Wisest Counselor Presentation Ceremony (Silmaril Awards 2018)

The White City of Gondor is packed.

Everyone has gathered in Minas Tirith, from all across Middle-earth and other lands far beyond, for the third annual presentation of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril Award.

The sable curtains, bearing the image of the white tree of Gondor, part and draw back. I stand in the center of the stage and wave at the expectant audience.

“Welcome, everyone!” I call. “Thank you for coming to the Award Ceremony to present the winner of the 2018 Silmaril Award for Wisest Counselor!”

The crowd cheers, and some hobbit near the back, who is a little confused about what the reason for the gathering is, raises a mug and calls, “Happy birthday!”

There is laughter.

I smile and carry on. “In previous years, as winners of this award, we’ve had Aslan himself from Narnia—not sure where he is today; not a tame lion, you understand—as well as Professor Hamilton from Dragons in Our Midst, who is visiting.” I wave toward the back of the stage where the grey-haired professor stands, smiling.

The audience applauds.

“And now, to present this year’s nominees and the winner, I’d like to welcome Gandalf onto the stage. Mithrandir, as some of you know him, is one of the wisest counselors in all of Middle-earth—even in all of Arda—and therefore highly qualified to present this award. Friends, I give you . . . Gandalf!”

I gesture to the right of the stage. Nothing happens. I wait several long, awkward moments, and laugh nervously. “Sorry, folks, looks like Gandalf is a little late this evening.”

“A wizard is never late, my dear blogger,” says a voice. The crowd laughs and applauds as Gandalf himself steps onto the stage, sweeping across it in his long grey robes and silver scarf and grey pointy hat. “I arrived precisely when I meant to.”

“Of course, of course. Well, I’m sure you were busy with something important, as always.”

Gandalf furrows his bushy eyebrows and looks mysterious, but I suspect he’s hiding a smile in his long grey beard.

“Thanks for coming, Gandalf. I’ll turn things over to you.” I nod to him and slip off the stage, finding a place in the front row where the applause for Professor Hamilton had been loudest, between a teenage boy and a girl with—wings? I spin back to look at her again—oh, she’s only wearing a backpack. Must have been my imagination . . .

I settle in with the rest of the excited audience to watch the following proceedings on stage.

The Nominees

“Welcome, Elves, Men, Hobbits, Dwarves, and . . . others,” Gandalf says. “Allow me to present the nominees of this year’s award.”

The audience’s murmur hushes in anticipation, and then they applaud as each name is announced.

Rayad of Arcacia from the land of Ilyon.”

A somewhat grizzled man in a simple tunic steps onto the stage, bows, and then smiles and nods toward two members of the crowd near the end of the front row—a teenage girl holding hands with a young man whose black hair falls over his ears, a black wolf lying at their feet. The young man nods back to Rayad, quiet and unobtrusive but proud.

Professor Digory Kirke of Narnia, come all the way from England via wardrobe.” Gandalf glances toward the ornate wooden wardrobe near the back of the stage.

An old man with shaggy white hair and equally shaggy beard comes into view and waves at the audience. There are cheers—particularly from the very middle of the front row, where four children—two boys and two girls, one of whom is a familiar face from last year—sit together and are heard to say things like “Hurrah for the Professor!” and “Good old Prof!”

Puddleglum of Narnia.”

A tall, thin Marshwiggle steps forward on webbed feet, shaking his head with the pointy hat rather like Gandalf’s, and muttering, “I don’t see why I’m always being called to these things. A mistake, through and through, I shouldn’t wonder . . .” A girl and a boy in the front row, between a fair-haired prince and a large white owl perched on an empty chair, applaud and grin, shaking their heads.

“Ranger Halt,” Gandalf continues, before pausing and looking around.

The audience scans the stage in search of Halt, and for a moment nobody sees him.

“Wizards may not be late, but perhaps Rangers are—though not a certain other Ranger I know,” Gandalf mutters.

But just then, a shadow moves away from the dark curtain, revealing Halt himself, camouflaged in his long grey mottled cloak. “I’ve been here all along,” he says dryly, stepping forward.

“A fellow grey wanderer. I can approve.” Gandalf nods.

A rather small but wiry boy in the audience applauds loudest, between a girl and a hulking young knight-to-be. There’s a sturdy pony next to them where a chair used to be. I’ve no idea how they got it inside . . . Stealthy Rangers.

“And Prince Aethelbald of Farthestshore,” Gandalf finishes, ending the list of nominees.

An unassuming young man with a quiet, thoughtful face and deep, kind eyes, wearing fine clothes and a simple golden circlet, bows from the stage. A young woman in a white gown seated in the front row—with a smug-looking fluffy orange cat on her lap—smiles.

And the Winner Is . . .

“And now,” Gandalf says, “here at last, on this stage in Minas Tirith, comes an end to the voting and anticipation. May I present the winner of this award, a very remarkable man, and one whom I am glad to call a friend . . . Professor Digory Kirke!”

Cheering fills the air. A massive silver firework explodes overhead (no doubt why Gandalf was . . . erm . . . that is . . . not late). There are gasps and laughs of surprise, and a few more cheers. Gandalf chuckles.

Professor Kirke joins Gandalf in the center of the stage. “How did you manage to set that off while you were on stage?” the Professor asks. “Logically, somebody must have . . .”

“I may have had an assistant,” Gandalf says noncommittally.

“I love Minas Tirith!” yells a small, rather sooty hobbit figure before disappearing into the crowd.

Everyone laughs and I shake my head.

So does Gandalf, muttering, “Fool of a Took.” He clears his throat and turns to Prof. Kirke. “In recognition of your wisdom and guidance of certain young charges, Professor, I present you with this Silmaril.” Gandalf holds up a glowing golden sphere on a ribbon.

A hush falls across everyone as the gem shines out like the sun—or like an echo of the glimmer of the golden tree Laurelin from the land beyond the western seas many an age past.

Gandalf drapes it around Professor Kirke’s neck. “Bear it well, my friend.”

“Thank you, Gandalf, and thank you, everyone.” He turns to the crowd. “I’m quite at your disposal, I’m sure, and I’m honored that in your very careful consideration you should think me worthy of such an award.”

The Professor bows to the audience, to the sound of thunderous applause. Then he turns and steps past Gandalf to where last year’s winner, Professor Hamilton, stands. The two shake hands and smile.

Professor Kirke glances beyond him to where a great golden Lion, who was not there a minute before, sits quiet but majestic in one corner of the stage, his golden eyes laughing but wise—the ultimate Wise Counselor and the winner of the award two years past. A look passes between them, and Professor Kirke, feeling more like a young boy named Digory every moment, bows to the lion—who the next moment is no longer there.

“One last announcement,” Gandalf calls. “To the feast! There are a few hobbits here, who can be quite fearsome eaters in a pinch—or, well, at any time. If you want anything to eat, you had better get going before they eat everything—even though it is the finest feast King Aragorn could provide.”

There is laughter as everybody follows Gandalf toward the feast hall and its delicious aromas.

Well, almost everybody.

Halt and Rayad are on their way down the street toward a tavern to chat over mugs of ale.

Puddleglum is already planning on going back to fishing, muttering about coming rain.

Aslan is still nowhere to be seen (well, he’s not a tame lion), and nobody knows where the Prince of Farthestshore has gotten to.

Professor Kirke and Professor Hamilton are headed off in another direction for a quiet cup of tea, deep in conversation—discussing their adventures, their young charges, and (probably) logic.

“Yes, and after all of that, with the dragon slayer and everything, I was quite done with teaching there,” Professor Hamilton is saying.

And Professor Kirke’s voice floats back as they walk out of sight together: “My dear chap, of course you were. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools?”

Fin

Thanks for joining us for the awards presentation ceremony of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril Award!

You can find the rest of the winners here (some are still to be announced in the coming days).

For those curious, here are the final results:

  1. Professor Digory Kirke (The Chronicles of Narnia) 86 votes / 43%
  2. Halt (The Ranger’s Apprentice series) 39 votes / 20%
  3. Puddleglum (The Silver Chair) 30 votes / 15%
  4. Rayad (The Ilyon Chronicles) 22 votes / 11%
  5. Prince Aethelbald (Tales of Goldstone Wood) 21 votes / 11%

As always, thanks for being a part of this fun fantasy character awards! What did you think of the ceremony? Who were you hoping would win? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for coming! ❤

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The Bookshelf Tag!

Tag Catch-Up Post #5

Aspen tagged me for the Bookshelf Tag — thanks, Aspen!! Eeeeep, I’m so excited to do this one — it looks so awesome! *flailing* I just love love LOVE lists and books, and this combines them perfectly and aaaahhh!

Okay. I’ll get to the questions now and quit fangirling. 😉

Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from: In this case, I have three bookcases, each with five shelves plus the top (which I totally keep books on too), one white, two black. The white one was from a garage sale. The black ones were from Target and I helped assemble them and it was awesome. I think I need a forth one though, because… overflowing. Yes.

Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books? Fictional books I’ve read are organized alphabetically by author… Then I also have some nonfiction and picture books etc., organized kind of by subject. And of course, my Tolkien books and Lewis books and Lloyd Alexander books have places of their own, apart from the general fiction. So much for read books… My unread books have their own bookcase, and I organize those however I feel like it, and it changes periodically, but mostly it’s organized either by category/genre, or by how much I want to read it right now, or some combination of the two…

What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf? I’d say my dictionary, but it’s on my desk, sooo… If we’re going to go with overall pages, probably my Complete Shakespeare of which I’ve only read one play, and is 1300 pages. But collections aside, probably Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke at 782 pages.

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What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf? Little Mommy by Sharon Kane at 24 pages. It was kinda my childhood… *memories*

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Is there a book you received as a birthday gift? The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.

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What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine.

What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf? Aside from my Atlases… Prince Valiant Vol. 11: Intrigues at Camelot by Hal Foster.

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Is there a book from a friend on your shelf? Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine. (Thanks, Kelsey! ^_^)

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Most expensive book? Probably Time and Mr. Bass by Eleanor Cameron.

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The last book you read on your shelf? Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

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Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read? I literally don’t remember because I’ve been reading basically forever… Maybe Pippi Longstocking? That was early, anyway.

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Do you have more than one copy of a book? Honestly, a lot. Because I go to library booksales and can’t resist multiple copies of my scrumptious lovelies. They make great gifts, too! But if you want specifics… The Lord of the Rings. Lots and lots of The Lord of the Ringses, precioussss.

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Do you have the complete series of any book series? Yes. Lots and lots.

What’s the newest addition to your shelf? I don’t know which individual book was technically the latest, as I got fifteen books at a library sale recently…

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What book has been on your shelf FOREVER? The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 50th Anniversary Edition.

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What’s the most recently published book on your shelf? Illusionarium by Heather Dixon, published May 19, 2015.

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The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)? Probably an old gorgeous G.A. Henty book that I haven’t read yet, At Agincourt. Published 1896, and on the front page it’s marked as given to someone in 1897, so it was new at the time! O_O

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A book you won? King’s Warrior by Jenelle Schmidt.

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A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)? The Sign of the Seven Seas by Carley Dawson. I found it for a quarter at a garage sale, and later found out it’s kinda rare and expensive. Which is sad, because it’s kind of beat up and I LOVE it, and the first book is out of copyright and free on Gutenberg.org, which makes me wonder if The Sign of the Seven Seas is as well, or not…? I still periodically check Gutenberg to see if it’s been put up there but it never is, and maybe the copyright was renewed but… I don’t know. I wish I knew more about this sort of thing because if it’s just that nobody has a copy of it to scan, I would totally figure out how to help Gutenberg with that! *flail*

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Most beat up book? In Chimney Corners by Seamus MacManus. I almost didn’t get it at the library sale I found it at, but I couldn’t resist Irish folktales, so I got it, beat up condition and all — and I don’t regret it because it’s awesome!

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Most pristine book? Tossup between England Adventure by Kelsey Bryant and The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis, because I got them recently but had read them before and haven’t reread them yet so they are in gorgeous condition and practically untouched (except for when I take them off the shelf and gaze on their beauty and pet them. What, you don’t do that with your new books?? *innocent look*).

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A book from your childhood? The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

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A book that’s not actually your book? I’m going to steal Aspen’s answer to this and say Stephen R. Lawhead’s Hood Trilogy which are my brother’s, that I still haven’t read… Also my sister’s Goldstone Wood books by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.

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A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

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A book that is your favorite color? The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Close enough, anyway…

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Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read? The Book of Merlyn by T. H. White.

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Any signed books? Yes! Several by friends, but my favoritest is my copy of The High King by Lloyd Alexander that I found at a library sale and was signed! *hugs it*

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***

So there you go! I don’t know about you, but I had a TON of fun with this!

I’m supposed to tag people but I don’t even know who to tag because I want to tag EVERYONE.

So basically, if you think this looks fun, do snag it and do it on your blog and let me know so I can read your bookishly delightful answers! (And you don’t have to take pictures of books unless you want… just answer the questions.)

But I do specifically tag Christine (because I want to see your answers and hear about your books!) and Cait (because you can do your awesome bookish photography and I know you love lists and BOOKS! You know you want to). Y’all don’t HAVE to do it, of course, just if you want. 😉

BUT I TAG EVERYONE. SO THERE.