Silmaril Awards Ceremony: Most Devoted Couple

“Five minutes,” I say, popping my head into the green room housing the award presenters—a truly green room, as it’s merely a smaller glade off the larger one that we’re using as an amphitheater. Faramir and Eowyn have most kindly agreed to host us in Ithilien, which is the most beautiful forest I’ve ever experienced, though some of the forests of the Pacific Northwest do come close.

Eowyn looks up from the table where she’s sitting with Helen, Aravis, and Ramandu’s Daughter, and smiles at me. “We shall be ready when you call us, Samantha.”

Aravis pops up from the table. “But Sam, here, let me fix your collar.” She fusses with the collar of the dress I’m wearing—a long dark-green dress with flowing sleeves and a laced bodice that matches the dresses the other women are wearing. I adore it, but I can’t for the life of me seem to keep it in proper shape. When I’m doing wedding coordinating, I usually wear a very simple dress—all the rushing around tends to muss whatever I’m wearing.

I smile at her. “Thank you. Your haberdashery skills are unsurpassed.”

She grins. “My pleasure. I learned from the best.” 

“And you spend far too much time on it!” Cor calls from the other side of the clearing, where he’s chatting with a couple of men in full armor, and an older man with regal bearing, wearing a knee-length blue silk tunic.

“Oh, and you’d like me to dress in rags?” she calls back, laughter sparkling in her dark eyes.
I withdraw before I get involved in another one of their affectionate quarrels. They’re great fun, and affectionate teasing is an area in which I excel, but I need to give a five-minute warning to the other green room.

The mood in this one is much more subdued when I issue my warning. It seems everyone is rather nervous, except for Howl, who is audibly assuring Sophie “It is patently impossible for the award to go to anyone but us.”

I do believe Sophie just rolled her eyes.

I crouch to address the four smallest nominees, wincing on the inside as I imagine what that’s doing to my dress. “There are small platforms on the stage for you for when you’re called out, so please make your way to those when your names are called. That will ensure that everyone can see you.”

Three out of the four nod solemnly, but Heather smiles at me irrepressibly as she nods. “Thank you for all the work you’re doing, Samantha,” she says.

I shake my head. “No thanks needed. I love doing this!"

Ten minutes later—because I gave the five minute warning ten minutes ahead of time, as every wise event coordinator does—Faramir and Eowyn, Frank and Helen, Cor and Aravis, and Caspian and Ramandu’s Daughter are standing in the wings to the left of the stage, while all the nominees are standing in the wings to the right.

I’m about to step out onto the stage when Aravis grabs my sleeve. “Final dress correction,” she whispers, adjusting the shoulders, and evening out the lacing. “There.”

I smile at her, take a deep breath, trying to release the butterflies in my stomach, and step out onto the stage.

It takes me a second to get my nervousness under control so that I can speak, and in that moment, I survey the clearing, full of all the devoted couples I got to know so well two weeks ago, as well as many of their friends, and the friends and family of the finalists. I see a huge, broad giant with a slim, dark-haired swordsman, a whole delegation of mice, moles, otters, shrews, hares, and badgers, as well as many rabbits (all sitting on platforms we built towards the front of the audience, so they won’t get trampled), a young man and a pretty girl who would look completely ordinary except for the living flame that’s floating just above the young man’s left shoulder, and several kids dressed in dark robes.

Everyone I see has an encouraging smile on their face. I remind myself that no one here wants me to fail at my public speaking role, take a deep breath, and launch into my speech. “Welcome one and all to the Silmaril Award Ceremony for the first ever Most Devoted Couple award!”

I wait a moment to let the applause die away, and continue, "It is my great pleasure to be co-hosting you in this wonderful place with the king and queen of this realm, as well as their honored guests. Please permit me to present to you…”

I pause, and Faramir and Eowyn step out onto the stage, Eowyn holding Faramir’s arm.

“Faramir and Eowyn.”

The applause is long and loud.

“Frank and Helen.”

More sustained applause.

“Cor and Aravis,” Cor bounding onto the stage, and Aravis following in only a slightly more dignified manner.

Even longer applause, including the neighing of a couple of horses who I could have sworn weren’t actually included in my Narnian invite. I grin.

“And last but not least, Caspian and…” I pause for a split second, horrified that I don’t actually know her name, but finish, “Ramandu’s Daughter!”

By the volume and length of applause, I’m pretty sure no one has noticed my gaffe, and it amuses me to see that it’s all the young women in the audience who keep the applause going the longest, dazzled as the young men may be by the beautiful star-daughter.

When the applause dies away, Faramir raises his hand in greeting. “You are most welcome, gentlefolk, to our fair realm,” he says. “We are honored to extend to you our hospitality, and hope that your sojourn in our kingdom will be a pleasant one. We are also most honored to announce to you today the winners of this momentous award.”

I breathe out and step back towards the rear of the stage. Good. Faramir and Eowyn have the ball—now I can just watch and enjoy. This is why I love being in the behind-the-scenes of event planning. Once I’ve run around like a maniac for several hours, I can hide in the background while the actual awards ceremony or what-have-you runs smoothly.

Eowyn speaks up. “We are also most honored to enjoy the company of our Narnian cohosts,” she says, her voice softer than Faramir’s, but still carrying strongly across the whole assembly. “We thought that since there are four couples altogether, we would take it in turn to announce the placements of the finalists of this august award.”

A questioning murmur goes through the crowd, and I hear the word “four?” repeated several times.

Faramir smiles. “We have a tie for fourth place, but we invite Caspian and Ramandu’s Daugher announce the two couples in fourth.”

Caspian steps forward, clanking in his armor, grinning, and holding his wife by the hand, as she steps gracefully forward beside him, her beautiful dress swirling perfectly around her feet.
“It is our noble duty and great pleasure,” he says, “to announce the two fourth place finalists. The first of them are a couple who have been to very dark places together, and never despaired, who fought to the finish, and found happiness in the end. Heather Longtreader and Smalls Jupiter…”

The crowd begins to clap, with especially enthusiastic applause, high-pitched whooping, and whistles from one of the platforms towards the front left of the audience, which is packed full of rabbits, some with swords, others wearing bows, and yet others who seem not to have taken off their aprons in their haste to get here, all of whom seem to be jumping up and down with excitement and pride.

Heather and Smalls emerge from the side of the stage, with big smiles on their faces, and, paw in paw, climb the steps to one of the two small wooden platforms on the stage, to the left of the presenting couples.

“Congratulations to you,” says Caspian. “I am glad to see two such worthy rabbits honored in such a way.” He sweeps them a bow.

Smalls bows in return, and Heather curtsies. “We are honored by your words, noble prince.”

“Congratulations,” I tell them, feeling a smile spread across my face, even as my own words are not nearly as adequate as Caspian’s. These rabbits are one of my favorite couples in the finals, and I’m so glad they made it this far.

“Thank you!” says Heather, with an irrepressible grin. “We weren’t expecting to even make it to the finals, so this is a great honor.”

She and Smalls turn and wave out into the audience.

Once near-silence is restored, which takes a bit, Ramandu’s Daughter says, in her beautiful, graceful voice, “And the other couple tied with them for fourth is a couple whose devotion has never wavered, and whose questing skills are unparalleled. Matthias and Cornflower.”

The crowd begins to applaud again, as the pair of mice scurries forth onto the stage, and climbs aboard the other platform on the stage, beside Heather and Smalls. There are huge high-pitched shouts going up from several of the audience-platforms—mice and otters cheering and clapping, moles yelling “oi, oi, oi!” in throaty little voices, shrews yodeling, and hares crying “eulalia!”

I grin and realize that I might be tearing up a bit. Oops. But the support of their friends is so beautiful!

“It is an honor to honor two such devoted mice,” Ramandu’s daughter tells them. “I wish you joy.”

“Thank you, beautiful lady,” says Matthias, bowing to her. “We are in your debt.”

She smiles, and shakes her head.

“Congratulations, Cornflower and Matthias!” I tell the two of them.

“Thank you,” squeaks Cornflower, blushing, and putting a paw on Matthias’s shoulder. He wraps an arm around her waist, and smiles at her, and then the two of them smile out into the audience.

When the applause abates, Caspian and his bride step back, and Faramir gestures Frank and Helen forward.  

“We are pleased,” Frank says, in his gruff voice, “to announce that the third-place couple is Remus and Tonks Lupin.”

Tonks’s purple hair appears in the doorway, but there’s a momentary pause before she bounds onto the stage, leading her slightly reluctant husband, who, when he sees how many eyes are on him, starts to blush.

But as soon as the audience sees them, they start to clap, with especially enthusiastic applause, cheering, and catcalls from a section of black-robed students, including a young woman with bushy brown hair, who seems to be jumping up and down between a dark-haired young man with round glasses, and a red-haired young man and woman. All four of them are yelling their heads off. A red-haired older couple standing next to the red-haired young people, who appear to be their parents, are also cheering loudly. Several other miscellaneous but strange-looking people, including a man with a peg leg, whose eyes are doing very strange things, are clapping in an excited but slightly confused manner.

“Congratulations, Tonks and Remus,” says Helen, and Tonks lets go of Lupin’s hand, and runs over and gives wraps her in a hug. “Thank you!”

Frank steps forward, and grabs Lupin’s hand in a firm handshake. “Well done, son.”

“Well…thank you,” says Lupin, returning the handshake.

“Congratulations!” I whisper to them, as soon as Tonks releases her grip around Queen Helen, and I regret it slightly, as Tonks grabs me in an even tighter hug.

Once I have breath back from that, Lupin shakes my hand. “Thank you for hosting us, Samantha. We appreciate it.”

“It’s my pleasure,” I tell him. "I hope to see you again next year.”

He smiles. “And that would be our pleasure.”

Tonks grabs his hand, and the pair of them stand next to the two platforms, smiling.
The excitement slowly dies down, King Frank and Queen Helen step back to their places, and Cor and Aravis step forward.

“I say!” says Cor. “We are to announce the couple that takes second!”

“No, I shall announce the couple that takes second,” says Aravis, shooting him a challenging but teasing glance, lifting her chin, waiting to see what he’ll do.

“But then I don’t get to do anything!” he protests.

“You get to do everything,” she counters. “You handle most of the matters of state at home. One of my most prominent responsibilities is to be decorative.”

If I am going off of the discussions I’ve heard about state matters between her and the other ladies in the past week are anything to go off of, this is a gross misstatement of the facts, but who am I to deny Aravis the right to spin things how she wants in order to win an argument with Cor?

“And,” she continues, “this occasion is nothing if not decorative. Therefore, it is my responsibility and pleasure to announce the couple who place second.”

“But we’re supposed to do it together!” Cor protests. “And, anyway, King Frank announced the last couple! I think it must be the man’s job.”

“But King Caspian and his wife each announced one,” Aravis counters.

Before the argument can continue any farther, Sophie steps out onto the stage, with Howl close behind her, looking reluctant. “All right, all right, all right,” she says, in her best calming-Lettie-and-Martha-down-when-they-squabble voice. “If Lord Faramir and Lady Eowyn chose you to present the second-place award, it’s clearly supposed to go to the two of us, and so here we are to accept it. Now neither of you gets to say it.”

By this point, Eowyn and Caspian’s wife are hiding smiles behind their hands, Caspian and Tonks are grinning, and King Frank and Queen Helen are laughing outright.

“You tell them, Sophie,” says Helen.

Cor and Aravis both look slightly shocked. “Umm,” says Cor. “Well.”

“The lady is correct,” says Aravis. “Congratulations on second place.”

“Thank you,” says Sophie primly, but with the hint of a smile dancing at the corner of her mouth.

"But wait--that can't be right!" protests Howl. "Second? We're in second? Samantha, I think you need to recount the votes."

I hide my smile. "Sorry, Howl, you are indeed in second."

He throws up his hands. "Fine. We’ll get first next year, eh Sophie?”

“Maybe the voters didn’t think you’re devoted enough,” she points out. “Maybe you need to improve your behavior for next year. The thing about you flooding the bathroom probably put us down several percentage points.”

Howl shakes his head. “Impossible. I’m far too charming. I’m sure they didn’t even remember the bathroom incident.”

I’m laughing uncontrollably by this point.

Faramir clears his throat, and Sophie elbows Howl, steering him towards the front of the stage and Lupin and Tonks.

After a confused moment of silence, the crowd bursts into applause again, led by the floating fire, which is blazing very cheerfully, and threatening to torch the hats of several people nearby. Howl bows elaborately to the crowd, Sophie curtsies, and Aravis and Cor step to the back of the stage again, Cor looking slightly shamefaced.

Now, Faramir and Eowyn step forward. “As you gentlefolk have probably ascertained,” says Faramir, “the winners of the Silmaril this year are a couple who supported each other through thick and thin, through imprisonments and presumed deaths, through sand and through the fire swamp. They have, by voter consensus, been chosen as this year’s Most Devoted Couple.”

“Please allow us to present,” says Eowyn, “Buttercup and Wesley.”

The crowd roars—although I think most of the roar came from the throat and lungs of the giant in the audience, and I’m a little worried about the eardrums of the people around him—and Wesley, in his black suit, and Buttercup, in her signature red dress, step out onto the stage.

Faramir and Wesley bow to each other, and Buttercup and Eowyn curtsy.

“Congratulations,” Eowyn murmurs.

“We thank you,” says Buttercup.

From somewhere, Eowyn and Faramir produce a Silmaril, and at first, the audience wonders how both Buttercup and Wesley are going to accept the one gem. But it becomes clear, as Eowyn and Faramir unfold the ribbon together, that there are two loops to the ribbon, and the two of them hang one loop over Wesley and Buttercup’s necks, so that the Silmaril becomes one more bond holding the two of them together.

Both of them regard it in awe, as the crowd continues to applaud.

“Congratulations,” I tell them, under the cover of the noise.

“Thank you, Samantha,” says Wesley, in his fabulous British accent. “We are most honored.”

After several minutes of clapping, I raise my hand for silence. “Thank you!” I say, projecting my voice, so that hopefully everyone can hear me. “Thank you for coming and honoring our finalists and this year’s winners. It is wonderful to have all of you here with us on this joyous day! And now…”

“Cake!” calls someone from the Hogwarts section of the crowd.

I grin. “Yes. It’s time for us to eat.”

On cue, the tables behind the crowd are suddenly laden with platters and bowls and tureens of delicious treats, from a whole roast pig, which I can see Miryem eyeing with distaste—oops—to pumpkin cakes to lemon punch.

“Let’s eat!” I call.

And we do. Everyone piles onto the benches and feasts, even Faramir and Eowyn, although they do so more graceful than, say, me. I’m afraid there is a permanent cranberry stain on my dress, which is a shame because I was so hoping to wear it to Formal.

After dinner, there are toasts—toasts to all of the finalists, to the winners, and to all of the couples who were nominated, as well as one to me, which I wasn’t expecting.

And after the toasts, we dance late into the night, everyone dancing with everyone else. We finish the night with a circle dance, whirling hand and hand, the Silmaril around Buttercup and Wesley’s necks glittering in the starlight.

(Please head over to E. E. Rawls's blog tomorrow for the Most Wayward Soul Award!)


  1. What happened to Beren and Luthien?? Did orcs hold them up?

    1. Not going to lie, I'm also wondering this . . . though I certainly won't complain about seeing Faramir and Eowyn. :D

    2. Oh gosh... the official version of this story is definitely that they were held up by orcs or maybe the same villains that made half the votes disappear. But *whispers* the true story is that I definitely and 100% was sure that the presenters were Faramir and Eowyn and conveniently forgot that Beren & Luthien even existed. Even though they're some of my favorite characters in Middle-Earth. *hides*

    3. That's awesome! Poor Beren and Luthien! We shall have to remember this for next year and include it in their presentation!

  2. *wild applause* This was a DELIGHT!!!

    I love, love, LOVE how you got the various Narnia and Middle-earth couples to take turns. Having Frank and Helen here gave me an extra dose of happiness. They deserve all the love! And Aravis and Cor's bantering. Yasss. Perfection!

    I was rooting for Sophie and Howl because they are my tippity top OTP of all time. BUT. Sophie bursting in there and saying what's what and Howl whining about everything was GOLDEN. 10/10 Howl and Sophie. And they came close! So I shall be happy in that. Maybe next year!

    Plus how can I not be happy for dear Buttercup and Wesley? I adore those two! So ALL the congrats to them!!!

    This was just so. much. fun. And I have been abysmal about commenting, but your last post sharing a peek at all the character hijinks also brought me endless joy! I was grinning all the way through! So good and hilarious!

    So ALL the applause for these devoted couples and YOU! Delightful all around!

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Christine! It was fun to write, but not going to lie, I was kind of down to the wire on getting it done. XD

      That was definitely one of the most fun parts of the ceremony! And how could I not have Frank & Helen? They're just... *chef's kiss* I love them so much. (Writing the banter was definitely a highlight. Based on the line "They got so used to quarrelling and making up and quarrelling and making up again that they got married so as to do it more conveniently", which is one of my favorite quotes from The Horse and His Boy, there definitely needed to be banter involved. XD)

      I'm sooooo happy that you liked the Howl & Sophie parts, because I know they're your favorites!! I was definitely expecting them to win, but maybe next year!

      Buttercup and Wesley are definitely a very devoted couple, and I'm very happy for them! It's making me smile how many Princess Bride characters are showing up this year...I feel like that hasn't really happened before?

      I'm glad you enjoyed the last post, too! (And I've also gotten so behind on comments, so don't even worry about it.)

  3. Congratulations to Wesley and Buttercup! I can't say I'm surprised that they won, though I was rooting for Howl and Sophie personally. Lovely ceremony, and loved seeing everyone's friends celebrating with them!

    1. I actually was quite surprised--I definitely thought Howl & Sophie were going to win! But the Readers Have Spoken, and I'm happy for Buttercup & Wesley, too! I had a lot of fun writing the ceremony, so I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  4. You wrote this in such a whimsical, delightful fashion. So many wonderful little touches with each of the characters, making them distinct and helping us feel a part of the banter. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It was, I don't know, somehow refreshing. Just a good, fantasy frollic, with the air of a pleasant picnic, perhaps. Well done.

    And I'm so glad the Westley and Buttercup won. I was pulling for them!

    1. Aww, thank you DJ! I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I really enjoyed making the characters unique as much as I could, and writing the banter. :)

      Lovely! It's always fun when the favorite wins!

  5. Oh huzzah for Buttercup and Westley!! I'm so excited for them! Love them to pieces, and I know the book came first and I love it so, but the movie is my favorite of all time.

    This was so delightfully fun! I love love loved the banter between Shasta and Aravis, it's exactly how I picture them continuing, and I love that quote from their book, as well.

    Oh dear, I hope you can get the cranberry stain out of your dress so you can wear it to Formal!

    Thanks for hosting and doing such a marvelous job!

    1. The movie is SO GOOD! It's a favorite of mine, too, although I had actually never watched it until I was 14 or so.

      Haha, I'm so glad you liked their banter! I was pretty sure I couldn't have them come without SOME sort of banter...

      Me too! XD

      You're very welcome! I enjoy hosting so much every year!

  6. BRO! I forgot you were the wedding coordinator!! This category was MADE for you. :D

    Tsk tsk, I myself was hoping for Remus and Tonks. And by hoping I mean voting.

    I think you sealed their fate in your not wanting them to win. XD I think they check the devoted box, but I’m always confused because I feel TPB doesn’t check the fantasy box? So I’m not sure what it’s doing at a fantasy award? Just like Robin Hood winning hero a few years ago. Great, but why? XD

    Anyway, your banter between the characters is GRAND. Brava!

    1. Haha, yes! That didn't occur to me until actually I was writing the ceremony, and then I was like THIS IS SO PERFECT.

      (I had other hopes, too, but hey, Buttercup & Wesley are also a good choice, I suppose. :))

      Welp, I mean, there's only so much I can do. It's not that I didn't want them to win, but rather that I thought the other options were better, lol. Huh, I hadn't thought of TPB not checking the fantasy box! Mostly because it's set in a medieval imaginary kingdom, but I guess it doesn't /technically/ have any magic in it... Fascinating.

      Aww, thank you!

  7. Ok, WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK!?!?!?!?!?!
    It stands against every tenet of cosmic justice for such a couple as Wesley and freakin BUTTERCUP to win this category! I remind everyone, it takes TWO, count 'em, TWO people to make a couple and TWO, yes I said TWO DEVOTED PEOPLE to make a DEVOTED COUPLE!!!!! Which is why I'm most unfortunately confused as to how an admittedly swashbuckling hero and a PERSONALITY-BARE NONENTINY managed to win this category. Wesley, yes, most devoted, very good, but BUTTERCUP? She's about as devoted to her husband as the female mantis to the male. For you people who aren't biology nerds, FEMALE MANTIDS EAT THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS!!!!! Buttercup is nothing but a simpering, diluted, character-void leech in a pretty girl's body, feasting on the undeserved love and effort that Wesley wastes on her... I swear I could go for pages, but I won't because I'm bored and have more engaging things to do. Very nice post.

    1. Well, hello Eomer. I was wondering when you'd show up. I am slightly tempted to take this comment down, because this is a positive space, and we're supposed to be happy for the winners, but I find it amusing, so I'm going to leave it up.
      I will say that I can definitely find some points of agreement with you, but I don't think I'm supposed to say any of that in public, lol. (But if you ever write that essay, I will publish it.)
      I'm glad you enjoyed my post. XD XD XD
      Fondest regards,
      Sam ;)


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