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Msg# 9548

MEFA Reviews for Saturday, November 15, 2008 (Part Two) Posted by annmarwalk November 15, 2008 - 21:22:03 Topic ID# 9548
Title: Galdor: An Elf By Any Other Name.... Author: Marta Genres:
Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 475
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-15 19:30:37
Once one gets beyond the most obvious "facts" JRRT presents in his
writings, defining canon becomes largely speculative, based on notes
and information scattered between many (and sometimes obscure) sources
that must then be connected in such a way to create a character. I can
attest that this is a daunting task.

Marta's essay on Galdor is a fascinating case study about how an
author can take scattered and seemingly random facts and present a
coherent and canonically justifiable presentation of a character on
whom JRRT did not expound much. More interesting to me even than the
conclusions about Galdor himself is the insight Marta gives into her
thought processes and methodology in generating these conclusions. As
a Silmarillion author writing about characters who are mostly "minor"
compared to the dominating heroes of LotR, it is intriguing to see how
other authors approach problems such as scarce and ambiguous information.

Title: Starcrossed Author: weepingnaiad Genres: Drama: Featuring
the Noldor ID: 493
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-15 20:09:41
Spoilers!
This is one of those stories that I started reading and found myself
unable to stop till the end. Weeping Naiad has a very fluid and easy
style that makes this story quite the joy to read. The story follows
the life of Gil-galad from being sent to Cirdan in the Havens until
his death at the Last Alliance but, most importantly, traces his
blossoming from an awkward child into a capable king who gave his life
for his people, touching on his relationships (romantic and otherwise)
with Elves like Cirdan, Elrond, Fingon, and Galdor and how each shaped
the last king of the Noldor. The story is fast-paced and the
characters presented with insight and tenderness. Very nicely done!

Title: Reflections in the Smoke Author: Raksha the Demon Times:
Late Third Age: General Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 294
Reviewer: Virtuella 2008-11-15 20:31:23
I never seem to find many stories focussing on Gandalf, who was ever
my favourite character in the tale. You caputure with a gentle and
sensitive touch this moment of change for the wizard. In the trilogy
he appears so strongly bound to Middle-earth that it's easy to forget
he is a Maia, and you've brought that aspect out beautifully, without
distorting him.

Title: Yule at Great Smials Author: Dreamflower Races: Hobbits:
Family ID: 566
Reviewer: Virtuella 2008-11-15 21:05:55
I can only take Pippin-fluff in very small doses, but hey, this one
went down like a spoonful of sugar! Very funny how Pippin always gets
into trouble even at that age.

One has to feel sorry for the couple that are getting married - all
the unpleasant people are off to attend their wedding!

I was very amused at Merry's inspired definition of fireworks! And he
gives Estella his carrots! I bet that's how it all started... ;-)

And the last sentences was causing me a giggle-fit!

I don't quite understand how the weather could be "cold, but mild",
and I have an inkling that you meant to say "Cold, but dry".

Title: Waterloo Author: Lady Bluejay Genres: Romance: Gondor ID: 158
Reviewer: Virtuella 2008-11-15 22:14:53
Spoilers!
Oh, wow. I'm glad I've found this.
Tolkien makes so easy of so many things, probably just because they do
not belong in an epic tale, but the rational reader does wonder.
Indeed, how many healers did they have, and how many wounded? Where
did the victorious Rohirrim sleep and where did they keep their
horses? You take care of all these things and at the same time give a
breathtakingly intense image of the city under siege. And yet, after
all that terror, you finish up with naked Eomer in the princess' bed,
and it neither jars nor irritates - admirable! And then in the second
chapter, what a masterful portrayal of flirtation and awakening love,
finishing with a delightful and mischievous scene of married
affection. Your rendition of Lothiriel is very convincing and you show
us a very vibrant Eomer. I enjoyed this story very, very much indeed!

BTW, I will just imagine that the blonde soldier whose hand Lothiriel
holds is my Deoric. ;-) And I can't really think of anything else to
say, so I just type this pointless sentence so that you can get some
more points from this review. Which actually makes it not pointless.
Oh, well, language is a wonderful thing. Thanks for a great story!

Title: Crumbling Walls Author: Ford of Bruinen Races: Elves:
Incomplete ID: 662
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 00:29:40
Spoilers!
This seems an appropriate story for a night such as the one during
which I read it: with cold mist and rain outside the window, on the
cusp of winter, in the chill and the dark. As I read "Crumbling Walls"
and formulated some points in my mind that I wished to address in my
review, I found that the first word to come to mind to describe this
story--as much of Uli's writing--is "sensual." The story teems with
imagery that appeals to all of the senses, humble observances that
bring the story to life for me:

["The door behind her opened the sound of worn slippers sliding over
the marble floor made her smile."]

"Crumbling Walls" so far addresses the building of Gondolin and the
varying perceptions of it by those who would inhabit and lead it.
Glorfindel is interestingly portrayed as a scholar-turned-warrior,
convinced to devote his talents to the "important" pursuit of leading
an army; Ecthelion's enthusiasm for the new-built city seconds only
Turgon's. Uli defies many of the common characterizations of the
Gondolin lords to create a setting that feels fresh and new, no matter
the number of Gondolin stories I have read.

Pervading this story is a sense of melancholy. Despite the fact that
Gondolin is the pearl of Noldorin civilization in Beleriand, it is
nonetheless of replica of what has been forsaken, and time touches
Gondolin as it would not have Tirion, bringing the realization that
what joy can be found there is doomed to be fleeting.

I look forward to seeing the superbly written series completed.

Title: Flickers Author: Meril Times: Multi-Age: Fixed-Length
Ficlets ID: 390
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-16 00:40:27
Spoilers!
In this drabble series, Meril presents us with fascinating snapshots
into the lives of Nerdanel and Feanor, and their blossoming and
withering love and marriage. The courtship drabbles subtly expose what
brings this couple together together and how, even at the start, what
eventually drives them apart is present. From the middle section, I
particularly loved the paired drabbles of ["Gatherers"] and
["Gatherers II"], in which each reflects on the disintegrating
relationship the items each has left behind are brilliantly chosen
and beautifully described. And of the ending drabbles, where we see
what becomes of Nerdanel in the end, my favourite is her encounter
with Sam in ["Strength To Save"], which provides a new twist and new
insight on both of them. In short, this is a wonderful series, filled
with beautifully shaped treasures whose craftsmanship would surely
meet the approval of the two protagonists. Very well done!


Title: Burdens Author: Meril Genres: Drama: General Fixed-Length
Ficlets ID: 219
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-16 00:40:51
Spoilers!
Meril has drawn together a thought-provoking series of drabbles about
the tangible and intangible items that the Exiles carried with them on
their journey from Valinor. The brief pen-portraits of the original
characters whose thoughts are presented are each deftly, clearly and
effectively drawn, giving us a strong sense of their personalities and
concerns.

I found the most powerful of the drabbles to be the first, in which
the thoughts of her unnamed protagonist show clearly that is is the
unseen that weighs more heavily than the material goods they bear.
Other drabbles explore the loads imposed by the mixed allegiances, the
griefs and the confusion of the departure from Valinor, the kinslaying
at Alqualonde and the betrayal of the burning of the ships at Losgar.
Taken together, they paint a compelling and fascinating picture of the
Noldor. Bravissima!


Title: The Craft of the Elven Smith Author: Larner Times:
Multi-Age ID: 1
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 00:48:43
Spoilers!
This story is so full of hope and promise of healing for so many
harmed by Melkor's acts in Arda Marred. I really liked the connections
Larner made between Nerdanel's crafts and the deeds in the Third Age.
It was fun to see history take shape, all touched by Nerdanel's hand.

Title: Five things that never happened to Nerdanel Author: Meril
Genres: Alternate Universe: Angst/Tragedy ID: 389
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-16 00:49:48
Spoilers!
Meril has crafted a clever series of drabbles postulating what might
have happened if events had taken a different turn and how Nerdanel
might have regarded them. Perhaps the most chilling is the one in
which she shares her husband's fare in exile, and the one that
provokes the reader to cry "if only!" is the final one in which the
Noldorin rebellion never happened and they remained in Valinor. A
simply fascinating series well done!

Title: Blue Author: red lasbelin Races: Elves ID: 563
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 00:56:09
An intriguing look at how Glorfindel ascended from a late-born son and
painter to a warrior and lord of his people, "Blue" gives a special
meaning to his lordship. A touching story ... nicely done!

Title: Lost Love Author: Tanaqui Races: Cross-Cultural:
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 271
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 01:02:54
Spoilers!
Elven-mortal marriages are an understandable fascination in this
fandom, and Tanaqui, in this pair of drabbles, captures the
bittersweetness beautifully. The first one, especially, is lovely with
its classic motif of pursuit in the hunt only to find the "quarry" is
one of the fey; the language here is lovely and evocative. The second
drabble brings home the point that, despite the love that might grow
between them, Elves and Men were very different at this point in their
history. Beautiful and highly recommended!

Title: Cat's Paws Author: pandemonium_213 Races: Villains ID: 58
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 01:33:01
Spoilers!
Pandemonium's stories set in Ost-in-Edhil are brilliant, and "Cat's
Paws" is a fitting--and strange!--addition to the series. What
continually strikes me about these stories and again here is the
convincing job that Pandemonium does of showing how many of the
Noldor--and Celebrimbor in particular--craved what Annatar had to
offer them, in particular his friendship and regard. Aulendil is
brilliant here as always, with his mix of condescension and derision
(and occasional scary outburst) tempered by a tenderness that makes
even me as a reader, who knows well how the story ends in canon, want
to believe in his goodness and that he will overcome his fate to be
all that he promises to be.

Pandemonium further uses her knowledge of biochemistry to depict Elven
"magic" as it has never been done before, constructing plausible
science-fiction explanations for what most of us dismiss as mere
magic. This can be delightful, as in the transformation of the
rose--["Citrine streaks began to snake through the red petals"]--or
disturbing, as with the cat's paws. It is always fun to read,
particularly for someone who, in another life, was a biopsychology
student.

And I must say that I love the commentary on the statue!

Title: Denial Author: Oshun Races: Elves: House of Finwe ID: 80
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-16 01:46:55
Spoilers!
This is a charming story set before passion, betrayal, and the fate of
the Noldor had darkened the puppy love of Maedhros and Fingon. Even in
a single relatively short scene, the dynamics between Maedhros and
Maglor move the story at a lively pace. Maedhros (deliciously
described) and his horror at learning the transparency of his feelings
for his half-cousin calls to mind the high-school nightmare of having
a crush on my future husband and realizing that everyone knew it ...
and then the excitement of first love in hoping it might be realized.

The touches of humor in the story are a delight. In particular, the
last line did make me literally laugh out loud.

Title: Autumn Author: Linda Hoyland Races: Men: Gondor Drabbles
ID: 489
Reviewer: rosethorn59 2008-11-16 01:50:52
This is a very nice and warm feeling ficlet you have written here,
Linda. Yes, I think Aragorn was a little caught emotionally between
his love of the great outloors and its' pleasantries of freedom to
come and go as he pleased, and the love and warmth he shared with his
family. The autumn could represent his sadness and depression for not
having a place to belong or call home. As you said, he weighed the
advantages of both his previous life and his present one and was
happiest in the long run to just be with his family where he felt
warm, safe, happy and loved. He no longer had to run from who he was
and what he was.. Hiding in the shadows obscurely, with his cunning,
his ragged clothes and a name to hide behind. That also came with his
freedom. Now he had a loving family to be with. What could make him
feel safer and more loved than that? It is a wonderful story, Linda Pam

Title: The Flute Author: Golden Races: Hobbits: Post-Ring War
ID: 150
Reviewer: Pearl Took 2008-11-16 02:01:49
This is a touching story, beautifully written by Golden. There is a
need for the Travellers who had to stay behind in Middle-earth to stay
connected with the Ringbearer after he departs into the West. Gandalf,
ever wise and sensitive to the needs of his small friends has provided
a means for this to happen.

A lovely bit of alternative universe wishful thinking. Thank you
Golden for the charming story!