Silmaril Award Ceremony: Strangest Character

Please excuse this ceremony being slightly less elaborate than I had imagined--I am up to my neck in assignments. :)

I take a deep breath. It's all come down to this moment. My first ever Silmaril Award Ceremony. And on Bilbo & Frodo's birthday, no less! 

I step out onto the makeshift stage, in front of all the assembled characters and guests. We--and by "we", I mean "I made all of the male strange characters do it"--have brought, in addition to the stage, a whole bunch of picnic tables into this little open nook of the Old Forest. Filling all of these tables is an assortment of the strangest possible characters you could imagine, from a retired star (not a movie star, but an actual star) to a vampire to a library-dragon hybrid, and so on. Mixed into the crowd are more normal characters--friends of the strange ones, or characters simply curious about the festivities. 

It's a lot more intimidating to be up on this stage than I expected, especially given that I did host most of these characters in my dorm room for a week.

I clear my throat. "Welcome one and all to the Silmaril Award Ceremony for the Strangest Character! I'm delighted to be hosting you in this wonderful glade in this forest that will definitely not attack us if we're out here for too long, or if we mention cutting down trees!"

There's a ripple of disquiet in the crowd. "Oi, is this actually safe?" calls a young woman with purple hair, who I could have sworn was just sporting a duck beak.

I clear my throat. "Um. Yes. Please don't worry--we have among us if not the king of the forest, at least the caretaker, the one person the forest always listens to. Listen--here he comes!"

A voice begins to sing, far away at first, but getting nearer:

"Hey dol! merry dol! ringa dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal lillo!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!"

*Credit for this particular rhyming bit goes to Tolkien. Yes, I stole it. I figured I had enough work with the rest of the post. XD

I breathe a sigh of relief as a short, stocky man appears from between the trees, wearing his old straw hat, blue coat, and yellow boots, his typical beaming smile on his face.

"Hey! here, welcome all, to the joyous party!
Silmarils awarding on this day so happy
Tom's here to tell you all who will have the honor
Taking home the greatest gift that we have to offer."

He bounds up on to the stage, a ripple of applause heralding his arrival. 

"Hello, Tom!" I say. "Thank you for coming. I know you don't like to leave Goldberry, so I appreciate your presence. Would you mind telling our guests the results of the award for this year?"

He winks at me. "That I shall, merry dol, derry dol, Samantha!"

I hand him the sheaf of papers that I've been tapping nervously against my leg so much today that there's starting to be a mark on my pants. 

He ruffles through it, finds the page he's looking for, and clears his throat. 

"Fifth place to the one with the lovely face
Princess of the moon, such a distance place!
Reality at times can get a little hazy,
But the Princess Winter is our favorite crazy."

A young woman with voluminous curly black hair stands, looking a little confused, and I beckon her up onto the stage. As she ascends the steps, I smile at her. "Congratulations on fifth place!"

"Thank you," she says gravely. "I cannot say I am sure being acclaimed as the fifth-oddest character in all of fantasy is an unalloyed honor."

She turns to face the crowd, and another ripple runs through them. Winter is the most beautiful person I have ever seen, despite the three scars which run across her cheek, which somehow enhance her charm. 

"However," she concludes, smiling, "I appreciate the honor, alloyed as it may be." 

The crowd begins to applaud--and simply doesn't stop. Howl has a slightly glazed look on his face, and Sophie, who has stopped applauding, elbows him in the ribs. JinYeong has leaned forward in his seat, and looks rather hungry, and even Oskar N. Reteep looks interested. The only people who don't seem affected are the women in the audience, and Tom Bombadil, who has already begun leafing back through his notes to find the fourth place character. But Winter only has eyes for a broad-shouldered young man, his bright blue eyes shining with pride as he claps enthusiastically, making far more noise than almost anyone else's. 

And still, the crowd keeps clapping. And clapping. And clapping.

I roll my eyes and step forward, raising my hand for quiet. "If we could please move on to the next finalist?" 

The crowd quiets, and Tom raises the sheaf of papers.

"Fourth goes to Gurgi, little hairy lumpkin,
Best at helping master, good old country bumpkin
Strange for his looks and also for the smell
But he's best of all the friends, as anyone can tell."

A creature who looks somewhat like a mix between a chimpanzee and a very shaggy dog bounds enthusiastically up the steps onto the stage. 

I smile, and then crinkle my nose a little at the smell. "Congratulations on fourth, Gurgi."

"Gurgi is grateful," says Gurgi. "And Gurgi is happy to see Tom Bombadil again, with his chanting and planting."

"Hey here, Tom's glad for Gurgi, too," Tom replies. 

"Gurgi has been a finalist for the past four years," I explain, for those who are confused as to how a character from Welsh pseudo-mythology came to be acquainted with one from English ficto-mythology. 

The crowd begins their applause again, this time led by a tall young man seated next to a princess with flaming red hair, also enthusiastically clapping. 

As the noise dies down, Gurgi steps back to stand with Winter, who has moved to the rear of the stage, behind Tom and me. 

"In place third, the heartless one, the handsome one,
From the moving castle, sure that's the most fun.
His hair may not be quite the same after Sophie's cleaning
But here he is, a Silmaril hoping to be gleaning."

"Unfortunately, third place isn't quite high enough for that!" I add, with a wry smile. (Howl is definitely my favorite. Not that I'm supposed to have favorites, but I do. That may have something to do with the fact that I wasn't the one who had to deal with him in my bathroom for that whole week.)

A young man with long flowing sleeves on his blue-and-silver suit, reddish-blonde hair, and a slightly wry expression on his face steps up onto the platform, eschewing the stairs. 

He turns to me. "Are you sure I got third and not second? Calcifer is going to be unbearable."

I purse my lips sympathetically. "Yes, I'm sure. Sorry, but the readers have spoken."

He shakes his head. "Well, I suppose it's better than the last few years where I haven't placed at all." He sweeps me a half-bow and turns to face the audience, to whom he also bows, more elaborately than he did to me.

I try not to feel slighted. After all, Sophie, who has begun clapping enthusiastically, is in the audience, and I am not Sophie.

As the applause dies down, and Tom begins to glance through the papers again, Howl joins the other two, standing a good distance away from Gurgi.

"Second to the living fire, from his hearth a-traveling
Mischievous Calcifer, always the most welcoming.
He may look like flames of fire, but don't be tricked,
He's alive, even though all he eats are sticks."

Calcifer glides up to hover just above the stage, smugness written on every inch of his fiery face. "Congratulations on second place," I tell him. "Please don't set the stage on fire."

"I shan't," he crackles. 

The applause for Calcifer goes on notably longer than that for Howl, and when I glance over my shoulder, Howl is shaking his head ruefully. "Unbearable," he mutters again, and turns to Winter. "Have you ever tried to live with a smug fire demon?"

She looks confused. "No, I cannot say that I have." 

"Well, be glad of that," he says, and sighs. 

"And last of all, the winner, the Silmaril receiver
The Cheshire Cat, uncanny, and a masterful deceiver.
As you may see before he comes, his smile comes before him
He gives advice, which may seem strange, but often is important."

A gloating grin appears to be floating up onto the stage, but the rest of the Cat slowly appears around it. 

"Congratulations, Cheshire," I tell him. 

"Thank you muchly," he purrs.

Tom has set down his sheaf of papers and is rummaging through his pockets. "But where's the jewel, Silmaril, I must be awarding?"

"Oh yes," I say quickly. "Sorry, Tom. I have it here in my pocket." I pull forth the shimmering multi-colored purple, blue, and white gemstone in its golden setting, and hand it to Tom by the soft ribbon. 

He takes it and hangs it around the Cheshire Cat's neck, as the crowd applauds 

"Bear it well, strangest cat, strangest of the characters
Keep the gem safe from all, especially the strangers."

(Not bad advice, given how Eugenides is eyeing it.)

Cheshire smiles, reveling in the adoration, and disappears again, leaving only that satisfied grin and the Silmaril, appearing to be hanging in space. 

As the crowd's cheers slow, I step up to the edge of the stage. "Congratulations to all of our finalists, a special congratulations to the Cheshire Cat, and thank you to Mr. Tom Bombadil for being here today!"

More applause. I'm kind of getting sick of it at this point. I need to go find a quiet corner to read in. Ooh--maybe my dorm room will finally be quiet with everyone gone!

"And now," I announce, "please avail yourself of the refreshments!" Courtesy of the magic users, as I arranged with them earlier, platters of food appear on all the tables, and the audience falls to.

I heave a sigh of relief and turn to Tom. "Thank you, my good sir. And now you're free to stay and celebrate, or return to Goldberry, if you wish. Please bring her my greetings." 

He smiles, winks at me, hops off the stage and heads off into the woods, singing to himself. I sigh again and scan the tables for a piece of chocolate cake.

I think I deserve it at this point. 

So! The Silmarils are a wrap on my end for this year! But there are still more award ceremonies--be sure to hop over to D. J. Edwardson's blog tomorrow for the Most Nefarious Villain ceremony, which is sure to be much more chaotic than this one! 

Are you surprised as to the winner? I certainly was! What was your favorite part of the ceremony? And how bad do you think Howl's life is going to be, now that Calcifer has finished ahead of him in the Silmarils? XD


  1. Oh this was absolutely delightful!!!

    I've never hosted the strange characters, and I must say I'm a little bit intimidated by the whole poetry aspect of it... but also kind of itching to try my hand. You did such a great job with this! I'm glad that you and your roomie will be getting your dorm room back to yourselves now!

    Poor Howl. But Calcifer IS stranger than him, so it's fitting. Of course, living in that castle with TWO people who did better than him in the Awards is probably going to make... everyone else in the castle miserable, as Howl is quite good at letting his emotions affect everyone else.... tangibly. Oof. Poor Sophie. :) :)

    I was surprised at the winner... but then, Cheshire is a well-known and beloved character. I was totally rooting for Gurgi though. One of these years, he's gonna have his day!!!

    1. Aww, thanks!

      It's so much fun, though! And I also was super intimidated by the poetry thing, because I do NOT write poetry (at least, not well), so if I can do it so can you! My roomie and I are quite happy about getting our room back, too. ;)

      I do agree that Calcifer is more strange, so it makes sense! Howl needs to win some other award...has he ever won Silver Tongue? If not, I need to nominate him for that one next year... I do hope Sophie doesn't have to deal with more green slime, though...that's already caused enough problems!

      Me too! Cheshire is great, but I don't think of him as having the popularity to win this award, though...? Gurgi definitely needs to win someday, after being fourth for so long, and so does Calcifer!

  2. You did great with this ceremony! I was rooting for Calcifer, but ah well — there's always next year. Congratulations to the Cheshire Cat!

    1. Thank you! Someday, Calcifer will definitely have his day. :)

  3. Such a fun, poetic romp. You had so many clever couplets and asides. My favorite was the verse about Winter, "the Princess Winter is our favorite crazy"! Crazy indeed!

    I'm actually surprised the Cheshire Cat has not won this before. Almost everything from Alice in Wonderland is strange and he takes the cake even among that bizarro lot.

    Speaking of cake, enjoy yours. Well deserved indeed!

    1. Thank you!! You're too kind. The Winter one was one of my favorites. :)

      It is a bit crazy that he hadn't won before this, but at the same time I wasn't expecting him to win? A strange combination.

      Thank you! I shall enjoy it, indeed. :)

  4. Aaaahhhh Samantha! I adored every bit of this!!! The rhymes were INCREDIBLE. So, so brilliant. And you captured the characters to perfection! This was too much fun!

    But oh boy, Calcifer placing higher than Howl... Yeah, Sophie is going to have to deal with a lot of smug fire demon and sulky wizard for a while, poor thing. Though I guess she can be smug herself being as how she WON an award. *grins*

    Don't tell Howl but... *shifty eyes* I voted for Calcifer. Just on the fact that Calcifer IS a very strange character. I thought he was most deserving of the award. BUT I am immensely pleased with the results! I've actually voted for Cheshire multiple years. He is definitely, definitely fitting for this award and it was high time he got it. So I am happy! :D

    This whole thing was just spectacular. *all the applause* Now do go get yourself some peace and quiet. You have EARNED it!

    1. Ah, thank you so much, Christine! I'm glad you liked the rhymes--they took me forever, and had me stressed out, so the fact that other people like them is encouraging. :D

      Yeah, that's going to be fun for Sophie. And Michael, sheesh. (Unless he's made himself scarce and moved out? I'm not entirely sure what happens to Michael...) I'm not sorry I don't live in the Moving Castle this week...

      (Don't tell anyone, but...I did, too. I love Calcifer!) Cheshire is an excellent choice for strangest character as well, and he's been finalist for a while, so I'm definitely not sad he won!

      Thank you! I shall most certainly get myself some peace and quiet...this weekend should be very nice. :)

  5. Chesire? Cheshire?? I was not expecting him to win, but I like it! Although I think he'll have to put the Silmaril up on his wall or something or it'll give him away every time he tries to vanish. 🤔

    Great job with the Bombadil verse! That came out really well.

    1. I wasn't, either! But he's definitely going to have to find a wall to put it up on, because it's not gonna work for his lifestyle. XD

      Thank you! :)

  6. Samantha!!!! I am in AWE of your rhyming skill, my girl! This was such a delight of a ceremony! You pegged Tom Bombadil PERFECTLY. AND EEEP!!! I am so impossibly happy that the Cheshire Cat won a Silmaril!!! He's by far one of my favorite literary characters, so seeing him recognized makes this smol reader very very happy, indeed. XD

    1. Aww, thank you! I'm glad you think I got Tom Bombadil right--I'll admit, trying to work with other authors' characters was the scariest part of this award ceremony--even more so than the rhymes!
      Cheshire is a great character and definitely one of the stranger ones, so I think he was a good pick for the Silmaril! :)

  7. Poor Howl, he's going to have trouble with Calcifer... perhaps Sophie can hang her Silmaril up nice and obvious in the kitchen or somewhere to keep them from bickering too much about their second and third places? xD

    Well done with the verse, Sam that's impressive! And I hope you're enjoying the quiet - and increased access to your bathroom and mirror - now all these chaotic strange characters have moved out xD

    1. That would be an excellent idea! (I don't know if I'd fully put together that Sophie won a Silmaril this year, and neither of the other two did? Go Sophie! XD)

      Thank you! I definitely am feeling a bit more relaxed having my dorm back to myself...

  8. Heck yeah! The Cheshire Cat won! I admit this is what I hoped for, dearly as I love Calcifer. Enjoy your newly regained peace and quiet, Sam. XD

    1. Welp, Calcifer can always win next year! XD (Cheshire is a good pick for strangest, though.) Thanks! I will.

  9. When these ceremonies were happening I was in the middle of opening a play, so I never read ANY of them. I've been saving it as a special treat for when the semester was over. XD

    YES!! CHESS!! I have wanted him to win for YEARS. I mean, everyone in Wonderland is strange but Chess has something special going on.

    Tom Bombadil is one of my favorite parts of the whole trilogy, and your take is fantastic!! I love the rhymes!! Congrats again and again on your first Silmaril awards as a host!

    1. Yay! I'm glad you got to enjoy them as a reward for a good semester. :)

      I was actually quite surprised that he won, but it does make a lot of sense--he is pretty dang strange!

      Oh my goodness, thank you! That's high praise! I had a lot of fun--but also a LOT of stress--writing his rhymes!


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