Ho! Ho! Ho! To the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
-J.R.R.Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
December is a month of celebrations, be it Christmas, Chanukah, New Year or some other holiday in the different parts of the world. It belongs to the celebrations just like delicious food and good mood. Yes, we are speaking about our December topic - Alcohol.
In Middle-earth you can get drunk just like anywhere else. Just take a look at our beverage list: we have wine for Elves, and those who feel noble enough to drink it, and no Hobbit or Dwarf would refuse a pint of our ale. You say you want something special? What about miruvor, the mead of Valinor? Or take a cup of our spirits, but be warned - it's really strong!
Who said Elves can't get drunk? Don't get fooled by Legolas' drinking contest with Gimli! He had centuries of training with the strongest Dorwinion wine in Mirkwood... Oh yes, Thranduil's parties... The dwarves would never be able to escape his palace in empty barrels of... wine (and other things), if the guards wouldn't get drunk!
Alcohol can have also a symbolic meaning, especially wine, red like blood, heady and bittersweet. It is used for toasts, drunk at weddings, funerals and other important occasions. Before Théoden and Aragorn ride to Helm's deep, Éowyn brings them a cup of wine as a blessing and parting.
You can write about the celebrations in Mirkwood, Rivendell, or Minas Tirith, and I'm sure Rangers found some reasons to celebrate as well. What do you think was Legolas' or Aragorn's first experience with alcohol? Did they get drunk? You can write about drinking contests and following hangovers. But celebrations are not the only reason to reach for the bottle. Sometimes, the grief or pain is so intense that it wants to be drowned in a glass of something strong. In what situation would our heroes have such a desire, and would they succumb to it?
Aragorn or Legolas don't even have to touch a drop of alcohol in your story. Somebody else can get drunk, and they can face the consequences. Or, it doesn't even have to be applied internally: alcohol has also other uses, like dissinfection of a wound (ouch...). It's only up to you how you will use it.
We wish you happy writing, and merry celebrations in December. Have fun, but the right measure with alcohol - instead of getting drunk with it, pour it rather into a story! ;)
Here are the stories for this month:
In wine there is... by Archeress of Silverbow
Isildur's Code by Mirach 2nd place
The Best Laid Schemes by Linda Hoyland 3rd place
The Night Before Yule by Darkover 1st place
The Orcs Wearing Our Crown by WhiteGloves
The Strength of a Fine Red Wine by Erulisse (one L)
nautika, StarLight, and Mirach