Still Waters

Author: Olorime

Nominator: Ignoble Bard

2011 Award Category: First Age and Prior: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Sexual Content

Summary: Finrod Felagund is rescued by a mysterious elf from a mishap out at sea. Love ensues. What happens when insurmountable circumstances keep two beings apart? Heavy Pathos.

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Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 10

You hit a fair number of kinks of mine with this one, dear. Not the least of which is Finrod himself. He is one of those Silmarillion characters that I have learned to love more with increased familiarity. I loved the part about Amarie. I know others have written lovely stories taking a different angle, but I would have thumbed my nose at the Valar and the Vanyar and run off with Finrod in a second to the ends of the earth and beyond. (Ok. Well, maybe that hasn’t always worked out perfectly for me. But I probably wouldn’t do things much differently if I had a second chance.) So you hooked me early in the story and kept a hold on me. The storm at sea, the interaction with Ulmo, the fight over the fate of Finrod. You have a big story here! Wow! And the threat that Finrod would meet a worst fate coming from Namo, was just the kind of thing I’ve learned to expect from him. But then we wouldn’t have the song battle of Finrod, one of my favorite parts of the Lays of Beleriand. I’m going on too long. You hit so many points for me. Snow at Finrod's death! This is a real fairy tale. I love it. Very lovely story and you should be very proud of it, as IgnobleBard said when you wrote it, it really is a perfect Valentine fic and a perfectly epic story for one of the First Age's epic heroes. Thanks so very much for sharing it with us.

Author response: It is so very rewarding to have an author of your caliber and talent take the time to review my little story. I am very flattered and humbled that you would do so. I really liked writing this piece and I got to play with characters that seem so "forbidding" and to which many fandom factions seem to hold on a pedestal of "do-not-dare-to-touch-canon". It seemed to me, Finrod was one of them, the Valar being the other. And if I didn't do the song of battle of Finrod or mentioned it is because I am really crap at poetry and did not really know how or where to begin to insert it into the story and do it justice at the same time. Thank you so very much, Oshun.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard  ✧  Score: 10

From a raging storm at sea to an idyllic interlude on a remote island, this story is a gripping, romantic, and moving piece that brings both joy and tears. Ulmo saves Findarato (Finrod) from drowning and the two spend a magical time together on an island, an interlude that evokes the qualities of a dream or fairy tale. Ulmo hides his true identity from Findarato and the two explore their growing feelings for each other. Their time on the island is as passionate as it is ephemeral, however, and the “darker fate” hinted at by Namo, a fate we all know and dread, is the tragic undercurrent that shadows and deepens the romantic aspects of the story. Though we know it must all come to an end at some point, we want to see Ulmo and Findarato beat the odds and find a way to remain together. Ulmo’s grief upon Finrod’s death is palpable and the falling snow in Aman both a gentle and painful reminder of limits of power, even for the Valar. Ulmo, indeed any of the Valar, is a difficult character to bring to life and Olorime does an amazing job of balancing his strength and forcefulness with his vulnerability and emotion. She also nicely incorporates the Valar’s respective realms of influence with their personalities, bringing them to life in a unique and beguiling way.

Author response: Dear Iggy, I could not have written this without you. You are my mentor and my dearest friend and your review makes me very happy indeed. Thank you once again for your patience and the time you dedicate to help me through my writing pains. You are the bee's knees!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 7

I don't know why the Valar don't just fire Ossë. Anyway, the Maia is being his usual jerk self and, in the course of one of his little storms, Finrod nearly drowns. Ulmo saves him, but now it is Námo's turn to play the shmuck, claiming that Finrod is supposed to be in his Halls: [“Have a care you do not overstep your boundaries, brother. If you save him from this fate a darker one awaits him.”] Ulmo and Finrod discover love with one another on a dreamy island, but the two must finally part as Finrod returns to mainland Middle-earth, and to the noble deeds, and terrible doom, that await him. There are some touches that I quite like in this story, such as the connections that siblings Finrod and Galadriel share with Ulmo's aqueous element (both of which are canon); also, a parting reference to Andreth, mortal beloved of their brother Aegnor, whose thwarted love sounded a note of foreboding at the beginning of the story. Someone, somewhere along the way, clearly granted somebody clemency. But what's the joke behind "Maranwë"? Footnote, please!

Author response: My dear Laud, Thank you very much for such lovely review. Maranwë means "fate". Finrod finds it hilarious that he is rescued by someone named "fate". Also, it is rather a silly name, isn't it? After all, their names are supposed to reflect part of their personalities or physical attributes. Thank you again. *hugs you many times* Love, Viv

Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 7

Olorimë has written a beautiful love story featuring a most unusual pairing, romantic but also wonderfully erotic and filled with fabulous details, several of which made me gasp with wonder. If I had to choose one, it wouid be the image of snow falling in Aman on the day of Finrod's death. What a poignant way to show the grief of his lover, who helplessly witnesses his death from afar. Finrod's near drowning and the duel of Mandos with Ulmo to fight for his fate were most gripping too, but not as moving as the threat from the Lord of Mandos or Finrod's grim foresight about his own realm. Both these events acquired a terrible significance in the light of the canon story, which for a while I was hoping would be modified, dreading the certainty about the treason of the sons of Feanor and Finrod's horrific death in the dungeons of Sauron. What a great mix of romance and adventure, tragic but with a well deserved happy ending. Highly recommended!

Author response: Thank you, Russandol. It is such a treat to have one of my most favorite authors review one of my stories. I am beyond elated. You are so very generous with your praise, I feel I do not deserve half of it. Your stories inspire me a great deal.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Dear Olorime, many fall in love with the sea, though few in quite such a concrete manner, I would imagine! I like how consistently you have managed to have the ocean-feeling associated with Ulmo, be it in his physical or in his incoporeal form. A life-chandging experience for Finarato indeed. The heavy pathos is not quite for me, but then, de gustibus non disputandum...

Author response: Thank you for reviewing. Ulmo is one of my favorite characters and Findarato, one cannot go wrong with him. He is epic.

Reviewed by: Jael  ✧  Score: 3

This is a lyrically written love story. Kudos for tackling one of the most unusual pairing I've ever encountered! Extra kudos for bringing it off and doing it well. And finally, thank you for one small surprise at the end. A surprise that ties up one of Professor Tolkien's loose ends. A lovely tale in all!

Author response: Ah, yes Tolkien left too many loose ends and I like speculating and finding endings for those. Thank you for reviewing.