The Silmaril Awards 2018: Least Competent Henchman Award Ceremony

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The ballroom has seen better days. Window dressings hang limply from curtain rods which sag in the middle, drooping with age and weariness. Ancient chandeliers hang down from the ceiling, their lightbulbs flickering occasionally. The audience shifts in their mis-matched chairs, possibly with anticipation of the ceremony about to begin, but more likely from discomfort and a desire to leave this place as soon as possible.

The rickety old boards of the stage creak loudly under my feet as I cross to the microphone.

“Is this thing on?” There is a loud shriek of feedback and the audience cowers, hands clapping over their ears. The sound-guy in the back works the board frantically then waves the “all clear.”

“Sorry about that, folks!” I grin. “Good henchmen are hard to find, after all!” Nervous laughter ripples throughout the room. “I know it’s not the nicest location, but it’s what we have to work with this year. Thank you so much for joining me as we open up the 2018 Silmaril Award Ceremonies!”

Applause fills the room.

“Here to present the award for Least Competent Henchman is the great standard of Least Competent Henchmen himself, the mighty, the ferocious Uruk’hai…. UGLUK!”

Ugluk strides menacingly across the stage and I back away slowly.

“Welcome, Ugluk!”

The Uruk’hai pushes me out of the way and leans over the mic, his sword held up menacingly in one hand. “Why have I been summoned AGAIN?” He snarls, revealing his sharp teeth. “I thought last year was a one-time thing.”

“Oh… no… this is an annual thing. That means every year.”

Ugluk stares at me. “I have to do this…. a lot? Will there be man-flesh at the snack bar this year, at least?”

“Um… no… and I think Kyle asked you last year not to mention that… remember?”

Ugluk snarls in disgust and rips open the envelope like he’s hoping to find something to eat inside. He stares at the five slips of paper for a long moment. Then glances up at a rotund audience member in the front row and licks his slimy lips.

He snarls. “Five again? Is that some sort of stupid rule? I hate rules.” Without waiting for an answer he continues. “Ridiculous creature named DOBBY. 28 votes.” He tosses the paper on the ground.

Dobby leaps onto his chair and begins dancing about congratulating all of his fans for being the best, most wonderful, most loyal of friends.

“Um, no, you’re supposed to go in order…” I begin, but Ugluk raises his sword and glares at me. “Uh… never mind.”

“SHUT UP!” Ugluk roars at the audience. “Wizard. Wizards are worthy foes. Not this one, though. ANTORELL! 13 votes. Miserable creature.” Ugluk snorts.

Antorell draws himself up and seems to consider casting a spell, but Ugluk’s menacing snarl terrifies him into a semblance of wisdom (perhaps the only time he will ever experience such a thing) and he flees in disgrace.

Ugluk spits on the floor and I wince. “Next, aha! A general! Mighty leader of men! GENERAL KHRAK!” Ugluk pauses. “12 votes. Bah! Puny general.”

The audience gives a half-hearted cheer… unsure if they should clap or not for such an announcement. General Khrak stands up, knocking over his chair, glares around at everyone, and storms from the room.

“Two left.” Ugluk stares at the two cards and then whirls to face me, his face contorted into an impressive grimace of outrage. “A DONKEY! What mockery is this?” he bellows into my face, brandishing his sword with each word. “Bah!” He throws the paper on the floor.

I pick up the paper before it teeters off the edge of the stage. “Yes, Puzzle came in second place with 74 votes,” I say, trying to ignore the angry Uruk’hai next to me, not an easy feat, let me tell you!

Puzzle cowers under his chair, nervously chewing on one of Dobby’s socks and makes no reply.

Ugluk grits his teeth. “FEZZIK WINS!”

Fezzik leaps out of his chair and lumbers up onto the stage. “I AM THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS! THERE WILL BE NO SURVIVORS!” he bellows. The effect is slightly lessened by the fact that one of his feet goes right through the stage floor and it takes him a minute to pull it free.

Ugluk stares up at the seven-foot giant, and for the first time, something like respect glints in his eyes.

“At last,” he mutters, “a real henchman. Tell me, how many have you defeated in battle?”

Cattle. Fezzik’s brow furrows. “I don’t think I can count that high,” he says earnestly. “But I specialize in beating up groups and gangs for local charities.”

A wash of confusion glazes Ugluk’s eyes. “Hmmm. What weapon do you use?”

“These are what I usually choose.” Fezzik holds up his hands.

“No weapons?” Now Ugluk is REALLY impressed. “You will serve the Dark Lord!”

Fezzik does not seem to realize he has just been offered a job, for he is still talking. “As God intended. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.” Fezzik beams. “Sportsmanlike.”

Ugluk’s esteem dims. “Sportsmanlike.” He spits the word in disgust. “Whatever.” He has lost interest in the entire proceeding. With a jerk of his hand, he tosses the Silmaril at Fezzik. “Take it. I must report to my master!”

Fezzik catches the jewel in one hand as Ugluk stomps away. Fezzik stares at the Silmaril in awe.

henchman-medallion-silmaril-award.The audience, released from fear with the absence of the overwhelming presence of the Uruk’hai, leaps to their feet and applauds and cheers for Fezzik. He glances up shyly, and a smile breaks across his face.

I step forward to congratulate him. “I’m sorry the Silmaril is a little cracked… dragon mail is rather unreliable these days, you know. By the way, if you thought working for Vizzini was bad, you REALLY wouldn’t like working for Ugluk’s master.”

Fezzik bends down to shake my hand. “Are they cheering for me?” he whispers.

I nod. “They love you!”

Something glitters in Fezzik’s eye. But it surely couldn’t be a tear. He stands tall and bellows, “I AM THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS! THERE WILL BE NO SURVIVORS!”

A hush falls.

Then the cheering and laughing and clapping erupts even louder than ever.

I grin and take the mic. “Thank you all for coming. That went rather well, all things considered. Please feel free to grab some snacks and congratulate our winner of this year’s LEAST COMPETENT HENCHMAN award!”

 

Don’t forget to stop by the other Award Presentations, which will happen one per weekday 9/17 – 9/28 – I will add to the list until all the ceremonies have been completed!

Most Mischievous Imp

Strangest Character

Most Faithful Friend

Silver Tongue

~ jenelle

Tolkien Parties Galore

Good afternoon, dear Reader!

First and foremost, if you have NOT voted for your favorites in the Silmaril Awards, please make sure you go do that RIGHT NOW! Friday (9/14) is the last day to vote, and the polls close at midnight!

Now that you’ve cast your ballot (or if you already had before coming to read this post), we can talk about some other things.

Such as the schedule for the Silmaril Award Ceremonies! Over the next two weeks, we’ll be posting one award ceremony a day so that you can see who the 2018 Silmaril Winners are! I’m so excited. I think this year’s voting form was the hardest one yet to choose from, but I’m excited to find out who the winners were in each category:

Monday 17 - Least Competent Henchman (right here on my little blog…. and with the henchmen getting so out of control earlier this week, who knows WHAT will happen come Monday?!)
Tuesday 18 – Most Mischievous Imp @Regarding Reading and Writing
Wednesday 19 – Strangest Character @Imagine~Dream~Explore
Thursday 20 – Most Loyal Friend @Inspiring Writes
Friday 21 – Silver Tongue @DJ Edwardson

Monday 24 – Wisest Counselor @Road of a Writer
Tuesday 25 – Most Nefarious Villain @Kyle Robert Shultz
Wednesday 26 – Most Epic Hero @Author E.E. Rawls
Thursday 27 – Most Epic Heroine @Short and Snappy
Friday 28 – Most Magnificent Dragon @Adventure Awaits

Make sure to check those out!

Now, a few other fun Tokien-themed things are happening about the blogosphere in the next couple of weeks, and I wanted to make sure you are all aware of them!

YOU ARE INVITED

To a Tolkien Blog Party!  The marvelous Rachel Kovaciny, author of the award-winning Sleeping Beauty retelling: “Man on a Buckskin Horse” and the newly released “Dancing and Doughnuts” is hosting her SIXTH annual Tolkien Blog party in a few weeks, and I think it goes so nicely with the Silmaril Awards, that I just had to make sure you all knew about it!

Tolkien Party Rivendell 2 2018

There will be games, a tag, a book review or two, and a giveaway! For more details, check out THIS BLOG POST.

#HobbitWeek

The Tolkien Tribe is running #HobbitWeek over on Instagram as a fun week of prompts for pictures, captions, stories, or comments that you can participate in the week of September 17 – 23.

I’ll just post here what they have to say about this event:

At long last, #HobbitWeek is upon us once again! And the #TolkienTribe has of course put together a series of Middle-earth prompts to accompany you all through these upcoming seven long days of celebration! 
We tried to choose simple, easy, mostly generic prompts to allow everyone to participate or contribute with pictures, Stories, captions and comments as they see fit, but also brand new ones that we hadn’t already proposed to you either during TolkienWeek or MiddleEarthMarch 
The most important week in the Shire starts next Monday, September 17th, and it ends on #ShireSunday, September 23rd.
On September 21st there will be the 81st anniversary of ‘The Hobbit’s publication, and as you all know a certain Long-expected Party (otherwise known as #HobbitDay) will take place the next day, September 22nd! 
Remember to tag and/or mention the @tolkientribe and #HobbitWeek in your photos so that we can see them and spread the festive atmosphere throughout bookstagram and beyond!
If you have any further doubts or questions, you can of course contact us and we’ll do our best to make this experience as fun and enjoyable as possible for you! 
So then! Gather your own Fellowship and get your taters ready, ’cause I have a feeling it’s gonna be a blast as always! Meet you all at the Green Dragon for a nice celebratory pint! 

The prompts:
Monday 17 – Favorite Valar/Maiar
Tuesday 18 – Weapons/Magical Artifacts
Wednesday 19 – Favorite Theme/Subplot
Thursday 20 – Creature/Magical Species
Friday 21 – “The Hobbit” 81st Anniversary
Saturday 22 – Happy Birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! – Favorite Non-Middle-Earth Tolkien book/story, OR Tolkien-related book not written by him
Saturday 23 – Tolkien Words to Live By

SO MANY FUN TOLKIEN-RELATED THINGS!

 

~ jenelle

Silmaril Awards Voting Round Least Competent Henchman

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The nominations have been submitted, the votes have been tallied, and only five characters in each category have advanced to the final round. Thanks to drawing the short straw this year, the henchmen have been crammed into my apartment all week… as they lacked the foresight to book hotel rooms for themselves before the event, and they’re getting a mite annoying. I suppose Kyle’s descriptions from last year should have warned me that this was coming, but I really thought they’d have learned their lesson… well, I suppose we are talking about the least competent henchmen here… ahem. Forgive me, I got a little off-track. You didn’t come to read me complaining about my houseguests… I can tell they are all extremely well-meaning souls, but I can only take so many dirty socks ending up in my dishwasher and broken plates going through my dryer… doesn’t matter how many times I tell them… *sighs* next year, I’m just going to stock up on paper products.

Anyway.

The time to vote for the best of the… erm… least of the least… has arrived! Now, each blog has the entire voting form on it, so you don’t have to go hunting for all the forms, they are in one handy dandy location on each blog. However, you won’t want to miss the entertainment going on at each blog where all the finalists are introduced, so make sure you swing by each of the hosts’ blogs to read those!

Yes! Yes, I am about to introduce you! I had to talk to the nice people who are about to vote for you… what? No! You may not come out and threaten them into voting for you, besides, your father isn’t even here… no, I’m sorry, he didn’t show up. I don’t think he expects you to win… I’m sorry, Antorell… no, Puzzle! You may NOT run away…. and please stop eating my couch cushions!

“Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh yes… the finalists! First up we have a character who has come to visit all the way from the Enchanted Forest. ANTORELL! Come on out, Antorell!”

Antorell strides out onto the stage and glowers into the bright lights. With his long brown beard, staff, and billowing robes he strikes an intimidating pose and mutters something under his breath. A clap of ominous thunder rolls over the audience and soapy water showers Antorell from above.

“What?” Antorell splutters, then his expression turns horrified. “No! Not lemon juice! How humiliati….” But that is all he is able to say before he melts into a murky puddle.

“Um… yes, well, that’s what you get for trying to use magic to unfairly sway the audience to your favor,” I mutter. “Don’t worry, folks, the melting isn’t permanent. Antorell will be back for the award ceremony later. But for now… well… you can see, Antorell is a fitting finalist for this award. Between you and me, the poor guy isn’t a very competent wizard. He tries, he really does, but I think he gets nervous… his father being the head of the wizards and all. Anyway, let’s hear it for Antorell!”

I shuffle through my cards.

“Next up we have a much-beloved character from somewhere in the English countryside, though it’s hard to get there if you’re a muggle. It’s DOBBY, everyone’s favorite house-elf!”

A small creature creeps out on the stage to thunderous applause. He holds up a hand.

“Please, please do not… Dobby does not deserve such praise. Dobby was only trying to do his best to save Harry Potter.”

The crowd goes wild, chanting and stomping their feet.

“No, no, Dobby does not wish for this award! Dobby wishes to be rid of his evil masters who wish to hurt Harry Potter. He does not wish to be a good henchman for them.”

“It’s okay, Dobby, this award is for LEAST Competent Henchman. Means you’re not good at helping villains.”

Dobby brightens and capers about a bit. “Then let the clapping people continue! Dobby is proud of his lack of competence at being a henchman! Dobby will be the least of the least competent ones in this matter!”

“Thank you, Dobby!”

After a few more bows and capers, I get him over to the side, warning him not to step in Antorell… “Um, can we get someone out here to clean this up?”

The janitor scurries up with a mop and bucket and quickly cleans up the mess. Dobby dances about for the crowd a little, setting them off on another round of uproarious applause.

I wave for the audience to calm down and the janitor retreats behind the curtain with his bucket.

“Next up we have General Khrak, from the Wingfeather Saga!”

The General strides onto the stage and glares grimly out at the audience, who applauds despite his attempts at intimidation.

“The General is a Fang commander and one of the oldest servants to his master, and even manages to find several clues to help him in his quest to find some powerful jewels, isn’t that right, General?”

Khrak does not respond or look up from polishing a button on his sleeve. He appears bored with the entire proceeding.

“General?”

He glances at me with a sneer. “I do not appreciate being nominated for this award,” he snarls. “Least Competent, indeed! This entire thing is an outrage, and is keeping me from my most important task. I was just on the verge of discovering a crucial clue when I was called in to be part of this… circus.” His lip curls and he stomps over to stand next to Dobby, who immediately begins trying to cheer Khrak up.

“Okay! Heheh… Next up we have… um, hold on a second…”

Puzzle! Please come out. You can’t hide back here forever, and WHAT are you eating? PLEASE tell me that’s not Antorell… that’s completely inappropriate and it can’t possibly be good for either of you.

I return to the stage. “Sorry about that, folks. But do you see what I’ve been dealing with here? Ahem. This next finalist needs no introduction, really. All the way across the realms from Narnia, it’s Puzzle the Donkey!”

Puzzle’s ears emerge from behind the curtain first, twitching slightly. He steps unsteadily out onto the stage, blinking blearily into the bright lights. The audience applauds and several shouts of encouragement reach our ears.

“Puzzle couldn’t be evil if he tried,” I continue. “He’s more misguided really, than actually evil, and he doesn’t have the best taste in friends, but his heart is true and it comes through to help him out in the end.”

Puzzle bows slightly. “Thank you for…” he begins, but then he seems to freeze up. His eyes roll a little and his legs stiffen. “Um… excuse me, Miss Jenelle… but… I don’t think I should have… um… that bucket of water… I was so thirsty… but it doesn’t seem to have agreed with me and I don’t feel well…. I think I need to go hide… er… lie down. May I be excused?”

“Yes, of course… best of luck with the votes!” I grin brightly at the audience. “Just one more to go, folks! This final finalist may be the biggest and the strongest, but that’s not his fault! Please welcome Fezzik!”

His footsteps thunder as he steps out onto the stage, a giant smile on his giant face. He waves a hand and gives a slight bow as the audience leaps to its feet once more.

“We certainly love our incompetent henchmen around here!” I grin. “Fezzik grew up with loving parents who encouraged him to do what he was best at: fight! He traveled with them, winning prize fights against every opponent he could find, but eventually his parents died, leaving him on his own, one of his least favorite things to be. Eventually, he fell in with Vizzini and began working as a henchman. But even though he’s great at fighting, what he really loves are rhymes!”

Fezzik grins. “They really are sublime!”

“That was very good!” I smile. “Fezzik, what do you like most about being a henchman?”

Fezzik gets a thoughtful expression on his face. “I’d rather be on the bench, ma’am.” Then he shrugs apologetically. “That’s not perfect, but it’s the best I can do on short notice.”

The crowd laughs.

“Well, thank you for being here tonight.”

“I won’t go down without a fight!”

“That’s great, Fezzik, but I’m trying to let these people get to voting.”

“Wouldn’t they rather have a nice day out boating?”

“I can see why Vizzini wasn’t a fan of this.”

“When I’m gone, it’s something you’ll miss.”

“Right… well, folks, time to cast your votes, mark your ballots, and choose your favorites, and may the best least competent henchman win!”

“If he don’t, it would be a sin!”

Okay, Fezzik, I love you, but really, we need to get off the stage so these nice people can go vote… no more rhymes, now and… come on, don’t make me say it… General Khrak! That wasn’t nice at all. Ah, Antorell, you’re back already? No, I… I have no idea why there’s a hole in your robes… we’ll get you a new one at home. What? Well, I’m sorry you don’t like sharing my spare room, but that’s what you all get for not thinking ahead. Maybe next year… what’s that? Yes, Puzzle, we can stop and get some alfalfa on the way home… maybe… if you promise to stop nibbling on my furniture, really, you should be staying outside… no! That’s it! All of you, get in the car NOW!

I apologize again, these henchmen can get a little unruly. The voting booth is now open!

The Voting Form

 

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If that doesn’t work for you for any reason, you can use THIS LINK instead.

Now that you’ve voted, don’t miss the other Finalist Announcements!

Most Nefarious Villain

Most Magnificent Dragon

Strangest Character

Silver Tongue

Most Mischievous Imp

Most Epic Hero

Most Epic Heroine

Most Loyal Friend

Wisest Counselor

~ jenelle

Silmarillion Awards Special Sale

Good morning, dear Readers!

I hope you are enjoying the Silmaril Awards so far! I think we kicked it off to an awesome start yesterday! There have already been a lot of nominations, and some great and worthy (and a few unworthy, I suppose, considering we do have villains and henchmen among us) characters have been mentioned and discussed. I am excited to see how the week shapes up and who is left standing when the nominations are counted and it comes down to the next round of voting!

Remember, you can nominate and second AS MANY characters as you wish this week! And the nomination period continues until Friday around 11:59pm!

Today, however, in conjunction with the Silmaril Awards… I’d love to make you aware of a very special, never-bef0re-seen offer I’ve got running JUST TODAY and TOMORROW (9/4 – 9/5).

You can get the ENTIRE Minstrel’s Song series FOR FREE for the next two days!

Yup, you read that right. 4 books, totally free. (And I highly recommend you pick up a free copy of Mythical Doorways, too… because you’re going to want to read “Dragon Ward” when you’ve finished Minstrel’s Call… it’s the story of Gwyna and Keltarrka… if you’ve read Yorien’s Hand and Minstrel’s Call, that means something to you… if not… well, it will when you’re done).

Why? Just because I love you. Because of life, the universe, and everything I couldn’t handle the additional stress and logistics of putting together the massive giveaways and scavenger hunt we ran during the Silmaril Awards last year… but I also didn’t want y’all to leave the party empty handed… so consider this your party favor!

Get your free series HERE.

Minstrel's Song Series graphic

~ jenelle