“Thus Wrote Pengolodh”: Historical Bias, Its Evidence, and Its Implications in The Silmarillion (Video)

This past weekend, I presented a paper titled “‘Thus Wrote Pengolodh’: Historical Bias, Its Evidence, and Its Implications in The Silmarillion” at the Tolkien at UVM Conference. The paper considered two big questions: Who wrote The Silmarillion? Or–is there evidence for the Númenórean tradition (beyond Tolkien saying more or less, “Hey, I think Númenóreans are involved in some […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Good, Evil, and Arda

Before I begin, I really should explain what posts categorized in “The Crackpot” are, since they’re different than the posts that I usually write. As is, I hope, fairly evident, most of my posts here are researched somewhat (some are researched extensively, like the current in-progress series on the depiction of Maglor’s character by the […]

Take Pity upon Him: Did Maedhros Really Threaten to Kill Elrond and Elros at the Third Kinslaying?

The other day, I was reading a story about Maedhros and Maglor during the attack on the settlement at Sirion. Maedhros and Maglor search for the Silmaril. Together, they burst into a room and find not the jewel but the twin sons of Eärendil, Elrond and Elros. The twins try to defend themselves but they […]