Forum: 2010 - HASA Birthdays

Discussing: September 2010 Birthday Cards

September 2010 Birthday Cards

Birthday folk: Is your birthday in September and you would be delighted by a little story gift from your fellow HASA members? Then state your request here in this thread. Create a birthday workshop story to collect your birthday cards in one place, and enter it into the 2010 Birthhday Cards.

Authors: Let yourselves get inspired by the suggestions - a chance to be creative and to make a fellow HASA member happy at the same time! And don't forget to add your birthday cards to the birthday workshop story the recipient of your birthday card has - hopefully - created.

In case you need help or have a comment, question or suggestion, please post it here or e-mail me privately - I'll do my best to help.


PLEASE NOTE: Birthday Challenges are no longer collected for each month individually, but go all together in one Challenge open for the entire year (see above for the link). However, the rest (monthly threads, requests, and birthday workshop stories) remains as it is.


September, 30 - Gandalf's apprentice: There are some gaps in the canon which sorely try my imagination, and I'd like to see what others can make of them. You can answer any way you wish, including writing an AU, or take off in any way from the particular gap in question.

1. Why did Elwing throw herself off a cliff instead of sticking around to protect her two small sons from the Kinslaying sons of Feanor? What on earth did Elrond make of his mother's actions?

2. What did they really talk about in the White Council? In particular, I am intrigued by the evident fact that Saruman did not know that the Heirs of Isildur still lived in the North, and Gandalf by his own admission never told his boss about his suspicions, and, later, sure knowledge that the Ring had been found. In fact, it seems like nobody ever told Saruman anything, while complaining that he didn't tell them anything. What a dysfunctional council of the wise....

3. Speaking of not telling people things, why didn't Faramir mention to his dear old dad that he had heard from the Halfling in Ithilien that the Sword of Elendil was on its way to Minas Tirith, borne by a man claiming to be the Heir of Isildur? After all, his entire company of Ithilien Rangers had heard this news, too, and you would think the story would be going around. Did Faramir tell Denethor the news in private, away from Mithrandir's ears, for whatever reason? Or did he just keep entirely silent? And why?

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

I'm a September baby. It's been a long time since I was active in the Birthday Cards forum, but I've got some burning questions that I'd like to throw out there as a Birthday challenge. There are some gaps in the canon which sorely try my imagination, and I'd like to see what others can make of them. You can answer any way you wish, including writing an AU, or take off in any way from the particular gap in question.

1. Why did Elwing throw herself off a cliff instead of sticking around to protect her two small sons from the Kinslaying sons of Feanor? What on earth did Elrond make of his mother's actions?

2. What did they really talk about in the White Council? In particular, I am intrigued by the evident fact that Saruman did not know that the Heirs of Isildur still lived in the North, and Gandalf by his own admission never told his boss about his suspicions, and, later, sure knowledge that the Ring had been found. In fact, it seems like nobody ever told Saruman anything, while complaining that he didn't tell them anything. What a dysfunctional council of the wise....

3. Speaking of not telling people things, why didn't Faramir mention to his dear old dad that he had heard from the Halfling in Ithilien that the Sword of Elendil was on its way to Minas Tirith, borne by a man claiming to be the Heir of Isildur? After all, his entire company of Ithilien Rangers had heard this news, too, and you would think the story would be going around. Did Faramir tell Denethor the news in private, away from Mithrandir's ears, for whatever reason? Or did he just keep entirely silent? And why?

I hope you find these questions inspiring! Thank you!

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Happy birthday, Gandalf's apprentice! A prompt at Faramir is something I cannot miss :-)

The Other Thing

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Wow! Great job--of course, you have made it work. If Tolkien even thought about the question, this was his answer.

I particularly like Faramir's spasm of (un)laughter at the end when he imagines that look on his father's face. So well deserved.

Thanks so much!

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

You're welcome, glad you liked it :-)

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

For Gandalf's apprentice.  I've no idea what Elrond may have made of the situation, but here it is from Elwing's POV:
. . .

"Elros!" she shrieked.  He startled and wobbled on the balustrade.  Little Elrond's brows, furrowed in concern before, threatened to merge.  Elwing fought back the instinct to rush forward, lest her eldest son step back from her rage, for nothing but a sheer drop separated the child from the foaming sea below. 

"Darling," she said, her voice quivering, "Please your mother and come down onto the courtyard."

But the elleth turned away, jaw set.  Still facing away, he said, "There is no danger.  Ulmo told me some day I will rule a great realm in the sea.  Always he will see to me and mine."

"Well, then, come down from the ledge to humor me."

She blinked and the memory vanished; she stood alone.  That day had been like this one:  gentle white clouds in the sky and terns gliding on an invigorating breeze, the salt air so clean and wholesome it might have blown straight from Aman.  But today she heard the sound of metal striking metal, coming nearer.  The citadel was breached; her time was running out.

What was the name of that bird, the one that pretends to be wounded to lure predators away from its young?  Oh, I have never been good at naming things.  Too late make good on it now.  Some Quendi I am. 

Yet there was hope in Elros' remembered words.  If he were indeed favored by the Lord of Waters, perhaps her children might find safety even now.  They would have reached the hiding place behind the waterfall, with Nana and a picnic basket full of toys and books, berries and lembas.  They need not come out for a week, maybe longer.  The sounds and odors of battle would not reach them.

But her fear might.  Elwing guarded her thoughts.

Oh, how she longed to let her spirit free, to spew her outrage, her regrets, her longing for Eärendil on the wave.  The Silmaril blazed on her forehead, as if it fed on her bottled emotions, turning them to sparkles.  You are mine, she thought, mine by conquest.

She giggled hysterically at the notion, but disciplined herself again.  They were coming in conquest, those who thought themselves the rightful owners of this cursed jewel.  And cursed it was, she saw at last.  For all its beauty, Melkor had tainted it by long association, infested it with niggling greed, subtle enough to seduce Lúthien and Elwë, even Dior.  She should give it up, she saw that clearly at the last.  But she could not.  She, too, was enslaved to the thing.  She had betrayed her people, her husband and even her children to keep hold of it, though she had not known it in time.

The doors to the courtyard flew open, splintering as they slammed into the stone walls.  Warriors poured through, swords drawn.  Not her people, Feänarans .  But Elwing's white feet were already planted on the balustrade, her jet black hair and silver robes billowed in smooth sheets about her. 

"Take it, Ulmo, purify it," she prayed with all her heart as she leapt.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

You've captured this beautifully, bringing out all the meaning of the legendarium and the powerful effect of the Silmaril. It's a great counterposition that Elwing both tries to ensure some safety for her sons, and at the same time realizes she has betrayed them.

An accursed jewel indeed! But Ulmo does indeed step into the breach.... Thanks!

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

You're welcome!  I have also found Elwing enigmatic, and Ulmo's patronage of her was inexplicable to me given the bald facts of her behavior.  Your challenge got me to stop and think about how her story could plausibly hang together.  

What emerged felt eminantly Tolkienish:  The compellingly beautiful object which hides evil (antecedant to the ring of power), Elwing as a child twisted by its influence (a mild form of what was done to the orcs), a fundamentally decent person who sins but repents and finds redemption (oddly not often a theme, but we do see it in Arafinwe).  I like this much better than my earlier theory:  Elwing could only get such good press because HER side wrote the histories.

Thanks for the very thought-provoking challenges.  I look forward to seeing what you spring on us next year Eeeek!

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

I love this POV.  It stands to reason that items such as the Silmarilli, in daily constant contact with Melkor, would absorb the evil around them and become tainted.  Perhaps that is why they were to be put into the three elements of air, fire and water - each used in purification rituals.  Lovely tale, excellent food for thought. 

- Erulisse (one L)

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Excuse me, is it actually stated anywhere in the canon that the Silmarilli were tainted by Melkor? In my opinion, this stands in contradiction with the statement that they were hallowed by Varda. The fact that they ignited most unholy desires by their very existence does not necessarily mean that they were somehow bad per se; after all, Lúthien was in no way morally compromised by becoming an object of Celegorm's desire.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

As far as I know, there is no mentioning of the Silmarilli being tainted by Melkor in any of Tolkien's works; quite on the contrary!

Because they contain the pure and sacred light of the unmarred trees they do not suffer any touch by "impure" beings.

Melkor/Morgoth suffers unsoothable pain from touching them, Carcharoth gets mad with pain after having swallowed Beren's hand holding a Silmaril, and the two last of Feanor's sons understand because of the pain they feel, when touching the Silmarilli that they themselves are "tainted", not the jewels, because of their vow and their deeds.

Tolkien mentions though, that the beauty of the Silmarilli is too strong for any ordinary being to endure, and he says that probably the wearing of the Silmaril shortened Luthien's mortal life, though making her own beauty shine more radiant as long as she lived.

So in the end there can be no talk of some "evil" somehow being rubbed off  Melkor, though the idea in itself is quite nice, and the story from Elwing's POV is well written.

It is rather a hidden "catholic" approach, perhaps unintended by Tolkien, showing that the holy radiance can't be grasped by anyone safe God/ the Valar themselves. It is part of Feanor's fall out of grace that he refuses to hand over the Silmarilli to the Valar after the destruction of the trees.

Nevertheless I can well imagine some kind of addiction to the Silmarilli because of the temptation of this unique chance of experiencing the presence of the untainted light, the Valar and perhaps the song. That perhaps might be called a sacrilege, but then the keeper of the stone, in this case Elwing, is responsible for it herself and she can't just throw the blame on Melkor.

If you see the whole affair from that point of view it makes sense that the Valar let Elwing and Earendil reach Valinor as soon as they are ready to give up the jewel... but that might lead to a another story.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Poor Elwing - thinking the Valar are somehow immune to the charm of / desire for the Silmarilli!  She should have asked one of the Amanyar   No one is immune, except (apparently) the Nando who brings the Silmaril to Doriath after the death of Luthien and Beren.  Bombadil might be, perhaps - it's really a shame JRRT didn't write him into the Silm.

The Silm is so sad in this respect.  In LOTR, Aragorn says " Death shall come to any man that draws Elendil's sword save Elendil's heir" - and the Rohirrim wisely take him seriously!  Why the Elves didn't take the Feanorians at their word, guess we'll never know.

Great story!


 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Thanwen, I'm not so sure that I agree with you.  Without doubt the Silmarilli contain the pure light of the Two Trees.  But even in Valinor they became an item that Feanor felt more and more covetous about, to the extent of hiding them away and not bringing them out any more.  Initially he wore the Silmarilli on formal occasions, but by the end, he buried them in his vault at Formenos and allowed no viewing by anyone but him.  To me it seems that there are forces at work here, and whether they are ascribed to Melkor or the underlying Song of Eru, those forces change the entities who come into contact with the Silmarilli.  This is, of course, just my opinion.  But I do think that even sacred things can have a secondary melody. 

- Erulisse (one L)

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

But again, was that the fault of the Silmarilli, or of Feanor himself? Rather than being tainted, it seems to me that the Silmarilli expose the hidden flaws and desires. Feanor became overly possessive long before Melkor could touch them, and so did Melkor himself.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Erulisse, it took me some time to answer to your comment, because liking to base my arguments on facts, I first reread the necessary parts in the "Silmarillion" and "The History of Middle-Earth".

Mind you, I would not have commented on your or Cuinwen's idea of the Silmarilli being tainted by Melkor/Morgoth, because I believe that everyone should be free to follow his/her own fancy, as long as one makes clear, that it is one's personal imagination.

Why, can't an AU be a wonderful and in itself convincing story? I admire Tolkien's world but I'm not his missionary.Therefore I liked Cuinwen's story, and I suppose, one can well imagine Elwing being convinced that very moment that the Silmarilli are cursed or even are a curse in themselves. Who can expect her to think straight in such a terrible situation?

I just commented on Ygrain's question after solid facts, and there I suppose my statement to be correct: There is no mentioning in the Professor's works that the Silmarilli ever were "tainted" by Melkor. What you make of it is up to you.

There acctually is one short note in the "History" in connection with some Elves' opinion that the light of the sun is not as precious as the light of the moon, because Melkor, greedy for the light, caught and raped Arien, the pilot of the sun.

But Christopher Tolkien states, that his father had written down this idea in an early state of development of his Mythology but dropped it later, not feeling convinved himself, and so it never had been published. It would have been unlogical anyway, because the light of the moon aswell would have to be regarded as soiled, because the blossom and the fruit both sprang from the trees already marred by Melkor/Morgoth and Ungoliant.

In your comment addressing me personally you do not follow this thread of argument any more though, but seem to refer to my statement that I believe Feanor himself to be responsible for his own downfall, not the Silmarilli.

Pretty sure we can see certain negative notions in Feanor's attitude and character after having created the Silmarilli, but these character traits are already there before that and not caused by them.

Feanor is shown as the genius, the overwhelmingly gifted being, who takes too much pride in his own abilities and therefore lacks the necessary humility and obedience towards the Valar. He is burning too brightly for his own mettle.

Right from his birth we, the readers, can see how exceptional he is, causing his mother to weary of life, because she feels all her fea's energy having flown into the son... and therefore she names him Feanor.

From the very beginning we see him as an exceptional scholar and artist, a convincing orator and haughty leader of at least parts of the Noldor, cock-sure of himself and his own value!

He loves, admires and even warships his mother, never showing any regard for his father's second wife and her children but hating and despising them. He causes the enstrangement between the Noldor and the other Elves in Amman by the Shibboleth, because the shift from th to s changes the spelling and pronuciation of his mother's name or rather title, he threatens to fight his half-brother and therefore is banished from Tirion for a certain time... and there are even more examples showing him being brilliant but utterly troublesome well before the Silmarilli are created.

I have to admit though, that I don't know when exactlly his wife left him because of his behaviour, but Tolkien mentions Galadriel refusing to give him a strand of her hair that he wants to use in his artistic works because she feels disgusted by his arrogance.

So what Tolkien shows in Feanor is, according to my understanding, how PRIDE, one of the Deadly Sins, causes the downfall of a genius, a topic known from many mythologies and religions.

I liked your idea of there being a secondary melody in the song, because that might be the root of many an interesting story, but I think it to be a very dangerous approach to hold Feanor free from guilt and responsibility, because he was lured by the Silmarilli, that, as you youself admitted, contain the blessed light.

All beings long for it, but most of them are humble enough not to claim it as a personal property. That is where the lack in Feanor's character shows.

If the holy light itself was "tainted" with evil, by a hidden theme of the song, Feanor would not be responsible for keeping it greedily to himself, refusing to help Yavanna to heal the trees.

Then Ungolianth and Melkor/Morgoth could not be blamed for destroying the trees, because it would be the light itself that called forth their evil actions.

If you follow that thought to its logic and bitter end it would be the item the thief lusts after, being responsible for being stolen, the victim of rape for waking violent desires in the rapist, and therefore being raped and the person being murdered should be accused for making the murderer wanting to kill him/her.

And that is the point, why I fail to agree with you.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

'but Tolkien mentions Galadriel refusing to give him a strand of her hair that he wants to use in his artistic works because she feels disgusted by his arrogance. So what Tolkien shows in Feanor is, according to my understanding, how PRIDE, one of the Deadly Sins, causes the downfall of a genius'

Cough!  Sputter... Galadriel, of course, is quite immune to pride!  Oops, not the Galadriel of LOTR and the Silm, only the idealized one from JRRT's last years. 

This is certainly not directed at you, Thanwen, but your post inspired me to write this - Unwisdom, or, um, well..., which I hope will also serve as a birthday present for Gandalf's apprentice; instead of Elwing's decision, another famous-but-questionable one.  As to why the choice was made - who could tell? 

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Maeglin: Thanks so much for the birthday offering! I have to say that I agree with Finwe on this one--perhaps the journey West had its down side.

Tolkien doesn't tell us why Galadriel wouldn't give her cousin a hair off her head, and one could certainly spin some wild tales about that. hmmmm......indeed......

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Hi maeglin,

Galadriel immune to pride? ROTFLMAO Nay, not even the one of Tolkien`s late writings! But then that seems to be quite a characteristic trait of the Noldor.

And so there is another gap to be filled and surely a wonderful source for some stories: Why did she stay in Middle Earth after the first age? Perhaps a chance to look behind her pride and to give some thoughts to Celeborn, too?;-)

Tolkien himself must have been so facinated by that Elve... it's just amazing, how many times he changed parts of her vita.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Hi Gandalf`s Apprentice,

sorry for making your birthday cards a place of general disussion So embarassed! , I just tend to get carried away. I'm trying to make amends though, but unfortunately this short story does not answer to your request, it just got sparked off by maeglin's remark...Seems to be getting some mental ping-pong. I just hope you will like it nevertheless.

Happy Birthday, Gandalf's Apprentice!

Shifting his weight uneasily from one foot to the other he stared at the slender silhouette at the brink of the talan.

She had been standing there since he had made it clear that he would not leave for Aman, not for all the fair words of Eonwe.

He supressed a sigh. He should have asked her first if she intended to go... surely she did, now that forgiveness had been granted. Would she leave him behind?

He took in her upright back, her proud neck, head held high...PRIDE... Would her pride allow her to repent, to ask the Valar for mercy?

He felt a lump tighten in his stomach as he realized that she might stay with him just for the sake of her pride.Wouldn't that be worse? He shivered, feeling doubt clutching his heart with icy fingers.

There she stood: tall, proud, strong-minded, her fists clenched in the folds of her robe... Artanis once more, and more so than ever.

And yet, as his eyes lingered on her erect shoulders... there, in the curve towards her neck, he could still see it... the faint marks, the imprint of his teeth, the seal of last night's pleasure.

He swallowed, remembering how he had undone her braid, how her glorious hair had spilled over her shoulders, down her back... truly Galadriel, and then their minds had become as undone as her hair.

Galadriel - Only when she turned to face him  he realized that he had breathed her name. Their eyes met, and he felt fate hanging in balance.

"Tell me," she said with that low voice of hers, "what made Melian stay with Elwe?"

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Exactly, Thanwen.  Hence the irony-bordering-on-hypocrisy of Galadriel's distrust of Feanor. 

It's fun to stir up some debate now and again ;)

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

Wow, Thanwen, that's what I call an exhausting answer :-) Since my birthday is coming soon, I'll take it as a present of sorts :-)) Thank you very much.

- As for messing with the thread, though, the blame falls on my head because it was my question that actually started it. My apologies to everyone.

 

 

Re: September 2010 Birthday Cards

To Thanwen's excellent analysis of Elwing's relationship to the Silmaril, I would just add that it was central to all her family's tragedies and that Melkor was a real and present power in her grim world, whereas Varda was legend and myth.  I don't think Elwing, in her hour of despair, would consider the Silmaril as an unqualified good, nor credit Varda's power as greater than Melkor's. 

If memory serves, Tolkien specifically mentioned that not all evil had its source in Melkor, but I think Elwing might not have been able to see that at the time.  Reasonable or not, I think she would have blamed him.

And yet, in my story, she turned around and did the right thing in the end.  If it was wholesomeness emerging from misunderstanding, misjudgment, mistake and mischance, still, she got it right in the end.  I can't tell you how much fun it was to write her.  Elwing really seemed alive to me

 

 

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