Forth to War
Author: Dawn Felagund
2009 Award Category: Genres: Ficlets: Elven Lands Fixed-Length Ficlets - Second Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet Series
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: thematic content, mention of battle violence, mild sexual innuendo
Summary: Just before the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, Mablung and Beleg convince their King to let them march forth to war but at what cost?(Seven 200-word ficlets.)
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 9
What a powerful characterization of both Beleg and Thingol! I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting from either character when I began reading, but I was both surprised and elated at what Dawn Felagund managed to produce. There's also some good characterization for Mablung, but it's implied more than stated. Mablung's focus is primarily outward, and so his perspective on other characters is easy to see while his own characterization must be drawn from that perspective. Beyond the characterization, there's also a foreboding sense of looming fate throughout these double drabbles. Mablung's repeated musings regarding the cost of their actions keeps pointing the reader's attention forward. Through hindsight, we know what's about to happen, but it gains new significance through Mablung's preoccupation with cost. In a way, he's the bridge between the politically-minded Thingol and the dutiful warrior that is Beleg. He sees both sides, and though he stands with Beleg, it seems he is acquiring more of a taste for the politics and the weighing of consequences, even if part of that weight is measured in lives lost.
Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 ✧ Score: 6
Dawn's well-known artistry in wordsmithing and storytelling shine forth in this series of seven double drabbles that tell of Beleg's decision to join the Noldor in what will become known as the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, and the younger Mablung's decision to join him. Dawn portrays Beleg and Mablung in a very satisfying manner as mentor and student. Mablung's young voice comes through clearly in his uncertainty of the decision yet his great trust in Beleg, one of the Unbegotten, which with just a few phrases, Dawn captures as ancient and mysterious as the earth itself. Likewise, Dawn applies deft brush strokes to show Thingol as a conflicted and flawed ruler. [Forth to War] is an evocative piece and character study that is characteristic of Dawn's consistently high-calibre writing.
Reviewed by: Ragnelle ✧ Score: 5
These ficlets were very well written. I am a little at loss as to what to say about them, mainly because it is hard to describe them without making them sound flat and trivial. And they are far from that; Dawn Felagund has created something that must be read to fully be understood. The seven parts tell the story of a friendship that I until now had disregarded. The friendship of Túrin and Beleg is so well-known that I had not considered before the relationship between Beleg and Malbung, and through this story I have gotten to know both of them better. And this she manages with few words. Very well done.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 5
Full of anxiety, this set of short ficlets touches on a number of issues - kingship and its perils, place, a long friendship between an older and a much younger Elf, myths, marriages that aren't perhaps quite working, and the abyss of the future. Mablung's perspective overall gives us a sense of someone who knows he has set himself to a task that will have ramifications beyond what any can foresee, and he feels them as a burden. Neither dreams nor friendship offer any comfort, nor shed any reliable light on what is going to unfold. Dawn really captures the mood well in this short series - good work!
Reviewed by: Robinka ✧ Score: 4
I have always thought that Mablung's and Beleg's decision to go to the Nirnaeth alone could not have been a sort of 'hoooray, we go fight' idea. In this series, Dawn presents a take on the two friends' decision and the consequences of it. I love the portrayals of both Beleg and Mablung. Each of them has a distinct voice, which is quite a task to accomplish in such a short story. I also love the glimpse at Thingol -- creepy, for lack of a better word, and yet fitting. Great job, Dawn! Thanks :)
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
There are moments when one stops to wonder, ["What have we wrought?"] and this proves one of them as Mablung and Beleg march out of Doriath to join the Feanorians in their latest push against Morgoth. This ficlet series easily captures the feelings of need accompanied by the feelings of unease and expresses it well, making it a fine mood piece. Characterizations are well presented, as well as the regrets once the questions set in. Dawn has done a fine job here.
Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel ✧ Score: 2
Dawn's really managed to pack the emotional punch to the gut impact of war into a very few words with this piece.