Not In Our Stars
2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Men: Eriador
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: R ✧ Reason for Rating: prostitution, age of consent lower than contemporary custom, sexual content
Summary: It would be a better world if love knew no bounds. It might not then complicate friendships so.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
This piece does a fine job of getting to the heart of the guilt that a homosexual Dunedain Ranger, especially if that Ranger happens to Halbarad, might have faced. The motto of "Do not bring it home" seems like a reasonable rule of thumb; I have heard about homosexual relationships having some prevalence and acceptability in male-only institutions like the military or boarding schools or even among monks, so it makes sense that the Rangers would have similar "problems". It brings to mind an interesting question: would homosexuality be more acceptable with races that have an excess of men, such as dwarves or ents? (I think a shortage of men would translate more often into polygamy than lesbianism, but that's a completely separate issue.) Modig is a first-rate original character, and by the end of NIOS I was weeping (and raging) right along with Halbarad at his mistreatment. It's so sad that his society would do this to him, though I can certainly see this happening. Now I want to know what happened to him -- whether he was only trying to earn a living and prefers women even though he can tolerate men, and so was able to evventually marry, or whether he eventually becomes a Ranger and finds fulfillment that way, or whether he is doomed to a lonely life in a culture that will make no room for him. As nice as the relationship between Halbarad and Modig was, though, I think my favourite part was Halbarad's angsting over Aragorn near the beginning, before he left the tavern. Very well done, Dwim.
Reviewed by: Rhapsody ✧ Score: 8
Not In Our Stars is a very silent tale in which Dwimordene addresses current day issues. In a reflective manner, the author lets Halbarad speak of social issues that are not spoken off in Eriador. Class differences, abuse, jealousy, friendships that change over time, homosexuality: that is quite a lot to address in one vignette, but every topic Dwimordene treats with respect and passes no judgement. This overall makes it an impressive read and the way it is written is a manner I can only agree with. Just not to talk of these issues and not to bring it home are two sided: by not speaking of it: it will endure, but on the other hand addressing it will hurt others. Where do you cross the line? When do you have to step up that plate and do something about it? This is a lovely part that illustrates it: And so long as a man does not 'bring it home,' we look the other way when it comes to lads. For who hears them? Halbarad chooses to give comfort in a private and moving manner. Dwimordenes characterisation is extremely well done and her original character Modig is well explored. A gem of a vignette Dwimordene, very thought provoking.
Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen ✧ Score: 5
An interesting tale. The way you tackle the issues raised here is very interesting and deap. Your characterisations are very clear and complicated, making the characters seem much more real. It is clever how you use the characterisations to drive the story forward. Your writing is very good and interesting to read. Your developement of the cultures of the rangers and the people of the town are intreaging and add a lot of depth to the story. It is amazing how you develop these cultures while remaining within canon, but adding so much to it.
Reviewed by: Kenaz ✧ Score: 2
Utterly heartbreaking and deftly written, this piece is wonderfully evocative and utterly sad. Dwimordene is an expert at wordcraft and sets her scenes beautifully. It's hard for me to say which of her stories is my favorite.