Silmarillion and brought you to our site, or any other facts about your fandom persona, so why not your update your bio? Anytime you need assistance, please contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Footprint of Snowdrops by Elleth [General] (1705 words)
Summary: A chance meeting in the forest prompts Nellas to revisit first impressions, and Lúthien to re-examine how she relates to her homeland.

Interlude Before Exile by Elleth [General] (1554 words)
Summary: Indis and Lalwen have a final conversation before the Exile.

Rise Up With Fists by Agelast [Teens] (7368 words)
Summary: Beleg meets and befriends Túrin, future life-ruiner.

The Deplorable Word by Agelast [Adult] (1124 words)
Summary: On the eve of his abdication, Maedhros has doubts. Oneshot, horror AU.

The Musician by Makalaure [General] (1164 words)
Summary: Ecthelion finds his flute disagreeable.

Works in Progress

A Short History of the Easterlings by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Maedhros remembers his encounter with Bor's tribe and the early days of their alliance.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1.

Many Journeys by Elleth [Teens]
Summary:A gathering place for ficlets of varying length written in response to prompts, prods and as gift ficlets..
Chapters added this month: Making a Home and Brethil in Winter.

Maudits silmarils, livre 1 by Dilly [Teens]
Summary: A Gondolin, Turgon déprime... Une parodie crack du Silmarillion façon Kaamelott.
Chapter added this month: Melmë.

One Star in the Sky by VCalien2015 [Teens]
Summary: The Dagor Dagorath approaches, and nearly all of those slain in the wars of the past Ages have been reborn to prepare themselves for the Last Battle. Among them is Curufinwë Fëanáro, last to leave the Halls of Mandos and tasked with earning his redemption. Fëanáro and his kin begin together the days which will lead them to the End, the guilt of the past mingling with joy long-lost, recalling at last what it is to truly live.
Chapters added this month: Homecoming - Part V, Rekindling - Part I, Rekindling - Part II and Rekindling - Part III .

Taking Readings by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Archiving a couple of short, slightly experimental pieces together.
Chapters added this month: The Girl from Doriath and Dwarven Ale.

The Beautiful Ones by Elleth [Adult]
Summary: Before the discovery of the Quendi by Oromë, a young Indis and her lover try to make sense of each other and the world around them, while the threat of Morgoth upon Cuiviénen increases. Originally written for Aliana's Bechdel Action/Adventure challenge, continued for B2MeM.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 3.

The Birds of the Temple Garden by Huinare [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: Mairon kickstarts the new Cult of Melkor in Armenelos. What does one do with inept acolytes, heretics, and abandoned gardens?
Chapter added this month: The Devout.

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.
Chapters added this month: Birthright, The Hand of Fate and Dagor Bragollach.

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: A collection of drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating.
Chapter added this month: Trick or Treat Ficlets.

Short Works

Reborn by Silver Trails [Adult] (545 words)
Summary: Caranthir has been reborn and Aegnor comes to see him

The Aeluin by Silver Trails [Teens] (284 words)
Summary: Andreth and Aegnor meet under the moon.

Artwork

The Death of Arvedui Last King of Arthedain in Of Night and Light and The Half-light by oshun (1 piece)
Summary: This is a place for short contributions or graphics (mostly but not all from Back-to-Middle-earth Month 2012). The title is from "He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven" by William Butler Yeats. Some are serious and some are silly. Added "Death of Arvedui" graphic.

Poetry

Maglor's lament for the lost Silmaril by losselen [General] (897 words)
Summary: What Maglor, in both obdurate pride and grievous lament, might have sung of the Silmaril. In blank verse unrhymed, after Paradise Lost.

Of Maglor by losselen [General] (203 words)
Summary: What song might have been sung of Maglor, at the breaking of the world.

Two poems for Daeron by losselen [General](220 words)
Summary: Two sonnets for Daeron: one for his joy and youth in Doriath, and one for his exile in Eriador, searching in vain for Lúthien.


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Character of the Month Biography

Azaghâl

Oshun


Azaghâl is one of the most impressive leaders among the Dwarven peoples of First Age Beleriand. Known as the Lord of the Dwarves of Belegost, Azaghâl befriended Maedhros and was to become one of his most significant allies in the Union of Maedhros preparing for and participating in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.1

The grievous defeat of the Noldor in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad is elaborated in the context of how Maedhros and Fingon built their great alliance and went into that battle with renewed hope that a victory over Morgoth was not an impossible dream but could be made a reality. Had the story of that great battle been based solely upon the foolish overconfidence of its leaders, it would be less heart-wrenching for the reader.

But Tolkien is a consummate storyteller and delivers the tale of this tragic defeat after describing the ability of those two great princes of the Noldor to bring together so many and such sympathetic and courageous allies. Before their betrayal and defeat, Tolkien presents us with a story, against great odds, of their success in mobilizing vast forces. Not least among their steadfast and stalwart comrades-in-arms are Azaghâl and his doughty Dwarves.

Much is written in commentary about the Unnumbered Tears of the disastrous betrayal of the alliance by the spy Ulfang, which resulted in Maedhros’ armies’ fatal delay in arriving at the agreed upon time to reinforce Fingon’s vanguard. The reader is often reminded as well of how the wicked deeds of Celegorm and Curufin in Nargothrond deprived the Noldorin forces of potential allies. But one reads less often of the loyalty at great cost of others, including Azaghâl and the Dwarves of Belegost, who saved the remaining Noldor at the end of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears from total annihilation.

Last of all the eastern force to stand firm were the Dwarves of Belegost, and thus they won renown. For the Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was their custom moreover to wear great masks in battle hideous to look upon; and those stood them in good stead against the dragons. And but for them Glaurung and his brood would have withered all that was left of the Noldor. But the Naugrim made a circle about him when he assailed them, and even his mighty armour was not full proof against the blows of their great axes; and when in his rage Glaurung turned and struck down Azaghâl, Lord of Belegost, and crawled over him, with his last stroke Azaghâl drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field, and the beasts of Angband in dismay followed after him.2

There are few more stirring pictures in Tolkien’s work, particularly none painted in so few words, than the exit of the Dwarves of Belegost from the field of battle carrying their fallen leader. Their allies and enemies alike are frozen in their tracks, mesmerized by the sight and sound of their powerful lament.

Then the Dwarves raised up the body of Azaghâl and bore it away; and with slow steps they walked behind singing a dirge in deep voices, as it were a funeral pomp in their country, and gave no heed more to their foes; and none dared to stay them.3

Another significant mention of Azaghâl in the legendry of Beleriand in the First Age relates to his connection to the famous Dragon-helm of Dor-lómin, often referred to as the Helm of Hador. In the Unfinished Tales, we find a description of this artifact.

It had a visor (after the manner of those that the Dwarves used in their forges for the shielding of their eyes), and the face of one that wore it struck fear into the hearts of all beholders, but was itself guarded from dart and fire. Upon its crest was set in defiance a gilded image of the head of Glaurung the dragon; for it had been made soon after he first issued from the gates of Morgoth. Often Hador, and Galdor after him, had borne it in war; and the hearts of the host of Hithlum were uplifted when they saw it towering high amid the battle, and they cried: ‘Of more worth is the Dragon of Dor-lómin than the gold-worm of Angband!’4

The helm was originally crafted for Azaghâl by the great Dwarven craftsman Telchar. It was famous not only for its unique and terrifying appearance, but also is said to have contained extraordinary elements of Dwarven magic. (One may note in the description of this artifact that not only did the science and technology of the Elves shade into the supernatural, but those of the great Dwarven artisans did as well.)

A power was in it that guarded any who wore it from wound or death, for the sword that hewed it was broken, and the dart that smote it sprang aside. It was wrought by Telchar, the smith of Nogrod, whose works were renowned.5

This is the same helm which plays a role in the story of Túrin son of Húrin, who received it as one of the greatest heirlooms of his house. Most readers will be familiar with the Dragon-helm from the abbreviated form of the story of Beleg and Túrin in The Silmarillion. The pair become famous for their deeds in patrolling and protecting a beleaguered area of Bar-en-Danwedh, which comes to be referred to as the "The Land of Bow and Helm." (The bow, of course, is Beleg’s renowned black bow named Belthronding, and the helm is Túrin’s celebrated Dragon-helm of the House of Hador).6

It was given by Azaghâl to Maedhros, as guerdon for the saving of his life and treasure, when Azaghâl was waylaid by Orcs upon the Dwarf-road in East Beleriand.5 Maedhros afterwards sent it as a gift to Fingon, with whom he often exchanged tokens of friendship, remembering how Fingon had driven Glaurung back to Angband. But in all Hithlum no head and shoulders were found stout enough to bear the dwarf-helm with ease, save those of Hador and his son Galdor. Fingon therefore gave it to Hador, when he received the lordship of Dor-lómin.7

Christopher Tolkien points out in a footnote that the story of how Maedhros meets Azaghâl and wins his gratitude and, evidently, his lasting friendship is neither developed nor told in any other part of his father’s notes: "5 The Orc-raid into East Beleriand in which Maedhros saved Azaghâl is nowhere else referred to."8

It is indeed unfortunate that we cannot read how Maedhros won this mighty guerdon. The word guerdon is interesting in that it had become an archaic term. One would have found it until recently in Shakespeare, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, or various tales of knights and feats of heroism of centuries past. But today one finds resurgence of its usage in fantasy fiction and games. One would not go far wrong to credit Tolkien for some measure of its current popularity. It denotes a form of reward or recompense asked or given for a valorous deed or service. Not only did Maedhros receive his guerdon for rescuing Azaghâl in the form of the Dragon-helm of Telchar, a valuable piece of work and one imbued with Dwarven magic, but along with it, the loyalty and lasting friendship of this most valorous of the Dwarven lords of the heroic First Age.

Azaghâl lives in Tolkien’s legendarium as an unsurpassed hero of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, a loyal ally, and as the first owner of the famous Dragon-helm. The personal traits of Azaghâl are archetypes of those of the Dwarves or Khazâd at their strongest and most noble and imposing.

Since they were to come in the days of the power of Melkor, Aulë made the dwarves strong to endure. Therefore they are stone-hard, stubborn, fast in friendship and in enmity, and they suffer toil and hunger and hurt of body more hardily than all other speaking peoples. . . .9



Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  2. The Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad."
  3. Ibid.
  4. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar."
  7. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin.
  8. Ibid.
  9. The Silmarillion, "Of Aulë and Yavanna."



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View past character profiles.


View all archived stories about Azaghâl.


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Current Challenge

Traditions

Part of what makes Tolkien's legendarium feel so real is his expertise in alluding to and sometimes even creating the mythic and historical materials that form the basis of his Ardaverse. These materials include the songs, poems, and stories of an oral tradition. For this challenge, we ask our writers to show the oral tradition in their story. Perhaps a character is telling a folktale, cautioning a child with an urban legend, or scaring a sibling with a ghost story. Perhaps a character is reciting a bardic poem or singing a popular song. How might the traditional spoken word have been used and impacted the cultures of Arda?

Challenges Revisited: The Storyteller

'Each of us has been designed for one of two immortal functions, as either a storyteller or as a cross-legged listener to tales of wonder, love and daring. When we cease to tell or listen, then we no longer exist as a people. Dead men tell no tales.'
-- Bryce Courtenay

We have all come across them: storytellers. You know the kind. You're at a party, bored out of your mind ... until Uncle Saul walks in. Before you know it, you are engrossed in another of his wild and crazy stories.

Storytelling is an interactive art, using words and actions to bring a story to life while encouraging the listener’s imagination. In many cultures, storytelling is much more than entertainment: it is a way to pass on history and cultural traditions. Even in modern times, storytellers still hold a special rank amongst their people, from Naghāls to Bards.

This challenge is all about storytellers in the Silmarillion tapestry: maybe someone like Finrod Felagund enchanting men or long-lost elves who can treat passersby to songs and tales of old? What epic do they pass on and to whom? How does the crowd interact with the speaker and help him or her to embellish the tale? What is their way of life? What status do they have within their community? Are they a wiseman of the Edain or a wanderer hoping to earn some coin on the road? What drives them and what have they experienced?

It is up to you to tell their tale.

Quote of the Month

"The marks humans leave are too often scars."
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

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.

"I Learned from Editing The Silmarillion" – An Interview with Guy Gavriel Kay

In an interview with The Guardian, the Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay has talked about what it was like to help Christopher Tolkien edit The Silmarillion during 1974. This amazing experience showed him the ‘drudgery and mistakes’ that lie behind every great work.

How Did Sauron Give the Seven Rings to the Dwarven Kings?

We all know the rhyme "Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone," but Tolkien never told us how or when these seven rings ended up in the hands of these unnamed Dwarf-lords. Michael Martinez attempts to shape an answer in his blog.

How Fanfiction Is Becoming Mainstream

The Internet has revolutionised the way we read, and the way we choose what to read. Until very recently, fanfiction has been perceived by publishers as amateurish, poor-quality, copyright-infringing rehashing of "proper" writers’ creations. But this perception is changing. This collection of recent articles at the Washington Post, Wired, and Crushable (this last one is written by a fervent reader of The Hobbit fanfic) are just a sample of how publishers are beginning to welcome fanfiction.

The Political Vision of J.R.R. Tolkien

A recently published book, The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot provides a study pf Tolkien’s political principles and philosophy. One of its co-authors, Dr. Jay W. Richards, claims that Tolkien "didn’t like concentrated political power, even when it could seem to be justified for noble purposes." Read more at this interview with The Catholic World Report.

The Most Epic Safety Video Ever

The old "I scratch your back if you scratch mine" has come to life in the production of this Middle-earth based aircraft safety video. Air New Zealand has teamed up with Peter Jackson and several other known faces from his movies, and the result is far more entertaining than the average airline safety video. It may make you smile.

Mythmoot III Presenter List

Check out the impressive list of topics and presenters who will feature at the Mythmoot III event , which will take place on January 10 and 11, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. The SWG will be represented in honor of its upcoming tenth anniversary, as Dawn Felagund uses her ten years running this site in her presentation "Transformative Works as a Means to Develop Critical Perspectives in the Tolkien Fan Community."

Announcements

Lord of the Rings Secret Santa Sign-Ups Are Open

Sign-ups are open for the annual LotR SeSa exchange until November 7. This is a fic exchange, so you will both request a story, as well as write one to fulfill someone else's request. All time periods and characters from Tolkien are welcome. Find the LotR SeSa rules, deadlines, and sign-up on the LotR website.

Femslash Yuletide

Femslash Yuletide is a low-pressure challenge running during the first twenty-five days of December on Tumblr. Choose one (or more!) of the twenty-five challenges, choose a pairing, and post your work on the scheduled date for your challenge. The Femslash Yuletide guidelines are here. A list of Tolkien femslash pairings that people have requested is also available.

Call for Papers: Forgotten Leaves Anthology

This book seeks to publish selected essays from Parma Nole: Journal of the Northeast Tolkien Society that are being brushed up and republished alongside new solicited essays. Additionally, this collection will contain previously unpublished lectures, critical (and non-critical) essays, interviews & reviews. The publishers are also seeking well written new articles to cover several topics, including critical papers, fan essays, film topics, fandom, interviews, and reviews. See the Forgotten Leaves call for papers for full details.

Registration Is Open for Mythmoot III!

Mythmoot III: Ever On will take place at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum, Maryland, on Saturday and Sunday, January 10 and 11, 2015. Details are being worked out and will be announced as they are confirmed, but we can tell you now that there will be familiar and new features, all geared to encourage participants to laugh while they learn. Visit the Mythmoot III page to learn more and make your reservations.




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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