Athrabeth Serindë ah Mélamírë: The Gift

Author: SurgicalSteel,pandemonium_213

Nominator: Robinka

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: Gondor or Rohan

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes

Summary: In the spring of 3020 of the Third Age, MélamírÑ‘ and her family bring gifts to Serindë and Halbarad on the occasion of the birth of their third child, Lalaith. One of Mélamírë's gifts raises eyebrows "up to the hairline" as Serindë might say. Part of an ongoing AU in which Halbarad survived the battle of the Pelennor Fields. OFC-centric.

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Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 10

I love this story for the great dialogue between the four characters, so clearly at ease with each other. The more lighthearted talk, including the gift from Mélamírë to her friend Serindë following childbirth makes me smile every time. Surely this is the most unusual present ever exchanged across the whole of the Tolkien fandom, but of course it makes perfect sense! The idea of Serindë holding Fëanor's balls in her hands, because of the eight-pointed star engraved into the gift just makes me squeal with glee, as does the image of a chiming Nerdanel. Later, the conversation veers into more serious matters. The discussion of genetics and the particular inherited quirk of Mélamírë's children being mortal is particularly poignant. What mother can keep her equanimity when faced with the certainty of knowing she will outlive her children? But there is the mortal counterpart in miscarriage, which highlights again the similarity of both kindreds, Elves and Men, despite their divergent fates. A wonderful debate which does not even spare the embarrassment of both husbands!

Author response: Thank you, Russa - I'm glad you enjoyed this!

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 6

A long and sensible conversation, between two skilled and eminently sensible females of different races; most definitely this is my cup of tea. I had read the tale in which the two first met, but none of the subsequent ones, and so quite how Mélamírë and her husband have the family they have is still an unknown to me - but most certainly did not stop me enjoying the tale. And as someone who spends time, professionally, teaching women about their pelvic floors, and how to get them back into shape, that whole section had me grinning widely. I may never think of Nerndanel in quite the same way again - I will, now, always hear the faint echo of music whenever her name is mentioned...

Author response: Thanks so much - Pandemonium and I had a lot of fun writing this, and I'm really glad that people have enjoyed the story!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

An intriguing 'modern' spin on the Tolkien philosophical debate between Finrod and Andreth. Here, the two fascinating original female characters, the elf Melamire and the mortal surgeon Serinde, have a friendly visit, complete with husbands, babies, gifts, and some interesting food for thought. I particularly liked the reactions of their husbands to some of the esoteric - necessary - but humorously described tools for post-childbirth recovery that the ladies discuss; it's very real. And Melamire's ambivalence about her children's mortality is entirely credible; given that she has lived for thousands of years and should live for thousands more...

Author response: Thank you, Raksha - this was a great deal of fun for both of us to write and I'm really glad that people have had fun reading it!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

This conversation between two very strong and believable OFCs by two very strong and intelligent writers with *wicked* senses of humor is by turns both thought-provoking and hilarious. I love the way a simple visit to gift a new baby turns into first, a very funny and lewd conversation between the mothers (and for me the most fun is in seeing Halbarad blush and splutter; SS's prudish!Halbarad is a favorite of mine!) to a philosophical/scientific conversation about genetics and the physical differences between the Elves and Men. A thoroughly delightful collaboration, the first of what has thankfully been several, of stories involving both Melamire and Serinde. I hope there will be many more!

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

I always love to hear more from Serinde and I especially love this AU. The discussion about the special gift for Serinde was hilarious. Poor Halbarad. But he should know by now that his wife has very special friends and nothing is off limits.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 3

This is a lovely, sweet story with a mixture between a homely family situation and the skillfull medical discussion of surgical steel's and Pande's protagonists, The nature and history of the gft in the title of the story is as astonishing as it makes sense. I like!

Author response: Thank you, Crowdaughter!