A Smile

Author: Aria

Nominator: Dawn Felagund

2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: House of Finwe

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Given teen rating due to the fact that it talks of family members disinheriting each other from a first person point of view.

Summary: "Yet neither bread nor rest would [Orodreth] grant to Celegorm and Curufin within his realm, and he swore that there would be little love between Nargothrond and the Sons of Fëanor thereafter. ‘Let it be so!' Said Celegorm, and there was a light of menace in his eyes; but Curufin smiled [...] In that time Celebrimbor the son of Curufin repudiated the deeds of his father, and remained in Nargothrond." A study of a father and son, with a momentous decision. An attempt to understand why Curufin smiled.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Angelica  ✧  Score: 10

There are some fanfic stories that make the reader go back to the text and reconsider it. For me this is one of them: Why did Curufin smile? I had never considered, I had never paid attention to this apparently minor detail. After reading "A Smile" a whole new way of looking at the canonical narrative opened in front of me and made me reconsider both the characters and their behaviors. The author doesn't portray Curufin at first in a very attractive light: he is proud and stubborn and has not forgiven those who stayed behind: his wife – he will not even name her - and his mother – he has almost forgotten her. According to canon, he was most articulate and persuasive in his speech but when it comes to talking to his son he does not seem to be able to put his emotions into words. The story conveys very well this difficulty to express his feelings and especially his love for his son. Additionally he has this terrible awareness that every parent must have at some point: when did my child grow up? Where was I? What was I doing all that time? When did I grow old if my baby is now such a man (or woman)? And ultimately, will I be able to let go when the time comes? Luckily for both of them, Curufin is able to let go and so we can understand why he smiles as he leaves Nargothrond.

Reviewed by: Dawn Felagund  ✧  Score: 7

"A Smile" is the story of a father letting go of a son: Curufin and Celebrimbor after the Feanorians' betrayal of Finrod in Nargothrond. It is a scene that has been done many times by many skilled authors, but Aria brings to the scene a unique style that makes her version of the event both bittersweet and heartbreaking. While many authors write Curufin and Celebrimbor's relationship strained to the point of dysfunction, Aria takes the opposite bent. She shows clearly the love and regret that exists between them. Her portrait of Celebrimbor, particularly, is excellent, as it shows the man who will later bring about his ruin by creating the Rings of Power. The style of the piece is extremely effective in achieving the story's purpose, and, as I read it, I do not feel that it is too saccharine or breaks from canon in any way. It is the work of a skilled writer using subtleties of the language to convey an event that must have been truly heartbreaking.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

A possible reason given for the smile the Silmarillion tells us Curufin gave as Orodreth banished him and his brother from what had been Finrod's realm, once Finrod left to take up Beren's quest, robbed of aid mostly by fear of what Feanor's sons might do should that quest prove successful. With his son safe on repudiating his father and uncle's deeds, he can leave with a feeling of relief. The detail given provides a sense of time and place, drawing the reader into the story. Perhaps the most sympathetic rendering of Curufin within Ennor I've read.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 5

A very deep, fascinating story about Curufin's smile, coming to a conclusion that I would never have considered, but that makes perfect sense. Beautiful writing, a strong grasp on the source material, and a very believable Curufin who is not simply painted as one of the great villains of the Eldar in Beleriand, but (also) a father. The balance is delicate, but all the more effective for the risk of slipping. Stirring, thought-provoking and multi-layered: I will definitely come back to re-read this and perhaps understand this story a little better. Thank you for sharing this, Aria, and good luck. You deserve to win something with this story.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Aria's ficlet, "A Smile", is a gap-filler, an explanation of why Curufin smiled when his son, Celebrimbor, repudiated him as he left Nargothrond. It is an emotionally powerful vignette, in which Curufin comes to the conclusion that he must let his precious child go, in order to save him. Very nicely done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Tolkien should have spent more time writing about Celebrimbor. Thankfully, fanfiction can fill in such tantalizing gaps. Aria does not disappoint in this fine vignette about the end of Celebrimbor's relationship with his father. Curufin is written sympathetically here, and the explanation for that canon smile is quite believable.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 3

This is a powerful piece, and it gives deep insight into the upheavals of the family rift between Celebrimbor and his father, as well as between the Sons of Feanor and their cousins. Kudos for giving a powerful gap-filler to so short a quote of the Silmarillion!