The votes have been cast and the results are in. It’s time to announce the winner of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril.
Over hills, under trees, and across rivers. Through the wilds of Eriador, along paths oft untraveled, until we come at last to that renowned haven tucked into the folds of the Misty Mountains.
Here dwell the elves in peace and wisdom. What better place to honor the Wisest Counselor with the bestowment of this coveted jewel and title?
A breeze murmurs through the vale, stirring the leaves and grasses, and filling the air with a pleasant coolness. A crowd has gathered around a dais backlit by the gold-red gloaming.
A figure approaches the dais from the side, gray robes swirling, pointed hat set upon his head, trusty staff in hand. An elven attendant intercepts him.
“Beg pardon, Mithrandir, but you have arrived later than planned.”
Gandalf’s eyebrows bristle. “A wizard is never late.” With that, he marches onto the dais. Leaning on his staff, he faces the expectant crowd.
“I could say many things this day, friends, but excessive speech often hides an ignorant mind, an accusation of which no one can make of me—though Saruman has tried.
“We have gathered here by the gracious consent of Lord Elrond and his people to witness the presentation of a worthy gift.”
Gandalf begins to pace. “Through the ages, numerous counselors have traversed the faces of the worlds, offering guidance, wisdom, insight, and a steady hand in time of trouble. Some earn greater repute than others. It is to these we turn our attention.”
Pulling a piece of parchment from the folds of his robe, Gandalf clears his throat. “The counselors deemed worthy of reaching this final vote are as follows:
“Aslan and Professor Digory Kirke from Narnia.” The crowd cheers.
“Rayad from Ilyon.” More cheering.
“Beana from Goldstone Wood.” Cheering continues.
“Halt from Ranger’s Apprentice.”
The cheering dies off as Gandalf sweeps his gaze over the onlookers. “I doubt not the individual merit of each of these fine characters. They exemplify the best counselors found across the lands.” He gives a wry chuckle. “Myself, Lord Elrond, and the Lady Galadriel excluded, of course.”
Scattered laughs. Elrond, seated in the front row, raises an eyebrow in amusement. Beside him, the three human contestants smile. Aslan and Beana look on with placid expressions.
A twinkle in his eye, Gandalf continues. “But as you know, only one can emerge victorious.” Gandalf moves to a short podium of dark wood, carved in the shape of a tree draped with twisting vines and inset with glittering gems. On it rests the Silmaril. “Only one can claim this award.”
He sweeps his hand in a half-circle. “Today, we shall name the first victor of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril. It’s well enough for them that I was excluded from this contest, else it would have been no contest at all.”
Hearty laughs fill the air.
“Enough of my rambling. I am old and need my dinner, and I’m certain Lord Elrond grows weary of my prolonged speech.”
Gandalf straightens and his voice rings out over the distant chime of water cascading down the rocks. “The winner of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril is one who above all exhibits unmatched wisdom in all dealings, in word and deed. Yet not wisdom leading to vanity or unwarranted belief in one’s own mental competence. This character should fill the role of sage counselor, providing timely advice and a listening ear. That individual is…”
The crowd leans forward.
“Aslan, the great lion, son of the Emperor-over-the-Sea.”
Thunderous applause erupts. At Gandalf’s beckoning, Aslan joins him on the dais, mane rippling in the breeze. Gandalf presents the Silmaril, which rests upon a black velvet cushion. “My hearty congratulations, Aslan. Truly there is none more deserving.”
Aslan faces the crowd. *cue Liam Neeson voice* “Thank you all. I’m honored. Though I receive this award, know that I am but one of many noble souls who could easily stand here.”
Gandalf nods. “Even so, I’m sure Lucy—along with all the Pevensie children and countless others—can attest to your guidance and encouragement. A true mentor and friend.”
“All I’ve done, I do for my friends and in service to my father.”
“And an excellent job, too. Your victory has the distinction of being the largest landslide in these awards. You earned a hair off two-thirds of the votes.”
“If that is an indication of the number of lives I have encouraged, I gratefully accept this award, and I look forward to seeing other deserving winners in the coming years. It has been a privilege to participate.”
Aslan exits the dais to enthusiastic applause and cheering. And thus ends the presentation of the Wisest Counselor Silmaril.