In recognition of the troubling times facing the world today, the challenge for April and May is Hope, a theme we see again and again in Tolkien's works.
It is shown in the Vala Nienna, who mourns for the wounds of Arda but teaches the value of enduring hope.
It is also in Fingon's time of doubt, when he has all but given up: "And seeing no better hope he cried to Manwe..." then again in the hope rekindled in his heart at the sight of Turgon's forces arriving at the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.
Perhaps you found it along with the Elves seeing the new star in the sky, the Silmaril that Earendil carried as a sign of light and hope in those dark times.
Hope rode with the high spirits of the company of Thorin Oakenshield as they departed from Rivendell, thinking their journey to the Mountain with "the high hope of a midsummer morning."
Or the way Hope resides in a person - in Aragorn, the hope of his people and named as such by Elrond.
Hope can keep us going. It can give us strength. It can be the only light that shines in the darkness.
And the loss of it can let the darkness overtake us, as we see in the tale of Turin. The bleakness in Eowyn's isolation. The shattered hope of Bilbo, lost in the goblin tunnels.
But even when all seems lost, when hope has failed, there is a spirit that surfaces from the depths of the despair - the power of Finrod's battle against the werewolf, slaying him with bare hands and teeth.
Of Samwise, at the very slopes of Mount Doom, refusing to succumb but keeping the flame of hope alive in his heart and daring to keep pressing on.
Will you write of the hope of young hobbits for a fireworks show from Gandalf?
Or a warrior's hope for their own victory in battle?
Or rather the hopelessness of the dark days of Beleriand, the siege of Nargothrond, the quest to retake the Silmarils, the fall of Moria and Eregion?
Be it a story of good cheer or a tale of devastation, we hope that you will give us your stories for this challenge! The deadline is May 31.
Send your entries to email@example.com. The contest is anonymous and the entry can't be posted publicaly until the results of the challenge are announced. Please mind our rules when submitting your entries for the contest.
Happy writing and drawing!
Mirach, Carawyn, Sian22 and Lotrfan