Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

A Cat in King Elessar's Court

Author: agape4gondor
Nominator: grey_wonderer
2008 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Friendship - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: I think I'm about two-thirds done... not sure! A royal descendant of Beruthiel's cats spends time with us, reminiscing about life in Minas Tirith once a certain Hobbit arrives. The scribe should not be held accountable for anything the Cat says!


Reviewed by: grey_wonderer -- Score: 10

This is a wonderful story written by a very talented author. The first thing that attracted me to this story was the very unique perspective in which it is written. It is very entertaining to see events from Lord of The Rings through the eyes of someone other than one of the canon characters and in this story we get a look at Minas Tirith before the destruction of the one RING through the eyes of a very unusual source which I will not reveal here lest I spoil the story for the readers. The author lets us observe along with her original character, as Denethor, Gandalf, Pippin, Faramir, Merry, and others go through the frightening events just prior to the final battle at the Black Gates. At this time the story is still a work in progress and I find myself looking forward eagerly to each new chapter. This is very much a work of canon fiction and the author remains true to events but still manages to put her own special twist on things without taking anything away from the story that we all know and love. I find the inclusion of a chapter that explains a few of the author's thoughts on the story to be very enlightening. I think anyone who enjoys the character, Denethor will be pleased by the author's writing and anyone who enjoys Pippin will also be pleased. I know I was on both counts.I would say more but I don't want to spoil this one for anyone. Read it and then you'll know what I mean.

Reviewed by: Linaewen -- Score: 10

Agape4gondor is an author who has the capacity to tell a familiar tale in such a way that it becomes totally new and fresh, making it amazingly insightful in the process. Here we have a story about familiar characters and places, yet told through the point of view of a cat! The cat is not just any cat, however; we find out soon enough that this particular cat is a very special one indeed. On the face of it, it hardly seems possible that we could learn much of what goes on in Minas Tirith from a cat, yet Agape4gondor makes this character seem incredibly believable, to the point that we are caught up in the same emotions and fears and observations as Alqualonde the cat, who is advisor and comforter to the Ruling Steward Denethor. I very much love the idea of the Steward having such a special friend, particularly in the final days when he seems so very alone. I also very much appreciate the insight this relationship gives into Denethor’s inner thoughts. We see him so very clearly when we look at him and the events that surround him through the eyes of this wise creature. To see Denethor and his city and his people through the eyes of a cat somehow makes him all the more human and touchable! I love, too, the fascinating relationship that develops between Alqualonde and Pippin, and later Aragorn. This is a magnificently lovely tale that makes me laugh and cry and sigh happily, no matter how many times I read it! Thank you so very much for being willing to be scribe to the Muse Alqualonde, Agape!

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

A cat story! Oh, really. I was not immediately drawn to read this (not an animal-narrator story person myself or a cat person either, or even a big Gondor reader, often finding a lot of repetition without a new perspective), but I have enjoyed your work in the past, so I had to give this story a try. It surely would have been my great loss if I had not read it. I truly enjoyed the perspective. I was absolutely delighted with your ability to combine catlike behavior and animal instinct with the strange wisdom and magic of the cat you created here. I love her loyalty to Denethor yet her ability to question his judgment and really liked the parts where she first begins to feel an affinity for Pippin (the food stuff cracked me up, but, in fact, is very far from silly, but goes back again to the basic animal instinct of this strange hybrid creature). Also, liked the subtle reminder that Gandalf is so much more than just the wise old wizard, but the Maia of Olórin, which is shown in his ability to so easily discern the consciousness of the cat and communicate with her. Of course, I utterly adored it when the cat speaks to Faramir and how quickly Faramir accepts and understands. Great tale as you tell it. You managed to take familiar canon text and give tell it from a unique perspective. Nice work and a real surprise and a treat!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

In order to see clearest, it's sometimes best to get an outside perspective. And I'm not sure you can get any more outside (at least, outside the box) than this cat that narrates the story. To begin with, it's a cat, complete with feline mannerisms that show up in delightfully unexpected ways. But more than that, it's a cat with a rather unique heritage from Beruthiel's feline companions, and even more unique is this cat's loyalty and love for Denethor. That was probably what drew me into the story faster than anything else. Denethor is painted beautifully in this cat's eyes. His flaws are evident but so are his strengths. And then there is Gandalf, who also starts displaying new characteristics under a cat's watchful eyes. He's definitely the sympathetic and well-intentioned wizard of LotR, but Alqualonde is shrewd and Gandalf isn't without his own set of shortcomings. And who can forget Aragorn? I can't. Not from this perspective. Elessar is every inch the King, and watching him assume that role during the last days before Sauron's fall was a wonder. In fact, all of the Fellowship and the bulk of Gondor's nobility get their chance to shine in this spectacular gapfiller. It feels like an ensemble tale, but it never strays from its heart, which is the cat. By the end, Alqualonde is easily one of my favorite original characters in fanfiction, and I've gained new insights into all that happened just prior to the crowning of the King.

Reviewed by: stefaniab -- Score: 8

Agape's story "A Cat in King Elessar's Court" gives us a view the seige of Gondor and Battle at the Black Gate through entirely new eyes--those of Alqualonde, a wise and surprisingly speaking white cat, descendent of Queen Beruthiel's own felines. Alqualonde has spent his long life as the spy (and, more importantly, as the pet) of Denethor. His loyalty and love for the Steward make up much of the drama of this story. Denethor's death, Faramir's injuries, and the arrival of Aragorn are more than the loyal kitty can handle. So rest assured that the tale is full of angst and cat tears. But there are also has many moments of insight, most particularly in the sympathetic light it casts on Denethor. I was most touched by the scenes where the cat remains steadfast in his love and loyalty to the Steward, despite Denethor's mad behavior before his death. "Cat" has some minor language problems but all in all, it is a good read, especially for us unapologetic Denethor supporters, and for those who like their heroes strong, hairy, and four-legged.

Reviewed by: mbumpus_99 -- Score: 6

It is always interesting to read canon events from unusual perspectives, and this tale certainly is one of the most creative uses of that plot device I've ever read. Agape4gondor takes us on an inside track in Minas Tirith, courtesy of one of Beruthiel's cat's progeny. We meet all of our canon characters and watch as the Ring War comes to an end through feline eyes. Our little hero even has a few surprises for our canon characters as time goes alone. This is a delightful read, and one that I will probably revisit over and over again as time goes on. I appreciated the author's note, originally posted in the midst of posting the piece and still valid and interesting when read as a footnote. Time and care went into the writing of this tale - and I would recommend it highly to everyone who hasn't seen the story from the mouth of the Cat In King Elessar's Court. Well done, agape4gondor. Well done.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

Queen Beruthiel was considered evil, almost a witch, paranoid and rather vicious, using her cats to spy and terrorize. But it appears that the lineage of her cats has continued, and their progeny still serve the rulers of Gondor. Only Denethor is going mad, while apparently a stranger comes from the north to supplant him. What is Alquallonde to do? A marvelous addition to the Master's creations and characters, as we watch the Cat learn to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and expand the number of those it loves marvelously. Humorous and poignant by turns, and yet always hopeful.

Reviewed by: Inkling -- Score: 5

A marvelous tale, starting with the terrific OC feline narrator. I love Alqua's fierce loyalty, not just to Denethor but to Gondor. So often it's dogs that are portrayed as loyal, while cats are written as somewhat selfish and out for themselves. And I love how informed he is, even to the strategies of the enemy in keeping help away from the city. A cat to be reckoned with... Agape's Denethor is also wonderful, and to my mind completely canonical. Tolkien's Denethor was such a complex, fascinating, and intelligent character...not the boorish jerk of the film. A highly original, well written gap-filler from a most unusual perspective.

Reviewed by: PipMer -- Score: 4

I thoroughly enjoyed this smartly told tale told from the perspective of Lord Denethor's Cat. I especially appreciated the postive light in which Denethor portrayed, unlike some movie-verse stories. I also very much enjoyed the Cat's relationship with Pippin, and how he feels like he needs to be the Hobbit's protector, even all the way to the Black Gate. Well-told!

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 4

This was an intriguing concept - telling the story of the Siege of Gondor and the battle before the Black Gates from the point of view of a cat. Not just any cat, though, but a descendant of one of Beruthiel's cats, and one that's been loyal to Denethor for years. Most of the action sticks fairly close to canon, and it's interesting seeing the cat's reaction to Pippin, to Denethor's death, etc. I mean this as a compliment when I say that I think folks who enjoy stories like 'Charlotte's Web' would enjoy this.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

I thoroughly enjoyed this story from the point of view of Denethor's cat, Alqualonde. He's not an ordinary cat, nor an ordinary pet--he's a descendant of Queen Beruthial's cats, and he can communicate when he wishes. Other than the presence of the cat, the author sticks very close to canon in her depiction of events. She even makes me sympathize with Denethor, not an easy thing to do! A very good read!

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 4

What an unique kind of story, and what an unique perspective. I have always loved stories from the perspective of cats set in Middle Earth, ever since I first read the great pieces of Werecat about Beruthiel and her cats; so I really, really liked this one. And what a great idea to see the last days of Denethor as well as Aragorn's beginning rein through the cat's eyes. Lovely story, and wonderfully executed. Thank you for writing and sharing!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

This story constantly amazes me in the way it balances the feline point-of-view with the great events it is describing. As a cat lover, I can testify that the point of view is definitely that of a cat, and as such a point-of-view requires the cat's concerns are not those of humans; perhaps because of that, this human empathized with the characters portrayed in a new way and found much she had missed about the afore-mentioned great events. Brava, Agape!

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

This is a lovely cat story. I was a bit surprised by the title, since most of the story (page wise) plays during Denethor's time. But in the end it made sense. I love the characterization of the cat. As a new cat owner myself, I could recognize behavior I would observe in my own cats. I could feel pity for Denethor for the first time. He is not someone I really like, but the cat showed the good sides of Denethor and grew in me an understanding of his plight.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 3

This is a highly unusual and enjoyable story. I'm not a fan of Denethor, but I could imagine him having a clever cat,who is the narrator here. To me,the high point of the story was when the cat swears allegiance to Aragorn and realises his worth. This is no ordinary cat, but a descedent of one of Queen Beruiel's felines which has the ability to talk!

Reviewed by: Ainaechoiriel -- Score: 3

Being a cat person, I loved having this cat's point of view. I did think the ending harsh, as I wanted to see his little heirs before the end, to make sure the line went unbroken. Still it was a good story and I felt it stuck to canon quite closely.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 2

i am a cat lover but this on stretched me just a little to fine. better luck and keep taping those keys. please?

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 2

A delightful new perspective on the last days of Steward Denethor and Aragorn's ascension. Agape writes the cat poignantly, with wisdom and loyalty and grace.