MEFA Reviews for Friday, August 1, 2008 (Part One)
- Title: Elanor of Westmarch: Still There · Author: Baranduin · Genres:
Drama: Final Partings · ID: 183
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-07-23 12:52:19
There are so many little things that tie us to the lives we have
chosen; and for Elanor it is a quilt, one that had once covered the
bed of Frodo Baggins. After taking leave of her father one last time
she finds comfort in it.
A sweet tale, filled with the longing such partings bring and the
tearing ache as we think of the choice between loves departed and
Title: Fidelis · Author: Pentangle · Genres: Drama: Hurt/Comfort · ID: 612
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:18:14
This is a beautifully written story. The OC character death brought me
to tears, but it fits the story. The conflict in this story is set up
gradually and the tension is heightened from chapter to chapter with
just the right pacing.
The story is well-balanced between narrative and dialogue. The
backstory of the characters is thrown in in just the right-sized bites.
Aragorn is torn between his oath as a healer and what he thinks is
best for his patient. The two sides of the conflict are embodied by
Kenuric, an OC character, and Legolas, who both have strong arguments
for their desired cause of action, with Aragorn caught in the middle.
After the conversation Aragorn had with Kenuric, I thought he had the
right of it, only to be swayed by Legolas' reasoning.
Making the whole situation even more difficult is an underlying issue
between Aragorn and Legolas, which was never acknowledged, but now
comes to a head.
The characters, canon and original, are deftly drawn. They all have
their own personalities with their quirks and faults. My favorite
character is Kenuric, who has grown a lot from the time of [The Taming
of the Badger] to this story.
I love the burial rites Legolas and Aragorn carry out at the end of
the story. It is a fitting ritual.
Title: Seas of Fate · Author: Thundera Tiger · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Elves and Men · ID: 487
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:18:48
In this story Legolas seeks advice from Imrahil about the sea. I like
Imrahil's correction of Legolas' ideas about the sea. The story has a
melancholy feel to it which stems from the description of Legolas'
sealonging, which Imrahil, at least on a basic level, can understand
courtesy of the distant elven blood in his line.
Title: Symbols of Love · Author: Larner · Genres: Adventure · ID: 130
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:19:23
This is an exciting step for the two boys, going on their first patrol
with their fathers.
I love the way in which you show how much they love being counted
among the members of the patrol, but at the same time showing that
they are not quite grown up in Elboron's impulsive deed.
I loved the story of the quilt, although I'm not sure it is quite
practical to drag along on patrols.
Title: Wars of the Valar · Author: Fiondil · Genres: Longer Works · ID: 3
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:20:08
This story concentrates on the Valar. Each of the Valar and some of
their chief Maia gets their own distinctive voice and personality.
Since there is little known aside from their general occupation about
the Valar, it is fascinating to watch how the author incorporates
their primary functions into their personalities and characteristics.
My personal favorite is Namo, who we see grow and come into his own
throughout the story. I love the sense of time going by in eons during
this story, since these are immortals and time naturally has another
meaning for them than for us.
The story is grim and dark in places, but there is always a good dose
of humor to lighten the mood. I love the banter between Orome and Namo
in the last chapters published and can't wait for more updates.
Title: All That Remained · Author: Allee · Genres: Drama: Featuring
the Noldor · ID: 155
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:25:10
I love this story because Gilraen's grief about Arathorn's death is
portrayed here so different than in the few other stories I have read
about this topic. The story is very dark in places and as a reader
with a clear rational mind you ask yourself how can she not see what
is right in front of her? But grief is a strange thing and can take on
Gilraen's grief brings to the surface another grief in Elrond's
household which has not been dealt with in a long time. I love it how
Gilraen and the twins help each other in their different ways of
coping with grief one breath at a time.
Gilraen in this story becomes a person in her own right with flaws and
strengths she has to discover in herself. She is allowed to grieve or
she just does it, no matter what anyone else expects from her. Elrond
seems to be the only one able to understand her. I like the
description of the reaction of the visitors to her behavior, since I
think this is typical for people not really close to the person grieving.
I like it that the twins are each their own person, too. They might
look alike, but their personality is very different from each other
and therefore their ways of coping with grief.
The pain will not go away immediately, but at the end of the story
there is a ray of hope on the horizon.
Title: And so our friendship began... · Author: Amarok · Races:
Cross-Cultural: Elves and Men · ID: 281
Reviewer: obsidianj · 2008-07-23 13:26:35
This is another of those Aragorn meets Legolas for the first time
stories. And while the premise is not new, the execution is unique. In
this story Legolas meets Aragorn for the first time as prisoner of a
band of humans, Aragorn among them. The meeting starts out bad and
gets worse from there.
Legolas' impression of these humans is not the best and when he
realizes who Aragorn is, old prejudices and stories from his father
about the treacherous Isildur and humans fighting on Sauron's side
during the Last Alliance raise their ugly head.
I was fascinated by the way Legolas interprets any of Aragorn's
actions through the filter of his prejudice and comes to conclusions,
the reader doesn't expect in a story about the beginning of the
friendship between the two. Through the filter of Legolas' logic all
his actions make a twisted sense, but the reader, at least this
reader, wants to shake him and tell him to really look at this human.
Aragorn is still very young in this story. His reaction to Legolas'
seeming irrationality when this is an elf and so should be an ally to
him, is touching to read.
I love the way both characters are drawn, although Legolas is the more
There are some heart stopping moments in this story until finally the
two see eye to eye.
I can only recommend this story to every Legolas/Aragorn fan.
Title: The Haradric Whore and Her Son · Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass
CoAuthors · Races: Cross-Cultural · ID: 124
Reviewer: Oshun · 2008-07-23 18:37:24
I truly enjoyed this story on so many levels. The underlying
relationship with Boromir and Theodred is beautifully portrayed if
largely implicit. The poignancy of the interpretation of loyalty in
the context of lengthy separation is handled in a human and sensitive
manner: not all high-flown, angsty, and unlikely, which is more the
norm for stories of this sort.
The descriptions of the OMC Gaersum (OMG, isn't he gorgeous) and his
mother are beautifully detailed. He was fascinating to me, because at
first I couldn't really follow where you were taking him (almost had a
moment there where I wondered he is fell somewhere on the autistic
spectrum, but you cleared that up and gave him a plausible explanation
for his social reservations and inward-looking personality).
His mother's story is sad and beautiful in its own right. I was
entranced by the level of Boromir's consideration of the boy, his
sensitivity to the cultural elements involved, and his growing
admiration for the mother. Instead of feeling that Boromir had some
how been selfish, I was left feeling that, in the end, he made both of
their lives a whole better by his choices and how he sought to handle
This is a beautifully written, complex, without being either rigid and
preachy or blithely ammoral, and a fundamentally human story.
Title: The Apprentice · Author: pandemonium_213 · Races: Villains · ID: 52
Reviewer: whitewave · 2008-07-23 20:06:19
Chapter One. The first few paragraphs drew me in, even if initially, I
found the scientific terms a bit "unusual" for a Tolkien fanfic. I'm
glad I pressed on. The character's cunning and extreme attention to
details seemed to me most promising, to me, that was what clinched the
deal. The way you ended the chapter left me wanting to read more,
which is just what I did and I was definitely not disappointed.
Chapter Two. The title character had me intrigued from the very
start--what will become of him? Will he turn to evil? He's managed to
keep my attention even if he is an OMC. The introduction of
Tyelperinquar and seeing how Aulendil was doing in Eregion, knowing
what he was really up to and what will eventually happen made for an
excellent start of the chapter. By this time I've managed to lose my
initial reservations about the "scientific" words and have started to
feel that they really belong to the story. Eventhough the Feanorians
are not really the focus of the story, I must say I enjoy reading all
the "side stories" you wrote about them. I loved the curve ball
question on athelas in this chapter.
Chapter Three. I shared in Samaril's surprise about his initial
"minor" tasks. It was a "huh???" moment for me. Reminded me of the
"wax on wax off" bit in Karate Kid--just kidding. Seriously, I tried
to "forget" that I know how things will end for Eregion and Aulendil.
I was torn between thinking that maybe he's not as evil as Melkor
after all. Or maybe NOT, especially seeing that he could possibly read
the thoughts of his apprentice and most likely everyone else's.
Chapter Four. I smiled at Aulendil's honesty in his line: ["I don't
bite, or at least I don't these days..."]
His admission of snoring is a nice touch, but later on I had
goodsebumps when I read about his moodiness and coldness. The mention
of Aulendil's "loved ones" and his line: [I would have been sent
summarily to the parlor to sleep had I done that at home,] had me
intrigued. Is he married or living with someone?
Chapter Five. I loved the anecdotes about Curumo very much plus it is
similar to my impression of Saruman (?). My favorite line here was:
"[...He was so stiff and humorless that he made himself
an easy target for us. The braggart yammered on and on about his
precision at drawing out a particular alloy. So one day, we oiled the
handle of his hammer...Curumo had to sweet soot for weeks
afterwards..."] And also that part about Nessa's dance slippers.
Aulendil's remark about the beauty of the countryside struck me as so
bittersweet. It seemed to me that he may or may not be "reconsidering"
his plans? His brotherly interaction with Tyelpo in this chapter was
heartbreaking since we know what's going to happen.
Chapter Six. Very interesting take on how the rings of power were
crafted. Liked the side comment about Feanaro.
Chapter Eight. I liked the line: "[...yet Elven men will not deign to
have much to do with these women. Great Yavanna, and you're the same
damn species."] Most of the pairings are between elven women and
mortal men so Aulendil's "concept" in this chapter was refreshing.
Chapter Nine. This chapter has the most chilling glimpse of the dark
side of Aulendil and his struggle with it. It reminded me of a
character I read once who had multiple personality disorder. I felt
afraid for Samaril here, I think that he has somehow reached the point
where he notices that something is amiss but just turns a blind eye to it.
Chapter Ten. This is my favorite chapter in that Samaril has come a
long way both in his talent and in his interaction with his master. If
only Samaril knew just what it was that he made. It's just so perfect
how it blends with what was written by Tolkien and how you fleshed it out.
My favorite line is: ["You are hopeless, Samaril. You just don't know
how hopeless yet."]
Chapter Eleven. Here I found myself thinking what could have
happenened had Aulendil submitted to the Valar, it's something I've
never thought I'd ever feel for a character like him. I think it was
touching that he actually misses the elves, it just adds to his
This line gave me goosebumps: ["...Melkor, the heart of darkness,
worthy of worship and of sacrifices made on his behalf. Such worship
and sacrifice are among many things that I will bring about when
I cast the One."] It convinced me that Aulendil had lost to Gorthaur
by his own choice.
The last encounter of Aulendil/Gorthaur with Samaril was simply
unforgettable. Needless to say, I enjoyed this story immensely and
even if you modified the characters' names and the setting and
"de-Tolkienized" it I'd still enjoy it. It has all the right stuff
that I enjoy reading about--drama, comedy, tragedy and hope. There are
points where I am torn between analyzing just what it was that drew me
in and just sitting back and enjoying the story as it unfolds. I am
satisfied with how you tied the loose ends but could not help but wish
for more so it was great that you wrote a sequel. Thanks very much for
Title: Wormtongue · Author: Mariole · Races: Villains · ID: 240
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-07-23 20:45:13
Ah--two of our favorite villains together--Lotho Sackville-Baggins and
Grima Wormtongue. Lotho cannot openly name himself the prisoner he
knows himself to be; cannot allow himself to imagine his mother isn't
just off visiting relatives in Hardbottle but instead has been dragged
to the Lockholes; cannot allow himself to accept openly that when
Sharkey has no further use for him he will be killed, although he
knows all of these--and more--are true.
And tonight as Wormtongue brings him a poorly prepared meal, the two
share fantasies--in an odd, distorted way, but completely in keeping
with their relationship--before Wormtongue follows Sharkey's final
commands regarding the Hobbit.
Well told, and satisfyingly horrible. Very much worth the read.
Title: A Problem Shared · Author: Dot · Races: Elves: Mirkwood Elves ·
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-07-23 21:25:04
Ah, Wizards--those of the late Third Age find it difficult to live
with them, and yet for all their mysterious nature they also manage to
impart knowledge through riddles and deliberately vague hints,
heartening at the same time they frustrate! I feel so for Thranduil's
frustration as well as his delight once he sees the message in the
Wizard's apparent rambling discourse.
A wonderful tale!
Title: Philosophia to Philomythus and Misomythus · Author:
pandemonium_213 · Genres: Poetry · ID: 50
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-07-23 21:29:57
Oh, how wonderful as mythologist and scientist confront one another,
the scientist seeing the same beauty as the mythologist, but from a
different point of view! A wonderful poem of delight as we watch the
Title: Maglor's Harp · Author: Ford of Bruinen · Genres: Horror · ID: 660
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-07-23 21:46:13
Lush prose, eerie in its imagery and its only hinted-at implications,
and thus well-suited for this story, as is the leisurely pace. It
lulls the readers into a false sense of security, and as the narrative
goes on, there is such a slow, gradual increase of horror that it is
paradoxically difficult to really take in the reality of what is told.
Maglor's insanity is conveyed very hauntingly in its gradual
unfolding. The view through his eyes made me shudder, this seemingly
so natural, reasonable rationalisation of needing to prepare for an
audience, of imagining an audience to which to sing to, finding the
perfect harp. His ["single-minded obsession"] to detail in his "quest"
to the exlusion of all reflection is conveyed very vividly, and I like
how this is used to describe his surroundings, to paint a picture of
the scenery at the beach.
In his search for perfection without regard to natural feelings or
conscience, without any moral compass, Maglor reminds me sharply of
Grenouille, the protagonist in Patrick Süskind's ["Das Parfum"].
Title: Tree of Knowledge · Author: Nancy Brooke · Times: Late Third
Age: Gondor Drabbles · ID: 172
Reviewer: viv · 2008-07-23 21:50:24
The Denethor voice here is pure poetry, and in it you can hear both
his noble history and his current (as of the setting of the drabble)
palantir-induced fugue. There is a tendency when writing Denethor
circa the ring war to portray him as unthinkingly vile, as Peter
Jackson did in the movie. But Nancy Brooke hasn't gone that route
here, and in fact she never does. Even though Denethor is obviously
paranoid and distressed and under a certain thrall of Darkness, in
this short piece you can still see a spark -- small yet, but there --
of the noble Steward and attentive father he is at his core, the
character as Tolkien wrote him before the long spiral downward. Plus,
the wording itself is economical, and did I mention poetic?
Title: The Houseless · Author: Jael · Genres: Horror · ID: 178
Reviewer: viv · 2008-07-23 21:56:28
I enjoy a spooky ghost story just as much as the next former girl
scout. This one conjures nights spent around camp fires, spinning
yarns, edging closer to the fire and away from the darkness, and
generally trying to creep out my friends. However, this story
accomplishes all that ambiance and atmosphere with a Tolkienesque
twist thrown! I shivered happily through the forshadowing, the ghosty
details, and the poignant, downright *sad* ending. Throughout the
whole, I thought Jael's characterizations were very strong, and her
sense of pacing, to get the ghosty moment *just right* left me in awe.
What a great mood piece!
Title: Out, Damn'd Spot! Out, I Say! · Author: Alassante · Races:
Elves: Noldor Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 260
Reviewer: viv · 2008-07-23 21:58:38
Several things stand out in this short piece (which is pretty amazing,
considering Alassante only had 100 words to work with, but she still
managed to fit all these thematic and character Issues into a bitty
little drabble). One is Maedhros's clear leadership ability, which
makes his later denial of his kingship even more tragic, even though
it was the diplomatic thing to do. Already, in this story, you can see
that he is better than Feanor at gaining the confidence and trust of
the people he's leading. Also, you can see here the intense *feeling*
of Celebrimbor. All that he did later on when he was hanging out with
the Gwaith-i-Mírdain is foreshadowed in this piece by his guilt and
obsessive compulsion (so evident, and even clinical). Finally,
Alassante depicts Feanor as a punk (here; not in all her writings,
alas), which is exactly how I've always seen him, so I totally dig it.
Great job at conveying all these subtexts, and especially in such a
cramped word-count, Alassante. This is what drabbles are all about, as
far as I'm concerned.
Title: The Last Throw · Author: nau_tika · Genres: Drama · ID: 556
Reviewer: viv · 2008-07-23 22:16:21
The authorial decisions in this piece are just brilliant. I love the
voice, how it feels that the narrator is speaking directly to me, the
intimacy of the piece. My grandfather fought in a vicious war and
never spoke of it. I can only imagine the horrors he saw. So it
resonates that this man, this unnamed soldier of Gondor, feels that he
must tell the story while it's fresh in his mind, so that his children
(and, later, his children's children) will know why he fought, and
what it was like. It is, as he says, [important for them to
understand]. As a listener, er reader, I can almost feel his family
sitting beside me, listening with rapt attention to his tale. And
since they, who are also audience, are literally *part* of the tale,
then so am I, to some extent. Almost magically, you've transported me
smack into Tolkien's tale. Thank you so much for the journey, this
time through humble -- and personal -- eyes.
Title: Hide the Knives · Author: Nieriel Raina · Genres: Humor: Gondor
· ID: 485
Reviewer: viv · 2008-07-23 22:27:27
I am a big fan of Aragorn/Arwen fourth-age fics, but most of that
subgenre tend to be kind of serious. So I was very happy to see this
one threaded with humour. And being a mama myself, I can relate to
Arwen's, er, peculiar mental state. hee. Not for nuthin were the elf
princesses of old regarded with awe and terror! Aragorn had better
watch out for himself! When he started to laugh after her apology, I
could almost hear it: kind of thin and nervous, eh? What a fun read
Title: Kin-Strife · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Genres: Drama:
Incomplete · ID: 92
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-07-23 22:47:54
Given that this story was responsible for attaching a monstrous,
novel-sized nuzgul to my ankle, my feelings for it are mixed. One can
read it as the unfolding of a friendship through a time of trial,
which it is. But the trial that organizes the first half of the story
is no ordinary one, but one born of racism and a failure of feudal
responsibility that just happens to cut through a friendship between
lord and servant, who are also Dunadan and Southron. This sets up a
struggle for redemption that colors the story up through chapter
six-ish, and one that affects more than just Imrahli and Andrahar - it
also sets up horrifically fanged nuzgul for unwary fanfic authors.
After the legal resolution, however, there remains the question of how
friendship will unfold, and it passes through a number of issues that
would litter the path of young noblemen trying to find their place in
a feudal world that they have not yet inherited. The confusion of
different kinds of love and loyalty, leading to a botched experiment
in sexual love enjoins negotiating a recovery from that mismatch of
brotherly and romantic love. The effects of poor choices return to
haunt Imrahil in other ways as well, and provide a catalyst for a
relationship with ["the mysterious Captain Eagle of the Star"] that
provides both a reciprocal testing of Imrahil's friendship with
Andrahar and questions of Imrahil's place in the world. All of this
together I think fits well with the characters' age and relative
inexperience, making this not quite a coming-of-age story, but
certainly a story of about beginning to grow up.
Throughout, and despite trials and tribulations, the Imrahil-Andrahar
friendship remains strong, and an example of true love, if not
romantic love: both Imri and Andra discover that there are limits to
their friendship that need to be respected, lest the friendship itself
lose its capacity for honesty and fall into a kind of sad infatuation
that lingers past the point when dignity and liking part ways. With
Imrahil, that's an especially important discovery, given his youthful
dissolution and high rank.
I'd be happy to get another chapter soon (hint hint)...
Title: Elanor of Westmarch: Still There · Author: Baranduin · Genres:
Drama: Final Partings · ID: 183
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-07-23 22:48:03
This is a lovely, quiet piece of familial drama, and uses Elanor's
perspective beautifully. The tenderness of the father-daughter
relationship, the details of Sam's arrival at Elanor's home - after
midnight, keeping the moment of meeting and parting between him and
his beloved daughter - the discussion of the hat, and the sense of
Sam's steady paring away of the things that tie him to Middle-earth
Elanor's relationship with the three towers was also fantastic, one of
my favorite moments of the book. The watchtowers become persons in
their own right, and sisters to Elanor, sisters whose personification
draws out a whimsical aspect of Elanor's nature that suggests a
certain prolonging of the magical in her mind. Very well done!
The moment of temptation, to follow her father, and the sense of her
hanging there in the balance, fits well: she is a hobbit born in later
times, the daughter of legends, with an unearthly flower name - she
straddles the division between the legendary and the mundane from the
side of mundane time. Like her father and Frodo, she, too, is torn,
but where Sam and Frodo, and in a way, Merry, Pippin, and Aragorn,
must seek a final healing beyond Middle-earth, Elanor's healing has to
come within it, through her family. That fits the theme of the Fourth
Age beautifully in my opinion. Well done!
Title: A Cat in King Elessar's Court · Author: agape4gondor · Races:
Cross-Cultural: Friendship · ID: 66
Reviewer: mbumpus_99 · 2008-07-24 01:40:47
It is always interesting to read canon events from unusual
perspectives, and this tale certainly is one of the most creative uses
of that plot device I've ever read. Agape4gondor takes us on an inside
track in Minas Tirith, courtesy of one of Beruthiel's cat's progeny.
We meet all of our canon characters and watch as the Ring War comes to
an end through feline eyes. Our little hero even has a few surprises
for our canon characters as time goes alone.
This is a delightful read, and one that I will probably revisit over
and over again as time goes on. I appreciated the author's note,
originally posted in the midst of posting the piece and still valid
and interesting when read as a footnote. Time and care went into the
writing of this tale - and I would recommend it highly to everyone who
hasn't seen the story from the mouth of the Cat In King Elessar's Court.
Well done, agape4gondor. Well done.
Title: Wind and Fire · Author: elfscribe · Times: First Age and Prior
· ID: 539
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-07-24 02:29:09
With one of the first lines of "Wind and Fire"--["Thou, Feanor!"]--I
wanted to dislike the archaic style that is too often overused and
abused in Tolkien fanfic. It did not take Elfscribe long in this
story, however, to convince me to do otherwise, and this story has
since become a favorite of mine.
"Wind and Fire" is an elegant and gracefully written piece about the
most unlikely of pairings. While the unconventional pairing might
dissuade some, I encourage those with an open mind to take a chance on
this story. Aside from a beautifully wrought and effortless style,
Elfscribe uses canon to excellent effect to explore several important
concepts in this piece.
First is the idea of what it might be like for a being of spirit, like
a Vala, to be clothed in flesh. Does such an individual feel the same
longings and desires as the Children of Eru? How does he learn to
command it ... or does he not? These questions form the basis for the
story's pairing, as Manwe comes to terms with what it means to be a
creature of flesh with desires of the flesh.
Secondly is the enigma of the Silmarils. Why does Feanor remark that
their unmaking shall be the death of him? Elfscribe takes him at his
word in this piece and puts forth an entirely plausible scenario of
how the Silmarils gained not only their exceptional beauty but also
their hold over their maker.
Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and erotically charged, "Wind
and Fire" is a must-read First Age story.
Title: Gently Held · Author: viv · Genres: Romance: Other Fixed-Length
Ficlets · ID: 6
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-07-24 02:41:09
A beautiful reflection by Arwen of her love for Aragorn. I really
appreciated her counting up the reasons she did *not* fall in love
with him--it made her revelation of the reason she *did* even more
Title: Recognition · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Late Third Age:
Gondor Drabbles · ID: 481
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-07-24 02:43:17
A very nice exploration of the theme of Eowyn's femininity. To have
the POV be that of Ioreth was a masterful stroke: Ioreth speaks with
the authority of the Wise Woman, and sees more than most.
Title: A Fitting Occupation · Author: Radbooks · Races: Men: Pre-Ring
War Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 601
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-07-24 02:43:52
A very nice drabble set! I could just see the long-suffering father
and the restless youngster. What a creative solution Bard had--most
kings would think it a comedown for a prince to become an apprentice.
But it makes sense that Bard, who was just an ordinary citizen of
Laketown before he slew Bard would not have such an attitude, but
would see the value in his son learning a craft.