2006 Award Category: Genres: Drama - First Place
Story Type: Other Fiction ✧ Length: Medium Length
Rating: PG-13 ✧ Reason for Rating: Adult sexuality and situation.
Summary: Trust: because without it, love is meaningless. Story in the "Best-loved Sons" series. See story for chronological placement.
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 10
["Trust"] is a key link in the Best-Loved Son story arc, documenting a profound shift in Boromir and Andrahar's relationship. Dwimordene writes a superb and subtle tale that makes clear the need for this shift, where before it had never occurred to me how dramatic it would necessarily have been, given the separate demons that haunt both men. She very logically draws Boromir down to Dol Amroth and sets the stage for the confrontation. The council session gives an excellent backdrop for the interplay between the two men and the exploration of trust in different arenas and levels. Dwimordene did a seamless blending-in of past issues into the narrative. I particularly loved the delving into the Hurrhabi episode and the politics involved with Gondor not being able to merely strike back at Harad - Dwimordene somehow made all the convolutions fascinating. It occurred to me that this could have been quite a test for Imrahil also, perhaps one of the first serious incidents that he needed to deal with as a ruling prince and premiere nobleman of the council. There were many side bonuses for me. Seeing Imrahil/Andrahar interaction is always wonderful (the private toast, reading one another so very well). I enjoyed learning about the book and inscription that Imrahil presented to Andra soon after Imri and Nimrien's wedding. But perhaps I love most of all that this was told from Andra's perspective. The man is one of the most honorable and astonishing characters I've ever read about, and getting additional insight into him was a distinct pleasure. The part that hit me hardest, though, was Boromir's revelation that ["I tire of mistrusting all, and I dislike most of all being mistrusted."], especially in light of future events. It made me grieve for him all over again.
Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea ✧ Score: 10
Since we all freely abscond with the Professor's characters and make them dance to their tune, it's perhaps a bit hypocritical to be protective of the original characters that we insert into his world. Nonetheless, I would expect someone wanting to use a character of mine to apply for me for permission, and I would consider the matter carefully before granting it. Dwimordene is one of the few people who may write Andrahar any time and in any way she likes. It's really great to have a character I'm so fond of, yet be able to read stories by another author that hold so true to my conception of him. I never have to worry about Andra when he's in Dwimordene's hands-and I get to read more stories about him that I don't have to write! This story is an expansion of a train of thought of Boromir's in my story Discovery, in which Boromir reflects upon the turning point in his and Andrahar's relationship, which happened after they'd been seeing each other for six years. I had presented it as the point at which their relationship must either die or go on to the next level, and had figured that I would write about what brought them to that crux point some time in the future, but Dwim beat me to it. Not that I'm sorry-as far as I'm concerned, this is what really happened.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
I have to say up front that I have a hard time accepting the idea that Denethor physically abused Finduilas. The boys, *maybe*, but I just dont see a propensity toward that type of loss of control before the stress of Finduilass death. But I only mention that because this is one of those rare stories that really and truly makes me forget my qualms about issues like this. And it is convincing. The politics are fascinating and realistic (and comprehensible even without having read the other stories in this series, which is in itself a skill), but they arent what makes this story such a powerful read. It takes a tragically real subject matter and tells it in a way that feels true to real life. For me this touched way too lcose to reality to be a comfortable read, and I never properly enjoy stuff like this, but it still deserves attention because it shows the repercussions acts can have. This is not like so many other stories Ive read where tragedy is used for cheap angst -- the emotional content is complicated and nuanced in a way you very rarely see in fanfic, or fiction period. There is so much to recommend this story. Canon characters seem very true to what Tolkien wrote while at the same time challenging the readers preconceptions; OCs are delightfully believable outgrowths of the world Tolkien created; laudably well-handled and tastefully-described eroticism. A story that is definitely worth the effort and deserves to be read by anyone with the slightest interest in Middle-earth -- just make sure you do it when you have some time to think over the backstories described.
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 9
I didn't know what I was getting when I began reading this story. Generally speaking I don't read slash pairings, though not because I disapprove of such relationships. Rather, I often find it difficult to find slash paired stories which show thought to characterization, canon plausibility and avoid causing plot-holes in the larger body of Tolkien's work. While this story is part of a larger series of works, standing on its own with no preamble other than what is provided here, 'Trust' is a thoroughly engaging piece of fiction that I am glad to say I've both read and enjoyed. It fills the "Why did Boromir not marry? Who was his love interest?" what if in an entirely plausible and engaging way. The characterization- of all the men involved- is excellent, and the language is wonderfully formal, though not so obscure as to distract from the story itself. Narrative flow was, likewise, delightful, transitioning from character to character seamlessly. There was a ring of reality to the piece that I've not often seen in other works, regardless of pairing. This was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an hour.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 8
I don't think this story works quite as well as many of the writer's other pieces; but not because of any lack of skill in the writing, but because it is somewhat dependant on other stories for its full impact. The story is part of a long and complicated series centering on Boromir and the people who he loves and those he leaves behind. The writing is excellent, the story as convoluted as that of any real-life family, only the stakes are higher than most. To my mind, this is a variant Tolkien universe, and one of the most richly drawn I've seen in fanfiction. Boromir and some of the other characters wrestle with the issue of trust, and are ensnared in the suspicions carried and caused through and by the past. The most poignant, sharply painful moment for me, as a reader was Boromir's realization that he cannot tell his lover of the sorrow that is oppressing him - the knowledge he gained (in an earlier story in the series, not fully reiterated here) about the true cause of Finduilas' death, not without causing death as well as sorrow.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 8
Excellent characterisations; emotions and relationships are depicted vividly and believably, the strength of mind, honesty and courage of both protagonists are clearly drawn. An interesting and well-handled plot, with clever allusions to other stories of the "Unabeauverse". The issue at stake - trust and surrendering control - is tastefully handled, avoiding clichés and truly exploring what it means to the characters with their respective backgrounds and problems. It's not only about their personal relationship, but it actually encompasses other matters as well: politics, military, the relationships with Denethor, Imrahil and Faramir. I like the fact that it starts more as a diversionary tactic, but then segues into a true exploration of where the relationship stands and where it could/should go from there. And that not all issues are resolved, that still Boromir holds back things, but is more or less reconciled to it. Framing the story with the PoV of the general populace was an interesting touch.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 6
In this story Boromir grapples with the consequences of a discovery he made about his parents marriage and what it means for himself. His emotional world is turned upside down, and he questions his trust in people around him and their trust in him. In this richly woven tapestry of a tale, the meaning of trust is explored on several levels, the political arena and the personal relationships. The tension between Boromir and Andrahar is bittersweet and very touching. This story is part of a series of stories where Boromir and Andrahar, an OC from Isabeau's stories, are lovers. I think it helps to get more out of the story if the reader knows the other stories. At least I think the impact of Boromir's dilemma is bigger if the reader knows more about Andrahar and his background.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 4
This is another story featuring the OC Andrahar, whom the author shares with a couple of other writers. While I have to admit to skipping some slashier sections of this, I got the gist of it, and I found it very intriguing in the intimations of the relationship of Denethor to both his sons and to Finduilas. I also like the way Boromir is drawn as politically astute, and I love the interpretation of Imrahil in this universe.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 3
This is part of a very powerful story arc. I admit to a great affection for Andrahar and it is good to see him happy - even if he never seems to achieves any content without attendant angst!
Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen ✧ Score: 2
A very interesting view of Boromir. He comes across as a far more intricate character in this. A interesting tale, I like the way that you mix the plot lines together.
Reviewed by: Marigold ✧ Score: 1
Wonderful descriptions, and a very skilful level of writing. I enjoyed this very much!