Never Speak Nor Sing

Author: Claudio

Nominator: Jael

2007 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: House of Fingolfin

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Dark themes and non-graphic slash.

Summary: Early in the First Age, Glorfindel arrives in Fingolfin's court at Eithel Sirion with one purpose in mind: to find his father.

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Reviewed by: Jael  ✧  Score: 10

This was the story that made a First Age fan out of me. Fingolfin? Fingon? What a bunch of noble, boring, prissy elves, or so I thought after reading the Silmarillion. Well, not in this story! You give us complex, utterly believable characters who are actually interesting. The setting of Eithel Sirion, previously unknown to me, comes alive for me, seen through the eyes of a very young Glorfindel, newly arrived from Valinor. The culture clash between the Noldor and the Sindar, whose land they seem to have casually co-opted, is handled very well through the language differences, difficulties in communication, and little offhand details you throw in. Your original characters come alive for me. In particular, Armion, a former proud Sindarin leader, run afoul of the Noldorin sense of entitlement to newly 'discovered' lands, broken, and now bitter. And Lailanel, a sweet, if rather clueless young lady who reads the Elven version of romance novels and has a hopeless yen for her cousin. I find myself looking forward to learning what happens to those two. Your take on the canon characters is equally interesting. This is not Tolkien's noble Fingon the Valiant. Yours is frighteningly flawed, dark, yet compelling all the same. And your Oropher! I never expected to see a version of Oropher serving in such a 'unique' capacity to King Fingolfin, but I have fallen in love with this young Sindarin lad, outwardly simple and direct, while hiding an ambitious streak and making the best of a depressing situation. This is professional quality work in fanfiction -- a very rare thing.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 10

This is the beginning of an epic story cycle that has me completely hooked, despite the fact that it takes some of my favorite characters and relieves them of all of the most obvious of their admirable characteristics and puts them in a series of circumstances that are definitely not likely to result in heroics. But that is all surface—underneath the indignities to which the author subjects Glorfindel and Fingon in particular, although no actor in this piece is really safe from his razor-sharp wit, a warmth and humanity pervades the entire series. I guess backed into a corner and forced to pick what I consider the absolute best single story in Tolkien fanfiction (or best introductory story to a story cycle, as I would not want to discount the stories that follow this one), I would be hard-pressed not to pick this one. The conception of plot and character is ambitious and promises much and so far the subsequent parts of this story arc have lived up to its initial promise. The backstory for the entire related group of stories is enormous and wickedly creative, not revealed at once, but little-by-little as stories are added. The standard cliffhanger is a trite trick compared to the manner in which this writer draws one into his world. On a totally different point, if there were awards for "best author's notes ever" these would be my nomination. I have quoted them extensively in private correspondence. My favorite lines are: [the characters are grumpy, quarrelsome, spiteful, cruel, arrogant, and a variety of other unpleasant adjectives besides.... But the Elves of the Silmarillion did lie, steal, fight, discriminate, kidnap, covet, attempt rape, betray, murder, and so on. And in Tolkien's early drafts, they were far worse.] If that description wouldn't make someone want to read this story I don't know what would. Oh, yes, beautifully written, and the knowledge of canon reflected and use of Tolkien's languages are great fun.