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Msg# 9556

MEFA Reviews for Wednesday, November 19, 2008 (Part Two) Posted by annmarwalk November 19, 2008 - 20:54:33 Topic ID# 9556
Title: Sing My Worth Immortal ∑ Author: Perelleth ∑ Races:
Cross-Cultural ∑ ID: 168
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 19:41:40
Oh, I found this to be such a brilliant story on so many levels. There
is something I cannot help but love about Glorfindel's recklessness.
(What a guy! He hasn't really learned caution, has he? Fearless and
full of joy, indeed. Or perhaps reckless would be a better
description.) Cultural exchange, indeed! That's a good description.
He's lucky to have escaped with a mere second life. I love Celeborn
and Elrond's wary caution - and Celeborn's eventual irritation with
the dumb dwarf. (Never mention a lady's age, Celeborn. Not even if she
is older than dirt. ... Especially if she's older than dirt. I would
have expected someone cognomened 'the Wise' to have absorbed that
information long before this point - at least if you wanted to
continue to live a happy and contented life!)

Gror ended up with rather more than he reckoned with. And he learned
not to patronise Galadriel. Unless he had imbibed too much gruit ale
to recognise the lesson. Which could, indeed, prove to be the case.

I loved this story, Perelleth. It is a most enjoyable one!

Title: A Problem Shared ∑ Author: Dot ∑ Races: Elves: Mirkwood Elves ∑
ID: 169
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 19:46:28
Wizards, like elves, don't believe in coming straight out and saying
things. Perhaps they think that their words are perceived as much more
valuable - and infinitely more wise - if the hearer has to strive to
comprehend ...

I love always-in-the-way Radagast and his marvellous creatures. And it
must be so hard for Thranduil to endure what is happening. Bad enough
to listen to lists of the dead and worry about his son ... and the
youngsters training to thrust back the dark, but to feel the suffering
of the forest in the whispers of the trees. It must be nendurable.
Almost, at any rate. If he wasn't such a strong-willed character.

A delightful piece, Dot. I loved it. You are such a talented writer -
I just wish you spent more time in Middle-earth.

Title: The Legend of the Grey Riders ∑ Author: Jay of Lasgalen ∑
Races: Cross-Cultural: Elves and Men ∑ ID: 176
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 19:58:13
This is such a clever story, Jay! I couldn't help but glory in the way
that the twins looked at each other and made one of the Rohirrim's
oldest tales become personal experience. It's always hard to visualise
the great age of elves and understand what a difference that must have
made in their perceptions of things. I love the way that their reality
contrasts with the rather more dramatic legend - not to mention their
response to their own part in the epic tale. It must have been so much
fun to hear Eomer and Eowyn debating their existence! And I just adore
Faramir's input - such a sharp knife. I liked Erestor calling them
Spawn of Melkor - perhaps he needs to have a word with the Rohirrim.
It has a much better ring to it to call them the agents of the Valar.

I loved this story. (Although it is rather sad to hear that Eomer's
life has been hard enough to make him seem rather more careworn than
his progenitor. It is not as if Eorl didn't have battles enough of his

Title: The Prisoner of Time ∑ Author: Raksha the Demon ∑ Genres:
Alternate Universe: Steward's Family ∑ ID: 313
Reviewer: Tanaqui ∑ 2008-11-19 20:24:10
In this AU short story, Raksha the Demon shows us another possible
fate for Denethor than the pyre Ė and it is one that, on reflection,
seems even worse than the events described in the book. The surviving
Denethor's madness is given a new and chilling twist, and Raksha's
immense writerly gifts makes it entirely credible, compelling and
heartbreaking. Well done!

Title: Lost and Found ∑ Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) ∑ Times: Mid
Third Age ∑ ID: 23
Reviewer: Tanaqui ∑ 2008-11-19 20:24:15
Young Faramir is charmingly described in this delightful short story
by Lady Branwyn involving Gandalf, Faramir and the archives of Minas
Tirith. While this is a mostly light-hearted read, we are given
occasional glimpses of the deeper and darker things that lies beneath
the surface in the White City. Nicely done.

Title: The Game of Kings ∑ Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) ∑ Genres:
Humor ∑ ID: 28
Reviewer: Tanaqui ∑ 2008-11-19 20:24:21
Again, Lady Branwyn has taken a common topic in Tolkien fanfic Ė a
game of chess Ė and given it one of her trademark fresh and delightful
twists. This short piece is about Rangers playing chess in the
Prancing Pony, to the fascination of other patrons and the
mystification of the innkeeper. An inventive ficlet in which we see
wonderful glimpses of different cultures in each Race's approach to
the game, and with a satisfying pay off in the final line. Bravo!

Title: Summer's End ∑ Author: pippinfan88 ∑ Races: Hobbits: Post-Ring
War ∑ ID: 380
Reviewer: Pearl Took ∑ 2008-11-19 20:49:37
A delightfully engaging story! Frodo knows he will be leaving
Middle-earth and so has already been showing signs of pain and
melancholy. Here he is at a party, being held by his young cousins,
Merry and Pippin. Sam and Rosie are there too, but they are not at the
party much as Rosie is not feeling well, for a very special reason.

Celandine Brandybuck has asked for a ghost story and Frodo obliges her
- but the listeners get more than they bargained for from the master
story teller. Frodo learned from one of the Shire's best story tellers
and quickly his audience is entranced with the tale of Hobbit history
he is spinning.

A wonderful story, masterfully told! Well done, pippinfan!

Title: The Last Dance ∑ Author: pippinfan88 ∑ Races: Hobbits: Family ∑
ID: 397
Reviewer: Pearl Took ∑ 2008-11-19 20:50:37
This is a wonderful story written for me by pippinfan as part of a
Yule story exchange.

It is based upon a song that I told her I wanted the story to reflect.
It is I WANT TO SLOW DANCE WITH YOU by the bluegrass band NOTHIN'
FANCY. It tells of a husband who had had a long day in which it -
seems like nothing went right - and all he can think of is getting
home to his wife and slow dancing with her in his arms.

Peregrin Took is in his first year as The Took and Thain of The Shire;
Diamond Took is the new Mistress of Great Smials. It is the first time
since Paladin Took's death that they are having the responsibilities
of the large family celebrations of First Yule, plus it is Diamond's
birthday. Both are kept busy with their various official duties and
the day goes by with them having no time together. Will they get to
have even a dance with each other at the feast that evening?

The NOTHIN' FANCY song is a lovely, smooth waltz and pippinfan manages
to capture it's gentle, loving feel. Even though a good deal happens
during Pippin and Diamond's day, even though at times it seems - like
nothin' went right - the story still has a gentle flow to it. You can
almost feel the well known three/four beat of a waltz as you read.

This is everything I hoped it would be. Thank you so very much, my
dearest pippinfan!

Title: Wedding Nerves ∑ Author: Jay of Lasgalen ∑ Times: Late Third
Age: Gondor ∑ ID: 48
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 21:08:41
If ever there was a time when a man needed a couple of big brothers
... especially after being tormented by a bunch of people determined
to dress him up like a doll. And he could rely on his brothers' taste,
couldn't he? Even if they made his relationship sound incestuous - and
sound was all it could be! It is, after all, the marriage that will
make them real brothers - although, what do legalities matter where
love is concerned!

Title: EssecarmŽ ∑ Author: Dawn Felagund ∑ Races: Elves: Family ∑ ID: 247
Reviewer: Angelica ∑ 2008-11-19 21:14:41

This story has always held particular attraction for me because it
sheds light on a very strong, painful moment in the early history of
Feanor's family which readers, starting by the reviewer, generally
take for granted. It manages to convey the tensions between the father
and the eldest son showing the way for future confrontations and yet
it is told in an apparently easy-going, light-hearted way which leads
the readers almost unawares to that terrible moment at the end that
seems so unexpected to everybody.
The point of view the author chooses makes the story so effective and
appealing: Makalaure is a (not very unbiased) observer of the whole
situation who comments with a wry sense of humour but who is also part
of the problem.
Another great element is the description of the ceremony and of all
the participants. All the characters are full of life: the bored kids
running around, the weary mother, the irritated father, the other
members of the family who don't seem to care too much about the baby,
the grandfathers, the boring ceremonies (for a teenager who has had to
go through this too many times). Everything helps to paint a colourful
picture of an event which could only have been a turning point in the
family relations.

Title: Letters From Faramir ∑ Author: agape4gondor ∑ Genres: Drama:
Featuring Boromir or Faramir ∑ ID: 425
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 21:17:12
Poor Faramir. So much courage, but so lonely. I'm glad Peregrin Took
offered his support - he learned to love both of Denethor's sons. And
then there was Eowyn - who probably proved to be the best of all
possible outcomes. I like the letters.

Title: When the King Came Back ∑ Author: Cathleen ∑ Times: Fourth Age
and Beyond ∑ ID: 514
Reviewer: Pearl Took ∑ 2008-11-19 21:18:36
A very realistic and moving story. Pippin has come home from the War
and soon had his family, especially his father, to deal with. Paladin
has a good deal of anger built up inside himself and he can't help but
let it come out. As happy as he is that Pippin is home, it doesn't
seem to make up for how much he hurt his family by leaving so abruptly
without word those thirteen months before.

Pippin, meanwhile is trying to figure out where he will fit in. He is
a different person than the Peregrin Took who left The Shire with his
cousins. He is stronger and more mature, certainly, but he is also
wounded in body and spirit, haunted by dreams and day-visions of all
he had to endure. Can he tell his family what he has gone through?

Father and son need to work things out between them and that is what
this story describes so wonderfully.

Title: Waterloo ∑ Author: Lady Bluejay ∑ Genres: Romance: Gondor ∑ ID: 158
Reviewer: Bodkin ∑ 2008-11-19 21:22:00
Gondor has grown a bunch of ladies who will have little in common with
the butterflies who flew to safety. A far greater understanding of the
men who return from war, too. I'm sure Lothiriel made a much better
wife for Eomer for her experience in the Houses of Healing.

Lady Gailrin is right - no time to waste on courtesies when death is
staring you in the face. Unfortunately this can lead to some
disastrous matches once the days stretch out. But not with Erchirion
and Cammir - or of course Eomer and Lothiriel.

Title: Yule at Great Smials ∑ Author: Dreamflower ∑ Races: Hobbits:
Family ∑ ID: 566
Reviewer: Pearl Took ∑ 2008-11-19 22:01:18
Oh dear, this is another story that was written from a request of mine!

Dreamflower wrote a magical tale about a very special Yule celebration
at Great Smials. Lalia has been pulled away from the Smials to attend
an important wedding, so while the old cat is away, the happy Took
mice will play. Because of her absence, hobbits who haven't been to
the Smials for Yule in ages have decided to be there. Bilbo, Frodo,
Merry and his parents and many, many others - including Gandalf the
Wizard. Young five year old Pippin Took will be there as well.

Great fun is had by all. Pippin gets into mischief, and meets Gandalf
for the very first time - he decides quite quickly that he likes the
wizard and the wizard decides he likes the little Took.

Dreamflower wrote some lovely songs for this story as well, which
truly do round it out very nicely. I love the warmth and humor in it
as well. It is a jolly, warm, fun, happy Yule Story. Thank you so
much, Dreamflower!

Title: Pippin and Tulip's Excellent Adventure ∑ Author: Cathleen ∑
Times: Mid Third Age: Eriador ∑ ID: 595
Reviewer: Pearl Took ∑ 2008-11-19 22:27:07
I'm in awe of this story! Not that it is a great work of art, like
LOTR itself, but for the winding road it follows. Cathleen not only
took Tulip on an excellent adventure, but then has Pippin following
the trail like Sherlock Holmes when Tulip tells him that she won't say
where she has been but that he must figure it all out himself.

Such a fantastically creative story!!

Title: Mournful Fords ∑ Author: Imhiriel ∑ Genres: Drama: Ring War
Drabbles ∑ ID: 368
Reviewer: dkpalaska ∑ 2008-11-20 00:00:31
A perfect gapfiller for a moment that certainly deserves to be
highlighted. I agree completely with the author that it seems a
terrible omission on Tolkien's part when Theoden was riding right past
on the way to Isengard, and the company even stops and talks about
this sad place.

Imhiriel works the drabble form so well, and this interlude is no
exception. We are dropped right into the setting, the "background
noise" placing us precisely within TTT with just a few quick words.

Absolutely wonderful voice for Theoden, with exactly the questions and
recriminations I'd expect to see him ponder. A parent myself, and
knowing two families who've lost children in very different
circumstances, I can easily see this train of thought unfolding. His
despair and grief are clear without descending into sentimentality.
Then, without a misstep, we can segue right back into the chapter.

Truly, how could there NOT be a scene something like this? (It's one
of the only things that I think the movies "got" better than the
books.) That whole section in TTT has a deeper meaning for me now,
Theoden's voice a different timbre when he speaks to Gandalf. I wonder
how much of this moment he must have carried with him onto the Pelennor...

Surely, surely Theoden deeply mourned his only son and heir, and I'm
very glad that Imhiriel found a way to give him an opening to express it.

Title: AulŽ the Smith ∑ Author: Oshun ∑ Genres: Non-Fiction: Character
Studies ∑ ID: 530
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 ∑ 2008-11-20 01:04:42
Oshun's [AulŽ the Smith] is one of a series of engaging biographies
that focus on characters from The Silmarillion. I'd like to think of
Oshun as not merely writing biographical research. In her SWG
biographies, she writes as a columnist, not only providing the reader
with material that has been researched meticulously, which reflects
Oshun's journalistic background, but also commentary: insightful,
funny, and delightfully arch. That distinguishes Oshun's work from
other "just the facts" (and dry-as-dust) biographies.

Although each biography is an informative _and_ entertaining read, I
am particularly taken with Oshun's research on AulŽ, the only Vala I
can stomach in his role as Arda's patron saint of science and
engineering. Oshun draws astute comparisons between AulŽ and Melkor
and AulŽ's influence through the ages. Oshun illustrates that that
although AulŽ represents something of an "ivory tower" scientist of a
type perhaps admired by Tolkien (there's no doubt that JRRT was keenly
tuned in on science in its purer forms, e.g., his dilettante's
interest in astronomy and botany), there was still plenty of ambiguity
in AulŽ's penchant for discovery and invention as illustrated by his
ill-fated better students and his eagerness to create life, i.e., the
Dwarves. The latter would no doubt violate all sorts of bioethics
these days! ;^) At any rate, Oshun parses this information soundly
from her sources.

And even though this is the bio nominated for a MEFA, I highly
recommend the others she has written. Please do check them out!

Title: Light of the Westering Sun ∑ Author: Dawn Felagund ∑ Races:
Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 126
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 ∑ 2008-11-20 01:09:44
Dawn has a wonderful talent for writing gifts for her friends which
fit them oh-so-well (that pair of knitted gloves with a perfect fit).
[Light of the Westering Sun] was written for Unsung Heroine who has
created a "canonical fanon" of Haleth and Caranthir, a pairing many of
us Silm-geeks quite like. The skill of Dawn's storytelling and prose
is such that even if a story is "custom-fit" for another, the rest of
us are treated to the gem, too. Such is [Light of the Westering Sun].

In a series of double drabbles, Dawn takes the reader back in time,
beginning with Haleth in old age to her initial sightings of the
Firstborn -- human but Other -- when she who would become a
chieftainess was a young girl -- a sighting that was the harbinger of
the intersection of the Edain and the Eldar.

The "backwards" construction of the story is very effective and
heart-wrenchingly poignant. Dawn's language is, as always, poetic,
e.g. Caranthir's eyes with [the same mournful light as the westering
sun]. But most of all, this series of ficlets casts into high relief
the chasm between mortal Men and the Firstborn in Tolkien's world: so
similar as fellow human beings who experience sorrow, joy and love,
yet with such a profound difference to create a nearly unbreachable
gulf between the peoples. Yet Haleth and Caranthir do so here, if only
for a fleeting moment of time.

Title: Name Calling: Group Identity and the Other among First Age
Elves ∑ Author: Angelica ∑ Genres: Non-Fiction ∑ ID: 322
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 ∑ 2008-11-20 02:12:36
Angelica opens her essay with a most appropriate quote from JRRT. To
get a grasp on Tolkien's sometimes slippery legendarium, one cannot
simply focus on [Laws and Customs of the Eldar] or [Athrabeth Finrod
ah Andreth]. His languages are the vital key for unlocking insight
into the peoples of his Middle-earth. Angelica demonstrates this and
then some in her superb [Group Identity and the Other Among First Age
Elves]. This is a rich resource which I have read multiple times.

Angelica's categorizations of her subject matter by the use of
dichotomy -- [Eldar/Avari; Light/Darkness; With us/Against us] is
highly effective in driving home the clannishness that existed among
the Elves, a race just as capable of territoriality and prejudice as
their mortal kin. By examining the etymology of Kalaquendi and
Moriquendi, Angelica illustrates the stratification among elven
society, almost creation of caste systems. In particular, I pored over
the section on the Noldor and the Sindar, two major clans that often
clashed. Angelica's detailing of the roots Ůůle (Quenya) and gul
(Sindarin) delves into wonderful subtlety and cultural implications.

Although focused on Tolkien's world, Angelica's treatise and her
approach to her research could just as easily be applied to language
and cultural schisms in our primary world. The formatting and
citations were very well done. The depth of this essay serves to
illustrate the fascinating detail one can extract about Tolkien's
world by digging into the details of his linguistic art.

Title: AlqualondŽ ∑ Author: Moreth ∑ Genres: Drama: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ∑ ID: 220
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 ∑ 2008-11-20 02:40:18
Using words and phrasing as keen as a sharpened blade, Moreth crafts a
powerful diptych from the perspectives of a young Telerin man and a
young Noldo during the Kinslaying at AlqualondŽ. Although set in
JRRT's world, there is, to me, a striking timelessness embedded in
these two drabbles which speaks to the author's solid knowledge of
history. The dying man. The realization of the one who took another's
life. Minuteman and British regular, Royalist and Parliamentarian,
Union and Confederate. Noldo and Teler. Moreth takes the horror of the
Kinslaying and humanizes it profoundly, making it shine like
unforgiving steel. A fantastic inaugural offering!