Silmaril Award Ceremony Presentation: Most Silver Tongue! (2019)

There was quite a stir in the Shire when just three days before the long-expected Most Silver Tongue Silmaril Award presentation was to be held, its presenter, Bilbo Baggins of the Bagginses of Bag End, disappeared at his birthday party of the 22nd of September.

Fortunately, it was not for long. A notice was found tacked to the gate at Bag End:

Interested parties (unexpected or otherwise) please find Silmaril Awards ceremony presentation now held at Rivendell!

(By all accounts—mostly through Frodo and Merry—Bilbo was rather proud of his joke.)

It was quite an inconvenience for the proceedings to move all the way from the cozy Shire setting to some far-away Last Homely House, inhabited by Elves of all people—and with only three days’ notice. It was just the sort of adventure that rarely happened in the Shire. Perhaps Bilbo had been taking lessons from a certain grey-bearded wizard.

What was to be done about it? people and Hobbits alike wondered.

But, again fortunately, there appeared around that time a tall, ominous-looking black castle with four tall, thin turrets, and it seemed to be moving gently across the fields around Hobbiton. A certain other wizard (not grey-bearded at all) had appeared in those parts since he was a previous winner of the award and had come to attend this year’s ceremony. This castle of his formed the perfect way for those who had already gathered in the Shire to make it to Rivendell on time, since the door opened on more than one place—and one of those places, for the moment, was Rivendell.

“This way, please. Thank you,” Frodo said.

“Don’t mind the fire giving you looks on your way—he’s quite harmless,” added Merry.

“I am not,” said the fireplace grumpily. “I’m quite a menace.”

Frodo and Merry (since Pippin and Sam were busy off presenting awards of their own) organized the flow of people making their way into the moving castle. A polite brown-haired apprentice boy and rather flustered-looking young woman with red-gold hair shooed the people back out through the door after twisting the knob over it—and the door opened onto the stunning valley of Rivendell.

“Only if you’re burning the bacon,” the young woman panted in reply. “There are rather a lot of people, aren’t there? There has got to be a spell to make this faster.”

“Howl could do it,” the apprentice said.

She snorted. “Of course he could—if he wasn’t off leaving us to do all the work, as usual. I’ve half a mind to stick a hat-pin in him. Silver Tongue, indeed! I don’t know what they were thinking giving him that title last year. Where is he, Calcifer?”

“How should I know?” the fire grumbled. “There’d probably be green slime if we tried to make him help, and then we’d never get everyone through here.”

“Oh, just let him try the green slime!” she said with a gleam in her eye.

The various Hobbits and visitors from other lands (since their portals had opened to near the Party Tree and they now had to transfer to Rivendell) tried not to listen to this slightly ominous conversation. Though some of the Hobbits couldn’t help thinking of second breakfast, what with the bacon and everything.

In this way, all the guests made it from the Shire to the new place of the ceremony, just in time.

Meanwhile, nobody had seen Bilbo for days. A sign was posted on the door of his room in Rivendell which read “No admittance except on Silmaril business.” Mutterings and scribblings and humming were to be heard from within.

And so at last, the day arrived.


Elegant streamers, tapestries, pillars, and strings of lights surrounded the place of the ceremony, which the Elves had merrily set up, with quite a lot of patience and efficiency, considering their short notice.

The crowd gathered with excited murmurs into the seats facing a stage and the pedestal at its center.

A hush fell as a small Hobbit in a fabulous red waistcoat pattered barefoot across the stage. Bilbo stepped up onto the pedestal and bowed as the audience applauded. Then he spoke.

“My dear Narnians and Earthans (Middle or otherwise), Prydain folks and people of Aerwiar, Goldstone Wood dwellers, and all the rest from lands near and far.”

“And the Wood Between!” shouted somebody in the front row.

Bilbo waved him off and continued. “Today is the presentation of the Most Silver Tongue Silmaril Award!”

Cheers erupted from the crowd.

“I don’t know half of you half as well as—well, I don’t know half of you!”

The crowd laughed.

“But thank you all for coming,” Bilbo went on. “I know it was a little unexpected to move the ceremony’s location. But what’s life without a little adventure, eh? So here we are. I thought it was fitting to hold this award here in Imladris, haven of song and lore and Elves, a place where beauty and tales and silver-tongued speech in which to tell them is much valued.

“And now, to start things off, here’s a little something I wrote for the occasion:

“The Silmaril Awards go on
The fourth year since they did begin.
The gem I bring with gold light shone
And who can say who it shall win?

“Presenting it with eager hands,
Award for tongue of silver wrought,
I welcome those of foreign lands,
Whose songs and words have wisdom brought.

“Tongues that ballads fair have sung,
And melodies like gold did trill,
Now gather here: a silver tongue
Shall bring home this year’s Silmaril . . .”

A hush fell briefly, before applause filled the air.

“And now!” Bilbo clapped his hands. “I’d like to invite the previous winners of the Silver Tongue Silmaril, as well as this year’s five nominees from whom will be selected the new winner, up on the stage! Come along, then.”

Two of the three winners stepped up first—a dark-haired man who was rather absorbed reading a large book (he promptly sat down on a ledge behind Bilbo and kept reading), and a rather battered, pointed hat with a rip near its top. An Elf helpfully set the hat on a small round stool near Bilbo before gliding back into the crowd.

Bilbo looked around for the third previous winner but no one appeared, so he cleared his throat. “Yes. Well. Thank you for coming, Mo—er, Silvertongue—and Sorting Hat. And now . . . the nominees!”

Five figures made their way onto the stage. There were three men—one barefoot and carrying a whistleharp; one with a harp over his shoulder, riding an enormous cat; and one dressed in flamboyant red, with a red blindfold over his eyes. Joining them was a beautiful lady with golden hair and a green dress, and a boy swinging a miner’s mattock over one shoulder and whistling cheerfully.

“Ladies, gentlemen, Hobbits, Elves, and sundry magical creatures,” Bilbo continued, “I give you this year’s nominees for the illustrious title of Most Silver Tongue!”

The crowd applauded, each one cheering for their favorites.

“Only one can win the Silmaril this year, but I hope we can appreciate their way with words which has brought them all here today. And now—”

At this point another figure stepped on stage briefly—a tall young man with elaborate blond hair—but he was quickly yanked out of sight by one trailing blue and silver sleeve. A muffled argument followed from behind a nearby pillar.

There you are. What were you up to, Howl?”

There was a sort of half-pleading laugh. “Sophie! I think that look turned me to stone. Why all the suspicion? I was only running an errand—”

“D’oh! Don’t give me that smile. Go. You’re late. Go on!”

Howl was promptly shooed out onto the stage where he adjusted his beautiful blue and silver suit and smiled benignly at the crowd.

“Ah, yes, Wizard Howl—the winner of last year’s Silver Tongue award,” Bilbo said. “Thank you for coming—though you are a bit late.”

Howl shot him a dazzling smile. “My mistake. Though I’ve heard”—he looked off past the crowd with a charming, noble look—“that a wizard is never late.”

Laughter rocked through the audience. Bilbo chuckled. A certain other wizard in the crowd, leaning on a gnarled staff, muttered something about everyone taking that out of context. But he was smiling beneath his bushy eyebrows anyway.

“And now—for the votes.” Bilbo cleared his throat and pulled a parchment from an inside coat-pocket. He made a great show of unrolling it slowly and then peering at the words inside.

In the background, the hat on the stool seemed to be muttering in rhyme and sorting the various contestants and previous winners on the stage into Hogwarts Houses, apparently having a hard time with at least one or two of them.

“Aha!” said Bilbo, and the crowd jumped. “In fourth place, with eighteen votes (ten percent), we have . . . Curdie!”

Applause and scattered cheers rang out across the crowd.

“I hear you used poetry to fight off goblins in a mountain—things I know rather a bit about myself,” Bilbo said. “Even if the goblins I knew didn’t fear rhyming, unfortunately, and made quite a bit of awful poetry themselves. Well done, my boy!”

The boy named Curdie, still a bit taller than Bilbo, came over and shook Bilbo’s hand, grinning a little, then moved to stand on the other side of the stage.

Tying for third place—well, well, you two were quite neck and neck, weren’t you?—with twenty-three votes (thirteen-ish percent) each, are two much-beloved bards known for their songs and tales . . . Fflewddur Fflam of Prydain and Armulyn the Bard from Aerwiar!”

A double set of applause and cheering and a few whoops greeted these two minstrels.

Armulyn stepped forward, whistleharp under one arm, and gave a polite bow. “My thanks.”

Bilbo bowed back and nodded rather approvingly at the man’s bare feet.

Fflewdur slid off his enormous cat, who hissed slightly at all the noise. “Easy there, Llyan, girl,” Fflewdur murmured, patting her, before striding across the stage on his long shanks, his head of shaggy, spiky blond hair in disarray. He shook Bilbo’s hand. “Of course, I knew all along I wouldn’t win this Silmaril. I’m not disappointed in the least—” Twang! A harp string snapped and two others tightened threateningly. Fflewddur cast a hasty look at the instrument over his shoulder and was quick to add, “Er . . . that is . . . I confess to being a bit crestfallen. But a Fflam is understanding! Being in the top five is rather a feat which I didn’t expect in the first place—er—third place, that is to say.”

A smile crossed Armulyn’s weathered face and he murmured something into the other bard’s ear. Fflewdur’s expression lit up and the two moved off, deep in conversation, to stand with Curdie farther down the stage. The huge cat padded behind and tilted her head slightly with a puzzled look as she passed the flamboyant man in red.

“Next,” Bilbo proclaimed, “in second place, with forty-one votes (twenty-four percent) we have . . .”

The crowd held its breath.

“Sir Eanrin, Bard of Rudiobus!”

The audience nearly exploded and positively roared with applause, screaming, cheers, and whistles, hoots, and hollers.

The scarlet-clothed young man stepped forward and swept his elaborate red hat with the plumy feather off his head in a dashing bow to the audience, his blond hair as dazzling above his scarlet blindfold as his gleaming, almost-feline smile was below it.

“Congratulations for making second place this year, Sir Eanrin,” Bilbo said, shaking his hand as the fae man turned toward him. “I’m sure we all find your ballads to be the beautiful work of a silver tongue.”

“Not all of us!” shouted somebody in the front row in jester’s garb.

Eanrin pointedly ignored him, and merely said charmingly, “Not as beautiful as Lady Gleamdren.”

Sitting beside the jester, a black-haired young woman, with a white flower tucked behind one ear, face-palmed.

The crowd laughed as Eanrin swept his hat back onto his head and moved toward the other end of the stage. If anyone had a moment to spare from looking breathlessly at Bilbo, awaiting the winner, they might have noticed that the scarlet figure was no longer there. Instead, a large ginger cat perched on the ledge near Mo (who was still reading), studiously cleaning one paw while Llyan looked on suspiciously.

“And last, but of course first—as ladies should be,” Bilbo went on, “with sixty-six votes (thirty-eight percent), in first place, we have

THE WINNER of the 2019 Most Silver Tongue Silmaril!

I present to you all . . . the Lady of the Green Kirtle!”

The applause was deafening as the audience surged to their feet with cheers and shouts and hurrahs.

The beautiful woman in the fluttering dress of a dazzling emerald-green color swept forward with a smile.

“SLYTHERIN!” the Sorting Hat announced in the background.

Bilbo held up a glimmering gem whose golden light spilled across the stage, an echo of the splendour of Valinor.

Bilbo bowed and held the Silmaril out on its golden ribbon toward the Lady of the Green Kirtle.

She laughed a silvery laugh and trilled her R’s as she replied. “What a pretty t-r-r-inket! I thank you, my good little Hobbit. Of course it should be mine.”

The Lady seized the gem, but recoiled slightly and hissed as if it burned her hand. (For of course, nothing of evil will, no matter the seeming fairness it is cloaked in, could touch a Silmaril without being scorched by its pure light.) She quickly shifted it to grasp it by the ribbon in her other hand, and put on a victorious smile.

Bilbo gave an awkward cough. “Sorry about that—I think that little problem was overlooked when we arranged this whole thing . . . But you know, I hear that for those like, er, you, who don’t like to hold a Silmaril, that iron crowns make a good place to keep one—if you don’t have any enemies named Beren or Luthien.” He chuckled.

A certain ranger in the back row murmured, “If he has the cheek to make jokes about that in the house of Elrond, that’s his affair.”

“Congratulations, my lady,” Bilbo went on. “Do you have any words, silver or otherwise, to share with us tonight?”

“But of course!” the fair Emerald Witch said. “I should like you all to know that you are invited to visit my lovely r-r-realm which I’ll be off to now.”

Bilbo blinked. “You’re not staying for cake?”

“There isn’t any cake,” said her honey-sweet voice.

Bilbo coughed and tugged at his collar uncomfortably, glancing around. “How did you know—? That is— Don’t worry, friends!” he added to the crowd. “There was a bit of a mishap with the deserts for the feast—I think someone let the Mischievous Imps in from a different ceremony, and we all know what happened after that—but I’m assured that the Elves of Rivendell are seeing to it and that this alarming lack of cake will be remedied by the time everyone has eaten!”

The Queen trilled a laugh. “There never was a cake. Or a place called—what was it?—Rivendell. Which is why you should all come with me to live in my land under the ground—the only real place.” She tossed up a handful of green powder and a sweet, drowsy scent filled the air.

Nobody was quite sure why, but she suddenly seemed to have quite good sense in what she said. Some of the audience even began standing up, ready to follow her.

But one member of the crowd—a tall, reedy Marsh-wiggle—stood up in a middle row, for quite a different reason. “One word, Ma’am. Suppose things like Rivendell and cake don’t exist and your underground kingdom is all that’s real. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than your real ones. I’m going to believe in Rivendell and cake, even if there isn’t any Rivendell. Or cake. (I shouldn’t wonder if it is gone, and even if it isn’t we’ll all have collywobbles in our tummies if we eat it, I shouldn’t wonder . . . Do you think it might rain a little later?)”

The down-to-earth sense of this brave Marsh-wiggle, mixed with the Elven properties of the air in Imladris, cleared away the hypnotizing enchantment so that everyone suddenly remembered themselves and wondered why they had been entertaining notions of running off to some underground kingdom with this silver-tongued lady. The audience hastily sat down again.

“Good old Puddleglum!” a boy and girl nearby shouted.

Bilbo sensed all of this was getting a little off track, so he quickly said, “Well, congratulations again! Let’s hear it for the Lady of the Green Kirtle!”

The audience joined in with another round of applause and a little nervous laughter—especially from those whose nerves hadn’t quite recovered from the last two, more villainous, award presentation ceremonies.

The Emerald Witch merely laughed and moved off the stage toward the exit, Silmaril dangling from its ribbon, and calling back in a sweet, silver voice, “And r-r-remember, there’s no such thing as lions, either!”

But with two creatures who at least looked partly-related to lions currently occupying the stage, and the green dust mostly dispersed, there was no danger of anyone taking any heed of her puzzling parting shot.

At least three Elves—in fact, it looked like Glorfindel and the sons of Elrond—made sure to escort the Emerald Lady, to be sure that she was safely off the premises without anything more untoward happening.

Bilbo sneezed as the last of the green dust tickled his nose. “Thag you very buch for coming—” He blew his nose with his pocket handkerchief. “Ah. That’s better. You know, I always make sure to bring my handkerchief along after that one time in my adventures when I forgot to—well, you don’t want to hear about that right now. As I was saying, thank you all for coming, and you’re welcome to head that direction for the feast! And as I said, the cake situation—”

“Oh, that,” Howl put in. “No need to worry. I stopped in at Cesari’s and had them make the grandest cream cake that’s been seen in all of Ingary, Middle-earth, or Wales. It’s waiting in the hall now if you’d care to check.”

This news left Bilbo speechless for the first time.

The crowd wasn’t. They cheered loudly, more than ready to celebrate.

“So that’s what you were doing,” Sophie said, coming up on stage. “And of course Twinkle had nothing to do with the other cakes disappearing.”

Howl placed one dramatic hand on his chest. “You wound me.”

“Well at least you fixed it.”

“I only did it out of the blackness of my heart.”

“Liar,” Sophie said, linking arms with him, and they followed the rest of the crowd which had surged to their feet to taste the Elven cooking and the famed cream cake from Cesari’s.

“Even if there aren’t eleventy-one candles on it,” Bilbo muttered. “Ah. Yes. Talking of which, I have things to do . . .” He reached one hand into his pocket . . .

But nobody noticed him disappear. An explosion of gorgeous fireworks went off overhead at that exact moment.

Because, of course, a wizard is never late.

Everyone laughed and applauded the firework display. Then, in a hum of contented chattering, they went on to the feast—while somewhere quiet by a fireplace, Bilbo settled down to finish his book, and outside, Gandalf’s fireworks hung in the twilight all evening, silver like the stars.

Silver for a silver tongue.


Results

38.6% (66 votes) — The Lady of the Green Kirtle (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)
24% (41 votes) — Sir Eanrin (The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)
13.5% (23 votes) — Armulyn the Bard (The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson)
13.5% (23 votes) — Fflewddur Fflam (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
10.5% (18 votes) — Curdie (The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald)


I hope you enjoyed this presentation of the Silmaril for Most Silver Tongue!

Thank you so much for visiting!

Make sure to drop by the other Silmaril Award Ceremonies!

Yesterday the Most Nefarious Villain award was presented, and tomorrow will be the Most Faithful Friend, with Most Epic Hero coming the next day, last of all, to wrap up these delightful awards for another year.

The other ceremonies can be found here:

Thanks for reading!

Most Epic Heroine Silmaril Award Presentation #SilmAwards2017

The time has come at last, and you’re so excited to be attending the Most Epic Heroine Award Ceremony. You hurry to a door and knock quickly, hoping you’re not too late; the woods of Ithilien left you a little lost and you had to ask the way from a Gondorian guard.

The sun has just set, leaving the world in a twilight of stars, which is when the award presentation was supposed to take place. Hopefully you’re not going to miss it!

Light floods outside across you as the door is pulled open by a tall man with raven hair and keen grey eyes in a kind face.

“Am I on time?” you ask anxiously.

The man smiles. “We were only now about to begin. Enter, friend, and be welcome.”

He guides you into a courtyard edged with pillars of white stone, full of flowering trees and shrubs and many herbs, a breathtaking haven of a garden, lit with many bright lanterns as though the stars themselves were hung in the trees.

The courtyard is currently filled with a crowd of eager people staring at a dais at one end of the open, tree-filled place. You sigh in relief that you’re not late, and join the crowd, waiting expectantly.

The man who let you in mounts the steps to the well-lit dais and stands by a pedestal hung with a black cloth with a silver tree on it, which has an object sitting atop, covered by a gold-embroidered green cloth. A small mound of flowers lies over all.

“Welcome to our home in Ithilien,” the dark-haired man says, smiling. (You suddenly realize that it’s Faramir—the Steward of Gondor himself let you into his house!) “I will be brief, as this is not my day, but another’s. May I present the White Lady of Rohan, Princess of Ithilien, the shieldmaiden and healer Eowyn, who will be presenting today’s Most Epic Heroine award—and I, for one, believe her to be quite qualified to do so,” he adds with a quirking of the corner of his mouth.

The crowd laughs.

Faramir steps down from the dais to join the rest of the people, and smiles as he passes the lady mounting the steps, who goes to stand by a pedestal on the platform.

Eowyn turns. She is fair of face as she smiles down at the audience; her hair is like a river of gold, and she is clad in white, with a midnight-blue cloak with stars around the hem and neck. The audience applauds.

“Greetings, fair friends,” Eowyn begins, as the crowd falls silent in a hush of intent listening. “I bid you all welcome to the Award Presentation for the Most Epic Heroine Silmaril, which I am here to present. I do not know if I am qualified as such, although certain biased parties might say otherwise . . .”

The audience laughs again, applauding.

Eowyn laughs then too, merrily, like a tinkling waterfall. Then she continues. “But someone must, so I will gladly do this duty. I have here with me five heroines.” Eowyn gestures to one end of the dais-stage, where five figures stand among the pillars and trees to one side. “All of them are doubtless worthy heroines, but today, one of them will be announced as the most worthy of receiving this honor, as chosen by the will of the people here gathered.”

Eowyn turns toward the five heroines and beckons one forward. “In third place we have Cress of The Lunar Chronicles.”

Cress, a short, spunky young woman with an unruly mess of wavy blonde hair and a dash of freckles across her face, moves to the center of the platform. Eowyn takes a bouquet of white flowers from the pedestal and hands them to her. Cress accepts them, waves half shyly, half cheerily at the crowd (from which there are some cheers and a spattering of applause) and troops across the stage to the other side.

“Tying for second place,” Eowyn continues, “we have three heroines: Kyrin of The Ilyon Chronicles, Cinder of The Lunar Chronicles again, and Rose Red of The Tales of Goldstone Wood.”

At her name, Kyrin, a tall young woman with brown hair and grey-blue eyes, comes forward and takes her flowers. She smiles her thanks at Eowyn and at the applauding audience, her gaze sweeping each as if storing them away in her memory, and returns to her former place by the side pillars.

Next, Cinder, a thin, casually dressed young woman with straight brown hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, who may or may not be holding a wrench, crosses the stage, takes the flowers with awkward thanks, to the sound of clapping, and quickly crosses to the other side of the platform to stand by Cress. They put their heads together, chatting quietly.

There seems to be some difficulty with the fourth person, who has a slight frame all covered in somewhat dirty white veils so that not an inch of her can be seen. She seems reluctant to come out of the shadows, and appears to be having a hushed argument with the goat calmly chewing its cud next to her.

“I don’t want to be goin’ out there in front of so many people. I cain’t—” the girl in veils says.

There seems to be another voice—from the goat? But that couldn’t be . . . “Of course you can, child. Go on out just for a moment and have done with it.”

The veiled girl, Rose Red, crosses the stage and Eowyn hands her a bunch of red roses like her name. There is a lot of applause. Rosie mumbles her thanks to Eowyn and returns to her place by the pillars with Kyrin and the goat. The goat starts chewing on the roses.

“Don’t, Beana, you’ll be sick,” Rosie is heard to mutter.

“Bah,” scoffs the goat.

“And now,” Eowyn announces in a clear ringing tone, “last of all, in first place, we have the long-awaited winner of the Most Epic Heroine Silmaril. May I present:

Lucy Pevensie, Queen Lucy the Valiant, of the land of Narnia.”

The courtyard erupts into thunderous applause and cheering as a girl comes laughing out of the shadows and crosses on light feet to the center of the platform.

She is merry of face, a light of joy about her as she seems to be drinking in the beauty of the place, of the garden courtyard under the stars. From her shoulder is slung a bottle that looks like it is made of diamond, and at her side is a gleaming dagger. She moves to stand by Eowyn.

“Welcome, Queen Lucy,” Eowyn says. “I am told that you too are a healer and shieldmaiden as the circumstances require; that you are brave and kind, valiant and loving, and have the heart of a lion. May I present to you the title of Most Epic Heroine and this Silmaril.”

Eowyn sweeps aside the green and gold cloth and holds up the Silmaril for a moment for the gasping crowd to see, its beauty breathtaking, the lavender glow shining brilliantly across the fair faces and hair of both heroines on the dais.

Eowyn passes it to Lucy.

“Oh, thank you!” Lucy says. “It’s a great honor, I’m sure, though I don’t deserve it really; I’m sure there are others who should deserve it more, and I only did what I had to do . . .”

Eowyn smiles and says, “As a wise Lion once said: if you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been proof that you were not.”

“I suppose that has to be true, when He said it; it’s just hard to apply it to oneself, you know . . .” Lucy says. “Well, thank you—all of you,” she adds, bowing a little to the audience. “I’ll try to be worthy of the title, and I’m very grateful I’m sure.” She smiles and waves. “I hope you’ll all try to be heroes and heroines too.”

The applause is deafening.

“Thank you all for coming,” Eowyn says when it dies away a little. “And now, friends, the hour has come—away! To the feast in the hall which is awaiting us during this time of celebration. Queen Lucy, if you will lead the way?”

The crowd cheers and streams under the stars after Eowyn and the laughing Lucy who goes first, shining the glow of her Silmaril to light the way.

POSTSCRIPT:
A NOTE FROM DEBORAH

There you have it, everyone! Congratulations to Lucy, and thanks very much to Eowyn for presenting. 🙂

For those curious, here are the results:

Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia 54%
Kyrin Altair from The Ilyon Chronicles 14%
Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles 14%
Rose Red from The Tales of Goldstone Wood 14%
Cress from The Lunar Chronicles 4%

Next up will be the Most Mischievous Imp Silmaril over at E. E. Rawls—I’m excited to find out the winner of that and the remaining awards!

And if you come back here on July 29, I have a special post about fantasy literature I can’t wait to share with you all. ^_^

Thanks so much for reading, everyone, and for being a part of the Silmarillion Awards! 🙂

Looking Forward, Looking Back (2016/2015)

dannygokey

I love the change of the year and have been doing many of my favorite New Years things like starting new journals. A fresh year is waiting, like a blank page to be written on, and the old year is gone, with all its good times and, yes, failures. It’s time to start fresh.

Danny Gokey says it beautifully in his song Tell Your Heart to Beat Again: “Yesterday’s a closing door — you don’t live there anymore.” Give the song a listen! (I heard it on the radio this week, fell in love, and have listened to it ten billion times since and am listening to it on repeat as I write this post). It’s beautiful and feels just right for the New Year.

Here are some of my excitements for the new year of 2016, as well as a brief look back at my 2015. And — yes! — lists!

2016

My word for 2016

Joy is my word this year. I want to find joy in everything if I can. It’s going to be hard, since I struggle with a tendency to be stressed and down on myself. But I’m tired of feeling crushed beneath expectations, beneath things I feel are obligations which ought to be enjoyable but have become chores. This includes — yes — writing, reading, emailing… even the things that I usually love, sometimes can become a burden because I’m a chronic procrastinator and a perfectionist. I’m hoping to approach everything, the fun and the not, with Joy. To rediscover my Joy in writing and life and find a freedom I’ve been looking for . . . that is my wish for the new year.

JOY! 🙂

I’M EXCITED FOR THIS YEAR:

aspysdevotionThese books coming out:

Yorien’s Hand // The Goblin’s Puzzle // A Spy’s Devotion // Fridays with the Wizards // Rebel of the Sands // Songkeeper // The Story of Kullervo // King’s Folly // The Beautiful Pretender // Five Magic Spindles // Defying Shadows // Stolen Crowns #1 // The Bone Queen // Crooked Kingdom

(I did a post about this if you want pics/links to Goodreads, but I’ve since added Songkeeper by Gillian Bronte Adams — sequel to Orphan’s Song — and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, both of which are sequels that I need this instant. *flail*)

These movies releasing:

  • The Abominable Bride (Sherlock special which I’m hopefully going to see on Wednesday… YAY!)
  • Captain America: The Civil War (YESSSS!! As I may have mentioned, I’m kind of looking forward to this a lot, primarily because BUCKY and HAWKEYE!)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Because Star Wars…)

(Also, perhaps someday I’ll see Kung Fu Panda 3, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Batman Vs. Superman, which are releasing this year, but I’m not in a super hurry as they also sound weird…)

sherlockspecial

I’d also like to see:

  • Pan (missed that when it came out last year)
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy (somehow still haven’t seen this)
  • Thor 2: The Dark World (which I technically saw once but need to rewatch since I have no memory of it which is slightly terrifying since I think I liked it a lot?!)

My 2015 at a Glance

READING

66 Books

2015books

I read many lovely books, notably many retellings and much Diana Wynne Jones; and discovered steampunk and heist books. (Yay!) And I just posted my top 15 favorites of the year.

Goodreads has a lovely new “Year in Books Feature” which I love! (Mine is here.)

WATCHING

Shows I saw:

  • Leverage (seasons 1-5) — everyone knows how much I love this… *cough*
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (BBC Miniseries) — interesting to see on screen
  • Star Wars: Rebels (Season 1) — I ADORED THIS! Sooo much fun. ❤

ezra

I don’t go to the theater often, but this year I saw:

  • starwars7posterStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens — AS;LDKJFLSK FEELS. WHAT. Still haven’t decided what I think of it except that I know I had a blast and then felt extremely sad near the end… I think overall I loved it? But I’m not sure yet! *flail* One thing’s for sure: ALL OF THE FEELS. And I adore the new characters, particularly Poe, and want to see the movie again.
  • Cinderella — Gorgeous.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron — Hawkeye!!
  • Mockingjay Part 2 — Um.
  • Beyond the Mask — EPIC!!! ❤

beyondthemaskDVDshelf

BLOGGING

87 Posts

I really discovered my love of blogging this last year, and started my Ishness posts, and just had a fun time.

My top viewed posts were:

ccakeFrom which I discern that people are unprepared for NaNo (always), and love movies (or characters), bookshelves, Christmas, and cupcakes (or possibly denial). Basically you, my blog readers, have your priorities in order. *thumbs up*

WordPress has a handy blog report showcase for the year which is fun. Take a look at my blog stats if you enjoy numbers like I do. XD

It says my top commenters were Sarah, Tracey, Christine, C.B., and Abi — thank you guys! And to every single person who reads this blog and who has commented (even just once) a heartfelt thank you. ❤ You make my day every time. ^_^

WRITING

Over 100,000 Words

DRcoverishR&RI wrote an entire novella and two whole short stories (and a couple fanfictions) — namely:

KW2coverPSilverForestCoverFinalAnd worked on several other books:

  • 2. The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (mostly this one)
  • The Silver Forest (and this one)
  • 0.5. Child of Kedran’s Wood
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood
  • 4 The Writer of Kedran’s Wood
  • Heartseeker
  • The Other Half of Everything (snippets)

S&Scover4

OHEcoverI was attacked by several new plotbunnies that I adore and can’t wait to write, most notably:

  • The Other Half of Everything
  • The Siren and the Skyship

My Kedran’s Wood series exploded into several different books/novellas/short stories.

starrellianicon

My epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga is taking shape in a new and exciting way as I reimagine all of the threads into a different sort of book structure.

A few other exciting things:

ac46bd_75dff376188e4a22af1238184833ab1e.jpg_srz_p_856_300_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

***

PonyFrom the start of the year when I was followed by a pony from the post office, through seeing my first stage play, spontaneously going on a few roadtrips, being a NaNo Municipal Liaison for the third time, all the way to spending my last days of the year frantically editing a novella under a deadline for the first time . . . it’s been a very interesting year!

With my new word (Joy) in hand, I look forward to what 2016 holds!

I haven’t made specific writing/reading goals yet. I’m on a semi-hiatus from writing for a bit, so we’ll see what happens after that… I’m currently leaving my options open. 🙂

How was your 2015? I wish you all a truly fantastic 2016!

A Tale of Two Doctors

For the record, I haven’t seen the episode where Ten and Eleven are both there at the same time. But I did have this dream and write it down before that episode came out. They totally stole the idea from my dream. *nods seriously* (I want to see it so bad… Eventually. No, I still haven’t seen Eleven yet. I’ve only seen two and a half-ish seasons. I’m very behind. What can I say. Time. I need more time. Timey-wimey.)


A Tale of Two Doctors
(A Doctor Who Dream-Turned-Fanfiction)
by
Deborah O’Carroll

dw10The Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor are both around at the same time, and are waiting around in a dentist’s office, arguing. Because if you put two different versions of the Doctor together at the same time, they’re of course going to argue.

They’re arguing about dogs. Specifically whether, if you cross a breed of dog that’s big, fluffy, and intelligent, with a breed that’s small, short-haired and stupid, do you get dogs of a medium size, normal-length hair and average intelligence? They both take different views on the subject and are going at it with spirit.

I stand off to the side, listening to them and being quite amused, and there’s also the dentist and various people off to the other side. For some reason the office looks suspiciously like a store-room, full of lots of big boxes and crates, two of which Ten and Eleven are sitting on while they argue. It’s quite fantastically marvelous to watch.

All of a sudden there is a loud disturbance.

Bang! Crash! Bang!

A banging on the door, as of someone trying to get in. Going by past dreams, I know it could be something really creepy, so I at once start looking around to see if there’s a place to hide.

This is the smart thing to do.

I detect a closet and deem it a good discovery, and turn to watch what’s going on.

The two Doctors are still bickering, but someone else—alas!—quite foolishly opens the door.

dalekImmediately, a Dalek rolls in, buzzing its battle-cry.

“Exterminate! Exterminate!”

And starts blasting people all over the place.

Zap! Zap!

Ten and Eleven both jump up and start making the expected cries of alarm to the effect of “No!” and “It can’t be!” and “Daleks don’t exist anymore!”

I suggest, “Apparently they do, given that one is about to exterminate you. Hide?”

“Good plan!”

As the only bystander to survive, I show them the closet I’d found. Ten bravely and/or foolishly distracts the Dalek:

“Look! This is how you shave an eyebrow off with a sonic screwdriver!” He demonstrates on himself with an electronic humming buzz and a flash of blue light.

Eleven meanwhile pulls out the blaster weapony thing Jack Harkness had and blasts at the closet door with another flash of blue light, to see if it’s blastable, which it isn’t.

“It’s safe!” he decides.

Thus cheered, I evict a bunch of boxes and closet stuff from inside so there will be more space. The closet has lots of stuff, including, inexplicably, a small and completely adorable-looking otter curled up in a corner, who gets up and patters swiftly off past me while I stare in a sort of melted-by-adorableness-astonishment. Then, shaking free from my daydream, I hastily return to the task at hand.

dw11With the closet cleared, Eleven and I jump in and call for Ten to hurry. The Dalek goes back into action and Ten yelps and dodges, narrowly missing an exterminator blast. (Those Daleks should really go into the pest-control business…)

Ten scuttles toward the closet, yelling, “I hope my eyebrow grows back soon!” He zips inside with us. “It was far too nice of an eyebrow to waste!”

We slam the door and bolt it shut, and watch through the suddenly-transparent closet door as the Dalek scrolls up toward us. It starts talking to the Doctors, trying to intimidate them, or else to annoy them to death—or knock their ears off with its annoying buzzing voice.

They yell back at it: “You can’t get in! So—Neeaaah!”

The Dalek tries to blast the door. But . . . it. doesn’t. work. We actually got away! Since when does that ever happen in a dream? The scary “it” of the dream always gets you!

But not when it’s Ten and Eleven and me—No.

We are just too fantastic to be exterminated.

The End

(Don’t take all the credit, Ten. We were ALL brilliant!)

(Sorry for all the extra Ten pics. I haven’t met Eleven yet so I can’t love him yet. …Actually, I’m not sorry at all.)

Splintered: A Thor/Loki Fanfic

(Notes:

This, like my Hawkeye fanfiction, was a dream I had and then wrote down. If it’s weird, that’s why…

I wrote this back when I had only seen “The Avengers” and hadn’t yet seen either of the Thor movies… so I didn’t know Thor used to grin in Thor 1, and hadn’t seen Loki’s hair like it was in the dungeon scene in Thor 2.

These characters don’t belong to me, obviously, but to Marvel.

Pictures from Pinterest.

This is just for fun.

Hope you enjoy.)

“Splintered”
A Thor and Loki Fanfiction

by
Deborah O’Carroll

Starring
an Old House
a Random Girl (that’s me)
and
Thor and Loki from the Marvel Movies


974dd788523f19b1affc1d42aeccf977I walked gingerly along the half-finished floor of a room in the big old wooden house that was under repair, trying to find safe footholds on the rickety boards that I feared might snap under my weight. Whoever was fixing this place wasn’t doing a very good job.

But hopefully Thor, who was following my lead, would catch me if I fell. Come to think of it, why wasn’t the so-called floor merely falling apart beneath his weight? He probably weighed a ton.

I swiveled to see how he was faring in our crossing of the room.

Thor was walking easily, his fair hair and silvery armor dulled in the faint light, his dark clothes blending with the shadows, and his red cloak swaying after him as he strode along, finding the solid beams beneath the floorboards.

As he went, he glanced down and absently poked at a board with his boot. The piece of wood snapped and fell away. He kicked another and it met the same fate.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He glanced at me. In his serious and strong-jawed face, dusted with golden stubble, there suddenly flashed what if I hadn’t known better I would have thought was a gleam of malicious intent. It looked more like an expression his brother Loki–who was in the back yard and who we were on our way to find–might make, than anything that would cross the face of Thor under normal circumstances.

(That’s as close to devious as I could find. Thor just doesn’t make devious faces, y’all…)

Saying nothing, he leaned over and started deliberately breaking the floorboards with his hands, in a way that jeopardized my currently safe footing.

“No,” I said, as I stepped hastily backward, and then “nonononono!” in one long word with five short syllables as the boards under me caved in partly so that I fell backward and slid halfway between them. I ended up lying on my back at the bottom of the slanting wood; if I moved the wrong way, I would slide down under the house.

Thor kept coming toward me, leaping lightly from beam to beam, tearing up boards. With his hammer, he could probably have demolished the entire house in three seconds flat, but fortunately he did not have it with him. Apparently he was in a mood for leisurely destruction.

Something was clearly wrong with him.

With some little difficulty, I scrambled out of my precarious position and streaked across the room as quickly as the treacherous floor would allow. I dashed out a side door and I found myself outside on a sort of balcony-porch—only half-finished like most of the house—that was several feet above the ground and didn’t have any steps yet.

I turned toward the back-yard and made a call for help to the only person for miles who might be able to do something.

“Loki!” I yelled.

A short silence followed. I could still hear Thor shattering the floor inside. Then the thin smooth face, sharp nose, and long sleek black hair (spiky in the back) of Loki appeared just above the side of the balcony’s floor, where he had apparently climbed up.

“What,” he said, more in annoyance than inquiry, as he pulled himself higher.

“Help,” I squeaked, barely suppressing an exclamation mark, in a sort of sheepish but panicked plea. Loki was the last person I could imagine going to for help.

Apparently he thought the same thing. His face held a blank and incredulous look as he tilted his head slightly to one side and blinked his shifty eyes at me as though trying to grasp the idea.

Louder crashing ensued from inside.

“Thor’s breaking things!” I wailed.

“Ah.” The questioning look cleared and Loki vaulted himself over the edge of the balcony up to where I stood, his green cloak swishing, and went inside through the doorway I had left by.

Careful to stay away from the area I had been in before, I hurried inside the house another way to find the people who lived in the more completed rooms. I paused in a doorway, unable to go further due to a rift in the floor, and found them in a hurried state, trying to leave. With good reason. Thor’s previous noises paled to nothing in comparison to the catastrophic smashing that now came from the far end of the house, the tell-tale signs of a fight between Thor and Loki.

“Girls!” the mother called. She was a tall thin woman in grey, with wispy blond hair pulled up into a bun on the back of her head.

Her three daughters scampered from the other room where they had apparently been grabbing coats, and began following her out, along with their two dogs who were barking frenziedly at the sounds of the battle.

(In the dream, the mom was Mrs. Everdeen from Hunger Games)

(And two of the girls were Bard’s daughters from The Hobbit movies)

In her haste, the oldest daughter, dark-haired and wearing blue, dropped a pail she was carrying, and it slid down a sloping board.

“Bucket, bucket,” she said, running after it to fetch it back, while the mother called for her to leave it and hurry, herding the two younger girls with blond curls out the door. But the older girl retrieved it quickly and all four of them quickly exited the house, the two dogs following half-heartedly as though torn between going with them and staying to bark at the strangers who were breaking the house.

As I was about to go back out the way I had come, the floor suddenly gave way beneath me—chain reaction from the next room, I supposed—and for the next several minutes I was engaged in trying to clamber my way out from a tangle of broken wood. During that time, things got oddly quiet except for the one dog, who had stayed and was still barking.

I couldn’t find any sort of proper footing on what used to be the first floor, so I clambered up more wreckage to a sort of attic area. It was dark up there, and piled with stuff, but I managed to find a place to stand at the edge of the gaping hole that used to be the ceiling of what had once been the room Thor and Loki had been fighting in.

The dog barked still, and I heard the oldest girl, who must have come back for it, telling the dog, “Be quiet—you’ll wake him!” The dog quieted and apparently left with the girl, for there was silence.

Wake him? I scanned the dark attic anxiously, the words “Waken a sleeping giant . . .” running through my head. It was hard to see in the dark, but I gradually made out a mattress by one wall with a pile of blankets tumbled on top. They shifted, and a pair of boots stuck out at one end suddenly. The person under the blankets moved again and the coverings fell away, showing Thor curled up under his scarlet cloak, apparently napping after his fight.

Not wanting to wake him in case he still had any smashing feelings left, and wondering where Loki was, I tried to tiptoe quietly away.

Despite my efforts, the floor creaked. Thor stirred, flicked his cloak to one side and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. Then he glanced over at me. His mane of blond hair was all pushed back instead of falling to both sides of his face as usual, and he smiled.

“Greetings,” he said in his deep rumble of a voice.

“I’ll just be leaving,” I said.

“What, no kiss to commemorate my victory?” he jested, grinning again. A big grin on him was so weird . . . He stretched again and the movement caused the floorboards to quake a little.

I felt my portion of the floor begin to teeter—I was about to fall.

“Eheh,” I said, grinning skittishly at Thor as I tried to regain my balance and not panic and plummet to my death. “Loki!” I hissed urgently in a furious whisper in the general direction of where the shattered room used to be. Where was he?

Thor looked in that direction as though he saw something.

Loki!” I yelled again.

Loki’s head and shoulders appeared, poking up above the edge of the hole in the floor, his black hair no longer sleeked back and instead hanging forward over his ears from the fight. It struck me that I had never seen his hair like that before.

Thor and Loki faced each other, opposites—Thor with his fair hair pushed back, and grinning, Loki with his dark hair hanging down, and serious-looking. They both looked so different than they usually did, just with their changes of expression and what their hair was doing.

“I win,” Thor said in his deep voice, still smirking.

“You usually do,” Loki’s more flute-like voice said. I blinked. That was an uncharacteristically truthful and non-competitive thing for him to say . . . He turned to me, casting a brief look at his brother and saying with mock-weariness, “Let us be going before he knocks down the entire building.”

He lent me some balance with his arm so I could get off the unsafe part of the floor, and we exited through a far-window, leaving a still-grinning Thor watching us leave, reclining in comfort on a mound of pillows. We climbed back down onto the unfinished balcony. As soon as we were standing there safely, I turned and stared at Loki.

“What is going on?” I said.

“We have to go and find out why he’s being so petty and violent and foolish—it’s out of his character,” Loki said, looking thoughtful.

Thor is acting out of character? I thought. Then what about you? Normally Loki would have enjoyed calling his brother those things, and grinned the whole time.

(“Wait… what?”)

“And we have to find out why you’re acting so serious and noble,” I said as a test.

I expected Loki to blink and suddenly realize he’d been acting like his brother, and shake his head and say, “Oh, is that what I’ve been doing. It’s a repulsive feeling.” Then he would suddenly flash his brilliant grin with all his white teeth and sleek his black hair back, saying, “You know what? You go on ahead. I’m staying right here.” And then he would leap back inside, from where further fighting noises would shortly ensue.

Instead he paused, tilting his head and raising an eyebrow. “And that,” he agreed. Then he blinked and shook his head slightly as if thinking that’s not right, and half remembering . . . but he couldn’t seem to grasp it. He blinked again and shrugged.

“Loki,” I said, almost saying ‘Thor’. “I think someone switched out your personalities with each other.”

“I think you’re right,” Loki said. “Come, we must solve this.”

He strode toward the end of the balcony and I followed him.