Friday, September 28, 2018

SilmAwards - Most Magnificent Dragon Winner!

All is black. But the blackness feels big, as if the ceiling must be far overhead and the walls many spans apart. There is a rustling and the warmth of many bodies gathered in one place. Hushed whispers pass back and forth.

Then with a whoosh, torches flame to life and illuminate a massive cavern. Stalactites jag from the ceiling like great teeth. At one end, a stone slab is raised to serve as a stage, and the crowd of people are gathered before it.

"Greetings!" I shout from the stage, my voice echoing without the use of a microphone. "What a fine turnout we've had for the 2018 Silmaril Awards. Welcome to the final ceremony--today Smaug himself will award a Silmaril to the most magnificent dragon!"

Cheers resound.

"Before he arrives, just a quick recap in case you missed any of the awards ceremonies." I pull a list from my pocket. "This year's winners have included a very sportsmanlike but incompetent henchman, a collection of mischevous imps, a rather strange and sock-ish fellow, a not-so-little faithful friend, a beloved silver tongue, a wise and academically-inclined counselora glamorous villain, a princely hero, and a spirited heroine."

I gulp in a deep breath. "And now I do believe I'll pass things off to--"

A great rumbling fills the cavern. Guests look around worriedly.

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Flames gush from a side passage. All at once, a humongous red-golden dragon bursts into the cavern and leaps onto stage. I sidestep to avoid the thrash of his tail.

"Smaug!" I say. "We were just talking about--"

"SILENCE!" he roars. "You have summoned me to present another Silmaril, and a Silmaril I shall present. Where are the worthy contestants?" He swings his head back and forth, luminous eyes scanning the audience. Everyone shrinks back in fear.
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A much smaller, black dragon is the only one to chitter happily, a gleaming gem hanging around his neck.

"Ah, the toothless winner of last year," Smaug says. "I should hope this year's victor boasts a few more teeth than you, night fury."

Toothless grins, teeth rising from his gums to flash in the firelight.
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I clap my hands together, lest these two dragons begin a fire fest, and call out, "Contestants, please come forward!"

Five figures venture out from another side tunnel and join us on the stony stage. I pull a scroll from my other pocket and unroll it so Smaug can read it. He lowers his head and peers at the scroll with one eye.

"In fifth place with twenty votes . . ." He glances at the contestants. "Kazul from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles."

Kazul bows her head to the audience and flies off the stage.

"Fraternizes with humans, that one," Smaug mutters. "I smell princess all over her. Ahem. In fourth place with twenty-two votes . . . Gem from The Ilyon Chronicles."

A blue and black dragoness flutters her wings in thanks, then joins Kazul on the ground.

"Do all these dragons make friends with men?" Smaug grumbles. "I should think such friendships diminish their magnificence, small though it may be."

"Not all dragons believe that magnificence is measured by gold and power," I say.

He snorts a plume of smoke and returns to the scroll. "In third place with thirty-five votes . . . Death-in-Life from Tales of Goldstone Wood."

An imposing dragon with black scales and glittering eyes shoots a tongue of flame. "Third place? How dare the hearts of men reject me!"

Smaug chuckles deep in his throat. "Now there's a more magnificent beast. Not quite so magnificent as myself, of course."

Death-in-Life storms from the cavern with a mighty shriek. By the relieved sighs from the audience, all are glad to see him leave.

"In second place with forty-four votes . . . Malcolm Blackfire from The Afterverse."

This time, boisterous cheers erupt as a great red dragon with piercing golden eyes steps forward. "Yes, yes, Headmaster of Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic and all that rot. I must say, I am surprised to hear you cheering for me in this scaly form. Usually you prefer to see me in my natural state." Fire crackles and whirls around him, and he dwindles to a much smaller form. The blaze vanishes, leaving behind a tall, lanky man with grey-streaked red hair. He brushes an ember from the sleeve of his suit jacket. "Is this better?"

The audience whistles and claps all the louder.

Smaug thumps his tail, shaking the stone slab. "A dragon who is a man? Could your selection become any worse? Away with you, shape shifter."

"Careful, Volcano-Breath," Malcolm snaps. "In my dragon form, I'm really quite deadly." But he stalks off the stage just the same.

"Well," I say brightly. "It should be obvious now who the winner is. You may feel free to return to your Mountain now, Smaug . . ."

Before I can roll up the scroll, Smaug gets a glimpse of the final name. He spits a fireball, and I only just manage to let go of the scroll before it is consumed.

"WHAT IS THIS OUTRAGE?" He whirls around to face the last contestant, a small boy standing all alone with his hands behind his back.

The boy blanches under Smaug's stare. "Er . . . hullo, Sir Dragon. I'm Eustace Clarence Scrubb, but I'd prefer if you called me Eustace. Or Scrubb would do just--"

"A BOY?" Smaug roars. "I thought this award was to go to the most magnificent dragon, yet here the people have muddied the waters and voted for . . . for weak, incompetent, folly-some humans." Sparks fly from his large maw with every word, and the audience shuffles backward to put more space between themselves and Smaug's rage.

"He did receive a whopping seventy-three votes, Smaug," I say.

"Now see here," Eustace cries, "if you incinerate me, Mr. Dragon, I'll call the British Consul!"

I send him a warning look.

Eustace straightens his shirt and turns a little red. "I mean, that wouldn't be proper. You see, I was a dragon once."

"You?" sneers Smaug.

"Yes. And I'm all the better for it. It was a miserable experience, but thank Aslan I came out the other side of that ordeal a very different boy."

"Aslan?" More smoke pours from Smaug's nostrils. "And who, pray tell, is he?"

"Only the greatest king there ever was, the Son of the Emperor Across the Sea." Eustace pauses, and his eyes seem to tear up with memories. "He's a lion."

Smaug roars louder than ever and grit falls from the ceiling. "Enough! When you foolish folk decide to cease turning the Silmaril Awards into a circus, then perhaps you may call me to present again. I am through!" He beats his powerful wings and flies from the cavern, nearly snuffing out the torches in his wake.
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I chuckle nervously. "Ah, he'll cool down before next year. In the meantime, Eustace, may I just say that I think you are a most worthy recipient of this year's Silmaril." I reach into yet another pocket and beckon him nearer.

Eustace approaches and kneels before me.

"Congratulations, Eustace." I pull out a gleaming red pendant, a jewel hanging from a satin ribbon, and loop it over his head. "Let this be a reminder of where you have traveled and what you have become!"

Eustace breaks into a grin and stands to his feet as the audience breaks into the most thunderous applause yet.

"And that, my friends, concludes the 2018 Silmaril Awards!" I shout. "Thank you all! I bid you all a very fond farewell!"

Monday, September 10, 2018

SilmAwards Voting Round - Most Magnificent Dragon

Wasn't that a delightful flurry of activity last week? It was such fun seeing the nominations come pouring in across all ten categories of the Silmaril Awards! I think my TBR stack has grown . . . *gulp* . . . a few feet taller.

Now comes the time for the top five nominations in every category to move on to the voting round. While tallying up the scaly critters flying and flaming across Adventure Awaits this weekend, I had the misfortune of getting in the crossfire of several worthy dragons all vying for a spot in the top five. There was, you see, a four-way tie for the fifth spot. Competition was fierce. I even sport the burns, claw marks, and singed hair to prove it. But it's a small price to pay as a SilmAwards host.

So which dragons wrangled their way into the voting round?

Malcolm Blackfire from the Afterverse by Kyle Robert Schultz

Ancient. Mysterious. Sarcastic. Scottish. (Well, Caledonian, if we’re being technical.) Malcolm has little patience for humanity, and is not above immolating those who annoy him. However, when great evil arises in the Afterlands, he will ultimately fight to save humans--even though his methods cannot always be described as “heroic”. Plus, while he will never admit it, he has a fondness for the pathetic non-dragons, so long as they don’t try to pilfer from his hoard. His ability to shift into human form has allowed him to wear many hats over the centuries: military general, archaeologist, and even headmaster of a magical school. But all the same, he doesn’t feel truly himself unless he’s curled up on a pile of gold. Or soaring above the rooftops, shooting fireballs at peasants, but he doesn’t get many chances to do that in this tiresome modern age.

Gem from the Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight

This non-speaking female dragon with blue and black scales is brave in battle and seems to understand her new rider's fear of heights. After her previous rider tragically perished, she was hurt and depressed until her new rider nursed her back to health. Now she is his faithful dragon.

Eustace Clarence Scrubb from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Although not a dragon by nature, this petulant young boy spent some time in dragon form during his adventures aboard the Dawn Treader. It was a rather disagreeable experience, but the very scales that hardened his skin turned out to soften his heart. Eustace was never quite the same again (and you can be sure his cousins were most grateful for the change).

Kazul from the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

Kazul is fairly level-headed, for a dragon, though sometimes she can let her dislike for wizards overwhelm her... she's been known to eat more than one, especially if they are found inside the borders of her realm (she is King of the Dragons, after all) or messing with dragonsbane, a plant toxic to dragons. A while back, she agreed to take a princess who volunteered to be captured by a dragon, and the arrangement has been beneficial to both of them, as Cimorene's ability to bake Cherries Jubilee and organize her treasure room leaves Kazul with the ability to focus on the more difficult aspects of ruling her subjects.

Death-in-Life from Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Whether he walks as a tall, pale-skinned man or a massive, black-scaled dragon, Death-in-Life has been known to strike terror in the hearts of many. The lives of men mean little to him, to the point that he gambles with his evil sister for their souls. Deathly poison clouds any place he settles. With a kiss on the brow, he steals the hearts of the unguarded and turns them into dragons themselves. He is so feared that his name has become a curse.

Remember, the voting period is open from September 10-14!

Use the voting form below to cast your votes for all ten categories! Note: you only need to vote once, but you may want to visit all ten participating blogs to read descriptions of the contestants.


Least Competent Henchman // Jenelle Schmidt
Most Nefarious Villain // Kyle Robert Schultz
Most Epic Hero // E.E. Rawls
Most Epic Heroine // Madeline J. Rose
Most Magnificent Dragon // right here!
Most Faithful Friend // Savannah Grace
Most Mischievous Imp // Abbey Stellingwerff
Strangest Character // Zachary Totah
Silver Tongue // DJ Edwardson
Wisest Counselor // Deborah O'Carroll

Monday, September 3, 2018

SilmAwards - Most Magnificent Dragon Nominations

Welcome, my friends, to the third annual Silmaril Awards!

The Silmaril Awards are like the Oscars for fantasy characters. And you get to nominate (and later vote) for your most beloved heroes, villains, sidekicks, and more! I look forward to this time every year. There's such an outpouring of energy and enthusiasm among fans as we chat about our favorite fantasy books and the characters who live within.


We have a shiny new website officially set up this year, with the full rundown on rules and past winners right HERE. Here's a brief explanation of how the awards work:

  • You may nominate as many characters as you wish.
  • You may also second as many characters nominated by others as you choose. The more "seconds" (and thirds, fourths, etc) a character receives, the more likely that character will move on to the voting round, which will be the top five most nominated characters from each category.
  • Nominations are allowed for fantasy book characters only! (Movie characters are not allowed, unless the book came first).
  • The Silmaril Awards are "lifetime" awards. Characters who have already won a Silmaril in previous years are not eligible to win the same award again (though they may win other awards.) For a list of past winners, please visit

Important Dates

Mark your calendars so you don't miss out on anything!

Nominations run from September 3-7 // This is when you throw alllll your favorite characters into the ring in hopes they'll get seconded/thirded/fourthed/etc. by others.

Voting runs from September 10-14 // This is when you pull out your hair and scream into the void over the impossibility of choosing between the top five nominations in each category.

Awards ceremonies take place September 17-28 // This is when you wait with bated breath for the winners to be announced! A coveted Silmaril will be awarded to each winner by one of Tolkien's famed characters.

Speaking of Tolkien, his characters are not eligible for the awards! Why, you ask with a gasp? Because his works set such a standard for the fantasy genre, and because they are beloved by so many, we thought the characters of Middle Earth deserved to be presenters of the awards rather than contestants. (Or else they'd steal the show!)

Awards Categories

Head over to each stop this week to nominate characters in all the categories!

Least Competent Henchman // Jenelle Schmidt
Most Nefarious Villain // Kyle Robert Schultz
Most Epic Hero // E.E. Rawls
Most Epic Heroine // Madeline J. Rose
Most Magnificent Dragon // right here!
Most Faithful Friend // Savannah Grace
Most Mischievous Imp // Abbey Stellingwerff
Strangest Character // Zachary Totah
Silver Tongue // DJ Edwardson
Wisest Counselor // Deborah O'Carroll

Most Magnificent Dragon Nominations

With that said, I am ever so pleased about hosting the Most Magnificent Dragon category! After hosting Wisest Counselor and Best Riddling and Poetry*, it seemed only natural to let my favorite scaly creatures invade Adventure Awaits.

*which was later renamed to Silver Tongue, FYI

What sort of dragon are we looking for? Why, the most magnificent kind, of course! That could mean the humongous dragons with infernos in their bellies . . . or the miniature, kitten-like dragons with big personalities . . . or the clever, gold-hoarding dragons with a gleam in their eyes. It could be the dragons that make you cower under the blankets in fear, the ones that make your heart swell with noble happiness, or the ones that make you want a dragon for your best friend. Talking dragons, non-speaking dragons, good ones and bad ones and in-between ones--we want you to head down to the comments and nominate your favorites! (As many as you wish, remember!)

It's up to you. Those winged beasts of terror and majesty aren't going to nominate themselves!

P.S. Don't forget, last year's winner of the Most Magnificent Dragon Silmaril was Toothless, so he's no longer eligible.

P.P.S. Share on social media and grab all your fantasy-loving friends to come nominate characters too! Use #SilmAwards or #SilmAwards2018.

P.P.P.S. If you have any questions about the awards or how they work, ask away in the comments.