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 firstname.lastname@example.org with
your nominations, but you must use the template provided on the e-mail
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 email@example.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
You may nominate one work per category.
Do I have to nominate works in all
No. You may nominate in as many or as few categories as
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 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
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'
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
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
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
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
- religious/philosophical aspects;
- 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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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'
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 email@example.com for
May I ask my friends to nominate a particular work I've
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
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 email@example.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
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
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.
SCREENING & JUDGING
How will the winning works be
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
How will semi-finalists be selected in more popular
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
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
A list of Judges will be available, but
the allocation of Judges to panels will not be made public for obvious
I'd like to be a Judge. What should I
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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).
receiving remuneration of any description from the
What will the recipients of the
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
How can I make a complaint?
Comments and complaints about the Awards should be
e-mailed to email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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