Author: Dawn Felagund
2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: Family - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: Curufin, the fifth son of Fëanor, is said to have been his father's favorite. Why did Maedhros get passed over for this honor? This story looks at Eldarin naming traditions and the family dramas they create.
Reviewed by: Oshun ✧ Score: 10
This is one of my absolute favorites of all of your stories that are based in the universe of your novel [Another Man's Cage]. It is a magnificent extension of those well-developed and much-loved characters at a somewhat older age. The complexity of the relationship between Maedhros and Feanor carefully considered in your personal canon is to this point in your storytelling wrenchingly emotionally valid, complex and heartbreaking. One sees a moment of devastating rejection for Maedhros. It can be interpreted as an almost petulant punitive reaction on the part of Feanor, for real or imagined willfulness, self-assertion and/or presumed lack of sufficient loyalty within the tangled mess of the relations of Finwe's sons and grandsons. The moment also seems to have been foreshadowed in AMC, while this story appears to look forward into canon to a breach that will widen until the point at which Maedhros steps back from the burning of the ships at Losgar. As a huge fan of your personal canon of AMC I was so excited to read this expansion and still am eagerly looking forward to what you will do with character of Maedhros and the family relationships in future stories that fit within this universe. (You had better find the time to write these stories.) The point of view of Maglor is so human and vivid as well. His reflections paint a picture of virtually every single family member--well done, a really impressive feat of storytelling in such a short piece. One can imagine from how Maglor describes and interprets this incident the ripples of tension and anxiety throughout their entire immediate family.
Reviewed by: Angelica ✧ Score: 10
This story has always held particular attraction for me because it sheds light on a very strong, painful moment in the early history of Feanor's family which readers, starting by the reviewer, generally take for granted. It manages to convey the tensions between the father and the eldest son showing the way for future confrontations and yet it is told in an apparently easy-going, light-hearted way which leads the readers almost unawares to that terrible moment at the end that seems so unexpected to everybody. The point of view the author chooses makes the story so effective and appealing: Makalaure is a (not very unbiased) observer of the whole situation who comments with a wry sense of humour but who is also part of the problem. Another great element is the description of the ceremony and of all the participants. All the characters are full of life: the bored kids running around, the weary mother, the irritated father, the other members of the family who don't seem to care too much about the baby, the grandfathers, the boring ceremonies (for a teenager who has had to go through this too many times). Everything helps to paint a colourful picture of an event which could only have been a turning point in the family relations.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
For as dramatic and gut-wrenching an impact as the conclusion of this story has, I think my favorite part was the wry humor in the first part of the story. In particular, I loved Maglor's running commentary on the inventiveness (or lack thereof) of his father when it came to giving his sons names. In particular, I liked his opinions on Maedhros's father name: ['"third Finwë," proof that Atar can count and little else.'] It's a great way to set a wry tone that contrasts perfectly with the more sobering second half of the story, and it also gives some fantastic characterization to a young Maglor. I can easily see him taking a cynical approach to all this. As a bonus, the naming traditions provide an insightful characterization for Caranthir, who calls the unnamed Curufin ["it"] just to annoy Feanor. That was a stroke of brilliance. But the brilliance doesn't end there, because Feanor still has to give a name to little Curufin, and when he does, even the readers have to hold their breath. Maglor's observational skills give the narrative exactly what it needs to really drive home both the images and the emotions of a stricken Maedhros and a resolute Feanor. Nothing is ever easy in this family, and this story makes the most of it for some amazing humor and some equally amazing drama.
Reviewed by: whitewave ✧ Score: 6
It is always a treat for me to read anything before the Oath that portrays the Feanorians as more than just one-dimensional, inveterate rule breakers or rebels without a cause, which is why reading Dawn's very well-crafted details is always enjoyable. It's like stepping into a period/costume movie with a delectable and complex cast. What I liked most in this particular story is the emotional tension between the characters and the way it sets the stage for what happens in the future, especially for my favorites Maitimo and Macalaure who among all the seven sons of Feanor would have had the most influence among their younger brothers. But despite their obvious unease with their demanding father, it makes one wonder what motivated them to still take the oath and pursue it to the very end says a lot about the strength of their family's bond.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 4
I never would have thought how Feanor's giving his own father-name to his fifth-born son would have affected those already born; yet Dawn does a convincing job of doing this, and in her typical skilled manner. I particularly loved the evocative descriptions of the cold; having just walked home through cold rain, I can sympathize with how that makes things more gloomy, and it was a very fitting setting for such a story. Nice work, Dawn!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
All waited for the moment in which Feanor would bestow upon his fifth son his father name; and the name finally given was perhaps the greatest offense he could have bestowed upon his firstborn. This story gives an intimate view of the family dynamics for the household of Feanor and Nerdanel, a fascinating glimpse into a household of the sort to base Masterpiece Theatre presentations upon. Writing is superb, and the building to the tension of the naming is palpable. Well done indeed.
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 2
This reads very much like the sort of moment that would portend all the chaos that would follow those children for the rest of their lives. Very nicely done.