Author: Marta

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Other Beings: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: "What do you think science is, at its root, but the pursuit of the spark that birthed the cosmos? We would be heretics, each and every one, were there room for heresy in truth." A conversation between Celebrimbor and Sauron in Eregion. (1,273 words)

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Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 10

This piece is an interesting example, for me, of how sometimes philosophical or literary ideas can be more effectively explored through story than via an essay. The idea of Annatar as a seeker after knowledge - a scientist or, to use an older and perhaps appropriate term, a natural philosopher - isn't a new one, but this is a particularly vivid realisation of that character. Any reader with a geeky side (which must, surely, include most Tolkien fans from the start?) will be inclined to sympathise with a Maia who, while he shares the reverence for nature which lies at the core of Tolkien's worldview, turns that reverence into rational enquiry: [how the daisy's petal unfolded in ordered perfection, and how alike that proportion was to a pinecone's spirals.] For any science-loving reader, there's a frustration to the distrust with which investigation or technological advance are generally viewed in Middle-earth, from the consequences of Feanor's craft to "He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom". While there are hints throughout this story that there is already much that's sinister in Annatar's motivations, in the end this fic leaves open for the reader the question that it raises: if it is not the quest for knowledge in itself that is evil, what ultimately is it that makes Sauron what he becomes?

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

A fascinating look at both the process of scientific inquiry and Sauron's time among the Elves of Eregion. How much was his guise of Annatar a mask and how much was it part of Sauron's earlier pre-Melkor self, from a time when he had been a seeker of knowledge and an acolyte of Aule. The story elucidates Sauron's deception of the Elves; for is it not easiest to deceive when one offers kernels of truth among the falsehoods? It is very plausible that Annatar enjoyed his role as respected teacher and metallurgist in a hive of the most intellectual Elves in Second-Age Middle-earth. The relationship between Annatar and Celembrimbor and the young Curungil is also believable, and particularly tragic in hindsight. We know that Annatar will one day reclaim his most evil part, and, as Sauron, torture and kill Celebrimbor. When that day comes, will the deaths of Celebrimbor's son and the other promising young Elves of Ost-en-Edhil be far behind? A unique and thought-provoking story.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 7

I will readily confess my biases toward Marta's [Eä]. It's pretty flattering that she found inspiration in my vision of Annatar, and I love how she has rendered this into her own work. Marta studies philosophy, whereas I am a card-carrying scientist, but she grasps the drive for deep knowledge that possesses so many scientists of the primary world and, in a secondary world, an iconic and complex "villain." I love how Annatar shows his pupils the patterns in nature, whether in the petals of a flower or in a pine cone, or in minerals. The theme of the story strikes me as how deeply does one delve, as Annatar hits on the truth of the matter: that science seeks answers to the most fundamental questions (which are part of a huge tapestry). What is Eä? That is the fundamental question, according to Annatar. I would be inclined to agree (strongly) but then, I am of the devil's own party according to Tolkien's estimation of those of us who break a thing to discover what it is.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 6

A lovely short story that throws light on the reasons of the fascination Annatar might have embodied for the Elven smiths of Eregion as well as gives the readers a glimpse at Annatar's own perception as well. the way he is shown feeling refreshed by allowing himself to be surrounded by a young student is telling as it shows both what he gave up when he turned to Melkor, and precisely which part of understanding he lacks to reach his goal: that love and life is part of that flame imperishable he seeks, not just the technical workings of the world. And yet, one can see how he must have captured Celebrimbor's loyalty at that point. The author mentioned her inspiration by Pandemonium's version of Annatar, and it is palpable in this tale, but I love the blend Marta gives him here through the interaction with the young Elves and Celebrimbor. Great work!

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 4

I also read Pandemonium_123's piece's about Sauron in Eregion, I like how you have taken this and moulded it into something your own. The introduction of a son to Celebrimbor, with much the same passions as his father and fore-fathers before him was a touch of genius and added a lot to the piece. I like your Sauron, I think you got his character just right and I would certainly read more of this if there is any?