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 […]

Gender Equality and Elves

Marta has a post up (The Problem with Eowyn) that is in reply to a post by Anna Wing (Eowyn, Female Agency, blah blah) about the possible gender issues in Tolkien’s depiction of Eowyn. Not being an expert on the LotR canon, I don’t feel that I can contribute to the discussion on Eowyn, but […]

Welcome to Middle-earth–Now Speak English!

I am jumping through the last leg of hoops in terms of completing my teaching certification, one hoop of which requires me to take two basic linguistic courses. Admittedly, it is probably the most pleasurable hoop to jump through, since it is an area I have wanted to study for some time anyway. While reading […]

Was the Elvenking in The Hobbit originally meant to be Thingol, and not Thranduil?

The following entry is a guest post by Dreamflower. Dreamflower has been a Lord of the Rings fan since 1967, when she was 15 years old. She has read the books countless times over the years, but did not begin writing fanfic until 2004. She’s written many stories, nearly all of them hobbit-centric; in addition she is a co-mod of the […]

Lúthien: A “Mere Maiden”?

I am in the midst of reading The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, which I have never read in full. They are very illustrative and have spurred many ideas for future HL posts (and I am only one-third through!), but I encountered one statement the other day that refuses to rest in my mind until I […]

Open Thread for Slash Discussion

I am opening this post for any and all who are interested in continuing the slash discussion from LotR Genfic. This discussion has been moved offlist since the list is a gen group and the discussion was starting to touch on issues that don’t necessarily belong on a family-friendly group. So that we could keep […]

The Appeal of The Silmarillion

Today is the 32nd anniversary of the publication of The Silmarillion. Each of us has her or his own story of coming to The Silmarillion, or to Tolkien in general. I’ve written my quite a few times by now and so won’t repeat it here. Suffice to say that I never thought I’d be the […]