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3557January 2014 Newsletter Posted!

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  • Dawn Felagund
    Jan 3, 2014
      A very happy New Year, all, and a happy birthday as well to Tolkien! :)

      The January newsletter has been posted, a bit late due to the unholy union of transatlantic travel and winter weather that has been my life for the past two days. But at last it is here, and I do think it was worth the wait!

      Our features this month are a biography of Glaurung written by Oshun and a podfic of IgnobleBard's story "No Traveler Returns," read by Tanis. Of course, the broader Tolkien fandom has dragons on its mind this month after the release of the second Hobbit movie, but Smaug was hardly Tolkien's first dragon character. As Oshun's biography reveals, Glaurung--styled the father of dragons--was part of some of Tolkien's earliest legendarium. One of Tolkien's most fascinating and sinister villains, Glaurung uses psychological tactics and the power of words to torment his victims, and his horror touches the lives of both Elves and Men throughout the mid- to late First Age. I get the privilege of getting a first-read of Oshun's biography each month, and I think this is without a doubt one of her best, revealing not only a fascinating character but deftly connecting Glaurung's creation to Tolkien's scholarly expertise in northern myth and literature.

      IgnobleBard's "No Traveler Returns" involves a confrontation between Namo Mandos and an Elf recently arrived from Middle-earth. Although a very short piece, the story is insightful and emotionally intense as to the significance of the afterlife Tolkien envisioned for his Elves. The story is given a lovely reading by Tanis.

      We have a couple of important bits of news from within the group. As many of you know, Lyra and Indy will be leading a (re)reading of The Silmarillion during 2014, covering approximately one chapter every two weeks. The reading will commence on 12 January with the Ainulindale and Valaquenta. The full guidelines and schedule have been posted here: http://silwritersguild.livejournal.com/229878.html. We also have a new challenge this month: Beyond the Circles of Middle-earth. A favorite thought-experiment or writing prompt is to imagine a Silmarillion character surviving or reembodied in an historical era. This challenge asks you to do something similar by imagining a character in the setting of a favorite work of literature. And if you're looking for something to read, check out the complete listing of works added or updated on the archive during December.

      Finally, there is quite a bit going on outside of the SWG, and whether you want a writing challenge, free Tolkien-related lectures, or interesting articles related to fandom and Tolkien, we have a lot to offer in our Around the World and Web section this month. In addition, we've collected links to reviews written by our members of the new Hobbit movie, so if you're looking to discuss the new movie, be sure to check these out.

      Many, many thanks always go to the volunteers who find, write, and put together the content for our newsletter. Thanks this month go to Oshun, Tanis, IgnobleBard, Rhapsody, Russandol, and Angelica for their work on this month's edition.

      Believe it or not, the SWG is coming up on its ninth birthday this year, and I look forward to another year of finding new inspiration, discovering new knowledge, and meeting new friends. Thank you all for a great 2013 and best wishes to all for a wonderful 2014!