Beneath a Bitter Rain

Author: Marta

Nominator: Azalais

2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: Elves or Dwarves - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes,Violence

Summary: The War of the Ring did not only affect Gondor and Rohan. A look at the aftermath of the assault on Erebor and Dale.

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Reviewed by: Azalais  ✧  Score: 9

I love Dwarf-fic, and there isn't enough of it out there; and Marta is one of my favourite Dwarf-writers. Written, if I remember rightly, for a B2MEM2011 prompt about the plight of refugees, this extrapolates neatly from the sketchy canon of "Elsewhere in Middle-earth during the Ring War" to provide a believable and satisfying scene that packs an emotional punch. The initial parsimony and caution of Thorin Stonehelm about helping the Dale refugees is entirely in Dwarvish character, as are Gloin's forthright rejoinders to his new king's objections. But what really makes me smile about this piece is its echoes of the changes that a totally unexpected friendship has wrought, by this time, far away in Gimli and Legolas; it's Gloin's concern for his distant son, and the hope that someone somewhere will be looking out for him, that brings about his compassion for the Men of Dale, even as Gimli and Legolas are supporting each other and sharing their fear that "War already marches on our own lands." Those bonds of friendship - of Fellowship - across races give Middle-earth its hope for the future.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 6

This story serves as a good reminder that the War of the Ring was Middle-earth's equivalent of a world war. Gondor and Rohan were not the only lands affected by the war. Gloin reminds the new king of the Dwarves that while charity begins at home, it does not necessarily have to remain there. What affects one kingdom affects another, especially in wartime, or in times of hunger. As Gloin observes, he does not know what is happening to his own son, and just as he hopes that someone else, somewhere, is showing kindness to Gimli, he suggests that the Dwarves help their neighbors in the latter's time of need. The new Dwarf king is not suddenly overcome with generosity--and that seems typical of dwarves--but he is not adverse to offering some help. A good, thoughtful story, written from a less-conventional perspective.

Reviewed by: Elfique  ✧  Score: 5

An interesting and tense bit of dialogue driven work here. I was most impressed by the dialogue, it wasn't over wordy or clichéd despite the heavy ground covered - this also seems very appropriate for dwarves, since I always imagine them to be very straight speaking and not a race to mince words or dance around a subject. That said, you get a real sense that Glóin is choosing his words carefully and responding both to the situation and change in station with his friend. This wasn't at all what I had expected from reading the summary but it was a real pleasure to read!

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 5

What a fantastic one-shot! I really enjoyed this scene between Glóin and Thorin, with the former trying - rather bluntly - to persuade the reluctant latter to make a concession outwith his remit. And when all of Glóin's arguments about forgetting the sins of Dale's forefathers seem to fall on deaf ears, it is his final wistful hope - that somewhere, someone is treating his son with the kindness he would wish Thorin to bestow on Dale's refugees - that does the trick. Beautifully written and a joy to read. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 4

Marta's take on the aftermath of the assault on Dale and Eriador is interesting, especially in its novelty. It's often a very overlooked fact that Gondor and Rohan were not the only places to be faced with the Shadow's attack. And the author's Dwarf-voice is very good; Glóin's character was believable, and Marta's style of writing his thoughts seemed to be in keeping with what the reader knows of Dwarven speech-patterns and cultural traditions.

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 3

I think most people often forget that the war of the ring reached all corners of middle-earth not just Rohan and Gondor. I love your characterization of Gloin and this line [The men... the crows wheeled low in the sky, circling the carrion-piles, and there were not enough hale men left to give them graves set apart.] He is very in character and i think his and Thorin's views are interesting and fresh. :)

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

The ending of hostilities does not always mean instantaneous easing of long-held tensions between countries, or in this case, races. But the conversation between the two dwarves is well considered and poignant, and I love the feeling this ficlet leaves of hope for closer ties between the Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

I understand both of them; each has his reasons and is partially right. Above all, I love Gloin's wise words in the end. This is really a great story that I recommend to everyone.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 2

This is convincingly dwarvish--Thorin's initial reservations as much as Gloin's clinching argument. A well-written gapfiller.