Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

In The Dark

Author: Aeärwen
Nominator: Nieriel Raina
2009 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Later Age Elves - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A woman trapped in a world of darkness receives a visitor.


Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

I knew almost immediately who Elara's visitor was, but knowing the surprise certainly didn't keep me from enjoying this story immensely! I imagine that this story must have been something of a challenge to write, because all visual cues have to absent. The story must be told through sound and touch and memories, and Aeärwen pulls it off with flying colors. I loved the retelling of the battle in Mirkwood through her perspective. The sense of loss and desolation is muted, as one might expect it to be after the passage of time, but it's still very present. And it waxes and wanes as memories comes and go. Thranduil's own sympathy and grief also comes through clearly, despite the fact that for much of the story, he's little more than a visiting voice. The title ["In the Dark"] has some nice double meanings thanks to the mystery of who Thranduil is, and when Elara realizes the identity of her guest, it's as though she's brought out of the dark in other areas, too. Thranduil's insistence that she is a lady and that she dine with him seems to ease that sense of loss that that pervades the first part of the story, and as the vignette concludes, it really does feel as though Elara is ready to move on. Beautifully told!

Reviewed by: Jedi Sapphire -- Score: 6

I loved this story! I like Thranduil fics and you've painted a wonderful picture of the Elven-king, kind and gracious and very close to what I imagine Tolkien intended him to be. I enjoyed his interaction with Elara, and his dry wit was exactly what anyone would expect from him. I also think you managed to convey his Elvish-ness very nicely - his reactions to the destruction wrought by the war and the deaths, both mortal and Elven, were very well done. {You would honor me if you would let me practice my rusty skills on you, so that my son doesn’t disown me for my ill manners.} That line made me laugh. I can't imagine anyone daring enough to disown Thranduil - but perhaps nobody other than Legolas would be daring enough to bring Gloin's son into his halls, either. This was a delightful fic that I enjoyed hugely. (And another for my favourites.)

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 6

A look at a part of the Ring War that seldom gets covered in fanfiction-the battles in Mirkwood. Or rather the aftermath, "seen" through the eyes of a human survivor of one of the orcish attacks. Elara is made of pretty stern stuff. Having lost her entire family and her sight during the attack, she is endeavoring to earn her keep despite her disability in the halls of the Elvenking. Thranduil himself visits her and during the course of their conversation she finds the courage to step out of a self-imposed isolation and back into the wider world. This Thranduil is a considerate and wise ruler, and a refreshing change from fiction where he is depicted as an abusive drunkard or worse. The sensory descriptions of how Elara now interacts with her world are excellent.

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina -- Score: 5

Aearwen has captured the Elvenking so very well in this tale from the perspective of a blind mortal woman. I have really come to love Elara. From the first when she awakens to darkness and remembers just how much she has lost, to her first meeting with Thranduil, this story just shines. She has such great sense. It is a joy to see her learn to live with her handicap and form such a unique friendship with one so many others fear or are intimidated by. And Thranduil is such the noble lord here, reaching out and offering a home to this lady many others would simply overlook. What a terrific story!

Reviewed by: Robinka -- Score: 4

A lone survivor of an orc attack finds herself in the halls of Thranduil, lost, injured and suffering from the loss of her entire family. Surrounded by darkness, she slowly learns to trust her new host and get accustomed to her new life. A very convincing and well developed OFC plus a great portrayal of Thranduil as a true monarch with a tender heart. Well written and touching. Brava!

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 4

She’s blind, her husband and child dead, her village destroyed by orcs. Everything she’s known and everyone she’s ever loved is gone. Elara’s world has narrowed to a single room which she has never seen and where she sits and sews careful stitches on a seam, content with the little she now has. Then a stranger comes to visit her and her world slowly begins to change. A lovely tale told from Elara’s perspective so it is only at the end that the visitor’s identity is revealed. I loved the last line. Good job, Aearwen!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

My interest in blindness began very long ago indeed, so it is always a pleasure to see the state depicted realistically and well in stories. Elara is most fortunate, although at times she will question that probably for much of her future. But to learn the identity of her guest/host and receive honor at his hands--that gives her heart to continue--heart both must need at the moment. Nicely done!

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 2

OH! If there's more of this, please point me toward it, because this seems like it could be the beginning of a really, really intriguing story! I liked it a lot!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 2

A gentle and touching story, will a lovely portrayal of Thranduil. I liked the calm tone of this fic and the imagery of the sewing.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 2

This is a very well written and moving story.It is hard to imagine an Elf with a disability, but it must indeed have happened at times.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 1

A well written character.