Welcome to the Silver Tongue 2018 Silmaril Awards presentation. For this year’s presentation we’ve had a slight change in the program. in order for that to make sense, I need to present you with a short glimpse into what precipitated this unexpected turn of events.
Several weeks past…
A bedraggled Bilbo Baggins pawed anxiously at his sumptuous vest. A look of consternation seized the old hobbit’s face, then, relief. “Ah, here it is, my precious…poem.” He pulled out a sealed envelope which he handed to his nephew.
Frodo wrinkled his nose curiously. “What are you up to Bilbo? You’ve not been yourself lately.”
Bilbo wagged his head at Frodo’s forgetfulness, then answered in a secretive whisper. “It’s the Silmarils, my dear Frodo, the Silmarils!”
“The Silmarils? Those awards you’ve been going on about?” Frodo asked.
“Shhhh! Half the Shire’s been poking and pestering me to find out the contents of that envelope. Best not to speak too loud when you mention it. You never know who might be listening!”
Frodo had a laugh at his uncle’s expense. “Here? Inside Bag End? Why, that’s the silliest thing I’ve heard all week. We’re the only ones here.”
“You can never be too sure,” Bilbo said, taking the lid off the teapot and looking inside suspiciously. “Confounded Sackville-Bagginses,” he muttered under his breath.
“Bilbo, you need to get out, take a little fresh air. You’ve been cooped up at your writing desk for ages,” Frodo said, his voice touched with genuine concern.
“Yes! Well said!” Bilbo turned, his eyes lighting up once more, the dark suspicious looks a thing of the past. “A holiday is what I need, my dear Frodo. A holiday indeed! And that is just what I intend to do. I want to see mountains, Frodo, mountains, and then find somewhere where I can rest.”
“Now? But how will you—?”
“Oh, I know—the ceremony. What about that? ‘They’re counting on you, Bilbo,’ that’s what you were going to say, wasn’t it?” Bilbo smiled knowingly. “But don’t you see, that’s why I’m giving you the envelope. I’ve chosen you to present the award this year!”
“Me? Oh, no, I’m no poet.” Frodo offered the envelope back to him. “Take it, Bilbo, you must take it.”
Bilbo shook his head. “I’ve watched you grow into a fine young hobbit, Frodo, some would say the best in the Shire. And I’ve always felt that somehow you deserved a place in this Silmaril affair, that you had some part to play.”
Frodo looked doubtfully at the envelope, but still held it out.
“And you’ve got Baggins in you, my boy, and that means something. I’m not asking you to write anything, you know. Just to read it in my place.”
Frodo lowered his arm and met Bilbo’s gaze. “Very well. I will bear this burden…though I do not know the way.”
Frodo shuffles out onto the stage suspended within the arms of the great malorn tree. His green doublet shimmers subtly in the omnipresent light. The smell of fresh rain drifts through the air.
Galadriel, the keeper of the silmarils, stands center stage, radiating with the light of the undying lands. She holds an engraved silver box in her hands, filagreed with leaves and replicas of the great malorns which ring the stage like moonlit sentinels.
A series of tiered wooden banks rises at the opposite end of the stage and there sit people of all manner and kind, quietly awaiting what is about to unfold.
Frodo stares up into Galadriel’s gentle eyes. “I believe in you, Frodo of the Shire,” she tells him.
Frodo’s chest swells with confidence and he whispers an inaudible, “thank you,” as he turns to face the audience.
“Greetings,” he says, then falters. He hesitates, but after a moment draws forth an envelope from his vest. “Welcome to the Silmaril Awards…I know you’ve come a long way. You expected to see Bilbo, but I’m quite sorry to say he is otherwise engaged at the moment. But, as the representative of the Baggins family, I’ve come to present the award in his place.”
Though there is some whispered murmuring at this news, an anticipatory hush soon falls over the crowd.
Frodo opens the envelope. “Bilbo asked me to read to you a poem he composed for this occasion.” He clears his throat before he begins.
I stand upon the stage and speak
of poets far and near
of minstrels, bards, and troubadours
whom I’ve been blessed to hear;
Of similes and metaphors
in poems written down,
that sparkle in my memory
like jewels in a crown
I stand upon the stage and speak
of riddles in the dark
of prophecies and noble creeds
which leave a lasting mark.
Yet still there are so many words
that I have never read:
in every verse, in every rhyme
another truth is said.
I stand upon the stage and speak
of words which shall endure
and stand against the vagaries
when all else seems unsure.
And all the while I stand and speak
of ballads brave and bold
I watch and wait and listen for
the silver tongues of old.
At the end of the poem Frodo breathes a long sigh of relief. Galadriel touches his shoulder in quiet congratulations as the crowd applauds.
He then produces a second envelope from his vest. Breaking the seal, he begins to read once more. “And the nominees for Silver Tongue 2018 are, Eanrin from The Tales of Goldstone Wood, The Florid Sword from The Wingfeather Saga, Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiernan Kane from The Minstrel’s Song and Lionheart, also from Tales of Goldstone Wood.”
Enthusiastic applause accompanies the mention of each of the names as moonlight reflecting off a cleverly placed elven mirror shines upon each of the nominees.
And the winner is…
“And the winner is…Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle.”
A dashing figure in an ostentatious red jacket and impossibly long black pants rises to thunderous applause. With a wave of his hand roses and other assorted flowers shoot from the crowd, thrown by no one in particular. After a few moments, the stage is almost covered by this floral explosion. Poor Frodo is nearly lost in the deluge.
Galadriel steps forward and Howl eyes her with unabashed delight.
“You must be the Lady of the Wood I’ve heard so much about,” he says, flashing a perfect smile. “I think I may live happily ever after now.”
Frodo sheds enough flowers to step between them. He points to the silver box. “Your award, Mr. Howl.”
“Oh, yes, yes, the award. Silver box for a silver tongue, how lovely,” he says, without ever taking his eyes off Galadriel.
Galadriel, shaking her head in quiet dismay, smiles winsomely and opens the box for him. An amber light bursts forth from within.
“It’s not the box, Mr. Howl,” Frodo says, withdrawing a round, effulgent gem from the container. “It’s what’s inside it.”
As the silmaril is lifted, its light soon throws all other beauties into shadow. The malorns, the flowers, even the evergreen loveliness of Galadriel, all fade amidst its eternal, sidereal glow. Gasps of awe flit through the crowd.
Even Howl is spellbound by this new light. Almost mechanically he bends down as Frodo drapes the brilliant gem around his neck. “This shade of orange goes perfectly with my coat,” Howl mutters, as he wanders away. He heads towards the edge of the platform, completely unaware of his surroundings, completely enraptured by the light. A few elven ushers in silver vestments deftly rush over to keep him from walking off into a three hundred foot drop.
Other ushers move in to clear the stage, using supple brooms which seem not so much to sweep the flowers away as absorb them, leaving airy motes of light in their place which quickly fade. In moments the stage is cleared and all is quiet once more.
Frodo bows deeply to Galadriel as the light from the elven mirror dims and the stage goes black.
Thank you for coming!
Thank you for stopping by to witness this year’s presentation for the Silver Tongue Silmaril. I hope you enjoyed our little ceremony.
There are still more awards to hand out. Keep visiting silmarilawards.com as a new winner will be announced each weekday through September 28th.
What do you think? Were you pulling for Howl? Or did one of the others get your vote? Let me know in the comments below!