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Msg# 9555

MEFA Reviews for Wednesday, November 19, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 19, 2008 - 20:52:44 Topic ID# 9555
Title: Maglor's Harp · Author: Ford of Bruinen · Genres: Horror · ID: 660
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund · 2008-11-19 02:27:33
I am a fan of horror, and this story does not disappoint. It is
delightfully creepy and written in with the vivid imagery that I have
come to expect from Uli's writing, which always comes with my highest
recommendations. Even in its relatively innocent beginning, as Maglor
gathers scraps from the sea to form the "audience" for which he will
sing, his numbness toward death and his longing for something lost and
not quite remembered is palpable, and this will drive the story to its
awful completion. He says of his victim, ["Once she stopped struggling
he sat watching her, watching the red blood in the white snow. It was
beautiful, familiar. He had seen something like it before."]
Throughout this piece is the unmistakable feeling that Maglor is
damaged, seeking something that was once beautiful and redeeming--his
music--but warped irrevocably by his deeds across the First Age. After
what he has done--of which we are reminded with the aforementioned
quote--what he has become seems almost plausible. His detachment from
his deeds and the loving detail with which Uli writes of them make a
most chilling combination and a horrific depiction of a man driven to
the brink of his humanity.

The thought of Maglor working over his final harp is shiver-inducing,
not to mention when he drags it up the beach to find his final
audience ... but what a delight for a fan of horror! For those who
aren't faint of heart, this one comes with highest recommendations.

Title: The Conscience of the King · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Humor · ID: 649
Reviewer: rosethorn59 · 2008-11-19 03:43:07
I really like this one, Raksha. Eomer sounds like a very jealous and
over-protective older brother. That is really sweet. He loves her so
much. He would like to keep her there at Meduseld forever as his
younger sister, basically tied to no one but him. He's afraid to lose
her to someone else; he doesn't even want her to lose her virginity,
swive? I think these are all very legitimate feelings for a sibling,
good friend or parent, even. Someone might really be thinking or
wishing for this kind of thing, but everyone knows it's not realistic.
I felt very much that way when my only sister got married. I felt
jealous, and somewhat angry at her because I felt like she was
abandoning me and I'd never see her. If I had never let her go, I
would not have my two wonderful nephews. It is very unrealistic, and
sooner of later you learn that. It is something you think about to
yourself, not discuss with other people even though they might be
feeling the same way. Everyone has to make their own choices in life.
And Eomer wants his sister to be happy. He does really know that they
will be siblings and love each other. I'm sure Eowyn is dad to leave
her brother and home as well. This is a great story, Raksha

Title: On Amon Sűl · Author: Dreamflower · Genres: Drama: Featuring
Frodo or Sam · ID: 299
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-19 04:34:10
This has always been a favourite part of the book of mine how Aragorn
tries to heal Frodo after Weathertop and I love the way his warmth and
strength are conveyed here,though all his efforts can do little to
help poor Frodo.I also enjoyed seeing Frodo's perceptions of his
Hobbit companions and how they tried to comfort him. I found the
formatting rather difficult to read,but that is my only complaint
about an excellent and beautifully written story which I'm pleased to
have discovered through MEFA.

Title: House of Ransom · Author: Robinka · Races: Elves: Drabbles ·
ID: 657
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-19 04:44:41
With a sure hand, Binka conveys the push-pull of the relationship
between Beleg and Túrin. Beleg's frustration with Turin's character
builds and burns with the last excellent line. Hat's off to you
masters of the short form who convey so much in a few words. Binka's
drabbles are among the best.

Title: A Midsummer Day's Dream · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Drama: Gondor Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 422
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-19 04:46:00
I first became acquainted with Raksha's vision of Faramir in [The
Burning of the Year] and fell hard for him. In [A Midsummer Day's
Dream], Raksha presents Faramir at the waning moments of his life and
takes us into his thoughts as he steps across the threshold in final
passage. With carefully constructed -- and lovely -- prose, Raksha
does something that I found quite extraordinary: writing from the
perspective of one who is dying peacefully. Starting with the
beautiful garden setting to the presence of his loved ones who are
around him to those who have taken the final passage before him,
Raksha builds the story to its emotional culmination, one which moved
this usually unsentimental reader to get misty eyes. A beautiful,
bittersweet piece.

Title: Utúlie'n Aurë · Author: Nieriel Raina · Genres: Drama: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 163
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon · 2008-11-19 04:51:31
A joyful echo of and homage to the Silmarillion, as Glorfindel
realizes that Sauron has fallen and reprises the cry of Fingon at the
arrival of his brother's army, Ages past. Glorfindel is one of the few
characters who can link the Silmarillion to LOTR with his very
presence, and he is used quite effectively here.

Title: Incarnation · Author: Gandalfs apprentice · Genres: Humor:
Drabbles · ID: 242
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-19 04:55:53
GA's drabble offers a wicked good dollop of irreverence with which she
addresses the realities of incarnation for the Maiar. I got a
significant chuckle out of Manwë's pious admonitions to Olórin and the
juxtaposition of the more unsavory aspects of having a human body.

Title: Undivided · Author: Raksha the Demon · Races: Elves: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 46
Reviewer: rosethorn59 · 2008-11-19 05:56:57
I really like this ficlet, Raksha! I love the twins! They are
genetically basically the same person, with only different
personalities, ideas, ways of doing things. But I believe that there
is something very special between all identical twins. Something
unknown. Elladan and Elrohir loved their mother so much, and felt such
guilt over her trauma, feeling that if the had been there they could
have saved her from her grief. They are putting undo stress onto
themselves, for there was nothing they could have done. What happens
just happens and no one can change that. I can see how a situation
like that could make them feel that way, though. They were also torn
between leaving for the West with their mother, or staying behind in
Imladris with their father and sister. What a difficult choice that
would be. When Elladan asked Elrohir if he'd be willing to go with
'them,' into the West, and Elrohir said he must stay, the decision was
made for the two of them instantly. Nothing else is even said about
decisions . They both just knew they could not be separated, no
question about it. I like that they chose to stay in their old room
and bed that they shared as children. There, I believe, they shared so
much of themselves, when younger, and probably were closest and most
at ease, I am sure. I believe that for them it was a place of comfort
where they felt safest, as children, and they needed to feel that same
way again. And it probably was also the only place they could open
their hearts to each other with nothing held back. They truly are
reflections of each other. Loved it, Raksha!

Title: Men of the Twilight · Author: Elena Tiriel · Genres: Romance:
Drabbles · ID: 209
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-19 07:06:45
["Men of the Twilight"] is a beautifully crafted drabble with
exquisite imagery, thanks to the carefully-chosen descriptions woven
throughout. The entire theme of light vs. shadow/twilight is played on
both in the surface story and in the deeper cultural exploration,
meshing into a truly lovely commentary on contrasts between peoples
and one-day lovers.

PoV character's observances of Eowyn and Eomer serves as a lens
through which to view the whole Men of the Twilight discussion that
Faramir has with Frodo. The Rohirrim have indeed grown more similar to
the "High" peoples, perhaps to a greater degree than Faramir ever
realized. Although there's so much to like about this, I think one of
my favorite aspects is how (to me) the roles almost seem reversed, or
at least equalized: One of the highest of the Numenoreans has had to
forfeit part of his soul to war, in service to protecting what he
really holds dear; as a result he himself seems shadowed in twilight,
whereas the object of his attention is brilliantly sunlit - a promise
of the path that will lead him back to the light in time. (Erm, if all
that makes sense! I know what I mean, even if I'm not getting it
across well!)

This is definitely one of those works that leaves me pondering over
the various implications long after I've finished reading.

Title: Cold Be Hand and Heart and Bone · Author: Imhiriel · Races:
Villains: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 286
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-19 07:07:24
Rich and evocative descriptions set up this drabble wonderfully. The
atmosphere is carefully and completely conjured: I could easily sense
the cool, dark interior; the weight of earth and stone imprisoning
this lost prince, magnified by the additional veneer of age. The
prince himself is gently but clearly drawn, and the attention spent
upon his appearance paints a picture of someone loved and cherished.
There's a tender sadness that emanates from what has been done for him
or left behind as a remembrance, and it cleverly ties into a certain
scene from LotR.

All the care that Imhiriel puts into evoking the beginning scene pays
off in the final section of the drabble, when the same descriptive
elegance sends chills running down my spine. The feeling changes
dramatically, flawlessly shifting into supernatural eeriness. The
contrast between the early parts of the drabble and the ending only
makes the horror of what happens all the more wrenching.

Although I think this version makes more sense than having the evil
originate with the prince (despite the faults of those divisive
Northerners), it also leaves me intensely curious about what actually
occurs! A fascinating premise, artfully explored.

Title: Sunset Gates · Author: Ignoble Bard · Races: Dwarves: Drabbles
· ID: 342
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-19 07:08:18
*snorfle* Ah, very, very clever!

I think this is definitely one of the most inventive Gimli drabbles
I've ever read. *How* it could happen, I have no idea, and frankly I
don't think I care. The lovely and insightful parallels are worth
exploring all on their own: the welcoming Lady, the immigrant's
emotional arrival at a new land.

Ignoble Bard does a wonderful job of leading the reader along via a
trail of expected clues and preformed conclusions, all the way to the
very end before the twist of the story is revealed. And what a twist!
I'm glad I wasn't taking a big swig of Coke when I read it...

Beautiful and apt title, too. I think this piece has more depth than
might first appear, but the humor alone makes it worthwhile.

Title: Unwilling · Author: Elena Tiriel · Races: Elves: Drabbles · ID: 64
Reviewer: Robinka · 2008-11-19 08:30:09
Sometimes, I wonder what an elf would have said or thought about us –
modern people, and our civilization, but then I think that I don't
even want to know. In her excellent drabble, Elena conveyed the
feeling of utter helplessness that an elf of the Avari experiences
upon seeing what people have done to their home, and that is a very
sad and hopeless conclusion. Those that were faithful to Middle Earth,
even though called the Unwilling once, fade, and hardly anyone seems
to notice that.

Excellent, though-provoking writing.

Title: National Treasure · Author: Baranduin · Times: Modern Times ·
ID: 201
Reviewer: rosethorn59 · 2008-11-19 08:35:07
I really, really liked this story. I adore archaeology and even
majored in it and have been on a few digs and found some interesting
things. Finding sites and excavating is very exciting. It was
interesting that they went in on this trip thinking it was a Templar
ruin and it turned out to be something completely different from what
they had anticipated. It was Imladris from a very distant past.
Scotland was a good modern place to put Middle Earth. A second idea
might have been Wales, because the Elvish language has many Welsh
elements to it. It would not have been large enough, though. I wonder
if the Elves are still living in Valinor, here. Probably, because they
are Immortal. And Valinor would not be visible to the eye. Having the
shrine of Gilraen still standing is very appropriate I think. And kind
of romantic. If there was only one real thing still standing after all
else was gone, I think I would want it to be her shrine. The magical
feeling of the Elves and Imladris itself seemed to still linger. I
love that. How could it not? As you said, they felt safe there and did
not want to leave. I imagine it felt very comfortable there for them.
There seemed to be a real pull to the place. Your characters, Ron and
Bri wondered if the place had been abandoned; and one of them stated
that he couldn't imagine ever wanting to leave there. I love that they
felt that some major change was coming and it brought the two of them
closer together. The last two lines are perfect. They found a red book
that started at the time Frodo arrived at Imladris. I'm sure it
explained in detail about the quest, etc. What an awesome find. It
gave me a thrill and goosebumps. What a wonderful, beautiful story you
have here, Baranduin!

Title: Cat's Paws · Author: pandemonium_213 · Races: Villains · ID: 58
Reviewer: Robinka · 2008-11-19 10:12:02
When I read Pandemonium's story, I immediately thought about "Dr.
Faustus", and also, which did not surprised me either, the lyrics of
"Sympathy for the Devil" by The Rolling Stones came to my mind. Well,
Aulendil, as `a man of wealth and taste', can be convincing, can't he?
A charismatic scientist, who possesses the knowledge that Celebrimbor
desires. He is the one that is able to conduct a sophisticated dispute
and the one who can fulfill any wish. But of course, everything has
its price. And that, along with what we know about the end of
Celebrimbor's and Aulendil/Sauron so-called friendship, evokes a
creepy, blood-freezing feeling.

A brilliant story, Pandemonium, worth my sincerest recommendation!

Title: A Dainty Dish · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship · ID: 722
Reviewer: rosethorn59 · 2008-11-19 10:41:49
This is a wonderful story, Linda! I think it was sweet that Pippin
called Aragorn, Strider. Aragorn did not care. Pippin could probably
have called him Longshanks and not gotten a reaction from him, except
maybe a smile. Good friends are allowed a lot of leeway. Then, again,
if anyone had called him Strider I do not think he would have cared
all that much. Only the the people around him would! When Prince
Imrahil called him Sir Peregrin, Aragorn jumped right in there with a
Pippin. Gotta love him! When Imrahil commented about mushrooms being a
common food for the poor only and not fit for Royals or Ladies and
Lords, Aragorn hopped right in there again, defending Pippin and his
mushrooms. Faramir and Eowyn did the same. They all loved mushrooms.
When Aragorn commented that they should start serving them at Court,
or Gondor, Imrahil's snobbery showed up again. If I was Aragorn, I
would have stated to him that he was not the King and should be quiet
or leave, or both. That is putting it nicely. He really makes me mad
here! What I get out of what Faramir said, is that the city folk of
Gondor were lazy snobs who were not smart enough to know a mushroom
when they saw one and would only buy their food, not grunge for it. I
thought it was wonderful when Aragorn had mushrooms served in the
dinner, having them cooked in a way that might not make them
immediately recognizable as mushrooms, to see people's reactions and
make a point. And, of course, they loved the dishes. Mushrooms are
good. What were they eating? Mushrooms? Heaven forbid! Imrahil is
shocked again! Snob. Aragorn was successful in his mission in trying
to get people to realize that food, mushrooms in this case, did not
make an individual poor or rich. Food is food, as are people. All
people are pretty much the same and everyone needs a better
understanding of one another, and to eliminate their prejudices. An
interesting thing to figure out with one's palette. So wanting to
exchange recipes was a sweet thing. And a good gesture. As you said,
Imrahil learned his lesson. Sorry if the analysis is wrong, but it
felt right. As you stated, [the simple pleasures of life are the
best.] The part you have written here about Pippin calling Aragorn,
Strider makes me think of one of my favorite lines in The Two Towers.
I do not have my book here so I cannot give the exact lines. There is
a scene in Isengard, when Aragorn and company have just arrived from
Rohan, and Aragorn sat down, spread his legs out, got a pipe out to
smoke, and Pippin said something about it being Strider again. Then
Aragorn stated that Strider never left. I just love that. Strider will
always be there, along with Estel and all his other aliases. He will
always be himself, no matter where he goes or what he does. He will
always he the Ranger. It is so sweet and perfect. He is so humble! I
really, really liked this Linda!

Title: The Least of Rings · Author: Marta · Genres: Alternate
Universe: Drabbles · ID: 621
Reviewer: Robinka · 2008-11-19 11:14:37
Oh, clever! An excellent, perfectly executed in the form of a drabble,
AU take on the fate of the One Ring when the Fellowship was broken. It
simply begs for a continuation, because it gives only a brief, and
still deep and thought-provoking, glimpse at how Boromir might have
taken the Ring from Frodo. Splendid piece of writing!

Title: Heart of the Wood · Author: Kenaz · Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship · ID: 60
Reviewer: Robinka · 2008-11-19 12:01:22
This story was recommended to me by IgnobleBard, and though I
personally don't agree with the concept of a romantic relationship
between Beleg and Turin and prefer a brotherly attachment between
them, I thought I would give "Heart of the Wood" a try, because I am a
die-hard fan of Beleg. And I'm glad I did, because this piece is
finely crafted, presents the nature of the relationship between a man
and an elf in a plausible and engaging scenario, with rich, superb
characterizations and an elegant, beautiful language. The end was
heart-breaking, and perfectly conveyed the tragedy of the original
tale, as well as Kenaz's interpretation of it.

Splendid story, Kenaz. Thank you for writing and sharing!

Title: They Also Serve · Author: Marta · Times: Late Third Age · ID: 365
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-19 15:37:11
Those days before the arrival of the party from the Shire must have
been nerve-wracking for those who waited. I love this picture of Arwen
trying to keep busy and assuage her fears by baking. And I love the
understanding of the cook--this was a nice picture of things behind
the scenes, something that fanfic can excell at.

Even more, I loved the author's notes. Marta is always punctilious
about telling her readers of the little canonical niggles and tidbits
that lead her to write a story, and I find them fascinating, sometimes
spawning further plot bunnies...

Title: Supporting Acts · Author: Tanaqui · Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond: Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 436
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-19 15:37:56
I enjoy it when an author explores the ["Supporting Acts"] of the
story--those in the wings whom we never actually see in canon, but who
would have been absolutely essential to the running of the world. This
little set of vignettes about one such person is subtle and
insightful--and fun.

Title: The Conscience of the King · Author: Raksha the Demon · Genres:
Humor · ID: 649
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-19 15:39:05
Poor Eomer! No matter how much he likes the groom, no big brother
really likes to think of his baby sister on her wedding night. But I
love the other part of him, the practical common sense and loving part
of him that knows the truth and is willing to face it. A very amusing
inner monologue--or dialogue, as the case may be.

Title: What Goes Up · Author: Dana · Times: Late Third Age: Gondor
Drabbles · ID: 683
Reviewer: Dreamflower · 2008-11-19 15:40:00
Dana almost *never* writes movie-verse--her stories generally tend to
be set solidly in book-canon, so this little gem is a testament to her
friendship with Baranduin, as well as her fondness for Peregrin Took.
I do love so much Pippin's thoughts here--the way they fly to Frodo at
a time like that, and the very wry, very humourous and very touching
and practical little bit of hobbit-sense at the end. When combined
with the memory of the scene as it was shown in the movie, and the way
it was so skillfully portrayed, the last sentence is quite delightful!

I can never get enough of Dana's Pippin.

Title: I Give You a Rainbow · Author: Golden · Races: Hobbits:
Friendship · ID: 571
Reviewer: Beruthiel's Cat · 2008-11-19 15:44:36
I very much enjoyed nominating this story, as it is the best character
study of Pippin's curiosity and gentleness of spirit I've yet seen. It
isn't enogh for him to just see a thing, have his question answered.
To Pippin, Evergreen is more than a series of questions and answers,
something must be done to give her things everyone else takes for
granted. A beautiful, quick mind so often underplayed or turned to
make him seem less than he is serves Pippin well to become the answer
to another's isolation without his being overbearing or condescending.
I don't usually read hobbit stories, as some do not gravitate toward
other races, but for this one I'm making a glad exception. Extremely
well written, very emotive, this story shines. Highly recommended!

Title: Don't Explain · Author: gwidhiel · Races: Elves: Incomplete ·
ID: 289
Reviewer: Larner · 2008-11-19 18:17:30
A nicely done explanation for the tragedly of Finwe's two loves,
marriages, and families as Indis seeks to understand and apologize for
her own part in the griefs. We see the parts played by all concerned,
I think, and how Miriel and Indis and Finwe were all partly at fault.
It will be interesting to see how this comes out in the end.

Some repetition, but mostly well woven narrative.

Title: An Autumn Fair in Halabor · Author: Soledad · Times: Mid Third
Age · ID: 165
Reviewer: Bodkin · 2008-11-19 19:25:15
I love Halabor - and the multiplicity of characters you have created
to dwell therein - when you add elves to the mix it is a delight. The
complexity - the detail - the interactions of the individuals (some of
whom lead very realistically cruddy lives) - your sheer understanding
of the town, its inhabitants and the way they live ... it's just
brilliant. I'm really not sure which of the inhabitants I love most -
the carter, of course, doesn't make the list (unsurprisingly, perhaps)
- but they are real people living medieval lives, obsessed with -
well, making a living, I suppose. Providing for their families and
setting up successful dynasties. I can't remember all the outcomes,
but I am only too (unfortunately) aware that many of them aren't
happy. I loved seeing them in conjunction with the passing elves ...
making a few coins, setting up a few memories. I suspect that some
among the elves were only too aware of the stink of tragedy in the
near future - and maybe happily handed over a few extra coins to
sweeten the present. I just love your detail. The way you know the
background and destiny of all your characters. Halabor is a very real
place. (Although I am rather pleased that I don't have to live there!)

Title: The Return · Author: Lady Bluejay · Genres: Drama · ID: 167
Reviewer: Bodkin · 2008-11-19 19:31:59
I found this to be such a moving story. Similar scenes must have been
seen in so many homes across the realm of Gondor. And beyond, really.
The losses must have taken much of the gilt from the final destruction
of Sauron - and, moreover, from the highly unexpected and splendid
return of the King.

And, possibly, fuelled opposition to the new regime in some quarters.
However bad things had become under Denethor, at least their
sons/husbands/lovers had still been alive. I cannot feel that Aragorn
was universally appreciated - except that his arrival was probably
better than the alternative. Many people must have looked back and
thought that things were better in the olden days.

Awful not knowing what had happened to your loved ones. Even more
awful, perhaps, being the one to bring the knowledge home. Messengers
frequently ending up blamed for the news they bear.

Duinhir would be very wise to avoid mention of having more children,
though. If he wants to retain the ability to do so, that is. His wife
will not take the suggestion well. Yet, at any rate. She might change
her mind in time - not that the newly arrived could ever replace those
who lost their lives in the battle.

A delightful tale. If more than a little sad.