An Ordinary Woman
Author: Dawn Felagund
2008 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: House of Finwe - First Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: mild/implied sexuality and considerable wine-induced inebriation
Summary: The Lúthien of legend is the portrait of perfection. But what of the real woman behind the tales? Finrod Felagund learns something of the true nature of the Princess of Doriath and gets himself into trouble as he sets off an event that will literally change the world.(n/a)
Reviewed by: Rhapsody ✧ Score: 10
Oh no Dawn, don't tell me he just did that!!!! I found this story an immensely amusing read, from the start where Finrod surely remembers why he left Aman and his reasoning that perhaps attending a birthday of one of the Sindar might bring him some fun and maybe an heir. I just love how you explain the births of Finduilas and Gil-galad here, making me go like: hey that makes sense, especially on how they pop up on those family trees! Curufins reaction to such frivolity had me laughing so hard, who knows what is in that study of his. And after that, oh my. I had to giggle so much at how Finrod described Melian's girdle (mazes huh), the meeting with Beleg and a dinner with Thingol. Yet it leaves him to ponder where Lúthien is and their meeting - especially the first looks at her - is so splendidly written. I just could see Finrod standing there, taking her in like that. However not all wishes are fulfilled and the ending... I wondered what kind of mistake he would have made, but that most certainly was the icing on the cake. Let's blame Beleg, shall we? I really loved to read this story written from Finrod's perspective solely and completely in the wonderful style that is Dawn's trademark. This exploration how a rather normal person can grow to be a larger than life persona is immensely well done with the numerous moments of laughter.
Reviewed by: Robinka ✧ Score: 10
I can honestly say that this story is my favorite among those written by Dawn. Every time I read it, a somewhat funny thing occurs to me: regardless of the fact that I am, and have always been, a devoted fan of the Sindar of Doriath, I have never liked Lúthien. Not have I really liked the story of Beren and Lúthien, even though I realize, and I will be the first to admit, its importance and the fact that it is one of the most poignant stories in canon. That's why I really love An Ordinary Woman -- an unusual and a bit controversial take on the beginning of the story of Beren and Luthien, told by Finrod as he visited Menegroth and realized that the tales and songs exaggerated, and the princess of Doriath was not exactly what they depicted -- or rather what they wanted their readers or listeners to believe in. Finrod is by the way my favorite character of this piece. This story always has me laugh, and also marvel at how an excellent and very talented writer, such as Dawn, can re-forge something that has never been my favorite part of the Tolkien universe into a most likable story that explains a lot in a most amusing, thought-provoking, and also believable if one wants to accept that way. Great, truly great job!
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 5
An interesting take on the beginning of the legend of Luthien, narrated by the amused, cynical Finrod. The idea of Luthien's extraordinary loveliness being much exaggerated is worth exploring; here, she is an intelligent and restless young princess of usual but not jaw-dropping Elven beauty. I loved the ending, where Finrod meets an exhausted, half-starved mortal boy wandering at the outskirts of Doriath, and helps him enter Thingol's realm, thinking that the kid might make a good friend for young Luthien - had me laughing, a little sadly, given Finrod's ultimate fate.
Reviewed by: Alquawende ✧ Score: 5
This is an amazing and unique story about Luthien. Anyone who likes Luthien's story will love this. Even those who don't should read this. The story takes a much more realistic stance on Luthien's famed beauty that is constantly repeated in The Silmarillion. The characters are fleshed out and believable. After reading this, it has definitely changed my view on the character of Luthien because before I always thought of her as the perfect woman, known to us as the dreaded Mary Sue. I don't like to read fanfics on her, but this one has become a favorite of mine.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 4
Luthien as an ordinary woman or maybe not so ordinary. At least she doesn't fall for her own legends. This whole tale takes the glamor out of the legends. When describing the table manners of Thingol compared to Finrod's, the king comes away as pretty ordinary himself. No wonder that Luthien is quite ordinary. And the enchanted girdle of Melian... I had to laugh at that.
Reviewed by: whitewave ✧ Score: 4
I was never fond of Luthien from the very first, she sounded too unrealistic and perfect so I dutifully avoided fanfics that featured her. It was Finrod who drew me in, him being my second favorite blond elf, I decided to give this one a shot. I liked your version of the secret behind the Girdle of Melian and the last part just made me smile--how a very simple gesture of Finrod would have far-reaching effects in the future.
Reviewed by: Jules14 ✧ Score: 4
I liked that you didn't revise the story after you realized how old Luthien must have been. Even knowing that she was born in the Years of the Trees, I always felt, after reading "Of Beren and Luthien", that she was relatively young for an elf. Perhaps it was because of her sheltered life and because of her apparent impetuousness. In any case, you portrayed Luthien with a wisdom and friendliness in this story that I've never read about before, and I enjoyed it.
Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland ✧ Score: 3
Are heroes and heroines truly as great as they are said to be?This is an unique and somewhat controversial look at the fabled Luthien,which made an enjoyable read and was thought provoking.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 3
This was an intriguing gapfiller, answering just how Beren found his way past Melian's enchantments, but of course does a lot more than that. I particularly liked the way Luthien was presented as not quite as Sue-ish as a lot of fandom members complain, and how that ordinariness was transformed into something meaningful for the talk. Nice work, Dawn!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
What a delightful look at a Luthien who was nowhere as radiant as legend insists and how Finrod might have somehow aided both his stubborn female cousin as well as a lost human youth to meet. A lovely example of how the romantic ideal of Luthien might have exceeded reality and have led in the end to the tragedy of the Silmarils.
Reviewed by: viv ✧ Score: 3
How refreshing this vignette is. I love Finrod's voice: he gets right to the point of things, doesn't he (balrog butt-whuppins aside)? You know, you've actually portrayed Luthien in a more compelling fashion than Tolkien ever did, giving her a deep wisdom rather than mere flashy looks. Very insightful.