The Giver and the Gifted
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2009 Award Category: Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles
Story Type: Drabble ✧ Length: Short Drabble Series
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Ah, the famous Starry Mantle - how exactly did that come about?(A drabble pair written for the "Tailor" challenge at tolkien_weekly)
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 8
A lovely linked pair of drabbles dealing with the origin of the famous starry mantle. Ann has created a wonderful OMC in Mormegil, the self-effacing and totally competent valet to Denethor. She cleverly conveys how necessary Mormegil has become in Denethor's life by having the Steward's heir consult him in the choice of gifts for his beloved Finduilas. Through the first drabble, we glimpse into the heart of Denethor, which is a fine and private place. He adores Finduilas, thinks her so perfect in form that jewelry would be redundant; and, like many men, thinks of useful things to give her. Denethor comes up with the idea of the cloak, then, with Mormegil's encouragement, visualizes it embroidered with stars; and then entrusts the practical matter of getting it made to his faithful servant. The second drabble is an exercise in lovely description/evocation, as Mormegil sets about going to the tailor and commissioning the cloak for Denethor's lady; and gets some romantic inspiration of his own. Well-written drabbles from a great drabblist.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 7
The summary indicates that the drabble is about the mantle that Faramir ultimately wraps around Eowyn, but I actually found myself learning much more about Denethor. It seems the man never stops being a leader. In thinking about how to romance Finduilas, it isn't enough that a gift to her is beautiful. No, it must also be practical. Something she can use. But at the same time, Denethor is aware that beauty should be a part of it. He sees both the sentiment in the gift (hence the need for beauty) and the usefulness of the gift (hence the need to be practical). They're the perfect combination of traits that one would look for in a ruler of Gondor, because Gondor is also both beautiful and practical: Beautiful because it needs to be a beacon of hope against the rising dark of Sauron, and practical because without its strength and valor, the rest of Middle-earth would not last long. Great use of parallels!
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 5
The starry-mantle fic seems to be a motif among writers of Gondor-centric. Almost everyone seems to have written their version, or at least have a definite idea in mind. They're always interesting and nice to read, but it can sometimes be difficult to find one that doesn't feel repetitive. Ann's drabble series "The Giver and the Gifted" is the exception to that rule. She takes a very different tack, looking at how it might come to be made from the servants' perspective. It's lovely and creative and a lot of fun to read, and (most importantly) adds yet another layer to my imagination of life in Gondor.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 3
[By her skill will Lord Denethor's lady be wrapped in starlight.] This is a lovely phrase in what is a sweet piece. I found the first bit a tad clumsy, but the second was so well crafted, that as with the cloak, the craftsmanship is unnoticeable. Very enjoyable.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
If everyone loves Mag the Cook, Denethor's gentleman's gentleman Mormegil has to be someone we honor nearly as much. Certainly his is the perfect point of view to use to see to the creation of the gift Denethor wishes to see made for his beloved Finduilas! This is such a lovely look at the creation of the starry mantle! Thank you for this, Ann!
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 3
A nice pair of drabbles - I love Denethor's assessment of the idea of giving Finduilas jewelry. Mormegil comes through with the means for his master to bestow a fitting gift - a great little gapfiller, Ann!
Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel ✧ Score: 2
A beautifully written drabble pair explaining the origins of the famous starry cloak. Nicely done!
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 2
It's a sweet idea to think that the woman who embroidered the cloak was just as lovely as the two who wore it!
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 2
A delightful and imaginative look at how the famous blue cloak that Faramir gave his lady came into being