Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The End of Dark Days

Author: annmarwalk/EdorasLass CoAuthors
Nominator: Branwyn
2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Minas Tirith - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: References to battle wounds; non-graphic description of the same; discussion of battle events during the siege and Faramir's near-death on the pyre
Summary: Rushing to Minas Tirith immediately after the War, Nanny tends to her family, and then seeks answers from Mag to her questions about Faramir and what happened on that fateful night.


Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 10

I doubt many people with menfolk in the battle escaped with them totally unscathed, but still - poor Nanny and her family. It'll be a while before they all come to terms with what has happened. And her husband is undoubtedly the best one to break to Nanny what has happened to her rabbit. Boromir and Faramir might not be her children, but they're as good as. You can't abandon a child you've raised from infancy, just because he was born to other parents ... The down-side of being a nanny. Thank goodness for Mag. Her presence throughout it all lends perspective. But she's right to wonder about how those who obeyed Denethor would cope with what they did - unless they could live with the 'just obeying orders' argument. I can't help but feel for the kid with the good boots - a sacrifice to the greater good. In a way - although it won't feel that way to any of his kin. I'm sure Nanny will cast a most critical gaze over Eowyn. I only hope the White Lady and Wraithslayer manages to live up to expectations. (Doubtless she has a protective Nanny of her own to help her understand. It would be interesting to have the two surrogate mothers meet ... Perhaps over the crib of the next generation. That could be a battlefield to match the Pelennor.)

Reviewed by: Mechtild -- Score: 10

[Contains spoilers] What a *great* story your two have written! It pulled me in then dragged me to each subsequent chapter without stopping. The pacing, the establishing of time and place, the characterizations—everything was what I could wish and more. I knew that Mag is an ongoing character of yours, and I have read one or two tales in which she is featured—enough to know that she is a cook in the Steward’s house who is very fond of the Steward’s sons (and they of her)—but this could be a stand-alone story. I need never have heard of Mag to become completely engrossed in the story. All of your original characters, not just Mag, were convincing. They were also endearing. Nanny’s brother Pilimór was only present for part of a chapter, but he won my heart immediately. I even cried over Mag’s tale of the death of Donal the cobbler’s nephew, who died before the tale began, simply because of the excellence of the story-telling. Apart from their own tales, your original characters provide excellent eyes through which to show the events of the canon story in a different light, offering new insights and even more reasons to care for already beloved characters. Your depiction of the cost of war, even honourable war, is very moving in this story. I was brought to tears in the paragraphs in which Minas Tirith and the Gondorian survivors pick up the pieces of their lives. You have the gift of bringing Tolkien’s [“gaps”] to life in way that is faithful to the source, while offering insights culled from your own lives and experiences (I suspect). Interpersonal insight is everywhere evident, along with a sad wisdom, leavened throughout with your signature warm, engaging sense of humour.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 9

A very moving look at the aftermath of the war from the ground level. Nanny has a unique perspective with her tight ties to the Steward's family, but we see her interact with her own family as well, and these are in fact among my favorite scenes. (And how wonderful it was to see her and Durvain together - I love the story behind how they met and their newly-fragile relationship in ["Under My Wing"].) Edoraslass does not spare her protagonist from the war's effects, and her shock and dismay at her first sight of both Tirith and her damaged family are very effectively written. The same goes for how annmarwalk utilizes her practical Mag's thoughts and descriptions of the horrible events she witnessed: it is all the more chilling for the immediacy they held for her character. Their combined effort is well-blended and an excellent addition to their personal MT universe. However, there is *no way* this can be "Complete"! I want to see Nanny and Mag figure out the King is Thorongil-who-Nanny-didn't-like. I want to see Nanny visit Faramir, and ambush Eowyn, and meet Pippin and Merry, and most particularly: bump into Prince Imrahil. Please?

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

The heroines of Ann and EdorasLass finally get a story together, it seems. Despite the slight sense of jarring to find that everyone including her friends calls Nanny "Nanny", it is a lovely little set of scenes, as Nanny and her girls return to Minas Tirith to discover what has become of her menfolk and, of course, Faramir. And while I really should have seen it coming, the only half-acknowledged tale of just how Denethor died, and how close he came to taking Faramir with him, was appropriately shocking when seen through Nanny's perspective – Nanny, who had no idea of what was waiting for her in the cryptic hints of strange happenings where 'her rabbit' is concerned. A mix of mourning and remembrance and laughter, all laced with a strong undercurrent of nervous exhaustion, gives this a tone appropriate to the circumstances. An enjoyable read – well done, both of you!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 6

[slight spoilers] This is an endearing story, cowritten by two of my favorite authors and involving two of my favorite of their original characters. (Mormegil would give Mag and Nanny a run for their money, though I can't imagine anyone ever displacing those two. *g*) It's a fun reunion to see, but it also has much to commend it for people who aren't always looking for more with these delightful OCs. The first chapter especially has a great sense of the despair and angst that comes from lack of information, as we moderns can testify to (in a more limited way) who have had to wait for news of family members in the wake of Katrina, 9/11, the Virginia Tech shootings, etc. And then in the last chapter we see a lovely commentary on the Faramir/Eowyn romance. Really nice stuff throughout! I think all fans of Gondor and especially of Mag and Nanny should check this one out.

Reviewed by: phyloxena -- Score: 6

In first chapter, Nanny with her daughters arrives to the city and meets Mag the cook. They are both rich, detailed and credible original characters, and the devastation (or restoration) is very vivid through their eyes. In second chapter Nanny learns about her family, and also the terrible story of Denethor's end. In the third part, two old friends finally have a chance to share stories, cry and gossip together. I loved the cameo appearance of Aragorn, vaguely resemblig somebody Mag knew long ago , the description of his ["slow cadenced speech"]. Two mother hens (and also at least one of them mother-figure) have every right to cry over Steward's sons and to gossip about Faramir's personal affairs. ["He is not nine year old anymore"] was a good reminder -- which, understandably, didn't work. Mag's description of Eowyn immediately creates an image of a huge, loud, man-like wench, and Nanny's reluctance is very understandable.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

Together Annmarwalk and Edoraslass have crafted another story containing both Mags the cook and Nanny, who cared for Faramir and Boromir as children. Coming to Minas Tirith in the wake of the battles to see her wounded husband and son, Nanny learns more about what happened, and sees for herself the devastation left in the wake of the war. Alas for Denethor's loss; but now Nanny looks forward to following her lamb's strengthening health and love life herself. Very enjoyable, and the vivid descriptions of the city in the wake of the war mirror reality very well.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

The only problem with this story is that it should be longer. The story features OCs Mag the Cook and Nanny (Boromir and Faramir's childhood governess) from EdorasLass' wonderful series [Under My Wing]. Here, Nanny comes to Minas Tirith after the Ring War ends, to see to her wounded husband and son; and learns what has befallen Faramir, as well as the damage to the City itself. Good evocation of the scars of war, in the hearts and bodies of the soldiers and the ones they leave behind, as well as the valiant civilians who endured the unendurable.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 3

Entertaining gap-filler to show how common people might have fared in the aftermath of the War of the Ring. Of course, the protagonists have also a connection to people of higher rank, and thus can serve also as a fresh PoV into events known from canon.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

Another enjoyable story set in this well-conceived universe. There is a nice mix of relief and shocked disbelief here as Nanny learns about what has happened in the City and to Faramir.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

This collaboration featuring two very well-depicted OFCs is a delight. We get to see what the ending of the Ring War meant to Nanny and to Mag the Cook, with whom we have shared so many previous doings. I really like this.

Reviewed by: Linda hoyland -- Score: 3

This vivid and moving story deals with what Tolkien chose not to tell us,but many readers wonder about,how did Faramir deal with the fact his father tried to kill him? I especially liked the description of Faramir's healing and Denethor's madness