Books, Writing

Meet Jan Hawke…

Hello, fellow bloggers!!

I am VERY excited to welcome today’s guest to my blog… fellow RRBC Board Member, JAN HAWKE!! Jan is on an exciting blog tour this week with 4WillsPublishing and I am fortunate enough to be one of her hosts!  🙂

Without further delay, allow me to present the fabulous Jan Hawke…

The Fantasy Freebooting Tour – Part 7

Messing with canon

Occasionally the community ran RPGs that included original characters from canon, and held ‘auditions’ for people to come and play heroic figures from the books. Competition was always fierce for this, simply because they hardly came up that often and who wouldn’t want to play a lifelong idol?

Best of all was when someone ran a quest game that let your usual character interact with Frodo, or Glorfindel who, in The Lord of the Rings had saved Aragorn and the hobbits from the Ringwraiths as they tried to get to Rivendell. For a bard like Jano, these were heaven-sent opportunities to roleplay with, or as, her heroes.

In one such quest game, she found herself paired with Glorfindel, one of the mightiest Elf-Lords ever, travelling south from Rivendell to Dol Amroth in Gondor. He was a big hero of hers, and she’d composed a short but emotive verse of his greatest deed, saving the survivors of Gondolin from a Balrog as they fled over the mountains.
Here’s her version of the single paragraph that was written of the encounter in The Silmarillion

They fell…

in glaring flame
and dark black smoke.
From the mountain
into the rocky vale.
The cost we paid
for freedom.
They fell…

It fell…
from the high crags,
its fire diminishing.
Damned to the depths
for its defiling
of the light.
He fell…
still golden bright
in glory and in pain.
Fighting for us.
The path made safe.
His life the price.
They fell…
into a legend
of betrayal
and deathly oaths.
His life for hope
of an escape
to destiny.
They fell.

That’s the homage to meagre canon, but in the quest game she had the good fortune to talk about this glorious battle and learn how it felt to have a fight to the death with a fire-demon. Talk about goose-bumps!

One night, early into the journey, as they camped under the stars on the northern border of Hollin, Jano had asked Fin (as he had asked her to address him) about something that had been troubling her a while. It was a little embarrassing for her, as she thought she may have offended him once in the Hall of Fire, as she sang of his famous battle with the Balrog. He had been very subdued when he had realised what she was about to perform, and had left the Hall soon after she finished. It had preyed on her mind for a while, and now they knew each other better she wished to put things right, if they needed to be.

“I was too bold perhaps, my friend… insensitive? Maybe I should have sung my piece another time and not in your presence? If I offended you in any way, then I am truly sorry for it.” 
Having screwed up her courage all day to ask this of him, she was therefore a little taken aback when Fin had burst out laughing.

“Oh Jano! I am sorry, my dear… your face!”  he managed with difficulty to control his mirth and address her earnest question with a serious reply.

“To be honest with you I was uncomfortable yes, but then I always am when I am so ‘honoured’. At the time though… your time… all I could think of was how grateful I was that yours was perhaps the shortest accolade I have ever received, and yet one of the most touching in its simplicity and directness.”

He looked at her face briefly, then swiftly looked away again when he started to chuckle once more, as she still looked a little stunned. Instead, he gazed into the fire and, his lips still twitching into a smile now and again, he tried to explain some more.

“But this has happened many times before to me, as I am sure you realised at the time – we caught each other’s eye remember – as you got up to sing, and I knew then what you would do… say. And you could not look at me, nor I at you after that.”

He sighed, no longer laughing at himself, or at her discomposure, but trying to think of a way to tell her that would not make her feel at fault, for the truth was complicated and truly, he did not think that Bards should not acclaim his great deed in his presence at all.

It is not embarrassment as such – I am past that. I just did what I did. For duty… and for love too I suppose? Have you ever been in a battle Jano? No, of course not – you are too young…”

“That is true Fin, but I have fought when my life was in danger, or to protect others. My step-father Aldred and all three of my foster brothers were warriors… cavalrymen in the service of Gondor, or of Rohan. Aldred taught all of us how to ride and to use a sword, and he used to tell us tales of the battles he had fought in – how sometimes a madness can take you into a place where you are no better than a beast, to slash and kill without compunction, or thought, or reason. No emotion except a rage to destroy whatever is in front of you…”  she hesitated a moment then went on “I have killed too… orcs… I lived in Ithilien close to the Ephel Duath for a long time before I came to Imladris. Once only I felt the madness Aldred spoke of, and… he was right. It was horrible, and when it was over… I was sick to my stomach and cried and cried…”

Her beautiful sea-blue eyes were wide and sad with the memory, and for a brief moment he wanted very much to comfort her with more than words, but he returned his gaze to the fire, nodding a little and spoke softly to her.

“Then you will not be surprised to know that is how it was for me on that day. In a way… your Aldred spoke the truth… it is a terrible thing to be that way in battle. You lose all control, all reason and act… instinctively. It is a primal defence I think, because for the time you are like that, you have no thought of danger to yourself, or even to others. All you are is someone else’s death… a raging killer.”

He kept his eyes on the flames, watching the writhing forms and remembering what little he could… the eyes blazing hate and darkness, the fiery whip, the pure white-hot evil that matched his own rage and abhorrence…

“Had I not been in that place where you become your own hatred… where you will tear and rend and destroy anything in your reach, I doubt I could have fought that creature, let alone kill it. I was a soldier, a seasoned warrior and it had never happened to me before. I was good, even great, and had never known true fear – I knew my craft well. Was always cool and competent. Yet as we fled the city I was terrified – we all were I think, for we had never before seen such destruction, or horror… and… the relief when Tuor and Idril led us away through the mountain.”  he paused, hardly aware she was listening now, wrapped up in the memory. “Then just as we thought we had won free, that… thing… was there, and for a moment there was shock and fear, and then… nothing except a desire… a need… greater than any hunger or lust. I wanted it gone – obliterated. And I really do not remember anything else after that, except the roaring heat and the smell of burning metal… cloth… flesh… then nothing at all, for so long.”

Jano could not shift her gaze from the pale, handsome face staring into the fire, lost in the memory of his own death, and knew this moment would stay with her for the rest of her days. She kept quiet and very still, knowing not to break the silence, yet wanting to reach out and touch his hands or his face. At last he turned his kind, grey-blue gaze back to her and smiled gently.

“So there is no need for you to feel bad, Jano. I do not remember it too well. All I did was my duty as a soldier, and as one of the chief servants of my Lord Turgon, who had already fallen to three of those horrors. Protected and fought for people I loved and honoured. And the rest was fated.”  his lips curled into another smile for the beautiful elleth, who was looking at him with compassion and understanding.

“What say you to a little night riding, Jano? I doubt either of us is going to rest tonight and Filigod and Asfaloth have eaten their fill… We have not pushed them too far today really.”

And that is the beauty of roleplay – it lets you roam around someone else’s head and work out why they’re doing something, or how they got to that place. Even if they’re not your own character, if you dig deep enough you find their heart and soul, and share in their victories, their joys and sorrows. For a writer, it’s never unrewarding if you want to really get under a character’s skin.



Siân Glírdan is the fusion persona of the elven roleplay character, Janowyn (Jano), High Bard of the River Kingdom and her ‘real world’ creator, author, Jan Hawke. Glírdan is the elven word for ‘songsmith’, and Siân is a Welsh variant of Jan (in case you were wondering!).

When it became obvious to Jan that Jano had a far better handle than she could ever have on writing in the fantasy genres, Siân was born, fully formed and raring to go.  A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac, which is basically the manual on how Jano was brought into being and developed, is Siân and Jano’s first official collaboration. They’re currently working hard on an epic future fantasy series, Tomes of the Havenlands, loosely based on the ancient Celtic world. The first volume should reach the shelves at the end of 2016.


A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac back blurb

This is poetry, wrapped in fantasy, within a memoir… Or, to put it another way, it’s a true tale that might well apply to many fantasy fans and gamers who can’t be bothered with keeping their realities separated from their more lurid imaginings.

In my case, this is a sort of ‘real’ cyberspace profiling, during a phase of my life when roleplay truly did need to be therapy, because what was happening around me for real was not what I wanted to participate in. So, buckle up your swash and prepare to witness a titanic battle played out on the field of sanity – where what happens in your head is the only truth that matters.

book cover
Book links

Amazon (eBook only for now) –
Amazon Bio
A Freebooter’s Fantasy Almanac blog

Social Media links
Twitter – @SianGlirdanBard (
Facebook Author page –

“The tour sponsored by”

Thank you so much for joining us today. We greatly appreciate your support! Feel free to leave your comments below. And don’t forget to check out Jan’s books AND the rest of her 4WillsPublishing blog tour! You’ll be glad you did!!   🙂

Until next time………Happy Reading & Reviewing!!!

12 thoughts on “Meet Jan Hawke…”

  1. Reblogged this on Siân Glírdan and commented:
    It’s the last day! *whimpers*. It’s been such fun all week, but I wanted to end the tour with something done in ‘high fantasy’. The piece I chose involves a very unusual Tolkien character. Glorfindel did not feature in the Peter Jackson movies – his crucial plotline was given to Liv Tyler’s character, Arwen, Aragorn’s love interest. His famous deed that Jano sings about happened several thousand years before the era in which the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are set. Glorfindel killed the Balrog but fell with him from a mountain-top trail and died. Because he was an elf, after death he could re-incarnate in the Undying Lands of West. What makes him unique in canon, is that he was the only individual to have re-incarnated who was known to have returned to the Dying Lands of Middle Earth. In fact, Tolkien originally was going to let Glorfindel again kill the Balrog in Moria and survive this time, but then decided that Gandalf should be the hero of that encounter and also ‘die’ with ‘the Heart of Darkness’.
    So, this sequence is classic freebooting, but it’s intended as homage and to support what was already written about by the original author. I didn’t change the story, I just told it a different way…

    Thank you so much Mar for lending me your blog today – I’m so happy to be winding up this wonderful week with you! ((((HUGS))))! 😀


  2. Jon, this is ending with a Bang! Well played! Let me say something though, again about your use of the English language.You seem to speak to entertain yourself, not so much your readers. Tell me if I am wrong. I sometimes find it difficult to follow your thoughts. :(, even though, I admire your fluency… Thank you Marlena for hosting her.


    1. I have a butterfly brain, Joy! I can’t keep up with myself sometimes, so I know it must sometimes be difficult for other people to understand what I’m wittering on about.
      With pen and paper roleplay writing – it’s more like being an actor so you kind of zone out into the character’s head and tend to forget the audience/reader? And, yes, you’re right, I do write to entertain myself as much as a reader, which is why I gravitate to fantasy worlds more I suppose.
      I’m taking you along for the ride inside my head (or my character), but I hope I do eventually untangle the layers and threads I’m weaving to you can see the pattern.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Another great excerpt. War is such a horrible thing. To have it glorified in song seems so un-politically correct. And yet, we must, too. Soldiers fight for the safety of those they love and not necessarily for political views. We must honor them as they put their lives at stake. Such an appropriate ending for the US, which celebrates our independence this weekend. 🙂


    1. Ahoy there, Rebecca! 🙂 In recent times here has been a lot of criticism on some aspects of Tolkien’s writing, especially with regard to women, ethnicity and imperialism. It’s fair to point out that Tolkien was very much a child of his time (he was born in 1892). At 24 he was fighting in the truly terrible Battle of the Somme, which has had resonance all week here in the UK, as people remember what happened during the carnage in France 100 years ago.
      Tolkien insisted that his experience in the trenches during WW1 had no connection to his writing, but in ‘the war to end all wars’ he did learn, at first hand, the effect of war on men from all walks of life and all corners of the British Commonwealth. He later spoke of the ‘oppression’ of war and was outspoken in his utter rejection of the politics of Nazi Germany, and of Stalinist Russia.
      If there was a connection to his books, it was a very human one and, indeed, you only have to read his hobbits’ perspectives during the War of the Ring, particularly the suffering of Frodo and Sam in Mordor, to know that Tolkien abhorred the dehumanising and wretched conditions of soldiers and civilians alike, during ‘total war’.
      The love and duty aspect then, is what I took from this part of the legend – the need to escape to freedom, and fleeing evil, rather than bare heroics and martial skill. To be an ‘ordinary’ soldier is essentially about protection and preservation, despite the violence and less savoury side of patriotism we have seen in history. We should be proud of our military who fight for us, so that we can live in peace and independence.
      Happy 4th of July to you all in the West! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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