On Writing Aman, or the Balance between the Mythic and the Real

[What in the world is going on with this blog?? Well, my new life has hijacked my progress in my research somewhat. Okay, a lot. This year has essentially been my first year teaching all over again in terms of planning. And I’ve been making up for years of neglect on the SWG from while […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Move over Fëanor …

Since my last post was a little on the heavier (and more controversial) side, I thought I’d post something lighter for a change. After all, even heretics like to have fun. I encountered this article quite by accident today on The New York Times website while reading a much more serious article on food-labeling practices. […]