Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Constancy

Author: Dwimordene
Nominator: Elleth
2011 Award Category: Drabble: Elves - First Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes
Summary: Written for B2MEM 2011's Vinyamar prompt. See notes within. Melkor gets acquainted with the new fauna around Cuiviénen.


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

It's tough to write a review with a teeth-chattering chill going up and down one's spine. Just saying. Anything involving Morgoth's experiments with the first elves would be horrifying, but Dwimordene makes it all the worse (or better, if you're looking for good shudder) by distancing us from the elves and describing their torment in terms of art. Music, to be more precise. This is the creative process at work, something with which we as fanfiction authors are all intimately acquainted. Suddenly, Morgoth/Melkor isn't as foreign as he once was and the twisting of the elves isn't as incomprehensible as we would like it to be. I think that's what hit me most about this story. More than that, though, the horror is sustained and carried forward. It doesn't end with the first perversion. That would be too easy. I love the teasing way Dwimordene writes of another influence that can't be Sung out of the elves-turned-orcs. The closing lines were especially chilling and shed new light on the orc's tendency to fall upon and destroy everything around them, including their own companions. As much as Melkor would like to claim these as his own, they never truly are, and we're left to wonder if that stems from a limitation on Melkor's part, interference on the part of another, or if it's actually a reflection of Melkor's own unacknowledged divide over what he's done, doing, and will do.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Dwimordene, I was very impressed indeed with this ficlet that tackles such a heart-braking topic in a manner that is disturbing and yet poetic. It is one of those texts where every word seems exactly right, none too much and none too little. The tone and rhythm, which belie the brutality of the process, are like a reflection of Melkor’s deceptive nature. To think that he would use song, nay, Song for such an abominable purpose, something which is supposed to be sacred! It is a torturous question we are left to ponder on here: how is it possible that one creates evil by twisting the nature of what is good, and how can it be that such change is lasting, even from generation to generation? The point you make here, that [Something other sings still in them], that their eleven identity is not extinguished, but turned into self-hatred and entices them to fratricide, this seems eerily real and makes me think of various real life scenarios where people have been twisted into hateful and self-destructive beings. In your ficlet, there is no hope other than death. In the real world, I would cling to the hope that healing and redemption are possible. Thank you very much for this very highly-polished, very thought-provoking ficlet.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 10

As if the creation of the first orcs (according to some canonical sources, anyway) weren't a complex enough topic, Dwimordene even increases the controversy of her drabble [Constancy] by a further step. The drabble is chilling not only for the subject matter at hand and the violence and perversion embodied in this particular act, but rather, and especially, for the glimpse from the other side. While many stories gloss Melkor's creation of the orcs as intentional mockery of Eru, here the malice is perhaps not absent, but secondary. Rather, the author shows Melkor as a subcreator who engages critically with the creatures before him and considers them deficient beings (in fact I couldn't help being reminded of Arnold Gehlen's philosophical anthropology idea comparing human and beast and finding the former deficient for roughly the same reasons as in the drabble) that require strengthening and change - but contrary to Aule who crafts the dwarves for the same kind of constancy, Melkor's artistic vision and care (which come through fantastically in the drabble) are self-serving and consequently turn out murderous, flawed and internally torn. A choking piece of work in the best possible way that packs lots of food for thought into just a hundred words. Wonderfully done.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 4

I very much enjoyed this drabble. The author captured a unique scene with vivid and crisp prose, employing stark imagery throughout. A succinct look at Melkor’s thoughts regarding the tainting of Elves to Orcs, Dwimordene’s Constancy is interesting and enlightening; it is a perfect example of what I love so much about the drabble as a length/style of writing. Wonderful!

Reviewed by: Starlight -- Score: 4

What I find most interesting about this piece is, actually, not Melkor's foul deed (as horrible a crime as that was), but that he does not get The fundamental truth that he is not in control; it is not really his song; he cannot really own, nor change, anything or anyone. The way he almost lost the lot of them should have taught him something, but no... This Drabble is a very interesting, intriguing look into Melkor's psyche and how it works.

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 4

This recalls to me the discussion between Frodo and Sam in the valley of the Morgai on the subject of the murderous discord that Frodo says is the spirit of Mordor that has spread to every part of it. Only according to this story, it is self-hate, really, and the last remaining core of elvishness at the heart of orcs that Melkor could not eradicate, if I understand Dwimordene correctly.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Excellent piece about Melkor's creation of the Orcs. Dwimordene conveys Melkor's conscienceless cruelty; and the plight of the orcs, who never asked to be remade as such, their misfit status among the various Children of Eru...

Reviewed by: Altariel -- Score: 3

The simplicity of the language is what makes this drabble work: plain, clear words to describe one of Melkor's most horrible crimes, the twisting of the Elves into ["self-hatred"], leaving them ["forever inward-riven"], with ["no peace but death"]. Chilling and effective.

Reviewed by: Russandol -- Score: 3

Chilling view of Melkor's corruption of the Elves into Orcs to make them less soft and more attuned to his discordance, with horrific side-effects that lasted through the ages. A very powerful drabble.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

This is a powerful drabble about the changes that Morgoth wrought in corrupting Elves into Orcs -- and the resistance of Orcs to such a fundamental change in their being. The language is rich and evocative, with some wonderful phrasing to exploit the metaphor of singing for creation, especially in the expression ["Tuned them to his own Song"]. A very memorable piece!

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel -- Score: 2

I don't think anyone will ever really know of the origins of Orcs, but your take on it is intriguing. this piece is well written and was a joy to read :)

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 2

One possibility that answers of classic questions where, when, how and why Melkor chose to create Orcs.

Reviewed by: Levade -- Score: 2

Powerful drabble about an experiment that did not turn out quite how Melkor hoped. Something other sings still in them. Chilling amd well-done!