Author: Illwynd

Nominator: annmarwalk

2008 Award Category: Genres: Horror - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Other Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Rated for light horror content.

Summary: AU. In the back of Boromir's mind, something is happening...

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 9

One of my favorite kinds of AU is the kind that just hints at what has gone terribly wrong. This story never explicitly states that Boromir has the Ring. It never spells out the fact that he used it to win the war. Instead, it tells its story through hints and glimpses, like assembling hastily snapped and blurred photographs and trying to arrange them in some kind of order after the true sequence of events has been forgotten. I love the way this tale uses ominous words and immediately justifies them. For example, the stillness of Minas Tirith is at one point equated to the [silence of peace], and Boromir keeps thinking that the dimness and shadows are comfortable and conducive to rest. In some part of his mind, he's still rationalizing, and eventually that small protesting part (which feels so weak now) has to give in. The true magnitude of all that is happening is carried by the last paragraph, which boasts some frightening but impressive imagery that takes Boromir's comfortable shadows and dimness and unmasks them for what they truly are. When coupled with the final wails of Boromir's more prudent side, the full horror packs a potent punch. Riveting tale!

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 6

A well-wrought AU should leave you thinking about the chances that Tolkien wrote into the story, whether consciously or not, and out of which a different story can spring. Illwynd's short ficlet does just that. I liked the fact that at first, I wasn't sure where I was in time - the marvelous opening line, describing the presence of the Ring in Boromir's thought could put us anywhere. It could put us any time and place between the Council of Elrond and Parth Galen. When it becomes apparent finally that this is more than mere temptation, but possession, the story shifts and opens onto a vision of Minas Tirith subdued to Boromir badly deluded. The last few lines let the horror come in, as we are reminded that delusion is only a stage that leads to extinction. Well done!

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

This is a wonderfully creeperific story. The use of alliteration in words like [scuttle],[shuffle], and [scurry], as well as the fantastic imagery they invoke, contributes quite richly to the disturbing, heart-in-your-mouth mood as we try to figure out exactly what's wrong with Boromir (and his zombielike aspect is fantastic!) The description of Boromir's raptured love for his city, counterbalanced by his ever-so-slight confusion and loneliness as he realizes it has changed, but can't quite put his finger on how or why, is painfully vivid. Boromir lovers can enjoy (ok, maybe not exactly "enjoy") this as a very plausible AU, as well as a superb stand-alone spooky story. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 5

An outstanding vignette, among the most subtly and richly nuanced of the X-takes-the-Ring AU pieces I've read. The horror builds slowly, from a faint sense of unease to the certainty of the tragic and scary finale. The sad thing here is that a faint part of the original Boromir still lingers, knowing that something is terribly wrong, and it is only at the end that this part is destroyed - Illwynd skillfully suggests, and then leaves it to our charged imaginations to follow the signposts she has lain for Boromir's corruption and the fate of Minas Tirith...

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 4

What a compelling and chilling AU! Rarely I have seen the idea of what would have happened had Boromir succeeded in taking the One Ring executed in a more compelling way. That the story is told out of Boromir's perspective makes it even more fitting - we can feel the way the shredded remains of his conscience rebel and try to wake him up, but are engulfed and drowned in the shadow that has overtaken his soul. Very, very well done! Thank you for writing and sharing!

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 3

(Shiver) An excellent ficlet depicting a chilling AU where once again the weakness of Men creates a calamity. The mood builds slowly and skillfully. I particularly liked this line [And the people he had liked to speak with were gone—where? He couldn’t remember, and this made the shuffling in his thought grow louder.]. One knows perfectly well what happened to them and that fact that Boromir cannot remember is possibly the most chilling thing about this story.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

A most fascinating Might-Have-Been in which we see one taken by the Ring who is truly being consumed by Its power, almost as if the Ring Itself were kin to Shelob and sucking out the vitality and intellect as well as the integrity of Its victim. And to see the Shadow so manifesting itself.... A remarkably effective AU.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 3

Very interesting take on the 'changes' that occur - not to Minas Tirith - but to her Steward... or perhaps her King..... Yikes - shades of Nosferatu. Very well written and quite scary.

Reviewed by: Galadriel  ✧  Score: 3

A delightfully creepy look into Boromir's Ring-darkened mind. I am especially enamoured of how what's happened slowly spins out so that at first, one only has the faintest of ideas, yet by the end of the tale the reader has fully grasped the situation only to watch Boromir lose his grip and fade under the influence of the Ring.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 2

A very creepy ficlet which might just have happened! You conveyed the aura of creeping menace brilliantly.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke  ✧  Score: 1

This is a really fresh depiction of corruption! Well done.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 1

Oh, my! This is indeed creepy! Well done!