Newsletter: October 2017

Table of Contents

SWG News

Silmarillion 40: The Compilation

September 15, 1977 marked the publication of JRR Tolkien’s work of love: The Silmarillion, the legends of the Elder Days to which he had devoted on and off most of his writing life. It is this 40th anniversary that has brought us together to celebrate these amazing stories that never cease to captivate us and make us want to engage with the texts more deeply. But this is not just a celebration of this book that we all love but also of the community that has grown out of this love. Starting on September 15 and for forty days, fanworks giving a writer’s or artist’s personal view of the Legendarium are being revealed every day so that we can re-experience these great tales through their eyes. Three dozen artists and writers have been hard at work to contribute to this compilation. You can find their works, from the Creation of Arda to the making of the Rings of Power at Silmarillion 40.

If you enjoy their work, consider leaving them a comment please!

Current Challenge: Ancestors

For this month's challenge, create a fanwork in which a character's resemblance or connection to an ancestor plays a central role. This challenge is completely open, without prompts. Fanworks are due by October 12 to receive a stamp.

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!

Welcome to Our New Members!

This month we welcome fourteen new joiners to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild community: Meleth, SLasgalen, Raving Rabbit, PrincessQuill, Vulgarweed, Laicalambengolmo, BlueFire, anthropologyarda, Nixie Genesis, Ulan, fortunaavversa, alan, ryesil, and Angolien.

We hope you have already stated to read, review or post at the archive. If you are still exploring the SWG site or unsure about how things work, you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. We'd love to hear what brought you to the Silmarillion fandom and to the SWG, so why not share a little bit about your fandom persona by updating your bio? Anytime you need help, please contact the SWG mods at

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A King Unkinged (For the Love He Bore Feanor) by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1469 words)
Summary: Finwe arrives in Formenos.

Ashes of the Past by Lyra [General] (1370 words)
Summary: On the eve of her wedding, a young Sinda makes a shocking discovery about her family history.

Bewildered by Dawn Felagund [Adult] (4639 words)
Summary: Not all of the Eldar believed Valinor would be superior to Middle-earth. Having followed the man she loves from the land she loved also, Míriel struggles to cope with a strange life in a strange new land.

Echoes by grey_gazania [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1758 words)
Summary: Galwen encounters two figures from her past.

Exile. by hennethgalad [Teens] (3692 words)
Summary: Nerdanel looks back on her marriage as she watches the return of Finarfin with Anairë and Eärwen.    this is as grim as you would expect. 

Exodus of the Noldor by Writing Gecko [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (540 words)
Summary: After the Exile of the Noldor, Arafinwe and Aule reflect on things which can be fixed, and those that cannot.

Fill My Heart With Fire by The Wavesinger [Teens] (12884 words)
Summary: Turgon dies on the Ice instead of Elenwë. This is the story of what happens after that. Written for Solanaceae for Ardor in August 2017.

Finrod Fashions a World by oshun [General] (628 words)
Summary: Finrod shares his notion of the creative process with his sister. (Ficlet)

Helcaraxë by hennethgalad [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (10923 words)
Summary: Fingolfin, his family and friends, confront the ice and the unknown, and are drawn closer together by their feat of endurance. But Fingolfin suffers bitter loneliness and only the great valour of the other Elves gives him the strength to keep moving.

I Know Better by Laerthel [General] (988 words)
Summary: In which Maitimo betrays Findekáno. (This is my contribution to SWG's 'Song of Exile' challenge in August, 2017).

In the Beginning by Lordnelson100 [General] (1026 words)
Summary: Aragorn tells his children of the creation of Arda and imparts great wisdom. (One-shot)

Inside the Fire by Lyra [General] (932 words)
Summary: Feanor ponders the price of his gift. (One-shot)

Lost Shadows by Silver Trails [General] (1567 words)
Summary: Caranthir, Celegorm and Curufin come to the Halls of Mandos. I erased this one by accident. It's an old fic.

Making the Gift by Lyra [General] (540 words)
Summary: The Valar create the realm of Numenor. (Ficlet)

Meeting the Tatyar by Silver Trails [General] (546 words)
Summary: This is my entry for the Ancestors' challenge. Amrod and Amras meet the few Tatyar that stayed in Middle-earth.

Memories Burned by Nixie Genesis [General] (787 words)
Summary: Nerdanel remembers her husband and sons while creating pottery.

Mereth Aderthad by Grundy [General] (9577 words)
Summary: “When twenty years of the Sun had passed, Fingolfin King of the Noldor made a great feast; and it was held in the spring near to the pools of Ivrin, whence the swift river Narog arose, for there the lands were green and fair at the feet of the Mountains of Shadow that shielded them from the North. The joy of that feast was long remembered in later days of sorrow; and it was called Mereth Aderthad, the Feast of Reuniting.”

Milk by heget [General] (542 words)
Summary: Fingolfin is introduced to a bizarre mortal custom.

Míriel Þerindë: The Art of the Needle by Amy Fortuna [General] (522 words)
Summary: The art of Miriel stitches together key moments in the legendarium. (Ficlet)

Neighbourly Relations by Himring [Teens] (6618 words)
Summary: In Beleriand, the newly assigned territory of Angrod and Aegnor borders on the territory of the cousins who betrayed them. From the time of settlement to their death in battle, what were the relations between Angrod and Aegnor and their cousin Maedhros, son of Feanor? Now added: "First Meeting" (Aegnor/Andreth). A related  ficlet.

Nerdanel: The Creations of Grief by Amy Fortuna [General] (513 words)
Summary: Nerdanel's creations reflect her passage through the stages of grief. (Ficlet series)

One Last Spring by anthropologyarda [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (2321 words)
Summary: The world is changing. Strange dreams drive an Avari chieftain to embark on a quest, where he unknowingly stumbles upon his people's doom.

Paths of Good Intentions by just_jenni [Teens] (1721 words)
Summary: Melian is bored and travels to Arda to see the Quendi.  She meets Elwe.  His people wonder where he is.

Sauron: Ugliness and Magnificence by Fernstrike [General] (583 words)
Summary: Sauron makes the One Ring.

Sealed Together in Death by ingoldamn [Teens] (1515 words)
Summary: Celegorm's musings before, during, and after the Battle of Menegroth.   Warning for: incest (referenced), non-graphic violence, major character death, and Celegorm's IssuesTM

Sleeping Arrangements by feanorusrex [General] (1128 words)
Summary: "It was not Fëanor's fault there was only one bed." Having noted the lack of Fëanor/Nerdanel fics from his point of view, as well as the lack of bed sharing fics for this pairing, I took it upon myself to resolve both. 

Some Things You Can't Punch by heget [General] (891 words)
Summary: One of the Noldor women left behind in Valinor is motivated to join the Army of the Valar and comes to Middle-earth looking for a childhood friend. A short companion piece to Promise You won't Forget and Release from Bondage.

Something Lost, Something Found by Ulan [General] (2772 words)
Summary: After losing their charge to the fell lands of Beleriand, three lords of Gondolin find themselves on the steps of a fortress. Egalmoth clearly does not like their host, Glorfindel is acting strangely, and Himring's steward is kind of a toad. Surely, Ecthelion thinks, the day cannot get any worse.

Survivor by Tyelca [Teens] (2562 words)
Summary: A creature-something between Elf and Orc flees from the Shadow, only to realize the Shadow has been inside him all along.

The Fates of Our Kin by LadyBrooke [Teens] (1110 words)
Summary: It is an ill omen when a Prince of Doriath appears in the tent of a Dwarf without any weapons and lowers himself to sit beneath her while they speak of important matters.

The Flight of Birds by grey_gazania [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (3928 words)
Summary: Elrond and Elros have recently arrived on Balar, and Elrond is not happy to be back among his mother's people. But with some help from his brother, he begins to see Elwing in a different light.

The Hawthorn Sword by swampdiamonds [Teens] (11914 words)
Summary: Back in Nargothrond after several seasons on the northern border, Túrin finds himself entangled in Gwindor's personal and political conflicts and comes to a decision about his own future.

The Last Exile by Grundy [General] (656 words)
Summary: Celeborn had never properly understood exile before Galadriel sailed. He knows better now.

The Prancing Pony by hennethgalad [General] (2203 words)
Summary: Gandalf reveals his origins to Bilbo. This short story was excepted for "Subcreation: A Collection" for Silmarillion40.

The Remnants of a Person by LadyBrooke [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (676 words)
Summary: After the battle, too few of Denethor’s people remain to search through all the bodies alone.

This Time It's Different by Nixie Genesis [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1145 words)
Summary: Melkor meets Ungoliant within her lair in order to fulfill his plan. They both converge on Aman and Melkor takes his revenge.

To Voyage in Their Courses by Vulgarweed [General] (529 words)
Summary: The choosing of Arien and Tilion. (Ficlet)

Turn All Your Flesh As Gold by anthropologyarda [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1569 words)
Summary: Aulë's expertise does not lie in lungs and sinews. Mairon teaches his Master more than he intends.

Varda by hennethgalad [General] (673 words)
Summary: Ingwe learns hope and inspiration from Varda. (One-shot)

We were not born in Cuiviénen by Lyra [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (894 words)
Summary: Morwë tells Oromë about the origins of his people, contradicting some stories the Vala has heard earlier.

With the Stars in the Darkness, and Love in the Light by Zdenka [Teens] (2860 words)
Summary: At Nienor's request, the women of Brethil share stories and songs about Haleth, the river's daughter, and those they loved. (Goldberry/Haleth, Goldberry/Nellas, Haleth/OFC)

Yavanna Kementári by hennethgalad [General] (590 words)
Summary: Maglor relinquishes the Silmarils. (One-shot)

Young Gods by Fernstrike [General] (3314 words)
Summary: It began in Almaren - when the world was new, and the gods were young, and the World seemed full of possibilities. It began beneath the earth, under great halls, inside a dark mirror.

Yours Forever by Silver Trails [Teens] (12420 words)
Summary: The Dagor Dagorath is over. Sauron is back in Aule's household. Melkor has been reborn with no memories of the past (see The End of Time). This is a new version of an old fic.

Works In Progress

A Different Song by Silver Trails [Teens] (3704 words)
Summary: Celegorm and Caranthir return to Middle-earth looking for Feanor. They are not the only Elves who are back. This is an AU modern world story.

A Purpose Beyond Beauty by just_jenni [General] (510 words)
Summary: Melian realizes that she has a higher purpose of creation in the world. (One-shot)

Amon-sûl. by hennethgalad [General] (2268 words)
Summary: After learning his true name from Elrond, Aragorn rides to Amon-sûl with Glorfindel.

Anathema by Harnatano [General] (41000 words)
Summary: {Title changed because I have never been happy with the former one} {Ch.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8 have been updated in Sept 2017} After their flight from Himlad, until their flight from Nargothrond, Celegorm and Curufin will have to face the abyss of their defeat, the bitterness of their broken pride, and the tempting shadows of greed. Through envy, frustration, pain and resentment, they will have to choose which path to follow, unaware that their choices will affect all the people of Beleriand. Curufin's pov. Canon based, more like a personal combination between the different versions given in HoME and the Silmarillion. 

At the sign of the drunken goose by Chiara Cadrich [Teens] (54464 words)
Summary: The Landlord of the Drunken Goose welcomes you in his common hall to hear horror tales gleaned along the greenway, or gentle saucy rhymes from the Shire. Today, a cooper's tale.

Character of the Month Biographies by oshun [General] (139 words)
Summary: Each month, the SWG features a different character from The Silmarillion. For ease of reading and research, all Character of the Month biographies written by various authors are eventually all collected here: Character of the Month Biographies   If you know you are looking for one of mine, check the chapter list here. [Largely, but not entirely, in alphabetical order. The very newest few are at the end of the list--long story as to why which I will skip here! We do our best within the confines of the medium.]    

Dancing In The Dark by Grundy [Teens] (24968 words)
Summary: History remembers Curufin as the villain. There are a few who think better of him.  Written for the Taboo challenge. First chapter hits 'consequences' and 'ostracization and exile'. Upcoming chapters will mark off other squares. Will give warnings on chapters as appropriate.

I'll Be Yours If You'll Be Mine by NelyafinweFeanorion [General] (82785 words)
Summary:   Modern setting AU. Maedhros/Fingon. Maedhros owns a bookstore. Fingon is in grad school. Expect appearances from varied members of the House of Finwë. Except Finwë--he's already dead in this story. This is a modern take on how Maedhros and Fingon meet and develop a relationship. Brothers, sisters, family and roommates--the gang's all here! Cover artwork of Fingon and Maedhros by the incomparable cinemairon. So grateful, humbled and awed to have this amazing art be part of this story of mine. Check out the tumblr at href="

Maps by grey_gazania [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (13074 words)
Summary: Fingon, Caranthir, and the aftermath of Maedhros' capture by Morgoth.

Of Ingwë Ingweron by heget [Teens] (19564 words)
Summary: Of the history of the Elves at Cuiviénen and the development of the the three tribes, of the family of Elwë and the discovery of Oromë, of how Indis received her name and Ingwë earned his, and of the honor duel between Imin and Ingwë to decide the leadership of the Minyar and the future of the Eldar.

Old Friends by hennethgalad [General] (9764 words)
Summary: Olórin introduces Erestor to Glorfindel, they climb Taniquetil for their coming of age ceremony. 

Old Friends - part two. by hennethgalad [General] (6733 words)
Summary: Glorfindel and Erestor attend the celebration, but leave early.

Reborn by Silver Trails [Teens] (1693 words)
Summary: There is a reason for Caranthir's mental link with Námo.I will add pairings, and characters as I write.

Stolen Evenings by Tyelca [General] (1831 words)
Summary: A collection of short stories, each one focusing on a different pairing sharing one (stolen) evening.

Taking Readings II by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (1715 words)
Summary: Anthology for short pieces that don't fit anywhere else.  Now posted: "Hearing the Music" for "Subcreation" in Silm40 (Imin, Iminye, Tata, Tatie, Enel, Enelye)

Thangorodrim Triptych by lightofthetrees [Adult] (4507 words)
Summary: A set of three ficlets. The first explores Fingon's interactions with his father and siblings after returning from rescuing Maedhros. The second involves Maedhros, Mairon, smithing, and symbolism. The third is a heart-to-heart between Fingon and Maedhros in which Maedhros confesses that he is going to pass the kingship of the Noldor to Fingolfin.

The Kite. by hennethgalad [General] (773 words)
Summary: Amarië considers love, and Finrod.

The Seven Gates by Laerthel [Teens] (106085 words)
Summary: The long and weary road from the birth of the Union of Maedhros to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the downfall of the Sons of Feanor and the construction of the last Great Gate in Gondolin. (Canonical gap-filler with few liberties taken).

Tra la la. by hennethgalad [Teens] (1673 words)
Summary: the actor Melairë writes to his lover to tell of meeting Glorfindel. 

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Adult] (9814 words)
Summary: A collection of unrelated drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating. Newest stories: chapters 37 and 38. Two ficlets for the subcreation prompt of Silm40: Maglor and JRR Tolkien.

Upon these shores by Lyra [Teens] (16253 words)
Summary: The fate of Maglor, after he cast away the Silmaril, is pretty much open for speculation. Here are some glimpses at his adventures throughout human history, in no particular order.Newly added: Exiles. In the Roman province of Macedonia, two exiles meet. Written for the August 2017 challenge, Song of Exile.

Written In Blood by hennethgalad [General] (608 words)
Summary: Glorfindel tells Aragorn of the attempted return of Húrin to Gondolin

Short Works

And She Slept by LadyBrooke [General] (465 words)
Summary: As Valinor is created, there are those who stay behind in the darkness to wait for those that come.

Approaching Darkness by ryesil [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: Melkor, Ungoliant and the darkening of Valinor.

Cutting Ties by Himring [Teens] (197 words)
Summary: Anarion, son of Elendil, on his way into exile.

Daeron the Bard by Amy Fortuna [General] (200 words)
Summary: Once the favorite of his king, Daeron the wanderer remembers. (Ficlet)

Dwarves Come into Beleriand by Robinka [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: The Dwarves arrive in Beleriand. (Artwork)

Fëanor makes the Silmarils by alikuu [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: Fëanor experiments with the light-retaining properties of Silima in the privacy of his forge.

If their skill were great enough by Lyra [General] (490 words)
Summary: The Dwarves decide how to go about setting a Silmaril in the Nauglamír. (Ficlet)

It Came into the Heart of Melkor by Amy Fortuna [General] (150 words)
Summary: Melkor creates rebellion and chaos. (Ficlet)

Melkor Stirs Strife among the Noldor by Nixie Genesis [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: Melkor weaves his lies, especially between the sons of Finwë. (Artwork)

Star Kindler by feanorusrex [General] (6 words)
Summary: Varda creates the stars. (Art)

Tapestries of Shimmering Thread by LadyBrooke [General] (209 words)
Summary: Everyone sees something different in the tapestries of Vaire. (Ficlet)

The First Kinslaying by fortunaavversa [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: The first kinslaying. [Artwork]

The Grinding Ice by fortunaavversa [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (6 words)
Summary: The Grinding Ice (Artwork)

The Guides by Hrymfaxe [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (24 words)
Summary: Arien of Anar and Tilion of Isil. (Artwork)

The Making of the Second Elessar by Amy Fortuna [General] (200 words)
Summary: Celebrimbor makes the famed Elfstone.

The Re-Creation of Arda by Angelica [General] (172 words)
Summary: The Ainulindale. (Ficlet)

The Stone of the Hapless by Amy Fortuna [General] (200 words)
Summary: Glirhuin sings a song ... but not what he expected. (Ficlet)

The Unanswerable Question by lindahoyland [General] (194 words)
Summary: Elrond explains evil to a young Estel. (Ficlet)

The View from within the Mountains by Dawn Felagund [General] (98 words)
Summary: Pengolodh ponders how best to craft the story of the early First Age. (Drabble)


Burning by feanorusrex [General] (322 words)
Summary: Arien's experience following the death of the Trees.

The Creation of the Silmarils by Amy Fortuna [Author Chooses Not to Rate] (356 words)
Summary: Fëanor's creation of the Silmarils, in the form of a sestina.

Eternal Cycles by lindahoyland [General] (100 words)
Summary: There is chaos in the Music, but all will be renewed. (Poem)

The Labours of Varda by Amy Fortuna [General] (90 words)
Summary: Varda makes the stars. (Poem)

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Character of the Month Biography



Dorlas features in the section of the Tale of the Children of Húrin that is set in the forest of Brethil. Dorlas’s role is as the chief opponent of Brandir’s rule among the Haladin and a source of problematic advice—or even, depending on the reader’s point of view, disastrous advice—to Túrin, son of Húrin, the protagonist of the tale.

In the history of the Legendarium, Dorlas emerged relatively late, at least as a named character. Tolkien introduced Dorlas at a time when he was expanding the earlier versions of the Tale of the Children of Húrin in general and the Brethil chapters in particular to achieve the more novelistic treatment that we see in the Narn i Hîn Húrin in the Unfinished Tales. The germ of some of the sentiments and actions attributed to Dorlas, however, goes back the earliest version of the tale, Turambar and the Foalókë, in Book of the Lost Tales 2, in which they were attributed to unnamed characters or people in general.

The following account is chiefly based on the Narn i Hîn Húrin in the Unfinished Tales. This is virtually identical to the version in The Children of Húrin and much more extensive than the chapter in the Silmarillion ("Of Túrin Turambar"), which here represents a condensed version.1

Dorlas is one of the Edain of the First Age, a Man of the people of the Haladin who live in the forest of Brethil, in a community traditionally led by the House of Haleth. At the time of Túrin’s arrival in Brethil, the scion of that House is Brandir,2 who has succeeded his father Handir, a staunch fighter, who had fallen a year before in battle against the orcs. Brandir himself, however, is not a warrior like his father. He is physically disabled by his lameness and peace-loving by temperament. On the other hand, he is skilled in healing and in lore of the wood and the living things and has a reputation for wisdom.

Dorlas, it is clear almost from the start, fully appreciates the heroism of warriors. He is in no way willing to appreciate equally the unwarlike strengths that characterize Brandir. In Tolkien’s late text The Wanderings of Húrin, 3 it appears that Tolkien envisages Dorlas as associated with a rival branch of the House of Haleth, represented by Hardang, son of Hundad, and apparently opposing Brandir’s father Handir as well as Brandir himself on those grounds. Although it is difficult to provide clinching evidence, because the Narn i Hîn Húrin is very much focussed on Túrin’s fate rather than the history of Brethil, this looks a lot like a late reinterpretation. The Dorlas of Narn i Hîn Húrin appears to oppose Brandir precisely because he thinks him unworthy of his ancestors; there seems to be no hint that this might include Handir, whose fighting qualities clearly left nothing to be desired.4

The late version that makes Dorlas Hardang’s friend is not entirely easy to square with the character as represented in the Narn i Hîn Húrin on other counts. Hardang’s branch of the House of Haleth is said to be opposed to any influence of the House of Hador in Brethil, but the Dorlas of Narn i Hîn Húrin is quite the opposite, very much an overeager supporter of Túrin, although he knows that Túrin is a scion of the House of Hador. Also, the suggestion that Hardang and Dorlas opposed the succession of Brandir politically relies on the idea that leadership among the Haladin was partly elective (i.e. any scion of the House of Haleth could theoretically be elected), but this also looks like a very late revision. In the Narn i Hîn Húrin, although it is not explicitly stated, the impression given is certainly that Brandir succeeded as a matter of course and had a right to expect loyalty from Dorlas, while Dorlas probably thought of Brandir as unfit to rule from the start, but had no legal option to oppose his succession or withhold his allegiance. Compare Hunthor’s comment later on, when he accuses Dorlas of disrespect and disobedience towards "his liege."5

However, any assumptions about Brandir’s succession and relations between Brandir and Dorlas at the start of Brandir’s rule (at least as far as the Narn is concerned) must be deduced from what is said or what passes after the arrival of Túrin in Brethil, as the reader is only introduced to Dorlas at the point when Túrin meets him.6 And even at that first meeting, we apparently see Dorlas and other Haladin disobeying Brandir’s orders, although the reader’s attention is not immediately drawn to their disobedience—it is only a later comment by Hunthor that suggests that Dorlas’s history of disrespect is a long one.7 However, we first see Dorlas and his companions in a highly dangerous situation, which seems to have arisen as a consequence of their failing to follow Brandir’s policy of withdrawing deeper into the forest and avoiding confrontations. In their subsequent conversation with Túrin, Dorlas reports another occasion when apparently they did not follow Brandir’s policy of non-involvement: the attempt to free the prisoners of Nargothrond, which ended with the death of Finduilas and other prisoners.

Dorlas and his companions are fighting orcs when Túrin encounters them. Túrin lends them decisive support, single-handedly, throwing the orcs into disarray with a ruse, the pretence that he is leading reinforcements to their aid. It is no wonder that Túrin’s daring and tactical thinking wins the gratitude and admiration of Dorlas and the other Haladin who are with him. That admiration is only reinforced when later Dorlas deduces from Túrin’s reaction to news of the death of Finduilas that their saviour is identical with the Mormegil of Nargothrond. As Mormegil, in Nargothrond, Túrin pursued a course that was diametrically opposed to Orodreth’s earlier policy for Nargothrond and to Brandir’s policy for Brethil. The consideration that Nargothrond was destroyed soon after does not appear to give Dorlas pause, now or later, nor to others of the Haladin who think like him.

Dorlas’s tendency to act against Brandir’s policy does not at first seem inexcusable, but even in its early stages, his involvement appears ominous. The attempt to try and free the prisoners of Nargothrond is both courageous and altruistic (and indeed, we are not told whether this particular action was opposed by Brandir). There is just a hint in Dorlas’s words that pride may also have been a motivation: "we thought to deal our small stroke in the war."8 In any case, the outcome was disastrous, as the prisoners were killed before they could be freed. It is, of course, not at all certain that Túrin would have done better than Dorlas and his followers, even if he had arrived earlier on the scene.

While Dorlas mostly reports the failed rescue attempt to Túrin using the plural noun we, he says Finduilas’s last words were addressed specifically to him.9 This appears to confirm that Dorlas was the leader of the Haladin on this occasion. Dorlas’s reactions to Finduilas’s death, and to Túrin’s grief on learning of it, appear entirely sympathetic at this point. While Dorlas’s sympathy is not invalidated by his later behaviour, it does reveal that he is more inclined to pity the sufferings of those for whom he has admiration.

This chain of events leads to Dorlas and his companions carrying Túrin into the heart of Brethil in the deadly swoon into which he has fallen on hearing of Finduilas’s death. Brandir, who has a strong premonition of disaster at the sight of Túrin, protests at this,10 but Dorlas and his companions disbelieve Brandir’s warnings, placing more confidence in Túrin’s reputation than Brandir’s premonitions. Thereupon Brandir takes Túrin into his care and eventually heals him, but he is yielding to their admonition to aid a victim and to his healer’s ethic, not to their expectations of good fortune from Túrin’s future aid.

When Túrin awakens from long unconsciousness, he attempts to reinvent himself once again, taking on a new name (Turambar) to shake off both his errors and their consequences and his doom. This attempt is partial, arguably superficial, and seems destined to fail from the beginning as earlier such attempts did. But it is Dorlas, who reminds Túrin of his identity—not only as the Mormegil of Nargothrond, but also of his true identity as Túrin, son of Húrin.

When questioned by Dorlas, Túrin half admits that he is indeed the son of Húrin, but begs Dorlas to conceal his identity in the name of friendship. The request turns out to be just as futile as trying to shed the identity of Mormegil is, because other inhabitants of Brethil, including Brandir, are aware of the rumours that the Mormegil of Nargothrond was Túrin, son of Húrin, as well.11 However, the scene also shows Túrin regards Dorlas as a trusted friend. This is ironic, both because Dorlas is already abetting Túrin in repeating some of his errors in Nargothrond, and even more because Dorlas will eventually betray Túrin, even by his own standards.

Túrin and Dorlas, with a few others, begin to undermine Brandir’s authority, by attacking orcs on the border of Brethil. The narrative now makes entirely clear that this activity contravenes Brandir’s known wishes—and that Brandir, at least, sees Túrin as repeating earlier mistakes and warns him of this. Túrin mainly turns a deaf ear, but at first infringes on Brandir’s orders only to a limited extent, finding reasons and excuses for what he does. He will never at any point really acknowledge the extent to which he gradually undermines Brandir, as he had already undermined Orodreth and Gwindor in Nargothrond, although his usurpation of power in Brethil will grow increasingly blatant over time. Dorlas, however, is apparently acting rather more consciously in this.

The arrival of Níniel (Niënor) in Brethil puts such activities of Túrin’s on hold for a while, as Túrin stays at home, in the heart of Brethil, for her sake. Dorlas’s presence does not entirely fade away even during Túrin and Níniel’s courtship, however. Once again, he is the one who reveals Túrin’s identity as Mormegil, this time to Níniel.12 He probably hopes that she will also encourage Túrin to fight, but although she is proud of Túrin’s prowess, Dorlas's hope is not realized.

Eventually it is Dorlas who persuades Túrin and others to take up fighting against the orc attacks again. When Túrin hesitates, for Níniel’s sake, and the woodmen are defeated without him, Dorlas upbraids him, showing his wounds to him and reproaching him for neglecting his obligations. He makes the kind of demand for aid that Túrin finds impossible to resist. Dorlas is not, by his own lights, unjustified, as the orcs are now seriously threatening to invade Brethil. However, Túrin’s victory against this orc invasion will bring Glaurung on the scene.13

It is at this point that Dorlas’s words and actions entirely cease to be ambiguous and defensible. When Túrin in a general assembly asks for volunteers against the dragon, Dorlas volunteers immediately, showing praiseworthy courage or rashness, depending on one’s point of view. But when others, understandably, hesitate, he resorts to openly insulting Brandir, who has already been repeatedly bypassed and ignored by Túrin during these proceedings, blaming him for his past counsels and for his failure to take part in the attack on Glaurung:

Dorlas upbraided the people, and spoke scorn of Brandir, who could not play the part of the heir of the house of Haleth; and Brandir was shamed before his people, and was bitter at heart.14

In the Narn, Dorlas says:

‘Will none of you take the place of the son of Handir, that the House of Haleth be not put to shame?’15

The implied accusation of cowardice is the more insulting as Brandir is not even directly addressed. Túrin fails to rebuke Dorlas, to Brandir’s resentment, and it falls to Hunthor, Brandir’s kinsman, to admonish Dorlas that Brandir does not deserve to be humiliated for being physically unable to assist in attacking the dragon and point out that Dorlas has so consistently disregarded Brandir’s counsels that he can hardly claim that they are now disproved.16 Hunthor shows foresight or superior insight, warning Dorlas that he may not be as courageous as he supposes and should cast no aspersions on others’ courage. Hunthor then volunteers in Brandir’s place, and it is only at this point, far too late, that Túrin attempts to appease Brandir, still without rebuking Dorlas.

Hunthor’s warning comes true. When Túrin, Dorlas, and Hunthor reach Nen Girith and further details of Túrin’s plan of attack on Glaurung are revealed, Dorlas finds himself confronting a danger he did not anticipate: a river crossing that he knows and fears. Although he uses his local knowledge to guide the others part of the way, he fails the test, for he is too afraid to even attempt the crossing and thus never comes within striking distance of the dragon. Not only does he remain behind at the crossing, he then hides in the woods in shame and thus fails to witness the outcome for his companions and the death of the dragon.17

When the narrative turns back to Níniel and Brandir, it is revealed that Dorlas is in fact married to a wife who loves him and fears for him, who has not been mentioned before, throwing the risks Dorlas was willing to take with Brethil’s future and his eventual failure in its defense into even sharper relief, perhaps. However, his wife turns out to be of a rather similar temperament to Dorlas himself: she also disobeys Brandir, dislikes him, and opposes him.

Brandir, following Níniel, manages the climb up to Glaurung and Túrin—thus disproving all of Dorlas’s earlier accusations, as he does not yet know Túrin succeeded and the dragon is dying. He witnesses the harrowing scene in which Níniel learns Túrin’s true identity and her own and commits suicide. Shaken and grieving, on his return he encounters Dorlas in the woods.18

During this encounter Dorlas, rather than being humbled by his failure, becomes even more aggressive towards Brandir, trying to shift the blame onto anyone except himself. Brandir guesses the rest, after Dorlas’s partial confession, and reproaches Dorlas for deserting Túrin, but even more for failing even to bring news that might have saved Níniel. Dorlas responds with further insults and tries to hit him, expecting Brandir to fail to retaliate but, to his surprise, Brandir, beside himself and no longer the peaceable man Dorlas thinks he knows, draws the sword that he never got a chance to use to defend Níniel and kills him.

Thus Dorlas ends outmatched in every way by the man he owed allegiance to, whom he underrated, undermined, and insulted--but he has also, by his relentless goading, pushed a wise and gentle man into committing manslaughter.

His legacy lives on after him, in the attitude of the Haladin that Brandir tells the news of Níniel’s death and Túrin’s supposed death to. These are people who have already disobeyed Brandir before by coming so close to the dragon. Now, instead of trying to make sense of what he tells them, some call him mad and are ready to turn on him and insult him when Túrin turns out to be alive after all. It is the words of Dorlas’s wife that trigger Túrin's fatal reaction. He attacks Brandir verbally and, when Brandir refuses to back down, kills him.19

In the late addition to the Legendarium that has already been mentioned above,20 it appears that Dorlas and his wife also had a son, Avranc. Avranc is embroiled in the disaster that ensues on Húrin’s arrival in Brethil, after his release from Angband. He supports Hardang, Brandir's successor in a series of complex events that include Hardang’s mistreatment and threatening of Húrin and the death of Hardang and culminates in Avranc shooting Manthor, Brandir’s and Hardang’s cousin, who sided with Húrin, so that by this last death the House of Haleth in Brethil becomes extinct. Thus, in this late addition to the Legendarium, the involvement of Dorlas and his family continues to be ominous for Húrin and his children and fatal for the House of Haleth.

As already mentioned above, Dorlas as a character was introduced at a late stage. In the early version of the tale, Turambar and the Foalókë, the character corresponding to Brandir, Tamar, does indeed have scorn poured on him for his physical disability and for his inability to fight by his own people, but Tamar is not a leader, so this scorn is not political opposition, although no less cruel, and Tamar never kills anyone. Also, there are six unnamed woodmen who desert Turambar, the character who corresponds to Túrin, during his attack on the dragon, but, unlike Dorlas, three of these return to him later, after the dragon is dead, to carry him to shelter.21

Dorlas was introduced as a named character to fill such unnamed earlier roles during a stage when Tolkien was revising the events in Brethil so that they eventually came to mirror more closely the previous events in Nargothrond and Dor-Cuarthol, showing how Túrin, despite his attempts at self-reinvention, can no more change himself than a leopard can change his spots. Although there is no precise correspondence between Dorlas himself and any character in the earlier episodes set in Nargothrond and Dor-Cuarthol, the invention of Dorlas is clearly part and parcel of this series of revisions.

Works Cited

  1. For an account of the relationship between the published versions of the story in The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, and The Children of Húrin, see the section The Composition of the Text in the Appendix of The Children of Húrin, and also Douglas C. Kane, Arda Reconstructed: The Creation of the Published Silmarillion (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2009).
  2. See my biography of Brandir for a more detailed treatment of Brandir and his background.
  3. The War of the Jewels, Wanderings of Húrin. Compare also Christopher Tolkien's notes on this group of texts, which include mention of a late name change to Darlas (note 55).
  4. Dorlas’s later question "Will none of you take the place of the son of Handir, that the House of Haleth be not put to shame?" suggests to me that it is Handir’s example that is not being lived up to, rather than Handir being included in his criticism (see Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung").
  5. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung."
  6. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil." The following discussion follows this chapter closely, for the most part, except where indicated otherwise.
  7. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung." See further below.
  8. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil."
  9. Ibid.
  10. The wording in the Silmarillion text suggests that Brandir may already have learned from Dorlas that the stranger is the Mormegil at this point, making the premonition seem less strong and more of an informed suspicion (The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar). Christopher Tolkien comments on this in his notes on Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Túrin into Brethil," Note 21.
  11. It is Brandir who eventually tells Niënor (Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "Niënor in Brethil").
  12. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "Niënor in Brethil."
  13. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung." The following discussion follows this chapter closely, for the most part, except where indicated otherwise.
  14. The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turambar."
  15. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung."
  16. "…how can it be said his counsels were in vain, when they were never taken? You, his liege, have ever set them at naught" (Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Coming of Glaurung").
  17. In a draft version, although Dorlas did not make it all the way, he made it the farthest of several companions, but Tolkien discarded this and eventually it became Hunthor who follows farthest, but dies in the climb (see Christopher Tolkien's notes on §§322-5 in The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals).
  18. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Death of Glaurung."
  19. Unfinished Tales, Narn i Hîn Húrin, "The Death of Túrin."
  20. The War of the Jewels, Wanderings of Húrin.
  21. See Book of the Lost Tales II, Turambar and the Foalókë, and Christopher Tolkien’s discussion in the notes on section ix, "The Slaying of Glorund."

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Around the World and Web

Articles of Interest

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

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

A Month of Anniversaries

September marked not only another instance of Bilbo and Frodo's birthday but also the anniversary of not one but two beloved Tolkien novels. September 15 marked the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Silmarillion, and numerous commemorative articles were posted online. The One gives an overview of the publication history, while at Alas, Not Me is taking a stroll down personal memory lane, and Entertainment Weekly discusses the appeal and significance of the Silmarillion. The SWG is also hosting its own anniversary celebration, the Silmarillion 40 Compilation.

Following soon after on September 21, was the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit. Looking back, Middle-earth Reflections found a number of reviews that recognized the story's impact and intricacies early on, The Independent recounts the inspirations behind Middle-earth, and Smithsonian Magazinegoes looking for Smaug's literary roots.

Tolkien as war-novelist: another way of dealing with trauma through writing

The Lord of the Rings is frequently (and to Tolkien's famous disdain) often read as an allegory of the Second World War. Nonetheless, and in spite of his service in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War, Tolkien's name is not commonly linked with war writing. Tim Lommese at the Tolkien Society makes a powerful case on the genesis of Middle-earth and its link to the two wars, coming to the conclusion that Tolkien's achievement rather celebrated escapism than depicting the horrors of the battlefield. Read the full essay on the Tolkien Society website.

In Defense of Tolkien's Mountains

Last month, a geologist's take on Tolkien's fictional orogenesis drew some attention in The Messed-Up Mountains of Middle-earth and the impossibility of some of Middle-earth's geological structures. Tumblr user Mapsburgh posted a rebuttal in defense o Tolkien's Mountains discussing not only at historical geology available during Tolkien's time and medieval map conceptualization, but also offers an alternate geological model of Middle-earth.

Here at the End of All Things: On losing oneself in the geography of fantasy worlds, from Middle Earth to Westeros

Where the fans concerned with the plausibility of Tolkien's mountains point the microscope at specific features of Tolkien's subcreation, map aficionado Adrian Daub at Longreads takes a sweeping flight across the realms of fantasy literature and its maps. From personal geekdom to Middle-earth to Westeros and beyond, he discusses the geography of fantasy worlds, their history, and benefits to the narrative, as well as geographical conventions like the distributions of mountains, landmasses and seas, many times modelled after the precedent Tolkien set in what the author calls a "moral geography", but ultimately inviting the reader along on a journey of armchair travel.

Fantasy Worldbuilding: Fashion Edition

Descriptions of the summer-sky blue of Lúthien's robe, the star-cloak of Finduilas of Dol Amroth that was passed on to Éowyn, or the silver-and-white or Aredhel's garments have become iconic in their own right in fandom, and often instrumental as a shorthand for recognizing Tolkien's characters in fanart, not to mention the much-lauded (and much-cosplayed) costumes of the Jackson movies. But how realistic are they? In Fantasy Worldbuilding: Fashion Edition, aliciadp offers thoughts on the topic of fashion in fantasy environments, worldbuilding continuity, knowledge constraints, attractivity, materials and cultural history that may be helpful both to fanfiction writers and original worldbuilding both.

Tolkien's Plant Passion Moves Botanist To Create Guide To Middle-earth

Flora of Middle-earth is the product of a passion that J.R.R. Tolkien, himself a lover of trees, certainly would have appreciated. Botanist Walter Judd became fascinated with the botany of Middle-earth, and after finding 141 different plant species as he read The Lord of the Rings, he teamed up with his son Graham, an illustrator, to compile a botanical guide to Middle-earth listing anything from real-world species to those unique to Middle-earth, like athelas and Elanor. At Tree, leaf and a few niggles, Philoloblog offers a review of the guide.

Middle-earth in the Moscow Metro

News from earlier in 2017 may occasionally still be relevant: "Bringing Middle-Earth to Moscow, opera singers will descend into Delovoy Tsentr metro station on Friday, May 12 to perform an opera based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, with the entire production executed in Elvish.
The performance marks the 125th anniversary of Tolkien’s birthday, with the singers offering an interpretation of the posthumously published collection of works by The Lord of the Rings writer. Vocalists will be joined by the Russian presidential orchestra." You can watch the entire 67-minute performance on Youtube.


Fandom Loves Puerto Rico Fanaid Fundraiser

In the unprecedented Hurricane season of 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Maria devastated the northeastern Caribbean, and Puerto Rico in particular. Hospitals, roads, the power grid and other infrastructure suffered devastating damage. In order to support disaster relief, fandom is coming together for another fundraising auction at Fandom Loves Puerto Rico. Submissions/sign ups will be open open until October 15th and the auction begin on October 21. Please consider participating.

Inktober 2017

Since its inception in 2009, Inktober has become a staple challenge in the online art world. Dedicated to traditional inking, Inktober invites you to participate in its 31-day/31-artworks challenge, using the tag #inktober2017 on the social media platform of your choice. You may follow the official prompt list or do your own thing - many fan artists certainly do!

Trick or Treat Fanworks Exchange

True to its name, a Trick or Treat is a low stress exchange based on Halloween and Trick or Treating with a minimum of 300 words or a clean sketch piece of artwork; requests can include tricks (horror, occult, supernatural, or scary topics) or treats (sweet, sexy, or fluffy fanworks). Signups have concluded, with a list of all requests available here. Fanworks are due on October 23, for reveals on October 31. Find a prompt that intrigues you? This exchange encourages and welcomes treating, so why not leave someone a little something extra?

Terrifying Tolkien Week 2017

In more seasonal news, prompts for Terrifying Tolkien Week on tumblr, an annual celebration of all the darker aspects of the Legendarium set to take place in the final October week, have been revealed, with separate prompt sets for art, writing and graphics. Participate by posting your fanworks into the #terrifyingtolkien tag and find the 2017 prompts here.

Yuletide 2017: Smaller Tolkien Fandoms

The seasonal exchange for small fandoms, Yuletide obviously cannot admit large and long-running fandoms like The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. However, it is a chance to showcase Tolkien's lesser-known works and request fanworks for them. This year, the Yuletide tag set includes Farmer Giles of Ham, The Father Christmas Letters, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son, Leaf by Niggle, Roverandom and Smith of Wootton Major. Interested? Consider signing up!

Signups will remain open until Monday, October 9, and the assignment deadline is on December 18.

Holly Poly 2017

Holly Poly is a pan-fandom multimedia gift exchange. Requests are for polyamorous groupings of any type. Fic, remixes, podfic, fanart, meta, and vids are all acceptable offer and request formats. Nominations currently under way. The tag set is here.

Nominations: Sept 23 - Oct 13
Signups: Oct 16 - Nov 7
Assignments go out: Nov 10/11
Assignments due: Jan 10
Open: Jan 13
Reveal: Jan 21

Upper Midwest Regional Midmoot (October 7 2017)

Hawkeye Community College and the Mythgard Institute are pleased to present the inaugural 2017 Upper Midwest Regional Midmoot, a conference devoted to exploring the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien and related artists and authors. A mixture of paper presentations and discussion sessions will be offered along with a keynote address by guest-of-honor Dr. Corey Olsen, "The Tolkien Professor." Lunch is included in the registration price, which is $10 for undergraduates and $15 for all other attendees. We anticipate, weather permitting, having lunch and enjoying Dr. Olsen's address at the Cedar Valley Arboretum with its Hobbit Hole as a backdrop. Where to register and other information will be provided soon.

The Moot will take place on Saturday, October 7 at 9 AM - 5 PM CDT. A schedule will be available on Facebook after September 6th; registration has already opened via Mythgard Institute.

Hull University Tolkien Centenary Day (October 21 2017)

The Dennison Centre at the University of Hull will be hosting a day of talks and historical reconstructions to commemorate the time spent in 1917 by J.R.R. Tolkien at what was then the Brooklands Military Hospital during World War I.

Tolkien was staying nearby at Thirtle Bridge, Roos, recovering from trench fever, but spent two periods of convalescence at Brooklands. The local landscape inspired the setting for his tale of Berien and Luthien.

The Tolkien Day (free of charge) will be based around the theme of Tolkien and the Great War, and include talks (in the morning) by Michael Flowers and Tom Shippey. There will also be a first aid re-enactment, some projected images of WWI hospitals, a music soundscape, book stall, list of nursing staff at the hospital, and the opportunity to learn some words of elvish.

Find the day's programme on the Tolkien Society's website.

Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft - Annual Seminar (October 2017)

Tolkien Society's sister society in Germany, Deutsche Tolkien Gesellschaft (DTG), is hosting its annual seminar from 27th to 29th October 2017 at Augsburg University with the theme “Literary Worldbuilding”. This is the 14th annual Seminar for DTG, supported by Walking Tree Publishers. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the society, they have opened up two scholarships offering paid travel and accommodation for the duration of the event. Find out more at

"Celebrate Tolkien" event to be held in South Carolina (9th-10th November 2017)

A brand new event "Celebrate Tolkien", also announced by the Tolkien Society will take place at Greenville, South Caroline on the 9th and 10th of November 2017. Limited to 180 people, it will include two days of talks from artists, academics and performers, as well as games, themed-music and a pipe-smoking competition. More information also at

Calls for Papers

TWC Special Issue CFP: Fans of Color, Fandoms of Color (3/1/18; 3/15/19)

The editors invite the submission of short and long scholarly essays by and about people of color who self-identify as fans (“fans of color”), and about fan communities that have formed around media characters and texts that predominantly or prominently feature characters of color (“fandoms of color”). The editors are particularly eager to review contributions that involve methodological innovation, and/or draw on sources from historical periods other than the contemporary.

As both the scholars and objects fan studies have, to date, been predominantly white, we seek work from fan scholars of every ethnicity about their own experiences, and the experiences of people of color, in and with fandom.

Due date is March 1, 2018, for estimated March 2019 publication. For Submission Guidelineas and more information, visit Special Issue CFP at TWC Tumblr.

Special Issue CFP: The Future of Fandom (1/15/18; 9/15/18)

The Future of Fandom full CfP

This special 10th anniversary issue of Transformative Works and Cultures seeks to explore the future of fandom while looking back to its past. How might scholarship on fandom's past and present invite speculation about its future? And what might the possible futures invoked by technological, ecological, and political discourses mean for fandom's communities and practices? Science fiction in particular--the field whose strategies spawned fandom, and the genre in which much fan activity occurs--has used imagined futures to shed new light on the present and the past. In turn, studying where we are and where we have been allows us to imagine where we may be heading.

We invite essays that seek to historicize and contextualize fans, fan works, and fandoms across past, present, and future. Scholarship on fandom’s futures can open connections between technology and interfaces, fannish discussions and trends, fictions of imagined futures, and cultural and political changes in order to illustrate how fandoms may be understood in their historical contexts and cultural interactions.

This issue will feature a special section, “Predictions,” that will allow fans and academics to imagine fannish futures. We particularly invite personal and creative responses, including essays from the future, documenting trends that haven’t yet come to be.

Submission guidelines

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC, is an international peer-reviewed online Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. TWC aims to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community. TWC accommodates academic articles of varying scope as well as other forms that embrace the technical possibilities of the Web and test the limits of the genre of academic writing.

Theory: Conceptual essays. Peer review, 6,000–8,000 words.

Praxis: Case study essays. Peer review, 5,000–7,000 words.

Symposium: Short commentary. Editorial review, 1,500–2,500 words.

Please visit TWC's Web site ( for complete submission guidelines, or e-mail the TWC Editor (editor AT

Due date— January 15, 2018, for estimated September 15, 2018 publication.

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