Tuesday 20 September 2022

The Silmaril Awards 2022: Wisest Counselor Award Ceremony

The stage has been set. 

...Not an actual stage. I didn't manage to book the stage/spotlight/audio system setup this year. (They were rented out when I got to the shop. By some people who take their show chickens very seriously.)

Neither do I have a Party Tree, but I do have a enough trees that the garden is full of dappled afternoon light, and there's a nice set of wrought-iron garden chairs in the corner. The fairy lights are set to come on as evening falls, too, which I thought fantasy characters might appreciate more than a glaring spotlight. 

Is this me making excuses for losing the stage and audio system to chicken judging? perhaps.

But, regardless of whether or not I have a stage (with a spotlight), it's time for the winners of Wisest Counselor to be announced!

And now, let me just slip into third person! *snaps fingers aggressively*

Silmaril Awards 2022: Awards Ceremony

The garden is full, and there's a comfortable low babble of conversation. 

After hosting all fifty-three counselors for two weeks, Jem knows they're not always so pleasant and dignified. In fact, some of them can be downright chaotic when the need arises. 

Also one of them is a goat. Currently nibbling the hedge. 

But the majority of people mill around and make cheery conversation, most holding a gently steaming cup and/or something sweet to nibble on. (After hosting the villains last year, Jem realised that some Silmaril categories might need a significant amount of tea and coffee on hand.)

Laughter breaks out from one cluster of counselors. Gandalf, his hat clearly visible above those around him, has evidently just told an excellent story. (The cup in his hand is red wine.)

Jem sidles up to the group and shuffles her way in, tugging at the wizard's sleeve. "Gandalf, are you ready to begin?" 

"Naturally." He twinkles around at the group. "If you'll excuse me, my dear friends." 

As Gandalf steps onto the back verandah, setting his cup on the railing as he passes, counselors look up from their conversations. Swords, wands and flames/magic sparkles of varying origins are tucked away, and faces become attentive. 

Most of them, at least. Calcifer has never had terribly good manners and is still floating amongst the branches of a tree, apparently in conversation with a mostly-vanished Cheshire Cat.

"Welcome, everyone, to this year's Silmaril Awards for the Wisest Counselor! Thank you all for being here – we know 

If you would like to get comfortable?"

And Jem might not have been organised enough to get a spotlight and a stage, but she did have enough foresight to realise she'd need adequate seating for the counselors – some of whom are, after all, quite old. Half a dozen magic users mutter, wave their hands, and – Jem can't actually see what that particular one is doing, his expression looks somewhat alarming, but maybe he's just thinking his magic. Chairs, cushions and stools pop up across the garden, just like she'd requested. Everyone gives a polite clap of gratitude, and sits.

Gandalf beams at them. "Well, now you're all seated – I hope you've still got plenty to eat and drink, by the way? – we can get started! You're all here because you've been recognised as excellent counselors, but of course, there can only be one person awarded a Silmaril today. So let us see how the votes fell!"

"Fifth place, with five percent of the votes, Molly Weasley, from Harry Potter." 

A motherly red-haired woman stands up, looking slightly overwhelmed by the company she's in, and bobs a quick curtsy. From behind the hedge at the back of the garden, fireworks goes off, loud and colourful and with a mind of their own. One seems to simply contain multiple pairs of clapping hands, which circle Mrs Weasley's head until she swats them away. 

Gandalf eyes them thoughtfully. "Unusual fireworks, those. Remind me to talk to their makers later. Fourth place, nineteen percent of the votes, Nia Wingfeather, from the Wingfeather saga."

The woman who stands up this time is younger, but still has the gentle – and tired – eyes of a mother. She smooths her apron and curtsies. A couple of childish whoops come from behind the other end of the hedge, and Nia smiles. 

"Third place, twenty-two percent, Professor McGonagall, Harry Potter." 

This woman is tall, with severe glasses, and looks somewhat less gentle at first glance than the previous two. There's a chorus of muted cheers from behind the hedge. Some unseen person hisses "Gryffindor!" and is promptly stifled. The professor's lips twitch, and she sits back down.

"Second place and twenty-four percent, Beana, from The Tales of Goldstone Wood."

The goat turns away from the hedge. "...baaaah?"

A girl pops up from behind the hedge, evidently seated on someone's shoulders beause it is not a short hedge. Her face is entirely veiled with rags, but her excitement is clear regardless. "Yes! Beana, well done!" 

The goat twists her neck up to stare with judgemental and unblinking goat eyes at the girl, who quickly disappears. 

By this point, of course, there's quite a murmur of amusement going around the counselors. Yes, they might be wise, and they might be responsible, and they might sometimes die in their line of work (before they can impart that one vital piece of information!), but they are somewhat less stuffy than their image generally suggests.

Gandalf smothers his own smile. "And the winner, with thirty percent! Not an overwhelming majority, but a clear winner nonetheless. Merlin, of Arthurian legend, come forward!"

A man of innumberable age and bearing a shockingly white beard stands up. His eyes twinkle beneath wild brows, and Gandalf returns the look almost exactly. 

Merlin climbs the stage – slowly, as old men with bad knees do – and Gandalf carefully hangs the Wisest Counselor Silmaril around his neck, to a hearty round of applause.


...There's a boisterous cheer from the other side of the hedge, and this one is most certainly not a child, but a full-grown man. The tip of a sword appears above the hedge and is waved about enthusiastically.

Several counselors struggle to keep their laughter contained.

"I do believe it's now time to take some tea," Gandalf says brightly. He slides a sideways look at Jem. "And it would be rather rude, I think, if we did not acknowledge our second audience! I'm sure they would appreciate the opportunity to congratulate their counselors in person, don't you? ...It sounds like there are plenty of them out there, though – I do hope there's enough food–"

At once every magic user, it seems, has done their thing, and the tables around the edges of the garden – previously only bearing light tea-party food – are now groaning.

Jem sighs without any real malice and goes to invite the fence-audience in. 

At least her pantry won't suffer.

 • • • • • • •

Maybe I should keep a few counselors around for a while. They give good advice, they tell me to Do The Thing I Need To Do (But I'll Do It Tomorrow), and they can motivate me when something doesn't work out like I want. They're reassuring to have around!

...Apart from Athelas. His habit of sitting in my armchairs and smirking is not at all reassuring. But he has to go hang out with the Silver Tongues now anyway.

Also: I'm so sorry to fans of Arthurian legend...... all I could picture was BBC Arthur and old!Merlin. Those aren't the rules, I know, but... it was too much to resist.

 • • • • • • •

Wednesday is the presentation for Most Magnificent Dragon, which is always an impressive spectacle. 

So head on over to E.E. Rawls' blog and see which of your favourite dragons has got a nice new shiny to add to their hoard!

See you around, my friends, and enjoy these two weeks of the Silmaril Award celebrations!


  1. Whooo hooo! Congrats to Merlin!!! (And I'm pretty sure I was picturing BBC Arthur and Merlin here, as well... it's okay because they are based on books, so they're allowed to come). And awww, what a delightful ceremony!

    1. I am happy to let Arthur and Merlin's BBC faces represent their books, for sure xD

      Thank you Janelle! <3

  2. ....Gandalf has wine while everyone else has tea and coffee. XD Why is this SO on-brand?

    And Fred & George's fireworks! So good! And all of the popping up from behind the hedge--hilarious. :)

    Congrats to Merlin! (Of course, to be honest, I totally thought that Professor McGonagall should win, but...there's always next year!!)

    1. Gandalf is such a Tired™️ mentor that he needs a little glass of wine, yes, thank you Dori-

      I agree, Sam, I thought McGonagall might make it - but next year might be hers!

  3. Arthur behind the hedge made me smile. The whole ceremony was so very inviting. So glad you enjoyed a more peaceful ceremony this year! And hurray for Merlin, the OG wise counselor!

    1. Imagine, if you will, Arthur crouching behind the hedge surrounded by a bunch of children, waiting for his friend and mentor's name to be called...

  4. EEP!!! I'm very happy for Merlin, but MAN I was hoping McGonagall would win this year! Lol, oh well. Perhaps next time. XD

    Jem, this was such a delightful post! XD Why do I feel like it was Ron who shouted "Gryffindor" behind the hedge? Please tell me I'm right. I can SO picture it being him. XD

    1. My line of sight didn't extend behind the hedge, but I'm pretty sure it was indeed Ron xD Do we need to fear what McGonagall's lions will do in celebration if she wins next year, do you think??

  5. Yay for Merlin! You hosted quite an enjoyable "ceremony," and offered your "guests" a very lovely back verandah, garden setting. Thank you, Jem! 😊

    1. Thank you! I figure mentors have put in a lot of hard work, so I tried to make the backyard party a relaxing setting for them 😉

  6. Congrats to Merlin! I quite enjoyed the ceremony, particularly the antics of the hedge-audience, and it was rather nice of Gandalf to invite them in (and of the various wizards in the crowd to help out with the refreshments).

    Rose Red is sitting on Oeric's shoulders, and I dare ANYONE to dispute me.

    Also, LOL about Athelas. I can see how that would get unnerving . . . XD

    1. I think I saw various wizards and magic wielders helping out around different ceremonies this year, which is lovely of them xD

      GASP I wish I'd had the mental image of Rose Red sitting on his shoulders when I wrote this, that's gold xD

  7. *APPLAUDS FOR MERLIN* Being like the OG wise counselor, he definitely has deserved this award for a long, long time! I voted for McGonagall but I was really rooting for ALL of them. This was such a perfect group!

    And the ceremony was a BLAST. All the behind-the-hedge shenanigans made me giggle. I loved it so much. And Gandalf being the only one with wine. XD

    Also yes... Athelas is currently lounged in my armchair drinking all my tea and smirking. It is unnerving indeed and I have a sneaking suspicion even after the Silver Tongue ceremony he may not leave...

    1. He won't leave. I can attest. I think Silver Tongue is his favorite category. Even if he wins... or even if he doesn't get nominated... he's gonna show up and drink all the host's tea. Every year.

    2. Merlin had a few years' experience on the other nominees, that's for sure!

      I'm glad my guests made you giggle, Christine! I'm also glad you ended up hosting Athelas... his fae smirking is certainly somewhat unnerving, much as I love him.

  8. It's simultaneously so appropriate that Merlin won and so inappropriate because he's actually...a complete idiot? Legends version (as far as I can tell) and BBC version alike. The BBC version of Merlin and Arthur is a great version to picture; was totally picturing BBC Arthur waving his sword above the hedge, myself.

    1. WOW Sarah that's a truth no one's yet mentioned... now I'm picturing a young Merlin hanging out with the Gryffindors and causing immense headaches for McGonagall with their combined lack of brain cells?? (Again, BBC version, very easy to picture...) xD


rule 1: comment. or the owl will judge you
rule 2: no inappropriate language. or the owl will judge you.
rule 3: have fun. or the owl will judge you.
((rule 4: feed the owl, he likes cake))