The Very Secret Diaries

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Fanfiction
Title: The Very Secret Diary (VSD) series
Author(s): Cassandra Claire
Date(s): December 2001-February 2003
Length:
Genre: Crack!fic
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings movieverse
External Links: cassieclaire on LiveJournal, also authorized archive (updated February 2003); an older archived version (updated June 8, 2002)

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A set of funny first-person diary entries by characters in The Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers movies, as written by the fan Cassandra Claire. It contains jokes about both slash and het.

The story was mentioned in the Fanfiction Syllabus of the 2015 Vulture.com essay collection It’s a Fanmade World: From One Direction to Soderbergh as one of "Ten classics that cover the history, breadth, and depth of the form".

Other "Very Secret Diaries"

The style is very similar to Bridget Jones's Diary and The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. There also seems to have been a Saruman's Diary circulating in Tolkien fandom around 1995.[1] The Diaries received significant media coverage outside fandom, unusual at this date, and even had a Wikipedia article from 2005 to 2011.

Claire wrote:

I don't mind people writing their own VSDs in fandoms other than LOTR, I didn't invent the diary format, and I don't own it. Knock yourself out, and if you find VSDs being written in other fandoms, please don't accuse the author of plagiarizing: they aren't... If, however, you want to write VSDs in LOTR, I would prefer that you not call them the "official and approved continuation of Cassie Claire's VSDs" unless you've had a conversation with me about it. It doesn't seem fair to any other people writing LOTR VSDs, and also, it isn't truthful. Thanks. [2]

More than one fan took Claire up on her permission to emulate, though with a different end goals; see The Very Secret Diaries of Aja.

Introduction to the First Story

So, I have been trawling through the wilderness that is Lord of the Rings fanfiction. No, I don’t mean Hobbit smut, which is all much of a muchness; I was looking for Legolas/Aragorn slash because Rhysenn said she wanted to read some. Alas, there hardly is any, it’s all Legolas/Gimli (which admittedly makes far more sense if you’ve read the books) but it’s kinda yukky. I did find one Legolas/Aragorn story, which featured Legolas sneaking into Aragorn’s room after the Council of Elrond and....stealing his diary. Apparently, Aragorn has a diary and time to write in it, and all he writes about is how cute he thinks Elf boys are. Who knew? I told Emily about this, and we were boggled as to what else Aragorn might put in his diary, aside from the fact that it is already tragically out of character for Aragorn, who seems very busy fighting a war against evil and waiting to be King of Middle-Earth, to have a diary in the first place. One does wonder what he might write in it... [3]

Famous Catch Phrases from VSD

  • still the prettiest
  • Sam will kill him if he tries anything
  • Cannot cope. Off to Mordor
  • strawberry bath bubbles (or strawberry elf soap)
  • blow the horn of Gondor
  • go me!
  • still not king
  • pervy Hobbit-fanciers
  • Indistinguishable Backup Hobbit
  • Gandalf's pointy hat trick
  • Elf women just the right height to keep my ears warm

The Diaries

Fellowship of the Ring

The Two Towers

VSD Marketing

From Claire's LiveJournal:
[February 2002]: *Ahem* So lately I've been getting a lot of emails from people asking if they can send me articles and make Pervy Hobbit Fancier T Shirts and things. My general attitude is, sure, make a PHF t-shirt, but send me one. So to that end, this is my address:

Cassandra Claire: 61 East 8th Street, PMB #122: New York, NY, 10003

Now before Jeff gets too excited, this is a secured mailbox (everything gets gone through before I see it) which is registered not to me, but to my friend Ashley. So sending letter bombs or threatening the nice mail people will get you nowhere. Everyone else, feel free to bombard me with whatever weirdness you can cook up. [15]
From the original guestbook:
[September 2002]: I'm indulging in a bit of shameless self promo here. Cassie has given me permission to create art based on her VSDs and sell it on CafePress (don't worry, it's a 50/50 deal!). If you are interested, the link above will get you to the store. Thanks for your time. Long live Cassie :) http://www.sentex.net/~fresco/vsd.htm [16]

Linked at "TheOneRing.net"

On June 13, 2002, TheOneRing.net commented and linked to "The Very Secret Diaries":
So secret that TORN wouldn’t report on them….until now! If you’ve been wondering where the term ‘Pervy Elf Fancier’ came from originally, as well as a lot more current LOTR slandg, visit this alternative-lifestyle version of Middle-earth to find out. If the term ‘alternative lifestyle’ means nothing to you, don’t go there. Some language and situations may offend some of you, and kill the rest of you laughing. [17]
Two days later, Cassie Claire commented:

*snertle*

So TORN finally decided to link to me. Not that I minded. I just think it's funny... Alternative lifestyle? And here I thought pervy hobbit-fancing had become mainstream. "Frodo Has Two Godfathers" [18] and all that. :D [19]

Coverage Outside Fandom

The Wikipedia article on the Diaries was deleted in 2011.[20] It stated:

The Very Secret Diaries are a series of satirical slash fiction stories written by Cassandra Claire in the form of diary entries by various characters in New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy following the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Claire wrote a handful more stories with the release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, but then abandoned the series.

The Very Secret Diaries were widely read both within and outside of the fan fiction community. They were considered to be "phenomenally successful" and a "cult classic",[21] as well as something "which no Tolkien fan should miss".[22] Her portrayal of Aragorn was described as "half-Hamlet, half-Adrian Mole".[21] It was also noted that "Cassie now has groupies"[22] and that the stories had a fandom of their own.[21] A dramatization of the diaries was featured in the documentary Ringers: Lord of the Fans.[23]

Following Claire's lead, several other Secret Diaries websites sprung up, either re-posting Cassandra Claire's original diaries[24] or writing entirely new diaries for Tolkien's characters.

Previous to Claire's efforts, in 1995, a similarly themed humorous character insight called "Saruman's Diary" appeared in the Usenet news group rec.arts.books.tolkien.

Subject of a Cease and Desist Letter? Nope

In February 2003, Claire responded to fans' questions about the lack of new entries in the diary, and specifically if she'd stopped writing because of a cease and desist letter:

Man, 426 comments on my last entry and it was kind of a lame one. O_O

I am sorry I haven't written another very secret diary. There is no particular reason for this, I just got out of the swing of things while in England and have been on actual work deadline since I got back, so it has kind of slipped my mind. *cower* I haven't even looked at this LJ in ages.

I did write half of the Legolas diary on a bar napkin, which I will no go retrieve and try to do something with. Someone also asked me if I had gotten a Cease and Desist letter from the Tolkien people telling me to stop writing these. This posits an alternate universe in which they care about the Very Secret Diaries, but the answer to that would be, obviously, no I haven't. I don't know anything about how issues of fanfic stand in the LOTR fandom because I'm not in it, but there seem to be plenty of slash archives that exist with no issues so I can't imagine why TPTB would want this fairly mild stuff off the net. On top of which, obviously, if I had gotten a C and D I'd have had to take down what ALREADY exists, not just stop writing new material. That's how these things work, AFAIK. The only semi official missive I have ever recieved from anyone Tolkien related is a letter from the Tolkien Society saying they'd read the VDSs at a meeting and were amused.

I will continue posting the diaries here but eventually I'll probably take this LJ down and redirect everyone to the official archive site at http://home.nyu.edu/~amw243/diaries

*tools off to write Legolas diary, of which the first word is "Whee!"* [25]

Inspired Fanworks

Reactions and Reviews

Comments at Guestbook

2002

Check out Cassandra Claire's hilarious, slashy Very Secret Diaries of the Lord of the Rings characters, which she's been putting together in her LiveJournal. Hearing them discuss the true goings on from the movie Bridget Jones style is a lot of fun, like when you find out that Frodo left the Fellowship because he was tired of having everyone hit on him all the time. My favorite diaries are Frodo's, Saruman the White's, Merry's, and Ringwraith No 5's, but they're all highly entertaining as well as interconnected. For example, "Sam will kill him if he tries anything" shows up in every one. <g> Diaries are also available for Sam, Legolas, Aragorn, Boromir, Gimli, Pippin, and Gollum. Don't you want to be a "pervy hobbit-fancier" too? [26]

References

  1. 1995 Saruman's Diary mentioned on the Wikipedia VSD page
  2. The original pervy hobbit fancier's Journal, Archived version March 1, 2003
  3. cassieclaire: The Secret Diary of Aragorn, Archived version December 30, 2001
  4. The Very Secret Diary of Legolas, Son of Weenus
  5. She knew that Legolas's father was not Weenus, it was a joke: "I know I said it would be Merry's Diary, but it's Pippin's. Oh, and the next person who tells me Legolas' father's name is not Weenus gets an arrow in the eye. :D I know perfectly well it isn't. I just don't care. :D" -- The Very Secret Diary of Peregrin Took
  6. The Very Secret Diary of Samwise Gamgee
  7. The Very Secret Diary of Gandalf the Grey
  8. The Very Secret Diary of Saruman the White
  9. The Very Secret Diary of Meriadoc Brandybuck
  10. The Very Secret Diary of Ringwraith No. 5
  11. The Very Secret Diary of Gollum
  12. The Very Secret Diary of Sauron
  13. The Very Secret Diary of Theoden (December 25, 2002)
  14. The Very Secret Diary of Theoden
  15. cassieclaire (February 15, 2002)
  16. Lar deSouza at Guestbook (Tuesday, September 17th 2002 - 03:56:03 PM)
  17. JUNE 13, 2002 at 5:40 PM BY TEHANU
  18. "Frodo Has Two Godfathers" is a reference to the children's book "Heather Has Two Mommies."
  19. cassieclaire
  20. A list of the arguments for and against deletion are archived here. Among the arguments was that slashfic is inherently not notable or worth documenting, a too often fate of fanworks and fandom history on Wikipedia.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Into the lists". The Telegraph. 2006-04-02. Retrieved 2008-01-10.[dead link]
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Fallin' off a blog". The Age. 2002-06-06. Retrieved 2008-01-10.
  23. "A review of Ringers". TheOneRing.net. 2005-01-21. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  24. Bella Online: Lord of the Rings: Secret Diaries
  25. Subject: clearing things up, apology (February 11, 2003)
  26. Viridian5 Fiction: The Green Room version 3.0 Fanfic Recommendations 2002-2009, Archived version, February 2008