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Msg# 8393

MEFA Reviews for November 7, 2007 (Part 1) Posted by Ann November 07, 2007 - 4:47:37 Topic ID# 8393
Title: Bilbo's Gifts · Author: Llinos/Marigold CoAuthors · Races:
Hobbits: Children · ID: 207
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-18 05:52:52
Bilbo managed to make the third birthday for each of our favorite four
very special indeed--a gift of understanding for a father, a gift of
communication, peronal instruction and explanation for the one who is
far too literal--and generous--for his own good, the help of the Elves
when a visit to the greenhouse turns potentially deadly. We certainly
see why Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin came to love the old Hobbit.

Poignant, funny, thoughtful, and alarming by turn, and well done

Title: Through the Eyes of Another · Author: grey_wonderer · Races:
Hobbits: Merry and Pippin · ID: 136
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-18 06:02:47
Indeed not the simple Hobbit walking party it at first appeared! But
it appears even Knights of Gondor need to feel protected while those
of the Mark appreciate being needed. But what a thing to remember, and
THERE, of all places!

As usual, amusing and touching by turns.

Title: Taking Leave · Author: Soubrettina · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 326
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-18 06:21:12
Soubrettina has a style that's unique among Tolkien fanfiction readers
- not very Tolkienish, but quite fresh and vivid. This is an unusual
take on the death of a LOTR character.

Title: The Most Beautiful · Author: Meril · Races: Cross-Cultural ·
ID: 508
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:07:40
A touching ficlet, beautifully illustrated exploring Melian's dual
state of being.I found the Maiar's love for her little daughter very

Title: The Wrong Path · Author: White Wolf · Genres: Adventure · ID: 481
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:15:07
A roller coasterride of angst and adventure.There are a great many
angst stories around about Aragorn and Legolas getting into incredible
and alarming adventures, prior to LOTR, for which there is no canon
evidence, but this one is well told and had me on the edge of my
seat.White Wolf is a gifted storyteller.

Title: Mastering Men · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA: Gondor Drabble · ID: 623
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:17:52
A vivid depiction of the fall of the bridge at Osgiliath.I liked the
detail of shedding the armour as a man would surely drown in a river
with such a weight. Faramir is indeed a great commander.

Title: Transformation · Author: Imhiriel · Races: Men: General Drabble
· ID: 185
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:23:09
A vivid and compelling glimpse of Imrahil during the Ring War, showing
him as a vigourous and attractive man and fierce warrior

Title: The Arachnid's Appeal · Author: TrekQueen · Genres: Humor · ID: 114
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:27:01
This is both clever and amusing.We know what Frodo and Sam think of
Shelob,but what does she think of them amongst other beings she has
encountered? I actually quite liked the wicked and surprisingly vain
old spider by the end of this!

Title: The Waves' Song · Author: Branwyn · Genres: Drama: General
Drabble · ID: 6
Reviewer: Linda hoyland · 2007-10-18 07:29:01
A heartrending account of Arwen's desolation and grief as she laments
her beloved Aragorn and gazes at the sea she will never now cross.

Title: Beauty · Author: Marta · Races: Hobbits: Drabble · ID: 646
Reviewer: Inkling · 2007-10-18 08:31:22
The precise nature of the relationship between Frodo and Sam has been
the subject of much speculation in the fandom, ranking right up there
with "What is Tom Bombadil?" and "Do balrogs have wings?" In this
drabble Marta has addressed the question as well as any discussion
I've seen, and much more succinctly than most.

Sam may think he hasn't words to describe Frodo, but in fact he does
very well...the middle passage, with its analogy of moonlight on the
Water, is lovely and poetic, but in a completely believable, Sam-like way.

In the end, the fic leaves the question ambiguous, as the larger
discussion ultimately must be. For although I'm quite sure that
Tolkien never intended for the bond between these two to be construed
as sexual in nature, there's no denying that something is going on
between them that transcends simple friendship or brotherly love. The
fact that it can't be pinned down definitively is part of the beauty
of LOTR--and of "Beauty."

Title: Taters and Thyme · Author: Cuthalion · Genres: Romance · ID: 499
Reviewer: Inkling · 2007-10-18 08:40:33
In fanfic it's tempting, and all too easy, to approach hobbits' love
of food in a cliched, stereotypical way--the cheap shot about
mushrooms, the easy gag of a "light snack" that takes a paragraph to
describe. Heck, I've done it myself! But in this lovely little piece,
Cuthalion has given us something much more complex and satisfying. Her
hobbits demonstrate a truth found in all the best stories and films
about food ("Babette's Feast" and "Tampopo" come to mind): that when
prepared as a labor of love, it gives sustenance to soul as well as body.

There are so many wonderful details to be savored here: the delightful
scents of sizzling lamb, aromatic herbs, and sun-warmed soil; the
capable yet tender midwife brushing flour off Sam's brow, the easy way
the hobbits take over each other's cooking, or place by the bedside.
My favorite passage is the scene in the herb garden...the sensations
and Sam's emotions are so vivid!

The story concludes in a comforting blur of warmth, love, new life,
food and sleep, all mingling to form a picture of domestic bliss that
filled me with a powerful urge to immediately cook something or plant
an herb garden. The feeling passed and the herbs will have to wait
until next summer now, but I'm still dreaming about it, thanks to

Title: Still Round the Corner · Author: lbilover · Races: Hobbits:
Post-Grey Havens · ID: 515
Reviewer: Inkling · 2007-10-18 08:47:13
In this beautifully written story lbilover imagines the final parting
between Sam and Frodo--not, for a change, Frodo Baggins, but his
namesake, Sam's son. Inspired by Tolkien's epilogues to LOTR
(unpublished in his lifetime but appearing in "Sauron Defeated"),
"Still Round the Corner" is distinguished by a spare, elegant style,
lyrical descriptions, convincing dialogue and insightful

The story abounds with small details that bring the narrative to life:
the stable lad with ["one hand cupped over the pony's nostrils to
prevent him from whinnying at the sight of his master"]; Sam's fingers
["gnarled as the roots of the trees he'd planted in the long-ago days
after the Troubles."]

My favorite moment is when Sam comes riding out of the morning mist in
a halo of light ["like some legend stepping out of one of the great
tales"] before dwindling again to an elderly hobbit. Not only is it a
stunning image, but it neatly sums up what surely was Frodo-lad's
experience growing up with such a father, at once a living legend and
a simple, earthy gardener.

While knowledge of the epilogues is not necessary to the enjoyment of
this tale, those who have read them will appreciate this as a worthy
extension of their themes.

Title: Gentlemen's Night Out · Author: Oshun · Genres: Humor: Gondor
or Rohan · ID: 181
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-18 14:03:58
In my mind, this was a definite 10+ from the very beginning. I
absolutely adored this tale. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes.
Of course, my favorite baseball team (Cleveland Indians) were winning
by a huge margin, so I was extremely happy as I began to read this,
but nothing diminished the humor in this tale. Absolutely excellent!

The irreverent look at LACE was a scream. I have never held with those
principles. It is my understand that they were 'guidelines' - ROTFL. I
loved Elladan's response to poor Ercherion's earnest studying of such

What the author did to the poor young Elves was very sad and cruel
indeed. LOL - having them read this and believe it! Still laughing as
I write this, though I read this tale two days ago!

Oh - and the fact that [the book fell right open to those pages], and
the words used! Frantic, thumbing, futiley, hope.... readily describe
an Elf close to the throes of despair! *Howls with laughter*

I loved Legolas' wondering over what his punishment might be before he
[ransacked the entire place] looking for hope that he was not doomed!

I underlined so many places in the piece that just tickled me. I'll go
to the author's website to comment some more. But the ones above, as I
said, had me in tears. Thanks for a great read. I will treasure this
little treasure!

Title: At Long Last · Author: Astara · Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring War ·
ID: 746
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-18 14:27:36
The author has a nice way with words. I enjoyed this tale of the first
encounter. Denethor's slight perturbance at helping to strengthen Dol
Amroth's pride was interesting at the very beginning of this tale.

I was thoroughly taken by this description of the Steward's Heir -
[The tone was as neutral as the mask he wore] - told everything about
Denethor - at least the future Denethor. Profound description. I still
shudder at it.

I liked the strained relations between Angelimir and Ecthelion. Very
believable. But it was so sad to read of Denethor's surprise over the
Swan's family dynamics... very sad in light of what you describe for
the Steward's family. And your impression of Ecthelion and Thorongil's
relationship was spot on. I never have given much credence to those
who think Denethor's envy of Thorongil was not well-earned. Very, very
difficult for a son. And yet, later on, does not Denethor do the same
to Faramir? Sad family.

I enjoyed the snowball fight, the kiss, and the strained relationship
after it. Very glad it all ended well.

Title: Summer Daze · Author: Marta · Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring War ·
ID: 471
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-18 14:40:35
What a delightful tale of Faramir's growing into one aspect of his

I have to go back and read 'Summer Nights' after the quote you use in
your author's notes. [I would sooner find release...]

Your descriptions are well written. Some of my favorites are: [he
could slip the gown off her shoulders] - Faramir definitely has a
vivid imagination; [he would gladly feed her fruit] - yes, he does
have a good imagination!; [stroking himself...behind the screen] - I
just love his thoughts, poor lad; [if he could not control his other
blade] - this made me ROTFL; [the man's gate excited him] - control
yourself, Faramir! Again, made me ROTFL.

I enjoyed his actions, unknown to him until he became aware, and in
such an awkward place. I had to laugh. The fact that his studies did
nothing to ease his physical stress...

I found it sad that he could only dream or imagine someone else in the
spot of pleasure - perhaps it comes from Denethor's ill-regard for
Faramir.... I'm glad he was able to overcome that hurdle. LOL

I found the 'inkeeper's' distress interesting. To have a Lord of
Gondor be misused would not be good for business, nor, perhaps, her life.

Isilwen herself is a great character. I very much liked how she
handled the Steward's son. It must have been exciting for her to
'have' a virgin. Probably - they do not come along very often.

I liked the ending with Faramir realising that, without the mistake,
he would have been home [eating stew with his cousins!]

Absolutely delightful little tale. I look forward to more Iselwen???

Title: The Blessing · Author: Golden/Pearl Took CoAuthors · Genres:
Alternate Universe: Incomplete · ID: 235
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-18 14:51:02
A most delightful tale. I very much like the premise. It would seem
that all of the 'heroes' in Tolkien's tale - those that lived
(grumble, grumble), came out of the battle physically unscathed
(except, of course, dear Frodo). This puts that thought to short shrift.

Pip's injury, subsequent diagnosis (long in coming), and his fighting
it and all those around him, is well written. The fact that his
friends do not, in the course of their own healing of inner wounds,
recognize the depths of Pip's injury is profoundly sad.

Pip's struggles to survive and eventually live as whole as he possibly
can are well documented. His friends coming to terms with the extent
of Pip's injury and the repercussions for the rest of their lives, as
well as his, are sad. But it is great to find that they all are 'up to
the task' of helping their friend. And that Pip is stalwart, brave,
and wondrous in 'tackling' what his life now is, and not giving in to

Wonderful tale.

Title: Rauros, golden Rauros-falls · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Humor:
Drabble · ID: 624
Reviewer: Aranel Took · 2007-10-18 18:50:16
Oh god, that killed me (not quite in the same way as poor Boromir,
however)! I suppose Aragorn needs to improve his basic medical skills
before dumping people into rivers. ;-) Great job on the humorous
elements--everything clicks right into place leading up to the finale.
*still giggling* Poor Boromir!

Title: Stay With Me · Author: pippinfan88 · Races: Hobbits:
Hurt/Comfort · ID: 518
Reviewer: PipMer · 2007-10-18 18:58:46
What a wonderful story about Pippin and Esmeralda. Pippin and Merry
are living at Crickhollow, and Esmeralda happens to be visiting when
she notices Pippin having a waking nightmare. The two talk on into the
night, Esmeralda keeping Pippin company and distracting him from his


Title: A Suitable Tribute · Author: EdorasLass · Genres: Drama · ID: 474
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-18 19:46:25
This lovely ficlet is the middle scene of the tale which began with
Ribby's "Gifts of the People". Here we find the young woman, Marrin,
examining her possessions and resources with a highly critical eye in
search of the perfect in-kind gift to offer as her tithe to the king.
She considers her artistic and culinary skills to be modest at best,
and her lilacs and roses, alas, have not yet recovered from the
trepidations of war (a very nice touch.) She feels that she has only
two items of value from which to choose. Too charmingly modest to
offer a dance (though she does take a moment to daydream about that
possibility), she instead decides to offer her hair.

Marrin's choice to sacrifice her richest possession is heartaching in
its simplicity and nobility. Her gift is not given painlessly, for
what would be the value in that? I particularly love her betrothed's
participation, as the one who actually cuts off her braid, acting as
the priest to her sacrifice. His obvious love and pride help to soothe
her pain, and shock, when the deed is done.

What is particularly noteworthy about is tale (other than its supreme
loveliness) is how seamlessly EdorasLass is able to pick up another
other's character, add a perfect layer to the characterization, and
then pass her on. I know there was no design to this arc, just the
marvelous synergy of two great authors working together to produce
this exquisite gift to us all.

Title: Bitter Springs · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Mid Third Age:
2851 - 3017 TA · ID: 634
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-18 19:47:59
A carefully researched and thoughtfully written vignette featuring
Théodred and Boromir. AU to my AU, they are not lovers here, nor do
they seem particularly good friends, but more like junior colleagues
respectful of each others' professional qualifications and managerial
potential. They are both chafing at the bit, frustrated at being
forced to watch poor leadership, corruption, and ill luck take its
toll. There is little they can do at this point other than meet
unobtrusively to share honest, if discouraging, appraisals of the
situation in their respective countries.

What is particularly impressive to me in this tale are the what-if's:
What if Théodred had been able to overcome Grima's machinations, and
lead Rohan under his father's blessings? What if Théodred had
rebelled, and led a renegade band (much like Film!Eomer), fomenting
civil war in Rohan? These questions are for far more skilled writers
than I to explore. Perhaps these whispers will lodge in Dwimodene's
subconcious, rooting stealthily until they take simultaneous control
of her brain and her fingers. I can only hope; or at least hope for,
and welcome, more such insightful tales as this featuring Théodred and

Title: The Void · Author: SheBit · Races: Villains: Drabble · ID: 452
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-18 19:48:41
This is chilling, but very realistic in the contrast between the
half-truths we tell our children, and harsh reality we must share with
them eventually. When the child first asks, ["what lies outside the
world?"] the answer is the type of fairy tale parents have always told
their children in an attempt to sooth and minimize their fears. It is
only when we as parents are able to accept that our little ones are
now adults, and able to take on adult concerns and responsibilities,
that we can share the this harsh reality with them – an expression of
growing up on our part, as well as theirs.

It's very sobering to think that parenting hasn't changed very much
through the thousands of years from the First Age to our own. There is
still a Void, full of nameless fears, and little that we can do,
really, to protect our loved ones. A very somber and thought-provoking

Title: Conversion · Author: Pentangle · Genres: Drama: With Aragorn ·
ID: 169
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-18 19:49:38
What a rich and satisfying story. In contrast to Ribby's ["Gifts of
the People"], the folk of this village do not offer their tithes
joyously to the king, but with bitterness and despair. One returned
soldier, feeling he has nothing left to lose, speaks his mind to
Aragorn as he passes by in royal procession; the resulting
conversation is eye-opening to both king and subject.

The main character, Talion, is skillfully and realistically drawn. He
reminds me of war-weary veterans, even in our own age, who have given
so much in defense of their country, but find the lands to which they
return are a far cry from the homes they left. Talion could have borne
grinding the grinding poverty of a wheelwright in [a village with one
horse and three oxen]; the pillaging of the surrounding fields by both
orcs and soldiers, the not-unexpected deaths caused by starvation or
illness, but the loss of his only son to "friendly fire" [a black
arrow with gull's wing fletching] is more than he can bear.

But the king that he confronts angrily with a list of true, not
imagined, grievances is not what he expects to meet: the king Elessar
is generous, compassionate, full of sympathy and empathy, well aware
of the tribulations suffered by his people. [The king pulled away from
me and placed his hand upon my heart. And I swear, and will swear
until the stars burn out, that my grief flowed from me into his
fingertips, that I saw my pain in his eyes. The tearing anguish that
had been my companion for so long gentled into a deep longing sadness
that was nevertheless much easier to bear.]
[Elessar is a fine name—a name steeped in history and portent—but they
should have named him Hope.]Talion's own transformation, from
desperation to hope as the newly-appointed leader of his village, is a
pleasure to read.

Title: Adolescence · Author: Larner · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor ·
ID: 143
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-18 19:50:25
The unusual choice of characters makes this an unique and memorable
story. I particularly liked that the mischievous adolescents were
girls, not boys, for a change, and the characterization of willful
adolescent girls was spot-on. The description of the market itself was
rich and full, just the way I like it. I can just imagine that lovely
jewely, green-gold glass or [opaline blue with salmon pink] – I wish I
had a string of each. And the description of the hand-carved toys, and
Rosie's skill at haggling, were just perfect; the Shire-money being
suspect in Minas Tirith was a nice touch. The market guard's insight
in recognizing the anomalies in the girls' behavior was very
perceptive – I hope he's commended for his alertness. A very colorful
and enjoyable tale!

Title: Stone of the King · Author: Rowan · Races: Hobbits: Drabble ·
ID: 309
Reviewer: Inkling · 2007-10-18 21:14:19
This drabble is worth the price of admission for the first line alone,
with its wonderful alliteration: ["A sentinel now you are, standing in
ceaseless stony vigil while the birds make nests in your eyelids."]
The evocative language recalls, for me, indelible images from two of
my favorite poems, "Ozymandias" and "The Second Coming."

I also love the image of Isildur ["dumb and unmoving"]--helpless--as
his bane approaches once more. I can imagine the Ring here as a
malicious, sentient presence, enjoying the moment.

Frodo's thoughts are very plausible, and a nice alternative to his awe
and fear in this scene in Tolkien's book. And I can well believe his
envy of Isildur, viewing death as a release even this early in the quest.

A most impressive first drabble!

Title: Risen From Flame · Author: Ribby · Races: Men: Gondor Drabble ·
ID: 761
Reviewer: Lindelea · 2007-10-18 21:48:42
Excellent use of imagery and comparison/contrast. I love Faramir's
outcome likened to that of the city he served, and the legendary sunbird.