Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Copper

Author: Darth Fingon
Nominator: Olorime
2011 Award Category: Horror: General - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes,Violence
Summary: In Valinor near the turn of the First Age, a young boy is tormented by a Maia of Makar.


Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 10

This is a truly horrific story. Well written, but horrid. The Valar and their servants are often depicted as kind and gentle 'angels.' I've never quite bought into it. I have never thought Mithrandir's dealings with the Firstborn and the subsequent races was anything but high-handed and manipulative. If he could be like that, besides the obvious horrors of Melkor, why not others? That this begins with a Maia terrifying a child... And only seven. The horror the child is put through is difficult to read. the terror continues for untold years. the horror gets worse and worse, finally ending in physical abuse. One expected it, but it was still difficult to read. There is nothing 'good' about this Maia. The child realizes it. I wish Eonwe had sense enough to question why the child was so terrified. But, as in all good mysteries, the weakness of this Maia lends to the tale. The title is perfect. Ambiguous. And yet we discover the child is brilliant and able to use the knowledge he gains over the years of abuse to his advantage. The only quibble I have is that he was not able to kill the beast. We know from history that Elves killed Balrogs (Maia), Since the boy was half-Maia, I could well see him killing the horror. But - if there is a sequel - that can be attended to. Well written!

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

Despite the implication in [The Silmarillion] that only Melian, of all the Ainur, joined with one of the Eruhíni (namely Thingol) and produced a child of that union, quite a number of half-Maiarin folks abound in fan fic, and actually, there's at least one other in the source texts, namely, Tinfang Warble. But Darth Fingon's unnamed protagonist in [Copper] stands unique amongst these hybrids, rendered as only Darth can do it. A deliciously dark and disturbing tale unfolds as the protagonist recounts his childhood and the nightmarish peculiarities of being half-Maia in Aman, where this race of the Ainur abound. Darth casts a less-than-flattering light on the Maiar: [Here is the grim truth: not all Maiar are kind and benevolent as Melyanna. Some are chaotic, and some are cruel. Look no further than foul Thauzon, who abandoned his master to sit at the feet of Melko, our greatest enemy and traitor. There are Maiar of Námo whose love it is to spread grief and despair among those they touch, Maiar of Vána who revel in idleness and neglected duty, and Maiar of Aulë who find joy to see things destroyed, only so that they must be remade.] Fantastic! These are not the angelic beings of [The Silmarillion] (or in fanon) that have been stripped of the brio they possess in [The Book of Lost Tales]. The Red Maia, evidently a devotee of Makar, one of the pair of war-like, bloodthirsty Valar that Tolkien described in [The Book of Lost Tales], haunts the protagonist, and Darth employs his talent for prose to convey how horrible the Red Maia's shape-shifting appears to the child. It truly is the stuff of nightmares. Because Darth writes children especially well, this takes on an even more horrific cast as the reader is taken back to the terrors in the night of childhood. This story is just a beginning, too, as this half-Maia/half-Vanya makes appearances in Darth's current WIPs, where he is both an engaging and very peculiar character.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 9

This is a powerful, weird and interesting story that ends up begging to be continues. Darth story gives a haunting, less than comfortable view of Valinor and the Maiar as a species, and show the Elves living there as less than perfect people with all too familiar faults, like pettiness, jealousy and haughtiness like "normal" mortal people. This is one of his great strengths as an author - the Ainur feel much more alien in his world than in other pieces of Tolkien fanfiction, and the Elves are much closer to normal people, too. What I find fascinating is the idea of gossiping Maiar, and what being a half-Maia might truly ensue. The idea that the only Aiunur to know, feel anfd understand compassion are the people of Nienna is disturbing, but works well, especially in the light that in memory serves, canon-wise, Tolkien said Olorin learned compassion from listening to Nienna. Darth takes that element of alienness of the Maiar compared to Elves here and runs with it, and the outcome is fascinating. The only disappointing element of the story is the sudden end, that clearly marks it as a first chapter of a longer tale. I hope it will be continued soon!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 8

A dark and twisted tale worthy of the darkest, most twisted Maia. Darth Fingon has taken the lore behind the Ainur and made from it a truly horrific tale of one who shared a part of Luthien's fate. Unfortunately, this young man doesn't have Melian as a mother, and it makes all the difference in the world. I love the way the story builds, revealing its characters in fits of both mystery and gruesome images. The addition of color and all the fascinating aspects of the Ainur were beautifully detailed, and Darth Fingon's character is uniquely suited to bring them to life. He bridges two worlds, and as a result, the mysteries of one become accessible to the other through this character's perspective. I was particularly fascinated with the story's take on compassion (or the lack thereof), the way the Ainur communicate, and what abilities this boy of two lineages brings to the table. The growing horror of this tale is such that I cheered when he finally found a way to strike back. No doubt this won't be the end of the conflict, but at least it's a start. A riveting tale from start to finish!

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 6

An extremely effective story about a half-Maiarin elf, set in Valinor. The contrast to Luthien is very poignant - what makes her stronger than others, makes the protagonist more exposed, alone and vulnerable. Still, as the plot progresses, he seems to be discovering his own strength. I must admit I Googled the Vala Makar, who figures in this story, since it was too long since I had read the Book of Lost Tales for me to remember that short passage about him and his sister. It is easy to understand why he disappeared when Tolkien decided to sanitize his concept of the Valar in various ways in later versions. Darth Fingon, on the other hand, always has included the darker as well as the lighter side in his own ideas about Valinor and he certainly does so here, so reversing that change seems quite a logical move for him.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 5

This is a very excellent tale. I loved the subtle way Darth Fingon tied this in to the greater story as a whole, yet managed to keep it a part of its own unique self. The descriptions of the Red Maia's night-time visits were vivid and gruesome in the best of ways, and the effect the Maia had upon the young protagonist was interesting to read of. One thing I really enjoyed about this piece was the author's emphasis on the difference between Elf and Ainu, and the pain the half-Maiarin Elf would have felt as a makeshift bridge between those two worlds. An excellent piece of writing!

Reviewed by: Jael -- Score: 5

This story, which originally ran in a blind contest, had the stamp of the author all over it -- a Valinor which is just as petty and gritty as our own real world, Vanyar with feet of clay, and Maiar with feet of clay as well. And above all, professional quality writing. It is a genuinely disturbing story of a child being tormented and ultimately fighting back. I found the idea that a Maia could have an affinity/antipathy to a specific element to be very intriguing. One thing is for certain -- this is not your same-old, same-old Elf-story. I recommend it highly.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Vividly and viscerally written; a conception of Valinor where all that glitters is definitely not gold. I like the idea that not all unions between Elf and Maia turn out to be as harmonious as that of Thingol and Melian. I hope that more is written of this story; author Darth Fingon has interested me in the fates of the original characters.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 3

This is a more prosaic look at the fate of a half-Maia and half-Elven child. It would appear that Melian was the exception for Maia rather than the norm. Not all of them are so benign, let alone loving when dealing with their mixed blood children.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 3

This is an incredible, complex story of a young Elf haunted by an evil Maia that I wish I'd reviewed earlier and given more points to. It's seriously awesome! Cheers, Darth, and good luck!