The Turning of the Year Approaches

Author: Larner

Nominator: Armariel

2011 Award Category: Villains: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: The Ringbearer has asked that certain inmates of the Halls of Waiting might know the kind of Yule as known by the inhabitants of the Shire.

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Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 8

Dear Larner, this is a wonderfully surreal story and having now read it for the second time, I remain as uncertain as the first time as to whether it is very profound or hilariously funny or possibly both. You leave this open, and rightly so, i would say. The first part seems straight-forward enough; even if we cannot conceive of a reason for this meeting, the conversation is pretty much what we would expect, though even here it made me grin that Melkor doesn’t even know about the Ring. He’s certainly been a little out of the loop, even if his exile in the Void was a mere propaganda story. Oh, but the second part! What an idea to grant - or should I say "inflict"? - some good old Yule customs of Melkor, Saruman and Sauron! I would not think that Frodo would deliberately annoy his former enemies, but it really does border on cruelty, especially the orc choir (cruelty to orcs, too, I would imagine). It must have been done in the most innocent naivety, but ah, the whole idea is sublime, simply sublime.

Reviewed by: StarSpray  ✧  Score: 6

It's both bizarrely funny and interesting to see Morgoth, Saruman, and Sauron squabble like sulky children as prisoners post-LOTR. Oh how far they have fallen. The scene here is, of course, ridiculous, but that is the point. Frodo, I'm sure, meant well when he asked that Melkor et al be able to celebrate Yule in the style of the Hobbits, but they could not possibly appreciate the gesture, and it is obvious that the Valar know it. And so they have responded accordingly, with a Balrog Yule log and an orcish choir to top it all off. I laughed imagining the looks on the villains' faces as they took in the scene, and I imagine Namo and the other Valar were chuckling amongst themselves, too. Too bad Melkor, Curumo, and Mairon can't see the humor themselves. This is very well written, and a very fun read. Good job!

Reviewed by: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)  ✧  Score: 5

Larner gives the reader a glimpse of the worst Yule party ever. In this surreal tale set some time after the War of the Ring, Frodo asks that the fallen angels of Arda be allowed to partake in the joys of the midwinter season. Melkor, Sauron, and Saruman bicker and squabble like cranky children, while a Balrog serves as the Yule Log and a choir of orcs sings carols. The evil overlords are defeated but hardly reformed, and Larner writes them perfectly in character. Though Frodo's request was kindly meant, the reader is left wondering how much comfort there was in this family reunion of Evil. Writing this demented and funny is rare.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 2

This is a weird but intriguing story. It is difficult to write evil characters well, but the author managed it. Worth reading.

Author response: Thanks so very much, Darkover. When Armariel indicated she wanted to see a story in which the "baddies" of Tolkien's stories spent Yule together I was perplexed at first how it could be managed; then this hit me, and it seemed to me that the Lord of Mandos would have a most darkly amusing time fixing up just the kind of Yuletide celebration that these would deserve while still meeting Frodo's desires that they not be alone for the holidays. Heh! It turned out to be a good deal of fun to write.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

Good story with a very interesting twist in the end! I love the atmosphere; the images were very vivid as I read this.