Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Call of the Wild

Author: annmarwalk
Nominator: Makamu
2008 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Drabbles - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: True drabble It's love at first sight for a headstrong maiden of Gondor and a valiant prince of Rohan.


Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 10

well here i go again, babbling on a drabble, trying to give you a ten when you gave less than one hundred and one. see already i have gotten better, write everything out no abbreviations and no symbols whan i can make them words. i think your narrator is vastly overlooked in the writing communities and you make me eager to get to know more about her, maybe not as much as princess di but when she died i promised not to encourage papparazi by supporting their work. now i've found fanfic if it aint already written, write it as you go. your work is a treat to the eyes, this is very like i see theoden, a wild thing standing in full majesty and displayng his natural charm and abilites without apology or artifice. he needs to be idolized and deserves a queen of his own kind. not some civilized playmate. i can see him as that legendary twelve point buck. nothing anyone expects to see but if you do everyone thinks you maybe helping further the legend. in the least words do some people create the brightest pitcure i hate clicking that button but i have given your story away i fear. i had some quandries over your choice of animals to use but this is a specialized crowd and should be able to brush up on older names for species that appear fairly frequnetly in our masterpiece.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 7

I've personally pondered character who is basically no more than a footnote. I usually got stuck on speculations about language and appearance and certain fairly obvious cultural extrapolations. This, however, is a much more exciting way to think about her--you bring on such heat a just a few words. One of the most entertaining things about writing fanfiction is to take a tiny detail or two from the text and run hog wild with it building a whole personality, life story and adventure around it. This is a wonderful example of a writer's ability to do that. (I'm not really sure you needed the little footnote. I was thrilled to think I knew who you were writing about and then the footnote kind of took the wind out of my sails. Telling the reader, spoiled my fun a little. I guess it depends on who you see as your audience; I still think the ones who would appreciate this the most would still be canon geeks.) Really wonderful use of the drabble format.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 7

Oh, magnificent! I got shivers reading this: from the description of Thengel, yes (woohoo! *swoon*), but most particularly from Morwen's emotions at the end. The descriptive writing is wonderful and lovingly employed, well befitting the thoughts of a would-be lover. Thengel's characteristics come across perfectly; I especially adore the animal imagery, because it captures my impressions of the Rohirrim so well (admittedly a bit influenced by movie-Eomer's hair) and highlights what makes him stand out from the crowd. Other maidens might see such an untamed and untamable being as threatening or worthy of dismissal. Morwen's opposite reaction is excellently captured, and leaves me wondering what has made her so different from her peers. She's a female character I wouldn't mind knowing a lot more about. I love how all of it also leads to thinking of another Gondor-Rohan alliance that will come further down the road for kin of these two, and whether there was a similar fiery attraction.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 6

Few Tolkien fanfiction writers tackle the relationship of Thengel and Morwen. Annmarwalk explores that very relationship through the eyes of Morwen, falling head-over-heels in love with a man very different from her own countrymen, but who is at home with them, and no less worthy. Morwen considers the Horse-Lord even more worthy of her affections than the lords of Gondor - an interesting historical counterpoint to her Rohirric grand-daughter's later observation that the Steward of Gondor [was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle]. This drabble also reveals that Morwen herself is young, an individualist and non-conformist (it is Thengel's differences from the Gondorian lords that attract her, as well as Thengel's strength and nobility) and very determined/strong-willed herself - an apt choice to be the future Queen of the Mark. A wonderful drabble that says so much in so few words.

Reviewed by: Aervir -- Score: 6

Somehow, I 'managed' to miss this drabble when it was posted on tolkien_weekly, so I am very glad that I have the chance to redress my lack of attention now. In the very constricted format of a true drabble, this ficlet succeeds in fleshing out a character who is one of the many names in the Appendices, being consistent with the little canon knowledge that we have of Morwen (that she married Thengel, that she earned the name Steelsheen) and yet transcending these facts. Her physical attraction to Thengel as well as her longing to see herself reflected in his wildness and match it with hers are perfectly highlighted; especially the imagery of [glory calling them in the echo of a far-away battle horn] appeals to me: It seems very fitting for a future queen of Rohan and it's also very much in line with the conflation of admiration of martial prowess and desire that sometimes occurs in Tolkien's writings. Bravo!

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 5

Ann Marwalk's drabble, "Call of the Wild", is an aptly-named vignette of a Gondorian maiden who sees a certain magnificently masculine Rohirric lord in Minas Tirith, and decides on the spot that he will be hers. I love the wonderfully evocative language in this drabble: phrases like [tawny hair and leonine grace] makes my heart go pitty-pat. ;-) The point of view character, Morwen of Lossarnach, is decisive: she will have this man as husband. The unspoken message is, "And no one had better even try to get in my way!" One can't help but admire her single-mindedness in pursuit of a (very!) worthy cause. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this drabble, not to mention its companion piece, "Like Calls to Like". Beautifully done!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 5

Morwen and Thengel are perhaps one of my favorite couples, I think because their romance would have become almost a legacy for so many of their descendants. Ann captures everything about Thengel that I love so much, in a drabble as strong and smooth as Thengel himself. I also like that in a lovely inversion of the Faramir/Eowyn romance, it is the woman who goes after the man - that makes for an interesting romance. I do wish the author would write more about them (*wink wink*), but that doesn't diminish how much I enjoy treasure-troves like this.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

The drabble perfectly conveys what its title and its first sentence say. There is something wild in the way Thengel is described, and the readers can really feel how his directness, his boldness, and his fierce nature speak to and attract Morwen at first glance. I like how the narrative is cast in terms of wild hunting beasts of prey, and how Thengel is contrasted with the more refined but staid Gondor as ["harmless as coneys"]. Morwen and Thengel too often get short shrift in fanfiction, but Annmarwalk convincingly mines the rich potential they could provide for writers in exploring the cross-cultural aspect of their relationship.

Reviewed by: Makamu -- Score: 4

There are few who write the Rohirrim as well as Annarwalk does, and this is a prime example of exactly how well she does it. Morwen and Thengel are amongst the interesting couples that are sadly not always given their proper due. The most interesting aspect for me was how very much Morwen's thoughts already resemble the language of the Rohirrim, rather than those of her own people. And she also embraces them in a way one sees echoed in her granddaughter Éowyn.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Reading another of Ann's drabbles is like finding a jewel lying among the pebbles on the beach--perhaps small, but brilliant, full of light and fire, worth far more than its size might imply. This response of Morwen to her first glimpse of Thengel is just perfect, as is his estimation of her to which a link is given. As always with Ann's stories, a joy and delight to read.

Reviewed by: viv -- Score: 4

This is the crummy part of MEFA (and it's a small one): A story like this screams for a one-word review. But if I left it a one-word review, you might get to thinking that it isn't a lovely drabble, and it is. It really is. The descriptions are nice, the interior italicized thoughts are effective the characters are well-drawn. But all of that, really can be summed up with one word. And so, having dithered enough that you know this review is far from an insult, here it is: ROWR.

Reviewed by: stefaniab -- Score: 3

This powerful drabble nicely characterizes Morwen Steelsheen as she views Thengel, the current king of Rohan, for the first time. So vivid is the author's portrayal of Morwen's emotions that we feel as attracted to Thengel as Morwen is.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 3

Yumm! I enjoyed this a lot. It's a wonderful portrayal of the ageless "lady and the outlaw". There just seems to be something about a wild ranging horsemen that some women find irresistible.

Reviewed by: Claudia -- Score: 3

This was a stunning portrayal in so few words of an unusual courtship. Hee. I can totally see how the ladies of Gondor would fan themselves over those horse men from Rohan! Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

This drabble provides a delightful description of Thengel and the dashing figure he must have cut at the Gondorian court in his youth. The contrasts with the men Morwen has known all here life are sharply drawn, and her own strength of character shines through. Very nice.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 3

Thengel is a character who deserves more fic than he gets, and it's nice to see him through the eyes of the woman who will be his wife. Morwen knows what she wants and apparently isn't afraid to plan on getting him!

Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion -- Score: 3

Here is such a wonderfully charged moment of first meeting. The reader is propelled into that room as a witness to that initial eye to eye contact that crackles with sexual attraction. I love the phrases used [He is a man made for leather, not silk] and also [...glory calls us in the echo of a faraway battle-horn.] This last sentance is such a perfect evocation or Morwen Steelsheen's character. I loved it.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

This is an interesting double portrait, and I liked how you referenced Eowyn here (and Faramir) giving the shieldmaiden an ancestor and an antecedant.