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Msg# 9530

MEFA Reviews for Thursday, November 6, 2008 Posted by annmarwalk November 06, 2008 - 20:05:18 Topic ID# 9530
Title: The Birthday Blessing ∑ Author: Larner ∑ Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 687
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon ∑ 2008-11-06 05:31:30
Spoilers!
A lovely trio of vignettes to remind us of the connection between the
Tree of the Kings, the mallorn tree that Sam nurtured in the Shire,
and the sacred trees and land of Valinor. Tolkien's love of trees is
well served here; and the image of Frodo and the elf-children
welcoming a flowering of the Tree of Tol Eressea is delightful.

Title: I Stand No Longer Alone ∑ Author: Larner ∑ Races: Men: Minas
Tirith ∑ ID: 62
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon ∑ 2008-11-06 05:42:44
A rather original look at Aragorn's claiming the throne of Gondor. In
lesser hands, the POV might seem a bit odd, but Larner hits just the
right notes, and language, to make the narrator and narration seem
plausible in this time of hope renewed.

Title: In Passing ∑ Author: Altariel ∑ Races: Men ∑ ID: 104
Reviewer: Imhiriel ∑ 2008-11-06 08:24:55
What I loved most about this short story was how meticulously and
vividly the scene was set - in describing the surroundings as well as
the characters and their moods - with fine brushstrokes that were as
unobtrusive as they were clear.

The interactions between the characters were very natural; I
especially liked the mixture of obvious affection between the two on
one side, and the restraint of showing it on the other - it felt very
real to me and just how I would imagine from Faramir, especially in
the mood as described.

It is such a pleasure to track the many creative ways in which
Altariel weaves her trademark chess metaphors into so many of her
stories, always fresh and meaningful for each individual story and
perfectly fitted to the symbolism as well as the actual point of the
plot she wants to convey. Here, it was lovely to see an additional
layer as Faramir himself uses the chess pieces as symbols to tell a story.

Title: Reparation ∑ Author: Isabeau of Greenlea ∑ Races: Men ∑ ID: 296
Reviewer: Imhiriel ∑ 2008-11-06 08:26:38
Wonderful characterisations: the characters are fully-realised, their
interaction realistic and convincing, and the dialogue vivid and
fitted individually to each character.

I like how this story draws from a variety of other stories in
Isabeau's canon and gives cohesion and new insight to the
over-reaching arc, as well as stands on its own, building its own plot
arc and resolution and character/plot development.

I have to say I found this story very important because it allowed for
Andrahar's actions in DAY to be seen in a wider context, with
self-awareness and the strength to acknowledge his mistakes to himself
and others, and make ["reparation"] - not only to Hethlin tp whom he
had done an injustice, but also to those to whom he is to be a role
model and a teacher, especially Brandmir.

The mixture of light-hearted moments and serious reflection and
conversation was exactly right. I liked the philosophical discussion
about Andrahar's actions and its implications and how it should be
remedied, and how both Andrahar and Brandmir learned from talking it
through; in particular in how open Andrahar was - and showed himself
to be to a shy Brandmir - to justified criticism.

Title: Autumn ∑ Author: Linda Hoyland ∑ Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles ∑
ID: 489
Reviewer: Imhiriel ∑ 2008-11-06 08:33:42
A heart-warming story, radiating comfort and content. I especially
liked the contrast between describing beauty of the wild, and the
beauty of being inside in peace and calm - it made it clear that
Aragorn despite having a family and home to call his own now is still
able to appreciate both these things for what they mean to him.

Title: And Then There Was Cake, or Begetting Day Horrors ∑ Author:
Klose ∑ Races: Elves: Family ∑ ID: 540
Reviewer: Robinka ∑ 2008-11-06 09:25:09
A truly hilarious vignette featuring Maitimo, who is about to
celebrate his begetting day, and yet, as it may happen in such a
faimly -- the celebration somehow falls out of control. Ah, gotta love
those relatives ;-) and their crazy ideas! Wonderful, absolutely
amusing read!

Title: Recognition ∑ Author: Dwimordene ∑ Times: Late Third Age:
Gondor Drabbles ∑ ID: 481
Reviewer: Robinka ∑ 2008-11-06 09:41:25
This is a very interesting glimpse at Eowyn, during the time of her
recovery in the Houses of Healing, from Ioreth's viewpoint. It offers
a deep insight into the mind of a very observant, wise woman who sees
way more than other people. Great job!

Title: The Myth of the One Ring's Power ∑ Author: Dreamflower ∑
Genres: Non-Fiction ∑ ID: 532
Reviewer: Moreth ∑ 2008-11-06 14:52:31
This is an excellently researched and well written critique of The
Ring as 'an irresistible shiny'.

Aside from the carefully presented argument (well backed up by
references!), I especially like the way in which Dreamflower links The
Ring's abilities to those of its maker, particularly with the
observation that both The Ring and it's master have a 'blind-spot'
that limits their prediction of other's behaviour.

Dreamflower leaves the reader with a Ring which, while it may not
possess absolute and irresistable power, is nevertheless (like it's
maker) obsessed by absolute power. It may be less potent then its
myth, but it is seen to be darker and more malicious for that...

An excellent analysis! I thoroughly enjoyed it.




Title: Wind and Fire ∑ Author: elfscribe ∑ Times: First Age and Prior
∑ ID: 539
Reviewer: Moreth ∑ 2008-11-06 17:55:49
Spoilers!
I must applaud Elfscribe's rendition of FŽanor and the reason behind
the creation of Silmarils.

Not often does someone write a FŽanor who is not either simply an
arrogant idiot, or glowing hero. Elfscribe's FŽanor is hurt and
desperate (Oh yeah, and arrogant ;P). In this story his desperation to
recover the jewels has a very sound basis.

The sex scene (let's be blunt, the story contains a sex scene!) is
interestingly written. The uncertainty of a Vala in an incarnate form
is explored, but what I am most impressed by is the way that ManwŽ's
emotional response is rendered through music. Now that is very
appropriate.

I personally have no issues with 'ArchaicSpeek' provided it is
grammatically correct - and here Elfscribe delivers! Very well done
indeed.

Although I'm not certain about the canonical value of Melkor helping
to define the Silmarils, who's going to let that stand in the way of a
good story?

Title: Between Childhood and Coming of Age ∑ Author: Dreamflower ∑
Races: Hobbits: Friendship ∑ ID: 141
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke ∑ 2008-11-06 18:17:47
As always, Dreamflower's hobbit characterizations are spot on, while
her details of Hobbit life expand Tolkien's vision without disrupting it.

Title: Rude Awakening ∑ Author: Lindelea ∑ Races: Hobbits:
Hurt/Comfort ∑ ID: 692
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke ∑ 2008-11-06 18:21:23
Spoilers!
It is sobering indeed to contemplate the difficulties this happy pair
might have had returning to ordinary life.

Well done.

Title: Some Seasons ∑ Author: sophinisba solis ∑ Races: Hobbits:
Post-Ring War ∑ ID: 199
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke ∑ 2008-11-06 18:24:55
A lovely, simple story with heartfelt and profound underpinnings. Well
done.

Title: The Ribbon ∑ Author: Gentle Hobbit ∑ Races: Hobbits:
Hurt/Comfort ∑ ID: 336
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke ∑ 2008-11-06 19:05:12
Spoilers!
This is a nice vision of a healed Frodo. There are so many things
Tolkien dealt with and so many he didn't ...

Title: The Ring That Sauron Forged ∑ Author: Larner ∑ Genres: Poetry:
Hobbits ∑ ID: 645
Reviewer: Virtuella ∑ 2008-11-06 19:09:28
Hehehe, that was rather amusing!

Title: Farewell ∑ Author: agape4gondor ∑ Genres: Drama: Final Partings
∑ ID: 127
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke ∑ 2008-11-06 19:09:48
Spoilers!
It's nice to see this moment examined. I have always thought that
Boromir must felt the quest for Rivendell vital considering all the
concerns he left behind.

Title: Bibliophile ∑ Author: Imhiriel ∑ Genres: Romance: Drabbles ∑
ID: 370
Reviewer: Virtuella ∑ 2008-11-06 19:14:04
Ah, yes. That must be worse than being called Viola and having people
giving you violets... Very sweet.

Title: Elanor of Westmarch: The Return ∑ Author: Baranduin ∑ Races:
Hobbits: Family ∑ ID: 78
Reviewer: Virtuella ∑ 2008-11-06 19:33:26
Spoilers!
I very much enjoyed this story. It is beautifully written with every
word just so. The sentiments are gentle and believable and the hint of
humour makes the story all the more touching. There were some very
sweet moments, like the idea that the tower had it's own life and
wanted Elanor to look west.

The appearance of Sam and Frodo is so skillfully handled that it seems
completely natural and that the reader isn't bothered with undue
questions. They come, because that's just the right thing to happen here.

I was reminded of my husband's grandad Charlie, who even in his
eighties would escape his wife and go off into the hills for a little
walk. I guess to keep a bit of independence is very precious to older
people. Thank you for this delightful portrayal of old age and
memories and above all of family love.

Title: Thicker Than Water ∑ Author: Noliel ∑ Genres: Drama: Featuring
the Noldor ∑ ID: 541
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 22:40:03
Spoilers!
This is an emotionally intense story that concentrates on a span of
time no greater than a few minutes, but Noliel's use of flashback from
moments across the course of Celebrimbor's life--particularly moments
spent with his father, Curufin--add weight to what is already a sad
moment. Far from pointlessly angsty, "Thicker Than Water" is
heartrending and a well-crafted story showing the human emotions that
even Tolkien's most maligned characters continue to feel for each
other. Curufin is often neglected in Silmfic, but Noliel brings him to
life here in relatively few words, showing his human side without
flinching from the darker aspects of his character that earned him his
reputation. Of course, in the eyes of his son--no matter the evil he
has done--he is never nonredeemable.

Title: Philosophia to Philomythus and Misomythus ∑ Author:
pandemonium_213 ∑ Genres: Poetry ∑ ID: 50
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 22:47:03
Spoilers!
Only Pandemonium could conduct a scientific argument with Tolkien in
verse, and this poem is a commendable work showing how the maligned
scientists of Tolkien's stories--Feanor, Celebrimbor, Aule, and (of
course!) Sauron--likely saw magic in the world around them. At the
same time, I think that those of Pandemonium's readers who disagree
with Gandalf's assessment of breaking white to make a rainbow will
find themselves nodding along heartily about how she sees
Middle-earth--at least, this reader did! And extra props for using an
extra-canonical work often neglected by Tolkien fans and authors alike
that nonetheless reveals much about how he viewed his art.

Title: Kementari ∑ Author: Marta ∑ Times: First Age and Prior ∑ ID: 99
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 22:53:29
Spoilers!
"Kementari" is a thought-provoking look at how Yavanna saw the
Darkening of Valinor. A point Marta makes that I had never considered,
regarding the lives of Yavanna's trees and their preservation by the Ents:

[Yet somehow, deep in her bones, Yavanna knows that the tree-herders
cannot protect their charges.

How could they? For the tree-herders are but created things, for all
their strength, and Laurelin and Telperion fell while all the Valar
stood not so far away.]

And her assessment of Yavanna's envy of the other Valar for their
followers while she remains bereft is at once surprising but also the
sort of honest approach to the Valar that sometimes lacks in stories
about them.

Title: AlqualondŽ ∑ Author: Moreth ∑ Genres: Drama: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 220
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 23:00:48
Spoilers!
"Alqualonde" is, without a doubt, one of my favorite ficlets of the
past year. The kinslaying at Alqualonde is one of those topics that
nearly every Silmarillion writer writes about, and the drabble is a
popular form, but neither is easy to master, and Moreth does a truly
commendable job with both in this piece. Showing the kinslaying,
briefly, from the PoV of both a Teler and a Noldo, she uses brilliant
word choice in place of lengthy passages that could easily be applied
to this topic. The choppy sentence fragments of the first drabble
convey the speaker's confusion and the chaos in which he suddenly
finds himself. And, though I have read this piece numerous times and
know that it is coming, the last line still feels like a punch to the
gut every time.

The second drabble makes good use of repetition to represent the
methodical nature of the kinslaying from the Noldorin PoV, but, again,
in the final sentence, Moreth hits hard as her speaker contemplates
his deeds in totality.

Title: Name Calling: Group Identity and the Other among First Age
Elves ∑ Author: Angelica ∑ Genres: Non-Fiction ∑ ID: 322
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 23:17:59
Spoilers!
"Quendi and Eldar," the source that this essay discusses, is one of
the more challenging of Tolkien's works. As Angelica herself states in
the essay, [The essay "Quendi and Eldar" seems to be on a first
reading mainly concerned with linguistic matters: a discussion of
different roots in Elvish languages and how these roots evolved into
different denominations for Elves and other beings]. However, hidden
within this very long linguistic discourse are numerous insights about
the cultures and histories of the different Elven clans. Angelica has
gone through the effort of finding and summarizing this information
for people interested in learning and writing about Tolkien's works
with a greater understanding of how Elves interacted with each other
and other races, beyond what we know from "fanon."

That, for me, is my favorite part about this essay. Numerous authors
have created believable Elven cultures without delving too much into
the canon that Angelica discusses, yet most writers' work is
remarkably agreeable to what Tolkien himself wrote. Angelica ties
Elven culture into Tzvetan Todorov's work on the concept of "Self" and
"Other" in the Spanish conquest, demonstrating what Tolkien himself
often affirmed: that fantasy often acts best as a mirror for observing
the realities of the world in which we live.

For anyone with an interest in Elven culture but intimidated by
in-depth linguistic discussion, I recommend Angelica's essay as a
primer on Tolkien's ideas about how his Elves and other races interacted.

Title: Midwinter Thoughts ∑ Author: Rhapsody ∑ Races: Elves: Noldor
Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 570
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 23:30:56
Spoilers!
The gentle, almost whimsical tone of this piece fits well with
Maedhros's musings on love. The use of the traditional
flower--substituted for mistletoe at the story's end (fitting for its
association with the winter season and also a slightly darker
symbol--mistletoe is poisonous!--appropriate for Maedhros)--adds a
nice touch to the story and highlights the different seasons that
Rhapsody threads through the story. Finally, despite its musing tone
and seemingly light subject matter, Rhapsody nonetheless manages to
touch briefly on the weightier topics that would have been on
Maedhros's mind, no matter his amorous thoughts: his mutilation
([Maitimo is something I am no more]), the constant battle the Noldor
are waging, and his ever-present and colorful cast of brothers that at
once enrich and complicate his life.

Title: Five Fires ∑ Author: Elleth ∑ Races: Elves: House of Finwe ∑
ID: 736
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 23:39:29
Elleth's writing is always poetic with a slightly mysterious edge to
it and "Five Fires" is no exception. Following the lives of Amrod and
Amras from childhood till death, she touches on seemingly random
moments using the motifs of fire and water to tie them together and
show an emerging psychology for Ambarussa that eclipses what many
other writers cannot manage with many more words. Her imagery is
perceptive and keen, the sort of writing I want to savor for much
longer than the story I'm given. As always, I recommend Elleth's
writing highly for its haunting feel and her skill as an author, which
few in the Tolkien fandom can match.

Title: Another Prometheus ∑ Author: Gandalfs apprentice ∑ Races:
Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 85
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund ∑ 2008-11-06 23:42:25
Spoilers!
"Another Prometheus" sums up what I and many other writers see in the
character of Feanor, which often gets lost in the darker deeds of his
later days. The drabble's assertion that he deserves praise as one who
sought to better the society in which he lived is one with which I
agree ... though I'm not sure that