Author: Darth Fingon
2010 Award Category: Races: Elves - Second Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Teen rating applied for some nudity and mature subject matter.
Summary: At the end of the First Age, Finarfin, political missionary, travels across Middle-earth and finds his way to Oropher's court. Much to his dismay.
Reviewed by: Olorime ✧ Score: 10
Bee elves is a witty, very tongue in cheek first person narrative. Finarfin goes on a self-imposed mission to bring all the Nandorin tribes scattered through Middle Earth to Valinor to live under the rules of the wise Valinorian Kings and live a life befitting of the mighty Quendi. Throughout the story we are acquainted with this author rather tongue in cheek take on ethnocentrism, egotism, vanity, etc. We are also gifted a rather charming and very revolutionary gap filler on Oropher's history. I could not decide which one I liked better, Oropher with his very sly, very unorthodox humor and foxy intelligence or the self-important, sweet and deceptively perceptive Finarfin. I liked the cunning politics, the take on diplomacy and the very subtle sardonic humor sprinkled throughout the story. Celeborn also makes an appearance and his characterization was superb. The aloof character of myth is brought down from his pedestal and the result is not detrimental, quite the contrary, Celeborn's characterization is one of the best I have read so far. Also, watch out for Darth Fingon's take on Eryn Galen's naming history and architecture as well as Nandorin clothing customs. This is a must read!
Reviewed by: Russandol ✧ Score: 10
I have enjoyed this story for so many reasons - the original plot, the fascinating, even bizarre cross-cultural differences, the clever humour and the sparring between the key characters, beautifully drawn and, of course, the insight into several of the Elvish languages. All of those interwoven with the background story of Oropher (a victim of absurd intolerance), Finarfin's attempts at spreading enlightment and his fear to see his own daughter. The descriptions of Finarfin's travels are rich and vivid, the adventures of a figure king in the wilderness are charmingly funny, and one wonders how he manages to survive unscathed, thanks to or even despite his "guide". Several episodes, like the fur tube and the banquet in the building site made tears of mirth run down my cheeks. Oropher is depicted as an eccentric and cunning ruler, who keeps Finarfin believing that he has the upper hand until rather late in the game, when the tables turn. Then it is almost with sympathy that one reads about poor Finarfin's realisation of the truth, that he has been well and truly outwitted by this alleged "savage" he sought to persuade to return to the wisdom of the West. This tale is unique because of its insightful study into prejudice, and the alleged "superiority" of some cultures over others that appear to be more primitive and utterly uncivilised, just because their ways and ambitions are different. The fate of Cuivienen, like a beginning of the end for the Elves adds a note of melancholy to this absolutely great story. Truly great.
Reviewed by: Jael ✧ Score: 10
I'm glad I re-read this story, because I had forgotten what fun it was. Darth Fingon was the author who opened my eyes to the linguistic and cultural differences the various Elven tribes might have, and for that I'm very grateful. There is plenty of that in this story -- hence the title, which reflects a Noldorin impression of the native Sindarin accent, all buzzing consonants. Darth has a real knack for taking the most unlikely scenarios and making them seem perfectly plausible. In this case, it is taking King Finarfin east of the Misty Mountains for a delightful look at the new realm of Eryn Galen and its insane -- no, make that creative -- Reeve Oropher. This story was written for a "probably AU swap" but the way Darth writes it, it almost could have happened that way. The cultural contrasts are amusingly handled, from the two very different styles of kingship to the hilariously different farewell blessings. And there's a detail about Nandorin 'dress' that is worth the price of admission. Finally, I adore Darth Fingon's version of Oropher, so much so that I have a very hard time not being influenced by him or stealing him outright. This story has some intriguing bits of Oropher's history after leaving Eithel Sirion. Finarfin's insights into the character of his daughter are pretty good too. Too bad he's not so clear-sighted about himself. I think I'll be trying to fall asleep tonight with Oropher's song running through my head. [She has freckles on her bum; She is nice.]
Reviewed by: The Lauderdale ✧ Score: 10
Finarfin, high king of the remaining Noldor in Aman, comes to Middle-earth with the Valar's forces during the War of Wrath but is not allowed to participate. Frustrated, he takes it upon himself to venture into the wilderness and persuade the various groups of Elves living there to migrate West. In addition to a funny but pointed commentary on colonialism, this story is also a poignant character study of a father who badly loves and misses his daughter, the strong-minded adult woman who left him long ago in search of her own destiny, and who transfers those feelings into a misguided attempt to cajole and control the scattered stubborn Elves of Middle-earth. I first read this story when it was up for review at Henneth Annun, which requires reviewers to provide a capsule reason for choosing to accept or decline a story. My problem was choosing only one. In the end I went with "Overall impression: story as a whole effective/remarkable," but I would also add: great gap filler, fine characterization, well-paced plot, vivid evocation of setting, and the humor oh, so funny. I actually remember calling my mom and reading bits to her over the phone: Finarfin trying to tell Oropher about how everyone should/would be migrating to Valinor, and the dog who is also [a barking dog]. My mom is not partial to fantasy, and she hates it when I read to her over the phone, but she was laughing as much as I was. Still wondering what the tune is to the freckle song.
Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard ✧ Score: 10
Arafinwe as an uptight missionary bringing his enlightened Noldorian ways to the Nandor Oropher as a dotty king with a penchant for nudity... I swear, if The Silmarillion was this much fun Id have finished it years ago. Only Darth Fingon can pull off this sort of escapade, with absurdity that never falls into silliness and characters that never fall into parody, despite the humor of the situation. Darths Oropher is a great bit of characterization here, and the story within a story of his rise to power reads like one of the lost tales. The interplay between Arafinwe and Oropher is a hoot and its fun to watch them clash, to see Arafinwes exasperation in trying to deal with Oropher who may or may not be king and who may or may not be sane. The descriptions of the countryside and terrain are beautifully wrought as Arafinwe makes his way across the Hithaeglir with a taciturn guide and a few Sindarin porters to the kingdom of Eryn Galen (what a boring name). What he finds makes for a hilarious and quirky story with a lot of great touches (truly disgusting evergreen wine, naked Nandor savages, freckle songs, etc.) and one liners [logic so faulty he might as well have been born a son of Feanaro]. I enjoyed this the first time I read it and fell in love with it again when rereading it recently.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 8
Now--for something quite a bit different! Arafinwe the Affected, Oropher the Apparently Mad, and Celeborn the Officious--we see this and more in Darth Fingon's view of the Mortal Lands as seen by Arafinwe as he sets off on a trip to the Waters of Beginning and finds himself in Oropher's raw new land of Greenwood instead. Arafinwe hopes to draw the barbarous (in his eyes, at least) Elves of the Mortal Lands to Enlightenment, only to find most have no desire at all to become Enlightened in accordance with his standards. These are no highly evolved Elves such as we are accustomed to in most stories, but often down-right silly and contrary souls, individuals who exasperate us as much as they exasperate Arafinwe and as he exasperates his guide. A most interesting view of a folk we usually prefer to think of as eminently elegant and capable. And I would have loved to have met this Oropher. As for Arafinwe's reason for lying as to his identity to Celeborn--it made me forgive him much! A most interesting alternate view of Tolkien's world.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 6
A revolutionary take on Oropher and the settling of Greenwood. Through the quirky perceptiveness of Finarfin, the elves east of the mountains are revealed to be an unusual people, and Oropher the king/not-king comes alive as a rabble-rousing commoner with charisma and a penchant for being underestimated. Through his interactions with Finarfin, it becomes obvious that the latter is something he cultivates. Even Celeborn, who appears to be wise to his quirky habits, seems to forget how easy it is to underestimate Oropher. As for Finarfin, I love the idea that he set out as a political missionary, and I love that he has just as many quirks as Oropher, though his are harder to see. He never quite turns the mirror of perspective back on himself, but Canamire and Oropher provide enough contrast to ferret out his personality. An original take on some of Tolkien's more obscure characters.
Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel ✧ Score: 2
This was a fun read - a very different explanation of how Oropher came to be a king than I've ever seen before, and one that had me laughing out loud.