Cait Coker is an Associate Editor for Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Her research focuses on the depictions of women and sexuality in science fiction and fantasy; her essays and reviews have appeared in The SFRA Review, The Journal of Transformative Works, and The Future Fire.
Cait Coker will be presenting “Looking for Lothiriel: The Presence of Women in Tolkien Fandom”, examining the depiction of of J. R. R. Tolkien’s and Peter Jackson’s female characters in The Lord of the Rings through the lens of fan fiction.
“Scholars of fan studies believe that fan fiction can be seen as an interpretive and analytical act that gives insight into the reception of a text by its audience. Peter Jackson’s films of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are in many ways a fan text themselves, drawing on both Tolkien’s work and adding and adapting elements for new audiences. Of particular interest are Jackson’s choices about re-interpreting and even adding women, such as Tauriel, to his adaptations–and how fandom, in its turn, rewrites and adapts them. This presentation will examine the depiction of Tolkien’s and Jackson’s female characters in The Lord of the Rings and related works through the lens of fan fiction: How do Tolkien’s most loving and devoted readers, his fans, view the women of Middle-Earth? How do fans read Jackson’s works in light of this? In the case of significant characters like Éowyn and Arwen, quite a bit is known and thus fan-writers have various resources to work with as source references, including the texts as well as the earlier drafts of the novels as published in The History of The Lord of the Rings. In the case of other characters, such as Lothíriel, their presence is little more than (quite literally) a footnote. Reading the poems, short stories, and even novels that fans have written inspired by these characters yields a new picture of the women of Middle Earth: one in which women aren’t always fabulously beautiful or amazingly brave, but take their place alongside the male denizens of Tolkien’s universe all the same.”
Robyn Bosica is the volunteer Co-Director of Grey Havens YA and currently resides in Frederick, Colorado. Robyn has been working with young adults in community events, theater programs, and service trips since 2008, and she is thrilled to be a part of a group as awesome as Grey Havens YA. For her work, she received the City of Longmont’s 2014 “Make Time for Kids Award” last November. Robyn holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Writing from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland. Her particular interests include creative nonfiction, science fiction, and the intermingling of literature and identity. An avid Tolkien-fan from the age of eleven, Robyn seeks to encourage the next generation of young adults to follow their nerdy passions and engage in the kind of world-building imagination that shines light into life’s darker moments. Robyn blogs about those moments, along with faith, grief, and beauty at her personal site, Chased by Light.
Robyn Bosica will be co-moderating a panel on Grey Havens YA and youth in nerd culture. Under her direction, Grey Havens YA will also present a series of Fandom Classes, a fandom-themed skit and a cosplay fashion show. The fashion show is open to all ages you can sign up here. Here is a brief description of the youth panel.
In October, 2013 the Grey Havens Group launched its young adult chapter, Grey Havens YA, a creative group for students in grades 6-12. These self-proclaimed young geeks and nerds meet once a week to discuss science fiction and fantasy, to work on creative projects, and to talk about what it is like growing up around muggles. Grey Havens YA has adopted as its slogan Wil Wheaton’s declaration that “being a nerd is not about what you love; it’s about how you love it.” At this panel, moderated by Co-Directors Robyn Bosica and Kelly Cowling, you’ll get to hear from the members themselves about what it means for young people to have a place where they never have to be afraid to show their enthusiasm for reading, critical thinking, and all things “nerdy.”
If you’d like to know more about Grey Havens YA’s impact before you come, check out this story by one of our members and this essay from one of our parents. You can also visit the testimonials page on our website.
Ivan M. Granger is a poet and modern mystic. He is the founder and editor of the Poetry Chaikhana, an online resource for the exploration of sacred poetry from the world’s great spiritual traditions. His poetry and translations have been published in Real Thirst: Poetry of the Spiritual Journey (Poetry Chaikhana), For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of Christian Mystics (Hay House, ed. Roger Housden), and (Outskirts Press, ed. Betsy Small). He is the editor of The Longing in Between: Poetry from Around the World (Poetry Chaikhana). Mr. Granger lives in Colorado.
“Poetry has an immediate effect on the mind. The simple act of reading poetry alters thought patterns and the shuttle of the breath. Poetry induces trance. Its words are chant. Its rhythms are drumbeats. Its images become the icons of the inner eye. Poetry is more than a description of the sacred experience; it carries the experience itself.”
Ivan Granger’s paper for Real Myth and Mithril: Delving into Fantasy Literature is titled “The Cauldron of Inspiration: Bards, Wizards, and the Elixir of Poetry.”
Wizards and magic are mainstays of modern fantasy fiction. But when we search for the real wizards of the ancient world, we find instead poets, musicians, storytellers. Why were the bards revered as seers and sorcerers in their day? Let’s journey through heroic tales and poems of power as we explore the deeper mysteries of magic, enchantment, and inspiration…