Today I am pleased to hand over the microphone of my blog to a character I have always loved, and have grown to love even more in recent days (thanks to Richard Armitage). He will be presenting the tenth and final 2016 Silmaril for the Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene in all of fantasy. He is a character that needs no introduction, the character whose final words will always bring tears to my eyes, no matter how often I read them or hear them said.
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in some measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell.
He strides across the raised platform, a shorter figure than most of the other presenters we have seen, save Bilbo and Samwise, but no less noble. His shoulders are broad and he makes his way to the podium with a kingly presence. He is dressed, not in his cloak with the sky-blue hood, but in his full kingly raiment.
“Good morning,” he says, his voice soft and low.
The audience hushes, eyes expectant. Thorin — for it is none other than Thorin Oakenshield, King Under the Mountain — pauses, and the glimmer of a smile crosses his face.
“Today marks a momentous occasion. It is the day I have the honor and privilege of presenting the tenth and final Silmaril.”
He continues, “We have seen many worthy winners cross this platform in the past two weeks,” he begins, “heroes, stories of redemption, bards, men of both wise and eccentric caliber, memorable weapons, loyal friends, swift and true mounts, and even worthy villains…”
There are many cheers (and a few boos at the mention of villains…
Thorin waits patiently. “But today we are gathered to celebrate a more somber occasion. This Silmaril was created with the intent to honor a character whose death scene not only impacted the hearts of its audience for a moment, but which stayed with them even after the book was closed.”
An expectant hush falls over the audience. A few silent tears trickle down several faces at the memory of beloved characters whose deaths caused the kind of sorrow of which Thorin is speaking.
He pauses, then continues, “A death so poignant in its sorrow that it cannot be shaken away simply because it is fictional. There were forty-three worthy characters nominated for this award…”
A few gasps ripple through the audience. Such tragedy.
“But in the end only one character could be chosen. I find it extremely fitting to present this award today to a character who is so obviously beloved. He comes from a story many of you read as children. His death shattered your hearts, not just because of the sadness you experienced at his passing, but because of how much his death meant. For this character was not killed in battle, nor did he die of old age or some other malady. No. This character made the ultimate sacrifice, offering his own life for another’s. And not just any other’s… but a traitor’s. Even as children, the depth of that sacrifice was not lost on you… it resonated within your soul… and pointed to the sacrifice of an Other, whose death was not fictional, and far more personally impactful.” Another small smile flickers across his expression. “And so, without further ado, I am pleased to present this year’s Most Heart Wrenching Death Silmaril to…. Aslan, the Great Lion, Son of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea!”
An enormous lion paces majestically up onto the stage, his fur glinting golden in the spotlights. He nods his massive head to Thorin. “Thank you for this award, noble Dwarf,” he says, his voice like the rumble of thunder and the crashing of the waves upon the shore. “I will bear it well.”
Thorin bows and presents the award, which Aslan manages to carry away from the podium in his teeth without making it look silly. I’m not sure how he does that, but because it’s Aslan, it might just be the most noble thing I’ve ever seen.
Many congratulations to Aslan, the only character to win TWO Silmarils this year. Perhaps we can convince him to return next year as a presenter?
And that concludes the 2016 Silmarillion Awards! I sincerely hope you all had as much fun with this as I did! Many thanks to all who nominated, shared, voted, or otherwise participated! Don’t forget that tomorrow is the Online Celebration of Lord of the Rings’ 62nd Birthday! If you have a post to share for the celebration, make sure you put it in the link-up below so we can all stop by and see it!