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Msg# 9567

MEFA Reviews for Monday, November 24, 2008 (Part One) Posted by annmarwalk November 24, 2008 - 19:29:51 Topic ID# 9567
Title: The Dooming of Small Hands · Author: Thundera Tiger · Times:
Late Third Age · ID: 639
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-24 00:29:12
Another fantastic psychological and political study from Thundera
Tiger. Thundera has always been able marvelously to exploit the gaps
she finds, and she finds some excellent ones. As this one, where
Gandalf and Elrond have a pre-Conciliar discussion of just who must
bear the Ring... and how.

It's a truism in certain strands of philosophy that consciousness and
understanding are aimed at determinate realities. Their task is
determination; they cannot function outside of those bounds. What
passes determination, what comes from beyond the 'light' that is the
metaphor for consciousness and transparency, knowing and owning,
cannot show up for consciousness. Which, if you take the idea of estel
seriously, means that hope is inadmissible to conscious life. Which
suggests that consciousness is always in danger of despair: Pandora's
box held back the one 'gift' that would've undone us: perfect
foresight of what must be.

Gandalf here acts as a kind of Pandora's box, holding the 'gift'/curse
of too much knowledge, too perfect a degree of information back from
Frodo, though he feels the injustice of his own manipulations. But
Gandalf and Elrond both are feeling the burden that comes of too much
knowledge, and they know the thinness of the line they are walking.
Their choice is, in some sense, unjustifiable, but also unarguable -
they've hit the limits of what reason can do for them, and
unfortunately, that limit draws a line between themselves and the
friend on whom the fate of the world devolves.

Excellent work, Thundera, highly recommended to any fans of Middle-earth.

Title: Renewal · Author: Elena Tiriel · Times: Late Third Age: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 208
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-24 00:41:11
Adopting the perspective of things often brings such a wonderful
expansion of a world. Elena Tiriel gives us an incantatory evocation
of Narsil's reforging. It's a perfect match: from the perspective of
Narsil-Anduril, the reforging is a rite of purification. Rites are set
and patterned, highly orchestrated and choreographed, even the
simplest. The symbolization of different ideas in actions are
important, and incantation and repetition of words can help to
establish correspondences.

I like the tempo of this piece. The italicized sections do their job
of opening and blocking out the rest of the lines, and provide a
certain martial rhythm - a pattern of precise stops, and also a series
of steps and stages.

A lovely drabble, Elena Tiriel!

Title: Of First Impressions and Old Friends · Author: Dreamflower ·
Races: Cross-Cultural: Frodo and Faramir · ID: 146
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-24 00:46:34
Yet another delightful story I might have missed were it not for MEFA!
I loved Faramir's compassion for Frodo and Sam here and the way
friendship with Gandalf links both Man and Hobbit.I'm glad I know
Gandalf is still alive or the memories of him would have made me sad.

Title: Men of the Twilight · Author: Elena Tiriel · Genres: Romance:
Drabbles · ID: 209
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2008-11-24 00:46:57
One of the things that I found amazing about LOTR was that we get so
little of Eomer and Eowyn after she is healed by Aragorn. Given that
Eomer nearly lost all his remaining close family in the space of a
week or so, I've always imagined him as sneaking away at every moment
to check in on Eowyn.

I love the way that Elena Tiriel writes that brother-sister
relationship into deserved prominence in order to highlight the shift
in Faramir's perspective: from "Twilight" being a predicate of an
entire people that renders them lower than the Numenoreans to being a
personal darkness of Éowyn that he wishes to lift.

Even those accounted wise have something to learn - or maybe
especially the wise have something to learn, or else they don't
deserve to be called wise! Well done, E.T.!

Title: Seeking the Sun · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Men · ID: 488
Reviewer: rosethorn59 · 2008-11-24 00:47:39
Hi Linda! This is a second try. I lost the first one. This is a very
good yet sad tale. I feel very badly for this poor woman, having lost
her husband, her child, her whole family, home, belongings, and just
basic neccessities for life. She has no money, no one to employ her
and she is living out in the streets. I can really feel her need to
blame someone for her trials in life. She blames Aragorn for the loss
of her husband, believing it his fault that her husband went and was
killed because he followed the King. I'm sure Aragorn mourned for
every lost soul in that battle, and if he had had his way, no one
would have had to go and fight. Her husband, I'm sure, just fought for
his King, wanting to help Middle Earth in her fight for freedom and
light. I'm sure her husband went willingly, never believing he would
die and leave his wife a widow. Arwen an Elven Witch? This lady has
lots to learn. I love when she slowly learns her King and Queen really
are very kind and compassionate people. They take her in, care for
her, inform her she is still with child, and then offer her
employment. How wonderful they are to her. She went from indignity and
hatred of the King and Queen to understanding and loving them. It is
very nice to see the viewpoint of a common 'anywoman' in a situation
like this. For this is not just about the royals and friends, but
about the commoners and subjects of the Kingdom as well. This is
another wonderful story, Linda. I liked it very, very much.

Title: Rose, Rose, Rose · Author: White Gull · Genres: Romance · ID: 619
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-24 00:52:25
I hope that Rosie's dream was but a dream yet I can imagine her having
thoughts like this while hoping she did not.One does wonder what
tensions might have arisen for these three sharing a home.An
atmospheric and well written story.

Title: Giving Gifts · Author: Marta · Genres: Humor: Other
Fixed-Length Ficlets · ID: 426
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-24 00:57:19
A delightfully amusing ficlet which shows Imrahil with an unexpected
sense of humour.He cannot much like his brother in law! I can almost
feel sorry for Denethor if he has to listen to his sons trying out
their gifts!

Title: Sharing Good News · Author: Imhiriel · Genres: Humor: Drabbles
· ID: 216
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-24 01:05:03
The grim, dour Ranger, on guard against every danger: that's the
individual we are introduced to in the trilogy - and for good reason.
At this point in his life, Aragorn has journeyed and served in Rohan
and Gondor, witnessed the forces and abilities of their enemies up
close... all the way to entering Mordor. He knows intimately the great
burden of his heritage and how seemingly hopeless is his destiny, and
has no illusions as to what he faces.

Acknowledging all that makes this drabble glimmer with the same
brightness as Aragorn's gobsmacked grin. How much did it mean to him,
to have Arwen's love returned? This much. To forget all the secrecy,
the weight of travail. To seek out and find a friend who could, in
hobbity simplicity refined by his own long travels and struggles,
rejoice in his outrageous joy. No doubt Aragorn confided this wondrous
news to others close to him. But I don't think the beautiful, grounded
and open heart of a Hobbit should be underestimated: I've always felt
that there's something about them that makes even the tiniest
happiness super-magnified, a sort of bubbly irrepressibly that can't
be resisted.

["Sharing Good News"] makes me think of all that and grin ridiculously

Title: Estel I Was Called · Author: Marta · Genres: Drama: Featuring
Aragorn · ID: 351
Reviewer: Linda Hoyland · 2008-11-24 01:05:34
I liked this story very much,especially Aragorn's yearning to know his
father and loneliness in his new home.It is one of the few stories
which details how Aragorn continued to keep his identity secret,a
detail I especially liked. I almost felt I was there where Aragorn was
looking around his old home and picking up the pelts.An outstanding
and well written story.

Title: An Autumn Fair in Halabor · Author: Soledad · Times: Mid Third
Age · ID: 165
Reviewer: dkpalaska · 2008-11-24 01:09:49
Oh, what a pleasure it is to slip into Soledad's magnificently
conjured creation again! Halabor is one of those fantasy constructs
that feel as real as any place I've physically visited; the people are
multi-layered and complex, realistic and believable. Anyone who's read
stories set in this little Middle-earth village knows that the author
has a vast knowledge of medieval times and puts it to enjoyable and
entertaining use. Not that the lives here are romanticized! No,
there's joy and sadness, wholeness and brokenness, all explored with
the same careful richness.

["An Autumn Fair in Halabor"] is a slightly different spin on past
works in that we get interactions between the common folk and some
visiting Elves. (I had a happy moment when I realized that I wanted to
go back and reread ["The Shoemaker's Daughter"] to fully appreciate
the segue into this story. Definitely NOT necessary to enjoy AAFiH,
but I liked having the excuse!)

One of the best parts of Halabor is the diverse community and complex
mix of cultures that Soledad has invented. The variety adds tremendous
depth and realism to all the interactions and plots. Every individual
gets meticulous attention from this author and feels delightfully
three-dimensional, no matter how small the part they play. (It's quite
enlightening and impressive to visit Soledad's character lists.)

All the roles that nobles and craftsmen fill to keep a small village
running and self-supporting are touched on to varying degrees; each
time I "visit" Halabor, I come away with a yet greater appreciation
for what it takes to live in a place and time like Gondor. Although I
dearly love seeing the same great and mighty heroes that Tolkien fans
typically adore, the behind-the-scenes looks that this author offers
serve to increase my awareness of all the "little people" that make
the noble lifestyle even possible.

Another wonderful addition to the Halabor Chronicles! Please keep
inviting us back, Soledad.

Title: Before the Black Gate · Author: Raksha the Demon · Times: Late
Third Age · ID: 45
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-24 01:33:28
For me, the interaction between Pippin and Beregond has always been
one of the better human elements in Tolkien's writings, and here
Raksha expands on it. She captures Pippin's hobbit sensibilities: he
dreams of food. Yet this is not trivialized and in fact, the way I
read this ficlet, there are complex layers here: Pippin's thoughts
return to his homeland in contrast to his grim situation. A shadow
hovers over Pippin and Beregond, just like the darkness that looms
over the Morannon. The sub-text, which Raksha captures so well here is
the real possibility that this is the last meal shared between
comrades-in-arms and friends.

Raksha's prose is well-chosen, e.g.,
[A Man's booted feet appeared. Pippin looked up into the face of his
friend Beregond.] conjures an immediate image. She nicely crafts
Pippin's irrepressible personality yet also gives him sobriety, too,
which is just how I've imagined one of my two (Meriadoc is the other
one) favorite hobbit-types.

A nice ficlet, and I would like to think that Pippin eventually got
that breakfast of [bacon, poached eggs, toast drowning in butter and
strawberry jam], a man after my own heart!

Title: Tying Notes · Author: Imhiriel · Times: Late Third Age: Gondor
Drabbles · ID: 378
Reviewer: pandemonium_213 · 2008-11-24 01:49:16
I'm intrigued by the South and the East of Middle-earth (and hope to
write a story or two pertaining to such in the future) so Imrihiel's
drabble about Faramir was like eating a delicious ripe date. With the
opening sentence, Imhiriel creates a sensual exotic atmosphere. Using
these beautifully chosen words, Imhiriel lets the reader know that
there are undulating odalisques about in the tent. In the next
sentence, we find Faramir, immersed in an apparent cultural exchange
with the Haradrim. I admire Faramir's diplomacy and intellectual

Title: I Ain't Got Nobody · Author: Ignoble Bard · Genres: Humor:
Valar & Maiar · ID: 568
Reviewer: Keiliss · 2008-11-24 01:59:49

Sorry, that wasn't very articulate, but it really is the best response
I am capable of offering this work of art. Poor, accident-prone,
desperately unfortunate Glorfindel, and equally poor, exasperated,
over-worked Námo. Finally all is made clear; that really bad ending to
Glorfindel's encounter with the Balrog was nothing more than one
amongst many episodes of just really bad luck. Would have liked to be
a fly on the wall when he explained that one to the Lord of Mandos.

This fic should at least come with a beverage warning and was a really
good laugh. My favourite line? Too many to mention them all, but this
one might be near the top of the list: ["You do this one more time and
I'm putting you in a Troll!"]