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Msg# 9562

MEFA Reviews for Sunday, November 23, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 23, 2008 - 18:26:28 Topic ID# 9562
Title: The Language of Waves Author: Claudia Races: Hobbits ID: 193
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2008-11-23 04:27:39
Spoilers!
A lovely vignette about a day by, and in the sea, in Paradise, for
Frodo and Gildor - not slashy, just friends savoring the pleasures of
the ocean and new experiences in Valinor. The descriptions of the
coral reef, and Frodo's delight in the waves, are wonderful.

Title: Lost Author: Claudia Genres: Adventure ID: 226
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2008-11-23 04:35:19
Spoilers!
A very normal thing to have happened on a fantastic quest, to lose a
powerful sorcerous object out of sheer normal weariness or foolishness
- I love the notion, and it is very effectively explored here.
Gandalf's line about the fragility of the fate of Middle-earth is just
wonderful, very Tolkienesque.

Title: Forsaken Author: Imhiriel Races: Elves: Drabbles ID: 369
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-23 07:38:11
I think most of us who read the Silmarillion feel a strong affinity
for Finrod, "Friend of Men". More than any other of the mighty Eldar,
Finrod seems to have that unique ability to reach across great divides
and make connections with the strange beings that Elves start
stumbling over in Middle-earth. Never in my readings of the various
"canon" and "extracanonical" sources have I encountered him being
condescending, exploitative or dismissive; he had that lovely and rare
quality of being able to see value in the unfamiliar and sometimes
incomprehensible.

All that is a long way of explaining why this list hits me harder than
any similar list would for another character: I absolutely love the
guy. The point-by-point format is extremely effective; even though
each is but a single sentence, it feels as though an entire paragraph
of information has been packed into it - smoothly and gracefully.
Every one delivers a powerful punch.

Excellent climax, highlighted well by its being set apart from the
rest of the list, and an artful touch in using a particular time and
querying individual to bring forth the remembrances.

Title: Return of the King Author: Imhiriel Races: Men: General
Drabbles ID: 355
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-23 07:38:36
["Return of the King"] gives us a very human moment, plucked out of
the huge and turmoil-filled epic that is the Kin-Strife. Tolkien's
vision of this very dark episode in Gondor's history has always
fascinated me. In many ways, it has all the angst, horror and
inspirational underdogs of his LotR trilogy. (Something definitely
highlighted by Imhiriel's deft title-borrowing.) Yet it's relegated to
the Appendices and doesn't seem to be get a lot of attention in
fanfiction, certain authors notwithstanding.

Imhiriel's addition to the time period pivots away from Gondor itself
to the place where "rebellion" is brewing: Rhovanion. The irony, of
course, is that this is the rightful King contemplating his next
action. In stark contrast to the decadent, violent and more
"pure"-blooded holder of the throne, we are given a shining image of
Eldacar's wise advisor. The reader can see intimately at least one
reason why this roaming son of Gondor loved his mother's people so
much. Eldacar's reaction to prompting shows rather clearly why he is
so well suited to become King, too.

I admit, I also got a grin from a flashback to movie!Aragorn, from the
title and some of the attitude.

Title: The Work of Small Hands Author: Dawn Felagund Genres:
Longer Works ID: 352
Reviewer: Larner 2008-11-23 08:33:12
Spoilers!
Ah--how it was that in the wake of the destruction of the Trees and
the departure of the Noldor who followed Feanor first to Alqualonde
and then across the sea and ice to Middle Earth those remaining in
Tirion were saved from the devastation of the new darkness. Told from
the POV of Earwen, this depicts in all its starkness the agonizing
grief she feels as children and husband leave her to follow Feanor.
The joy of Arafinwe's return, however, falls to ashes as he refuses to
accept the crown or even thrive. So it falls to the surviving royal
ladies to decide what shall be done to succor their people, and to see
it done. The grief of all, the strength of Anaire, the careful thought
Nerdanel, and the courage of Earwen in the end allow those of the
Noldor who remained to survive. But imagining how Anaire might have
convinced Arafinwe to rise from his intended deathbed is
perhaps--disturbing.

Excellently crafted and thought out. The kings might have been men,
but it was their womenfolk who saw what needed to be done and saw it
accomplished.

Title: Answering the Call Author: docmon Genres: Drama ID: 340
Reviewer: Michelle 2008-11-23 13:26:00
Docmon`s stories are a feast for everyone who has a soft spot for AUs.
Many authors have written how one of Tolkien`s characters might have
succumbed to the Ring`s whisperings. Docmon, however, takes the
concept much further insofar as all members of the fellowship will
eventually take the rings for their own gain. This leaves the reader
with a prologue and nine following vignettes (of varying length) of
concentrated drama, tragedy and apocalypse a thing which might be
hard to stomach. To me, the most surprising of these vignettes was
Gimli. Personally, I would have struggled to come up with a scenario
in which he takes the ring he is loyal, realistic and down to earth
while missing the innocence and naivety of the hobbits. But the
situation Docmon puts him in is original and thought-provoking. I
actually would have wanted this part to go on to see how and whether
Gimli completes his mission.

All in all a depressing and dark collection of what-ifs that are well
worth the read!

Title: Out of Memory and Time Author: Shireling Genres: Drama:
Hurt/Comfort ID: 136
Reviewer: Michelle 2008-11-23 13:37:33
Spoilers!
Shireling`s "Out of Memory and Time" is a wonderful, almost epic AU
set in the Fourth Age. We start off with the crew of a trading ship
who rescues a wounded men from the water. They nurse him back to
health and call him Min, because he can remember neither his name nor
his past. Min makes himself useful on the ship and the crew all but
"adopts" him. But Min seems reluctant to delve too deep into his
memory. His does not want to know his true identity, because he fears
he betrayed his lord and his men even if he does not know how.

At the same time we learn that Faramir and his men rode into and
ambush. All soldiers are dead and even though Faramir`s body is never
found, Aragorn with a heavy heart declares him dead. We follow
Shireling`s account of life went on in Gondor while Faramir`s friends
mourn his loss. Of course it soon becomes obvious to the reader that
Min and Faramir are one and the same, but it takes eleven chapters
until Shireling takes pity and reunites both plots and characters.
Repeatedly, Faramir is almost found out, but even when is identity is
finally revealed to him, he is reluctant to return to his former life.

A wonderful story with everything I like in fanfic: intrigue, drama,
hurt/comfort and a fair number of characters canon and original alike.

Title: Loudwater Author: Adaneth Times: Late Third Age: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 63
Reviewer: rosethorn59 2008-11-23 15:15:27
I love your descriptions of the water; drifting, trickling, seeping,
welling, babbling, placid and rushing the river down to the sea. The
water and river as first person. I really like that. It took me a
moment to realize this was the river at the Ford. (The name of the
river escapes me for the moment.) The second paragraph was wonderful.
The idea of the black horse's hooves cleaving 'him,' and his white
maned waves clearing the filth of the Nazgul's touch away. I think
this is a very clever and beautiful ficlet, Adaneth. I like it very much!

Title: Cuts Gone Wrong Author: Dwimordene Times: Mid Third Age:
Eriador ID: 156
Reviewer: Imhiriel 2008-11-23 15:31:58
The story shows the grueling reality of being a Ranger in a world
where they are looked down on, where nobody knows of and acknowledges
the Rangers' work on behalf of them, where little comfort and peace
and thanks await. It must have been especially hard for a young
Aragorn after being raised in sheltered Imladris where he was
certainly more well-regarded than now as one anonymous Ranger among so
many others.

I like the "everyday feel" to it; this and many episodes of small
importance may likely have happened for generations, with no great
consequences for anyone, and yet providing one teaching moment of no
doubt many to young Rangers on their way to maturity.

The original characters are well-written and give the story a very
rich feel, as well as Aragorn's messages which give a very complex
picture of the concerns of the Rangers, and how events beyond their
immediate sphere of influence (I especially liked the references to
King Fengel) influence their plans.

Title: Lost and Found Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) Times: Mid
Third Age ID: 23
Reviewer: Imhiriel 2008-11-23 15:32:18
The characterisation of wee!Faramir is sweet without being cloying; I
love how his earnestness and eagerness to help mingles with his pride
and excitement about being "in charge" of this important visitor. I
can really feel how Gandalf recognises in Faramir a curious soul
worthy of befriending, teaching, of becoming a "wizard's pupil".

The description of the library in all its chaos and vastness and
intricate hallways is fascinating (and tempting to every book-lover,
especially at Faramir's words, ["It smells like words here"]).

I like how the different fragments of old and not so old history are
woven into the narrative. In addition, the allusions to the importance
of Gandalf's mission, and his compassionate musings about Denethor
give the story a very appealing "gravitas" to contrast the overall
light tone.

Title: I Stand No Longer Alone Author: Larner Races: Men: Minas
Tirith ID: 62
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke 2008-11-23 18:09:06
Spoilers!
This piece has some really lovely moments, how the chair compares
itself to the sword, how it senses Aragorn's approach, and its
prescience: ["I sense he has as many questions about me as I have of
him"]. I always like it when we get to hear something otherwise voiceless.

Title: Not Quite Any Other Day Author: Pearl Took Races: Hobbits:
Family ID: 631
Reviewer: Nancy Brooke 2008-11-23 18:15:40
This is a charming story, most uniquely resolved!

Title: Rekindling Author: Dawn Felagund Times: Fourth Age and
Beyond ID: 255
Reviewer: Oshun 2008-11-23 19:32:38
Spoilers!
I highly recommend this story. It is beautifully constructed and
written. Love the way she begins, with Nerdanel's growing sense that
Fanor, who she has tried to become accustomed to living without, is
indeed alive. The end of the world/apocalypse is also awesomely
described. The entire story is filled with wonderful action and visual
sequences. I'm truly impressed with the author's skill. Fanor,
rightfully so, is still Fanor, not a watered down, cleaned up
version, still thinking, still complaining at the Valar. I absolutely
adore him. He truly is the greatest of the Firstborn, with no close
candidate for second place. On a good day, when he is in a benevolent
mood, he might even be willing to admit that some of the Valar are
nearly his peers. I love that about him. The scene with him and
Nerdanel is probably one of the most moving love scenes I have ever
read in fanfiction. (I said this before, and I will say it again, to
be loved by Fanor, would pricey, but definitely be worth the cost.)

The quotation that upon which she bases this story (often called the
Second Prophecy of Mandos), however, is sitting on my harddrive
waiting for me to use it at some point near the end of my own epic of
the Noldor so that I may write a similar, but totally different story.
Given my own unquenchable optimism and believe in redemptive growth
and change, I naturally read the prophecy as proof positive that
Feanor and Nerdanel would at the end get their happy ending. I forgave
Professor Tolkien a thousand sins when I read this piece. Fanor,
unlike the fallen angels of Milton's [Paradise lost], would finally be
allowed to become part of the solution. He would realize that, in
fact, the breaking of his Simarils under those conditions, would not
after all break him and destroy him, but enhance him, give him the
peace that was always beyond his reach. The writer killed me with her
interpretation of it. This is part of the review where I get to
shallowly complain that seeing so much beauty in pain and loss is the
prerogative of the young. By the time one is my age, real life has
given one enough hard knocks that the charm of it in fiction is
greatly lessened. That said, I must admit I very much admire this
wonderful story; it is completely coherent and believable in the way
in which it is told it.


Title: Not Quite Any Other Day Author: Pearl Took Races: Hobbits:
Family ID: 631
Reviewer: PipMer 2008-11-23 19:36:56
OH, this was priceless! I love stories about the previous generation
to our Travellers, when they were younger. This one was adorable.

Title: The Wrong Path Author: Erviniae Genres: Drama: Incomplete
ID: 538
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-23 19:58:56
Spoilers!
This is quite the story: romance, intrigue, (sex!), war, and
friendship, so far spanning the First Age through the Third. The
underlying cultural taboos are sadly close to many still remaining in
our own, and "The Wrong Path" is an intriguing look at what two lovers
must do to love as they wish within an extremely conservative society.

Lothwen's character was fairly, realistically, and beautifully
portrayed; the wedding night scene, in particular, was very well done:
uncomfortable and heartbreaking. The tender, friendly love that
evolves over the course of their marriages was tenderly and
realistically portrayed, though it came with difficult consequences.

I look forward to seeing this story continue!

Title: The Westering Fire Author: Aprilkat Races: Hobbits ID: 200
Reviewer: PipMer 2008-11-23 20:08:28
Spoilers!
Oh, this was nicely done! Too often we forget what it must have been
like for the hobbits left behind in the Shire, to deal with the nasty
ruffians. How glad Rosie must have been to see her Samwise return!

Well done!

Title: Aul the Smith Author: Oshun Genres: Non-Fiction: Character
Studies ID: 530
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-23 20:15:24
Every month, Oshun writes a biography of a character for the SWG
newsletter and Reference section. Every month, I say, "It doesn't have
to be extensive! Just a summary! You don't need to do any analysis!"
and, every month, I have returned to me a biography full of insightful
analysis. "Aule the Smith" is doubtlessly one of Oshun's finest pieces
as part of this series (and that is saying something). Not only does
she provide the summary of Aule's role in The Silmarillion but she
ties the canon in to some of the important ideas in Tolkien's writings
that are under frequent discussion by fans and students of his work.

Here, she connects Aule's role as a creator to Tolkien's own attitudes
towards science/technology and, perhaps most importantly, possession
of the objects that come of such labor. Many Tolkien fans have noticed
that Aule's students seem to "go bad" at a pretty alarming
rate--Sauron, Feanor, Saruman; though Eol and Maeglin never met Aule,
one can easily imagined that they too would have been his students had
they been born in Valinor--but Oshun takes this "coincidence" to show
how those who study science and create based on what they learn are
next to Melkor only by their ability to freely share their creations.
Whether readers find this to be a truthful assessment of
scientists/technologists or alarming will, of course, depend on the
reader.

But, through this, Oshun's biography becomes much more than a listing
of facts about Aule: It connects Aule to some of the broader ideas in
Tolkien's writing and shows how he fits into any attempt to unravel
how Tolkien felt about science and technology. It is an insightful
summary of Aule's character and of his role in the larger mythology we
study.

Title: Pippin's Secret Author: shirebound Races: Hobbits:
Friendship ID: 599
Reviewer: PipMer 2008-11-23 20:29:11
How delightful, that Pippin as well as Merry knew Bilbo's secret! I
can also see him keeping this secret too... for a little one, it's a
great thing to think one knows something that no one else does! Very
believable. Well done, as always, shirebound!

Title: DISGUISE: Emissaries Author: Fiondil Genres: Humor: Valar &
Maiar ID: 56
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-23 20:29:24
Spoilers!
I enjoyed this piece, a look at how the Valar decided to send the
Istari to Middle-earth, how they chose from among the Maiar, and how
the Istari came to take their familiar forms from LotR. Lightly
humorous, it hints at many of the conflicts to come and establishes
especially the character of Curumo and Olorin. Olorin's analysis of
why the emissaries must go as they do--in the shape of old men subject
to the same hurts and hungers of Incarnates--was of particular
interest, as was Namo's understanding of why Isildur could not give up
the Ring. Very nice!

Title: Renewal Author: Elena Tiriel Times: Late Third Age: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 208
Reviewer: Antane 2008-11-23 20:33:54
An interesting little poem about Anduril from the POV of the sword
itself - well done!

Title: BRIDGE: P Valaraucar ar Nmier Author: Fiondil Races:
Other Beings ID: 415
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-23 20:44:16
Spoilers!
I am fascinated by the halls of Mandos and Namo in particular, and
Fiondil always writes such a marvelous character of him. This story is
no exception, where Olorin awakens, having "died" as Gandalf, to face
the judgment of the Namo. It is much as I imagine such a judgment
would be: shock and flummox followed by shame and regret ... and then
mercy.

The idea that Gandalf put Frodo's quest into jeopardy by turning his
back on his "fallen brother" the Balrog is an uncomfortable one, both
for a reader who loves Gandalf's character as for Olorin himself. I
took this in the figurative as well as the literal sense: that
Gandalf, in his pride, had abandoned appreciation for the strength of
his equals, like the Balrog, which resulted in the literal "turning of
his back." This is an intriguing idea. But Olorin is given the chance
to rise above his mistakes and to have a second chance to save
Middle-earth ... and that is comforting.

Title: Tarnished Ivory Author: Yavie Feels Pretty Genres:
Adventure: Incomplete ID: 464
Reviewer: Antane 2008-11-23 20:52:25
Wonderful to hear Frodo laugh! I would think he and his Sam would be
another two who would never hurt each other on purpose either, but
certainly agree Merry and Pippin wouldn't. Frodo has made his choice
for good or evil - I like the way Aragorn said that, so much like in
the books, when no one knows the consequences of their choices or sees
far along the Road, just like it really is, a choice between evils at
times is the only choice or what seems evil. I do wonder what is
coming next!


Title: O Merry Mine Author: Larner Races: Hobbits: Hurt/Comfort
ID: 636
Reviewer: PipMer 2008-11-23 20:57:32
I really enjoyed this story, with little glimpses of Frodo and Merry's
relationship through the years. How tender and loving Frodo is towards
Merry, and how protective Merry is towards Frodo! Well done.

Title: Promises Broken and Kept Author: periantari Genres: Drama:
Featuring Frodo or Sam ID: 144
Reviewer: Antane 2008-11-23 21:21:18
A sweet story of the love between those brother-cousins, Frodo and
Merry, shortly after Frodo has left for Bag End. Frodo returns to
Brandy Hall to give a very sick Merry a lot of TLC. Bilbo says they
can visit each other more often, sometimes cutting through the Woody
End which is cute. The quote from the Red Book at the end is one of my
favorites. May hobbity love live forever! We need it!

Title: In Dreams Author: Phyncke Genres: Romance: Elven Lands
ID: 609
Reviewer: Dawn Felagund 2008-11-23 21:30:25
Spoilers!
This is such a sweet story that brings new meaning to the term "divine
intervention." At the risk of taking too deeply a story meant to be
light and lovely, I found intriguing the idea that the Valar, in the
Fourth Age with Melkor and Sauron off their hands, turn their
attentions to the happiness of the Elves. This is a cool idea and one
that I can believe. And I loved this line, ["I believe they need a
challenge, so why not in love?"] which makes the point that what has
concerned these characters to this point--war, lordship, quests--no
longer concern them; with all four characters having experienced all
of the above in Middle-earth, it is a nice thought that they can now
turn their talents and attentions to their own happiness and love.