Dark Dreams

Author: Avon

Nominator: Elena Tiriel

2008 Award Category: Races: Men: Steward's Family - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mention in a retelling of a dream of someone killing a baby, people being crushed and people drowning.

Summary: Faramir is not the only one to dream of the foundering of Numenor and inescapable darkness.

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Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 10

Avon's story, "Dark Dreams", is one that I enjoy so much I re-read it every few months. Young Faramir and Boromir are staying in Dol Amroth with their uncle; Faramir has a troubling dream, and Imrahil responds. The characterizations are spot-on. For example, it is easy to estimate Faramir's and Boromir's ages, just from the way each behaves. It is clear that the brothers love each other, and that Boromir is fiercely protective of his younger brother. Furthermore, Imrahil's avuncular instincts are very strong, honed by his experience as a parent. Denethor is very effectively but indirectly characterized, without even being present. The contrast between the warmth and nurturing that Imrahil provides versus the stark coldness and indifference of Denethor is striking... and also heartbreaking. I can't help but feel empathy for the two boys (and Imrahil) as the story unfolds. The intensity of the dream and the vivid detail that Avon includes about the subject of the dream are fascinating. I also like the fact that Faramir's gift of dreaming, which make him feel so vulnerable and fearful about angering his father, are shared by Imrahil, as we see at the end. This is a well-crafted story that warms my heart.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska  ✧  Score: 10

A few years ago I stumbled onto fanfiction (different fandom), and was, I'm afraid, immediately unimpressed. Not long after and quite accidentally, I came across Tolkien-based stories, and Avon was one of the first authors that made me realize how professionally-written "mere" fanfic could be. This story is definitely a prime example: first read years ago, it has stayed with me over time and remains a fixture in my personal internalized canon. I've mentioned elsewhere how character-driven a reader I am, and certainly ["Dark Dreams"] shines brightly in that regard. Avon's portrait of the adult protagonist makes this worth reading all on it's own, and if you are not already an adoring fan of this man, this story will probably make you one. He is simply exquisite here. Matching that gracefully-drawn characterization are awesome portrayals of the young brothers 'Mir. One can take the interactions seen here and project them right into LotR; the glimpses of the men they will become, especially Boromir, are deft and accurate. The personal connections are beautiful and moving, and are cast against the greater universal theme of how badly we wish to protect those we love against the forces of evil in the world. And also, sorrowfully, of how we often cannot - the young grow up, and must face the darkness on their own. Excellent writing, wonderful descriptions and individuals you can fall in love with - the story has it all!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 8

The dream of Numenor's drowning provides fertile ground for explorations of the Steward's family. Avon picks up on the tension between Faramir and Denethor later in life and interpolates it back into the past, suggesting a certain elven influence over his two boys as rubbing Denethor the wrong way. Boromir already has assumed the role of surrogate father, at least where matters of care and comfort are concerned in Faramir's life, and Imrahil finds himself wondering why it must be so. That tension makes for a great atmosphere and draws the reader in quickly and decisively. But the family tension is not the heart of the story: Imrahil's own prescience comes into play on the back of Faramir's dream, casting doubt on his promise to two frightened boys that the doom of Numenor will never happen again. This opening out onto what will be some of the most memorable and tragic events of the Ring War is a fantastic close that leaves you with a sense of anxiety and foreboding, despite (or perhaps because) we know precisely what will happen. Well done!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 6

It's hard to say enough of how poignant this tale is--Imrahil finds a defensive Boromir comforting a weeping Faramir, and learns Faramir shares the dreams of Numenor's foundering he himself has known. How we wish to protect those we love, particularly when they are so young and appear so fearful of discovery. But visions of Boromir and Faramir as they will be as the Battle of the Pelennor reaches its climax also reach him, and he realizes he can't do so. A sad, grievous tale, but one which reinforces the desire we all have to protect our own as we can, and our decision to do what we can to see that the worst will happen never again. Writing is delicate; images somewhat shadowy, perfect for Boromir's bedroom as he comforts his brother after that dark dream.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 6

The characterisations are excellent and very engaging; the emotions conveyed are clear and moving. It was particularly easy to identify with Imrahil as the PoV-character, to feel the two boys' emotions tug on the heart-strings and to feel grieved and indignant like him on their behalf at the way they shy away from people they should trust the most. Introspection, dialogue and descriptions are well-balanced. Faramir's vision of the chaos of drowning NĂºmenor is very effective - especially because of the juxtaposition of his childish innocence and matter-of-factness and the horrible and chilly scenes he describes. I also like the way Avon managed to craft the tale so that it is appropriate for Imrahil to tell the children.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

This is one of the first pieces of fanfic I ever read, and because of it Avon's name has been indelibly entered in my mind as one of our finest, most evocative writers. The imagery of the sobbing, terrified child, in the arms of his loving and protective older brother; the amazingly vivid and colorful detail of Faramir's dream; Prince Imrahil's longing for his sister, and anger at her husband - all these elements combine into a story of incredible richness. The characterization of Prince Imrahil is particularly memorable - no wonder we're all a little bit in love with the devoted father and uncle, bearer of both Elven and Numenorean blood,valiant warrior far-sighted in ways Denethor can not even imagine.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 5

A lovely vignette featuring Imrahil comforting his two young nephews during a visit to Dol Amroth. At thirteen, Boromir is fiercely protective of his eight-year-old brother, even while he charges towards his warrior destiny. [(Boromir) had arrived for his holiday with no fewer than three practise swords and a wicked-looking dagger I was sure he was not allowed to wear at home...]. Faramir has suffered his dream of foundering Numenor, and suffered it in very vivid detail. Fortunately, his uncle is able to offer the reassurrance that the two young boys need. Afterwards, however, the experience causes Imrahil some uncomfortable speculation and visions of his own. The boys are quite appropriately drawn for their ages, and Imrahil is lovely.

Reviewed by: cairistiona  ✧  Score: 5

This is a lovely tale ... Imrahil is so gentle with his young nephews, and even at a young age, the two boys' dispositions are evident: Boromir the warrior, Faramir the dreamer (who would become a dreamer/warrior). I haven't read many fics about these three, so finding this one was a joy. The horrors of the drowning of Numenor are hard to imagine and uncomfortable (at best) to think about--Faramir's vivid description was chilling, especially the bit about the mother killing her baby. Such things surely would have happened. I also liked Imrahil's outrage at Denethor--no love lost there. All in all, very well done story.

Reviewed by: stefaniab  ✧  Score: 4

"Dark Dreams" centers upon youthful Faramir's very first drowning of Numenor nightmare. This well known dream sequence serves author Avon as a jumping off place to explore the affect of dreams to Imrahil and his Southern Dunedain/Elven family. The result is an atmospheric exploration of childhood and myth, from the viewpoint of the Prince of Dol Amroth, one of my personal favorite Tolkien characters.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 2

This is such a tender moment between uncle and nephews. Imrahil obviously knows how to handle kids. I love his poetic suggestion of an outing to the sea to watch [seahorses].

Reviewed by: nancylea  ✧  Score: 2

we borrow from so many when we write and sometimes we even know who they are, congrats of naming them.