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Msg# 9569

MEFA Reviews for Tuesday, November 25, 2008 Posted by annmarwalk November 25, 2008 - 19:37:05 Topic ID# 9569
Title: The Shadow Author: Linda Hoyland Genres: Drama: Ring War
Drabbles ID: 25
Reviewer: juliaaurelia 2008-11-25 00:00:58
Spoilers!
Poor Smeagol! Frodo is having dark thoughts in this one. One hopes
that the a shadow cannot cross the sea, so that the Rinbearer may find
peace at last.

Title: Comes the moment to decide Author: Linda Hoyland Times:
Late Third Age: Gondor ID: 418
Reviewer: juliaaurelia 2008-11-25 00:04:59
Spoilers!
A very well written, very sad story. Nope, Denethor was never going to
win Father of the Year, especially after he started playing with the
Palantir. At the end of the story, one wishes they could reassure
Faramir that better days are on the way.

Title: Dol Amroth Yule Author: Isabeau of Greenlea Genres:
Adventure ID: 295
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel 2008-11-25 01:19:30
Spoilers!
Isabeau's short story "Dol Amroth Yule" describes a couple of days in
the life of her original female character Hethlin, as she serves as a
Swan Knight trainee in Prince Imrahil's domain under the tutelage of
the OMC weapons-master, Andrahar.

We get a satisfying glimpse into the life of an esquire and the
behind-the-scene workings of the Prince's castle. Hethlin is resentful
that she is the focus of so much unpleasant personal attention and
training from Andrahar, who, from his own standpoint, is trying to
remedy her profound deficiencies in weapons handling.

She is also the target of pranks from other esquires, and is punished
for her perceived tardiness. That is when we get a chance to see the
kitchens at Dol Amroth preparing for Yule feasting, and the richness
of detail and cheerful interactions with the staff [Chopper!] are
interesting. (Being a baker wannabe myself, I especially enjoyed the
description of decorating the swanship cake.)

Hethlin feels unfairly treated, but she has the grace to bear her
burdens well, which serves her well in the two major tests to follow.

Hethlin's various interactions with other characters are fascinating
and well-drawn... she is angry Andrahar for his especially demanding
toughness with her, yet respects his skills, determination, and
position. She treats pages and maids well, and is well-liked by the
kitchen staff. She shrugs off being hazed by the other esquires. She
has a sharp eye for personal detail during a fight with corsairs,
which comes in handy later.

Andrahar behaves uncharacteristically in this story, and it is
shocking (but he makes amends in the sequel, "Reparation"). But
Hethlin makes a great effort to control her anger, when to do
otherwise would be to be dismissed from the Swan Knights. Though she
did not choose to join them, she will do her utmost to uphold their honor.

And I so enjoyed the ending, though I will never look at marmalade the
same way again!


Title: Above All Shadows Author: Ignoble Bard Genres: Alternate
Universe ID: 492
Reviewer: Oshun 2008-11-25 02:44:19
Spoilers!
This is a completely unique and beautifully constructed AU account of
events that are totally familiar to LotR readers. The author alters a
few little details and thereby introduces a mystery completely
engaging the reader, heightening their tension, and drawing them into
this story. It is particularly effective that he takes one of the
beloved members of the Fellowship and a selflessly hero and places him
in harms way, in fact, has us wondering if he is suffering hero or a
representative of evil. The mystery element is not only one for the
reader but even more torturously one for the protagonist as well. A
progression of memories are recovered bit-by-bit, like peeling the
skins off an onion, at times, however, masking as much as they expose,
by revealing more and more about mysterious events from the past life
of Legolas.

One of IgnobleBard's skills as a writer of Tolkien fanfiction to
immerse himself into the style of the original in such a way that
one's feels it could be a missing chapter from the book. The story is
written in the first person, one of the most difficult voices to get
right, and the author creates a true and consistent voice for Legolas
that never falters. He also builds a convincing and consistent
characterization for his principle character. The reader becomes
emotionally involved, not just with Legolas, but Aragorn as well. The
tale as it is told here requires extreme and careful attention to
canon details on the part of the writer. One of the signs for one of
an exemplary AU story is that the alterations to the original are
tiny, but turn the whole story upon its head and leave the outcome in
doubt for the reader. This is exactly what happens in this one. What
fun to read an account of facts, personalities, and details with which
one is so familiar and yet be holding one's breathe until nearly the
last line before knowing for sure how the story will be resolved.


Title: Reparation Author: Isabeau of Greenlea Races: Men ID: 296
Reviewer: Elena Tiriel 2008-11-25 02:54:34
Spoilers!
Isabeau's story "Reparation" is a sequel to "Dol Amroth Yule", in
which her deeply honorable, but humanly flawed, original male
character, Andrahar, Captain and Armsmaster of the Swan Knights,
struck an esquire under his command, Hethlin, an OFC.

This story occurs the day after the events of "DAY". Andrahar is
musing over his failings - in his view, one profound one in
particular: he allowed a woman, who turned out to be an assassin, near
the royal family. He is also reflecting on his challenges, like
teaching Hethlin to be a full-fledged warrior when Imrahil is smitten
with her.

We get the real sense of just how honorable a man he is: his
self-criticism is thorough, accurate, and unsparing, and he has a
grudging respect for Hethlin's actions in "DAY", which made up for his
failure to protect the royal family members.

But this is where another OMC, Andrahar's young ward Brand, enters the
story. Both of these characters are well-drawn. Brand is loyal and
uncertain of his own opinion, as befits a lad of his tender age. But
he recognizes dysfunctional behavior from his own background in such a
family, and he is courageous and forthright enough to voice his
observations to Andrahar.

The resulting action is an appropriate resolution to Andrahar's
misconduct, and we come away from this story respecting him, Hethlin,
and Brand even more.

A well-written and very satisfying story! And, like all of Isabeau's
stories with Andrahar and Brand (and her Imrahil), I enjoy re-reading
it regularly.


Title: Chance Encounter Author: przed Races: Men: Steward's Family
ID: 5
Reviewer: agape4gondor 2008-11-25 03:16:23
Very interesting and well written tale about Boromir and a chance
meeting with Aragorn in Boromir's youth. I loved the easy feel of the
tale and Boromir's journey, the incident that occurs, and the
intervention of Aragorn. As I said, very nicely written. I'm saving
the link for reading your other LOTR tales.

Title: Hearts of Stone Author: Elen Kortirion Races: Men: General
Fixed-Length Ficlets ID: 12
Reviewer: agape4gondor 2008-11-25 03:48:32
To the author: Oh my goodness. The whole concept took my breath away.
I loved the premise. Especially the Boromir one. Unique thought and
great perspective. Don't want to give away much - but I absolutely
loved these. Forgive my greed, but couldn't you continue....

To readers: A series of three drabbles about precious and not-so
precious stones. One thing I would like to mention - I know nothing of
stones or precious gems (except perhaps jade and diamonds) but the way
the author speaks of each stone - I think the author might be in love
with stones and pebbles too! You don't have to be a geologist to love
these little pieces - the sentiment overshadows evern the loveliest stone!

Each drabble, of course, could stand on its own - but the first about
Arwen was so sweet, and the second about Aragorn was almost whimsical,
but the third, about Boromir just broke my heart. I also liked the
fact that the stones took on a life of their own, as did some of the
places where they were found. You almost made them 'human' and that
helped the reader enjoy these thoroughly. IMHO.

Great writing, Elen...

Psst - So you now give us a clue as to what Aragorn did on those long,
lonely nights in the wilderness?!? Well (blushes furiously) when he
was alone.....

Title: The Clear Ringing Of Silver Trumpets Author: Lithilien
Quicksilver Genres: Drama: Featuring Boromir or Faramir ID: 278
Reviewer: agape4gondor 2008-11-25 04:18:15
Spoilers!
From the moment this tale starts, I am caught up, for the author uses
action words to immediately snare her reader. Her use of italics in
parts really underscores the intensity of the moment lived. This scene
has been written over and over again - but I read this many, many
years ago and it still lingered in my heart - enough to finally urge
me to nominate it. It's when a story stands the sands of time that one
knows it is good.

Boromir's first moments of shame are hard to read. He has never been
confronted like this, I think. I love how he yells at himself - and
then forces himself to take some sort of action.

Then, when he knows the Hobbits are in trouble, he runs forward, his
natural bravery shining through, his need to be of use - Ah! It makes
one sad to think the poor Captain-General of Gondor might have needed
to feel useful...

His bravado as he reaches the battle for the Hobbits, his sense of
purpose, his humor, even in the midst of this horror, all shine
through. I loved the lines stolen from the after-math of Moria - it
lends a bitter taste to the fact that Boromir might just be realizing
he could lose this battle. His concern for why his horn call is not
answered... his fierce determination, his disregard for his wounds...
his contempt for his enemies.... And at the last, as he lay in
Aragorn's arms...

Even though it is movie-verse and follows it closely, there is such a
wealth of 'MORE' that touches the heart of this great warrior.

Of course - the ending line is heart-breaking and glorious! This is
really one of my favoritest tales.



Title: The Lost Restored Author: Larner Times: Late Third Age:
Gondor ID: 59
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2008-11-25 04:51:23
Spoilers!
A well-textured and sensitively written account of the search and
caring for Frodo and Sam after Sauron's fall; with Smeagol, as the
earlier, long-tortured Ringbearer, also searched and grieved for by
Gandalf. I loved the ending, where Frodo meets the restored Smeagol in
the realms beyond Death a long time later, and all wrongs are forgiven.



Title: Jewels of Light Author: Larner Races: Cross-Cultural:
Friendship ID: 394
Reviewer: Raksha the Demon 2008-11-25 05:52:41
Spoilers!
A touching vignette that, while it contains beautiful descriptions of
Frodo and Sam, is even more remarkable in its presentation of Legolas
and in particular Gimli. Legolas and Gimli find common ground in
understanding the power and grace to which their companions are being
shaped in the Quest - Legolas sees the Light in them, Gimli sees them
as great gems molded by the Shaper - which is wonderfully appropriate
to this Dwarf who has seen so much, in a brief time, of other peoples.
Larner brings out, through this fascinating dialogue between Legolas
and Gimli, the beginning of their recognition of a very special
friendship - their own.

Unusual and thought-provoking.

Title: Nerdanel's Sons Author: Istarnie Races: Elves: Incomplete
ID: 659
Reviewer: Larner 2008-11-25 07:02:57
Spoilers!
Alas that this is as yet unfinished; yet we see the beginnings and
moods of four of the sons of Nerdanel and Feanor as they were within
Aman. A sad thing, to know how much they were beloved and yet how they
took the oath of their father and so sealed themselves to be lost to
their own, allowing the hatred of Melkor to enter their hearts and
lead so many of their folk away from Aman to the Mortal Lands, in too
many cases to loss of their own honor, and in the end to the deaths of
six of the seven.

Sad and painful as well as full of promise lost--the story is told in
beautiful language and imagery, and is well conceived as well as well
researched.

Definitely a worthy story to read and contemplate.

Title: Name Calling: Group Identity and the Other among First Age
Elves Author: Angelica Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 322
Reviewer: Robinka 2008-11-25 11:20:24
A very well constructed, informative and well written essay. I
recently got to re-read the part of the HoME the essay deals with, and
I found Angelica's work very interesting. Thank you for writing this.

Title: Arvedui v. Pelendur Author: Roh Wyn Genres: Non-Fiction
ID: 277
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-25 15:34:38
Like the author, I have always been fascinated by the part of the
appendices dealing with the claim of Isildur's descendants to the
throne of Gondor, in large part because it colours Denethor's attitude
towards Aragorn. Unlike Roh_Wyn, I have no legal background, only
general knowledge about rules of inheritanace, so it was fascinating
to read a lawyerly perspective on the matter. Roh_Wyn explains the
legal situation and implications clearly: it's amusing to realise what
a chancer Arvedui was when the inadequacy of his legal arguments are
exposed, and good to know Faramir's decision was legally consistent as
well as politically astute and, as Roh_Wyn puts it, ["The Right Thing
To Do"]. Not that I don't doubt Faramir could have found a suitable
justification even Aragorn's claim had conflicted with Pelendur's
decision! A fine essay that should be required reading for anyone
arguing about Aragorn's claim to the throne -- bravo!

Title: The Myth of the One Ring's Power Author: Dreamflower
Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 532
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-25 15:34:47
In this essay, Dreamflower provides a comprehensive and fascinating
review of the power of the One Ring and its effect of those who came
into contact with it and knew about its existence. With delightfully
clear prose, she steps the reader carefully through the logic of her
argument and lays bare the nature and source of the limitations on the
One Ring's power. An excellent exploration of one of the major themes
of the Lord of the Rings well done!


Title: Tolkien's Parish: The Canonical Middle-earth Author: Steuard
Jensen Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 91
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-25 15:34:53
In this essay, Steuard Jensen lays out a clear and effective framework
for choosing between the many different versions of Tolkien's works in
deciding of the "truth" about Middle-earth. The framework allows
readers to determine their own particular "truth" according to what is
most important to them, while helping them appreciate why other
readers may come to different conclusions. As Steuard astutely
remarks, ["Many heated debates could be more polite and productive if
the participants understood each other's assumptions."] A very
interesting read -- well done!


Title: The Importance of Being Bilbo Author: Dreamflower Genres:
Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 686
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-25 15:34:59
This is a delightful essay that pulls together some scholarship of
which most Tolkien fans are probably not aware and then builds on it.
Dreamflower makes a very convincing case for writing more fiction
about Bilbo and her list of areas for further exploration at the end
is dangerously enticing! A very enjoyable read -- well done!


Title: On Canon and Fanfic Author: Marta Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 123
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-25 15:35:05
This polemic by Marta about how terms relating to canonicity are used,
misused and bandied about in fandom communities is both entertaining
and thought-provoking. Her take is personal, but -- in the spirit of
the essay as a whole -- never a lecture to her readers about what is
right or wrong, but rather a discussion that helps readers consider
their own stance on the matter. Good work!

Title: NIGHT and FOREST: A Glimpse of Beauty Author: Fiondil
Times: First Age and Prior ID: 554
Reviewer: hrymfaxe 2008-11-25 16:55:59
Maeve tells an interesting story of how difficult it can be to be
different, and how wast the gulfs can be between our expectations and
the reality of things.

I love this image of Melian even if it makes me very sad for her. The
love she feels for Thingol must be strong indeed for her to have given
such a sacrifice as she has.

Beautiful story with a very interesting theory on Maian nature.

Title: Moved to Pity Author: Imhiriel Genres: Drama: General
Drabbles ID: 366
Reviewer: MithLuin 2008-11-25 20:51:34
Awww, nicely done! I have always thought that an interesting moment,
hidden away from all other eyes. Seeing the two of them react
afterwards is a nice touch, because Namo is not usually someone we see
as needing comfort!

Title: Lost and Found Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn) Times: Mid
Third Age ID: 23
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-25 23:08:16
A very lovely interaction between kindred spirits! The
characterizations are marvellous and well-drawn; I really enjoyed
their conversations and exchanges as they walked through the library.
The descriptions of the surroundings did an excellent job of staging
the scene, and I love Faramir's already-budding deductive and
intellectual skills!

Title: The Best Sword Ever Author: Linaewen Times: Mid Third Age
ID: 290
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-25 23:22:22
Spoilers!
I love how this neatly encapsulates Thorongil's relationship with
Denethor (["...yet subtly opposed him on a personal level in such a
way that even the most successful outcome of a discussion seemed
bought at great cost."]) although it does not dwell much on it. The
rivalry is described just as I would picture it: with respect for
Denethor and without casting blame. Very good depiction of Thorongil's
thoughts; I felt he and Denethor's characters were well portrayed and
true to the individuals we'd meet in LotR.

Little Boromir steals the show, of course! Precocious and clever and
very sweet in his demanding way, it was very interesting to get the
contrast between initial relationship and later meeting, of childlike
trust becoming the doubt-ridden regard of a man who has seen and
experienced many brushes with evil. Well done!

Title: The Skills That Keep You Alive Author: Gwynnyd Times: Mid
Third Age ID: 434
Reviewer: dkpalaska 2008-11-25 23:34:21
Delightful, wonderful and absolutely creative take on the prompt! I
had a big laugh-out-loud moment at the final line (which followed
right on the heels of an "Ooo, yes!" moment concerning a handful of
oil...).

The vision of young Estel is simply excellent. Gwynnyd depicts the
restless-boy syndrome perfectly: I can so clearly see him dancing
around the room, surrounded by amused Elves. Glorfindel has obviously
had much experience with patience; his examples and gently-given
lecture had me grinning at their inventiveness and successful
implementation.

Terrific finish, running down through all those long-ago lessons so
doggedly learned. Great job!

Title: A Woman in Few Words: The Character of Nerdanel and Her
Treatment in Canon and Fandom Author: Dawn Felagund Genres:
Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 107
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-26 00:08:04
Dawn Felagund has put together a broad-ranging essay about Nerdanel
which successfully addresses several key issues. Firstly, she
substantiates -- through an analysis of stories, the details of which
are presented in the appendix -- her perception that Nerdanel is
important and beloved by fanfic writers, especially compared with
other female characters in the Silmarillion,. Secondly, she presents a
comprehensive review of the canon facts about Nerdanel, and discusses
the kinds of conclusions about the character that may be drawn from
those facts -- as well as identifying some widespread fanons that are
not supported in Tolkien's writings. Thirdly, she presents a
discussion of why fanfic writers are so enamoured of such a "minor"
character. I learned a great deal reading this essay, and greatly
enjoyable reading Dawn's clear and engaging prose highly recommended!

Title: On Hobbits Author: Aratlithiel Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 457
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-26 00:08:09
In this very personal essay, Aralithiel presents us with an intriguing
insight into her answer to the question "What draws you to hobbits and
Frodo in particular?" I particularly enjoyed reading her thoughts on
the general character of Hobbits and the difference between that and
the characters of the leading Hobbit protagonists and also the
differences between them. I always enjoy hearing about what attracts
other fans in the fandom and this was no exception -- thank you!

Title: Pride and Despair: A Defense of Ecthelion's Son Author: Marta
Genres: Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 624
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-26 00:08:13
One of the things Marta and I have always had in common is a
fascination with Denethor. As she points out in her notes, we have had
many discussions over the years about him and about what Tolkien wrote
about him and exactly what that means. This essay does an excellent
job of pulling together a wealth of canon material as a jumping-off
point for reviewing Denethor's character and actions, and it was a
delight to read it and both rediscover her take on the debates we've
already had and encounter some new thoughts from her about areas of
canon we hadn't got round to exploring together. While I don't expect
anyone reading this essay to fall in love with him, I think it will
provide a great deal more understanding of one of Tolkien's most
subtle, complex and maddening characters. Good work!

Title: One Step More - The Heroism of Frodo Baggins Author:
ConnieMarie Genres: Non-Fiction: Character Studies ID: 395
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-26 00:08:17
ConnieMarie presents a fascinating exploration of why Frodo offers a
different model of heroism to that in much mainstream culture and
shows why that is dismissed by some but appeals to many more of us. In
an often personalised discussion, she shows how this character in a
"fantasy" novel resonates with the way we experiences our own lives.
Very thought-provoking!


Title: Name Calling: Group Identity and the Other among First Age
Elves Author: Angelica Genres: Non-Fiction ID: 322
Reviewer: Tanaqui 2008-11-26 00:08:21
As Angelica notes in the summary for this essay, there is a "wealth of
knowledge" to be found in the writings of Tolkien included in the
History of Middle-earth series. Here, she summarises and presents some
of Tolkien's fundamental ideas about Elves from the tenth volume in a
form which is easily accessible and digestible for the general reader.
(Or, perhaps, for those like me who are mainly interested in other
cultures and races.). Her writing is clear and well-structured, and
her summary gave me a better understanding of the subtleties of Elven
culture than I had previously. A good and useful read!

Title: The Littlest Warrior Author: RavensWing14337 Races: Elves:
Incomplete ID: 552
Reviewer: Larner 2008-11-26 01:21:54
A very--cute--story. Many parts well written; others a bit too given
to the cuteness of baby Estel. As Erestor notes, in this child they
have a born negotiator. As for the villain of the piece--definitely
frightening.