The Silmarillion

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Name: The Silmarillion
Abbreviation(s): Sil, Silm)
Creator: J.R.R. Tolkien
Date(s): 1917-1977 (written), 1977 (published)
Medium: books
Country of Origin: England, UK
External Links: Tolkien Estate
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Contents

The term Silmarillion is used for JRR Tolkien's stories of the creation and early "history" of his invented universe, the myths that underlie the events of The Lord of the Rings.

Tolkien began creating this universe and writing these stories during World War I, and never really stopped until his death.[1] These tales are in more formal and mythical styles than the Lord of the Rings. The work was collated, edited and published as The Silmarillion by JRR's son, Christopher Tolkien, with help from Guy Gavriel Kay in 1977.[2]

Later collections and variants of the stories include Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales and HoME (History of Middle Earth) in multiple volumes. Many fans use The Silmarillion to encompass all the history of Arda before the Third Age, or even up to the The Hobbit; some restrict it to just the First and Second Ages.

Fandom

See also Timeline of Tolkien Fandom

Pre-internet Silmarillion discussion and art probably appeared in Mallorn, the journal of The Tolkien Society, but the society is not fanfiction friendly. Fanfiction zines started to appear from the 1960s, but early ones understandably largely focused on The Lord of the Rings. Nevertheless, the first known work of Tolkien fanfiction covers the First and Second Ages; 'Departure in Peace' by George Heap, published in I Palantir in August 1960, is a personal account of events by Sauron.[3]

[when did Silmarillion fic get going?; when did it pick up momentum? was it linked to the PJ films? what effect did LJ have?]

The main forum for Silmarillion fanfiction and related discussion from 2002 to mid-2005 was the Silmfics Yahoo list, founded by Joan Milligan. Fiction was predominantly archived at the Silmarillion section of fanfiction.net [when did it split from LotR?], and Finch indexed selected stories from fanfiction.net and elsewhere at Romancing the Jewels until December 2005. A fiction livejournal, SilmFics, was founded in February 2004, but never gained momentum.

There is an apparent shift in Silmarillion fandom activity after mid-2005, from Silmfics and Romancing the Jewels to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, which had been founded in March 2005 by Dawn Felagund. By 2005, the activity on the Silmfics list had declined,[4] and Romancing the Jewels also stopped updating that year. According to Dawn Felagund, the establishment of the SWG was unrelated to the diminished activity on the Silmfics list. The SWG was initially intended to serve primarily as a writers' workshop; however, it did not evolve into this purpose, as group members chose to focus their energy on building a Silmarillion-specific archive. The SWG automated archive was founded in April 2007.

Many of the authors who participated in the Silmarillion fanfiction community prior to 2005 on Silmfics ceased participating around this time. [who?] Few joined the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, which largely drew its members from among authors archiving Silmarillion-based fiction at general Tolkien archives. [need more on why--if there is a reason--so many Silmarillion fandom members stopped participating around 2005] [doesn't appear to reflect a move to livejournal -- could it be related to general Tolkien fandom fading away after the PJ LotR films?]

Fanfiction

Although The Silmarillion never had the popularity of The Lord of the Rings, even before the Peter Jackson films, fanfiction is fairly abundant, with several thousand Silmarillion stories on the web. In September 2012, The Silmarillion was ranked the 25th book fandom on fanfiction.net, ahead of popular lit fandoms such as Pride and Prejudice and Discworld.

The brothers Maedhros and Maglor vie for the title of most popular character. Maedhros is particularly popular amongst slash writers; his pairing with Fingon is probably the most common slash pairing in the fandom. Maglor's popularity might stem in part from the influential Maglor in History challenge; he sometimes gets paired with OFCs, often modern-day Mary-Sues. Other frequently written characters from the enormous cast include Fëanor, Finrod Felagund, Maeglin, and any character that appears in Lord of the Rings -- Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel, Sauron and others.

Example Fanfiction

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Archives

There are a couple of Silmarillion-specific archives:

Several general Tolkien and multifandom archives have substantial Silmarillion content, including:

Recs

Zines

Zines believed to include some Silmarillion-related content include:

Fan Art

The Silmarillion has some extremely talented fan artists, including Anke Eissmann, Hope Hoover, Jenny Dolfen, Kasiopea, and others.

Communities

YahooGroups

Livejournals

Resources

References

  1. Tolkien Online accessed 2010-7-3
  2. Tolkien Library review of the Silmarillion accessed 2010-7-3.
  3. Sumner Gary Hunnewell. Tolkien Fandom Review: From its Beginnings to 1964 (accessed 7 September 2012)
  4. Silmfics: Profile (accessed 2 September 2012)
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