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Msg# 5096

Reviews Final as of 8/17/2005 part 12 Posted by Ainaechoiriel August 17, 2005 - 23:13:15 Topic ID# 5096
Title: Travellers'
<> Tales · Author:
3> · Books/Time: The Hobbit · ID: 75
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-05 13:28:31 Score: 2
Great story. The way the narrative rambles through all Bilbo's so thoughts
naturally and plausibly is remarkable - not a rough transition anywhere.
This story hits all the right notes in a wonderful little song.

Title: The Machine That Changed the
<> World · Author: Altariel
1> · Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Fourth Age · ID: 80
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-05 13:30:51 Score: 2
This was a good story - good characterizations, well told. The "what" of the
machine was obvious, however; cliched. I wish there had been more debate;
that was interesting and original.

Title: Cold <>
Memories · Author: AmandaK
9> · Races/Places: Gondor: Vignette · ID: 82
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-05 13:31:08 Score: 1
Very sweet, tried and true characterizations.

Title: Beyond
Imagination · Author: annmarwalk
7> · Races/Places: Gondor: Drabble · ID: 103
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-05 13:33:11 Score: 2
Very nice. I particularly like the knowing Finduilas and Denethor in an
arena where he has no power or control - he is most endearing that way.

Title: Alqualonde <>
· Author: Joan
0> Milligan · Books/Time: The Silmarillion: Feanor and Sons · ID: 36
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-05 18:07:41 Score: 7
Joan Milligan poses the question: Would there have been a story if
Alqualonde had not been destroyed? It's a disturbing question, one that
could easily be interpreted as expressing a causal relation: No story, no
interest, without destruction, therefore, destruction causes stories, causes
interest. Maglor certainly finds that Tirion's mettle was uncovered only
when put to the absolute test. The whole meaning of the city is, for him,
uncovered only in its breaking. We might say this is a story about the
monstrousness of the great stories; their very greatness derives from their
destructiveness. Certainly, it's no accident that Maglor, Maedhros, and
Fëanor all find something worthwhile in the ruins. If ever there were a
peculiarly elvish 'sin', making ethics subordinate to aesthetics might well
be it. Well done for bringing that forward, Joan. This is one of the first
round of Tolkien fics I read, and it has remained with me ever since.

Title: Last Hero <>
· Author: Joan
0> Milligan · Races/Places: Rohan · ID: 37
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-05 18:08:14 Score: 9
Another story about the rather frightful relationship between death and art,
in this case presented through the eyes of Éomer and his memories of Éowyn.
Joan does a good job of giving Éomer the experience he needs of battle,
while at the same time making the battle of Pelennor a turning point for
him. The old songs make war a game, and promise a happy ending by denying
its reality. Éowyn serves here as the voice that disturbs conscience, with
her childhood questions: do Orcs feel pain? Do Easterlings? Will you come
home? She's at once a participant in the games, but also the one who
overturns the board. Éomer finally realizes this when he thinks she's died
on Pelennor, and suddenly, the falsity of the songs, their sly reliance for
their splendor on the omission of death and blood and pain and the sheer
contingency of battle, are brought home to him in a way that even previous
battle experience could not manage. At this point, Éomer is operating under
sheer necessity, and suffering the absolute brutality of that condition.
It's a great reversal, one that isn't quite recuperated back to the level of
songs when he sees Aragorn's standard and has his happy ending for just a
few minutes. But a few minutes only, it's implied, before the reality that
the songs rest upon claims its due again.

Title: Ghost <>
Fires · Author: mir_noldoris
4> · Books/Time: The Silmarillion: Feanor and Sons · ID: 34
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-05 21:22:57 Score: 10
Reading this fic, I'm reminded of an Eliot quote that seems to be popular on
professorial doors:

" So here I am, ... having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted...
Trying to use words"

For all the play with words in this fic, it is remarkably silent—a sort of
silence of the tomb. It's appropriate, since this is a fic about the death
of not one, but two people. Though he's survived the Nirnaeth, Maedhros is
an image, a damaged sort of spectre or spectator who returns to a Hithlum
that's become a wasteland. And Fingon as speaker (or rather writer) is
actively deconstructing his letter from beyond the grave—nuancing it, taking
it back, denying it matters, denying the power of words even as he writes
them. There's something cheap about words, as he says.

But Fingon still knows better than to think he can do without saying them,
and so he struggles with them, trying to catch (without killing) something
essential for Maedhros in a final gift that probably still has too much
ambiguity to it for Fingon's taste. Nevertheless, Fingon, in his last
letter, and beyond his death, has somehow managed to cast his lot in with
the living and with life, despite it all. His letter, playful (in a serious
way), self-conscious (in a sophisticated way), almost indecent in its
intimacy, turning back on itself as communication, is nevertheless a
portrait of the relationship he and Maedhros had, and in relating it,
there's a certain liveliness to it that honors the life of that
relationship, and continues it beyond death.

Or it would, if Fingon's letter were received by the person he'd actually
addressed it to. Unfortunately, however, the elf that Fingon knew and loved
is dead in a more final and horrific manner than Fingon himself, who has
lost in the end only his body. Thus Maedhros serves as a bitter counterpoint
to Fingon's ultimate desire for and trust or faith in the vitality of the
relationship they've created.

"Look at this [letter] sometimes," Fingon writes. "Hopefully you will find a
little of the writer in between his lines. At this last, I want you to
remember that everything that you will recognise is a thing of your making.
Everything you know and love, is because of you, and what you have been to

But the letter miscarries, for the Maedhros who should have received it
precisely does not recognize himself in the writer. "Allow a warrior his
moment of sentimentality, and let me say it – I have never known anyone so
wonderfully alive, as you. Everything you do and touch and so much as look
at, seems to overflow with the simple power of your will. That is worth
saving, Maitimo, no matter what happens to the rest. Keep that safe. Keep
that burning," Fingon writes, but there's nothing of that life to be kept
alive in Maedhros any longer, and so the relationship is aborted for lack of
a listener. Finding even the renewal of life in burned out Hithlum to be a
desecration of the dead, Maedhros shows he failed to absorb the lesson of
Men that Fingon had learned: that life does go on. And so ultimately what
Maedhros lets burn is not life in its glory, but the very letter by which
Fingon holds out a lifeline.

Another beautifully, horribly compelling vision of Maedhros and his descent
by Eärmírë, anyone with any love for the Silm will want to read this.

Title: Gloria Mundi <> · Author:
1> · Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Drabble · ID: 38
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-05 21:43:55 Score: 10
If there's a theme running through these drabbles, it's "visionary" or
"imagination", and their power to transcend the limits of a bounded
existence. Whether it's the whisper that an aging, blind Malbeth, stripped
of pride and place, faithfully repeats even to the hopelessly deaf, or
Nienna who places faith in the power of pity to move even fate, the subjects
of the tales all stretch towards something they can sometimes scarcely
envision, barely articulate, and which comes to them in often flawed form.

The glory of the world comes in holding on to what is not yet in it, it
seems, but which might be and which involves the visionary or even the
ordinary in something far beyond themselves. It's a kind of absurdity in its
way, but the sort of absurdity that deserves to be taken seriously as a
relaxation of necessity, an escape from the bounds and limits of the past,
from the sense of having always come too late or being too powerless in the
present moment to do any good. Tolkien might have called the sentiment or
orientation running through these drabbles "estel", and opposed it to
"amdir". Thus not only does Altariel once again takes full advantage of the
one hundred words allotted her, but she gives us a lovely quintet of
drabbles, one admirably suited to themes I think Tolkien would recognize as
his own. Well done! I'm very pleased to have provoked this sort of fictional

Title: Offerings <> · Author: Lyllyn
8> · Books/Time: Post-Ring War · ID: 27
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-05 22:38:57 Score: 10
"Offerings" gives us an introspective Éowyn that makes efficient use of the
few hundred words it permits itself. Éowyn's conversion from despairing,
wounded warrior to a healer willing to put down her shield at last is a
source of some controversy in terms of whether or not it comes too quickly,
whether thematic interests overtook character development to the point of
damaging the latter. And then there is the small matter of whether we should
see Éowyn as a heroine or as a deserter. Lyllyn takes these elements and
shows Éowyn's cyclical struggle to make them all cohere. Where other authors
tend to put the accent on what she accomplished for others in terms of
judging her, Lyllyn gives us a different rubric that makes the most of the
split between the external standard by which Éowyn is normally evaluated and
the internal standard that usually is used to excuse her:

" And that is what she remembers best at this time. That in the end,
whatever difference it made to others, it made little to her when she woke -
still broken. Great deeds did not redeem the damaged soul."

Judging Éowyn from a third person perspective inevitably tends to highlight
either her internal motivations as selfish, or else her external deeds as
outweighing any faults Éowyn may have committed, or it too easily renders
Éowyn a clinical case of depression, pure and simple and in that sense,
neither right nor wrong. By allowing Éowyn to give us her own internal
rubric—to admit that she rode in part because she was damaged, even
crippled, and saw her ride as a last, desperate attempt to recover herself
by doing what her people reserve to healthy persons—the external measure of
deeds gets integrated differently. They have to be judged against the
internal expectations of the relationship that Éowyn entered into with them,
and then we see the real ambiguity of her actions and choice brought out.

On the one hand, the external deeds are shown to be totally inadequate
measures of her endeavor, not because Éowyn is in some objective sense
morally at fault, but because they did not meet her expectations. On the
other, because of that failure, that inadequacy itself forces her to
question whether her expectations, her fixing on Dernhelm as the solution to
her need to heal herself, were fundamentally flawed, so that it's a
question, firstly, of whether she understood the end that a warrior serves,
and then secondly, whether she respected that end *or* the end she had given
herself, namely to mend the broken soul she was and so make herself

That puts her beyond the limits of the heroine/deserter question—in a sense,
it's the wrong question, that ends in a too simple answer. And if we can
infer from this fic that Éowyn remains still in the shadow of the
heroine/deserter debate, in practice, she has moved beyond that and decided
that she was wrong to ride insofar as she misunderstood (and so unwittingly
offended) a warrior's calling; but by the same token, she's realized that
healing, real self-transformation, is not achievable by picking up a sword.
That's the meaning of her atonement, I think: she demonstrates in dedicating
herself to others as a healer that she respects now the separation between
that calling to mend brokenness in self and others from the calling of a
warrior, which is wholly different. It doesn't mean she doesn't still have
doubts or feel conflicted over the ambiguity of her actions as they are
conceived in the terms of the heroine/deserter debate, but she recognizes
that the best apology she can make is success in her new life as healer.

Title: Five Things That Never Happened to
<> Faramir & Eowyn · Author: Altariel
1> · Books/Time: The Lord of The Rings: Drabble · ID: 39
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-06 00:05:03 Score: 8
Well, these five hundred words have permanently cured me of any desire to
write an AU to Faramir and Éowyn's romance, which is perhaps unfortunate
since I'm kind of committed by a prior fic... The basic possibilities are
all gracefully covered: that Éowyn didn't ride as Dernhelm, that Faramir
went to Imladris instead of Boromir, that Éowyn married Aragorn, and two
scenarios in which the war is lost but in one way or another, the
relationship between them is won. There are a few other options, but they
strike me as less interesting. Powerful in their brevity, these five
drabbles cut right to the heart of the matter every time, and feel
remarkably complete considering how short they are. Hope and despair each
have their moments, but more times than not, true to Tolkienish form, hope
prevails, even in the darkest of circumstances. I think the last one moved
me most: what do you do when you live to regret the victory of your enemy,
and the utter destruction of the society you knew? Toil, age, and most
importantly love, because that in the end is what keeps hope alive. An
absolutely gorgeous little set—bravo, Altariel!

Title: Fathers' Day Card from
<> Faramir · Author: Llinos
> · Genres: Humor: Poetry · ID: 788
Reviewer: Raksha
8> the Demon · 2005-06-07 03:55:07 Score: 2
Very funny; and well-rhymed! It's always amusing to see humorous takes on
the usually angst-filled relationship of Denethor and Faramir.

Title: Strange
Meeting · Author: JeannieMac
1> · Races/Places: Gondor: Houses of Healing · ID: 743
Reviewer: Raksha
8> the Demon · 2005-06-07 04:09:11 Score: 4
A short and powerful retelling of Aragorn's finding Faramir in the "dark
vale" of the Shadow. I envision Faramir to be more resistant to despair at
the time that Aragorn finds him, but this story makes sense and holds the
reader's attention as it is. I particularly liked Faramir's recognition of
Aragorn's wry, self-deprecating humor as well as the kingly authority.

Title: Fever <>
Dreams · Author: Gwynnyd
6> · Races/Places: Gondor: Houses of Healing · ID: 397
Reviewer: Raksha
8> the Demon · 2005-06-07 04:18:23 Score: 4
One of my favorite Faramir-in-the-Houses-of-Healing stories; a lovely take
on Faramir's memories of being healed by Aragorn, and how he perceives them,
a nifty intermingling of past and future. Excellent characterisation of
Faramir and Pippin. I like Faramir's bleak courage when he thinks that the
City is still under attack and prepares to go out to battle even though

Title: Below the
<> Balcony ·
Author: Ninamazing
9> · Races/Places: Gondor: Houses of Healing · ID: 496
Reviewer: Raksha
8> the Demon · 2005-06-07 04:26:16 Score: 2
What a great idea - three scenes showing original characters who see Faramir
and Eowyn's embrace on the walls! Well-written. The best section was that of
that of the elderly gardener trying to will his plants back into life...

Title: Prelude <> · Author: Mercat
5> · Races/Places: Cross-Cultural: Vignette · ID: 109
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-07 15:49:59 Score: 3
A very enjoyable story. I particularly liked Legolas's aloofness and simple,
clear view of things - very characteristic to my mind. The detail of Frodo's
not caring about their route rang true and was a great metaphor for his
condition at the time.

Title: Light
<> and Leaf
and Color · Author: annmarwalk
7> · Genres: Romance: Drabble · ID: 110
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-07 15:52:33 Score: 3
Very good. I began to wonder at Denethor's seeming sentimentality but, when
I completed the drabble and knew it as a whole saw more his giving her the
news and describing the city he loves before getting straight and to the
point. Very insightful characterization.

Title: Marriage
<> Counseling
· Author: annmarwalk
7> · Races/Places: Gondor: Pre-Quest Drabbles · ID: 111
Reviewer: Nancy
5> Brooke · 2005-06-07 15:54:05 Score: 2
Very nice, simple, clear; this captures a moment nicely. I love it when a
drabble sounds natural and unforced as this does.

Title: Beast of <>
Burden · Author: Werecat
> · Genres: Drama (includes Angst) · ID: 118
Reviewer: jillian
baade · 2005-06-07 21:48:04 Score: 1
I love this, the story of the old plough horse who is a hero. It shows the
horrors and courage of war so clearly.

Title: Home Cooking
<> Hobbit-Stlye ·
Author: Budgielover
1> · Races/Places: Hobbits: War of the Ring · ID: 175
Reviewer: jillian
baade · 2005-06-07 22:16:58 Score: 1
Great!! I loved the attack of vicious soap bubbles especially.

Title: The Soul of a Sinda <>
· Author: Marta
> · Races/Places: Elves: Post-Ring War · ID: 959
Reviewer: elfqueen2003
1> · 2005-06-07 23:14:56 Score: 1
very short, but very touching

Title: The Rooster Man
<> of Gondor ·
Author: Chelsea
2> Nolan · Books/Time: The Lord of The Rings: Gondor · ID: 321
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-08 22:06:03 Score: 10
I remember seeing this pop up as a recommendation in my e-mail, and I
thought at first that it was some sort of joke. But it turned out to be a
story filling a gap I'd never noticed existed, and forever more, the cock
that crowed and signaled the beginning of the end of the siege of Minas
Tirith will be associated with this fic.

Among its many virtues is the fact that here is a tale of the mad in
Middle-earth. You know there must have been people who suffered from various
forms of mostly harmless psychoses (as opposed to Black Breath induced
ailments), but we don't see them in Tolkien's writing. The Rooster Man,
who's really rather cast adrift in this fic and left to scratch among the
deserted streets when everyone else evacuates is a rather forlorn, pitiable
character for a time.

But just because he's mad doesn't mean he's totally without comprehension,
and he ends up finding a unique place in Minas Tirith's embattled forces. I
remember reading somewhere that in some of the most extreme situations
(concentration camps, alas), those who normally would've been considered mad
and unable to cope with society suddenly found themselves in a sense in
their element, able to function as no one else could. It's at once horrible
and wonderful—right on that edge where you don't know quite what to say. As
a mascot who keeps hope alive with a bravery that's childlike in its total
disregard for self-preservation, the Rooster Man becomes emblematic of the
elemental truth of Gandalf's words: even at the worst of times, the Rooster
Man flourishes, and so he falls within Gandalf's realms as one of those who
will bear fruit and flower, as it were, thwarting the Enemy's ultimate

In all, a great story. Bravo, Chelsea, for such a memorable character.

Title: Bittersweet
=466178cd3479a0f686f348cef575786a> · Author: Vistula
3> the Dunadan · Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Drabble · ID: 43
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-08 22:16:32 Score: 7
To me, this drabble gives a nice sense of what's gone into the man that
Aragorn is, despite its brevity. It's structured in a nice triad. One begins
in the more remote past, in Imladris, with the memory of his first home and
a more innocent time; then one moves to the woman who broke him out of that
time in a way that the brute fact of being Chieftain did not, and who set
the tone for the years of isolation as years of testing, not simply
enduring—Vistula gives us a nice sense of the juxtaposition of youth and
experience that Arwen's companionship brings out in him, and the passion
that underlies Aragorn's somewhat remote, stern personality. It still might
be simply nicely nostalgic, but for the ending, when Aragorn awakes to just
another cold day's work in Eriador, and the present, the person that he is,
as the last line signals. A very nicely done sketch of my favorite Rings
character, in just one hundred words.

Title: Fëanor
POrdinal=1> Challenged · Author: stultiloquentia
4> · Genres: Romance: Poetry · ID: 45
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-08 22:34:58 Score: 8
I don't analyze poetic form with any skill, so I'll spare everyone the
effort, but the rhythm here is just delightful. As is the content. Fëanor
and Galadriel are a match for each other in terms of pride, and this as much
as anything fuels this rather pointed courtship. The poem is called the
"challenge of Fëanor", and he certainly takes up Galadriel's mocking words
as a challenge to his skill: can he win her heart, despite her scorn? Love
and possession go hand in hand with Fëanor, as Stultiloquentia suggests by
the very form of the poem: his stanzas bracket hers, enclosing Galadriel's
reply as if anticipating a successful capture of the lady's affections. It's
all a bit malevolent. Which is not to say Galadriel goes meekly—although I'm
assured that the meter is consistent throughout, to the eye, Galadriel's
stanza has shorter lines. They visibly narrow the poem, and so seem more
pointed, more emphatic echoing her rather sharp rejection of Fëanor. Even
those intimidated by poetry will, I think, find something to enjoy here.

Title: Dark
<> Memory ·
Author: Forodwaith
> · Books/Time: The Lord of The Rings: Drabble · ID: 46
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-08 22:45:38 Score: 5
I can always be tempted by fics featuring Aragorn and Halbarad, and
Forodwaith gives a tantalizing snapshot of the two of them trying to make
their way through Moria. The wherefores and hows are not given, just the
dread and danger of the journey, and a sense of friendship that runs at
least as deep as the mines, which can find comfort in a bare touch to remind
each other that they aren't alone. I would love to see the rest of the
story, but as an evocation of atmosphere and the comfort of companionship,
the drabble suffices. For now...

Title: A Bitter
<> Gift · Author:
> · Races/Places: Cross-Cultural · ID: 47
Reviewer: Dwimordene
· 2005-06-08 22:47:24 Score: 8
With apologies to Avon, I'm going to resort to an old review I wrote and
expand it a bit. I've seen a couple of different fics that examine how
Elrond would've explained mortality to a young Aragorn. It's certainly an
interesting topic, and the Aragorn addict in me finds the idea fascinating,
that one would have to learn about dying secondhand, because no one around
you naturally ages or dies. "Bitter Gift" does justice to the characters,
both in terms of species but also in terms of age: Aragorn is believably a
child here, but not a caricature of one--I could see the adult Aragorn we're
familiar with from LOTR growing out of this boy. Elrond is believably
immortal, though one who has had to deal with death in a way most Elves do
not. Avon is very effective in using Elrond's own past to create a realistic
ambivalence in him towards death as a gift, one that is matched by Aragorn's
ambivalence in accepting out of duty, but wishing the Gift had not been
given. Well done!

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