Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Cost

Author: grey_gazania
Nominator: Himring
2011 Award Category: Fixed-Length Ficlets: Immortals - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes
Summary: 300 words In the aftermath of the Fifth Battle, Maedhros reaches a conclusion about his brothers, but the Second Kinslaying forces him to reconsider. A triple drabble.


Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 10

I nominated this story for two reasons. The first is the less important and less interesting one, so let's just get it out of the way. In this triple drabble, Gazania raises the the theoretical possibility that Maedhros could have handed over Celegorm and Curufin to Orodreth and Thingol for justice or vengeance and thereby got Doriath and Nargothrond to join with the Union of Maedhros and so prevail against Angband. Reading this, I began wondering whether in the terms of the political situation described this was a real possibility. I thought probably not and I wrote a fic of my own in which Maedhros and Fingon discuss and reject such ideas. So I partly nominated "Cost" out of gratitude for the inspiration. However, in "Cost" itself Gazania is not interested in the politics of Maedhros's choice (the chosen form of the tribble hardly leaves her any space to consider them even if she were), but how Maedhros would choose if the option were indeed open to him--or rather how he thinks, in retrospective, that he would have chosen. Immediately after the Nirnaeth, in the anguish of having lost the batte and the life of his cousin with it, the answer seems obvious, for is not the guilt of Celegorm and Curufin evident? But once the life of his brothers is actually required of him, the answer turns out to be quite different. Maedhros's feelings and the bond between the brothers is most movingly described by Gazania--and that is my second and more important reason for nominating this piece.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 10

If there is one thing that grey_gazania's ficlet drives home, it is the ambiguity of choices. After the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, a grieving Maedhros considers (futilely) the lost war and the measures to have changed it pre-emptively, coming to the conclusion that necessary sacrifices (namely, the two brothers that enstranged both Doriath and Nargothrond) could have been made. His reasoning may be flawed (in fact he is an eminently untrustworthy narrator in this piece, emotional and barely aware of his surroundings). After Doriath, and having lost the same brothers, hindsight has him make a very different decision. Wonderful writing and an intense display of emotions that grey_gazania excells at, this time by introducing the lost brothers as children immediately after the mention of their death. Tragedy doesn't quite begin to cover it; the misery here verges on that of Turin, and definitely shows that the Oath of the Feanorians and the subsequent curse are very real to the protagonists at this moment. Splendid characterization and some considerations that I could very easily see becoming a factor in Maedhros's thinking in the aftermath of two horrific battles, placing especially the idea about sacrificing Celegorm and Curufin scarily on the verge of the possible. After all, their behaviour didn't only affect Maedhros on a personal basis, it also cost him a victory that might have ended the war (and in fact nearly did even so).

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 5

An evocative triple drabble about the visceral pull of family. Maedhros knows as well as anyone else the dark deeds of his younger brothers and the harm that they have even done to him. But he also remembers them as they were, in the innocence of childhood. When Ted Bundy was executed I was just a kid, and I remember saying to my mom how amazing it was that this terrible man had once been just a little boy, smaller than me. That discrepancy inspired a kind of awe. [Cost] is a testimony to the powerful bonds of kinship, and a reminder that, once upon a time, we were all innocent.

Reviewed by: Darkover -- Score: 4

This is an excellent portrayal of the realization on Maedhros' part that war, particularly the wars he and his kin on both sides have fought, has a terribly high price--one that, perhaps, he no longer wants to pay. But by now, it is almost out of his hands. While any brother would be unhappy under such circumstances, this triple drabble also communicates the deep sadness and world-weariness of an Elf who has seen, done, and felt too much. Very well written.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel -- Score: 4

In this short piece, the author wonderfully portray's Maedhros's conflicted emotions regarding his brothers. I cannot imagine that it would have been easy for him, and that difficulty in reconciling the bonds of family with transgressions is expressed beautifully here. With stunning, vivid prose and insightful character examination, this is one of those pieces that will stick with you.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 3

Everything comes with a price, and each individual must decide if they are willing to pay it. Sadly, once the price is paid, it is often much higher than expected -- and leads one to realize that some prices are indeed too high.