Wrangling with Elwing, or Confronting My Own Sexism in Reading Her Story

This post is in honor of Mother’s Day. Yes, I know … Mother’s Day was on Sunday. But since I debuted my Tolkien fan fiction survey data on Sunday with two posts, I did not want to inundate my blog with three posts in one day, two of them lengthy. So this post comes with […]

Text Version of “The Loremasters of Fëanor” Now Available

Yesterday I hunkered down and did what I have been putting off for almost three months now: I put my paper from the New York Tolkien Conference into a finalized form that I am not embarrassed to show in polite company. Since I use a lot of digital sources during research, I have a shorthand […]

The “Quenta Silmarillion” Death Post

The graphic above has enjoyed some popularity on my tumblr after I posted it earlier today. (Yes, those of you with posts with thousands of notes can laugh at my regarding 100+ notes as “popular.” I’m a blogger with bookish, loquacious tendencies and monofandom interests in a rather obscure fandom. It’s all relative!) In any […]

What the Valar Reveal about Gender Roles in Tolkien’s Legendarium

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a fellow SWG member about sexism in Tolkien’s legendarium. The LotRProject statistic that only 18% of the characters in the legendarium are women is well-known, but he pointed out that the Valar are split 50-50 in terms of sex. This is an interesting point and […]

The Loremasters of Fëanor: Historical Bias in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Transformative Works

Here is the video of my presentation at the New York Tolkien Conference on Saturday, June 13. I am unfortunately hiding behind the monitor on the podium for most of the video–the perils of recording with a handicam in rooms that aren’t necessarily ideal for recording–but the audio is relatively clear throughout, and that’s really […]

New York Tolkien Conference Recap

This past Saturday, I journeyed to the north in true Fëanorian fashion for the New York Tolkien Conference. What a great day it turned out to be! This was the first year for the conference (and, yes, they are interested in running it again), and for me, it was a success: obviously a huge effort […]

We Are Fëanor? Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians

[Crossposted to Tumblr] Several weeks ago, I got irritated at a piece about The Silmarillion in a well-known blog that cast Fëanor in the role of the unmitigated villain. It was a rare show of negativity for me, and I almost didn’t post it because of that. But I did, and I’ve been thinking about […]

“Transformative Works as a Means to Develop Critical Perspectives in the Tolkien Fan Community” (Paper Presentation)

This past weekend, I presented a paper at the Mythmoot III conference in Baltimore, Maryland, an annual fantasy studies conference hosted by the Mythgard Institute. Mythmoot started as a Tolkien studies conference but branched out a bit more this year to include more presentations on speculative fiction texts that aren’t Tolkien. When the initial call […]

So about that theory that the Arkenstone is a Silmaril …

I hate to be the person who comes with a hot pin to pop the happy balloon of this theory but that’s what I’m about to be. I’m going to start out by clarifying that I take no issue with using this (or any!) theory for writing fan fiction or as a personal head canon. […]

Complex Characterization vs. Victimization (Or How to Write Complex Characters without Becoming an Apologist for Heinous Things)

The other day, I saw a quote about how inside every villain was a victim. Responses ranged from celebratory to scandalized, with the latter making the (valid, imho) point that responding to an awful act by trying to find how the perpetrator was somehow made a victim comes awfully close to becoming an apologist for […]