The organisers have recently been made aware that several misconceptions have sprung up about the way in which the 2003 awards were organised and conducted. In an attempt to clear up these misconceptions, the following notes explain the actual situation.

We regret that misconceptions have spread, and apologise for the fact that this information hasn't been made publicly available before now.

On association with archives and lists

It's been widely assumed that the Mithril Awards are associated with the Henneth Annūn Yahoo-list or archive. We cannot stress too highly that the awards are entirely independent of any archive, list, group, board or community, whether online or offline. While the original discussions were held on the Henneth Annūn list, they moved at a very early stage to a focused Mithril Awards discussion list.

The fact that the Henneth Annūn Story Archive prominently displays Mithril Award buttons has tended to promote this misconception. In fact, several other archives also display the buttons, and any archive hosting an award-winning story is very welcome to put up a button. We're happy to provide buttons to archive administrators on request.

On number of nominations

We'd envisaged receiving a maximum of around 150 to 200 nominated works. In the event, the response from Tolkien fans far exceeded our expectations, and a total of 599 works were nominated. A couple of problems rapidly became apparent:

  • A few authors were found to have solicited nominations for their works, either on lists/boards or at the website where the work was archived, and these works had to be removed from consideration.
  • Once proven cases of nomination solicitation had been discounted, remarkably few works were found to have received more than two or three nominations in a particular category; in fact, the great majority of works received only a single nomination. After screening had eliminated clearly unsuitable works, works receiving multiple nominations were not sufficient to provide finalists in any category. The finalists in each category therefore represent all suitable works that received multiple nominations, as well as the best works which received a single nomination.

The problem of nomination solicitation encountered during the 2003 awards has made us reconsider the link between number of nominations and shortlisting for the 2004 round, and this is currently under discussion.

On works in progress (WiPs) and serials

The problems in assessing the quality of an incomplete work meant that we decided to exclude WiPs from the 2003 awards. Many authors organise their writing in serials: a series of stories set in the same universe and often with the same characters, in which each component story is complete and stands alone. As each story is complete it can be judged in isolation, and so we decided to allow these to be entered.

What we didn't bargain on, however, was the difficulty in assessing whether a given nominated work fits into the category of WiP or serial! Three works caused particular difficulties, 'Captain My Captain' by Isabeau of Greenlea, 'Magda's Tale' by Meg Thornton and 'History of Us' by Daisy Gamgee. In all three cases we decided, after considerable discussion, to include them. These decisions were taken because the material available appeared to the committee members who moderated the categories to stand alone sufficiently to allow judging. In retrospect, this might not have been the wisest of decisions. It should be stressed that the committee members in question based their decisions entirely on the quality of the works and the number of nominations from fans that they received. In no case was the committee member involved personally acquainted with the author, either online or offline.

Ways to avoid this confusion for the 2004 awards are currently under discussion, but it is likely that individual stories in a serial may have to be excluded from consideration in the main awards.

Eledhwen, Janet Elizabeth, Khazar & Tavia
16 January 2004

Reports on the Mithril Awards 2003

Some Stats from the Web Manager

599 different works were nominated by 446 fans, many in multiple categories, with 1886 nominations in all. A total of 490 fans placed their vote in one or more categories of the Voters' Choice: 414 in Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, 246 in The Silmarillion, 369 in General, 306 in Het & 340 in Slash.

Summary by Tavia

What went right

  • 446 nominators and 490 voters in the Voters' Choice suggests a reasonably high level of cross-fandom participation
  • A large and varied panel of judges was recruited
  • Results were announced on time
  • The winners in all categories were excellent stories/works

What went less well

  • We substantially underestimated the number of nominated works (599 compared with 150 to 200 guesstimated)
  • We substantially underestimated the amount of effort involved in a number of different tasks, especially screening stories, organising judges and running the web interface
  • Number of nominations did not prove to be simply linked with quality of story
  • In nearly all categories, screening by eliminating clearly unsuitable material did not reduce the shortlists to manageable proportions
  • Screening for categories using predominantly one person per category unavoidedly introduced some bias
  • The public perception of the awards, in some quarters at least, appears to be that they are linked with the HA list and HASA archive
  • We failed to get sufficient interest from Silmarillion fans in organising the awards, screening and judging
  • In most categories, judges did not agree on the winning stories/works, so the winners were often second or third choices

On Judges by Eledhwen

We agreed as a committee that three judges would be ideal per category, and began “advertising” well in advance of the date we anticipated judging would begin. We asked for people with good knowledge of Tolkien, and some knowledge of fanfic. We also asked that they let us know if they had a preference for a particular genre of fanfic.

The response was good, but not perfect. A couple of potential judges were regretfully turned aside because, as minors, they would be unable to judge adult-rated material. However later on we found them places in a category with no adult-rated works. A few more potential judges were turned away because, frankly, their applications did not show enough attention to detail (multiple spelling mistakes, lack of enthusiasm, particularly when compared with the majority of judging applications).

Balancing the categories was the hardest job. Making sure that the expertise of the judges was spread out over all categories, that people did get to judge the category they wanted to, proved extremely difficult. Several judges ended up judging more than one category, and this was far from ideal as it meant a lot of work. Other judges had to pull out soon before judging began, meaning a hasty search for more.

We ended up asking quite a lot of our judges – to not only read all the shortlisted works in their categories, but to evaluate them critically, score them and comment upon them. It was interesting to see how scores and placings varied. Some categories were clean-cut. Others showed marked discrepancies in what people liked. This reinforces the crucial fact that fanfic, like any other form of art, is intensely personal. Deciding what is “best” out of a group of five vastly differing stories is not easy. It would of course be lovely to separate each category into lengths (“Best LOTR vignette” / “Best LOTR novella” / “Best LOTR novel”) but the work would be too much. Far too much.

We’re very grateful to the judges for their time and their effort – hopefully with another year of awards, there will be more applicants for these positions and hence less work. We’d especially welcome applications from anyone trained in a profession which evaluates writing – teachers, journalists, editors, and so on.

On Voters' Choice by Eledhwen

We received some criticism for compressing the 22 categories into five (Best LOTR/The Hobbit, Best Silmarillion, Best Het, Best Slash, and Best General) for the purpose of Voter’s Choice. Those writing to us thought that it would have been better to allow the public to vote in each of the 22 categories. The reason we did not decide to do this was that we rather fancied the results would merely resemble initial nominations, and we also thought that some categories would end up with very few votes indeed. The decision was not taken lightly, and it underwent some debate. We wanted an element of public voting, as it is the fandom that makes fanfic (and so the Awards) possible – this was the decision we ended up with. We’d be interested to hear any more thoughts on Voter’s Choice, and any possible ways of making it more appealing and more viable next year. That said, the response was excellent.


Khazar's General Observations

When we first floated the idea for a Tolkien Fan Fiction award, none of us thought it would become as popular as it has—and we certainly weren’t expecting it in the first year. We thought we’d get, oh, three or four entries, and then we’d all feel like idiots for even considering this. Well, we were wrong. And that’s good.

The authors who put their best words forward have no idea just how competitive the categories can be. In most of the categories I handled, there were over 50 entries. That may not sound like many, until you realize that there were over 50 full-length novels entered. That’s 50 novels that I needed to read, comment on, and score—all before category judges saw the finalists.

Unfortunately, we have a limit on the number of finalists. In most of my categories, there could easily have been twice as many finalists, and I suspect that the other admins saw the same thing. There is a tremendous amount of talent out there, and unfortunately some hard calls had to be made.

Khazar’s Lever of Doom, or How to Avoid Having Your Story Dropped Into the Pit of Rejection and Despair
Alongside my chair is the Lever of Doom. When pulled, it drops the unfortunate story into the Pit of Rejection, from which it has no chance of recovery. It’s quite easy to avoid the Lever of Doom. Honest.

Most of the big archives—Henneth Annun, for example—offer a list of “betas,” people who will help out an author. If everything had been run past beta readers, there would have been a whole lot less of the following:

Misspelled character names: It’s bad enough when you mess up a canonical name. But when you misspell the name of your own OC?

I can’t be bothered: As in, I can’t be bothered to check and see if the descriptions I give the characters match the canonical one. So what if Galadriel is blond? I want her to be a redhead, so there!

The long goodbye: The rules state, NO WIP. That means, No Works-In-Progress. At all. Even yours.

Spellcheck idiocy: As in, “from” and “form”. ALWAYS check this before submission. I’ll let a couple of these slide. After that, it’s clear that the author doesn’t care enough to check. And if the author doesn’t care, why should I?

Fancy, calligraphic fonts: They look great on a greeting card. They’re wonderful for the title. But they are very hard to read, especially when the story runs for pages. And with this, we also have:

Color my world: Pink text on a yellow background? Why? WHY?? Your submission should be dark color, light background. And not all combinations are created equal. White text superimposed over artwork is difficult to read. So is yellow on black. There’s a reason that black on white is the standard.

Art for art’s sake: Art is wonderful. It doesn’t belong in a writing contest. Illustrations do not garner extra points for you. Trust me.

Scripted: Scripts are not acceptable. At all. Why? Two reasons. First, they require a very specific set of skills to do well. Secondly, they tend to be an excuse for a lazy writer to avoid having to learn how to handle narrative.

Voices: One of the biggest problems involves Voice. Gandalf and Sam do not speak alike; it follows that they do not think alike. Yet many authors treat the characters as though they were interchangeable, and they are not. This tendency was especially pronounced with the Hobbits.

This is the end: A story should have a beginning, a middle, and—there’s another part—wait—don’t tell me—an end. Right? Far too many stories just petered out, or worse, simply stopped; in one case it was almost like the author had simply run out of room on the screen. The ending is the last impression a reader takes away. If it is haphazard--or worse-- then the whole story becomes an exercise in futility.

Where are we?: I thought that we were in Middle-Earth. So why are there references to modern terms? Why does Frodo need his “space”? Anachronisms kill the flow of a story even faster than Legolas kills orcs.

Viewmaster: Point-of-view is the single most difficult thing for an author to master. Most people use what is called the third person omniscient POV: the story is seen through the eyes of several characters, and there is an omniscient narrator to describe everything. (Tolkien used this POV.) The trickiest ones are first person POV, where everything is described by the character: “I saw Legolas shoot five orcs.” It is hard to write in first-person. The other tricky one is third person POV. Here the only thing that is described is what the character knows: “He saw the slim blonde man shooting at some snarling creatures.” The difference is subtle, but important.

Same time, same place: We’ve seen the films, and read the books. So why retell the story we already know and love? There must be other times that Eomer killed orcs, not just the day he met up with Aragorn , Legolas & Gimli. What does he normally do? That’s the story I want to read.

Say what?: English grammar and spelling are tricky. OK, chaotic. But most word processors have grammar/spell checkers. Use them.

As you can see, it’s easy to avoid the Pit of Rejection and Despair. All you have to do is care enough to check, and recheck, before submitting an entry. Because, well, let’s face it: if the author doesn’t care, why should anyone else?

When we started the Mithril Awards, we had no idea how it would work out. The quality of writing is greater than anyone suspected. I have met some wonderful people, who have been a joy to work with. This has been a fun experience, one that I hope we can repeat next year.

Comments on specific categories

Best Silmarillion
Perhaps because it is such a tough book to read, nominated stories in the Silmarillion category proved to be of an overall much higher quality than in some other categories. The contest was a close one and the range of themes wide. However authors continue to find the Tale of Beren and Luthien especially attractive, and Finrod and Maedhros are possibly the most popular slash pairing. These could be themes to avoid – they do risk being overdone. Most Silmarillion stories focus on Elves, yet some of the most striking works are the ones that feature Men – telling, perhaps. There is precious little Second Age, and the overall atmosphere is angst, angst and more angst. To be truly original in writing Silmarillion fanfic, I would suggest finding the lighter moments, or writing Second Age stories. This is not to denigrate the excellent work on the more common themes, more a suggestion to widen the boundaries of this sub-genre of Tolkien fanfic.

Best Lord of the Rings
The judges looked for stories that focused on the central characters and events of The Lord of the Rings, and especially those which illuminated the themes of the work. We also sought stories that would form a good introduction to LotR fanfiction for new readers. This was a very popular category, with almost one hundred stories nominated; however, many nominations, including AUs, OC-focused stories, humour and PWPs, would probably have been better suited to other categories. Frodo and Sam were the most popular characters, with a substantial contingent of stories focusing on Boromir. There were a high proportion of nominations for stories focusing on relatively peripheral characters (Faramir, Eomer, Galadriel, Elrond), while surprisingly few stories focused on other key members of the Fellowship, such as Aragorn or Gandalf.

Best The Hobbit
We had disappointingly few nominations in this category – there appears to be a dearth of fanfiction based on The Hobbit. A great shame, as surely the tale has plenty of opportunity for new stories: different points of view, what was happening in other parts of Middle-earth at that time, what the hobbits thought about it all ... Few of the entries really captured the “childlike” nature of this work, Tolkien’s first published fiction. However the stories that were shortlisted were great fun to read, as well as being thought provoking. Much, much more can be written about this period, and there are so many gaps to fill. I respectfully suggest – next time you’re tempted to write another Legomance post-LOTR, write something based on The Hobbit!

Best Fourth Age and Beyond
Exactly where the Fourth Age starts seems to be a point of some contention amongst writers. Stories nominated for this category ranged from ones set in Minas Tirith, just after the War, to ones set in our own, modern world. The most popular theme seems to be that of Legolas and Gimli’s enduring friendship, and their crossing Over Sea. However, somewhat ironically, the winner takes a look back at the War of the Ring from a future perspective. We had many excellent entries for this category. Those shortlisted demonstrated not only a keen sense of what might have happened during the Fourth Age, but also a sense of perspective and of history. Some of the entries that did not reach this stage were far too angsty (Aragorn’s death, in particular; or the death of a member of the Fellowship – usually Legolas – featured too many times). The Fourth Age was a new dawn for Middle-earth, and yet reading some Fourth Age fics, one would be forgiven for thinking that it was a horrendous, death-filled era!

Best Alternate Universe/Crossover
Including both alternate universe and crossovers seemed to make for a rather heterogeneous category. In the event, however, very few crossovers were nominated (under ten), and they mainly failed to include enough material from the Tolkien side of the crossover to be suitable for an award within the Tolkien fandom. The AU category also proved particularly problematic to judge. Some interesting AU stories had such a minor change to canon that they were more like alternative interpretations of canon than true AUs. The AU stories nominated also varied considerably in length and scope, from vignettes exploring only the immediate consequences of a change, to extremely long novels which rewrote Tolkien’s entire narrative after the change to canon. The great majority of stories nominated in this category were based in the LotR, with Frodo, Sam, Boromir and Aragorn being the most popular characters.

Best Elves
The Elves fascinate fanfic writers. More precisely, Legolas fascinates fanfic writers, thanks to Orlando Bloom, and the vast majority of the fics nominated concerned Legolas and little else. In judging we looked for fics that showed something of the timelessness of Elves, and what makes them different from Men. Something of the Elven-magic that so entrances Sam in Lothlórien. But this particular judge would beg of you, the writer, to find other Elves to write about. Legolas and the endless gaps in his life that he has to fill are all very well, but what about the others? Consider, carefully, what really makes an Elf an Elf. Consider Tolkien’s words about Legolas (“He was tall as a young tree, lithe, immensely strong, able swiftly to draw a great war-bow and shoot down a Nazgūl, endowed with the tremendous vitality of Elvish bodies, so hard and resistant to hurt that he went only in light shoes over rock or through snow, the most tireless of all the Fellowship.” The Book of Lost Tales 2.) This is a confident being, immortal and incredible. All Elves are like this – so let’s hear about some of the others!

Best Men
“Men are weak!” exclaimed Elrond in the film of The Fellowship of the Ring, but our shortlisted authors did not agree. With portraits of Men (and Women) ranging from Haleth to Faramir, and Ages from First to Fourth, these stories show some of what’s best, and worst, about our own race. It seems a shame that there is not more written about Men; we had as many nominations in the categories of Elves and Hobbits as in this one. Aspiring Mannish writers could do a lot worse than follow the examples of the authors here. Naturally Aragorn, Faramir and Boromir are the favourite Men to write about, with the Rohirrim running a close second. All in all a fairly consistent, strong category – probably because we do know Men, and their faults and virtues are ours.

Best Fellowship
Tolkien created one Fellowship. The winner and runner-up in this category were both beautifully written, carefully crafted pieces that illuminated the personalities of members of that Fellowship.

This was another category that had too many Hurt-Comfort Frodo stories. The best of these was marred by grammatical errors that made it incoherent. And it was too bad, because the story was interesting—when it could be understood.

Here we have a category that should offer endless possibilities. How long are they together? Where do they go? Yet the same scenes were rewritten endlessly—Amon Hen, Moria, Imladris, Rohan. Usually the rewrites were based on the film, with dialogue taken directly from the screenplay.

That’s not interesting. We already know how those scenes play out. What about other scenes? Does Aragorn take anyone hunting? Where do they get all that sausage, anyway? Do they meet a lone farmer, or a band of elves, or more rangers? Those are the stories that should be told.

Best Action/Adventure
What do you think of when you hear those words? Indiana Jones? Tarzan? Hunting orcs? Me too.

This is where you’d expect to find the page-turners, the stories that are heavy on the violence and light on the navel-gazing. And there were quite a few of those entered. This was the only one of my categories with a unanimous winner.

There were some worthy runners-up, too; one of the very few dwarf-centric stories was here, along with some fine elf-centric pieces.

Most authors have done their homework—they know what you can, and can’t, do with a sword or bow. There were fewer horse-related errors than I expected to see, which is also good. Those little details are what make an action story believable.

The single biggest problem in this category was the presence of Frodo-centric stories. Frodo would get stabbed/shot/burned/frozen/crushed/ drowned/bitten/ in the first part, and then the rest of the story centered on nursing him along. Most of these were really Hurt-Comfort stories; there wasn’t enough action to justify their entry here. The very best of these contained anachronisms so jarring that it destroyed the entire mood of the piece. Those anachronisms cost it a place in the finals.

Many stories in this category also suffered from inadequate endings. Some just ended; it was frustrating to be reading a wonderful story, only to have it simply—end. At least one looked like it ended because the author had run out of room.

I would like to see more stories based away from the ring quest; there is so much history in Middle-Earth, it seems a shame to not explore it further.

Best Drama
This was a very popular category, with nearly a hundred nominated stories covering a very broad range. A high proportion of nominations, however, were not well suited to the category: unstructured wandering narratives, character studies lacking dramatic tension or plot, and pure action with little or no character development. The judges looked for stories that made good use of the dramatic (conflict-crisis-resolution) structure, in some form or other, and which showed a good balance between plot and characterisation.

Best Humor
What is comedy? Any genre that can be home to both Shakespeare and the Three Stooges is bound to be subjective, at best.

This was probably the single most competitive category I saw. Everything from poetry to novels, all in the same massive collection of works. Every style imaginable, every character ever dreamed of, every type of humor, was present. And most of it was funny.

How tough was this category? After eliminating the ones that were unsuitable, almost half the works remained. That’s how deep the quality was. That meant going back through, reading—and rereading—until a reasonable number of stories survived. And there were some tough calls. I tried to pick the widest variety of styles, without sacrificing overall quality.

Having said all that, the ultimate winner had everything going for it. It’s funny, it’s in character, it’s well-written. And it’s not a “funny once”, a story that’s fun the first time, but tedious the second time around.

The runner-up had the most accurate voices of the entire category. Everyone sounds like themselves. That may seem obvious, but maintaining a character in voice is one of the single most difficult things for an author to master. Its biggest problem was a weak ending.

This category also had the biggest heartbreak. There was one story that was hilarious, and it would have made the finals—and quite possibly won. What was wrong? Well, it was so badly formatted that it was difficult to read. The grammar was atrocious—even allowing for a comic effect. Its lack of coherence undermined some of the funnier parts.

There were some trends that need mentioning. Homosexuality is not inherently funny. Neither are group sex, drugs, drunkenness, pedophilia, cross-dressing or rape. Every one of these was incorporated into something that someone thought was funny. They’re not.

Best Characterisation – Tolkien character
Few stories really focus in closely on one or two characters. Tolkien created such a large and varied population for Middle-earth that it is tempting to play with as many characters as possible. This category, for stories focusing on a character created by Tolkien, produced a wide variety of nominations from the Silmarillion and the Lord of the Rings, and the quality was good. A difficult category to judge! Catching the exact manner of speech of a character is key to a good depiction; capturing their feelings another good thing. And make your character multi-dimensional – don’t just focus on Frodo’s desire for the Ring, look at his feelings about Sam, his longing for the Shire ... fill in the gaps. Tolkien left many gaps, and they’re there to be played with.

Best Characterisation – Original character
Considering the amount of invective regarding the prevalence of Mary-Sues within this fandom, the overall quality of the nominations was very high, and there were quite a few pleasant surprises. Most nominated stories featured female OCs, with a strong bias towards humans, particularly from Gondor. Hobbit and elvish OCs were thin on the ground, dwarven OCs pretty much absent, and the great majority of entries focused on The Lord of the Rings.
There were quite a few nominations for minor characters invented by Tolkien and included in genealogical tables or histories in the Appendix. After some discussion, it was decided to exclude these characters. Tolkien provided them with a position in society and often with some family details, and so they did not present the challenge of creating a character whole-cloth. Many such minor characters have also accumulated considerable amounts of fanon; Finduilas is a good example. We also decided to focus on OCs who fitted into Tolkien’s Arda; thus several humorous stories of the ‘modern-girl-in-Middle-earth’ type were excluded from this category.

Best Poetry
Poetry and song play powerful roles in Tolkien’s works. How many stories are told as poems? Gil-Galad? The ring rhyme? There’s too many to name.

Poetry was also extremely competitive. Over 50 poems were entered. They ranged from delicate haiku to complex rhyme schemes, from free-verse to sonnets. And most of them were very good. Again, over half of them survived the initial cut. It took a great deal of careful culling to pare it down.

The ultimate winner involves an internal rhyme scheme that Tolkien himself would be likely to use. Our runner-up used a more common form, but was every bit as lyrical and effective.

Poetry poses some unique problems. One of the finest of the entries was eliminated because, outside of the title, there was nothing which clearly set it in Middle-Earth. It was lovely, yes, but it was also generic. A gorgeous haiku was eliminated when the author would not return emails. Some poets entered poem cycles, but refused to choose which individual piece they wanted considered for awards.

Poetry also had the largest age range among the authors. All finalists were chosen for quality. Amazingly, two young poets made the finals. The age of the authors was not known to us until after the poems had been judged. They should take pride in the fact that they were good enough to reach the finals while competing on equal footing with more experienced poets.

I think that poetry probably should be divided into three separate categories: Short form (haiku, sextets), Traditional (long poems), and Experimental (free verse, blank verse). All three require skills that are widely diverse, much like the different skills needed to create a vignette instead of a novel.

Best Critical Essay
Our winner was scholarly without being pedantic, well-written without being verbose, and a solid example of what an essay can, and should, be. The runner-up illuminated an often-overlooked fact about Tolkien: he wasn’t writing in a vacuum, as many people seem to think. He was influenced by the leading writers and thinkers of the day, and this fine essay serves as a reminder of that.

Most of the essays were well-written. There was some confusion about what makes an essay. The best way to describe it would be as a factual, non-fiction work, designed to illustrate some facet of Tolkien’s creation. It should have references—what format is chosen is unimportant—and it should have a clear argument.

This is a category that I expect will grow, because more people are beginning to understand that there is considerably more to Tolkien than pretty Elves and cute Hobbits.

Best Vignette/Short story
Over a hundred nominations, an extremely wide range of stories, and a particularly high overall quality characterised the Vignette/Short story category. Many worthy entries unfortunately couldn’t be squeezed into the shortlist, and the final judging was extremely close.

Best Novel
It takes a tremendous amount of dedication to begin a novel. It takes an even greater amount to finish one.

This was a close one. The ultimate winner had the best example of first-person POV I have seen in quite some time. The story we know wasn’t endlessly retold, the characters were sharply drawn, and everyone was in voice. This is a remarkable achievement.

Runner-up was a tie. And the two are about as different as it is possible to get. One was a powerful rewrite of a classic Tolkien love story. It had some rough spots, but it also had some passages of stunningly lyrical beauty.

The other runner-up was also a finalist in Humor. This was one of the funniest things entered; and amazingly enough, it kept up its spirit and comedy to the end. With a cast of characters that has to be seen to be believed, a love story that proves opposites attract, and a wonderfully silly approach, this is one to remember.

Almost a third of the entries were WIP. The rules say, quite clearly, that Works in Progress are not eligible. For some reason, people seemed to think that they were exempt from this rule. Umm, no. There are too many people who turned in finished works to consider an unfinished work for a prize.

Best New Author
Many of the authors whose stories were nominated within this category were very well established writers, and there was also substantial overlap with stories nominated in other categories. We decided to use the opportunity to highlight new talent by selecting only stories by authors who had published their first story in this fandom after September 2002, and excluding authors whose work was shortlisted in other award categories. We also broadened the consideration to stories nominated in other categories that just failed to make the final lists. The judges particularly looked for stories where the author brought fresh insight to the Tolkien fandom, rather than rehashing familiar plots/situations. We also looked for authors who demonstrated a firm grasp of the appropriate canon.

Mithril Awards 2004

Thanks to tremendous support from Tolkien fans, we're intending to run the Mithril Awards again in 2004.

If you'd like to help with the 2004 awards, you can e-mail the organisers at or join the Mithril Awards Administration list, LotR-FF-awards