TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: September 2016

Table of Contents


SWG News

An Invitation to Attend a Mereth Aderthad

Have you ever wanted to meet other SWG members and Tolkienfic writers in person? Does the thought of spending time in the mountains with a bunch of fellow Tolkien geeks sound like the perfect holiday?

We are discussing the possibility of holding a real-life Mereth Aderthad in the summer of 2017 in Vermont, USA. The event is in the VERY early planning stages, but if you'd be interested in learning more or assisting with planning our first Mereth Aderthad, visit the Mereth Aderthad LiveJournal community here.

Around the Fire Challenge: Current Prompts and Banners

"Tell me a story. Be my storyteller."
―Arzum Uzun

We are still sharing stories at the fireside, so it you haven’t done it yet, we invite you to request a story and/or write a request for someone else (see below for the list of requests so far). If you'd like to request a story, you can do so here at our LiveJournal community (you do not need an account to participate). If you want to write a request, you do not need to sign up but simply leave a link to your story in the comment to that request once your story is finished. You are welcome to post your story to our archive or at our LiveJournal community. If you choose to post it somewhere else, please put up a valid link for the person who requested your story.

If you want to celebrate your participation or help us promote the challenge, you can find Around the Fire Challenge banners here.

Challenge Prompts

Welcome to Our New Members!

We are pleased to welcome mor2904, our only new member in August, to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild.

We hope you're already reading and enjoying the stories, poems and reference material, listening to the podcasts in our site, and perhaps posting your own material. However, if you are stuck and need help, you can start by browsing our Frequently Asked Questions. This page contains information about the archive, challenges, reviews, ratings, our definition of "Silmfic", and much more. If you can't find what you are after, or if you need assistance for any other reason, do not hesitate to contact the SWG mods at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

We would love to know what awakened your interest in the Silmarillion, or other details about your fandom persona that you are happy to share, so why not update your bio?


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

To Build a House from the Ground Up by Nibeneth [Teens] (11655 words)
Summary: After six thousand years in Mandos, Fingon and Maedhros rejoin the world. Nothing will ever be the same as it was, but a remote plot of land, a cabin, a garden, and a few animals are all they need.

By Way of Tears by StarSpray [General] (1020 words)
Summary: "I fear your lord husband is dead, your grace. By the Gladden Fields near the Greenwood we were beset by many foes—orcs out of the mountains. The fight went ill, and my lord told me—he told me to keep this from capture, at any cost." The shards of Narsil.

I know better by Calendille [General] (1595 words)
Summary: "Galadriel was the greatest of the Noldor, except Fëanor maybe, though she was wiser than he, and her wisdom increased with the long years." In Valinor, Melkor is the first to tempt her with the prospect of besting her uncle.

The World Ahead by StarSpray [General] (7649 words)
Summary: It's the beginning of a new Age, and now that the world is (relatively) safe, Eluréd and Elurín want to see everything. Starting with the Misty Mountains.

Works in Progress

Numenor That Was by Himring [Author Chooses Not to Rate]
Summary: An anthology for stories set in Numenor or involving Numenoreans.
Chapter added this month: The Crane and the Crow.

Of Ingwë Ingweron by heget [Teens]
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.
Chapter added this month: Of the Beginning of Days.

The steel of their will by Harnatano [General]
Summary: 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. Written from Curufin's pov. Canon based, more like a personal combination between the different versions given in HoME and the Silmarillion.
Chapters added this month: On the threshold and A bitter sip.

The Returnees by Silver Trails [Teens]
Summary: The Elves prepare to return to Middle-earth
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1: Maedhros and Fingon and Chapter 2: Amras and Helwanar.

Upon these shores by Lyra [Teens]
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.
Chapter added this month: Elf-struck.


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Character of the Month Biography

Guilin of Nargothrond

Oshun


Guilin of Nargothrond appears only six times in the final version of The Silmarillion as edited by Christopher Tolkien. Those mentions tell us little to nothing about his background or personal history, except that he has two sons, Gelmir and Gwindor, who play significant roles (which culminate in tragedy for each of them) in the events in Beleriand near the end of the First Age. In fact, Guilin's only appearance in the texts, except by reference, is in The Lay of the Children of Húrin, wherein under the earlier name of Fuilin, he welcomes his son Gwindor back home from thralldom in the company of Túrin:

Then Fuilin filled with flowing mead,
dear-hoarded drink dark and potent
a carven cup with curious brim,
by ancient art of olden smiths
fairly fashioned, filled with marvels;
there gleamed and lived in grey silver
the folk of Faerie in the first noontide
of the Blissful Realms . . . .1

He receives no dialogue or other acknowledgement of his physical presence in Nargothrond in the accounts in The Silmarillion or The Children of Húrin.

The general assumption is that Guilin is a Noldo. As one of the Elves of Nargothrond who looked to Finrod Felagund as their King and Lord, Guilin dwelt in the underground city on the banks of the River Narog. There Finrod, with those who had followed him out of Aman into Middle-earth, built "wide halls behind ever-guarded gates" in that "deep and secret place beneath the hills," which had been recommended to him by his kinsman Thingol King of Doriath.2 Guilin's son Gelmir is first identified as a "Lord of Nargothrond,"3 which leads one to believe that his family is most likely to be of the Noldor. The fact that Gwindor is at one point betrothed to Finduilas, the daughter of Orodreth,4 further implies that the family of Guilin are of Noldorin nobility. If they had not been, the betrothal might have been considered notable. Guilin is a Sindarin name,5 which in no way implies that he is not Noldorin, since the Noldor had started taking Sindarin names by that time. And, as Darth Fingon points out in his Linguistic Foolery article Sindarin "is the language Tolkien used almost exclusively for naming characters and places in Middle-earth. The vast majority of the names given in The Silmarillion are Sindarin names."6

With the breaking of the siege of Angband in the Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame), "the sons of Finarfin bore most heavily the brunt of the assault."7 Many of Finrod's people were killed and many captured alive in that assault. Among those taken prisoner was Guilin's son Gelmir.

With the success of Beren and Lúthien in their heist of a Silmaril, Fingon and Maedhros united to confront Morgoth whom they no longer saw as unassailable. Although Orodreth, by then ruling Nargothrond after the death of Finrod Felagund, was still outraged at the deeds of Celegorm and Curufin and refused to join in the alliance, a small company followed "Gwindor son of Guilin, a very valiant prince" to participate in the "northern war, because he grieved for the loss of Gelmir his brother in the Dagor Bragollach."8

On the day upon which Fingon and Maedhros had planned to come together on the field of battle to confront Morgoth's army, Maedhros' forces were held back by the treachery of Uldor the Accursed. Fingon waited, determined not to move forward without the signal that Maedhros had arrived with his forces.

The heartbreaking account of Gelmir's death, and the turn from the hope of victory to the tragedy of defeat in the Battled of Unnumbered Tears, reads thusly in The Children of Húrin:

Then the Captain of Morgoth sent out riders with tokens of parley, and they rode up before the very walls of the outworks of the Barad Eithel. With them they brought Gelmir son of Guilin, a lord of Nargothrond, whom they had captured in the Bragollach, and had blinded; and their heralds showed him forth crying: 'We have many more such at home, but you must make haste if you would find them. For we shall deal with them all when we return, even so.' And they hewed off Gelmir's arms and legs, and left him.

By ill chance at that point in the outposts stood Gwindor son of Guilin with many folk of Nargothrond; and indeed he had marched to war with such strength as he could gather because of his grief for the taking of his brother. Now his wrath was like a flame, and he leapt forth upon horse-back, and many riders with him, and they pursued the heralds of Angband and slew them; and all the folk of Nargothrond followed after, and they drove on deep into the ranks of Angband.9

In The Grey Annals, Gwindor's charge and its outcome are described in moving language:

And behold! the light of the drawing of the swords of the Noldor was like a fire in a field of reeds; and so fell was their onset that almost the designs of Morgoth went astray. . . . Gwindor son of Guilin and the folk of Nargothrond were in the forefront of that battle, and they burst through the outer gates and slew the Orcs [even in the very tunnels of Morgoth >] within the very fortress of Morgoth, and he trembled upon his deep throne, hearing them beat upon his doors.

But at the last Gwindor was taken and his men slain; for none had followed them, and no help came. By other secret doors in the mountains of Thangorodrim Morgoth had let forth his main host that was held in waiting, and Fingon was beaten back with great loss from the walls.10

The sudden charge by the enraged Gwindor and his forces completely disrupted the strategy of Fingon and Maedhros. The plan going into the battle had been that Maedhros and his massive force would attack from the east and draw Morgoth's army out of Angband. Then Fingon's host would attack from the west and they would crush Morgoth's forces between their two wings. First Maedhros was delayed by treachery, and when he finally arrived, he was attacked by the traitors in his rear.

Meanwhile, Gwindor and his company had, with the frenzy of their determination and outrage, put fear into the heart of Morgoth himself. They burst through the gates and slew the guards on the steps of Angband itself. Nonetheless, they were overrun and Gwindor's entire company was slain and he was taken captive, where he would languish for the next fourteen years. If that were not disastrous enough, they had placed Fingon in the position of abandoning his overall campaign plan and following Gwindor's wild outburst.

The what-ifs and speculations about alternative outcomes of the Battle of Unnumbered Tears are myriad. The main point is that the state of the vanguard of the Noldor went from hope to devastation with this explosive unplanned beginning of this battle—Morgoth's goading succeeded.

The tie-in of the name of this battle with the words in the curse of Mandos is inescapable. If we are to assume as we do herein that Guilin is a Noldo who did not turn back when they were warned in the lands of Araman north of Valinor, he lives his life under the curse of Mandos.

Although this battle and the Battle of Sudden Flame that preceded it defined and framed Guilin's life, we do not know if he fought in either of them; we may be relatively certain that had he participated in the Unnumbered Tears, it would have been mentioned it the texts. One can only imagine—because we are not told—the horror with which Guilin eventually received the news of the ghastly details of the death of his son Gelmir and the disappearance/captivity of his remaining son Gwindor.

The final heartbreak and disaster which befalls this man and his family happens when Guilin's son Gwindor does escape fourteen years later and encounters Túrin Turumbar and brings him to Nargothrond:

'Who are you?' said Túrin.

'A wandering Elf, a thrall escaped, whom Beleg met and comforted,' said Gwindor. 'Yet once I was Gwindor son of Guilin, a lord of Nargothrond, until I went to the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and was enslaved in Angband.'11

Although altered and aged by his terrible suffering, Gwindor son of Guilin has survived.

At first his own people did not know Gwindor, who went out young and strong, and returned now seeming as one of the aged among mortal Men, because of his torments and his labours; but Finduilas daughter of Orodreth the King knew him and welcomed him, for she had loved him before the Nirnaeth, and so greatly did Gwindor love her beauty that he named her Faelivrin, which is the gleam of the sun on the pools of Ivrin. For Gwindor's sake Túrin was admitted with him into Nargothrond, and he dwelt there in honour.12

After settling into Nargothrond, Gwindor still loves Finduilas, Orodreth's daughter, but she has fallen out of love with him. This shattered, aged Elf who returned from thralldom was not the fine-looking, eager man with whom she had pledge her troth in their relative youth. She fell in love with the handsome, mysterious Túrin, who did not share the ardor of her feelings or even sense her longing. Gwindor, however, in the bitterness of his heartbreak did. Finally, Guilin's surviving son is slain in the Battle of Tumhalad with the last of the warriors of Nargothrond:

Gwindor son of Guilin was wounded to the death. But Túrin came to his aid, and all fled before him; and he bore Gwindor out of the rout, and escaping into a wood there laid him on the grass.

Then Gwindor said to Túrin: 'Let bearing pay for bearing! But ill-fated was mine, and vain is thine; for my body is marred beyond healing, and I must leave Middle-earth. And though I love thee, son of Húrin, yet I rue the day that I took thee from the Orcs. But for thy prowess and thy pride, still I should have love and life, and Nargothrond should yet stand a while. Now if thou love me, leave me! Haste thee to Nargothrond, and save Finduilas.13

So, Guilin plays no active role in the entire narrative which swirls around his existence. He is a symbol of the curse laid upon the Noldor, of the stubborn stand against Morgoth by those same valiant exiles. It seeks to underline the tragic story of the Noldor, which is a violent one of stalwart struggle in battle, and terror, grief, and loss. In the search for any tiny details of the story of Guilin I might have missed, I ran across a compelling citation which points to this central core of The Silmarillion in a review: "Had I but world enough and time, I'd tell you about the unluckiest man in the book, Túrin Turumbar, whose life resembles that of Oedipus and other doomed figures . . . ."14 True enough—as far as it goes—but Guilin and his sons are among a long list of other tragic Silmarillion figures who could compete for the title of "unluckiest" in the history of the First Age in Beleriand.




Works Cited

  1. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of the Children of Húrin, "Failivrin."
  2. The Silmarillion, "Of the Return of the Noldor."
  3. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals.
  4. The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turumbar."
  5. Salo, David. A Gateway to Sindarin: A Grammar of an Elvish Language from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004.
  6. Darth Fingon. Sindarin vs Quenya: RELEVANCE FIGHT! Silmarillion Writers Guild. Sept. 2009. Accessed 26 Aug. 2016.
  7. The Silmarillion, "Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin."
  8. The Silmarillion, "Of the Fifth Battle: Nirnaeth Arnoediad."
  9. The Children of Húrin, "The Battle of Unnumbered Tears."
  10. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals. §226-227.
  11. The Silmarillion, "Of Túrin Turumbar."
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid.
  14. L'Official, Peter. Tolkien's Cosmological Vision. Salon. 18 Feb. 2005. Accessed 26 Aug. 2016.



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Current Challenge

Around the Fire

"Tell me a story. Be my storyteller."
―Arzum Uzun
SWG Around the Fire Challenge

Be it midst of winter or summer, this is the time to gather around the fire together. Whether for warmth, companionship or simply to pass time, there is no better place to share stories together. This quarter, we are sharing stories at the fireside, and we invite you to request a story and/or write a request for someone else. If you'd like to request a story, you can do so here at our LiveJournal community (you do not need an account to participate). If you want to write a request, you do not need to sign up but simply leave a link to your story in the comment to that request once your story is finished. You are welcome to post your story to our archive or at our LiveJournal community. If you chose to post it somewhere else, please put up a valid link for the person who requested your story.

Find the requests or make your own Around the Fire request here.

Challenges Revisited: With a Bit of Fairy Dust

No matter on what continent you might be at this moment, both spring and autumn are times of change making you look at life and the world around you from a different perspective. So why can’t we look at The Silmarillion in a new way? This challenge gives you the opportunity to try and see how your favourite character would star in a fairy tale! Give it a try with the following fairy tale writing prompts as an example!

Unleash your imagination by looking at fairy tales of old and mix them with Tolkien's own Mythopoeia. Or make up your own fairy tales featuring your own characters or such stories told by your characters! There is a multitude of possibilities to explore and we challenge you to find one. No holds barred regarding your imagination, that this challenge about!

Quote of the Month

"Once upon a time – for that is how all stories should begin – there was a boy who lost his mother."
~ John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

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

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


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Around the World and Web

Articles of Interest

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

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

The wizard of Oxford: what Tolkien could hear in a voice

Antonia Quirke at the New Statesman elaborates on a piece of impressive Tolkien trivia that came to light following the BBC's Lost Recordings, namely J.R.R. Tolkien's skill at determining the biographies, aspirations, and influences of a group of students from their voices alone, ultimately lending credence to his linguistic abilities.

Talks on Tolkien II: Patrick Curry on Enchantment & Hypermodernity

Anna Smol continues her series of interdisciplinary Tolkien Talks, this time presenting Patrick Curry's talk on Enchantment and Hypermodernity, in which he explores the existence of Faerie as enchantment and disenchantment in a literary context and our culture as a whole, its difference to magic, and the role enchantment might play in our hypermodern world.

Faerie-led: Thoughts on Writing Meaningful Fantasy

In Thoughts on Writing Meaningful Fantasy, Katherine Langrish at tor.com explores the relevance of fantasy today. In a comparison with Tolkien's work (and referencing a talk by Tolkien scholar Terri Windling) as shaped by the World Wars, she explores the difference to message-led fiction and what challenges contemporary fantasy may address and what role the author's personal truths may play in that.

Meta on Meta, Part 3: The Quest for Sources

At the Heretic Loremaster, Dawn Felagund continues her Meta on Meta series; after providing encouragement toward writing meta and and topic suggestions, she now elaborates on one of the most intimidating aspects of meta-writing:the quest for sources. Dawn provides an extensive overview including types of sources and resources to find the texts necessary for meta-writing.

On the Ambiguity of Elves

There is a sharp contrast in how elves are portrayed by three modern fantasy writers—Tolkien, Pratchett and Rowling—yet all three can be justified from traditional lore. Anglo-Saxon and medieval Icelandic evidence shows that elves have always been ambiguous figures, sometimes helpful to humans and sometimes harmful. This is closer to human experience of luck and misfortune than the Christian doctrine of good and evil spirits. Read Jacqueline Simpson's paper from Folklore 122 here.

The Cultures of Second-Age Eriador and Rhovanion

Eleemosynecdoche on tumblr has written up a resource about one of the more rarely-considered epochs in Silmfic: the Second Age. Primarily looking at linguistic evidence in the texts and at the corresponding cultures of our primary world, it results in a varied and interesting political map of Eriador and Rhovanion.

Glorfindel: The power of white light

In "Glorfindel: The power of white light," Middle-earth Reflections looks at the origin of the two-Glorfindels theory, Tolkien's attempt to reconcile his Gondolin story with that of The Lord of the Rings, and provides a summary of Glorfindel's power and importance to the Ring War as an emissary of the Valar.

Analysing The Children of Húrin: Túrin, Sador and Brandir

To promote the TORn reread of The Children of Húrin (details on that below in our Announcements section), Demonthenes at TheOneRing.net turns his attention to Túrin's relationships with two important figures in his life, Sador Labadal and Brandir of the Haladin. He explores parallels between the two men -- their disability and peaceful nature in particular -- and the stark contrast of Túrin's behaviour toward the two between childhood and adulthood. Read the analysis here.

Tolkien Survey: "Borders of the (Fictional) World" Data Charts and Data on OSA

In her continuing presentation of results from her Tolkien Fandom Survey, Dawn Felagund highlights Tolkien-Fic writing habits of the users of Open Scrolls, a het-only archive that falls out of step in interesting ways with other het writers' answers on morality and motivation regarding Tolkien fan fiction, and often other archives. Read Dawn's post at the Heretic Loremaster.

Announcements

Oxonmoot 2016

Oxonmoot is an annual event hosted by the Tolkien Society which brings together around 200 Tolkien fans, scholars, students and Society members from across the world. It has been held annually in Oxford since 1974 on a weekend close to Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday (22nd September) and is the key event in the Society’s annual calendar. This year Oxonmoot will be held at St Antony’s College Oxford from Thursday 8th through to Sunday 11th September. Bookings are open now, and more information is available on the website of the Tolkien Society; a full schedule will be made available at the end of August.

Tolkien Weekend 2016

Time and Tide Events presents a Tolkien Weekend at Newcastle Castle on September 24 and 25. Events include the art exhibition Illuminating Tolkien, Bilbo's Birthday Party, and a Beowulf Evening. Click the link above to find more information.

Signum University Upcoming Classes

Signum University has announced its upcoming schedule of 12-week courses. Classes relevant to Tolkien fans this semester are Introduction to Anglo-Saxon, Folkloric Transformations, Beowulf in Old English, Tolkien & Tradition, and The Story of the Hobbit. Find more information at Signum's course archive.

TORn Children of Húrin Reread

TheOneRing.net is hosting a reread and discussion of the Children of Húrin in its Hall of Fire chatroom at Saturdays on 6PM ET with a chapter every two weeks. If running to schedule, the upcoming discussion should be on "The Words Of Húrin And Morgoth" on September 3.

Femslash Exchange

Signups are open for the 2016 Femslash Exchange for femslash-based fic and art. Over eighty Tolkien pairings have been nominated for The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit movies, as well as for crossovers between the three. Find the tag set here, and find dates, FAQ, rules and signup information here. Signups will remain open until September 7, and fanworks are due on October 22.




Around the World and Web is provided for our members to inform them of events in the larger Tolkien community. SWG is not affiliated with and does not endorse the groups that we feature in Around the World and Web, and we are not responsible for content on sites outside of our own. Please use discretion and caution when visiting unfamiliar sites on the Internet.

Would you like to see your group or event featured on Around the World and Web? See our Promotions Page for more details or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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