Shadows and Memories

Author: mirach

Nominator: Ellynn

2011 Award Category: Villains: General - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: They walked in each other's shadow, and only after their meeting, they can be free. Éowyn and the Witch-king – let each of them tell you their story...

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

How was it for these two once they faced each other upon the field of battle? What did they know, remember, once each one’s challenge was made and responded to? How did they find themselves once more once blade clove the undead flesh of the Lord of the Nazgul? Mirach has done a remarkable job of offering the Witch-king a backstory, of showing the life he left, the one he embraced, the woman who awaited him in Middle Earth, the offer of (apparent) everlasting life—but at what cost? The pride of the Nazgul is expressed, along with the realization that this pride is, in the end, an empty thing. And we see Eowyn remembering how she’d come to the decision to ride to war in her uncle’s train, her childhood declaration she would avenge her father’s death at the hands of the orcs, the decision even before it was born to name the expected foal Windfola, the realization that it is not the northern lord with his nobility she wants—that she wishes instead to be LIKE him. And the decision to accept life again. Two come to find themselves once more, one by accepting the death he’d evaded for years, finding freedom in death; one by choosing to live in spite of the uncertainties. Mirach has written so many beautiful works—and this is a worthy one!

Reviewed by: Ragnelle  ✧  Score: 7

In this story Mirach ties together many different treads, perhaps something that is necessary in a tale that traces the life of such different characters as the Witch-king and Eowyn. The small glimpses from their lives, alternating between the two voices, seemed to me disjointed at first, but quickly the pattern becomes clear, and little by little I was able to see the unity - the two minds mashed together as Eowyn lies ill with the Black Breath. Apart from this larger impression, what struck me most was the relationship between Eowyn and Eomer, seen through Eowyn's memories, and how Mirach draws the character of Eomer shining through those memories. Big brother, yes, and a loving one. The line: ["He could not lie, not even to her."] is such a beautiful little portrait of Eomer's character, and the way he comforts her with the promise of a foal is both something that is very much something he would do, and so typical a Rohirric response. And in the end, when her brother calls her and she wakes up, it feels like we have come full circle.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 4

The separate tales of the Witch-king and Eowyn are brought together, interweaving their thoughts and memories. We see the moment when each chooses their destiny (when the Witch-king accepts his ring, when Eowyn chooses the warrior's path), and their separate encounters with Aragorn (Weathertop, and a conversation about cages.) And in the end, we are with them both as they find their separate fates, the Witch-king uncertain of what he will find beyond the veil but ready to find out, and Eowyn at last prepared to live. A fine conceit.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

An intriguing juxtaposition of memories and points of view as the past lives of the Witch-King and Eowyn are elucidated, and then intersect on the Pelennor for the first and last time. I like the way they both are sucked away from the living around the same time; though only the Witch-king's death is definitive, Eowyn is taken dangerously far into that dark vale. A worthy edition to the lore of Eowyn in the sub-universe of Tolkien fanfiction.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

Wonderful story written for Teitho contest, which got one of my votes. I like the way Mirach switches POVs, even more because there are no sharp lines. But in spite that the parts of the story are very different, it feels like they match smoothly. The atmosphere is so suggestive, ethereal and wonderful, and it almost feel like a poem. Beautifully done.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

What a wonderful narrative! I really love the way the author delves into each characters' mindset, giving readers that insight into their personalities. It's perfectly done!

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 1

The wanderings of the mind. Well done imagining of a history for the Nazgul.