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Msg# 8407

MEFA Reviews for November 11, 2007 (Part 1) Posted by Ann November 11, 2007 - 5:50:15 Topic ID# 8407
Title: The Northmen · Author: SheBit · Times: Fourth Age and Beyond:
Drabble · ID: 451
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 16:37:50
An engaging bit of banter between the soldiers of sunkissed Gondor and
their visitors from cooler, greyer climes. The language is gorgeous:
[Will you stay here, the soldiers ask, where the days are long and
warm and sun-riped grapes make rich and crimson wines?] sounds like a
love song to the land, almost like something from one of the Entish
ballads. The Northmen's reply [We belong to the north, where the
weather is reassuringly inclement and grey, and damp days make barley
plump for the brewers' trade] is somewhat stolid, less passionate and
vivid, though wonderfully descriptive in its own way. The last word,
though, comes from the Northmen in a bit of neat turnabout, claiming
hot-blooded virility for their own folk. Ha!

Title: Blooded · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Drama: Youth · ID: 3
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 16:38:42
A very thoughtful tale of Faramir's first blooding, his first
experience in battle. His contemporaries are very realistically drawn,
alternately boastful and gleeful as they regale each other with tales
of their own derring-do; they don't seem very different from young men
of the Fourth Age in similar situations. Only Faramir sits alone and
pensive as he recalls the physical sensations of the battle, the
actual sounds and sights of death.

Poor Faramir – rather than settling down for a period of reflection
about his own reactions, whether or not he met his own expectations of
behavior in this situation, he must now deal with a new fear, that he
will not be able to bring himself to kill again. It's not really an
unexpected view of Faramir, but in Raksha's loving hands, Faramir's
fear and self-doubt is treated with compassion and delicacy.

Title: The Wink of an Eye · Author: Linda hoyland · Times: Mid Third
Age: 2851 - 3017 TA: Drabble · ID: 664
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 16:39:13
[Oh what joy to jest with Gondor's solemn Steward! He would drive him
to madness yet.]

Though meant as a humorous drabble (and it does work wonderfully as
such) this also made me think for a moment of the utter plausibility
of Sauron taking foul glee in his manipulation of Denethor, the poor
guy. So it's humor with a bitter undertaste. Well done!

Title: Ten Thousand Years · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA · ID: 565
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 16:41:28
There's a lovely sense of vulnerability in Boromir here that we don't
often get to see. You hint at it in the very beginning, showing his
restless frustration with the weather, and how he longs to be out of
doors, to use the natural world, a soldier's world, as his lodestone
to ground him again. I can easily imagine Faramir as much more at home
indoors at Rivendell, wandering the galleries and libraries, wishing
the rain would continue. I also particularly liked the way you noted
Elrond's respect for the history of his brother's kin ["though Elrond
was an elf-lord, his brother had been a king of men. Why should
Boromir wonder that he would collect relics of Númenor's sons?"]. It's
not an element that I've considered much in the past, but find myself
pondering more often lately, thanks to you and also Bewize, in her
drabble "Men of the North".

The theme of vulnerability continues with Boromir's heart-to-heart
with Arwen. Surely his prior diplomatic training would have taught him
to be cautious, to hold back, especially to someone whom he knows
would be a close ally to his rival! Yet he finds himself freely
confessing his greatest fears, as though speaking them aloud enables
him to confront and examine them.

Arwen, in her turn, is also surprisingly open with him, confiding some
of the deepest concerns of her heart to this stranger (as well as a
glimpse of a precious, secret gift - how did she know he wouldn't
speak of it?) It's a lovely scene, and something I've never imagined.
Thank you, as always, for presenting us with the unexpected in such a
graceful, memorable way.

Title: Fell Memories · Author: Gwynnyd · Genres: Drama: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 191
Reviewer: Llinos · 2007-10-24 21:47:43
Very visceral and dark and with nothing held back. The violence
certainly draws the reader along, making one gasp at the rawness, but
still without being overly gratuitous.

Graphically drawn, it is at times hard to read, but impossible to stop!

Impressive work!

Title: First Among Equals · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Adventure:
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 564
Reviewer: Llinos · 2007-10-24 21:48:34
What struck me about these two drabbles were the references to two
very different types of killing - one for sustenance and one to
protect his people. Not at all the same and yet they are, as both are
necessary for survival.

Faramir's thought about Denethor was very appropriate and at last he
has a chance to find approval, though it still will not be from his

Title: Oliphaunts and String · Author: agape4gondor · Genres: Drama:
Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 658
Reviewer: Llinos · 2007-10-24 21:50:32
The grandmother's sweet and simple character throws what Smeagol has
become into sharp relief. One can imagine that he too was once sweet
and innocent and yet there must have been *something* in him to make
the Ring take hold so quickly. The author gives us a hint of this
underlying oddness that I really like. Very sad, that he was destined
for such an evil path when without the Ring he might just have been
considered rather simple and eccentric amongst his own folk..

Title: A Life Between II · Author: Elen Kortirion · Genres: Romance:
Drabble · ID: 445
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 22:20:05
Kortirion is marvelously skilled in conveying lush sensuality even in
the most economical of genres. This delicious drabble focuses solely
on Théodred's caressing of Boromir's hand. There's that lovely element
of shared history in that Théodred is already familiar with each
callous and scar and knotted bone; he knows and loves Boromir's body
as well as he does his own. And while it's clear that Théodred's
exploration with fingertips, lips, and tongue is a precursor to a more
thorough and detailed examination, for the discerning reader these 100
words, like a perfect chocolate, provide complete satisfaction.

Just under the surface of this richness, though, lies a bleak
undercurrent [the too-short life-line that matched his own]. Théodred
and Boromir both sense that they are not destined for long life, and
so must make the most of each rare and precious moment they have
together. This melancholy adds a slightly bitter tang to the the tale,
lifting it far beyond the ordinary.

Title: Subdivisions · Author: Aliana · Genres: Alternate Universe:
Gondor or Rohan · ID: 551
Reviewer: annmarwalk · 2007-10-24 22:21:17
Another witty and sardonic postmodern tale from Aliana. It is now
twenty years after the siege of Minas Tirith, and the city has
rebounded emotionally, socially, and economically beyond anyone's
wildest dreams. A university, a thriving Haradric quarter with
take-out curry shops, Starbucks and Mickey D's and KFC, and a postwar
baby-boomer generation threatening to burst the White City at its
seams. The only place to grow is outward; so a central theme of the
story is the debate over the proposal to allow affordable housing to
be built out on the Pelennor. Though on the surface the concept seems
a bizarre twist on Tolkien's work, perhaps this is the very future he
foresaw, and chose not the write. How would the good folk of
Middle-earth deal with "normalcy"?

Aliana's dialog is alternately hilarious and thought-provoking, and
her characters, even those making quick walk-on appearances, are vivid
and realistic. Haven't we all known relentlessly perky students like
Piri, hardworking and ambitious entrepreneurs like Mrs Ishrani, or
even class clowns like Firendir: ["Ooow!" Firendir wails. My husband
sighs, walks over to him, and smacks him on the side of his crew-cut
head. Look, if you're going to be a soldier, you're going to have to

Yet as wacky and entertaining as the story is, there is a bittersweet
side to it, in the underlying debate as to whether or not the City's
past should be respected or enshrined.
["Don't you care? They're calling it `Pelennor Fields Quality Homes'
or something insipid like that. Don't you think the Pelennor should be
preserved as it is? You fought on those fields, your friends fought on
those fields."] The Narrator is nearly screaming with frustration, but
she's nonplussed by her husband's reply: ["Well, maybe I'd like to see
houses and kids there for a change, instead of seeing piles of the
dead in my mind. Have you thought about that?"]

It's a debate that's continuing even to our Age. Too bad that ours is
driven more by greed than the urge toward rebirth and renewal.

Title: Some Dark Place · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres: Adventure:
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 226
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2007-10-24 23:17:35
This is a strongly-written short take on a first encounter between
Aragorn and the Ringwraiths. Raksha's descriptions create a vivid
sense of the fear the Ringwraiths induce, and its effect on Aragorn.
Nicely done.

Title: Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush · Author: Isabeau of
Greenlea · Genres: Romance: Other Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 512
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2007-10-24 23:18:19
This is a cute and amusing ficlet about Pippin's courtship. Isabeau
provides a lively and strong characterisation for Diamond of Long
Cleeve, showing how Pippin has truly met his match. The writing is
crisp, clear and brisk. An enjoyable read.

Title: Maiden Voyage · Author: Fawsley · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Drabble · ID: 654
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2007-10-24 23:22:36
This drabble is a beautiful and atmospheric rendering of Legolas and
Gimli's sailing. In it, Fawsley provides some extremely memorable
phrasing, captivating me from the first line with the wonderful use of
["puzzling streams"] to describe the delta of the Great River.

The gentle rhythms of the piece convey a sense of slowness,
tranquility and yet inevitability in Legolas and Gimli's departure. On
top of that, Fawsley shows a masterly control of the drabble form by
using a structure within the constraints of the hundred word drabble
limit that leads the reader through the story and provides a
satisfying resolution.

Although this subject is often written about, I've rarely felt so
moved by any of the versions I've read as this one. Truly excellent.

Title: The Third Eagle · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA: General Drabble · ID: 630
Reviewer: Tanaqui · 2007-10-24 23:25:05
Imhiriel has pulled off the by-no-means-easy feat of creating a
drabble that conveys a bittersweet mix of joy and sorrow. The last
line of the drabble is heartrending, reminding us as it does of the
whole tale of Gollum, and his redemption, fall and ultimate unwitting
contribution to the victory over Sauron celebrated in the drabble's
first line. I am particularly impressed with the way Imhiriel has used
the rhythms of phrases and paragraphs within the drabble to strengthen
the impact of the words, leaving us with a tangible sense of the
eagle's regret in the brevity of his last thoughts. Overall, the
drabble also does a fine job of capturing the nature of the Eagles,
both fierce and gentle. In short, an extremely satisfying hundred
words to read. Bravo!

Title: A Very Rain of Sparrows · Author: Dwimordene · Races: Men · ID: 440
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 01:21:39
A very sad look at the life of a child as he nears manhood. The
characters were very well written and 'life-like.' The story itself
was unbearably filled with despair. It almost seemed like a tale about

Title: Sons of Hador · Author: TrekQueen · Races: Men · ID: 115
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 01:27:55
*heavy sigh* I do so love the tales of Men - whether in the First or
the Third Age - this is a poignant little look at a moment of peace.
So few and far between for these brothers.

Title: Sorgbyrðen · Author: Aranel Took · Races: Men · ID: 275
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 01:31:13
Life in Middle-earth, much as we would like to think differently, was
not easy, was filled with pain and sorrow, and was difficult, to say
the least. This author really brought out the pain and horror of
living during the time immediately before the War of the Rings. Her
Eowyn speaks volumes. The Eowyn we meet in The Two Towers is begun in
this tale.

Title: Stone from Above · Author: Thundera Tiger · Races: Men · ID: 284
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 01:43:20
A beautiful telling of Hama's last moments. It could have been; the
man was definitely wise and faithful. I can see him sacrificing
himself, if not for his own king, for their ally's king. A very
poignant piece of work.

Title: Charcoal, Stone and Cloud · Author: shadow975 · Races: Men ·
ID: 610
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 01:59:41
I give this five stars. A very good and telling tale of the growth of
friendship, loyalty, and affection between two 'good' men! SPOILERS

I found it quite plausible that Aragorn would finally tell Boromir who
Thorongil 'happened' to be. I loved his remembrances of that time -
especially of Boromir as a babe. I loved Boromir's discomfiture at the
realization that Aragorn had seen a little more of him than he would
have wished; the ease with which, after a moment, Boromir accepted
Aragorn's claims; Aragorn's regard for Denethor and Ecthelion;
Boromir's forthrightness and Aragorn's willing acceptance of it;
Boromir's realization that there must be 'something' to this man who
would be his king if Ecthelion held him in esteem.

I liked the unfolding of these two characters: Aragorn is tight-lipped
when secrets need to be kept; Boromir's love for his brother; his
concern for his father and his City; Boromir's pride (as evidenced by
his statement [I am not one to beg, even of my brother.]; Boromir's
quick-wittedness in realizing that Aragorn (as Thorongil) would not
have wished his lineage known; Aragorn's ease at 'reading' Boromir;

My favorite line is [I have always been grateful that Faramir has not
let the same happen between the two of us, for my stubbornness and
Denethor's regard.] A great response to Aragorn's own admissin of why
there was disagreement between Denethor and Thorongil.

There are so many parts to this tale that just touched my heart...
Boromir's asking Aragorn to have faith and trust 'his' people, the
worthiness that each saw in the other, and the fact that Boromir was
reminded of his brother and his father (their strengths) in this heir
of Elendil.

This tale was filled with warmth and laughter. Though the ending
'foresight' was difficult, it was still a great tale and ending with
hope, at least for a word of love for a brother.

Title: Mushrooms · Author: claudia6032000 · Genres: Drama: The
Fellowship · ID: 561
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 02:13:55
This is a well thought out and plausible tale of a 'could have
happened' moment on the road to Mordor.

Poor Frodo - and he barely recovered from the Morgul-blade. Being a
Boromir fan, I'm grateful the man was able to lend his support - by
the use of his great cloak - to the cause of helping give Frodo
comfort. Though I could imagine him wondering aloud - and trying to
keep it at a whisper - what their next course of action might be IF
the worst were to happen.

Title: Not an Ordinary Day · Author: nau_tika · Genres: Drama: The
Fellowship · ID: 737
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 02:32:18
This was a delightful little moment that very likely 'could' have
happened. The characters were all perfect. And Pippin learned and
taught a lesson. What more could one ask for?

It made me laugh and that is always a good thing!

Title: Dear · Author: Febobe (Frodo Baggins of Bag End) · Genres:
Drama: The Fellowship · ID: 811
Reviewer: agape4gondor · 2007-10-25 02:40:03
I thoroughly enjoyed this bit about Sam and his love for Frodo, food,
and life. Delightful tale. I especially had to giggle over Gondorian
food! Still laughing.

Title: Vocabulary Lessons · Author: Larner · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA: Gondor · ID: 521
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-25 03:47:15
A spoiled and untested young Gondorian lordling finds himself a fish
out of water when he comes to the court of Elessar shortly after the
end of the Ring War.

Excellent display of Larner's writing talents - good descriptions and
rich details; and a certain wry humor in the way the visitor keeps
digging himself deeper into trouble. However, Larner is a subtle
enough writer that the lordling is not a one-dimensional character;
and there is hope that he might benefit from exposure to the precepts
of the new King.

Title: Not Fade Away · Author: Jael · Genres: Drama: Elves in Later
Ages · ID: 127
Reviewer: Fiondil · 2007-10-25 05:02:19
This is one of those Cinderella-type stories that makes you feel good
all over when you finish reading it. In a world where apparently
Tolkien's stories were never published the Elves of Eryn Lasgalen set
out to tell the world the story of "The Hobbit" and the War of the
Ring via computer games and hire a mortal woman to help create the
background paintings for the games. Mariposa is a very real and
brutally honest woman, and it was fun to recognize what scenes she was
painting from the Legendarium, even if she did not. The elves are
delightful, and I loved how their Sindarin names were transformed into
modern names such as Randy, Leif, and Wendell. (I won't spoil the
surprise for others by revealing who is who). The bar scenes were
funny, especially Leif singing "O lachrymosa, dies illa" from Mozart's
"Requiem" as counterpoint to Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", which
is playing on the jukebox or having one of the elves sport a tee-shirt
with tengwar writing saying, "Moriquendi and Proud of It!". But I
think the thing that will stay with me the most from this story is the
haunting scene of the elves' riding described in the Prologue:

[At the head of the train rode a pale haired elf. His face was grim,
and he wore no outward sign of rank upon his brow, yet any who saw
them would have recognized his lordship over the company.....

....and on the face of the Elven-lord was a somber look as if he were
riding to his doom. And yet, at the same time it was a hopeful
expression, a strange, resigned joy in whatever was to come. The look
said, Home."]

I hope there is a sequel to this. I, for one, would gladly read it.

Title: First Among Equals · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Adventure:
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 564
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-25 05:27:59
I particularly like the first half of this double-drabble. [Blooded]
is a fine snapshot of a young warrior's first kill; taut as the
bowstring with which he makes it.

Title: To This My Love Hath Come At Last · Author: Roh_wyn · Genres:
Romance: Incomplete · ID: 699
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-25 06:11:01
Intriguing story of Boromir's relationship with a young noblewoman,
some eight years before the Ring War. I don't think I have ever seen a
story where Boromir was immediately infatuated with an attractive
young lady; and it works quite well here that even Boromir the
super-soldier can be prey to tender feelings. I look forward to seeing
what Roh Wyn does with the tale.