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Msg# 8405

MEFA Reviews for November 10, 2007 (Part 1) Posted by Ann November 10, 2007 - 4:49:30 Topic ID# 8405
Title: The Love of Lore · Author: Oshun · Races: Men: Gondor · ID: 271
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke · 2007-10-23 10:52:52
For me this story lives in the last paragraph. I love Boromir's quick
change of mood spurred by pride in his brother's ability, but that he
doesn't forget the lesson in comportment!

Title: The Stone of Erebor · Author: Primsong · Genres: Mystery · ID: 401
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2007-10-23 13:16:44
This was a story I very much wanted to nominate myself, and it was on
my list. But once more, I was too late, and someone else beat me to
the punch!

There are so many reasons I love this story. For one thing, it is a
BILBO story, something that there simply are not enough of out there!
Not only that, but it is a Bilbo story concentrating *on* Bilbo
himself, not Bilbo as Frodo's guardian. And I do believe that it is
the *only* story I have ever seen that actually dealt in any detailed
way with Bilbo's second journey to the Lonely Mountain.

Primsong has created an interesting, mysterious culture for her
Dwarves, using many of the hints JRRT gave us in canon: their love for
the treasures they made, their secretiveness, their mistrust of
non-Dwarves, the strange lack of females--and made a rather amazing
and coherent society. And she gives each Dwarf an individual character
as well--they are not simply interchangeable.

In addition to that, she has given us a mystery to solve: what has
happened to the Arkenstone? Bilbo, in danger of finding himself
accused of theft, must try to solve the mystery, which he goes about
doing in a thoroughly hobbity manner. And we see that even without a
magic ring of invisibility, he remains clever, brave, honest and loyal
to his friends--and he still has that amazing luck that brought him
through his first Adventure.

She writes Bilbo with a firm grip on his canon "voice", and I love the
moments when he must occasionally try and make sense of some Dwarven
custom that seems completely unnecessary to a hobbit. And I must say,
the ruse he used when his investigations needed to take him outside
the mountain was both funny and touching and very much in character.

And the solution he came up with in the end also displayed his
compassion and wisdom--just what one would expect of the hobbit who
could give up the Arkenstone to stop a battle and give away the Ring.

Title: Descent · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Early Third Age: 1-2850
TA · ID: 632
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-10-23 13:19:31
The Kin-strife is not often addressed in fanfiction, but has a wealth
of open territory to explore as an awful and complex period in
Gondor's history. Here we get an insightful "ground-level" view of the
forces closing around the common man in the impending war.

I have always loved the way that Dwimordene writes political
situations and this is no exception. The story revolves around two
wonderful, believable OC's, and the use of such young protagonists
allows a unique viewpoint of mixed innocence and experience. They know
what is coming, and although they lack a full understanding of the
politics, both boys recognize how it might impact their lives. Their
dialects and interactions, and all the lovely touches of
authentic-feeling culture, are very well done; as is the distasteful
and revealing interlude between the bigoted guards at the end.

The setting is delightfully rendered: the docks, the descriptions of
the hustling and multi-racial Row. I am left with a very a clear
picture in my mind, and love the image of Pelargir as the mercantile
crossroads of southern Arda.

We finish with a beautifully descriptive and heart-chilling ending
that points to the looming "first great evil": the rebellion against
the rightful king, the siege and breaking of Osgiliath, and the
terrible and pointless loss of many of the best men of the southern

Title: City of Trees · Author: Gwynnyd · Races: Elves: With Mirkwood
Elves · ID: 641
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-23 18:05:58

A charming vignette wherein Celeborn gets one heckuva peace offering
from his wife after a prolonged separation. Excellent extrapolation of
the rather muddled pre-Ring War canon concerning the couple.

Title: Blackest Fate · Author: Branwyn · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 476
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 18:47:01
[spoiler warning]
When I first began to write, I was taught this definition of a
drabble: "A complete story, told in exactly 100 words, with a twist or
kick at the end." By that standard (or just about any other
imaginable), [Blackest Fate] is as perfect a drabble as can be.

We are immediately pulled into the story of the two prisoners and
their torment. But who are they? Who are their captors? The words
[black-haired men] are troubling: surely neither elves nor dark-haired
men of Numenorean descent would treat their captives so. Would they?

The mood changes fleetingly in the second paragraph, as the prisoners
seek consolation in shared memories of happier times. If there is
anywhere a lovelier phrase than [resting where clear water washed the
flat stones], I don't think I've encountered it. [galloping through
the grass as it bowed before the wind] finally gives us a surprising
hint as to the identity of the prisoners and the dark forces who have
captured them.

[Reaching through the bars, each gently searched for the other's
face…] There's achingly lovely imagery here, as the mysterious
prisoners exchange compassion and encouragement,[ until the black
muzzles brushed together.] then pow! as the identity of the prisoners
is finally revealed. I had to stop, catch my breath, then read it all

[Dead to their Riders and kindred, at least they two could share this
evil doom.] Honorable, courageous, and loyal, Branwyn's Rohirric
steeds are just as heroic and unforgettable as their Riders. An
amazing piece of writing. *stands and applauds the wondrous Branwyn*

Title: Passages · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Genres: Drama:
Incomplete · ID: 60
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 18:53:11
This is a very satisfying story on so many different levels. There
seems to be have been a dearth of good action-adventure stories
lately, at least that I've been exposed to; I'm very pleased to have
found both this and Dwimordene's most recent contribution to the
'verse, "Reconciliation." "The Plucky Youngster Proves His Worth,
Rescues His Friends, And Learns Something About Himself In The
Process" trope is an age-old one, and Isabeau writes it very well.
Brandemir is an engaging character, and it's a pleasure to see aspects
of his personality we can very easily imagine as being inherited from
his father – quick wit, leadership, imagination – coming into play as
Brand engineers his rescue and that of his young companions.

The Cinderella aspects of the tale, explored in the original tale
"Noble Jewel", are more fully developed here. Brand is aware of the
truth about his origins, and is becoming comfortable with both his
new-found family, and the expectations and opportunities now available
to him. That he is able to conduct himself so well in a crisis
situation is a salute to both heredity and environment.

The most touching elements of the story, though, deal with Brand's
realization of the truth about Andra and Boromir, the two men whom he
has learned to respect and admire more than anyone else in the world.
His shock and confusion is both painful and realistic as he is forced
to examine a lifetime of prejudice. What he experiences is not all
that different from what a young person of the late Fourth Age would,
in a similar situation, another vivid example of the universality of
experience that we find so moving.

Title: The man in the woods · Author: Dot · Races: Men: Eriador or
Rivendell · ID: 13
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 18:54:18
What a gorgeous, gorgeous story, with wondrous use of language, and
absolutely perfect characterization.

I've read a number of Halbarad stories, and never really seemed to be
particularly moved by them, until I read this – I think it is the
imagery of Halbarad as a loving husband and father that must have been
moved me so. Though Halbarad appears only briefly, at the beginning
and the end, it is his influence on his young daughter Falathren that
defines her personality and her actions in the story. [Though unaware
yet that my birthright as a Dúnedain woman was not to fight for our
future but to sacrifice my loved ones to it with a resolute heart, I
nevertheless did not mind that Ada never told me I'd be a good Ranger.]

Falathren and her older brother Alagos have slipped away while their
mother is sleeping to play in the woods. Their games are based on the
stories (and other useful skills) they've learned at their father's
knee [far away places that made my father's voice warm and soft as
fresh baked bread when he spoke of them, though he knew them only from
his own Ada's stories and the faith that thrummed in Dúnedain
blood...], so that when they find a body in the woods, they are not
unduly shocked or startled
but know exactly what action is called for: [He surveyed me for a
moment and then with a decisiveness no doubt born of life in a
Dúnedain household he announced, "We need to go for help."] Falathren,
though, chooses to stay with the body, her fear overcome by compassion
she is yet too young to recognize.

What I found particularly touching in this story was Falathren's
honest voice as she describes her early resentfulness of Aragorn: [I
knew I was supposed to like Aragorn because my parents did – almost
everyone did – but he always took my father away from me] which is
transformed into comfort and reassurance when it is Aragorn who
retrieves her from the dead man's side [He rose and carried me away,
hugged close to his chest so that I could listen to the hum of life
within him].

The final lines [I looked away from the reflection of my future in the
knowing gazes of the women and leaned into him, grasping at the scent
of him, that scent of smoke and sweat and self-assurance, of the
achingly familiar in a strange new world.] are almost heartbreaking,
symbolizing to me the world of Dunedain women, into which this child
has been thrust all too soon.

Title: Dissonance · Author: EdorasLass · Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor
· ID: 450
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 18:55:52
This subtle yet powerful tale speaks so much to things that have
happened in our own Age, not just the final days of the Third. This
reminded me of the people right here in our country who attacked
mosques and abused Middle Eastern people right after 9/11. Do you
remember? Such blind rage and xenophobia.

In the Narrator's case this shock and anger is quite understandable,
as he was an enemy combatant, mortally wounded in the very act of
seeking to destroy her city. [Part of me is repulsed by him, by
everything I know his countrymen have done to mine, and I want to
scream and rage at him.] A very realistic reaction on her part, yet
her immediate and unthinking compassion for a dying man, even her
enemy, does her great credit.

It's not easy to take up someone else's original characters and write
them as smoothly and seamlessly as you've done here. Every nuance of
the Narrator's character is spot-on: her nervousness at being
discovered by Valacar where she's not supposed to be, the tiny detail
of her noticing the strange scent on her fingers from touching the
Southron's hair. For those of us who have been following Aliana's
story, this additional episode, somber as it is, is a welcome treat.

The imagery you've provided, of the man singing his own death-song, is
extraordinary. I think I can imagine his voice, that high wailing
chant rising and falling. What despair, to use the last of his
strength for this. A fiercely beautiful, unique and memorable story.

Title: The Burning of the Year · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times:
Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA: Gondor · ID: 2
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 18:57:07
Raksha's [The Burning of the Year] is at the same time disturbing and
satisfying, which makes for a very memorable experience. The idea of
the people of Gondor perpetuating a custom which has its roots in
blood-sacrifice, a remnant of a barbaric phase in Numenorean history,
is quite intriguing; however, the way in which the custom has been
modified throughout the ages, and the beauty of the ritual itself, is
very well written. Poor Faramir! The usual star of the celebration is
absent, so he must perform in his brother's place. Certainly it's very
easy for him to draw the parallels between the ancient ritual
offering, and the sacrifice that all Gondor will have to share in
order to survive. This knowledge gives an overwhelming sense of, not
futility exactly, but resignation, to his participation. But it's also
perfectly in character for Faramir to set aside his own feelings, and
take upon the mantle of his duty as upholder of the spirits of the
City in Boromir's absence. ["It breaks my heart to nod and smile; for
I believe the new year shall bring death, not light; but I will not
quench their hope when hope is all they have."]

I'm pleased that Faramir is able to set aside his misgivings for the
moment to drink and dance and participate as fully as his people wish.
["Yestarë's first hour goes by in song and good cheer. I am
decorously, though far from fully, drunk. It eases the business of
giving cheerful greeting, when I fear what will befall the children
and their parents, the wise old folk and the lads and maids, before
the next year-fire is lit."] The description of the celebration brings
to mind both Cretan and Celtic revelry, an intriguing mix; yet
Denethor's final words provide a grim foreshadowing. An unusual
gap-filler,and a very well-told tale.

Title: True Silver · Author: Marta · Genres: Romance: Drabble · ID: 612
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 19:04:14
Now this is a wonderful manner in which to express ones interest in
someone else! This look at Galadriel through Celeborn's eyes is marvelous!

Title: Standards · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022
TA: General Drabble · ID: 541
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 19:06:57
Ah, Marta--again a short one that manages to express the hope of Arwen
and Halbarad together so well and with such an economy of words! And
glad the staff to the standard itself is well wrought!

Title: All in a Day's Work · Author: Gwynnyd · Genres: Adventure:
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 421
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-23 19:07:06
What a wonderful story, and just a perfect use of a drabble series.
The writing overall is crisp and vivid; each drabble performs its
purpose perfectly, moving the action along with a wonderful sense of
immediacy. Each of the seven characters are described in loving and
lively detail, and their dialogue, where used, is spot-on, with never
an extraneous word or gesture. This is short-form writing at its very

Title: Safe In My Arms · Author: Fiondil · Genres: Drama · ID: 470
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 19:47:15
A wonderful tale of finding healing within the Halls of Mandos first
for Denethor's sons and then for Denethor himself. Fiondil's gift at
writing the Lord of Mandos is marvelous!

Title: Truly Tested · Author: Súlriel · Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 257
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:02:30
Definitely Aragorn is no longer a green youth, but a warrior trained,
no matter how much he might regret it.

Title: Sons of Hador · Author: TrekQueen · Races: Men · ID: 115
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:05:15
Love this glimpse at Hador's sons finding their way amidst ease the
likes of which they've been unknowing.

Title: A Mother's Touch · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Humor:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 44
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:07:41
A wonderful response to the "Dirty Dragon" challenge, and love Readh's
love and care for her son. Yes, even dragons must know the delight of
loving mothers! Heh!

A delight!

Title: He Came To Meet Me · Author: sophinisba solis · Genres: Romance
· ID: 33
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:17:57
The Pippin-meets-Diamond stories are almost always delightful. Am glad
I met this one.

Title: All Lies and Jest · Author: Jael · Races: Elves: With Mirkwood
Elves · ID: 104
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:33:02
And how Thranduil must have grieved indeed to realize he had doomed
two to die who might have lived, loved, and borne children to the
renewal of the great forest of their home.

Poignant and thought-provoking.

Title: Ribbons · Author: Lily · Races: Hobbits: Pre-Quest · ID: 246
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:36:21
And who was it that Merimac Brandybuck married, and how did she manage
to truly capture the heart of this most fickle of Brandybucks? A
wonderful tale of love east of the Brandywine! Yes, a delightful tale
amd marvelously told, as well as well worth the reading. Well recommended.

Title: Bound by Duty · Author: Lady Bluejay · Genres: Romance: With
Rohirrim · ID: 175
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:40:50
This marriage may have been arranged, but now Lothiriel reviews it
from start to this time, seeing how it was she went from accepting
Eomer as her bridegroom to loving him, and thinking on the reasons why
last night he slept on the cot in his study rather than with her in
what had been their bed.

Marvelously done and intimately told as Lothiriel makes the
transformation from Princess of Dol Amroth to Queen of Rohan in spirit
as well as name.

Title: May It Be a Light to You in Dark Places · Author: Cathleen ·
Times: Fourth Age and Beyond: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 388
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-23 20:52:04
Movie-verse--Eowyn and Faramir remember past Yules while looking at
the decorations for this one, interrupted by rampaging Hobbits and
irate wizards. But love abides here, and tales and gifts help to
confirm that past loves and future loves are yet entwined together.

Title: Warriors' Scars · Author: Marta · Times: Early Third Age:
1-2850 TA · ID: 648
Reviewer: Ellie · 2007-10-23 21:07:32
this is a very subtly poignant look at the twins and what their grief
over the assault upon their mother has cost them. One can see that the
twins still respect Glorfindel and wish to please him as depicted by
Elladan's fear of telling Glorfindel the truth about his reasoning for
going after the orcs out of revenge. I pity Elrond and Glorfindel for
their powerlessness in this situation and for their grief at the anger
and sorrow the twins so obviously still feel and their inability to
help them through it. We know the twins eventually do find healing,
and you have made the ache their loved ones endure palpable. Nicely done!

Title: Hiraeth · Author: Llinos · Genres: Poetry · ID: 803
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-24 01:39:55
A wonderful look at the effects of the Sea Longing.

Title: Mettare · Author: rhyselle · Races: Cross-Cultural: The
Fellowship · ID: 732
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-24 01:43:16
Pippin and Merry learn a Gondorian custom from Boromir, common at the
turning of the year. A sweet story, and a lovely custom that is not
unknown in the Real World.

Writing is excellent, and imagery pleasing.

Title: Dangerous Place · Author: Ushmushmeifa · Genres: Drama: Minas
Tirith · ID: 590
Reviewer: Larner · 2007-10-24 01:51:29
A marvelous, sad and poignant story on the specific situation that led
Boromir to claim the quest for Imladris as his own. Imagery is sharp
as a sword blade, and the telling sweet. The use of a poem to break
each small segment is exceptionally well done and adds to its poignancy.