The following Q&As have been updated for the 2004 awards. Refer to the Report on the Mithril Awards 2003 for discussion of changes from the 2003 awards.

Screening & judging


How do I nominate?
Nominations for the 2004 awards are now closed. During the nominations period, you can nominate fanfiction, poetry and research articles/critical essays using the online form [currently closed]. If this doesn't work for some reason, then you can also e-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com with your nominations, but you must use the template provided on the e-mail nominations page.

Can I nominate my own material?
Yes, you may nominate your own material in any category.

I'm an author. How do I withdraw my works from consideration?
An author may withdraw one or all of their works from consideration in the awards. Simply drop the organisers a note using the contact form, or send an e-mail to mithrilawards@yahoo.com. Please state the pseudonym(s) under which your work appears, and be clear whether you wish to withdraw all your works, or just particular ones. To guard against misuse of this facility other than by the author, please state a return e-mail address.

Authors of nominated works will, in any case, be contacted to seek their permission before the semi-finalist stage.

A list of authors who have declined to participate in the 2004 awards is published here.

How many works can I nominate in a category?
You may nominate one work per category.

Do I have to nominate works in all categories?
No. You may nominate in as many or as few categories as you choose.

How can I find out what categories there are for nominations?
The categories page gives a list with definitions.

Are there any restrictions on works for nomination?
The material must be freely available on the web during the nominations and judging period. This means it cannot be located in a members-only archive, nor in the files section of a private list. All work must have a clear basis in one or more of JRR Tolkien's writings. Works must be available in English. Translations into English of works originally in another language which are authorised by the original author are eligible. RPS and actor fic are not eligible for nomination in any category (see next question for definitions). For the 2004 awards, works must have been completed between 1 April 2003 and 1 April 2004 – works in progress are not eligible.

What is actor fic/RPS?
Actor fic/RPS (real person slash) is defined as any work in which any actual person appears, whether living or dead, with the sole exceptions of the author of the work, and of well-known historical figures who have been dead for at least 50 years. Actor fic/RPS is NOT eligible in any category, regardless of rating or genre.

Why are individual parts in a serial eligible, while works in progress (WiPs) are not? What is the difference?
The individual parts of a serial must be complete in themselves and stand alone to be eligible, while the individual chapters of a WiP do not stand alone.

Can I nominate adult fiction?
There are no restrictions on ratings of material for the Awards, and material of all ratings may be nominated across all categories. However, if you are below the age of majority in your country, you may not nominate adult-rated (R and NC-17) material.

Can I nominate material based on the recent movies of the Lord of the Rings?
Yes. Works based on the recent Lord of the Rings movies are eligible across all categories for which Lord of the Rings material is appropriate.

Are collaborative or 'round robin' works eligible?
Yes. Collaborative or 'round robin' works are eligible, as long as a contact e-mail address can be identified to ask the authors for permission.

I've read the definition of minor character carefully, but I still can't work out whether this character would count. What do I do to avoid wasting my nomination?
If you really can't decide, you can drop the Awards Committee an e-mail at mithrilawards@yahoo.com and we will rule on whether the character in question counts as minor.

What about Haldir?
It depends! Haldir would count as a minor character in the bookverse, but a major character in movieverse.

There is no category for fiction about the Fellowship. Where should I nominate these stories?
Stories about the Fellowship are probably most suitable under the categories 'Best characterisation – ensemble' and 'Best Lord of the Rings'.

There is no category for horror, angst or dark fic. Where should I nominate these stories?
The most suitable category for most horror, angst or dark fics is probably 'Best drama'.

Where should poetry cycles be submitted?
All poetry cycles should be submitted under 'Best poetry – long form', regardless of the lengths of the individual poems. However, bear in mind that a poetry cycle is only as strong as its weakest work. If you are unsure, it might be best to enter the poems as separate entries, rather than as part of a cycle. This will give your finest work a chance to shine.

Can you clarify what exactly is eligible under the 'Best critical essay' category?
Critical essays or research articles about any aspect of Tolkien's literary creations are eligible. This might include (but isn't limited to):

  • discussion or speculation about the history, geography, economics, sociology, science/technology or medicine of Middle-earth or Aman;
  • religious/philosophical aspects;
  • character biographies;
  • discussion of Tolkien's invented languages;
  • lit crit analysis of one or more of Tolkien's works;
  • relationship of Tolkien's life to his works;
  • analysis of Tolkien fandom or fanfiction;
  • analysis of dramatisations of Tolkien's works, such as the recent Lord of the Rings movies directed by Peter Jackson or the BBC radio adaptation, which make significant reference to the original text.

The following would not be eligible:

  • material that consists solely of one or more dictionaries, maps, timelines, illustrations, genealogies, lists of facts or urls, or similar (though obviously any of these things could be included as part of the article);
  • biographical material about JRR Tolkien or Christopher Tolkien, unless linked with their writing/editing;
  • biographical material about actors, directors or similar;
  • reviews of books about Tolkien or his works;
  • material about fandom or fanfiction in general.

I nominated one or more works but haven't received any e-mail acknowledgement of my nominations. What should I do?
Owing to the number of nominations anticipated, individual acknowledgements will not be sent. If you did not receive an error message when submitting the nomination, and you did reach the 'Thank you for your nomination' page, then you can assume that your nomination was received safely.

I made a mistake in my nomination. What should I do?
If you made a serious mistake in your nomination, then e-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com immediately with the details, with a subject line including NOMINATIONS ERROR, and we will do our best to fix the problem. Include the name and e-mail address under which you made the nomination in the text of your message.

I get errors when I try to fill in the nomination form. What should I do?
Most of the fields in the nomination form are required, so please check that you've filled in the form completely. Avoid special characters (such as accents) in the author and title fields, which can cause incompatibility errors. Remember that you are only allowed to nominate one work per category, so if you've nominated a work in that category previously then you won't be successful this time.
        If you still get error messages, or if you get code errors, then please e-mail the site manager at the_espresso_addict@fireflyuk.net stating what precisely you were trying to do, what error messages you received (cut and paste the error text if possible) and what browser and platform you are using, and she will try to fix the problem. If problems persist, you can also e-mail nominations to mithrilawards@yahoo.com, but you must use the template provided on the e-mail nominations page.

Why can't I nominate works in the 'Best entry by author for whom English is not their first language' and 'Best entry by author aged 16 or under' categories?
The winners in these categories will be selected by the Committee and Judges from the semi-finalists across all categories.

I'd like to nominate a work, but it isn't available on a publicly accessible site. What should I do?
If you are the author of the work, then we suggest you send the work to one of the numerous free and unselective fiction archives available. If you're not the author of the work, then we suggest you contact the author and ask him or her to load the work onto a publicly accessible site. For the authors of non-fiction only, the Awards site offers temporary web-hosting for the purposes of nominations and judging. E-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com for details.

May I ask my friends to nominate a particular work I've written?
Within reason, you may suggest that people might consider nominating your work for the Awards without it being considered as nomination solicitation. You may also indicate which version of a particular work you would prefer to be nominated. You may not directly ask people to nominate one or more works, and you may not include a link to the Awards site within a webpage devoted to a single work or series. We encourage people to link to the Awards site at the top level of archives, whether single author or multi-author. If in doubt, contact the Committee at mithrilawards@yahoo.com.

My work has been nominated. When should I expect to hear from you?
Owing to the very large number of works nominated, only the authors of works being considered for the semi-finalist lists have been contacted. For the 2004 awards, all authors should have been contacted by 1 June 2004. If you haven't hear from us by then, we're afraid the material wasn't among the best works nominated in that category. Don't be unduly disheartened, the total number of works nominated in 2004 was over 750, with several categories receiving more than eighty different entries, so competition is fierce.

I'm the author of a nominated work and I haven't heard from you, so I assume my work has not reached the semi-finals. Do you provide reasons for rejection?
No. Owing to the very large number of different works nominated (over 750 in 2004), we are unable to provide individual feedback about works that did not reach the semi-finalist stage. Bear in mind that several categories received more than eighty different entries, so competition is fierce.

Will the Committee provide comments on works nominated?
No. Owing to the very large number of works nominated (over 750 in 2004), it is unfortunately not possible to provide individual comments to authors.

Will lists of nominated works be published?
No; however, a list of semi-finalists for 2004 is now available on the Awards site.

How do I find out which category a particular work has the best chance in?
If you e-mail a specific question regarding any previous nominations for a particular work to mithrilawards@yahoo.com we will do our best to answer.


How do I vote for a work in the Voters' Choice categories?
Voting will open on 8 June 2004. You can only vote for works using the online form linked from here.

When does voting close?
Voting will close at midnight EST on Saturday 3 July 2004.

Why can I only vote for certain works?
Voting is restricted to the works that reached the semi-finals. A list of semi-finalist works by Voters' Choice category (as selected by the author) is now available.

Why can't I vote for works in all categories?
For simplicity of counting votes, votes will only be taken in a limited number of categories. These are not the same as the categories for the judged awards.

Which categories can I vote in?
Best Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, Best Silmarillion, Best character piece, Best drama/action adventure, Best humour, Best het and Best slash.

Why is there no General category this year?
The 'Best general' category from 2003 has been replaced by three new categories, as chosen by a poll of fans: Best character piece, Best drama/action adventure and Best humour.

What do het and slash mean?
Het works focus on one or more m/f relationships. Slash works focus on one or more m/m and/or f/f relationships. The het and slash categories include both gen-rated romance and adult-rated erotica.

How many times can I vote?
You may vote for one work in each of the Voters' Choice categories by selecting your choice(s) in the drop-down menus (see the screenshot below). You do not have to make a selection in all of the categories; however, you may only submit your completed ballot once. After you have pressed the Vote button, you will be prevented from voting again. Even if you didn't vote in all the categories, you may not change your mind and vote in a category you left out previously. Duplicate votes will be disqualified, at the discretion of the Committee.

May I ask my friends to vote for a work of mine, or a friend's, that's reached the semi-finalists?
You may advertise the fact that one or more works has reached the semi-finals of the Awards without it being considered as vote solicitation. However, you may not directly ask people to vote for one or more works, whether by you or by someone else, and you may not include a link to the Awards site within a webpage devoted to a single work or series. Works for which vote solicitation is proven or suspected may be disqualified, at the discretion of the Committee.


How will the winning works be selected?
The works nominated will be reduced to up to 20 semi-finalists in each category by a team of screeners, based on their quality. While all works must meet basic quality standards, popular categories with lots of nominated works are likely to require higher standards to reach the semi-finals. One or more Judges plus a member of the Awards Committee will select four to eight finalists in each category. Winners and runners-up in each category will be selected from the finalists by a panel of three or more Judges.

What do you mean by 'basic quality standards'?
Material with frequent grammatical or spelling errors, or which is poorly formatted, or which is not appropriate to the category nominated, or lacks adequate connection to the original text or movie, will be eliminated from consideration.

How will semi-finalists be selected in more popular categories?
In categories where more than 15--20 works meet the basic quality standards, works will be selected by the screeners based on their quality. Various factors including canonicity, characterisation, style, structure, pacing, originality, memorability and suitability to category will all be taken into account. In most cases, two or more screeners will read each work, and the average scores will be used to determine which works are included.

Why is the number of nominations not mentioned? Didn't you take this into account in 2003?
In 2003 we encountered problems with blatant solicitation of nominations. The organisers have regretfully decided that the only way to eliminate this abuse of the system completely is to consider all works based on quality standards alone, independent of the number of nominations received.

Aren't judged awards elitist? Wouldn't a popular vote be fairer?
Popular voting tends to recognise well-known authors and story settings. It may not give a fair hearing to new authors, or to stories exploring less familiar corners of Tolkien's creation. While judged awards necessarily represent the opinion of the Judges, each finalist work will be read by at least three different Judges, who have been selected from across the whole Tolkien fandom. We hope this will ensure that a range of different viewpoints are considered. All works considered have been nominated by fans. By including both judged and voted categories under the banner of the Mithril Awards, we hope to combine the best aspects of both systems.

Wouldn't it be better if all Judges and Screeners withdrew from the awards entirely?
In an ideal world, perhaps! However, we don't feel it would be possible to recruit sufficient numbers of qualified fans to handle the large number of nominated works anticipated if we were to require all our volunteers to withdraw their own works from consideration. Judges and Screeners only see a list of works they're actually assigned, and the Awards Committee will take every possible care to allocate works so as to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

How do I find out who the Judges are in a particular category?
A list of Judges will be available, but the allocation of Judges to panels will not be made public for obvious reasons.

I'd like to be a Judge. What should I do?
We're not currently seeking judges for the 2004 awards. If you'd like to be considered for the 2005 awards (if they are run) or if you'd like to put yourself forward as a back-up for 2004, send an e-mail with your name, areas of Tolkien expertise, experience within fan or professional writing and/or editing, any genres of fanfiction that you don't read, together with an age statement (so that we don't ask underage Judges to read adult-rated fiction), to mithrilawards@yahoo.com, and your application will be considered.


Who are you, and why are you organising the Mithril Awards?
We are a group of Tolkien fans who feared that good Tolkien-related fanfiction was in danger of being submerged in the sheer volume of fiction resulting from the release of the recent movies. The Mithril Awards are our attempt to recognise excellent fiction and, hopefully, to increase its readership. Check the About Us page for more details.

Are the Mithril Awards associated with any fiction archive, list, society or online community?
No. The Mithril Awards are independent of any fiction archive, list, society or community, whether online or offline. We do, however, welcome affiliation with other Tolkien sites for the purpose of increasing awareness of the awards among fans.

Are the Mithril Awards connected with Tolkien Enterprises or New Line Cinema?
No. The Mithril Awards are run by fans for fans. We are not connected in any way with Tolkien Enterprises, New Line Cinema, or any other official body.

Isn't fanfiction illegal?
Strictly speaking, fanfiction falls foul of copyright legislation in most countries. However, fanfiction follows an honourable tradition of rewriting engaged in by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Joyce, among many others. We believe that fanfiction doesn't harm the late JRR Tolkien or his writings, and may even promote interest in reading the original works. Tolkien himself suggested that his creations might 'leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama.' (JRR Tolkien, Letters).
        No-one is receiving remuneration of any description from the Mithril Awards.

What will the recipients of the Awards receive?
A button suitable for display on a website will be awarded to winners and runners-up in each category. The Awards will have no financial value.

Does the Awards site host material?
In view of the relative difficulty of obtaining free web-hosting for non-fiction compared with fiction, the Awards site will temporarily host non-fiction for the purposes of nominations and judging. Obviously, only the author of the article may request web-hosting. E-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com for details. The Awards site will not host fiction or poetry. We suggest that you send it to any of the numerous free and unselective archives available.

Is the Awards site suitable for children to explore?
All material within the Awards site itself is suitable for children. External links to adult material are clearly labelled as such.

How do I get more information?
If your question isn't answered here, then you can your e-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com with your query, and a member of the Committee will get back to you shortly. You can also post questions on the awards livejournal forum. To receive the latest updates on the awards, you can join our announcements list.

How can I make a complaint?
Comments and complaints about the Awards should be e-mailed to mithrilawards@yahoo.com. Alternatively feel free to e-mail any of the Committee members directly. Our e-mail addresses are given on the About Us page.

I'd like to affiliate my website to the Mithril Awards. What do I do?
If you run a Tolkien-related website, then we'd be happy to affiliate with you. Simply fill in the form at the bottom of the affiliates page or e-mail mithrilawards@yahoo.com. We ask affiliates to link to the awards home page, and we may also send them occasional updates on the progress of the Awards.

Will the Awards be held in 2005?
This won't be decided until after the 2004 results are announced.

What does mithril mean?
Mithril is the Sindarin word for true-silver. Greatly prized by all races in Arda, Gandalf says that 'Its beauty was like to that of common silver, but the beauty of mithril did not tarnish or grow dim.' (JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings II:IV)

The Awards Committee

Last updated: 23 June 2004