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Msg# 8412

MEFA Reviews for November 13, 2007 (Part 2) Posted by Ann November 13, 2007 - 4:41:59 Topic ID# 8412
Title: Looking Awfully Hard Author: Gryffinjack Races: Hobbits:
Merry and Pippin ID: 779
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2007-10-29 03:53:48
[some spoilers ahead]

We don't hear often, in LOTR fanfic, about the hobbits' discussing
what had to be a living nightmare for Pippin; his witnessing a father
going mad enough to try to burn his still living son alive and them
himself. I like the way this story unravels that tale, as Merry learns
from Pippin what his cousin saw and did during the Siege of Gondor. Of
course, considering there are hobbits involved, there is consumption
of a tasty dish.

I like Pippin's trying to find the good in his former, if brief,
liege-lord; that seems very typical of the character.

Title: Frodo's Thoughts - Sam Author: trikywun Genres: Drama:
General Drabble ID: 786
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2007-10-29 17:56:47
This drabble is a moving meditation on the friendship between Frodo
and Sam, and Frodo's understanding of the contribution Sam made to the
Quest. I love the language Triky has used here, and the rhetorical
devices and rhythms that give additional force to the words. Very
nicely done.

Title: Death of Hope Author: Linda hoyland Genres: Romance:
Drabble ID: 618
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2007-10-29 19:35:08
A nicely written drabble from Lindahoyland on Aragorn's death from
Arwen's perspective. I particularly liked the phrase [He departed with
such courage, full of hope, my Estel to his last breath.] in which the
writer encapsulates Aragorn's character so well.

Title: Blackest Fate Author: Branwyn Times: Mid Third Age: 2851 -
3017 TA: Drabble ID: 476
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2007-10-29 19:42:28
Oh, what a wonderfully effective drabble Branwyn has created, with a
surprising twist at the end this is very nice misdirection! I love
the descriptions the author gives here of what the prisoners remember
of their lives in Rohan which are such a sharp contrast to the vivid
portrayal she provides of their current torments in captivity in
Mordor. The pacing and language all contribute to helping shape the
mood of the drabble, which is quietly sorrowful. This is a beautifully
written and moving piece, and a very fine example of the drabblist's
art. Very well done!

Title: Vocabulary Lessons Author: Larner Times: Late Third Age:
3018-3022 TA: Gondor ID: 521
Reviewer: annmarwalk 2007-10-29 21:11:33
I adore stories about the upstairs/downstairs aspects of life in the
White City, and this is an element that Larner always handles very
expertly in her stories. The sense of Doing Things Correctly is
vividly conveyed from the very opening of this tale, when the haughty
young lordling is passed around from the doorwarden of the Citadel,
all the way up to his interview the Ringbearer himself, as the highest
ranking noble in City in the absence of the King and Steward.

A detail I particularly loved was the description of the rationing of
meat, grain, and spirits, with the upper levels of the City last in
the hierarchy this just seems so wonderfully in character for
Aragorn, and a powerful message for him to convey, quickly and firmly,
to all the residents.

It would have been interesting to have a bit more of Ivormil's
perspective, as he begins to realize that being his father's spoiled
darling has not adequately prepared him for Gondor's new world order.
The ragged Strider warns him, [I suggest that you consider the nature
of nobility, honor, service, and humility before you present yourself
tomorrow before the King."] but apparently this message is received
just a bit too late, and the truth dawns upon the poor boy during his
long-awaited presentation to the King Elessar.

Title: Swan Song Author: Imhiriel Genres: Drama: Gondor Drabble
ID: 637
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-10-29 23:08:55
I believe this is one of my favorite drabbles, insofar as mood and
language go. The scene is lovingly, beautifully created: the scent and
sound of the ocean, the effects of the moon and tide, are very
tangible and lyrically presented; they completely capture the
["elusive essence"] of the sea, and make it a living, breathing
entity. This drabble feels exactly like a gorgeous painting that you
could walk into and experience directly, if you could just find that
"magic door"...

Using the forlorn Prince to anchor this in time and place works
extremely well, as we gain the benefit of a personal and powerful
connection; the timeless quality of the setting is given an extra
resonance and depth by the intensity of his attachment to his home.

Blending the separate bits of canon is a perceptive and believable
step, as is the introduction of the Prince's foresight (or perhaps
it's just that weird prescient feeling that many people get). His
sadness is balanced by his acceptance, and his strength in marching
forth to his destiny is echoed in the endless waves that he loves. The
combination makes him as living and breathing an entity as the ocean,
in a deft act of character-building that is all the more amazing for
its brevity.

Finally, once again, Imhiriel's care with choosing a title is wholly
apparent: It not only resonates with the swan connection to Dol Amroth
(highlighted by the calling swan in the body of the work), but
describes the situation within the drabble to a "T", as well as
conveying the complex tone of melancholy acceptance and the end of a
life well-lived. Superbly done!

Title: A Truth Universally Acknowledged Author: annmarwalk Genres:
Humor: Gondor or Rohan ID: 556
Reviewer: Linda hoyland 2007-10-30 04:02:27
[spoiler alert]

A charming and delightful ficlet in the style of Jane Austen,which
actually works very well.

Lothiriel is curious why Boromir has not yet chosen a young lady and
is horrified that he seems only interested in a wife as a brood mare.

I wonder what Denethor would have made of faramir's choice,not being a
Numenorean? I would have liked to hear more from Faramir in this
ficlet but I loved the foreshadowing of Lothiriel's eventual
bridegroom despite her youth at the time.

Title: Rain on the Downs Author: Breon Briarwood Races: Hobbits
ID: 794
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2007-10-30 06:39:44
This is a clever response to a challenge. I like the way the line
between adventure, legend, and childhood imagination, is blurred. I
would have liked the ficlet to be a little longer, but it does work
well at the current length.

Title: The man in the woods Author: Dot Races: Men: Eriador or
Rivendell ID: 13
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2007-10-30 06:49:14
[warning - some spoilers ahead]

A gem of a story; this tale brings the everyday life of the Dunedain,
and the pressures, stresses and hope they live with and for, to vivid
life through the eyes of a little girl, Halbarad's daughter. The
innocence of the games she and her brother play in the woods, (and the
game of "king-returned" is an absolutely delightful, and very credible
concept for the children of Aragorn's people) gives way to a grim
discovery; reality intruding on the children's youthful fantasies.
Falathren's response shows the courage and strength of the Dunedain
women, who have different responsibilities, but no less resilience,
then their Ranger husbands.

Title: Justice Author: Imhiriel Genres: Drama: Gondor Drabble
ID: 633
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-10-30 07:17:35
Imhiriel makes yet another brief-but-telling probe into a
little-explored area of Tolkien's universe. The books mention only
that the slaves of Mordor were freed and given the lands they had once
tilled under duress, to use for themselves however they wish. It is a
situation that could be rife with political and trade implications, so
it's surprising that you don't see it examined more often in fanfic.

["Justice"] gives us a keen look into the beginning of a new era for
an oppressed people. The former slave's attitude and past are given
gently but pointedly: he is worn down, sensitive to potential harm
(twitching at the sound of metal on metal) - and as their
representative, he must be among the healthiest, strongest, and least
beaten-down of those from Mordor! Their truly desperate straits are
brought home to me in this one sentence.

And Aragorn is the King we all love, for he shows this man not pity or
gentle scorn, but only the dignity and respect of one leader to
another. His kindness and compassion are in both his actions and his
words: He will not take control of these rich lands, freed by the
blood of Gondor and Arnor; he will not force help where it is not
wanted. He extends his hand in friendship and support, and from this
the reader can see the beginnings of what will hopefully become a
mutually beneficial relationship.

I'm left with many more questions about how things develop from
here... Do the former slaves pull themselves out of poverty and into
free trade? We know there are wars yet to be fought; do they support
Aragorn or his enemies? The more I reflect on it, the more powerful
Aragorn's hope and trust become.

Title: The White Tower Author: Anna Wing Races: Elves ID: 528
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2007-10-30 07:50:32
There are so many things to praise in ["The White Tower"] that I'm not
quite sure where to start...

What strikes me first and perhaps hardest is the brilliant and unusual
world-building. It is complex, subtle, and as carefully crafted as any
art of the Eldar. Anna Wing has constructed a fantastic and
fantastical setting for her characters. Her Blessed Realm is not a
static place, not some sterile Elven "heaven" (as Tolkien sometimes
seems to have left it), but a changing, developing, technologically
advanced country. The author's vision unfolds as the story goes along,
using precise details and language to reflect a society that is
intrinsically Elvish, one at harmony with the world even as they alter
it; and each part is firmly grounded in canon or plausibly
extrapolated from it. It is wonderfully creative, and has become the
definitive image of post-book Aman for me.

Set against this backdrop are stunning characters, both canonical and
OC. They too are carefully constructed and fleshed out, given specific
characteristics and roles to play. Their various interactions and
relationships with Elwing (even when involving off-screen individuals
like Elrond) are well thought-out and believable. And such diversity!
Young Elves born in Aman, others who died for Elwing and remained
loyal on rebirth, refugees from Beleriand, ancients who have seen the
Trees, Sindar, Teleri, Noldor, Vanyar... Even briefly mentioned Elves
(Finrod, Thingol, Eol) seem extensions of their canonical selves, true
to Tolkien's writings.

But the masterpiece is, of course, strong and capable Elwing, Lady and
leader of the people of Hanstovanen - closely followed by her mate
Earendil and the Kinslayer twins. Marvellously textured and unique,
they provide the foundation upon which rests the crux of the story. We
find that Elwing does not necessarily know Earendil so well as she
believes (when she asserts that he will not give up the Silmaril, for
example, or only now questions the effect her long-ago choice has had
on him); and more critically, she does not completely know herself, as
she discovers the depth of the Silmaril's hold on her.

The resolution of the quandary - Is the lone remaining Silmaril to be
offered to the Kinslayers, or not? - is moving, graceful and utterly
fitting. Underlying it is the theme that I found most insightful of
all: a startling and blunt look at the true nature of the Silmaril...
Cold, for all its radiant beauty; a weight that drags upon the soul of
the one holding it. Earendil's burden is painfully and artfully
explored, as is Elwing's new understanding of it. I am left wondering,
indeed, at the nature of what is captured within. Is the jewel's
["merciless light"] a result of its containment, of it being
"possessable"? Or was the Light of the Trees always so?

An all-around incredible story, which has taken its well-earned place
in my personal top-tier favorites.

Title: Tales of the Innkeeper Author: Allee Genres: Drama:
Incomplete ID: 237
Reviewer: Nieriel Raina 2007-10-30 14:49:49
It is not often that an author can write first person so convincingly,
portraying the very personality of the character, his morals and
wisdom, that the reader comes to feel they really know the character.
Allee has done just that in these tales of the Innkeeper. The
character voice is so richly done. At the same time, through his eyes,
we see a well established character, King Elessar, and through the
eyes of the innkeeper, we learn much about him. The innkeeper is
thoughtful, reflective, kind, even marveling at the new king and his
way of handling things. But not only do we see these two characters,
but a few others original characters, one of them a young soldier in
need of some fathering. Through the innkeeper's eyes, we can see
Elessar's wisdom and nobility shine through.

My favorite part of these tales is the feeling that I am in the inn,
hearing these stories from the innkeeper himself. A wonderful series
of Tales. Well done, Allee!

Title: Green No Longer Author: Allee Genres: Drama: Vignette ID: 666
Reviewer: Nieriel Raina 2007-10-30 14:53:58
Allee has a gift for capturing vivid settings and depth of character.
This short fic is no exception. In it we see the ravages of war and
the loss of innocence. Aragorn's perceptions are in keeping with the
character Tolkien created. A serious look at the aftermath of Helm's
Deep. Nicely done!

Title: O, Cruel Fate Author: Greywing Genres: Alternate Universe:
Incomplete ID: 58
Reviewer: Nieriel Raina 2007-10-30 15:06:48
An accident of the Valar causes a modern day girl to be thrown into
Glorfindel's newly reborn body. Not only must she adjust to being in
Middle-earth, but deal with being in a male body, and a well known
male at that. Her inability to speak the language sets her against the
healer, Neldor, from which hilarity proceeds. Meanwhile, Namo
experiments on the spirits in his halls to figure out how to solve the
problem using Feanor. Dark humor abounds.

This is a story full of unparalled accidents and cliches taken to a
whole new level. Greywing's humor is wickedly hysterical. She has
taken her knowledge of Tolkien's world and created a dark comedy that
will become a masterpiece when completed. Full of canon and original
characters, each personality is well portrayed. The story never drags
and the reader is treated to laugh after laugh in a well written, even
believable story line. I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with
next. Great story!

Title: A New Day Author: Oshun Races: Elves: Incomplete ID: 176
Reviewer: Ignoble Bard 2007-10-30 23:18:40
Picking up after Maitimo's near death experience on Thangorodrim, this
sequel to the story "Maitimo and Findekano" continues the saga of the
two Noldor Elves as they settle a new world quite different from the
one they left behind.

After his rescue, still tormented in body and spirit, Maitimo finds
himself in the arms of the lover he thought never to see again. Though
strained by the vagaries of fate, Feanor's oath, and an enmity foisted
upon them through lies and doubt, their bond remains intact. Both
Maitimo and Findekano have done a lot of growing up since the previous
story, and both have learned that, despite their hardships, nothing
can sever their bond. Using canon events as a jumping off point, yet
imbuing them with a fresh perspective, Oshun gives us a story that is
part romance, part epic. She takes us through Maitimo's recovery, his
reconnection with Findekano, and the striving of both to insure the
survival of their people in the face of an uncertain future.

This is a work in progress, and though the shadow of events to come
looms large in the background, the focus at this point is on
perseverance and healing. The reader cannot help but be caught up in
the lives of these two elves, whose story promises to be to be as
sweet and sorrowful, as beautiful and grievous, and as rich in
character and emotion as the best of Tolkien's work.

Title: Divided Author: Pen52 Genres: Drama: The Fellowship ID: 223
Reviewer: Marta 2007-10-31 00:23:23
Oh, this is haunting. Nice way of looking at the way Gondorians viewed
the "other", and seeing it through Pippin's eyes was a nice way to
make it approachable and more poignant. Nice work.

Title: To Light the Way Author: Dot Races: Elves: With Mirkwood
Elves ID: 12
Reviewer: Bodkin 2007-10-31 08:27:00
I think Elladan must have his own share of crazy Wood-elf heritage to
risk telling Thranduil - Thranduil!! - that his people have any
resemblance to men whatsoever. And then to carry it off! Maybe he does
have some of Elrond's blood running through his veins after all.
Although I can quite see why his family freeze whenever he says he has
been thinking - clearly thought from Elladan is likely to risk the
necks of all around him.

I love young(ish) Legolas and his interaction with the two rather
older and more widely-experienced Elrondionnath. And the way the
brothers play off each other. And the symbolism of light in darkness.
And spitting in the face of the enemy. (Thranduil is just such a hero.
Only he could possibly have held Mirkwood together just by sheer
strength of character.) And the final passing reference to 'hope',
which is obviously meaningful to the sons of Elrond. And the
acknowledgement that Mithrandir is playing them all like violins and
they find themselves doing his bidding without wondering why - and
then find he manipulated them for an entirely different reason. And
... well, just about everything really. I just wish you indulged us
with more stories, because I love your style and characterisation and
would like to read more.

Title: Stone of the King Author: Rowan Races: Hobbits: Drabble
ID: 309
Reviewer: Larner 2007-10-31 23:53:48
As he passes the statue of Isildur at the Argonath Frodo has things
he's love to say to that long-ago king. But he finds that for the
moment he envies one quality Isildur now enjoys that he does not.

From Ringbearer to Ringbearer, a very thoughtful moment, mixing movie
and book images. Very thought-provoking.

Title: The Handmaiden's Rainbow Author: Isil Elensar Races: Elves:
Fixed-Length Ficlet ID: 238
Reviewer: Larner 2007-10-31 23:57:53
An interesting series of drabbles dealing with the ellyth who dyes the
fabrics for the Lady's gowns. Love to see someone love her work.

Title: Erestor and Estel: Hidden Author: Pentangle Genres: Drama:
Youth ID: 167
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-01 00:02:52
They can't imagine why young Estel wishes to spend time with unsmiling
Erestor, but Estel has discovered how to tell Erestor likes him. An
excellent vignette, and love the pathetic form of entreaty Erestor
perceives in the boy. Heh!

Title: Behind Every Great Man... Author: annmarwalk Times: Mid
Third Age: 2851 - 3017 TA: Drabble ID: 52
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-01 00:07:11
How can one NOT like Mormegil, the perfect Gentleman's gentleman? And
we see just how well he manages the Lord Steward Denethor. A perfect
look at this wonderfully British arrangement settled in the Citadel of
Minas Tirith. Exquisite!

Title: Burden of Guilt Author: Linda hoyland Races: Men ID: 123
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-01 00:10:07
When Faramir accidently wounds his wife's brother Aragorn directs he
be set in gentlemanly confinement until the matter is settled. A
misunderstanding, however, sends him to the public gaol with tragic
results. Can Aragorn manage to make things right between Faramir and
himself, and between Faramir and Eomer?

A most tricky situation for Linda to settle for us.

Title: Last Light Author: Ignoble Bard Genres: Drama ID: 194
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-01 00:16:14
Ah, how absolutely marvelous a tale, told as it is by an inhabitant of
Fangorn Forest. The imagery is perfect, the mood well experessed, the
feeling of despair palpable as the crebain follow Saruman's orcs.

Oh, how perfectly told! I salute you.

Title: A Twist of Fate Author: LydiaB Times: First Age and Prior
ID: 478
Reviewer: Larner 2007-11-01 00:21:20
An evocative moment we're told between Glorfindel and an unknown lady

Title: Descent Author: Dwimordene Times: Early Third Age: 1-2850
TA ID: 632
Reviewer: Isabeau of Greenlea 2007-11-01 00:22:48
Strange though it may seem, I am as wary of stories containing nothing
but original characters as the next person. But I will always read
Dwimordene's. Her sons of the North and South have their own
culturally unique brands of fatalism as they contemplate their
families' current difficulties and the prospect of war on the horizon.

In a way, children are the wisest of us all, in that they can reach
across the gulfs of race and culture to extend hands in friendship,
and this story beautifully illustrates that. Though circumstance would
seem to spare them from the possibility of fighting against each other
on opposite sides, one gets the idea that a permanent parting will
happen all too soon. This is an era that not many people write fic for
but it is beautifully dilineated by Dwimordene.