Newsletter: October 2009

Table of Contents

SWG News

New Changes Coming to the Reference Library

SWG's Reference Library is--in concept and existence--older than our archive. Before we even imagined we'd have an archive, we decided that we wanted a place on the site to showcase excellent peer-reviewed essays and commentary about Tolkien, writing, and fan culture. Of course, SWG and, along with it, the Reference Library have grown over the years, and our biggest addition has been adding the archive, where any SWG member can share fiction or non-fiction about The Silmarillion. Yet the Reference Library remains an important part of our site for showcasing excellent non-fiction.

However, as the archive and the group in general has grown, two major shortcomings have arisen because of the disconnect between the archive and the Reference Library. First is the fact that there is no means for readers to leave a comment on essays in the Reference section. Secondly, because the archive and the Reference Library do not "talk" to one another, searches of the archive do not turn up results for the Reference Library. So a search for stories about Finrod Felagund will not turn up Oshun's biography on his character. Both have had the effect of making Reference essays feel sidelined, which is unfortunate, given not only the quality of much of this work but the amount of time and energy put into each essay by its author and Reference staff members.

As such, we have developed and are beginning to put into place a solution that will, hopefully, address these two shortcomings. Over the course of October, we will be adding listings in the archive for all of the material currently housed in the Reference Library. This will allow readers to leave comments on the essays, and it will allow archive searches to turn up Reference Library content in the results. Clicking on a result from the Reference Library will redirect the reader to the Reference Library, in order that we can continue to maintain the Reference Library as a home for excellent, completed, and peer-reviewed non-fiction.

Newsletter columns will also, beginning this month, contain a link where readers can leave a comment on the column. We hope that if you have questions for the author, wish to challenge a point, or just want to congratulate her or him on a job well done, that you will take a moment to do so!

It is important to note that the review feature is available only to members of the SWG archive. Archive membership is free and without obligation. If you'd like to leave a comment on Reference Library content, we encourage you to sign up here for an SWG archive account. And, as always, questions about the Reference Library are welcome at

New FAQ: How do I post a story or a series to the SWG archive? What should I enter into the various fields?

By member request, we have added a new FAQ that explains in detail what the different fields on the story form are and goes step-by-step through filling out the form for both stories and series.

Do you have burning questions about the SWG keeping you awake at night? Do you find yourself debating the finer points of defining Silmfic or wondering exactly what is a round-robin story? Please remember that we have an extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions (and answers to go with them!), and if you don't see your question on the list, we welcome all manner of inquiries at Suggestions for new FAQs is always welcome as well.

Problems with the RSS Feed on LiveJournal

As some of you know, there is an RSS feed set up on LiveJournal called swg_archive that allows you to receive notification of updates to the archive right on your LJ friends page. (If you didn't know that and use LJ, you can add swg_archive to your friends list here!) LJ made some changes to its RSS feeds in the past month and some--including ours--have been behaving strangely at times as a result. A support request has been made, and the feed has been well-behaved recently, which we hope will continue. If you find that the swg_archive feed is not working, please do let us know, and we'll gladly follow-up with the folks at LJ.

(Return to Top)

Character of the Month Biography

Nimloth of Doriath


The subject of this month’s biography is Nimloth of Doriath, another of the unsung elven ladies of The Silmarillion. Nimloth’s role in the history of the First Age is based upon her relationship to Dior Eluchíl, the son of Beren and Lúthien. She married him and bore his children. The principle reference to Nimloth in The Silmarillion reads as follows:

At that time Beren and Lúthien yet dwelt in Tol Galen, the Green Isle, in the River Adurant, southernmost of the streams that falling from Ered Lindon flowed down to join with Gelion; and their son Dior Eluchíl had to wife Nimloth, kinswoman of Celeborn, prince of Doriath, who was wedded to the Lady Galadriel. The sons of Dior and Nimloth were Eluréd and Elurín; and a daughter also was born to them, and she was named Elwing, which is Star-spray, for she was born on a night of stars, whose light glittered in the spray of the waterfall of Lanthir Lamath ['Waterfall of Echoing Voices' (1)] beside her father's house. (2)

We know little to nothing about Nimloth aside from her familial relationships to others. We have no idea how, when, or where Nimloth met Dior. We don’t even know if she fell in love with him because of his looks (he was called “Dior Aranel the beautiful” (3) at his birth and later referred to as “Dior the Fair” [4] ) or if those were perhaps simply pleasant but incidental attributes. One might presume that they met in Doriath. Yet, the above paragraph is constructed in a grammatical manner as to imply that they dwelt, if not with Beren and Lúthien in Tol Galen in Ossiriand, near to them, assuming that the falls of Lanthir Lamath are part of the River Adurant.

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, 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). This gives the Sindarin side of the most famous pair of so-called Peredhil, Elrond and Elros, some good genes and interesting relatives.

Nimloth shares her name in Tolkien’s legendarium with a famous tree, “[T]he White Tree of Númenor, of which a fruit taken by Isildur before it was felled grew into the White Tree of Minas Ithil. Nimloth 'White Blossom' is the Sindarin form of Quenya Ninquelótë, one of the names of Telperion (8).

Nimloth moves to Doriath, as the consort of Dior, when he takes his place as king of Doriath after the death of Thingol.

Now Dior Thingol's heir bade farewell to Beren and Lúthien, and departing from Lanthir Lamath with Nimloth his wife he came to Menegroth, and abode there; and with them went their young sons Eluréd and Elurín, and Elwing their daughter. Then the Sindar received them with joy, and they arose from the darkness of their grief for fallen kin and King and for the departure of Melian; and Dior Eluchíl set himself to raise anew the glory of the kingdom of Doriath. (9)

Readers are given no indication of what sort of a consort Nimloth is in Doriath, whether she resides there simply as the wife of Dior and mother of his children, or whether she performs the role of adviser and effectively co-ruler in the manner of Melian the Maia. Nor are we told anything of her opinion of Dior’s choice to flaunt the Silmaril he receives upon the death of his parents and his lack of response to the sons of Fëanor when they demand its return.

But Dior returned no answer to the sons of Fëanor; and Celegorm stirred up his brothers to prepare an assault upon Doriath. They came at unawares in the middle of winter, and fought with Dior in the Thousand Caves; and so befell the second slaying of Elf by Elf. 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. 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. (10)

Nimloth dies in the destruction of Doriath, but her legacy lives on throughout the Ages of Arda in Tolkien’s accounts of the deeds of her most illustrious descendants, from Elwing through Elrond to, finally in the Fourth Age, Eldarion Telcontar, the son of Arwen and Aragorn.

Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, Index of Names.
  2. The Silmarillion.
  3. The Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad."
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath."
  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.
  8. The Silmarillion, Index of Names.
  9. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Doriath."
  10. 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.
Read all archived stories about Nimloth.

(Return to Top)

Linguistic Foolery

'Sindarin' is a Quenya Word: how the clan names make Elvish more confusing

Darth Fingon

Last month's article looked at the differences between Sindarin and Quenya, and when each would be the appropriate language to use. This month will take that same idea a little further and expand on the Sindarin vs Quenya smackdown. Because while the vast majority of the character and place names given in Tolkien's works are in Sindarin, there's one category where Quenya wins hands down. And that category is Names of the Kindreds of the Elves.

Everyone who reads and writes Silm fic is familiar with words like Sindar, Noldor, Vanyar, Teleri, Nandor, and Avari. What these words have in common, apart from the obvious fact that they're names of Elven kindreds, is that they're all Quenya words. Throughout The Silmarillion, Tolkien uses these Quenya terms to describe his Elves, thus setting the standard for Quenya in narrative. But problems can arise when you need to use these descriptors in dialogue or tight POV. Realistically, a Sindarin Elf will not refer to himself or his speech as 'Sindarin'; this word does not exist in his language. He'd have to say something else.

Fair warning before going any further on this: as with all in-story Elvish, there's a fine line between being right and being a pretentious goon. While it would be hypocritical for me to say 'just use the familiar Quenya', since that's the exact opposite of what I always advocate, I also think it's a little silly to pepper one's writing with an overabundance of the lesser-known Sindarin terms to the point that most readers will be running to the glossary every few lines. My personal preference is to write around these words and use other descriptors as much as possible, thus eliminating the need to decide between being logically correct and being widely understood. (I should also admit that when people ask me whether they should use Sindarin or Quenya in a given scenario, my usual answer is 'English'.)


Oddly enough, there is no exact Sindarin word for 'Sindarin'. The Sindarin Elves were known to call their language simply edhellen, ‘Elvish’ and themselves edhil, ‘Elves’. The term sindar was given them by the Noldorin exiles. However, sometimes edhellen will not work in your scenario, especially if your story deals with more than one type of Elf and more than one Elvish language. In this case, it's possible to directly translate the Quenya words and make new Sindarin terms.

Singular: Sinda -> Thinnel, from thind (grey) plus el (Elf), modelled after glinnel below.
Plural: Sindar -> Thinnil
Collective: Sindalië -> Thindrim
Adjective: Sindarin -> Thindren

The collective can be roughly translated as 'people of the Sindar' and should not be confused with the plural. This problem arises frequently in Lord of the Rings stories involving the word Galadhrim, which unfortunately is only attested in the collective form. Keep in mind that the suffixes Q lië and S rim will refer only to a group of people as a whole, making it inappropriate to use in sentences like 'Four Thindrim arrived in Nevrast yesterday'. In this situation, the regular plural should be used.

David Salo’s book A Gateway to Sindarin lists sg send cl sendrim as words for the Sindar used by the Noldor, but I’ve been unable to find these on other wordlists. They may appear in newer sources (no provenance is listed). In any case, send looks like a Noldorin sound-only Sindarinisation of Q sinda rather than a translation based on existing Sindarin words: the A in sinda causes the I to shift to E; the A is then dropped. Sinda -> Senda -> Send. If this is true, the Sindar would not use these terms, being that they're Noldorin inventions and not 'real' words.

(So I say now, having no idea where these words come from. Just watch; now somebody will write in and prove me spectacularly wrong.)

Anyhow, one attested Sindarin word applied to Sindarin Elves is iathrim: a collective for Elves of Doriath. A possible singular would be iathel (pl iathil adj iathren). The longer form Doriathrim should also be possible.


'Noldor' appears to be the only one of the well known terms that is actually used by the group it names. There are Sindarin words for the Noldor, and they are as follows:

Singular: Noldo -> Golodh or Gódhel
Plural: Noldor -> Gelydh or Gódhil
Collective: Noldolië -> Golodhrim or Gódhellim
Adjective: Noldorin -> Golodhren or Gódhellen

The word ódhel (pl ódhil cl ódhellim adj ódhellen) is also listed for Noldo. Strictly speaking it means 'any Elf of Aman', though it became more associated with the Noldor due to the fact that these were the Elves the Sindar met in Beleriand. The Quenya equivalent, oarel or aurel (pl oareldi cl oarellië adj oareldin), retains the meaning of 'any Elf of Aman' (that is, a Noldo or Vanya).


The singular and plural words are attested; the collective and adjective are guesses on my part based on patterns observed elsewhere:

Singular: Vanya -> Miniel
Plural: Vanyar -> Mínil
Collective: Vanyalië -> Midhrim
Adjective: Vanyarin -> Midhren

The Quenya and Sindarin terms do not have corresponding meanings. Q vanya means 'beautiful one' while S miniel means something like 'Elf of the first clan'. Direct translations would give Q minya for 'Elf of the first clan' (pl minyar cl minyallië adj minyarin) and possibly something from the word bain (beautiful) in Sindarin. The Vanyar did not call themselves Vanyar, but used the min- terms.


Several different terms exist to describe Teleri, since these Elves did not necessarily use the word in reference to themselves. Teleri means 'hindmost'; they preferred the term Lindar, meaning 'singers'. Quenya and Sindarin words are listed in corresponding order:

Singular: Teler or Linda -> Teler or Glinnel
Plural: Teleri or Lindar -> Telir or Glinnil
Collective: Telellië or Lindalië -> Telerrim or Glindrim
Adjective: Telerin or Lindarin -> Telerren or Glindren

Additionally, a few more Sindarin words exist: eglan or egol means 'forsaken one', and is used by those Teleri who were left behind in Beleriand (pl eglain or egyl, cl egladhrim or eglath, adj egladhren or egollen). The collective term falathrim also exists for shore-dwelling Elves, with a possible singular form being falassel (pl felessil adj falathren). In the language of the Teleri of Aman, they called themselves sg linda pl lindai cl lindálië adj lindárin.


This name comes from roots meaning 'against' or 'back', referring to those who turned back on the journey from Cuiviénen. The Nandor do not call themselves Nandor, but rather, like the Teleri, use the term 'singers': Lindi. Therefore the Lin- and Glin- words listed under Teleri could probably be used when referring to the Nandor in a politically correct way.

Singular: Nando -> Danel
Plural: Nandor -> Denil
Collective: Nandolië -> Danwaith is attested; Danath and Dadhrim are other possibilities.
Adjective: Nandorin -> Dadhren

Nandor were also called laiquendi, 'green elves' in Quenya (sg laiquendë cl laiquendelië adj laiquendarin, though I would hesitate to use the cl and adj forms on account of how they sound ridiculous), for which the Sindarin words are sg laegel pl laegil cl laegrim adj laegren. The Nandorin words are sg lind pl lindi cl lindas (adj unknown).


Another word that is not used by the group it names, Avari means 'refusers': those who refused to leave Cuiviénen. The Avari naturally did not think of themselves in this way.

Singular: Avar -> Avar
Plural: Avari -> Evair
Collective: Avallië -> Avarrim
Adjective: Avarin -> Avarren

A few Avarin words are listed in War of the Jewels. All of them are words the Avari used to name themselves, presumably in different dialects, and all mean roughly 'people'.

Quendi and Eldar

I'll be brief with this one because the terms are already explained in much greater detail by Tolkien himself (see 'Quendi and Eldar' in WJ, which is whence most of these clan names come). The word quendi (sg quendë) has no real Sindarin equivalent. The Sindarin word pen meaning 'person' is related, but is not an exact match (it corresponds rather to Q quen). The usual words to describe an Elf in everyday language, though, are Q elda and S edhel.

Singular: Elda -> Edhel
Plural: Eldar -> Edhil
Collective: Eldalië -> Edhellim
Adjective: Eldarin -> Edhellen

WJ lists more words than these for describing Elves in general; I won't go into them here since they are readily available there. Several of the descriptors listed therein are ones that have clear English translations for those who want to avoid using Elvish terms. Words for Light Elves, Dark Elves, and West Elves can all be found.

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.)

View past Linguistic Foolery columns.

(Return to Top)


Gothmog and Draugluin


Hi! My name is Gothmog. My middle name is Kosomot. My mom's name is Ulbandi Fluithuin. My dad is Melkor Black Foe of the World. I live in a big place called Thangorodrim. My best friend is a wolf named Draugluin. He's a lot of fun! You'll also meet my babysitter ("I'm not a babysitter. I'm an observer.") Professor Thû; he really likes rings and has the best game room ever in Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

You may remember Draugluin and me from some books written by J.R.R. Tolkien:

"...Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, high-captain of Angband, was come."

"Then Sauron sent Draugluin, a dread beast, old in evil lord and sire of the werewolves of Angband."

Professor Tolkien wrote me as being very, very bad. But I didn't start out that way! Well, maybe a little.

Draugluin and I are not just about smiting and devouring. We have fun, too. We might remind you a little of a comic strip in your primary world: Calvin and Hobbes by the "magnificent Bill Watterson" as the human (pandemonium_213) who draws us (badly) calls him.

I will also share this space with “Stinky Pete” Mêshûgganâscar, Maia of Mandos, and his pals. I think Mandos is cool because he's really scary and has a snake's tail.

I like macaroni and cheese, PS2 and Wii. I really hate big fountains and pointy helmets.

Anyway, I think this is where pandemonium_213 is supposed to make a disclaimer that Mom, Dad, me, Draugluin, Professor Thû, all the Elf dudes and Men, Stinky Pete and his Maiarin pals, their Valarin bosses and whoever else shows up are the property of the Tolkien estate, and I am just here for fun and games but no profit. You know what? I'm a parody! I think that means I'm barely legal.

Click to view full-sized.

(Return to Top)

Chibi of the Month


Nimloth Chibi Comic--Frame 1

Nimloth Chibi Comic--Frame 2

(Return to Top)

Current Challenge

Another Place in Time

When we write about Silmarillion events, our stories often concern the time and place where the action primarily occurred. However, there is a broad world beyond--what was going on there, at the same moment in time?

This challenge asks authors to move beyond the places and times of familiar events to consider what was going on elsewhere in Arda at the same time as a major event covered in The Silmarillion. How--if at all--did the event impact what was transpiring elsewhere at the same time?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Challenges Revisited: Back to Nature

Around the world, the seasons are changing. In the north, the leaves are changing color and the harvests are coming in. In the south, the cold of winter diminishes and the first flowers press from the earth. Whether escaping the heat of summer or bitter cold of winter, we ask our authors this month to turn their imaginations to the natural world around them.

Nature is ever-present in Tolkien's works, from the obvious interventions of Yavanna and Oromë to the untold struggles of a tribe of mortal Men journeying into Beleriand. Few are the characters who are not asked to interact with nature at some point over the course of The Silmarillion. This month's challenge asks you to consider conflicts with nature--both overt and symbolic--and characters' relationships with that which is natural in their world.

What are some struggles individuals and groups have with nature, with plants, animals, geography, or weather? What about those with a special relationship with natural forces? Consider the various locations upon Arda--for example, Valinor, Himring, Doriath: What symbols are present in the natural environments of these places that highlight the conflicts that take place there?

Quote of the Month

"We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.

All art is quite useless."

-Oscar Wilde, from the Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray

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

LotR Genfic Community: Myths

The October Challenge will have the theme "Myths"! Use your imagination and come up with a story of a Middle-earth legend or myth. Your element will be a fruit.

Stories will be due the weekend of Friday, October 23, and will be revealed on Monday, October 26. To request your elements, please leave a comment to this post.


At Teitho, the challenge for October is Weird Tales: It's supposed to be as general as possible to give you the opportunity to write anything fitting the spirit of Halloween: haunted houses, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, magic. Middle Earth has its fair share of dark corners. Halloween is the perfect time to explore them! Have our dynamic duo live through a scary adventure, have them meet a vengeful spirit or let them recount urban legends! The deadline for this challenge is October 25th. If you want to know more and/or participate, please visit the website.

A Long-Expected Contest (ALEC)

The theme for October is Wicked Things.

It doesn't have to be based on documented events OR need to be based on an actual character in the books. Each writer has until October 31st to turn in the story to

Please include the proper formatting for LJ. If you have any questions about how to do that, feel free to ask.

ALEC locations -

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

The MEFAs are underway, and it's voting season! To learn more about how you can vote in this year's MEFAs, please see the MEFA Voting FAQ.

Preregistration for Tolkien Manuscript Tour in New York City

Literary manuscripts from Marquette University’s renowned J.R.R. Tolkien Collection will be exhibited this fall at Fordham’s Gerald M. Quinn Library at Lincoln Center.

“The Beginnings of a Masterpiece: Original Manuscripts from The Fellowship of the Ring” will coincide with an assortment of Middle-earth programming in Midtown, including an orchestral performance of the musical score composed for the motion picture The Fellowship of the Ring at Radio City Music Hall on October 9-10.

"The Beginnings of a Masterpiece" is free and open to the public on October 9-11, with small group tours at the top of the each hour between 9:00 a.m and 2:00 p.m. Group size will be limited to 10 individuals. Please register here.

Geocities Free Web-Hosting Is Closing on 26 October 2009

Geocities has long provided free webhosting and has been a popular choice for fandom websites. Geocities has announced that it will be closing its doors on 26 October 2009. That means that any content left on Geocities after that date will be lost.

If you host (or know someone who hosts) with Geocites, it is recommended that you save copies of your site and move your content to a new host. If you frequent a site that is hosted through Geocities, and the owner does not plan to move the content (or perhaps has deserted the site altogether), it is recommended that you take screencaps of any content you wish to access after 26 October.

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) has announced its Geocites Rescue Project to provide support and resources for fannish sites currently hosted with Geocities. Information is available for relocating both fiction archives and fandom resource pages.

If you host a Tolkien fandom-related page through Geocities and need a temporary home for your content while you seek out other hosting options, please contact me at, and I might be able to help you find a place to temporarily host your site.

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