Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Competition

Author: Raksha the Demon
Nominator: Raksha the Demon
2011 Award Category: Elves: Wilderland - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A possible explanation of how Finarfin's daughter gained the name "Galadriel", among other prizes.


Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 10

Dear Raksha, I like this ficlet on so many levels that it’s hard to decide where to start, but I think I will go for the feminist aspect. I love that you have made Galadriel a serious athlete, and not only that, but a female athlete among other female athletes. Tolkien’s sketchy comment gives the canonical basis for this scenario, and it is great to see the Elf women engaging in competitive sports, to see Luthien not tralla-la-laing it across a grassy glade but pitching her strength against others on the race track. That alone would have made the story stand out. But there is the second part of the story, the part that brings out a softer side to these women. Galadriel’s response to Celeborn’s cautious advances is beautifully rendered, how she is puzzled at first, doesn’t pick up the clue (and resents that Luthien might have a joke at her expense) and then, when the penny drops, feels this immediate physical reaction – and rejoices in it. He has timed it well, it is a perfect moment to bestow the prize and the new name and to lay the foundations for his suit, in fact all the scraps of Tolkine canon fit together so well here that the reader is left with the conviction that it must have been just like this. All this is presented with the smooth and elegant prose we are accustomed to get from you. Great idea, great story!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 10

I have always had a soft spot for Galadriel, though, shameful though it is to admit, I fear I find elves somewhat boring as a whole. Galadriel, though, as does her granddaughter, Arwen, capture my imagination and I have written stories about both of them. I always envisage Galadriel as a gracious queen and wise woman, very much the archetypal high priestess of many myths and the tarot. Tolkien does tell us, though, that Galadriel had a turbulent youth, and that she was a keen athlete and it is this aspect of her that Raksha elects to explore in this captivating tale. I was highly entertained by this tale of a kind of Middle-earth Olympic Games.It is fascinating that we still enjoy the same ancient sports. Celeborn must have been smitten indeed to give Galadriel his prized silver arrow, for what athlete would give away their gold medal? This is a telling glimpse of young Galadriel and the man who will turn her heart from tomboyish pursuits. Galadriel is one of my favourite Elves and Celeborn always seems shadowy beside her, but here he is brought vividly to life. I especially enjoyed the glimpse of Luthien, the ancestress of my beloved Aragorn. This is a must read and beautifully written story that portrays and often neglected side of the multi talented Galadriel.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty -- Score: 9

I usually avoid romance fics, and I've definitely never read a Celeborn/Galadriel one before, but part of the charm of 'Competition' was its unromantic setting (a sporting event) and a great wee cameo by Luthien. Greatly enjoyed reading about her interactions with the gold-and-silver couple-to-be. She also helped to put Celeborn and Galadriel's great ages into perspective, because sometimes I forget just how ancient they are. This story worked for me because the romance was not laid on too thick, which is very refreshing (particularly in an elf-centric tale). I had forgotten how many names Galadriel had until Raksha's story reminded me. But my favourite of this tale wasn't actually in the body of the story itself: it was in the Author's Note thereafter. Was Celeborn really known as Teleporno? *rushes to check on Tuckborough, then blushes furiously*. Somehow, that seems terribly, terribly naughty and highly inappropriate. Or is that just my filthy mind? Probably ... Anyway, thank goodness Tolkien changed it - I'd never have been able to take the stately Lord of Lothlórien seriously, otherwise! Great work. Hugely enjoyable. And highly recommended!

-- What a great review! Thanks for taking the time to read and review the story, K.A.! I'm nervous of writing Galadriel; I mean, she's beautiful, athletic, wise, and tens of thousands of years old, so seeing things through her eyes doesn't come easy. This time, the Muses were kind; and I had the angle of a foot-race; and a great time and place for Celeborn to name her Galadriel and 'Galadriel' to realize that Celeborn had more on his mind than an archery contest. And Luthien insisted on a piece of the action. No way could I ever refer to Celeborn as "Teleporno". I'm sure that the good professor was thinking of televised pornography when he postulated the name, but still...the different versions of Celeborn and Galadriel's history and names are headache-inducing, at least for me. The Author's Note took longer to organize than it did to write the story; so I'm glad you enjoyed the material!

Reviewed by: Lyra -- Score: 7

In "Competition", Raksha the Demon gives a possible explanation for Galadriel's Sindarin name and tells the background story of the moment when Galadriel realises that Celeborn is in love with her. Set during and after a race at the (so to say) Middle-earth Olympics, which Galadriel just barely wins, this fast-moving ficlet offers some interesting ideas about Elvish athletics. The race as such is described vividly, and the following interaction between Galadriel, Celeborn and Lúthien is also well-written - I found the brief moment in which Galadriel (or rather, as yet, Artanis) does not understand why the other two are laughing particularly amusing. An explanation for why the Eldar, too, use a laurel wreath as a price for a champion would have been the icing on the cake for me, but even so, this is an enjoyable tale about the beginning of the courtship of Galadriel and Celeborn.

-- Thanks much for this great review, Lyra! I always find Galadriel intimidating to write; and her history exhausting to tackle; so I'm glad you enjoyed the piece. You're right about how an explanation of the laurel wreath would have been nifty; but I'm afraid I overlooked it! Yes, I think Galadriel can be single-minded about some things; and would miss why Celeborn and Luthien are amused...

Reviewed by: Malinornë -- Score: 5

I think what I appreciated the most with this story were all the notes surrounding it, and how that information was presented in the story itself. I enjoyed being reminded of Galadriel's many different names and the meaning of them, along with the possible reason for them. I have read Unfinished Tales, but seem to have skipped over the part where Artanis is mentioned as an athlete, perhaps due to a general disinterest in sports, lol! Of course I have also to mention the budding romantic relationship with Celeborn – you do justice to the version of them meeting in Doriath. Thanks you for an entertaining ficlet!

Reviewed by: DrummerWench -- Score: 5

Raksha's short story of Galadriel and Celeborn at the beginning of their tale together shows them both as complementary characters, competitive and strong. Her delineation of those characters is consistent and believable. This synthesis of Tolkien's different concepts for their history appeals, and is consistent with what we know of them that Tolkien _did_ decide on. I find the narration of one possible way Artanis became Galadriel to be compelling and lovely. With this story, we get a look at a time of some peace, before the trauma of war, when Doriath was a place where competition might mean only tests of strength and skill and speed without malice.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

This is not only sweet and romantic, but a very plausible way for the way Celeborn and Galdriel's courtship to have begun and for him to bestow on her the name she bore East of the Sea. That she'd compete and run in races against the males fits in with what we know of her from the Silm. An enjoyable little encounter!

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 3

An interesting idea--not quite the sort of romantic scene I had assumed Galadriel's receiving her epesse must have been! Galadriel is portrayed very much as Nerwen here, focussed and ambitious, but still sympathetic. Raksha gently pokes fun at her single-mindedness.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 2

This is a wonderful story of how Artanis' name was changed to that of Galadriel by Celeborn, whom she met in Doriath.