English edition XXII Mereth Aderthad

Mae Govannen!

Welcome to the web page of the XXII annual meeting of the Tolkien Society of Spain (Sociedad Tolkien Española), known as Mereth Aderthad, or plainly, EstelCon. As usual, it is open for members of the STE and for the general public. Our objective, as is the case for any delegation, is to spread and enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien's work.

What is a Mereth?

In Sindarin –one of the elvish languages created by J.R.R. Tolkien-, Mereth literally means "meeting"; the plural is merith , and in the STE we use it to designate a very common activity of our Smials: to gather with other members for one or more days to share and enjoy multiple activities around Tolkien's work. Usually, a Mereth is organised by a particular Smial, and lasts a weekend. During these days, we organise round-table meetings, attend conferences, play games, and enjoy almost anything that the organizing Smial may imagine. Two things that never fail are a storytelling night and a dressed up or "gala" dinner. This last one gets its name from the tradition in the STE of making beautiful dresses inspired by the works of Tolkien, and to wear them during that dinner. Obviously this is not compulsory, and many people don't wear any special clothes.

However, once a year there is a very special Mereth that gathers many members from the STE, and during which the annual General Assembly of the association is usually held. It receives always the same name: Mereth Aderthad, or "Feast of Reunion". Each year a different Smial is in charge of organizing it.

The Mereth Aderthad

Also called EstelCon (meaning “Convention of the Estel”), it is a meeting held once a year, that usually lasts for four days, and in which all the society participates, because although it’s prepared by a particular Smial –and the hard work is done by them-, activities are developed by members of the entire STE, by committees, or by other Smials.

The Mereth Aderthad is the greatest gathering of all members of the Sociedad Tolkien Española (plus any person who wants to join in), where we spend a few days immersed in a world of fantasy, humor, friendship and culture in multiple forms… Doing what we all love to do: reading Tolkien’s work, telling stories based on his work, attending conferences, performing theatre plays representing passages of such work, singing and listening to songs narrating great love stories and heroic deeds, reading literary works in Quenya with sublime voices, participating in various workshops (from dressmaking to pipe smoking), or learning hobbit dances and music; even watching videos created by the members themselves. And, above all, listening to real scholars demonstrating that Tolkien is far more than one of many fantasy writers; that he is in fact one of the greatest writers ever, unfairly forgotten by some experts, who are unable to perceive the deep thoughts and humanity that impregnate his work. If there is a single thing we all agree on at a Mereth Aderthad, is the need to claim Tolkien's place in History.

One thing that we must never forget in every Mereth are those small presents called "Mathoms". In the Lord of the Rings: About the Hobbits, J.R.R. Tolkien defines "mathoms" as: «...items that Hobbits had no particular use for but could not bear to throw away...»

The habit in every Mereth is that the organizing Smial gives one Mathom to every attending person; the more unique, the better.  The Smials in attendance also give a Mathom to the organizing one, as a way to thank them for the hard work done.


The Backdrop

This year our Convention will take place both in Tortosa and Miravet, roughly 200Kms south of Barcelona and on the banks of the Anduin...sorry, Ebro river. On Saturday Gala Dinner will take place at  Miravet Castle, an amazing fortress rebuilt by the Knights Templar and transformed into a fortress-monastery, after the conquest of 1153. It is considered to be the largest fortified complex in Catalonia, and one of the best examples of Romanesque, religious and military, architecture of the Templar order in the whole Western Hemirphere. It keeps alive the memory of the end of the Knights at the hands of the Crown of Aragon, who suffered a 12 month siege, between 1307 and 1308.

The main venue of Estelcon 2017, however, is in Tortosa, where all conferences, workshops and activities will be held throughout the long weekend from 12 to 15 October with the commented exception of Saturday evening in Miravet Castle.

The central theme is about the wedding, at the start of the Fourth Age of Middle Earth, of princess Estelmir of Gondor, daughter of King Elessar, with prince Earmir of Umbar. All the attendants will be guests to the Mereth of their Wedding. By extension, the theme is about love, couples of Middle Earth and real couples in Sociedad Tolkien Española. One of the hashtags of the event will be #Loveisintheair, and not by chance this event will be held 100 years after Tolkien first wrote “Beren & Lúthien”

Activities

The activity schedule is not closed as of yet, but we already have confirmed VIP Guests, conferences, workshops, music, and also demonstrations of the different projects currently being developed by people from the STE, directly related to Tolkien's works; all thus leading to a wide range of possibilities for the varying tastes of all our visitors. You can see actual programme here.

The active Committees from the STE will be present and will encourage us to participate. We will be able to learn or improve our bow shooting; play games; take us a photo in our Gala Dinner dress; and we will sing, firstly guided by our Bards and then in the musical contest of Tolkiendili songs…



Useful Info

Tortosa Seminar is our base, the place where attendees can rest, have breakfast, lunch and dinner while the Mereth Aderthad 2017 is taking place..

Address: Calle Pujada del Seminari S/N 43500 Tortosa (Spain)

GPS Coordinates: Google Maps https://goo.gl/maps/e4eNaTRT6s72

Transportation: - Plane: We are only 1h away from Reus Airport (Tarragona). The venue is approximately 200Km away from three main cities in Spain, namely Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valencia. It would take 1h30 minutes more or less by car or taxi to reach it, depending on traffic conditions. By train you should reach L’Aldea station halfway between Barcelona and Valencia near the Mediterranean coast, and a shuttle bus will take you to Tortosa.

When: From the 12th to the 15th of October, 2017.

How: Attending and enjoying the Estelcon 2017 is as easy as coming to the Conference and attending the lectures, signing up to the workshops or getting involved in conversations about the works of the Professor in general, or the events in which this Mereth in particular is based.

It is our objective to promote activities of any kind performed by any member. All the initiatives are welcome; and if they are related with the plot, even better. This is the perfect chance to read again the Professor's books and get immersed in the true spirit of Middle Earth. No book is left out!

How to sign up: Write an e-mail to estelconlorien@gmail.com and we’ll contact you as soon as possible. Any questions about the event you can write to us at the above email.

Pricing:

This Mereth Aderthad has a total, all-inclusive price of €175: bed, full board (with buffet meals and the Gala Dinner) and the materials for activities, along with the welcome pack. Partial attendance will be measured in a complete day basis, from dinner to lunch. For special cases, please ask us.

If you can only assist some days, please, contact us (estelconlorien@gmail.com). Partial attendances are allowed. Partial attendances are possible.

  • There are rooms for families >3 members available. Let us know if that is the case.
  • There is a 25% discount for children under 12.

(VAT included in all prices)


VIPs

The event will be quite English speaking friendly, as, for instance, we will have John Garth, the Tolkien expert and biographer, attending, who will give a lecture and will be interviewed for our podcast. On top of that we will screen “The Hunt for Gollum” and its director, Chris Bouchard, and the actor that plays Aragorn, Adrian Webster, will both be with us sharing their experience and answering your questions.

Signing up:

You can signing up here.

Final date: : September the 17th

One last thing: if you want to participate and organize something, but you still don’t know what; if you want to bring the best of you for some project, but you don’t know which one will better fit the Estelcon: write and tell us of your intentions. We’ll be pleased to offer you some help, and give you several ideas for you to develop at your will.