TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: October 2010

Table of Contents


SWG News

Fifth Birthday--Here's to Many More!

Our birthday celebration is over but what a party we've had! We had a lot of great new stories and we could also revisit old classics or discover that story or author that we had missed in its time. If you haven't checked the last themes, don't miss them! Our birthday page includes all of the compilations, as well as new works for each theme. Several new stories have been added since the last theme was posted:

The Axes of a Soul by wind rider [Teens] (767 words)
Summary: The last survivor of the drowning Númenor reflects on herself, her life and her decisions as she struggles to avoid certain death. What will she get in the end? Does she dare to face it like the proud daughter of the Island that she is?

To Create a Queen by Lady_Roisin [Teens] (5891 words)
Summary: Almárëa arrives in Númenor to deliver her father’s letter to Tar-Meneldur. However, she does not anticipate being drawn so deeply into the personal and political affairs of Númenor’s royal family. When Almárëa meets Aldarion’s only child, Ancalimë, she discovers what she hopes to be a possible escape for all of them.

Five Things That Never Happened to Sauron by Russandol [Teens] (657 words)
Summary: Five short scenes with a twist, in five different locations. Each of them harder to write than the previous one!

Stranger at the Gates by lindahoyland [General] (1658 words)
Summary: A weary stranger seeks shelter from Galadriel.

My Heart Lies Where My Eyes Alight by wind rider [General] (7905 words)
Summary: In nearly every home, its dwellers have rooms, items or nooks special for themselves. It is no different even with the greatest of the Valar, Manwë and Varda. These are five features of their home most beloved by the couple with their various reasons.

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

Remember that participants as well as everybody who wants to join in the commemoration is welcome to pick one of the beautiful birthday banners lovingly made by Rhapsody.

Many thanks to all of our participants for making our fifth birthday one to remember!

Farewell, Lady Roisin

At the beginning of the month, we received the sad news that Lady Roisin had lost her long and valiant battle with cancer. Roisin was not only one of our most prolific authors but, during her relatively short time with us, contributed in many ways to making the SWG a vibrant and active group through her behind-the-scenes volunteer work. A talent digital artist, she created the banners honoring Akallabêth in August participants, in addition to writing several contributions for the event. For Back to Middle-earth Month 2010, she served as a game moderator and our graphics designer, making dozens of customized banners and treasure items. Not surprisingly, Roisin was active in the group right up to the end, writing several stories for our recent birthday event. In addition to her work as an author, artist, and volunteer, Roisin always rallied for and supported Second Age and women-centric fiction, two subgenres that have flourished on our site, thanks in a large part to her contributions.

Roisin, you will be missed for your creativity, energy, and friendship. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with her husband and daughter during this difficult time.

Back to Middle-earth Month 2011

Back to Middle-earth Month is still firmly located in the month of March, but due to the moderators' real-life obligations next spring, we're starting to plan now. If you have any ideas you'd like us to consider as we plan for B2MeM2011, please let us know! We'll be taking ideas for a short time longer, so please comment on the B2MeM2011 LiveJournal post or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org with your suggestions.

Funnies Archived

As of this month you will be able to find the whole collection of Pandemonium's Gothmog and Draugluin and Whitewave's Chibi of the Month in the new Funnies section located on the Special Projects page. There you will be able to read all of them and to leave comments for the authors, or access each author's work through her profile page on the archive.

Approaching an Archive Milestone ...

I (Dawn) don't normally watch our stats to closely, so imagine my surprise when Rhapsody reported on our moderator forum that we are approaching our 1,000th story on the archive! As of this writing, we are at #997 ... who will #1,000 be??

Those almost-1,000 stories, essays, and poems include nearly 5 million words, meaning that it would take the average reader two weeks of nonstop reading to read them all. In the wake of concluding our fifth birthday event, this seems an appropriate milestone to reach and another chance to thank the many authors who have made our archive a success!

Keeping up with the SWG Archive

Our new newsletter feature that lists all of the stories added, updated, and completed each month on the archive has drawn some positive attention so far, and we're glad that it's providing an easy way for some of our members to keep up with stories posted on the site. One of the comments I hear most often as the site owner concerns the Most Recent block on the archive homepage, particularly when an active spell on the archive means that authors get bumped from this block relatively quickly. Not surprisingly, authors sometimes ask how readers will find their stories once they're out of the Most Recent block--and often readers ask a similar question: "If I'm checking in every other day, and the Most Recent block is completely changed, how will I know what I've missed, short of waiting for the next newsletter to come out?"

There are several ways that readers can follow what's being posted to the archive without having to rely on the Most Recent block on the homepage.

Most Recent Page. The Most Recent block includes the last seven stories added or updated on the SWG archive. If you add a story and, an hour later, I add eight new poems, you're out of the Most Recent block in an hour. To the contrary, when we're having a slow spell on the archive, stories often stay in the Most Recent block for well over a week.

The Most Recent page, on the other hand, lists anything added to or updated on the archive within the last week. Even if my eight poems bump you from the Most Recent block, your story will still stay on the Most Recent page for a full week. To access this page, click the Most Recent link at the top of all archive pages.

Titles Page. What if you haven't checked the archive in a month? How can you see what was posted three weeks ago, aside from waiting for the newsletter? If you click on the Titles link at the top of the archive pages, you will be given a list of all of the stories on the archive. From the drop-down box, choose "Most Recent" to see that list arranged in chronological rather than alphabetical order.

RSS Feed. We have an RSS feed available for our archive. (Not sure what RSS is? Rhapsody has written an excellent tutorial on how to use RSS, available in our FAQ section.) When you subscribe to the RSS feed, you will receive a message on your feed reader every time a story is added or updated on the archive. The feed displays the title, author, rating, and summary, and if you're interested in the story, a link will take you to the archive to read the full story.

LiveJournal RSS Feed. Along the same lines, the SWG maintains an RSS feed on LiveJournal, swg_archive. Subscribing to the feed is similar to adding a journal or community as a friend, and you will receive notification on your friends page whenever there is an update on the archive. Like the regular RSS feed, you'll see the title, author, rating, and summary and have the option to click to read the rest of the story.

Favorite Stories and Authors. If you're following a handful of favorite stories and authors and really only want to know when those are updated, you can set your account so that you receive email notification when a favorite author posts a new story or a new chapter is added to a favorite story. On your account page, select Edit Preferences and check the box, "Contact when favorites are updated."


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A New Perspective on Love by Lady_Roisin [General] (1109 words)
Summary: During a music lesson, Arwen asks Daeron what it is like to love a mortal.

As Time Unrolls by Lyra [General] (2031 words)
Summary: Chronicling history is never an easy job. It is even harder when you don't always agree with the management - and cannot quit...

Breath of Arda by Fiondil [General] (1919 words)
Summary: Not all battles are fought with swords and spears. Some are fought with other weapons.

Children of Doriath by Lady_Roisin & Eli_14 [General] (2750 words)
Summary: A series of drabbles and ficlets revolving around the lives of Lúthien and Daeron, based on Tolkien’s early version of Tale of Tinúviel, as seen in HoMe, in which they were brother and sister.

Eruanna by wind rider [General] (1731 words)
Summary: Everything and everyone is perfect in the Blessed Realm... is it not? A new, hopeful father learnt the difference between expectancy and faith. | Dedicated to parents out there who are proud of their disabled children.

Five meetings between Indis and Míriel by clotho123 [General] (2298 words)
Summary: How would the friendship have been between Indis and Míriel if they had known each other? This ficlet series explores this possibility.

If Ever a Fruit Ripens by Pearl Took [General] (2683 words)
Summary: At the start of the Fourth Age, a Hobbit meets a strange woman in the courtyard of the king and learns the deep history of the White Tree.

Lady and Captain by Lady_Roisin [General] (2050 words)
Summary: Preparing for a dangerous voyage to acquire forbidden cargo from the Eldar, Isildur discovers the ship's captain isn't who he expected.

Lady of the Hunt by Lady_Roisin [Teens] (1851 words)
Summary: A very different and less romanticized take on the meeting of Beren and Lúthien. Beren has managed to pass through the Girdle of Melian but he is not exactly welcome by the Queen of Doriath’s daughter either.

My Heart Lies Where My Eyes Alight by wind rider [General] (7905 words)
Summary: In nearly every home, its dwellers have rooms, items or nooks special for themselves. It is no different even with the greatest of the Valar, Manwë and Varda. These are five features of their home most beloved by the couple with their various reasons.

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

Reembodied by Dawn Felagund [Teens] (9968 words)
Summary: Tata was said to be the first of the Noldor to awaken at Cuivienen, yet the histories never speak of him again. Uncomfortable and indecisive as a leader, he nonetheless rejects the summons of the Valar to Valinor, recognizing a fundamental wrong in the ideas they preach. This is the story of his life.

Sea Wing by Himring [Adult] (2596 words)
Summary: At the Havens, as Tuor and Idril prepare to sail into the West, Sador Labadal's niece muses on her fascination with Idril and the fate of the servants of the house of Hurin.

Stranger at the Gates by lindahoyland [General] (1658 words)
Summary: A weary stranger seeks shelter from Galadriel.

The Understanding of a Father by Ellie [Teens] (2898 words)
Summary: During the preparations for the War of Wrath, a recently restored Glorfindel and his father come to a better understanding of what transpired for them both since the rebellion of the Noldor.

This Perfect Day by lindahoyland & Raksha The Demon [General] (1006 words)
Summary: Sometimes the Valar intervene in the everyday affairs of favoured Men.

To Create a Queen by Lady_Roisin [Teens] (5891 words)
Summary: Almárëa arrives in Númenor to deliver her father’s letter to Tar-Meneldur. However, she does not anticipate being drawn so deeply into the personal and political affairs of Númenor’s royal family. When Almárëa meets Aldarion’s only child, Ancalimë, she discovers what she hopes to be a possible escape for all of them.

You do not wish to live my life by Silver Trails [Teens] (1313 words)
Summary: One night Maglor meets a stranger named Methos...

Watching the Dance by Lyra [General] (1748 words)
Summary: Out in the woods, young Túrin makes a new friend - and learns not to fear thunderstorms.

“What Is It?” by wind rider [General] (1767 words)
Summary: Someone was cheeky enough to send several things into Arda… What would its inhabitants say and do about it? – Ficlets with a totally unserious approach on modern items or gadgets popping up during the First Age of the Sun in Arda. (Guess what those are!)

Works in Progress

A Beleriand Treasury of Childish Tales by Clodia [General]
Summary: This is a mere collection of frivolous experiments in literary mimicry; credit (so far) goes to Rudyard Kipling, Lord Dunsany, JRR Tolkien, HP Lovecraft, Terry Pratchett, CS Lewis, Gogollescent and Saki (HH Munro).
Chapters added this month: Goldilocks and the Three Balrogs, The Eagle's Gossip, A Critical Matter, Sleeping Beauty, The Gingerbread Cave, A Correspondence Concerning Fëanor, A Thousand Suns and Teleporno.

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

Chasing the Stag by Amaranth [Adult]
Summary: An elusive presence haunts Celegorm on a solitary hunting trip and lures him from his path into a mystery-ridden chase where it is unclear if the son of Fëanor is hunter or prey…
Chapters added this month: Chapter 3 – Rude Awakening.

Copper and Flame by Araloth the Random [General]
Summary: A sweet and light-hearted story in which a young Feanor discovers new feelings for the daughter of a craftsman. Slightly AU.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 4.

Dark Prince ~ Book One. by Spiced Wine [Adult]
Summary: Lúthien was not the only offspring of Maia and Elf born in the Elder Days, but Vanimórë's tale was never to be sung in glittering halls. His mother was Elven. His father was Sauron. His birth was accomplished by the blackest sorcery of Morgoth Bauglir. He was forged as a double-edged sword is forged, as lethal and as beautiful. And they tested him to breaking-point. He would not break. “Until the sky breaks and the mountains fall into the Great Sea, and the End cometh, there is no world for us.” ~ Vanimórë Gorthaurion. The first of the Dark Prince series, the story of Sauron's son, born to be a weapon, a warrior, a servant of the Dark – or its eternal enemy. First Age to the War of the Ring.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 ~ Son of Cruelty ~, Chapter 2 ~ To See Death As A Gift ~, Chapter 3 ~ I Will Not Break ~, Chapter 4 ~ Tempering the Steel ~, Chapter 5 ~ They Would Take Everything, Chapter 6 ~ The First Taste of Freedom ~, Chapter 7 ~ When War Broke the North ~, Chapter 8 ~ Son or Slave? ~, Chapter 9 ~ Thou Art Nothing ~, Chapter 10 ~ Blood in Eregion, Chapter 11 ~ I Have Warned Thee, Khamûl ~, and Chapter 12 ~ The Darkness Has Its Own Light ~.

Elegy for Númenor by elfscribe [Adult] †
Summary: Chronicles the last days of Númenor from the time Sauron "surrenders" to Ar-Pharazôn to the fall of the empire.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 16 - Of Kisses and Jellied Eels

For Love or Money by Lady MSM [Teens]
Summary: After an argument with his stepmother, Feanor runs away from home, adopts a new identity, and finds a new life with master craftsman Mahtan and his family. Everything is perfect...that is, as long as they don't find out who he really is.
Chapters added this month: I Screw Up Completely, and Bril Helps, An Attempt at Reconciliation is Made, Ward Seven Heads Off to the Races and Nerdanel Makes her Choice.

In Darkness Bound by Fiondil [Teens]
Summary: In the aftermath of the Darkening, three kings search for meaning in the midst of tragedy. One seeks absolution; another, vengeance, while the third merely endeavors to salvage what he can from the disaster and protect his people from future harm. All may find what they are looking for, though not necessarily in the way they expect, for, as always, the Valar have their own agenda. 
Chapter added this month: Prologue: Lehta Mandostello, Chapter 1: Seeds of Darkness Sown, Chapter 2: A Discussion Among the Valar, Chapter 3: Reactions Among the Eldar, Chapter 4: The March of the Exiles, Chapter 5: Unrest Revealed, Chapter 6: The Handing Over of Authority, Chapter 7: Ingwë In Tirion, Chapter 8: Olwë, and Chapter 9: The Twins at Ilmarin.

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

Rise Again From Ashes by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: After spending millennia wandering Middle-earth, Maglor returns to Valinor, where he attempts to adjust to both his Valar-imposed restrictions and living once more with the Eldar.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 13, Chapter 14 and Chapter 15.

Tainted Light by Eldalie [Teens]
Summary: Silme loved and followed Maedhros from the peace of Valinor to his fiery end. Now Galadriel, her cousin and friend, reads her memories, and the exile and downfall of the Noldorin Elves live again through the tale of this doomed love.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 22: Himring .

The Elendilmir by pandemonium_213 [Adult]
Summary: A young child of Men befriends Sámaril, the troubled master smith of Imladris. The Noldorin craftsman experiences the joy and pain born of friendships between the Eldar and mortal Men and comes to question his people’s values as his life becomes entwined with Isildur’s youngest son and two powerful women of the Dúnedain. A sequel to The Apprentice.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 36 - The Wind-Lord's Finger.

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: Ongoing Screenplays covering Professor Tolkien's epic tales
Chapter added this month: Chapter 4.

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

Short Works

Cheese! by wind rider [General] (677 words)
Summary: Big brother Turko thinks he could tease lil Curvo as much as he wishes... That assumption is about to be straightened up; but Curvo is not alone in his endeavour. A free day, a messy sitting-room, Maitimo's quill, a creative father and brother - Tyelkormo's day cannot get any worse, yes?...

Dire Secret by wind rider [General] (718 words)
Summary: Makalaurë hides something from his family. But apparently his heart is not a safe-enough hidy hole… What will come of it?

Five Things That Never Happened to Sauron by Russandol [Teens] (657 words)
Summary: Five short scenes with a twist, in five different locations. Each of them harder to write than the previous one!

Fragments of a Letter by Himring [General] (152 words)
Summary: Sent by the wife of Barahir to the High King of the Noldor. "At last so desperate was the case of Barahir that Emeldir the Manhearted his wife (whose mind was rather to fight beside her son and her husband than to flee) gathered together all the women and children that were left, and gave arms to those that would bear them; and she led them into the mountains that lay behind, and so by perilous paths, until they came at last with loss and misery to Brethil."

Letters to Calion by Lady_Roisin [General] (956 words)
Summary: A series of letters exchanged between Ar-Pharazon and Tar-Míriel in the early days of their secret courtship.

Lullaby by oshun [General] (763 words)
Summary: After the death of Fingolfin, Fingon says good-bye before taking Ereinion and his mother to the Havens.

Lúthien Reborn? by lindahoyland [General] (100 words)
Summary: Could Lúthien have returned?

Reflections by Angelica [General] (422 words)
Summary: Eldar and Avari meet for the first time in the forest and discover similarities among their differences.

Son of the Stars by lindahoyland [General](400 words)
Summary: Eldarion learns the story of Eärendil

Sons of the Sea Kings by lindahoyland [General] (206 words)
Summary: Aragorn tells his son of his heritage.

The Axes of a Soul by wind rider [Teens] (767 words)
Summary: The last survivor of the drowning Númenor reflects on herself, her life and her decisions as she struggles to avoid certain death. What will she get in the end? Does she dare to face it like the proud daughter of the Island that she is?

White Light by grey_gazania [General] (416 words)
Summary: Fëanor and Nerdanel discuss the Light of the Two Trees. A ficlet.

Your Sins into Me by oshun [General] (464 words)
Summary: Shortly after the arrival of the main body of the Noldor in Middle-earth, Fingon the Valiant sets off alone to rescue his cousin and old friend Maedhros who has been captured by Melkor.

Poetry

Glorfindel's Dream by Esteliel [General] (333 words)
Summary: Glorfindel thinks back on his life. A sestina written for the Lays of Beleriand Reloaded theme..

I Walked Along Sirion Today by Beruthiels Cat [General] (47 words)
Summary: A walk along the river reveals poetry.

Laurelin by Dawn Felagund [General] (43 words)
Summary: The deeds of Arda's most contentious heroes form Arda's most poignant songs. An illuminated poem.


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Character of the Month Biography

Angrod

Oshun

Author's Note: As the number of character biographies increases on this site, the authors of said biographies encounter an ever greater likelihood of repeating themselves. One presumes that each biography should stand alone and contain all of the minimum information necessary to identify the character. It is also true that in the cases of many characters, their family members and many events of their lives are shared. With the addition of this latest biography of Angrod, yet another member of the Golden House of Finarfin, I would like to refer the readers to related other SWG reference articles for additional information, in particular, the Character Biography of Aegnor, the Character Biography of Finrod Felagund, and Dawn Felagund's essay The Accidental King: Five Reasons Why Finarfin Deserves More Appreciation.


The Index of Names in the published Silmarillion states that Angrod is the "[t]he third son of Finarfin, who with his brother Aegnor held the northern slopes of Dorthonion; slain in the Dagor Bragollach" (1). This assignment of birth order for Angrod is based upon the assumption in the published Silmarillion that the sons of Finarfin and Eärwen include Orodreth. In charting the course of what Christopher Tolkien refers to as "the curious history of Orodreth" (2), we discover that Angrod might have been the second son of Finarfin rather than the third, that Tolkien had decided at one point to describe Orodreth as Angrod's son instead of his older brother, and thus Angrod might then have become the grandfather of Gil-galad rather than his cousin (or would that have been half-cousin once removed?). It is best perhaps to save that entire complicated discussion for the biography of Orodreth. In The Shibboleth of Fëanor, Christopher Tolkien notes that

The name of Angrod's son (still retaining the identity of 'Orodreth') was then changed from Artanáro to Artaresto. In an isolated note found with the genealogies, scribbled at great speed but nonetheless dated, August 1965, my father suggested that the best solution to the problem of Gil-galad's parentage was to find him in 'the son of Orodreth', who is here given the Quenya name of Artaresto, and continued:
Finrod left his wife in Valinor and had no children in exile. Angrod's son was Artaresto, who was beloved by Finrod and escaped when Angrod was slain, and dwelt with Finrod. Finrod made him his 'steward' and he succeeded him in Nargothrond. His Sindarin name was Rodreth (altered to Orodreth because of his love of the mountains .. ..... His children were Finduilas and Artanáro = Rodnor later called Gil-galad. (Their mother was a Sindarin lady of the North. She called her son Gil-galad.) Rodnor Gil-galad escaped and eventually came to Sirion's Mouth and was King of the Ñoldor there. (3)

Christopher Tolkien stated that his choice to retain Orodreth as the older brother of Angrod in the published Silmarillion had indeed been contrary to his father's final decision on how to resolve the question of the identity of Orodreth and the related question of the paternity of Gil-galad.

There can be no doubt that this was my father's last word on this subject; but nothing of this late and radically altered conception even touched the existing narratives, and it was obviously impossible to introduce it into the published Silmarillion. It would nonetheless have been very much better to have left Gil-galad's parentage obscure. (4)

One must necessarily understand Christopher Tolkien's dilemma. While CT proved to his own satisfaction that his father had wanted to make these changes relating to Angrod, Orodreth, and Gil-galad, Tolkien had not written any of those alterations into the existing storyline. Therefore, they were not to be incorporated by Christopher Tolkien into the text of The Silmarillion, nor into the much later published book The Children of Húrin.

A further significant detail relating to Angrod is revealed in The Shibboleth of Fëanor: that of the existence of a wife. If Angrod is going to be the grandfather of Gil-galad, the last High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth, he will certainly need a wife.

The wife of Angaráto was named Eldalótë, and his son Artaher. . .. Eðellos translated Eldalótë according to sense: 'Elven-flower'. Angaráto became naturally Angrod. (5)

Of Eldalótë, sometimes called Eðellos, one reads nothing in the published Silmarillion, which could lead one to believe that she did not follow her husband out of Aman. However, the existence of a Sindarin adaptation of her name could also indicate that she had come with her family to Beleriand. The possible grandmother of Gil-galad, unlike his mother, however, is honored among the unsung women of The Silmarillion in that she actually received a name.

It is in the published Silmarillion that Tolkien states that the four elves whom he names as the sons of Finarfin "were as close in friendship with the sons of Fingolfin as though they were all brothers" (6). This supposedly intimate relationship to Fingon and Turgon differs from earlier accounts of Angrod and his brother Aegnor, including that presented in The Lost Road, wherein they are reported to have been more devoted to the sons of Fëanor (7).

Angrod is the Sindarin name which Angaráto of Valinor adopted in Middle-earth. Like the name of his eldest brother Findaráto (Finrod), it is not a Quenyan name, but is Telerin. The form in Quenya of the name Angaráto would have been Artanga (8).

The names Findaráto and Angaráto were Telerin in form (for Finarfin spoke the language of his wife's people); and they proved easy to render into Sindarin in form and sense, because of the close relationship of the Telerin of Aman to the language of their kin, the Sindar of Beleriand, in spite of the great changes that it had undergone in Middle-earth. (9)

Angrod is further given an epessë (10) or nickname.

Angrod early developed hands of great strength and received the epessë Angamaitë 'iron-handed', so that ang- was used by Finarfin as a differentiating prefix. (11)

Iron-handed is an interesting adjectival formulation in that it carries in most instances the negative connotation of despotic, dictatorial, oppressive, and/or tyrannical, which in the case of this character does not seem to be Tolkien's intention.

The initial mentions of Angrod in the published Silmarillion couple him with his brother Aegnor in recounting their movements early in the period of exile and their shared territory (12). Angrod is first referred to independently of Aegnor in The Silmarillion in the tale of his visit to Doriath. Having been chosen by his brother Finrod to travel as a representative of their family to make contact with their great uncle Elu Thingol, King of the Sindar (the brother of their grandfather Olwë, King of the Teleri at Alqualondë). Angrod arrives alone in Doriath and is welcomed by Thingol (13). A noteworthy aspect of that first encounter of any of the Noldorin princes with the reclusive king of the Sindar in Menegroth is that Angrod completely puts aside the kinslaying at Alqualondë and the other disturbing aspects of the exile of the Noldor.

. . . he spoke long with the King, telling him of the deeds of the Noldor in the north, and of their numbers, and of the ordering of their force; but being true, and wisehearted, and thinking all griefs now forgiven, he spoke no word concerning the kinslaying, nor of the manner of the exile of the Noldor and the oath of Fëanor. (14)

It is interesting that he assumes all of that is forgiven and has become unnecessary baggage, history. Thingol, however, although he is glad to meet the scions of his brother Olwë, is not pleased to think of so many powerful princes of the Noldor scattered throughout the north of Beleriand, which he considers to be his own territory. Thingol gives Angrod a message to take back to his siblings and cousins:

'Thus shall you speak for me to those that sent you. In Hithlum the Noldor have leave to dwell, and in the highlands of Dorthonion, and in the lands east of Doriath that are empty and wild; but elsewhere there are many of my people, and I would not have them restrained of their freedom, still less ousted from their homes. Beware therefore how you princes of the West bear yourselves; for I am the Lord of Beleriand, and all who seek to dwell there shall hear my word. Into Doriath none shall come to abide but only such as I call as guests, or who seek me in great need.' (15)

Angrod returns to the area of Mithrim, where Fingolfin calls a council of the princes of the Noldor. The implication is that Angrod tries to put a positive spin upon his meeting with the king of Doriath. When he reports the words of Thingol into that assemblage, his Noldorin kinsman fundamentally receive that message in the same spirit, one of mistrust and annoyance, in which it was given. Maedhros is dismissive of Thingol's authority noting that, "A king is he that can hold his own, or eke his title is vain. Thingol does but grant us lands where his power does not run." Short-tempered Caranthir, however, goes further and disrupts their meeting with an angry outburst:

'Yea more! Let not the sons of Finarfin run hither and thither with their tales to this Dark Elf in his caves! Who made them our spokesmen to deal with him? And though they be come indeed to Beleriand, let them not so swiftly forget that their father is a lord of the Noldor, though their mother be of other kin.' (16)

Angrod, who leaves the council in anger at that point, does not forget Caranthir's attitude and sharp words. Inevitably with the passage of time rumors concerning the Noldorin princes and the circumstances of their abandonment of Aman began to reach Thingol, "and the evil truth was enhanced and poisoned by lies" (17). After receiving a report of such rumors from Círdan at the Havens, Thingol accuses Finrod, Galadriel and Angrod of hiding evil deeds from him; Finrod refuses to clear his own name by betraying his kinsmen. Angrod, however, still wroth with Caranthir for his angry words at the council in Mithrim and unwilling to bear the blame for misdeeds in which neither he nor his siblings had a part, tells all.

'Lord, I know not what lies you have heard, nor whence; but we came not red-handed. Guiltless we came forth, save maybe of folly, to listen to the words of fell Fëanor, and become as if besotted with wine, and as briefly. No evil did we do on our road, but suffered ourselves great wrong; and forgave it. For this we are named tale-bearers to you and treasonable to the Noldor: untruly as you know, for we have of our loyalty been silent before you, and thus earned your anger. But now these charges are no longer to be borne, and the truth yon shall know.'

Then Angrod spoke bitterly against the sons of Fëanor, telling of the blood at Alqualondë, and the Doom of Mandos, and the burning of the ships at Losgar. And he cried: 'Wherefore should we that endured the Grinding Ice bear the name of kinslayers and traitors?' (18)

Thingol outlaws even the use of the language of the exiled Noldor throughout Beleriand, saying,

Never again in my ears shall be heard the tongue of those who slew my kin in Alqualondë! Nor in all my realm shall it be openly spoken, while my power endures. All the Sindar shall hear my command that they shall neither speak with the tongue of the Noldor nor answer to it. And all such as use it shall be held slayers of kin and betrayers of kin unrepentant.' (19)

The result of Angrod's revelation of the whole truth about their flight and exile marks the end of a period of relative peace and reconciliation among the factions of the Noldor in Beleriand and, even more so, squashes any future hope of far-reaching collaboration with Thingol in the future in the ongoing struggle to defend the greater part of Beleriand against the incursion of Morgoth.

Then the sons of Finarfin departed from Menegroth with heavy hearts, perceiving how the words of Mandos would ever be made true, and that none of the Noldor that followed after Fëanor could escape from the shadow that lay upon his house. (20)

Angrod, of course, does not live to see the fulfillment of the Curse of Mandos, since he and his brother Aegnor are the first of the Noldorin princes, after Fëanor, to die in the Wars of Beleriand, in the conflagration of their territory by Morgoth's forces in the Dagor Bragollach (21).




Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, Index of Names.
  2. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The Silmarillion, "Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië."
  7. The Lost Road and Other Writings, The Later Annals of Valinor.
  8. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  9. Ibid.
  10. "In addition any of the Eldar might acquire an epessë ('after- name'), not necessarily given by their own kin, a nickname - mostly given as a title of admiration or honour." The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  11. The Peoples of Middle-earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.
  12. Silmarillion Writers Guild, Character Biography of Aegnor.
  13. The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor."
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."



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Linguistic Foolery

Fact, Interpretation and the Hard Business of Proof

Darth Fingon

I'm going to apologise in advance. This isn't so much a linguistics article as it is a summation of previous articles, which are here pulled together to make one all-encompassing point. A while back I wrote about common fanons and how they can be disproved using the mighty power of research. Herein you will find the same idea, but on a much broader scale.

Where the fanon article addressed specific points (Elves never refer to themselves as men or women, Elves cannot starve to death, etc.), now it's time to examine the idea of fanon overall and how certain interpretations are accepted, passed on, and eventually embraced as canon fact. This isn't to say that those interpretations are in any way incorrect; the majority of them are perpetuated because they are logical and in tune with Tolkien's world, and because fanfiction readers find them appealing. There's nothing wrong with using popular interpretations or fanons. The problems only arise when the lines between interpretation and fact are blurred and readers and writers start to believe that only interpretation A is correct, and B is absolutely uncanonical and therefore impossible.

Several of the past Linguistic Foolery articles focused on the task of disproving popular fanons, either directly or by implication. By examining the words that Tolkien invented for his Elvish languages, we can pick up clues as to what culture and civilisation may have been like for the characters who spoke those words. That there are words for various tools and household items strongly indicates that such things were utilised in the world of the Elves. And we can effectively argue that words for certain classes of citizens and occupations would not have been invented if those people did not exist in Elven society. But at the same time, people can argue that these wordlist entries contradict specific examples that appear in Tolkien’s writings, or that most of them are invalid by virtue of the fact that they were composed very early on in Tolkien’s career, before Arda underwent the numerous and vast revisions that turned it into what we see in the published works.

In trying to decide which side is right, consider this: Arda would have been inhabited by hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Elves living in dozens of major settlements across at least two continents. Given the sheer numbers involved and the huge area covered, I think there’s more than enough room for hundreds of interpretations to be correct. Not every Elven society across the board is going to be the same. In fact, it would be pretty silly to assume a kind of uniform cultural sameness spanning from First Age Valmar to Fourth Age Mirkwood.

A small but important clue as to how different the Elven kindreds and cultures really were, and how they seem to be presented (at least in the Silmarillion), have a look at the article concerning the clan names of the Elves ('Sindarin' is a Quenya Word). The Noldor are the only ones who actually call themselves by the name that is used in the narrative. All of the others use different clan names, most of which you will never see in fanfiction due to their obscurity. That Elven opinion differed so much on something as crucial as a collective name (even among the relatively close-knit kindreds of Valinor) is a strong argument in favour of cultural diversity. The Elves spoke different languages and called themselves by different names. How likely is it that they all followed the same beliefs, behaved in the same ways, or even used the same tools and technologies?

What this means is that the presence (or lack) of certain words in Tolkien’s lexicons does not prove that a thing existed (or did not exist) for any given group of Elves. It merely opens up that possibility as an interpretation.

To give a specific example, the Gnomish (then considered Noldorin) word for lawyer appears on the list of Twenty-two Words You Never Thought Tolkien Would Provide. Because the word is there, it presents the option of Elf lawyers for any fanfic author interested in writing about them. It does not mean that all Elven cities and settlements must now have lawyers because the Lost Tales-era Noldor had a word for such. Those who find the idea of Nandorin lawyers absurd are under no canonical obligation to include them.

Staying in this mindset, countless further small details can also be examined. The question of how Elves dealt with their dead has been raised more than once on discussion forums and mailing lists. In the Silm we have the specific example of Fingolfin’s body buried beneath a cairn of stones, but really this treatment may only be relevant to Noldorin royalty in the late First Age. It proves nothing either way about the funerary rites of Sindar, Vanyar, or Avari two thousand years later or even during the same time period. Similarly, that Legolas rode without tack on his horse in the late Third Age cannot be adopted as proof that all Elves everywhere at all times rode with neither saddle nor bridle. Possibly many of them did, but Legolas’ Third Age Mirkwood-based preferences will have no impact on how Celegorm rode thousands of years earlier. Forcing every speck of amassed Elf-related knowledge onto all Elves equally makes about as much sense as insisting that all Elves dwelt in caves, based on one location described in The Hobbit.

The three main problems in deciding what does or does not constitute 'canon' are these: that the 'history' takes place over a huge timeframe in which certain internal facts will absolutely change; that there are multiple, distinct societies among Elves, Men, and Dwarves; and that Tolkien changed his mind every day of the week and twice on Sundays over the decades he was writing all of this. So while almost everyone will agree that there are a few facts that should stay consistent in order to write non-AU fanfiction, these facts are necessarily limited to what might be considered 'historical records'. Fëanor was the son of Finwë. There were three Silmarils. Melkor was defeated in the War of Wrath. Elves are immortal. Outside of that, everything else is at least somewhat open to interpretation, and writers are left to make up their own minds as to what is right, wrong, absolutely true, and completely nonsensical. Such as the presence of Elven lawyers.




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

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Funnies

Gothmog and Draugluin

Pandemonium_213

“Gothmog and Draugluin” follows the antics of two Tolkienian icons who were not all about smiting and devouring but had fun, too. Little Gothmog lives in Thangorodrim with his mom (Ulbandi Fluithuin) and dad (Melkor, Black Foe of the World). Melkor’s right-hand man and Gothmog’s babysitter -- Professor Thû ("I'm not a babysitter. I'm an observer!") -- makes appearances, too.

Gothmog and Draugluin also share this space with “Stinky Pete” Mêshûgganâscar, Maia of Mandos, and his pals.

Pandemonium_213 issues the standard disclaimer that Gothmog, Draugluin, Melkor, Ulbandi, Professor Thû, all the Elf dudes, Stinky Pete and his Maiarin pals, their Valarin bosses and whoever else shows up are the property of the Tolkien estate, and that this irreverent comic strip is drawn (badly) for fun and games but not for profit.

Gothmog and Draugluin by Pandemonium_213

Click to view full-sized.




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Current Challenge

Season of Change

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

Challenges Revisited: The Soft Underbelly

It is said that all dragons have a weakness despite their huge size and heavily armored skin. It is their soft underbelly, which in Glaurung’s case, was vulnerable to the sword of Túrin.

The Silmarillion is often thought to be such great fodder for stories because its characters are flawed and possess obvious weaknesses. This challenge asks authors to explore a weakness of any of Tolkien’s characters in The Silmarillion and show how that character was felled by this innate frailty of his or hers. For example, King Thingol of Doriath was obsessed with the Silmarils of Fëanor, and eventually, they caused his death. Likewise, Celegorm’s quickness to anger contributed to his becoming the first of Fëanor’s sons to die./p>

Quote of the Month

The spirit is the true self. The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure.
- Marcus Tullius Cicero

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

LotR Genfic Community

The October Challenge will have the theme "Believe It or Not". Stories should contain something supernatural or unbelievable. The prompt for the challenge will be an adjective that will be used in the story. The adjective will be a word conveying a certain mood.

The challenge stories will be due the weekend of Friday, October 22,and will be revealed on Monday, October 25. To request your "Believe It or Not" prompt, please leave a comment to this post.

Teitho

A person who argues a point they don’t necessarily agree with is called “the devil’s advocate,” and this October, that's what we challenge you to be.

We are accustomed to seeing things through the eyes of our heroes. For our “Devil’s Advocate” theme, we’d like you to view the world from an enemy’s perspective.

Remember, even those we consider evil sometimes consider themselves heroes with a worthy cause. A monster might not think of itself as a monster. Or perhaps an evil person would take twisted pride in being evil?

Legolas and Aragorn don’t have to be the main characters, but they must be mentioned. Also, keep in mind that this month’s contest is the first we’ve had with the updated rules. There is no longer a maximum page limit (though you might take a risk that voters won’t have time to read a novella). Also you are welcome to submit existing *unpublished* stories to the contest.

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

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

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




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