Under the Waterfall: A Fanfiction community’s Analysis of their Self-Representation and Peer Review – Kristi Lee


In the fall semester of 2003, my friend and fanfiction scholar, Dr. Amy Sturgis, allowed me to sit in on a class that she was teaching at Belmont University entitled “Fan Participation in Media and Culture.” It was an inter-disciplinary course, which addressed exactly what the course title promised; fandom as expressed in myriad forms and within multiple genres, from the genesis of the first Star Trek convention to current writers of “Labyrinth” fanfiction, and much in-between: downloadable garage-band Harry Potter filking; watching and subsequently analyzing the messages portrayed in movies which highlighted fan culture such as “Free Enterprise” and “Galaxy Quest”; and papers presented by fellow students ranging from people who love all things Harley Davidson to groups who watch “The Andy Griffith Show” in syndication on a weekly basis. The purpose of the last project in the course was either to contribute to a particular fandom, whether in writing or artistic form, or to analyze one. As a relatively new, but prolific fanfiction writer, I felt that doing the first would be cheating, so this is my belated essay analyzing the online Tolkien fanfiction community of members of Henneth-Annûn.

Though the internet may have begun to mainstream fandom, it has not necessarily created a single, unified fan position or practice.[1]

Henneth-Annûn (http://www.henneth-annun.net) is a public, member-driven archive on the internet, which went live in May of 2002, where writers of Tolkien-based fanfiction can post, or “publish” their stories. The Henneth-Annûn story archive (HASA) is run by volunteers, all of whom perform the maintenance duties of the site in addition to real life day jobs and family responsibilities. This site does not simply house stories, however. Within the site’s members section, there are multiple areas of resources and forums which provide a public space in which a member can access other writers’ particular knowledge about geography, warfare, poetry, food, or any number of other aspects to life in what has been coined the “Ardaverse,”[2] the realm in which all Tolkien fanfiction is based. Writers can find beta readers, or proofreaders, to look over his/her work, as well as post comments about one’s stories and await criticism or enthusiasm for one’s works. The site has both a public and a members’ exclusive section. There is no cost to becoming a member of the site. From the public area, one can read stories which have been accepted into the public realm of the archive after going through a nine-person, self-selected reviewing pool and have been accepted by at least five of the reviewers. From the members’ area, one can read stories that are in progress, works which have not been submitted to the reviewing pool, and the Resources section, which includes Tolkien-based essays, character biographies, and URL links to other sites intended to aid an author who wishes to write within the rather complicated realm of Middle-earth.

From the Henneth-Annûn website, here are the final two paragraphs in the stated purpose of the archive:

The site is set up to accept recommendations from the writers group, and to allow for author self-submissions. Every story that is recommended or submitted is reviewed through a standard process, and either accepted or declined based on our review criteria. Even our own group members must submit their work through this process.

Our goal is to provide our readers with a selection of the best JRRT fan fiction we possibly can, and to inspire other authors to write more of it!

Having been active in this particular part of Tolkien fandom for a year, I had discovered that fellow writers and readers tended to be more vocal about this particular archive and held definite biases toward or against it. The archive is not merely a “bookshelf,” or place where all fanfiction is posted without any sort of selection process (ie. the FanFiction.net model), and therefore there is “.a profound tension in the site between the attempt to be inclusive in the members area and the need to be exclusive in the archive.”[3] Implicit within the private and public side of the archive is an ever-changing, anonymous, self-selected group of people who have taken on the mantle of becoming objective judges of other people’s writing. This is indeed an emotional and, to use a title of one of Tolkien’s story collections, “perilous realm,” whose sentiments are echoed in the words of this respondent:

[.] I’m less concerned about the process than I am about those who participate in the process. Institutions (and yes, HASA is one), after all, simply are; it’s people who make them fair or unfair, whether by perverting the original intention of the institution unacceptably or by instituting an unfair standard in the first place. (15)


2: one of the individuals composing a group

I have a deep and abiding love for the works of JRR Tolkien, and an equally deep appreciation of the people who have embraced me and welcomed me into this particular fellowship of wordsmiths. What more need be said? (28)

The Lord of the Rings trilogy and accompanying texts (including, but not limited to The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and the History of Middle Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien) may be described as “cult texts” as explicated by Matt Hills in his book Fan Cultures:

Another defining attribute of the cult text is hyperdiegesis: the creation of a vast and detailed narrative space, only a fraction of which is ever directly seen or encountered within the text, but which nevertheless appears to operate according to principles of internal logic and extension.[4]

Such a rich density of texts, accompanied by Peter Jackson’s overwhelmingly popular movie interpretations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, has inspired an almost unfathomable number of people to write their own stories using Tolkien’s works and/or Peter Jackson’s films as a starting point. The Tolkien online fanfiction community ranges in the tens of thousands, using the number of authors at FanFiction.net as only a starting point.[5]

There are many Tolkien-based fanfiction archives on the web. Only a few are all-inclusive; most have particular guidelines or character focuses: slash only[6]; non-slash[7]; Legolas/Gimli stories[8]; Frodo-centric hurt/comfort[9]; R-rating maximum stories[10]; to list only a very few. HASA accepts all kinds of stories, regardless of time period, story genre, and rating level in regards to violent content or sexual explicitness. At the time of writing this essay, there were around 460 active members at Henneth-Annûn. This attribute alone makes it unique within Tolkien fanfiction archives, though there are additional differences that set it apart from similar sites.

Though almost all authors at the archive write under a pseudonym, those assumed names can be well known within the community. I wished for the people who replied to my survey to be completely candid and honest, so I specified that I would not use anything other than a numbering system when quoting responses in this essay. In November of 2003 I sent an email survey to everyone who had a member biography and a publicly listed email address. At the time, there were 183 people who I could contact, and from that, 50 people chose to reply to my questions, a response rate of 27%. As an active member of Henneth-Annûn myself, I recognized some of the names on the list that I knew had not contributed anything to any part of the archive in several months, and I do not believe that all 183 people on the list were still active at HASA when I contacted them.[11]

I felt I needed to have some benchmark questions, and length of active membership at HASA seemed to be a logical starting point. Of the 50 replies to the question, “How long have you been a member of the Henneth-Annûn story archive (not the yahoogroup list)?”, 18 respondents or 36% had been members of HASA for 9 months or fewer; 18 respondents or 36% had been members for 10-15 months; and the remaining 14 respondents or 28% had been members for 16 months or longer. A few respondents indicated that they had been members since the inception of the site. The variety of months of membership in the responses of those who did reply means that the answers were skewed neither toward those who were relatively new to the archive, nor toward those who have been involved for well over a year.

The next benchmark questions had to do with what the members of HASA did at the archive, both in regards to contributions made and use of resources available. I asked, “What would you say is your primary activity at HASA- writer, reader, reviewer, admin, or some combination? (if it’s a combination, please try to give a percentage or ratio of sorts, if possible),” and also, “What is your primary use of the archive? (for example: place to publish stories, place to communicate with other writers, find beta readers, etc.)” It was in these responses where some differing patterns emerged. Thirteen people, or 26%, indicated that they were not currently active writers, and of those, four specified that they were now mostly inactive in regards to HASA, though they had been more involved in the past. Four additional people indicated that at least 50% of their time spent at the archive had to do with their administrative and technical support duties. Fifteen people, or 30%, wrote that at least half of their active involvement was in writing, while 23 respondents, or 46%, indicated that at least 50% of their time at the archive was spent reading the stories there, whether completed or works in progress. In regards to reviewing stories, 21 respondents, or 42%, specified that they spent at least a tenth of their time as active reviewers.

Overwhelmingly, the people who replied to my survey use the archive as a place to house or publish their fanfiction. Of the 50 responses, 33 replies, or 66%, wrote that publishing their stories was either the primary reason for joining the archive, or it was one of only two reasons why s/he was a member of HASA. Fifteen people, or 30%, specified that one of their main purposes for becoming a member was to be able to communicate with other writers in the forums, and hopefully collaborate with like-minded writers. Below are some replies to the question “What is your primary use of the archive?”.

Place to publish & also communicate with other writers, mainly commenting (in forums) on favorite author’s stories, and getting feedback on my own W.I.P.s (27)

Mainly to publish stories and sometimes comment on stories and stories-in-progress of which I’ve become familiar with the author. (18)

Initially, it was to read, hopefully, quality fics that appeal to me, and I certainly wanted to publish there. (48)

My primary use of the archive right now is as a place to communicate with other writers and to put beta stories/WIPs that I would like to hear comments on. (20)

For me, it’s mainly a place to publish stories and to find other people’s stories without wasting my time with crap. (47)

The third part of the triumvirate of questions relating to participation in the archive had to do with members’ use of aspects of the site that went beyond housing stories. I asked “Do you avail yourself of the forums, URL library, resources section, beta readers, etc?” All but thirteen people indicated that they did use the resources, forums and URL library at least from time to time. The remaining thirty-seven people, or a predominant 74%, use the archive beyond simply housing stories, or reading stories. Three respondents specified that they did use the beta reader section, and one writer specifically made not of his/her effort to get a beta writer, but to no avail.

2 b: the information transmitted to a point of origin of evaluative or corrective information about an action or process

Since there are so many other Tolkien-based fanfiction archives on the internet, I asked the question, “If you are a ‘published’ (as in, have stories posted publicly on the internet) writer, do you have stories archived at other locations besides HASA, such as other archives or your own website? If so, why?” Two respondents indicated that they were not published authors within Tolkien fandom, and of the remaining 48, 11 people, or 23%, replied that they chose specifically not to archive their stories at HASA. These author’s reasons ranged from feeling uncomfortable or philosophically at odds with the stated goal of the archive of housing some of “the best” Tolkien fanfiction, to translation issues (one author was French), to having requested feedback and not receiving any, then removing their stories. At the other end of the spectrum, five authors, or 10%, revealed that their stories were available only at HASA. In those cases, reasons were not explicated. Most individuals who replied to my survey have stories both at HASA and other locales: other archives, their own websites, and in livejournal weblogs. An overwhelming 67% (32 people) fell into this last category. The answers to the question, “If so, why?” became repetitive, and being a writer myself, I was not surprised to see “maximum readership/additional feedback” come up multiple times- 22 times, or 69%.

I find this an unusual question, as I tend to be more surprised when people say that they only post at HASA! (21)

My basic philosophy is that the more people who can find and enjoy my stories the better. I’m not interested in exclusivity. I have my best-known story posted to many archives, translated into three other languages, and read by people all over the world. I like that. I’m not going to be coy and pretend it doesn’t matter. (37)

I have stories archived at FF.net, Stories of Arda, Open Scrolls and on my own website. I do not submit everything at HASA for publication, and I know people who do not know about or like HASA. Posting in other places helps expand my base of readers. (22)

A desire for more feedback or critiquing of works was a common theme voiced by several respondents, both in regards to the reviewing process, but also in general. Since almost one-third of those surveyed indicated that they hoped to have an active dialogue with other writers, such a pattern of comments was not unexpected, though the messages were rather divergent.

I could never find a beta reader to take a look at my stories. Basically, the people of the site refused to help me better myself as a writer, yet expected me to write the best quality fic. (45)

As for communicating with other writers, I did attempt to integrate myself in the beginning. But I found quickly that HASA was effusive only within certain conditions – to known denizens, writers who have made a name for themselves, and in clusters (ie, friends and acquaintances). (48)

I’m much more likely to leave a review or comment at HASA, because the fact that the person is an active HASA member tells me that they are genuinely interested in constructive criticism and discussion of their fiction – and might reciprocate for me! (8)

I have always liked creative writing, but never thought I’d permit anyone else to read what I wrote. HASA changed all that for me. [.] HASA is still the place where I communicate with other writers, and exchange ideas and information re: the works that have provided inspiration for us all. (28)


1: simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person or thing

HASA and its reviewers are caught in a neat little Catch-22. In order to achieve their stated goals, they must act in an elitist and judgmental manner, but they don’t like the word elitist and get offended when “outsiders” call them on it. (37)

Generally speaking I CAN see why the charge of “elitist” might be levelled at HASA and its methods. (38)

Hasa is elitist and picky, and not very friendly. (40)

HASA is wonderfully ordered community, and well kept. I like the professional environment of the writers in general. (35)

.it’s a pretty well-behaved community – there are certainly spats and disagreements but I rarely see anything resembling flaming in the forums. Most members are very supportive of each other’s efforts to write the best they can, in whatever form or genre best suits them. (11)

I am very happy with this community. I feel I have learned a great deal from my participation here. Constructive criticism is often found here, but not flames or derogatory comments, as the readers here are more mature. (30)

I usually compare HASA unfavorably to other fanfiction communities. HASA is conceited, vain, arrogant and anti-hobbit. (6)

HA is very Hobbit and Men oriented. This is starting to make elf writers feel unwelcome, and slash writers feel like they are the plague! (26)

In the first chapter of Henry Jenkins’ book Textual Poachers, he states that “The fans’ response typically involves not simply fascination or adoration but also frustration and antagonism, and it is the combination of the two responses which motivates their active engagement.”[12] While that phrase is couched in the context of fans’ relationship to mass media, I believe that it is equally appropriate for describing the inter-personal relations between fans within a particular fandom, and even within unique aspects of a fandom, in this case, the writers and readers of Tolkien-based fanfiction who frequent the Henneth-Annûn archive. This sentiment is echoed by Kirsten Pullen in the concluding paragraph of her article “I-love-Xena.com: Creating Online Fan Communities:”

Despite the aggressive, sustained fan activity visible on the Web, the internet should not be assumed to have created utopian fan communities. [.] fans do not always interpret texts, fan production, or fan positions and identifications similarly.[13]

I wished to find out how the members of this particular archive saw themselves, both in regards to the other members of the archive, but also within the fandom as a whole. To that end, I asked the questions, “Do you compare this community with other fanfiction communities, either on your own or with other fanfiction community members? If so, what comments do you have about HASA and other archives? Do you ‘behave’ differently in other communities?” Unfortunately the wording of the questions was not as explicit as it could have been, and some respondents indicated that they only participated within Tolkien fandom, as opposed to answering that they participated only at HASA, if that indeed happened to be the case. I next asked for a free-thought response with these sentences: “Please describe how you feel as an active participant within this community. If you are active in other Tolkien fanfiction communities, feel free to compare your participation and experiences within HASA versus those in other communities.” The replies to these questions were widely divergent, as evidenced by the few quotations listed above.

Of the fifty replies received, I divided them into positive, neutral/no answer/ambivalent and negative. Twenty-five, or 50% fell into the positive category; fourteen, or 28% were in the neutral/no answer/ambivalent group, and the remaining 11, or 22% were negative. In the positive camp, many people wrote that they felt as though they were valued contributors to the community, or that it was a more mature community than some other fanfiction communities. Several respondents did voice sentiments that it was not perfect, while acknowledging that no community can be.

What I like best at HASA is the forums; I haven’t found the lively discussions in other communities I’ve been involved in, and HASA folks are a sophisticated bunch of writers — keep me on my toes. (7)

I have gotten to know some wonderful people, found a writing collaborator, found encouragement and advice for my own writing, and had a great time. The level of both serious criticism and good humor suits me very well. (43)

I feel valued, able to contribute, and frequently end up better educated! [.] I think HASA really *is* a community, though like most large communities it’s made up of smaller “circles of friends” – which to others may sometimes look like cliques! – but the reality is simply that no-one can read and comment on *everything* on HASA, it’s simply too big. (8)

I feel somewhat “protective” of HASA; I get defensive when I read criticism of it from other fan communities (though I certainly don’t consider it to be perfect). (20)

In the neutral or ambivalent group, some respondents indicated that they were only sporadically involved, which parallels the 26% who specified that they were not currently active within the community. Two people elaborated on their conflicting feelings about the archive:

My experiences with HASA have been mixed, and so are my feelings about the community. Most of the members are fine, but in the past I’ve had unpleasant encounters with several key individuals.(24)

Do I feel like I actually belong? Yes. Did HASA make me feel welcome? Yes and no, but the fact that I am not wanted hasn’t always stopped me. (29)

The negative replies focused on feeling left out of the community, sometimes due to the author’s personal preference to reading and writing in particular subsections of Tolkien fanfiction which were felt not to be accepted by most members at HASA.

My fandom friends and I quite often joke about sending our AU fics to HASA to get shot down. [.] I spend my energies in forums in which I am respected and in which I respect the others in my group. (13)

I feel mostly ignored and often annoyed. Hey I knew that before I joined and I have not been disabused of my opinion since I have joined. (40)

I think a lot of people at HASA take themselves too seriously. Every little disagreement seems of monumental importance. I don’t need that much grief over a hobby, so I don’t stay there much anymore. (39)


1. a critical article or report, [.] on a book, play, performance, etc.; critique

As mentioned earlier, one of the primary differences between Henneth-Annûn and other Tolkien fanfiction archives is that it is composed of two parts: the members’ section, which is private but has no requirements for membership outside of joining a public yahoogroup; and the public side, which showcases fanfiction which has been evaluated by a nine-person, self selected reviewing pool. Any person who has been a member of the archive for thirty days is eligible to be a reviewer.[14] Reviews are encouraged to be anonymous, though some reviewers include their pseudonym and email address in their comments.[15]

My final question in the survey was an open-ended one to encourage the respondents to think about the reviewing process and articulate their feelings about it. I wrote, “A unique attribute of this archive is its 9-person, self-selecting reviewing process to approve or decline stories for the public side of the archive. If you have been involved with this process, whether as a writer, reviewer, or both, please describe your feelings about it.”

The comments I received about experiencing the judging end, being a writer submitting stories to HASA’s reviewing pool, varied significantly. I categorized the replies into those who felt primarily positive, predominantly negative, and those who either did not address that aspect of the quest or were not published authors. Twelve people, or 24%, were in this last category. Of the remaining 38 respondents, half wrote that they felt mostly positive about being a writer and having submitted works in the reviewing pool. The other 19 people felt that their experience in the process was a negative one, or as one person replied, “It’s a mixed blessing.”[16]

“I wasn’t horribly impressed because the first thing anyone asks when they are rejected is “Why” If you can’t tell me that much then if I really felt my story was appropriate I’m going to be both upset and angry. [.] Now its optional that reviewers leave a reason. But they don’t always [.]” (39)

“I’ve had one of my stories reviewed and it was fine. I was impressed with the depth of a couple of the comments.” (7)

“I think sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, because one person will say you have awesome writing and approve, and another reviewer for the same story will decline with the reason that the writing is undistinguished. I think it’s a real lottery/crap-shoot/whatever you want to call it. And trying to get people to elaborate on their reasons for declining is quite frequently a waste of time.” (22)

“As a writer, I think twice before submitting, where I publish on ff.net without a second thought. It has thickened my skin to the ‘decline’ votes, and even many of those are encouraging in the long run.” (32)

Most people who replied to this survey, if s/he was a reviewer, indicated that s/he took the responsibility seriously, while others explicated their conflicting feelings about the process.

As a reviewer: I take it very seriously. I know what it’s like to get criticism. [.] I try to be as objective as I can be in the subjective realm of writing/reading. I follow the guidelines and don’t just vote on my own whims. (2)

I try to be constructive when reviewing because that is how I would want to be reviewed. (10)

I like the reviewing process myself but take my duties as a reviewer very seriously and do not allow friendship or favoritism to interfere with my choices. [.] I write a long critique (when necessary) and try and help the author to write a better story. I do not kid myself that other authors do this. (6)

I have some serious qualms about the HASA reviewing process, [.] because I am wary of the idea that there can be self-evident parameters of taste. One man’s Mozart, after all, is another man’s screeching cat. [.] this is not to say that the reviewers at HASA are cliquish or insular, only that they may be perceived as such. (4)

As a reviewer, I have shifting feelings about it. [.] I do bear in mind that HASA guidelines call for ‘excellence,’ and I’m encouraged to keep reviewing when I see things that I consider flawed get voted in (an experience common to everyone, I’m sure!). (21)

As an infrequent reviewer, I like the newer combination comment box/capsule decision, although it does open up more possibilities for difficulties. For one thing, each anonymous reviewer is essentially assuming an official position in taking on the responsibility of reviewing– to the author whose story you review, you (and eight faceless others) *are* HASA, and I think reviewers really should remember that when they comment and vote, and if they cannot remember that, then they ought to abstain. (15)

In some of the quotations already listed, the sentiment was voiced that the people doing the reviewing are biased for or against particular genres of stories or even who races, such as hobbits or Elves. Many respondents, however, addressed how they felt the reviewing pool actively discouraged this bias, while acknowledging that reviewers can opt to be selective in what they review, or “cherry pick” particular genres or story focuses.

In early March, one of the site managers posted a public plea to HASA members either to become reviewers, or to review more often. Since the reviewing pool and stated purpose of the archive have proven to be points of contention within and outside of this particular community, and one of the purposes of this paper is to reveal how the members of this community interact with each other, I feel it is not inappropriate to include this additional insight outside of the answers to my survey questions.

There are 243 reviewers eligible to submit reviews. However, only 174 of them have done a single review since July 2003. Of the 174 that remain, fewer than 50 have reviewed 20 or more submissions.

So, speaking from a strictly statistical point of view, a relatively small group of people is deciding what does and does not get accepted. I am convinced that the people in this group are well-intentioned and are submitting considered, reasoned opinions. I’m also convinced that they do not know whom the other involved reviewers are, i.e., I do not see patterns of collusion in the voting.

They are also doing a heck of a lot of hard work. There have been over 500 hundred stories submitted since August, requiring over 4,000 reviews be performed. You do the math. Simply through the accident of non-participation, story decision making is being done by a small and dedicated group of reviewers. [.]

You can’t vote on your own stories, but you can do for other members what you hope they would do for you – become a reviewer, check out a few stories a week, and evaluate them. In doing so, you will broaden the perspectives in the reviewers pool.

And that is a benefit to all.

So, be a good HASA citizen – review something today.[17]


‘Come, come!’ said Gandalf. ‘We are all friends here. Or should be [.]’ Lord of the Rings, “The King of the Golden Hall”

I have read all the FAQs and stuff about what Henneth Annun WANTS, but what are we trying to do here? Make better writers, better fiction, better Tolkiens?[18]

The Henneth-Annûn story archive is a multi-faceted community of fanfiction writers and readers who participate with varying levels of involvement. I wished to find out, from the members’ own words, how they saw themselves in relation to each other, and the archive as a whole, as well as comparing their experiences with this community with other Tolkien fanfiction organizations. As the quoted responses reveal, there are widely divergent views, and any sense of an overarching sentiment could not be gathered from the replies I received. A further difficulty in this process was my inability to contact every member of the archive, as well as my dependence on people taking the time to reply to my survey. While there are over 450 active members, I was able to contact fewer than half of them, and of that, under 30% chose to communicate with me.

Henneth-Annûn is not the sole archive in cyberspace whose goals are to house quality works of Tolkien-based fanfiction. The definition of quality, however, differs from person to person. HASA is most definitely an ensemble of individuals who are there to write, and to learn, and to share ideas. Included in the stated aims of the archive is this sentence: “The purpose of the site is to collect the very best examples of JRRT fanfiction writing from around the Web, and to provide a collaborative work environment in which site members can appreciate and create quality JRRT fanfiction.” The archive is there to promote all writers to improve their craft, as well as freely share a wealth of detailed analysis of Tolkien’s characters, languages, politics, and much, much more.

What it is not, and I believe this is what addled many people who replied to my survey who were frustrated by a lack of personal attention to his/her works, is an educational institution. Like all archives with which I have been involved, Henneth-Annûn is administered by, and prolifically attributed to, volunteers. My impression from the replies received is that most people who become members of this archive do so to house their fanfiction. That is only a part of the reason, however. They wish to learn, and to collaborate. I did not get the sense that people join HASA for the sole purpose of improve other people’s writing, which creates yet another Catch-22 for the archive. Newer writers are there to solicit constructive criticism and feedback, but the more established writers are still at work on their own stories and have a higher profile, therefore there are more writers seeking their advice. From my personal experiences at the archive, I do firmly believe that no new author is purposefully ignored. There is an adage which sums up this situation, though: “perception is reality.” Even if what is revealed through surveys and statistics is that overall, members have a positive experience in the archive, what each unique writer undergoes during their time at the archive is what remains the ultimate truth for that person. 

Despite a shared commonality of a love of Tolkien fanfiction, whether as a producer of works or a reader of them, the members of the Henneth-Annûn archive are neither unified in their perception of the archive itself, nor in their observations about their participation in the archive. Given how many people are involved with the community, and the differing backgrounds of the authors (age, culture, length of time in the fandom), this is not surprising.

This community, as with all communities which are internet-based, is also in a constant state of flux, which makes analysis a challenging endeavor. While the information garnered from my survey hopefully illuminates the many complex and contradictory purposes and emotions which surround this particular fanfiction archive community, it is obviously only a few trees in a forest the size of Fangorn.


Hills, Matt. Fan Cultures. London and New York: Routledge, 2002.

Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, 1992.

___. “Why Heather Can Write.” Technology Review, Inc. February 2004.

McCormack, U. ‘”How can it be transgressive if it’s been on Woman’s Hour?”: Online fan communities and the politics of slash.’ (Unpublished manuscript.) 2004.

Pullen, Kirsten. “I-love-Xena.com: Creating Online Fan Communities.” Web.Studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age. London: Arnold, 2000.

Rust, Linda. “Welcome to the house of fun: Buffy fanfiction as a hall of mirrors.” Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media, Vol.2. March 2003. [http://www.refractory.unimelb.edu.au/ journalissues/ vol2/vol2.html]

Sabotini, Rachael. “The Fannish Potlatch: Creation of Status Within the Fan Community” [http://www.trickster.org/symposium/symp41.html]


The significance of the title of this paper refers to the name of the archive. From The Encyclopedia of Arda, http://www. glyphweb. com/arda/, comes this partial description of Henneth-Annûn: “Its name means ‘Window on the West’ (or ‘Sunset’), taken from the waterfall that flowed over it.” The definitions used at the beginning of the different sections came from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.

[1] Pullen, Kirsten. “I-love-Xena.com: Creating Online Fan Communities.” Web.Studies: Rewiring media studies for the digital age. London: Arnold. 2000, p. 60.

[2] “In the language of the Elder Days, ‘Arda’ signified the World and all that is in it. Arda was created through the Music of the Ainur to be a dwelling place for the Children of Ilúvatar (that is, Elves and Men).” from The Encyclopedia of Arda, http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/, original date pf word creation unknown. A Google and Altavista search on the word on 3/24/04 revealed its use four times.

[3] Respondent 3.

[4] Hills, Matt. Fan Cultures. London and New York: Routledge., 2002. p. 137.

[5] 29,826 when accessed on March 26, 2004 (Lord of the Rings only; if one adds in stories based on The Silmarillion the number is increased by 1,125.)

[6] Library of Moria [http://www.libraryofmoria.com]

[7] Open Scrolls [http://www.scribeoz.com/fanfic]

[8] Axe and Bow [http://axebow.hakaze.com]

[9] Frodo Healers [http://www. rosiesamfrodo. com/ ~frodohealers /about.html]

[10] Parma Eruseen [http://www.parma-eruseen.net]

[11] Per email correspondence with the site administrator, sent February 19, 2004: “There are 800+ people on the list at present time, @ 460 of whom are active. Starting this year, people who have no activity after one year will probably be removed permanently, simply to keep the list to manageable levels. We have had 59 new members sign up since February 1, and almost 100 since January 1.”

[12] Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, Inc., 1992. p. 23.

[13] Pullen, ibid. p. 60.

“FAQ #3: Who can review? Anyone who has been a member of HASA for 30 days is eligible to be a reviewer.” [http://www. henneth- annun.net/members/faq/faq_list.cfm?FAID=5]

[15] Author’s personal experience. As of March 30, 2004, I had 13 works accepted into the archive and two which had been declined. Most reviews were anonymous, but not all.

[16] Respondent 41.

[17] “Review Process” forum, posted March 9, 2004. [http://www. henneth-annun.net/ members/forums /messages. cfm? confId=3&forumId =179&messageId=21938]

[18] ibid. Reply posted March 20, 2004.


Author Biography

Kristi Lee can be contacted on thevina33@hotmail.com