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Msg# 8408

MEFA Reviews for November 11, 2007 (Part 2) Posted by Ann November 11, 2007 - 5:51:26 Topic ID# 8408
Title: The Third Eagle · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA: General Drabble · ID: 630
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-10-25 06:36:01
Tolkien created many incredible and fascinating beings to populate his
world, and the Eagles are foremost among them. They are intelligent,
proud and unbelievably useful: a foremost tool of the Valar for their
relatively rare direct interventions in Middle-earth. And at times
they appear to take their own initiative to join in on events,
although typically they seem to prefer remaining aloof (if informed)
of goings-on among all those earthbound Eruhini.

Imhiriel makes use of an Eagle's perspective in a retelling of one of
the most relief-inducing scenes of the book, the rescue of Sam and
Frodo. Meneldor's state of mind is beautifully described, the setting
clearly portrayed, and - for me - an entirely new understanding is
introduced. I had never before thought of the third Eagle as being
intended to retrieve Gollum (I thought Gwaihir carried only Gandalf),
but this drabble very effectively and irrevocably changed the way I
view that scene in RotK. Of _course_, knowing Gandalf's pity and past
defense of the Ringbearer's guide, they would have been hoping to
bring out Smeagol, and perhaps even finally heal him of the Ring's
corruption. The way that the author reveals this is indirect but hits
hard, with Meneldor's acknowledgement ["but I came in vain."]

This is an extremely well-written drabble which deftly incorporates an
unusual character to highlight a poignant scene, one which has threads
of sadness and disappointment running through the otherwise
overwhelming joy. My new understanding, however belated, has greatly
enriched the moment's meaning for me.

Title: Mentor · Author: Nessime · Times: Second Age: Drabble · ID: 653
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-10-25 06:39:05
The author uses a unique voice to show one Maiar's perspective of the
history of Numenor. Eonwe's PoV has the poignancy of one who was
intimately among the Numenoreans as teacher, adviser, and guide: an
insight into a direct touch of the Ainur that Tolkien left as only a
single line in the Silmarillion. Here was one of the Powers, living
among the Secondborn unveiled... This just brushes what is really a
fascinating interlude that deserves more attention: the founding of
Numenor under a Maiar's mentorship, one who would have enhanced and
expanded what the Edain gathered from their alliances with the Elves,
and who helped set the foundation for future Numenorean scholarship
and majesty.

The descriptions are vivid and evocative: first of a people
well-deserving of the honor shown them by the Valar, and receptive to
everything that Eonwe taught them; and then of the descent into evil,
ending with his former students being under the sway of a new mentor.
The contrast between Eonwe and Sauron is well presented, and Eonwe's
sorrow at Numenor's defection is quite clear, as he knows ["that once
again they will learn their lessons well."]

The Ainur themselves took away important lessons from this, of the way
that successive generations of humans often have to relearn harsh
lessons. And eventually, that you can't dangle something so desirable
as the Undying Lands (or rings of power) and not expect humans to
reach for it...

Title: Comforting Silence · Author: Radbooks · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 157
Reviewer: Isabeau of Greenlea · 2007-10-25 10:20:14
A lovely exploration of a long, long friendship and how words are not
always necessary, even in the darkest of times.

Title: Go Out in Joy · Author: Larner · Genres: Alternate Universe:
The Shire or Buckland · ID: 145
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-10-25 15:00:30
[review contains spoilers!]

Go out in joy is such a marvellous story that describes the progress
on how one can and will have to let someone go. This gem of an AU is
set around the time the Shire has settled down in a relative peace,
shortly before Bilbo's 131st birthday. Frodo is hurting, his body is
failing him, but the emotional burden pulls him down and it seems that
he cannot shed it off, no matter who councils him and tries to make
him understand that most events that happened was not caused by him,
but it was fate, the doing of someone else. A near counterpoint in the
story, or at least one of the important ones is Gandalf visiting:
vibrant and encouraging as ever, but gives the best council one can
give to all. His conversation with Merry, Pip, and Sam says so much:

[Pippin, his face pale even in the dim light, shook his head. Suddenly
he held out his arms, and Gandalf sank to one knee to embrace him,
then held out his other arm to embrace all three. "I will not say, do
not weep," he whispered to them, "for not all tears are an evil. But
stay by him and let him comfort you as he can, and do not fear to let
him go when the time comes, as come it must."]

From there it feels like it is more than ever inevitable, the chapter
is just well named and I surely recommend to get a box of tissues
because I found myself often blinking away tears, lying down the
printed pages only to be later on fully engrossed in this story. For
someone who is not familiar with Larner's works, the cast of minor
characters makes you want to pull out the LoTR, to keep track on who
is who. This didn't disturbed me at all when I read it because with
the changing perspectives in this stories, the minor characters come
to life even more. I could not help but to really start feeling for
Bartolo, Brendilac and Narcissa, they grow and change throughout the
story, Barti probably the most. In this piece Larner gives us the
insight in the close knitted hobbit culture, the traditions and the
honour, respect & love all felt for Frodo in their own way. I think
the most heartbreaking moment is when Saradoc says this:

[He may have been the Rascal of Buckland and Master of Bag End and the
Ring-bearer, but he has ever been one of the lights of joy in my
heart, and I'm glad I was granted the chance to cherish him while he
remained with us."]

This combined with the rest of the fellowship being there, the sons of
Elrond, but oh the epilogue (since Larner's nuzgul demanded it) has a
beautiful and deeply touching ending which makes it rightfully full
circle. Although I burst into laughter at the mentioning of Bilbo
building a smail on Valinor. What an amazing AU Larner, I loved the
author notes in where you invite a sweet bunny into your home ;)

Title: The Sword of Elendil · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres:
Drama: Incomplete · ID: 69
Reviewer: Oshun · 2007-10-25 15:48:42
I have been following this novel for a long, long time and I have seen
it go through several re-drafts, so I know full well how committed
this writer is to getting it right and the amount of sheer elbow
grease and thought that have gone into the development of her
conception of the characters and the plotline. The effort and
attention to detail have been worth it.

The original characters are particularly strong and clear and quite
believably fit into Tolkien's world as seen through the prism of this
writer. Her views of Rivendell and the Angle are internally
consistent, cannot be disproved by canon, and continue to be enhanced
and filled-in as the story moves forward. She is not above grinding
her own ax now and then, with grace and humor, to take the story and
characters to a new level and make them truly her own. She works
particularly well at making Arwen a full and real person. The age of
Arwen, in contrast to the young man who falls in love with her, is
handled in an interesting and convincing manner. There is a perfect
mesh of pain and humor in her portrayal of the smitten young man. He
is always real and flawed and yet one ever sees the man he will
become. She claims that she is not an elf-writer, but Elrond is one of
my favorite characters in this story. I love the way she shows how
attached he is to his foster-son and how he has allowed himself to
become emotionally invested with this latest heir of Isildur (a
serious risk for an elf in his situation and position) and yet is
always looking at the bigger picture. On a technical level alone the
author is one of the best writers in fanfiction.

Title: At The Foot of the Sarn Gebir · Author: Rabidsamfan · Times:
Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA · ID: 787
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 17:54:44
I really liked the feel of this - the fog, the desire for some little
bit of comfort - and Sam's utter practicality. I can easily see this
sort of thing having happened. I liked that Sam takes his comfort in
doing something comforting for others. Very nicely done.

Title: When the King Comes Back · Author: shirebound · Genres:
Alternate Universe: The Shire or Buckland · ID: 361
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:04:43
Shirebound's 'Quarantined' stories have served as a source of
inspiration and plot-bunnies for me, and this one was no different.
I'm not certain if anyone else has blown up the Shire, but she does
early in the story and with results that had me logging on to internet
cafes in Ireland to see if there had been any updates. Lovely
hurt/comfort involving both Aragorn and Frodo, a very appealing young
Halbarad, loving concern from Bilbo, and a healer who seemed really
'true' to me. And puppies. A wonderful, comforting read.

Title: Woven in Friendship · Author: SlightlyTookish · Races:
Cross-Cultural: With Pippin · ID: 290
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:11:02
This is a lovely look at friendship - the use of the tapestry and the
mention of the horns - and Eowyn's thoughtfulness at the end. Really
nicely done.

Title: Green Magic · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres: Crossover ·
ID: 312
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:16:48
This was a really interesting look at a twentieth century Tom
Bombadil, with a delightfully creepy twist at the end.

Title: Harvest Bonfire · Author: Cuthalion · Genres: Romance · ID: 667
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:23:55
Cuthalion's stories involving her OFC midwife never disappoint - and
although Lily is only a peripheral part of this tale, it's absolutely
marvelous. Lily steps in to help an exhausted Rose and gives Rose and
Sam the opportunity to be lovers again rather than fatigued parents.
The bedroom scene at the end is deliciously smolderingly hot.
Wonderfully done.

Title: Marbles · Author: grey_wonderer · Genres: Humor: Children · ID: 197
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:33:22
Grey Wonderer has really mastered the art of the humorous story with
young hobbits. One can easily see this sort of scenario playing out
with the cousins, and it had me laughing out loud at several points.
Just delightful!

Title: Sea King; Seeking · Author: Tanaqui · Genres: Drama: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlet · ID: 689
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:36:40
A lovely series of drabbles focusing on a character not often explored
in fanfiction: Aldarion of Numenor, and how his actions affected those
around him.

Title: Concussion · Author: Dreamflower · Genres: Adventure · ID: 711
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:45:14
Beautifully done hurt/comfort. Dreamflower takes Bilbo's canon head
injury following the Battle of Five Armies and expands on his
recovery. The care shown to Bilbo by the Dwarves and Gandalf is
wonderful, and the medical detail is spot-on.

Title: When Day is Done · Author: Dana · Genres: Alternate Universe ·
ID: 23
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:52:11
This was a fascinating alternate universe in which Dana explores how
the journey to Mount Doom would have been different had Merry and
Pippin accompanied Frodo rather than Sam. She stays true enough to
Tolkien's style of writing that it's difficult to tell at times where
she's quoting from the books and where her own writing begins. I can't
wait to see the corresponding tale with Sam in Rohan and Minas Tirith!

Title: For Eyes to See That Can · Author: SlightlyTookish · Races:
Hobbits: Hurt/Comfort · ID: 770
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 18:55:43
Lovely hurt/comfort tale in which Pippin uses a psychic gift to find
Merry in Minas Tirith after the Siege is lifted. Beautifully done.

Title: The Archives Incident · Author: Dreamflower · Genres:
Adventure: Minas Tirith · ID: 38
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 19:10:16
Lovely tale - Frodo and Pippin are exploring the archives and are
locked in. Lovely cousin interaction and bonding while they try to
find a way out.

Title: Thinking of Marigold · Author: grey_wonderer · Genres: Humor ·
ID: 349
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 19:37:41
A hilarious tale of naked hobbits and naughty references. Just delightful!

Title: Hay and Clover · Author: Cuthalion · Genres: Romance: Pre-Ring
War · ID: 679
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 19:47:37
A gorgeously written 'prequel' to the tales with Lily Proudfoot -
Frodo is visiting his Tookish cousins and has a delightfully hot
encounter in a haybarn with one of his cousins. Cuthalion writes
gorgeous erotic scenes, and this one is no exception.

Title: Lily of the Valley · Author: Baranduin · Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA · ID: 682
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 19:53:04
Beautifully written hurt/comfort - Frodo is ill after the attempt on
Caradhras, and Aragorn must convince him to accept treatment. Gentle
humor, wistful at times, and gorgeously done.

Title: Miss Dora Baggins' Book of Manners · Author: Dreamflower ·
Races: Hobbits: Incomplete · ID: 239
Reviewer: SurgicalSteel · 2007-10-25 20:00:43
Reads *exactly* like an old etiquette book. Miss Dora has written
wonderful advice for the edification of the Shire - and some of which
we could all take to heart as well. Wonderfully done.

Title: Sons of Hador · Author: TrekQueen · Races: Men · ID: 115
Reviewer: Rhapsody · 2007-10-25 21:43:28
This little ficlet is filled with the details and observations in this
piece. It is actually a very still moment, where the two brothers from
the house of Hador find their reprieve in Gondolin. TQ does marvellous
job with painting the contrasts in this work: two cultures meet each
other, the eldar -who do not question the wisdom of the eagles-
meeting the edain for the first time, the feeling of wonder of Hurin
and Huor, used to the hard life in Beleriand who are witnessing the
luxury of the Gondolindrim elves. I love Húrin's observation of this
piece, a view he probably will never forget the rest of his life:

[As the eagles had brought them out of the fog, Húrin had spotted the
bright jewel of the city standing beautifully against the mountains
and green valley floor. ]

The quiet conversation that follows and the way the brothers worry
about the fates of their people is poignant, even when they are
pampered in the wealth of the elves they still worry about what will
become of them. This just gives this ficlet that touch of ME reality,
knowing that once they leave this will feel like a dream (although
this visit will have its consequences). The wealth of the elves is
overwhelming, a simple statement portrays the awe so well: the gentle
and soft manners compared to the harsh world the men live in outside
the realm. The wording is well chosen and this private moment between
the brothers make such a nice gapfiller, one cannot blame those two
for falling asleep finally and wanting to stay just a bit longer. What
a jewel of a piece!

Title: Bitter Springs · Author: Dwimordene · Times: Mid Third Age:
2851 - 3017 TA · ID: 634
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-10-26 01:28:56
For a brief interlude, this vignette reveals a lot of information. It
all flows very naturally and realistically, however, and provides a
glimpse into Rohan and Gondor's relations in the years just before war
begins. The politics are very well thought-out (just as you would
expect from Dwimordene) and there are excellent bits of foreshadowing
scattered from start to finish. The interactions between Boromir and
Theodred are insightful and well-written: their mutual frustration
with the situation and their mutual respect for each other coming
through clearly. This spring is bitter indeed, with worse to come; and
the effectiveness of Rohan's army - the wellspring that both men
depend on for the defense of their lands - is already poisoned by
Wormtongue's manipulations.

For all the wonderful things I've mentioned, I think what impacts me
the greatest in this work is the feeling of impending loss. Both of
these young men are capable, strong, intelligent and politically
adept; both would have made good rulers in their own right... But
neither is given the opportunity, for the very war that now inexorably
bears down on them (and they do see it coming, oh yes) will take their
lives. Tolkien at least gave us some knowledge and understanding of
Boromir, but Theodred is barely more than a courageous footnote in the
books: a contemporary of Boromir; another prince who was never allowed
to reach his full potential; and most tragically, another who never
saw the fulfillment of all his life's striving, the redemption and
rescue of his beloved lands. Theodred's death always makes me feel
wistful, as if I almost witnessed greatness and it slipped out just
before I could appreciate it.

So for this chance to see some of what he might have been, I
especially thank you, Dwim.

Title: Emmaus · Author: Dwimordene · Genres: Drama: Vignette · ID: 636
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2007-10-26 01:57:54
The imagery in ["Emmaus"] is breathtaking and surreal. I can
completely immerse myself into the scenery - sight, scent, sound,
sensation - and feel to my bones the peace and contentment that it
must have meant to Faramir, even without the links to love and joy
that his mother's family offered him. This is a place where he has
been unconditionally happy, and the memories that show us this are
touching and very well incorporated into the "dream".

In fact, Faramir's overall dreaming capacity is managed very
plausibly: his obvious comfort with them and the way he knows what to
expect; how he can leave them or refuse them, and knows the difference
between dream and vision; that they all ["end in water, well up as
waves to engulf the mind."] The last reminds me of his Numenor dreams,
and I considered how they might lead to Faramir feeling more keenly
than perhaps even his father or Boromir how he is destined to defend
Numenor's remnants from another obliteration. Dwimordene makes
stunning use of the fossil to represent this last vestige of past
greatness; how it turns to sand running through Faramir's fingers left
me feeling more of the potential horror of the situation than more
graphic methods could have done. I thought there could even be
resonances with Aragorn's, ["You are the very rock of this land"] -
how Faramir goes, so goes Gondor.

The brief intrusions of reality lead me increasingly to Faramir's
encounter with Aragorn, waiting to lead him back to life. It is
painful to watch as the memories worsen, as the hill becomes his
toiling to leave this dream world, until Faramir is given the terrible
choice - again: to refuse or obey. The compare and contrast of his
King's call to duty against that recently made by his Steward is
just... wow. Brilliant, and heart-breaking. Faramir's response, his
bravery and self-sacrifice, are as beautiful and powerful as in any
scene in the books

This is such a unique, insightful take on Faramir's spiritual battle
when under the Black Breath, and Aragorn's call to bring him home.
What would be harder to fight against, I wonder? Alluring contentment,
or torment? Knowing Sauron's often seductive methods, I can see this
version being all too realistic...

Finally, the title and its inference resonated with me on many levels,
from Aragorn's kingly revelation on the road to Tolkien's deeper
thematic religious parallels. An excellent and thoughtful work!

Title: From the Sea · Author: Ford of Bruinen · Times: First Age and
Prior: House of Fingolfin · ID: 113
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-26 04:35:12
Beautiful language in this vignette, which emphasizes the alienation
that Tuor, once he has delivered his message, feels in the perfect,
leisured, city of Gondolin. His meeting with Idril evokes a sigh of
contentment from the reader, it reads with storybookish, Tolkienish,

Title: My Sword Sings · Author: agape4gondor · Races: Men: Gondor ·
ID: 426
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2007-10-26 04:51:35
[warning - some spoilers ahead]

A long and complex AU tale proceeding from a premise that has not, to
my knowledge, been used in AU Tolkien fanfiction - Denethor dies about
30 years before the Ring War, leaving two grieving, motherless sons
and a sister determined to protect both her nephews and Gondor.

Agape deserves respect for the vision and scope of this story; which
features a dizzying number of OC's and canon characters and abounds
with thrills and chills.