Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Wedding Gift

Author: annmarwalk
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2008 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Other Fixed-Length Ficlets - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Drabble-and-a-half (150 words) Gloín crafts a gift in secret for his bride.


Reviewed by: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) -- Score: 10

As others have said, not enough is written about the dwarves. It may be partly Peter Jackson’s fault for showing them as ugly buffoons, and it may be partly Tolkien’s fault for telling us so little about them. In this tender piece, Ann portrays a moment in their unseen domestic life. These little “still life” scenes, drawn in luminous colors and filled with exquisite details, are one of Ann’s specialties. It is touching that Gloin offers the best materials he can find and afford, yet he still feels they are an unworthy accompaniment to Nandi’s loveliness. I liked the parallel with Gimli who also uses his art to celebrate the beauty of his beloved. Gloin’s belief that [ever was beauty sanctified by purpose] echoes one of the mantras of 20th century industrial design—“form ever follows function.” I think Gloin would probably enjoy browsing in an IKEA store! [Strong as bird’s bones] is a nice turn of phrase; it sounds like an oxymoron, but of course it is not—for their size and weight, birds’ hollow bones are relatively strong, a masterpiece of design, and Gloin is probably well aware of it. The hint of eroticism is convincing yet also slightly alien (he lifts her beard, lol!). I liked how he noticed the curve of her neck—even at this most personal moment, he sees with the eyes of a craftsman, analyzing the visual elements that please him. This drabble offers a fascinating glimpse into Gloin’s mind.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 10

the description says gloin and his bride so i will not need the spoiler button or so i think. you have just described the best kind of gift i think people can exchange, and i have a pretty firm idea what her side was, thank you for leaving some mysteries in life. you know in some cultures it is necessary to display all your wealth so that everyone knows how to treat you if you have four gold chains and the other guy has ten.. you lose. the harad supposedly carried their wealth with them to war so that if they died they would not arrive in paradise broke, wonder if anyone ever explained that looting was a two way custom. or maybe their spirit only needed the spirit of the gold so that when he was burned without it he never missed it. i think i prefer those cultures were wealth is underplayed and woman and children are the greatest rewards the male ever wishes for ( too bad it's becoming more and more a story book tale) but if we could get this tale out and widely read there could be a resergence of male dedication to family. i'm glad to find someone so talented at writing giving us this view of family life within the dwarfen world. i hope they have many years and several children to share these kinds of moments with. we of course know there's at least one.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 6

Ai, but this is lovely! It is a touching tale of intimacy between two dwarfs, yet in a way the love between the two of them is universal. You don't often get that with the rarer races, but Ann manages it. I don't mean to suggest that Nandi and Gloin are un-dwarvish or generic, because they are; Gloin's secret work crafting something and then giving it with hardly a word, and also Ann's description of "[the rich veil of (Nandi's) hair, her beard, his lips caressing that delicate curve of neck and shoulder]" - there is a reference to a distinct characteristic of dwarvish femininity, yet you could almost miss it, it is so well integrated into descriptions that might be applied to Eowyn or Celebrian or Rose Gamgee just as easily. The use of details like "[Chalcedony and carnelian, gold-flecked crystal, shimmering mother of pearl]" also gave this ficlet a nice touch of realism. Dwarf fics won't want to miss this one, but I think it would be enjoyed even by people who don't often read about Durin's sons.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 5

Ann Marwalk's "A Wedding Gift" is a delightful glimpse into the love of a dwarf -- Gloin, father of Gimli -- and his beautiful wife, the original character Nandi. I love the essential dwarvishness of this vignette. The crafting of each bead and the necklace are described in exquisite detail, with the emphasis on the tools and materials and craft, things that a dwarf would find important. And the presentation is so loving, so tender, that we see just how similar these individuals are to those of other races... while at the same time, how different. This is a heart-warming vignette. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Violin Ghost -- Score: 5

Your words create a lovely, dwarvish sort of atmosphere, beauty and love of the craft mingled into a tapestry of words. (Your words are inspiring me to use beautiful language too.) What I especially like about this little oneshot, however, is that though, throughout the piece, you show Gloin's tender love for the making of beautiful things (shared by all Dwarves, of course!), he surrenders to the fact that his wife is more beautiful than anything he could ever make with his two hands. A lovely oneshot, not overdone, but flowing with language as lovely as Tolkien's own.

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion -- Score: 5

As deftly and delicately crafted as the gift itself, this ficlet embodies concepts of dwarven culture so simply and naturally that it may only be on a second or third reading that the viewer will think, 'yes, that would be so, that is just as it would be done'. The images themselves are constructed with beautifully constrained language, not florid and heavy but using exactly the right phrase [delicate of design yet strong as bird's-bones] to convey a familiar idea - a groom carefully choosing a wedding gift for his bride to be - but also the subtle strangeness of the dwarven race in how that gift is delivered and accepted.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 5

Oh, simply lovely! The description of Gloin's dedication and intense concentration on his task gives full voice to how important the gift is to him. And then a beautiful listing of all the wonders he puts together to fulfill his creative vision; I love the tender touch of him wishing for even more precious materials to utilize in his fabrication efforts. The characterization of Dwarves in general and of this particular custom are wonderful, and that's one moving and sensual scene when he gives his bride his present. The author tucks in a brilliant specification of just who will get to see this gift; that alone heightened even more the tremendous effort that Gloin put into it. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

A lovely vignette about Gloin's wedding gift for his bride. Ann uses her considerable gift of descriptive writing to exquisite purpose as she reveals to the reader the shape and color and substance of the gift, culminating in the bride's joy and Gloin's joy in his bride. The story, like the gift, is well-crafted.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 3

Great work, Annmarwalk. I love the line [ever was beauty sanctified by purpose], it captures so much, making the Dwarves love of craft almost holy. And while for a moment I was amused by the idea of Nandi's beard, you used it to best advantage and with it created a moment of unique intimacy. Gloin's depth of feeling is wonderful.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah, such a glorious act of love, to craft this love token for the one who would be the mother of his children. That such romantic urges lie in the hearts of Dwarves. Delightfully sensuous.

Reviewed by: Avon -- Score: 3

This story is beautiful and polished - just like the wedding gift. in a very short space it uses words that make pictures and also tells a very complete story. It is the little details that make it - the description of both his tools and the materials he uses and the matter of fact strangeness of sweeping aside her beard. I've always loved this story.

Reviewed by: viv -- Score: 3

So very sweet! I like the notion that dwarves made only useful things, never frivolous bits. But, in the end, this isn't frivolous at all: it's a gift, and very romantic. Where did you get the name Nandi? It sounds very dwarf-like (well, at least as far as they are called by non-dwarves). I dig it. Hooray: Gloin/OFC! This dwarf fan just had a woohoo moment.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 2

I love the intimacy of the gift, it's almost counter-point to the typical dwarfish greed, but on deeper reflection, it's exactly the kind of custom I can see them following.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 1

Aww! How sweet. Thanks for this peek into the private lives of Dwarves.