For What I Wait

Author: Dawn Felagund

Nominator: Rhapsody

2008 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe: Angst/Tragedy - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: discussion of suicide and death

Summary: Written for an AU challenge "in which Fëanor outlives all of his children." Fëanor and Maglor, together at the end.(n/a)

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Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 10

This story hits the reader into the gut and will pierce your heart. To some who read this, it might hit very close to home. It is so hard to really let go of someone you love or find understanding as to why someone would chose for such an end (but who is waiting fro what, the release or having a son returned?). Mix that with the love of a parent who tries to find out or mayhap does not want to see the truth until it is too late. When reading Fëanor's narrative, Dawn carefully portrays how hard it is to find acceptance when you loose someone close, even if you know deep down inside you cannot hold them in this life forever. It just felt that he just hung on to that last shred of hope, the deeply rooted pain, and fear of loosing someone, ultimately the pain softens a bit, but the profound missing is there. Feänor just goes about it, knows where he fails, but he is so far from accepting the naked truth which I think is the most difficult one to face. Well the end as he stands there, I think it slowly gets there for him. This realisation is buried deep inside of Feänor, but when reading it once more I think it might take a long time when he finally is able to, I am glad Maglor found his peace, very glad indeed. The underlying themes of this piece is yet again the folly and destruction of the oath and there is also the bit of giving life and letting it go, I think it is something many can identify with. This is a marvellous piece of writing and a daring AU, simply outstanding prose that stands out in its intimacy and simplicity.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 10

If Feanor had survived, I can well imagine that this would be his fate. It was easy to see him curled around Maglor, struggling to give him life again. The story easily reminds one of Feanor's own fiery spirit and the drive the possessed him to follow the Silmarils. But a very long life has changed him, and there are moments in this story that touch on the very depths of those changes. The idea that Feanor refuses to weep again out of fear that he will never stop weeping is heart-wrenching, but even more grievous are his memories of Maedhros. Feanor remembers Maedhros's suicide as a rejection of his father's gift of life rather than the more probable explanation that it was an escape from the horrors that plagued their family. And even though it seems he may have forgiven Maedhros, there's still a twinge of bitterness. His desperation to keep at least Maglor with him also seemed bitter, and it was clear he fought a losing battle. Very dark and very despairing. I'm not Feanor's biggest fan, but even I felt sorry for him in the end. And of course I ached for poor Maglor. The thought that his sorrow had taken even his voice was a sobering realization. Beautifully nuanced tale with a great eye for the characterization of one of Tolkien's most complicated families.

Reviewed by: viv  ✧  Score: 8

This is just gorgeous, a heart-wrenching what-if positing that Feanor survived his sons to endure the loss of each, and Maglor (unlike the Feanor in the story, I'm just too used to the "new tongue") last of all, crazed and grief-stricken on that beach. Dawn, is the song your own original composition? It begs to be set to music. I thought something especially interesting about this story was that Feanor, seemingly humbled by sorrow, sidestepped the discussion of regret (saying simply that he had some regrets, but then not wanting to talk about it anymore), and didn't appear to accept the blame for what happened to his sons, which he probably ought to do, all things considered. That is exactly as I imagine Feanor would be, had he lived. Also, his extraordinary hubris continues to astonish me: twice he speaks of having given animus -- all by himself, mind -- to his sons. Methinks Nerdanel and Eru both might take issue with that, but it is so in-character for Feanor to think it. Even in grief, he's completely full of himself. :) Excellent character portrait here, Dawn Felagund.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 7

Trying to pick a beginning for an AU is tricky, because that really does affect what the author can do to suspend the reader's disbelief. Usually, AU stories try to offer an explanation of some sort for how the story diverged, but Dawn takes a riskier path and makes us rely solely on the strength of emotion present in the writing. We have to invest in this scene - a sort of desacralized pieta between father and dying son - and construct a possible answer. Feanor helps us a little, but since he himself does not know exactly what has happened to Maglor, we are still left to wonder, and we do not know what diverted Feanor from his own fate. The Maedhros intervention was interesting - I can believe Feanor would've viewed Maedhros's suicide in these terms. It's less certain to me how that event works in terms of this story, which seems to take place a long time afterwards. Nevertheless, intriguing possibility, and a very poignant end for Maglor.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 7

Even after reading [For What I Wait] numerous times, I am still uncertain about this story. Beyond the plot and symbolism that are decipered easily enough, and fit as snugly in all of Dawn's stories - not just as baubles but as vital contributions to a whole - there is a lingering sense of -- something behind the words. This is, to be certain, very emotive writing with a bitter edge as Feanor considers his quest, his children, his life, and in this AU scenario experiences the death of his last remaining son. Dawn Felagund without a doubt is one of the finest Silmfic authors, and this is no exception to her great work. That 'something behind the words' seems deliberately mysterious, as does the placement of the story in time: Deliberately hinted at, but never fully explained. It does much for the atmosphere here, and coupled with the chilling cold, not only regarding the surroundings described in the story but also with plot-events, this becomes an outstanding piece of work and is a very deserved nomination indeed.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

Reading this story, I can feel Feanor's anguish at the full depth of what he has done. He is great - perhaps great and terrible, but great nonetheless - and I cannot imagine that he would not feel the full weight of his "sins" once his madness had passed. In an odd way this isn't unlike my conception of hell (exposure without end to the full weight of our actions, without hope of redemption), and that makes the angst all the more potent. I think for an artist like Feanor, to have to watch his artist-son lose the ability to sing would be exquisite torture; all the moreso when you consider that it was his refusal to give up the end of his art (his silmarils) that led to Maglor's loss of the ability to produce his art. This is angst at its highest, and any fan of the Feanorians won't want to miss it.

Reviewed by: Robinka  ✧  Score: 5

When I first read this story I seemed to have no suitable words to offer as a review. I was there, sitting completely awed and did not know what to say – whether to say anything because I felt that nothing I would tell Dawn Felagund about her story would accurately reflect what I was feeling. This story brought tears to my eyes. It is wonderfully written, but the very idea is one of those that we may expect to be heart-breaking. What if Fëanor outlived all of his children? At first, I recalled Théoden’s words from the Two Towers when he said that no parent should bury their child, but this story is much more than that. Poignant, haunting, sorrowful and beautiful tale. Great job!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 4

Intense and sorrowful AU-look at Maglor after he has been left the sole surviving son of Fëanor, and his deteriorating state of mind. It's painful to watch Fëaor here actually witnessing what happens with his last surviving son; and, as he tells in the story, Maedhros' ending, as well. Maglor seems to have lost all moorings to life and reality after Maedhro's end. I loved this sentence, describing Maglor's weakening voice: ["It trembled like moonlight on the water or stars beneath a haze or a body spent in passion."]

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 4

Oh, Dawn, this is such a powerful story, intense, sad, and gut-wrenching in its despair. And yet, even through that despair comes the beauty of it. Watching a loved one fade away without the possibility to halt it, is something very hard to do, and you capture it perfectly. However, the effect of Macalaure's song on his father, and the way said father reflect about his sons, is also powerful, indeed. And then the end! This story will stay for me for quite some time.

Reviewed by: Beruthiel's Cat  ✧  Score: 4

Chillingly tragic, one wonders if this is what it will take to bring Feanor to final repentance, or instead plunge him completely into madness. Surely he has given up all hope for himself, though he still clings with desperstion to the possibility the children he so wronged will be forgiven.Couldn't pass this one by without comment, although leaving a worthy review for such an emotional piece is totally beyond my ability. Be assured, I will be thinking about the tale told here for a long time to come.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Oh, how emotional a story--this AU of Feanor outliving the last of his sons as Maglor finally leaves his life behind, his last spoken thoughts of his brother Maedhros. So poignant and painful as we watch the slow decline of Macalaure and the maddened grief of his father at the end! Superbly written!