Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Relief

Author: Acacea
Nominator: Acacea
2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Pre-Fellowship - Third Place

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: G -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Business as usual in Osgiliath and Minas Tirith, or perhaps not - Boromir and his men find themselves outnumbered in the thick of battle at Osgiliath


Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 6

Please accept my apologies! I know that you’re a wonderful writer of description and introspection; few writers do such a great job of getting inside Faramir’s head. But I’d forgotten what a outstanding action writer you are – the first paragraph here is absolutely magnificent. You’ve evoked all the sight and sound of battle, the necessity for quick wits and reflexes, and all with the tang of the Professor’s own way with words. Well done! Speaking of “way with words”, the way you’ve interwoven the two meanings of the word ‘relief’ is masterful – Boromir’s almost breathless, tangible relief and joy at his brother’s arrival, and the relief of the Steward’s servants, even as they must take on faith the word that all will be well at the battle front, that the Relief will arrive in good time.

Reviewed by: Branwyn -- Score: 6

Faramir leads the relief party, but the surprise hero of the piece is Denethor! This is how Denethor's downfall probably began--when he could not resist using the palantir for military reconnaissance. Sauron would have shown him just enough information to gain a current and temporary advantage. This ficlet raises the question of how much Faramir and Boromir guessed about Denethor's use of the palantir. Tolkien says that, as the heir, Boromir would have been told of its existence. How many of these coincidences before he began to guess the truth? Boromir's wry way with words (["He kept his head, quite literally..."]) is very much in character. (I always loved his sardonic remarks in the book "Fellowship.") It is gratifying to see Denethor as an effective ruler and loving father for a change. A very enjoyable read!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 5

This short little piece is just so chock-full of surprises. At the beginning I thought that it would be a simple portrayal of Boromir loves: paint a bad situation for Boromir, and have Faramir rescue him. I've read my share of those stories, and I usually like them. But it's the last scene that really makes this one stand out for me: the relief that Denethor's use of the palantir buys for Boromir and by extension all Gondor, is not a relief for those of us who knows what will come of this increased use of the palantir. It lends a bittersweet tone to the entire piece that makes this story truly original. Good job!

Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 5

This is a very action packed story and it feels almost as if there is no time to breathe. Boromir’s thoughts about the situation at hand, the fate of his men, Gondor. But most of all: where is the relief? I love the way in which Acacea wove this theme into the story, the surprise of Boromir to see his brother, in the well-needed guise of relief. But at the end, it is revealed who actually was the true messenger of it in the story. Denethor’s reaction, feeling his own relief that his favoured son will see the next day is well written. It leaves me wondering how Denethor managed to ‘control’ the Palantir for so long in order to save his sons… the cost must have been greatly, more than we ever could have imagined.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 4

Ah, a very nice use of Denethor and his eye in the sky. The battle for Osgiliath could easily have ended in total disaster. Acacea gives us one scenario in which it seemed almost certain that there could be no hope for Boromir and his beleaguered men, but for the Steward's furtive surveillence and quick action in sending relief. One can see why he continues to use and justify the use of the palantir.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

What a brilliant scenario! Boromir was perfectly in character, and the battle was intense, the action clear. I was not surprised at the arrival of the relief--thinking of Faramir's foresight. That it could be attributed to something else entirely was chilling. And yet, Denethor had to have had some good results to continue relying on it...A really clever twist.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 4

I suppose Denethor would not have become so ensnared by the Palantir if it hadn't shown it had definite advantages. Acquiring ahead of time the knowledge to save his firstborn - that's the sort of thing that could sucker in anyone. Mind you, it's a very good thing that Faramir arrived when he did! And, in an ultimate irony, the survival of Boromir - and Faramir - led to the success of Frodo's mission!

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 3

This story gives a very good reason why Denethor can't leave the Palantir alone. The Palantir is not mentioned in the story, but it is the only explanation, in light of the later history, for the relief coming when it did.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

A good evocation of the perils that Denethor's sons faced on a frequent basis. I would have liked to see a mention of what kind of enemy Boromir and his men were fighting - presumably Orcs, but some kind of reference would have heightened the realism. I was glad to see that palantir good for something other than leading Denethor into despair.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen -- Score: 3

An interesting tale. I like the way that you show the uses of the palantir. It is an itneresting tale for what it shows about the character of Denethor. However, the battle scene seems to me to be rather too described and slow for what seems to be happening.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

An interesting premise that Denethor might have been able to use the palantir to affect the outcome of battles. I wonder if he was so obsessed with his eldest son that he frequently watched over him in this way? The battle descriptions were particularly vivid.

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 3

This was an interesting idea, and it made me wonder just how much control Denthor had over the palantir, or if everything he saw was revealed by Sauron. Imagine if he had been able to control the palantir enough himself to see Boromir on the Quest and Sauron had been watching! Very exciting descriptions!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 2

Very well-done battle sequence and internal dialogue for Boromir, and Denethor using the palantir in this (actually beneficial) way was an unexpected twist.