We received a lot of great submissions for October’s Rewrite Tolkien contest (characters from The Hobbit in the writing style of Edgar Allan Poe), including some impressive international entries from France and Mexico!

This months winner is…

The Party, by Alastair Murray of Edinburgh, Scotland

Alastair’s poem will be read live by TORn’s own Quickbeam on tonight’s TORn Tuesday;  we’ve also reprinted it below, along with our 2 runners-up.

On Wednesday we’ll be posting information on November’s contest.  Hint: you might want to start brushing up on your wizarding terms.

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone that submitted an entry!


WINNING ENTRY: The Party, by Alastair Murray of Edinburgh, Scotland

Once upon an evening proper, while I readied for my supper,
Thinking nothing of old Gandalf who had come this way before
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at the Bag-End door
“‘Tis the wizard!” now I started, “tapping at the Bag-End door
I’d forgotten – tea at four!”

Open here I flung the portal, when, instead of the immortal,
In there stepped a dwarf – a stern and rugged countenance he wore;
After an obeisance made he, not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, strode in through the Bag-End door.
Barely did I think to mark the kindnesses of ancient lore:
“At your service!” “And at yours!”

Barely had I found him seating – barely had the cakes been eaten –
When again there came a knocking somewhat louder than before.
Back towards the doorway turning, all my soul within me burning,
Here I found my eyes discerning one more dwarf stood at my door
As the two talked on of distant mountains by the western shore,
Two more dwarves came to my door.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Dwarves,” said I, “good dwarves, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I’m expecting just one guest, yet I’m collecting
Dwarves; tell me, what is directing you towards my humble door?”
Then, once more, a knock. Said I, “Someone again?” Said they, “Some four!”
So it was. And then one more.

Startled at the quick intrusion, bustling through my apt confusion,
“Doubtless,” said I, “they are here by accident, and nothing more.
What am I to offer them? Confusticate, bebother them!
Why must I now weather them endangering my home’s decor?”
One last knock, and with a temper, here I opened wide the door –
Four more dwarves fell on my floor.

Right away they got to eating; all my precious cakes, depleting
And old Gandalf, standing back from all the dwarves that came before.
Thirteen total: Thorin, Dori, Fili, Balin, Oin, Ori,
Kili, Dwalin, Gloin, Nori, Bifur, Bofur and Bom-bore
Though they cleaned the dishes well, they had exhausted all my store.
In the pantry: nothing more.

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Darkness for the business dark was called for, and they laughed no more
Gathered round a piece of parchment; at the break of day, they’d march, when
Every stone and hall and arch meant for their kin, they’d claim once more
To the Lonely Mountain borne, with secret key for secret door.
Quoth the wizard: “Erebor.”

One by one, the dwarves were singing songs of harps and bells a-ringing
Dragon-fire in twisted wire, the wealth of their great halls of yore
Far across the Misty Mountains cold, the dragon Smaug – confound him! –
Boldly burned the nearby town, then rampaged through the halls of Thrór
Dwarves had heard the tramp of doom, and fled their home for evermore;
Darkness fell on Erebor.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I sat there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no hobbit ever dared to dream before;
But the singing then was broken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only words there spoken – mine, while trembling to the core!
“Struck by lightning! Struck by lightning!” as I fell upon my floor –
Darkness then, and nothing more.

Late that night, the house was sleeping; through my head, the visions seeping –
Roads that ran beyond the Shire, the paths ahead I would explore
Waking with my house so empty, not until about ten twenty
Did I realise that plenty time had wasted as I snored
With no time for this, nor that, nor handkerchief, I fled my door
To the dwarves, and Erebor.

And the roadway, never-ending, still is winding, still is bending
Still is running far away from hobbit-hole, from my front door
From the door where it began, where I must follow if I can
Down the path and onwards ran the eager feet it lies before.
To the Lonely Mountain borne, with secret key for secret door.
Quoth the hobbit: “Erebor!”


Runner Up: The Raven, by Alaryn Estel

Once after a night of fear, rose the morning grey yet clear,
Upon the horizon, birds were gathering by the score,
While I watched, with wary eyes, crows encircling the skies,
Yet the autumn sure belies, ’tis too late for wandering more,
“Lo!” I remarked, “Something strange is happening out the door!”
Is it then, a sign of war?

Ah, the terror I recall, when Smaug smashed the mountain hall,
And blistering flames seared the edges of the door,
Then I doubted all our quest, perhaps to not have come was best,
Yet ’twas mine by right, the rest, the gold – the gold of Erebor,
Memories of bright and golden days in sweet Erebor,
‘Til flee we must, out of the door.

And the delving, ever deeper, in the deep majestic caverns,
Finding, seeking places we’d not ever dug before,
To this day, my heart is thrilling, at the sight of treasures filling,
Every hall and corner spilling, from the ceiling to the floor,
Gems and riches overflowing, scattered over all the floor,
But now silence, so unlike before.

Long we stood on doorstep waiting, thinking long, hesitating,
Doubting Durin’s Day would fall like it’s ever done before,
But the stones would tell us naught, and every day was fraught
With fear of dragon fire, caught upon the step of the back door,
‘Til their came a steady rapping, a tap-tapping just outside the door.
Lo! A Thrush did perch upon the floor.

Once again this bird came winging, but we scarce did heed its singing,
Even though it tried to warn us more loudly than before.
Surely he must bring a message, but I cannot guess what it is,
Would that his visage were a Raven from the days of yore,
Then perhaps we could understand his message more,
Like his fathers in the days before.

Soon there came a fluttering, a giant bird came muttering,
Slowly flapping its ancient way across the valley floor.
I wonder what tidings he is bringing with his unseemly singing,
Then he croaked while winging, “Smaug is dead! Dead forevermore!”
Ai! All our fears are sundered, settled finally, our old score,
Our treasure plundered never more!

Yet the bird kept on talking, a long relentless squawking,
Bidding me to yield our riches to so many score.
Nay, I will not hear this madness! It would bring much sadness
On my name and family, sadness upon those that went before,
To no one will I give my treasure, naught will pass from out my door,
Not now or ever more.

Oh, curséd bird, bring my message to all who would take passage,
Trying swift to reach the Lonely Mountain’s floor.
“Back now, back now, to the Mountain!” There is aught that we can count on,
But to lay a doubt on those who would soon steal our store,
They shall not breach these halls, dear halls of Erebor,
Our spite they’ll get and nothing more!

Hard we toiled in our labor, against our foes, no friendly neighbor,
Swift we quarried rock to block up our front door,
Then a night came cold and weary, when all our eyes were bleary,
Many torches nearing, flaming in the south upon the valley floor,
Then they came without to treaty, like beggars at the door,
Silence will I give them, nothing more.

Again they come and try to treat, yet no demands will I deign meet,
These halls I own, I am The King Under the Mountain Erebor!
This is all my treasure, and my one prize is without measure,
Get thee gone! ‘Tis my pleasure to have you gone from my door.
Then I seized a bow and let an arrow fly to settle any score.
Trouble me no more!

Oh, foul and miserable thieves! In his grave, my Father grieves!
A vengeance and a curse I cast forever upon your door.
The Arkenstone is only mine, only I may see it shine,
Curses upon thine, now and forever more!
Burglar, get thee gone, depart now and return no more
To these halls of Erebor!

Soon darkness swirled up on the wind to pay them for their sin,
But fooled was I, for that was not at all what it held in store,
Dread came up on goblin feet, wolves and wargs in battle greet,
A dreadful clash of armies meet, all over mount and valley floor.
When the tide could not be staid, then I leapt from out my door,
“To me! To me!” For Erebor!

But the terror of the battle, did our spirits sorely rattle,
The onslaught took its toll, ‘til we were bathed in blood and gore,
The enemy came surging, driving through our ranks and purging
All our hopes of scourging the vile beasts from without our door,
And my kin and I were drowning in the ghastly tide of war,
Until we could see no more…

The Raven, in his wisdom, had the right of true freedom,
Would that I had listened when he sat upon my door,
Yet in my eyes was shining, all the hoarded gold and silver lining
The great halls and vast depths shining, oh, splendid Erebor!
My soul now goes to the halls of my Fathers who came before,
Farewell to my home forevermore!


Runner Up: The Sacking of Erebor by Vanity Moreau, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A

Twas first a wind
A clatter from the barren Northern skies
That rattled, shook and seared the face
With prying, soul less eyes
That fed upon all fear
Teeth gnashing-
Soul by soul until
The senses finally lied
In such an alpine cold
Did surely this rotten wind belong,
But when the winds did change
They found the consequence
Of right and wrong.

Then came the cry
That split the gusts
With serpent tongue,
That shattered hope and tore at minds
For sanity was wearing
When the watchman rang the gong;
The beast, it screamed a scream
That sang the songs
Of corpses dancing salsa
Upon the toes
Of right and wrong.

It cried of hunger, treasure, blood
Of conquerers who, shattered, fell
Their gems and jewels flying
Over hill and under dell,
‘Till nought was left of them but ash
That buried them on sight, and there they dwell
Before its eyes and teeth and smell
And grinding, wordless song
That rolls like tumbleweeds and holly leaves along
The bloodstained shores
Of right and wrong.

A beast of lore that did not settle
Any more for stringy cattle
Hunkered down for far too long,
Did finally rise, and far it flew
To halls of peace and armies strong
Where fire pranced like stags
Among the cursed wreckage
Of right and wrong.

He tossed his flame upon the gate
Like feathers gathered from a golden pillowcase;
Scarlet scales and silver claws
That cleaved the flesh from Dwarvish bones
And lifted hollow armor -still smoking- to his jaws;
He sniffed, nostrils flaring, air sucking
Through the dragon tunnels, hollow, long;
Then took a bite, reveled in it,
Death and fire
That fell like stars upon the moonless night
Of right and wrong.

In all its glory days,
Never did the ancient citadel
See such destruction as the day
The embers of the dragon Smaug did quell
The forge, the king’s great hall,
And the Arkenstone, so small
A thing of such great value ere did fall
From the hands of the king
When he fled from his hall
From the dragon’s breath,
The smell of death,
And twisted metal burning on his left
That, ringing, brought him with the rest
To the massive gates where they gathered, bereft
Of home and hearth, and sang a bitter funeral song
Between the past and lain out path
Of right and wrong.

Footsteps left to rot in the ground
For travelers coming around
Mean nothing but the Dwarves were passing
Through another blacksmith’s town, run-down
With swordmakers, swordsman, and swords to wield
There the Dwarf-king’s heir has found
A heart, a soul, no desire to yield
To the dragon’s scream that spits and creaks
Like melting armor-
This is not the age to be weak
Yet what will Thorin go to find?
What did he leave behind,
In a city filled of scavengers
That when one comes too close will squeak
And hide before the coming dawn
In the crumbling age
Of right and wrong?

But march he would, with map and key
And fourteen others willing
To share his fate for blood or grudge,
A brother’s love or lineage,
Or rights to filling
Their pockets with gold from city forgotten
That hides beneath a mountain rotten
With vultures, worms and carrions,
Every dweller dead save the dragon
Who snores beneath his lonely mountain,
Waiting for the blade of Thorin
To dare seek his bloodied hide
To even try,
To fell the ripping jaws,
The gleaming claws,
The voice like heated rock that sears
And drags upon the ears;
He waits and listens here,
And then he screams
His awful dragon song
But this is not yet the end of Thorin
Who doubtless was destined to die all along.

For we know the tales
of right and wrong.