Yahoo Forum Archive

This is an archive of the MEFA Yahoo Group, which was shut down by Yahoo in 2019. The archive can be sorted by month and by topic ID. You can use your browser to search by keyword within the month or topic you have open.


Msg# 9538

MEFA Reviews for Monday, November 10, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 10, 2008 - 20:08:30 Topic ID# 9538
Title: Many Branches · Author: Baranduin · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Frodo and Faramir · ID: 420
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:44:23
This story has a wonderful levity to it, a perfect fulfillment of
Faramir's promise that he and Frodo would talk more after the war. I
love the author's portrayal of peace, where Faramir's
(all-too-believable!) struggle grasping the hobbit family trees is the
biggest problem either hobbit or man has for a moment. The more somber
ending, though, brought the story back home and I remembered all too
well that, for Frodo at least (and I expect for Faramir as well),
there is a real sense of "[you can never go home again]." I do think
that Fourth Age Ithilien will be perfect for Faramir to find a real
lasting peace, and this is a lovely promise of deeper peace still to come.

In short: a very enjoyable glimpse of two of my favorite characters.
Nice work, Baranduin.

Title: Tolkien's Parish: The Canonical Middle-earth · Author: Steuard
Jensen · Genres: Non-Fiction · ID: 91
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:44:45
I was really impressed with the methodical and nuanced way that this
essay answered that age-old question in Tolkien fanfic, what exactly
counts as a (or the) canonical source. This is indeed a difficult
issue and you approached it in a way that considered both the general
creative process and the specifics of the situation at JRRT's death,
yet you did not dictate your own view to the author. The next time
someone tries to say some canonical fact doesn't apply to them, I
think I will point them to your work as it is a fine way to structure
a person's thoughts on this issue.

Title: Seeing Stars · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond · ID: 360
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:45:09
This is a delightful glance into Faramir's thoughts on this occasion;
I found them most convincing, even if (or perhaps because) he isn't
quite as control of himself. A lovely picture of peace.

Title: An Ordinary Woman · Author: Dawn Felagund · Times: First Age
and Prior: House of Finwe · ID: 32
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:45:46
This was an intriguing gapfiller, answering just how Beren found his
way past Melian's enchantments, but of course does a lot more than
that. I particularly liked the way Luthien was presented as not quite
as Sue-ish as a lot of fandom members complain, and how that
ordinariness was transformed into something meaningful for the talk.
Nice work, Dawn!

Title: Horse Sense · Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) · Genres: Humor:
Elven Lands · ID: 22
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:46:15
A nice interlude with Bill the Pony. I love the fact that Bill is
given a choice, a will as it were, and that he has likes and dislikes
just like any other characters.

I also have to say, this ficlet shows that the authors knows her
horses! I'm no expert, by a far stretch, but this piece felt "right",
like someone who knew to watch out for a horse's kick and also the
things that would soothe them. I quite liked that.

Title: Relief · Author: Tanaqui · Races: Men: General Drabbles · ID: 446
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:47:20
One of the commenters over at Tanaqui's LJ observed that Boromir is
probably the only one who's nice and cool after this scene, and I
quite agreed. This drabble is wonderfully evocative even without
reading AmandaK's longer story that it is a coda to; Tanaqui really
sets the scene in a laid back way that makes this all very fun. Highly
recommended for fans of all those hawt Gondorians.

Title: Broken Star · Author: pandemonium_213 · Races: Villains:
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 54
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:48:29
I read this double drabble in the midst of the author's longer work,
"The Apprentice," when I felt I needed a break from the longer
narrative. (My brain likes to bounce around.) Read in the context of
that piece this ficlet is all the more heart-rending, though I think
that it could certainly be read alone. We know canonically that
Celebrimbor and Sauron worked to craft the three, and I can very
easily see a sense of betrayal from Celebrimbor when he learns the
truth about the Istyar's truest identity.

I find myself wondering a "what-if": What if Celebrimbor had
surrendered the identity of the rings, or had agreed to destroy the
Three if Sauron had destroyed the One, or in some way had maintained
some sense of brotherhood and trust with Sauron? Would Numenor have
fallen? Would war have followed? Perhaps --I sense that those things
were in a way unavoidable after Sauron refused to sail West at the end
of the First Age-- but I also sense that *how* they came about could
have been radically different.

In any event, Pande, nice job capturing this moment and the unique
relationship between these two characters.

Title: Eagle of the Star · Author: alex_quine · Genres: Drama:
Featuring Aragorn · ID: 152
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:49:08
There is much to recommend this story, so that I hardly know where to
start. The strong description of the Haradric guard's relieving
himself, the almost messianic quality of Ecthelion, the political
machinations in the years before the Corsair raid... nicely done all
around, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Title: A Race, To Be Like Me · Author: Imhiriel · Races: Elves:
Drabbles · ID: 375
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:50:16
A very nice spin on the Oath! Even if one disagrees with the
interpretation (because Feanor is nothing if not controversial) and
chooses to see Feanor as twisted at his core, his thoughts here
*still* make sense. I quite liked this glimpse into his thoughts.

Title: Now the Green Blade Riseth · Author: annmarwalk · Genres:
Drama: Ring War Drabbles · ID: 37
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 01:50:56
I tend to be a bit weary of fics written in the first person because
it is so hard to do well; never more so than when that point of view
is the Gaffer, because it is a thin line to walk between making him
sound like a hick and gentrifying him. Annmarwalk walks that line with
grace here, and the use of the mallorn seed as the element around
which to center this drabble was inspired. It seems so like how I view
the Gaffer, that he would be at first dismissive but eventually won
over. I really enjoyed this drabble.

Title: Consolation · Author: Isabeau of Greenlea · Races: Men:
Steward's Family · ID: 341
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-10 02:14:49
I found this a very convincing gap-filler, which fleshes out a
possible reality of this only briefly-mentioned canon event with a
credible backdrop and descriptions. The dialogue is brisk and
realistic, and the plot arc is constructed well, weaving major and
minor plot points smoothly together.

A surprisingly comforting story considering the circumstances. The
mood of the camp and of Faramir in particular is conveyed very well,
as well as the firm bond between him and his men (and woman *g*). And
Boromir shows himself not only as a good brother, but also as a very
skilled Captain-General concerned for the morale of the people under
his command. I also liked the references to the intracicies in the
relationships between the House of Húrin and the house of Dol Amroth.

I have to say I also enjoyed this story because it showed us the
relationship between Hethlin and Faramir at such an early, still
tentative stage.

Title: Dark Dreams · Author: Avon · Races: Men: Steward's Family · ID: 282
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2008-11-10 02:14:59
The characterisations are excellent and very engaging; the emotions
conveyed are clear and moving. It was particularly easy to identify
with Imrahil as the PoV-character, to feel the two boys' emotions tug
on the heart-strings and to feel grieved and indignant like him on
their behalf at the way they shy away from people they should trust
the most.

Introspection, dialogue and descriptions are well-balanced. Faramir's
vision of the chaos of drowning Númenor is very effective - especially
because of the juxtaposition of his childish innocence and
matter-of-factness and the horrible and chilly scenes he describes. I
also like the way Avon managed to craft the tale so that it is
appropriate for Imrahil to tell the children.

Title: Scholarship · Author: Raksha the Demon · Races: Men: Steward's
Family · ID: 43
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:28:22
I love the idea of books about sexuality - not pornography, but more
semi-scholarly looks - in Gondor's archives and how this would have
played out with our favorite characters. I always enjoyed Branwyn's
Eldahil stories, and "Scholarship" is in a similar vein, but
different, because Faramir is now the parent.This was an amusing and
realistic read, not too accommodating of our modern sensibilities but
at the same time not in the least prudish. Nice work, Raksha!

Title: Star's End · Author: Keiliss · Races: Elves: House of Elrond ·
ID: 283
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:36:11
This story has a lovely melancholy feel to it, as Arwen and Maglor
meet on the road to Cerin Amroth at the end of the former's life. It
all ffelt extremely fitting not only to Arwen's place in her history,
but also to Maglor's. The ending came as a bit of a surprise but in
the end felt perfectly appropriate. A lovely piece of mood writing
that really did this moment justice.

Title: I Ain't Got Nobody · Author: Ignoble Bard · Genres: Humor:
Valar & Maiar · ID: 568
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:39:08
*snork* Oh, now THAT was funny! I can see Namo getting irritated at
this, and Glorfindel's excuses were very sharp. Not that I didn't
expect it coming from an author as sharp as Ignoble Bard, but still,
this story gave me a much-needed laugh.

Title: Hammer · Author: Aranel Took · Races: Dwarves: Drabbles · ID: 468
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:43:35
Oh, this was cute! As a lover of puns and limericks, obviously the
word play was fun, but I loved even more the way that the dwarves were
portrayed. Particularly the original character of Gloin's lady-love;
she has a quality about her that is more forward than one would expect
of a Gondorian or elf or even a hobbit, yet there is still a
playfulness to her, a coyness that acknowledges the risque-ness of
their meeting without making it an entirely shameful thing. A very
enjoyable moment, and very dwarven through and through.

Oh, and as a P.S. - gotta love her beard. *g* That was pure gold.

Title: For What I Wait · Author: Dawn Felagund · Genres: Alternate
Universe: Angst/Tragedy · ID: 125
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:48:37
Reading this story, I can feel Feanor's anguish at the full depth of
what he has done. He is great - perhaps great and terrible, but great
nonetheless - and I cannot imagine that he would not feel the full
weight of his "sins" once his madness had passed. In an odd way this
isn't unlike my conception of hell (exposure without end to the full
weight of our actions, without hope of redemption), and that makes the
angst all the more potent.

I think for an artist like Feanor, to have to watch his artist-son
lose the ability to sing would be exquisite torture; all the moreso
when you consider that it was his refusal to give up the end of his
art (his silmarils) that led to Maglor's loss of the ability to
produce his art. This is angst at its highest, and any fan of the
Feanorians won't want to miss it.

Title: Fine Art for Future Generations · Author: stefaniab · Genres:
Humor: Gondor · ID: 561
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:52:25
*giggles* Of _course_ young boys would like this painting, though I'm
not quite sure who else would. Arwen is truly wise here. And nice job,
stefaniab, on looking at this "art" within Middle-earth's context.

Title: The Ghost in the Garden · Author: Dawn Felagund · Races: Elves
· ID: 272
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 02:55:06
This is really a fabulous story, enjoyable on many levels. One thing
that really makes it shine is its characterization, especially of
Celeborn. He is passionate in his way, certainly sensual (and talk
about luscious writing....), but he is also practical and
matter-of-fact. And through him Dawn has developed a really nice look
at Sindarin society. I especially liked the way that the Sindarin
elves were described as having a court society, and that Celeborn was
kept in the proper place someone as young as he would be expected to
fill. He might be the king's kinsman, but he is not the star of
Doriath. It all felt very natural.

That feeling of things progressing naturally also extends to the
story's sensuality. Celeborn and Galadriel are engaged, not yet
married, and that's important. In this story Dawn has Thingol forbid
the two characters to marry for several years, and so Celeborn's and
Galadriel's sexuality is informed by obedience to their king. All of
which creates a lovely sense of love not defined by eroticism that is
not only very enjoyable to a reader, but also allows her to make some
very interesting statements about the characters. It's not UST
precisely, but something along those lines, and Dawn uses it very

Without spoiling the ending, there is a lovely parallel between the
two parts of the story, one focusing on physical intimacy and the
other on emotional intimacy. Both Celeborn and Galadriel are very well
presented, as young elves with their flaws and strengths and
struggles. I highly recommend it.

Title: Possessing the greatest powers · Author: Tanaqui · Times:
Multi-Age: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 387
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 03:12:58
These are all lovely, and anyone who likes elf-centric drabbles would
most certainly enjoy them; of the last three I think I enjoyed
Galadriel's the most because there is such a depth of meaning in how
Tanaqui uses the idea of Iluvatar's music being in the water; yet it
was certainly hard to choose just one, and I liked all of them in
their own separate way.

Standing in stark contrast is the first drabble, about Celebrimbor's
forging of the three rings. This one was wonderfully exhilarating with
the adrenaline of discovery, and the cost of said invention. I was
reminded of the Tolkien letter in the introduction to my Silmarillion
that talks about creation and sub-creation versus the corrupting
craftsmanship of Melkor. It seemed a fitting final beat of the curse
of the Noldor, and I think that Tolkien himself would have approved
(of the theme, not necessarily of the action).

Very nicely done, all of them.

Title: Wizards' Pupils · Author: Altariel · Races: Men: Minas Tirith ·
ID: 108
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 03:20:33
We know from the Lord of the Rings appendices that in the days of
Denethor Gandalf was less welcome in Minas Tirith than was Saruman;
and we also know that Faramir was described as the wizard's pupil -
specifically, Gandalf's pupil. All of this raises the interesting
question of what Faramir would have thought of Saruman, and how he
would have reacted to such a character, had they met in the years
before the war.

I did quibble a little over whether Denethohr would be quite as
accepting of obviously "dark arts" (to borrow a Harry Potter term)
than he is portrayed here, so long before the war. I'm still not sure;
yet that isn't the crucial point. What *is* crucial --and perfectly
clear to my mind-- is that Faramir would whole-heartedly reject such
techniques. We know from his statement to Frodo that he would not
[ensnare an orc with a lie], that he isn't an ends-justify-the-means
kind of guy. Such conviction doesn't just pop up in extreme
situations, and it was nice to see a commitment to that principle in
his young life as well. I can also see how this might seem naive to
his father, providing a very nice explanation for some of their later

This question of how far we may go to combat evil threatening our
survival is an oh-so-pertinent one for our own times as well as
seeming native to Middle-earth. (The current debate in the U.S. over
"enhanced interrogation techniques" comes to mind, though it need not
be restricted to that issue or country...) It's always nice to see a
fanfic author use Tolkien's world as a springboard into contemporary
or universal issues because it is often easier to consider such issues
in a fantasy environment; and Altariel does it with her usual aplomb.
A must-read for anyone who likes thought-provoking fanfic, especially
of the Faramir-centric variety.

Title: The Last Words · Author: Rhapsody · Genres: Drama: Featuring
the Noldor · ID: 409
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 03:27:33
There seems to be a theme in Tolkien that the created things derived
its power from the creator; the idea that the silmaril could be
something truly independent of Feanor is a novel one, at least so far
as I've read. I found this to be a most probing examination of
Nerdanel's relationship with Feanor, and will definitely have me
thinking for a bit.

Title: Five Hair Care Tips for Rohirrim · Author: EdorasLass · Genres:
Humor · ID: 71
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 03:31:42
There is something about this "five things" list that makes me laugh
like a COMPLETE lune, every time I read it. It simply shouldn't be
this hilarious, but just as simply, it *is*.

Anyone who has seen "The Two Towers" knows that Rohirric hairstyles
are, ah, somewhat lacking. Never mind that Tolkien tells us that
["their hair, flaxen-pale, flowed under their light helms, and
streamed in long braids behind them"]; if that's not a prescription
for sexy and well-groomed hair I don't know what is. Here EdorasLass
gives some much-needed grooming tip, filled with asides that feel like
inside jokes but I think will translate well to a larger audience.

Quite aside from answering the movieverse issue, we get EdorasLass's
typical crack!ish sense of humor in places you'd never expect to find
it. Honestly, sparkly-clips? With decapitated orcs, Dunlendings, and
wargs mixed in with bunny rabbits and mead steins? That should just be
off-the-wall, but like so much in this piece, it simply works. The
concept of Lothiriel and Eowyn "fixing" Eomer's hair as was suggested
in the comments will have me smiling for a while yet.

What totally amazes me about this piece, after so many reads, is your
ability to steer off-course and yet end up back on target. A good
example of this is the [" He's not gettin' all that action just on
account of his charming smile, you know."] passage. You blaze a trail
through some delightfully slashy humor (at least in my mind, because
you're not at all explicit and leave it all to your readers' dirty
little minds), but then end up exactly where you need to be going.
It's like watching the Colbert Report or something, srsly.

I think I'm going to go read it again. If anyone is in need of a good
laugh, I highly recommend it.

Title: The Dooming of Small Hands · Author: Thundera Tiger · Times:
Late Third Age · ID: 639
Reviewer: Marta · 2008-11-10 03:36:16
As with so many of Thundera Tiger's stories, I think what makes "The
Dooming of Small Hands" is the light but simultaneously deep approach
she brings to her characterizations. This story features a
conversation between Gandalf and Elrond in the hours before Frodo
wakes up in Rivendell, and she brings this unique approach to both of
these characters. Gandalf especially is refreshingly conflicted and
imperfect, in a way that is all too fitting given how some of his
choices turn out in Lord of the Rings, but isn't something I see that
often in fanfic. He really knows all the races of Middle-earth, and
one can see him as the personification of the good steward.

Elrond, too, shines here. In a way he is the wise old elf, both great
and weary, yet one can see the influences of his particular history. I
was particularly moved by his foresight that Frodo would not return.
His experience with Celebrian and to a lesser extent Elrohir and
Elladan would have shown him the true price of the walking wounded,
and it speaks highly of him that he'd want to spare someone he'd only
known briefly that same torment.

"Dooming" also makes sense of something that had always puzzled me: I
never could buy someone as wise as Elrond being swayed by a single
conversation (no matter how long) that the Ring ought to be destroyed.
This story fills that gap nicely, and also provides a very natural
moment that lets both characters shine. Nice work!

Title: Eagle of the Star · Author: Neoinean · Genres: Adventure:
Incomplete · ID: 327
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-10 03:41:10
A nicely plausible--and original--look at why Aragorn might have
chosen as he did to go south to become Thorongil. That he might have
taken comments by his foster father amiss and so was convinced to go
south, and that his first true adventure was to assist in the birth of
a child presented sideways is an unusual but likely means of
introducing him to the Rohirrim.

Very interesting look at a young and slightly naive Aragorn filled
with good characterizations.