Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Unmasked

Author: annmarwalk
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2009 Award Category: Genres: Humor: Aragorn or Legolas

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: There's something familiar about Aragorn Elessar, so Mag the Cook devises a ruse to determine if her suspicions are correct.


Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 7

This is one of my favorite types of stories in Gondor fic: how so-and-so (the so-and-so varies, of course) puts the pieces together, that Thorongil and Aragorn-the-king are one and the same. The fact that the so-and-so here is not a canonical character but the author's OC Mag the Cook doesn't detract from my love of this piece. Mag is in many ways part of my imagination of Gondor, and she gives a lovely under-the-stairs version of how Aragorn would have been "found out" -- and what she (and I presume many Gondorians) would think of it. The exact way that she puts the pieces together is so thoroughly *Mag*. I can see why she got along well under Denethor's rule, because she really is smart and clever and practical and discreet. And the image of Imrahil passing on a family tradition was delightful! Makes me wish the author would tell that particular story outright, if she hasn't already. All in all, this is a very enjoyable, light-hearted and believable slice of post-war life.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 6

Clever, clever Mag. I love this focus on the little things, because it really is the little things that trigger memories. How Thorongil drank his Margay is exactly the kind of thing that might set off a slew of memories, and I love the trap/test that Mag sets up. Its backstory was a thing of beauty, and I enjoyed imagining how Denethor might react upon finding a drink that simply didn't like him while Imrahil, Thorongil, and eventually his sons (alright, so those two might be a secret, but how much really is secret when Denethor is involved?) all seem able to down it without complaint. And I can just imagine Imrahil and Thorongil debating the best way to drink it. With the weightier matters of the kingdom to occupy their working relationship, a friendly argument over something trivial would be just the right amount of levity for their friendship.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 5

What a delightful little vignette! Mag has grown so many layers over the years, and it's wonderful to see her here again, with her intuition sharp as always. With Mag, it's always the homey tasks of cooking - tasting, smelling, preparing, watching people eat - that let her feel her way through life. She learns other people by learning how and what they eat and drink and enjoy. Her test of her new king makes perfect sense, and I love the gossipy backstory to it, always "so it was said", never quite confirmed outright. That way of building in layers makes a world open up. Lovely ficlet, Ann!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A lovely vignette from the viewpoint of a great OFC, Mag the Cook. Here, she tries to remember where she has seen the new King Elessar before. Ann handles the details of Mag's culinary repertoire with uncanny skill, but it is the sensory memory that bewitches the reader. We know that it is only a matter of time until the shrewd Mag remembers Captain Thorongil, and the fun is in waiting and watching for that wonderful AHA! moment.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Yes, the perfect manner in which to determine if Mag's suspicions are true! And as one who LOVES writing Thorongil recognition scenes, this is definitely a delight! Long live Thorongil in the person of the New King!

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 3

It's appropriate that Mag the cook would use a unique drinking ritual to trip up the King and confirm a suspicion she has. And I enjoyed the Imrahil reference, second-hand though it was, describing that ritual as something he had taught his young nephews. Aragorn's appearance, though brief, is absolutely in character and quite wonderful.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 2

What a clever trap, eh test, Mag set. I love the moment of recognition and the good-natured humor of Aragorn here.

Reviewed by: Cairistiona -- Score: 2

Very fun look at how a Gondorian might have ferreted out that their new King was once a Captain. Seeing how Elessar tosses back the M-e version of tequila is a treat not to be missed.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 2

I'm sitting here laughing my arse off at this one! Looks like Mag caught herself in her little trap. Just delightful!

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 1

There would indeed be a few around who would think... I know that man... nicely done.