Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Reflections

Author: Angelica
Nominator: Himring
2011 Award Category: Elves: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Violence
Summary: When Eldar and Avari meet, they discover similarities among their differences. Written for the SWG's 5th Birthday Celebration theme The Songfic that Wasn't.


Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 10

This is a wonderfully evocative piece of fiction to go with Angelica's theoretical piece on "Name-Calling". That piece demonstrates how Tolkien's essay "Quendi and Eldar", while primarily linguistic in intention, shows the elves as preoccupied with differences among themselves rather than unity, to an extent that it would be quite possible to speak of real xenophobia or even racism. I found the conclusions of the theoretical piece quite sobering and even saddening... So I'm glad that this piece, although it makes some of the same points very forcefully, has something like a happy-end: the Avari and the Noldor discover their unity once they actually meet, despite the differences that struck them so forcefully to begin with. Still, it takes a common enemy and danger of death on one side to bring them together, and even in the final scene they remain conscious of the difference in speech--despite their ability to communicate by osanwe. The story is powerfully written. The change of point-of-view is extremely effective. It is striking how strongly these elves each identify as groups rather than as individuals--the pronoun used throughout is "we" and "they" rather than "I" and "she" or "he". But what I also like about this story is its evenhandedness: both sides state their views and neither is too obviously favoured.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

Be still my thundering heart! This is one of those unique pieces of fanfiction that just left me stuttering--I can't say speechless, I'm never speechless, unfortunately. One of my very favorite theoretical pieces about the Quendi your {"Name-Calling"} which also left me feeling very small and humble before your analytical powers. And this fabulous little story is the fictional equivalent of some of the most precious points you made there. It worked beautiful and additionally stole my heart. This is terrific. First encounters make up one of my favorite tropes in almost any genre of literature, but hold an especially hallowed beloved place in sci-fi/fantasy. The topic is particularly moving for me in this case. I am imagining that the line between the Avari as more of a hunter-gatherer society and The Noldor as the most technologically developed and politically complex of the Eldar might have seemed uncrossable. Yet how fascinating it is to consider that they are both of the Quendi--those who speak, not only with words, but also share the skill of osanwe-kenta. Love their characterizations each of the other. You outdid yourself here, Angelica. I truly wish you wrote more fiction.

Reviewed by: Lyra -- Score: 5

"Reflections" is an intelligent look at the way Avari and returned Eldar viewed each other. Both sides are prejudiced and judge the others, just as humans of different cultural or social backgrounds tend to do. Fortunately, a common enemy serves to re-unite the estranged Quendi... I liked how the author remained neutral and described either group from the eyes of the other without taking sides herself. Both Avari and Eldar get to tell their side of the story, mingling observation and (mis-?)interpretation of what they see. In the end, they realise that they are the same people after all - despite their differences. An enjoyable "songfic that wasn't", ending in U2's "One".

-- Thank you so much for reading and reviewing "Reflections"! It's a bit too late but I wanted to let you know how much your perceptive review meant to me. All the best

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 4

This story is a songfic that explores the theme of U-2's "One": no, the Avari and the Eldar are [not the same], and indeed, some of their differences are points of conflict. Nevertheless they are kin, and in a time of crisis they must carry each other. I can be pretty musically illiterate, so I have to thank the author for sending me in search of the song this is based on. It's really lovely.

-- Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! "One" is one of my favorite U-2 songs and it seems to come back again and again when dealing with the Eldar and the Avari (I used a line for the title of a section in a non-fiction piece about this topic some years ago). I'm very glad you liked the story and the song too!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

An interesting look at two groups of very different factions of Elves, Avari and Noldor, in Middle-earth, as seen through each other's eyes. The mutual suspicion and disdain for each other's ways rings very true; and the fact that it takes a close encounter of the Orc kind to bring these two branches of the Quendi together makes sense. I would have liked to see more of this story; but it works very well as a short piece.

-- Thank you so much for reading and reviewing "Reflections". This meeting between Eldar and Avari has always been one of the most intriguing moments of the First Age for me. I'm glad the story worked for you!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 4

Angelica's [Reflections] offers a tantializing look beyond the canonically brief treatment of the meetings of Eldar and Avari. I really enjoyed this story for the treatment it allows both the harsh differences and familiar similarities, and the common ground found in capacities like mind-speech and of course the common enemy. The last scene, of the two groups seeing face-to-face for the first time after a battle, drove home the title. An effective and moving story.

-- Rather later than I would have wished, I want to thank you very much for the perceptive review of "Reflections". It means a lot to me! All the best

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 3

Reflections is a stunning and emotional look at the relationship between Avari and Eldar. Angelica's prose is wonderful and extremely emotive, and the piece's overall impression is haunting. Excellent work!

-- Rather later than I would have wished, I want to thank you for your review on "Reflections". It really means a lot! All the best Angelica

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 2

Interesting view at how the Avari and the Exiles might have perceived each other after the Exiles came back from Aman to Middle earth. Just slightly too optimistic for my taste.

-- Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! The excessive optimism that you detected was probably prompted by U-2 :)

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 1

A brief tale that develops an interesting idea. Nicely written and worth reading.

-- Thank you very much for reading and reviewing! The meeting of the Eldar and the Avari has always fascinated me. I'm glad you found this version interesting. Angelica