One Breath of Air

Author: Celeritas

Nominator: Dreamflower

2010 Award Category: Races: Other Beings - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: The butterfly effect in action, on the single busiest day in the entire War of the Ring. A different perspective on March 15, 3019.

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Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 10

One of the most important themes of LotR is how even the briefest and smallest of actions can impact the whole. A little ring, picked up in brief curiousity in a dark cavern by the most unlikely of creatures; an instant of mercy in sparing one who could be an enemy; a small stone, thrown into a pool or a well...or in this case, a little puff of wind, coming from the right place at the right time. A little puff of wind that makes all the difference in the world between victory and defeat for the forces of the free folk of the West. I really love the way this dialogue is written, between Manwe and Varda. The Lord of the Air and his consort manage to sound on the one hand like what they are-- angelic beings of great power, and on the other hand, like a fond couple who know one another well. Varda knows that her husband would like to help, that he wishes to assist-- yet she does not tell him to just go ahead and do what he wants. Instead, she leads him to see what he could do without doing too much, And she frames it as a request from herself, ["One breath of air, Manwë, please, for me,"]. What fond husband can resist that sort of plaintive plea, especially when she's asking him to do what he's itching to do anyway? And of course, in so doing, they both fulfill the designs of the One who placed them in Arda in the first place. This vignette, written for a challenge to fill in the ["Ides of March"] definitely shows that there is intent behind everything that happens in Arda.

Reviewed by: Morthoron  ✧  Score: 8

Ah, an additional voice in the decades-old debate regarding the role of the Valar during the War of the Ring! Just how much did Providence play a part in the the great events that unfolded at the end of the 3rd Age? Yes, the winds did blow from the West on that fateful day on the Anduin, just as a great gust dispersed the glowering spirit of Sauron above Barad-dur, and then again in the Shire as the supplicative shadow of Saruman was answered by a brisk breeze and dispelled forever. Celeritas offers volumes in a few short paragraphs, a dialogue between Varda and Manwë that is both cerebral yet endearing, with power that is veiled and emotions restrained. ["No, love, never too much."] Restraint with deep understanding. A beautifully rendered piece that touches on one of the aspects of Tolkien's work that I always felt needed further description: the interpersonal workings of the 'angels of Tolkien's better nature'. Celeritas has captured an instant in time, and a simple and understated act (well, at least simple for a deity) that looms large in the overall scheme of the War.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Writing the Valar from a cosmic perspective is hard, particularly when one doesn't distance oneself but tries to show how one or more of them might think. The tension between a temporal, personal dialogue that is very much what one sees between any two people and the idea that these are beings who, while temporal, are immortal in a wholly other way than Elves are, is hard to handle. I like the conceit that Celeritas builds in to help make a very intimate conversation tilt toward showing that extremely different perspective have its weight - messing with time is always fun, and I like how she shakes an instant or a moment and has a day fall out of it, as it were. Nicely done, and she chooses her moment so well! Good work!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 5

As the corsair fleet sailed up the Anduin, Legolas drew hope from the southern wind that only he seemed able to see coming. Celeritas puts even more meaning and significance in this wind and turns it into a breath of hope from the Valar themselves. The restraint under which they operate must have felt confining, and certainly those struggling in Middle-earth must have wished for those restraints to ease so that their struggles might also be eased. But in keeping with one of Tolkien's most enduring themes, Celeritas keeps Manwe to a very small act. And with that very small act, very great things are accomplished. Beautifully rendered.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Celeritas, with her her sure-footed skill for polished language, shows the Valar in a dilemma. They know that their interference tends to turn out ill, and yet they wish to help out in the Children's plight at least a little. And a little becomes a lot when what they settle for is that wind that disperses the darkness of Mordor and allows Aragorn's ships to come up the Anduin at greater speed. A beautiful tale to show how a small thing can make a big difference.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

When the Valar intervened in the War of Wrath, the geography of Middle Earth was changed dramatically, with many lands lost to flooding. Now that the Free Peoples of the West battle Sauron for a second time Manwe and Varda wish to intervene, but fear (rightfully) causing more harm than good this time. The decision made, however, may prove just enough to decide the battle.... A fascinating dialogue between the Elder King and his consort, well written. Celeritas is definitely to be commended for this one!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

It is easy to think that the Higher Powers,save Gandalf were absent from the great battles for M-e, but this thought provoking ficlet suggests that single breath of wind helped turn the tide in favour of the Men of the West.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

I really love the idea that it was Manwe who had sent the wind that had cleared the sky over Gondor. And even more, I love that he did it because Varda had asked him to. I often think that the Valar should've done more for the Children, and that is why I like this story very much. And it is so nicely written.

Reviewed by: Mithadan  ✧  Score: 3

Why did the Valar not intercede directly in the War of the Ring? What did they do? Did they do enough? This story proposes answers to some of these questions -- they did just enough and no more.