The Mellon Chronicles

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Fanfiction
Title: The Mellon Chronicles
Author(s): Cassia & Siobhan
Date(s): 2002-2005
Length: 1,364,199 in its entirety
Genre: hurt/comfort, friendship
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings
External Links: Aragorn & Legolas: The Mellon Chronicles (defunct) The Mellon Chronicles on AO3

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Introduction

The Mellon Chronicles is a fanfiction series set in The Lord of the Rings fandom. All stories are co-authored by Cassia and Siobhan and originate from the idea that Aragorn and Legolas have known each other pre-quest. In the series, which spans most of Aragorn's life, they both have to live through various adventures. Most of the stories are Hurt/Comfort, though some also have fluff elements. While the series roughly follows canon events, the authors generally make up their own backstory for both characters.

The Mellon Chronicles are widely known throughout Lord of the Rings fandom and are a cornerstone of Aragorn & Legolas Friendship.

The original site went offline sometime in 2014, but all stories can be found on AO3.

"Taking its name from the Elvish word for "friend," the Mellon Chronicles follows the misadventures of a young Aragorn and Legolas. Like romance novels, Westerns, and Sherlock Holmes, the Mellon Chronicles follow a formula: most of the 36 stories begin with Aragorn and/or Legolas traveling somewhere; then one of them gets captured and usually tortured; and then the other one rescues him. While this description might not sound like it, the Mellon Chronicles were entirely nonsexual—"no slash, no smut," as the saying went." [1]

Story Summaries and Introductions

Cassia and Siobhan's Stories with Summaries, Archived version

How Did It Begin?

The story of the Mellon Chronicles begins in another fandom. Cassia and Sio—both pen names—connected while writing Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice fanfiction around 1999. This was Cassia's first online fandom, which she joined at around 18, and Sio's second, after the TV show The Sentinel.

"She had written this super cool Star Wars story and I contacted her about it," Sio said. "I was totally in awe of her, which we still laugh about now. But that led to us co-writing our first story, which was actually a Star Wars fic called 'The Hunted.'"

When the first Lord of the Rings movie came out in late 2001, both Cassia and Sio wrote their own fanfiction—separately. First, in 2002, Cassia wrote a dark short story called "Captive of Darkness," about a very young Legolas getting captured and tortured (including an implied rape) by evil humans before being rescued by Elrond. Then, Sio wrote a short story about Aragorn and Legolas' first encounter called "First Meetings," giving Legolas the history that Cassia wrote for him. After that, Cassia and Sio began collaborating on a story taking place immediately after "First Meetings."

"I don't think it was until we were halfway through writing the story that came after that, 'Exile,' that we realized this was going to be a series, since by then we realized that 'Exile' was going to have to end with something pretty drastic happening, that would then need to be fixed in the following story, 'Return.' Even then, we had no idea how long the series would become. Basically, we just kept going as long as the inspiration held," Cassia said.

Inspiration held for three years, from 2002 until 2005. Cassia and Sio wrote collaboratively, coming up with ideas and outlines in "a flurry of emails back and forth," and then each writer would choose sections to work on. Stories took from a few months to over a year to complete—and were a considerable amount of work. "I could easily spend between four to eight hours a day writing," Cassia said. Sio added, "I was actually a horrible employee while we had the MC. I spent half the day writing in between work duties and keeping up with the [Yahoo Groups] List." [2]

Distribution

Stories were posted to Cassia's ff.net account and to the MC Mailing List. Once the story was complete, it would be added as a whole to the MC Website. Cassia's ff.net account has been emptied of all stories, but since both the website and the mailing list were founded in 2002[3], it can be assumed that Cassia and Siobhan wrote the bulk of the MC stories between 2002 and 2005. In late 2005 they stepped down as moderators of the list and effectively left fandom,[4] Remember How to Smile being the last story they wrote for the Mellon Chronicles. Around the same time they offered to send a cd containing all stories of the series in .doc format as a goodbye gift to every interested list member.

The series was unofficially (but with permission) posted on AO3 in November 2013-January 2015, as they were no longer available due to the MC website's closure. [5]

Fan Reaction

The Mellon Chronicles are widely known throughout LOTR fandom and for fans of Aragorn/Legolas Friendship stories they are basically considered classics. MC's impact on LOTR authors can be measured by the fact that many ideas Cassia and Siobhan proposed in their stories have become story tropes and were later repeated over in over in fanfiction. The child abuse portrayed in Tears Like Rain is one of those tropes, another is that the authors decided to kill off Gilraen (Aragorn's mother), a fact that actively contradicts canon. Some authors also borrowed original characters from the series (most notably, Trelan and Raniean) to include in their own stories - with permission from both Cassia and Siobhan, of course.

A couple of people [reading] soon turned into a couple hundred, then a couple thousand—and many loved the Mellon Chronicles so much that they wanted to write stories for it as well.

"I think the first time I realized how much others were enjoying the world we'd created was when people started requesting to use our original characters and sometimes the backdrop of the MC world as a whole in their own stories," Cassia says. "It was a wonderful and humbling feeling to see it take on a life of its own like that."

The group members were so close that Cassia and Sio sent them Christmas presents each year—once, it was homemade bookmarks; another time, it was keychains. "One Christmas there was something like 13 different countries we sent Christmas gifts to," Sio says. When the Mellon Chronicles ended in 2005, Cassia and Sio mailed a CD with the text of the entire series on it to every reader who wanted one. [6]
[Estel Kenobi]: Cassia, Sio... hopefully the fact that I made this fanlisting tells you just how much I love your stories, but - if it doesn't - I'll just come out and say it. Your series is what convinced me to start reading LotR fanfiction, rather than simply clinging to the books. If I had never gotten involved in the fandom, then I would have missed out on meeting some really terrific people. Thank you for everything. ~ Lynn

There are just no words to describe the astounding skill and passion Cassia and Sio pour into the stories that brighten our days, bring us closer to heart failure than anything else, and stand as a lasting monument to what LOTR fanfiction should be. ~ Saber

A million thank yous to C and S...you guys got me hooked on fanfiction and for that I'm forever grateful.[7]
[Marie Kenobi]: Cassia and Sio--you gals are truly amazing. You have painted a world and friendship for the hungry fans that we are that Tolkien and Jackson only began to tap into. I enjoy your stories immensely and hope you have many more planned for us, even after RotK has disapeared from theaters. Thank you a million times over! ^o^[8]
[Tiffany]: You two are truly amzing authors. Your stories extensively explore relationships in LOTR in such a way that I'm sure Tolkien would be impressed with. I truly hope the MC never end.[9]
[Bec]: These stories are so great! It's so nice to have a series that I can read that I know will have no slash or other "disgustingness" Please keep writing!! [10]
[Vinayual]: I began reading the Mellon Chronicles after one of my internet buddies convinced me to. I have always had a dislike for fan fiction, often because the authors cannot write, have no sense of moral, character or structure (to "borrow a line from Addams Family Values") Thank you for showing me a world inside a world. I had always loved the lord of therings, and finding your site was a godsend! Keep up the good work, and I await all upcoming stories![11]
[Emily Brown]: Cassia and Sio are marvels. As a writer myself I can fully appreciate the work they've put into this series. (Talk about a mammoth effort!) And I am so glad that they have made a big thing out of overlooked friendship.[12]
[Amanalda]: When I first stumbled upon your site, it was like all my dreams had come true. The stories keep you captivated until the very last word, and everyone's personalities are just perfect; if I could have described the way I saw the characters they would be just how you have them now. I haven't found one yet that I didn't think was done amazingly well. You guys are truly a blessing to me and my sister and brother. Thanks! [13]
[Eryn]: Cassia and Sio, I cannot begin to tell you how very much I owe to you. Your stories are amazing, you have inspired my own writing. That is probably the greatest gift I have ever been given. Thank you sooooo much. And don't you dare ever stop writing or *gasp* end the Chronicles!!!!! *wink* ~ [14]
[Amy Green]: I love your stories, your writing techniques are superb and the stories are gripping. They can make you cry, laugh or just plain sit there by the computer shocked as can be. All in all I get so excited each time I know about a new story by the two of you. [15]
[Aearwen]: Cassia and Siobhan have written the only fanfictions that aren't slashy and are worth reading - for that I cannot thank them enough. My friend and I often read them and have conversations solely based around the fics. The characters seem so real that I often have trouble remembering that the stories aren't Tolkien-canon. Once again, Cassia and Siobhan, hannon lle for your amazing stories. Namarie! [16]
[Lunasairel]: I was pretty much just coasting along, LOTR fanfic-wise, until I found the MC. Somewhere in Captive of Darkness, I fell in love. What I really love most is that the world seems so... alive, really. Vibrant. You can tell that the authors have this incredible passion for their world and their characters. Also, there is no shame in their torture and angst. Some people just beat the shit out of their characters for no apperant reason, and you end up leaving a review that uses the word "psycopathic" at least once. But here, there is a point, and a good one it is. Stay sweet. [17]
[Amanda]: possibly the next best thing to Tolkien himself :) [18]

The End of the Series

The ending of the Mellon Chronicles coincided with the beginning of the stories' disappearance. In early 2005, fanfiction.net removed the series completely due to new rules about using song lyrics—the Mellon Chronicles often used a song lyrics as an epigraph before a chapter or as a pagebreak between sections. After the fanfiction.net takedown, Cassia and Sio continued posting the Mellon Chronicles on their own website, aragorn-legolas.5u.com, and in the Yahoo Group, but in summer 2005, they posted their final story—and with it, an announcement that, "To paraphrase Bilbo slightly, we need a holiday. A very long holiday. And we don't expect we shall return. In fact, we mean not to."

Sio says that it was simply time for the series to end. "We actually both 'knew' that our time with the MC had come to an end and would end in July 2005. It was a mutual thing and it was the right time," she says. Aragorn-legolas.5u.com stayed up for years, becoming a sort of digital ghost town, the Photoshopped story banners getting more and more dated—until the website abruptly vanished when the credit card that Sio had set up with auto-pay was stolen. "We decided to let it go because it had been so long since we'd done anything to it we really didn't think people were reading the stories anymore," Sio said.

They were wrong—shortly after aragorn-legolas.5u.com's disappearance, the Mellon Chronicles started appearing on the popular fanfiction website Archive Of Our Own, moved by an English fan, Eleanore, 26. Eleanore was 12 when she started reading the Mellon Chronicles in 2002, and when the Hobbit movies came out a few years ago, she wanted to reread them, but found the original site gone. Eleanore began posting the stories to AO3 [with permission [5]], mostly for herself, and was surprised to find there was an audience—"I started getting messages asking when I was going to post the rest, which made me realise that other people were re-reading them too," she said. Now, she gets comments from readers both old and new. [19]

Mailing List

mailing list message history

The mailing list was founded May 22, 2002. With over 2000 members, it's the largest Tolkien fanfiction group listed on Yahoo Groups, see Aragorn & Legolas: The Mellon Chronicles, a fact that is also mirrored in its traffic at the height of its popularity.[20]

The list's description: "This List is devoted to fan fiction and discussions concerning the friendship and adventures of Legolas and Aragorn from JRR Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". This is a Slash and Smut FREE list. When I say friendship, that is ALL I mean. :o) Up to an R rating is all right, but no NC-17 please. Also no Mary-Sues or Real-Person fics please." [21]

"Cassia and Sio started the Yahoo Groups list completely by accident. Cassia set up the website to host the stories so they had an archive. They didn't realize that Yahoo had an automatic Group Mailing List set up with the website, so when they started getting emails about stories they were totally surprised." [22]

Fansites

The Mellon Chronicles have such a devoted fan following that they can even sport their very own fansite, Were You No One, maintained by The Write Sisters, Sarah, Hannah and Chloe. The site does not only provide information on Aragorn and Legolas (both in accordance with events in The Mellon Chronicles), it also gives biographical info on the authors. Additionally, there is an encyclopedia, a gallery and a download section.

There were several fanlistings for The Mellon Chronicles, but currently only Untold Adventures is open for business. Several original characters had their own fanlistings, but these were closed down. The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting Database has an extensive list of all fanlistings that existed at one point or other.

Audiofic

Podfic is not very common amongst LOTR fans. There is Tolkien Podfic, but the community is sparsely populated. Still, there is MC Podfic, recorded by the aforementioned Write Sister, Hannah. Her recordings of MC Stories are available for download on her website MC Audio. She did not manage to cover all stories of the series (and the project seems to be abandoned since the last update was in 2007), but what's online still makes for more than 30 hours of MC Audio.

Photomanips by Cassia

See Cassia's Cave, Archived version

Fanart by Others

There is not much fanart made by or for fans of The Mellon Chronicles, except for the very prolific Cactuskim who has her own fanart gallery within the MC website called Cactuskim's Manipulations. Cactuskim, much like Cassia and Siobhan concentrates on Aragorn, Legolas or both.

Fanvids

While there is not much fanart around, there certainly are quite some fanvids to enjoy. The MC website hosts trailers for quite a few of Cassia's and Siobhan's stories. Additionally, general Aragorn/Legolas Friendship vids can be found there.

The Mellon Chronicles also have their own Youtube Channel. Apart from that, other Youtube users also post MC-inspired vids, among them Nosterineth[23], Emruthpotter[24] and music7060[25].

Stories in Reading Order

References

  1. The Most Popular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fanfiction You’ve Never Heard of, Erika W. Smith (August 1, 2016)
  2. The Most Popular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fanfiction You’ve Never Heard of, Erika W. Smith (August 1, 2016)
  3. Yahoo Groups names the founding date of the mailing list as May 22nd, 2002. The first entry for the MC Website on the Waybackmachine is from June 28thm 2002. Both websites accessed January 9th, 2009.
  4. List message, only available to members. Accessed January 9th, 2009.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Permission from Sio granted to repost. Accessed April 17, 2015.
  6. The Most Popular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fanfiction You’ve Never Heard of, Erika W. Smith (August 1, 2016)
  7. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  8. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  9. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  10. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  11. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  12. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  13. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  14. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  15. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  16. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  17. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  18. a comment at Untold Adventures :: The Mellon Chronicles Fanlisting, Archived version
  19. The Most Popular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fanfiction You’ve Never Heard of, Erika W. Smith (August 1, 2016)
  20. The Group Homepage lists 4840 messages being exchanged in January 2004, that's an average of 156 messages per day! Nowadays, the group is down to manageable 100-300 messages per month. Website accessed January 12th, 2009.
  21. Aragorn & Legolas: The Mellon Chronicles, accessed July 10, 2017
  22. The Most Popular ‘Lord of the Rings’ Fanfiction You’ve Never Heard of, Erika W. Smith (August 1, 2016)
  23. Nosterineth on Youtube, accessed April 19th, 2009.
  24. Emruthpotter on Youtube, accessed April 19th, 2009.
  25. music7060 on Youtube, accessed May 3rd, 2009.


Related Links
People Cassia, Siobhan
Places MC Yahoogroup, MC Website
Things Fanfiction, Aragorn & Legolas Friendship