One Last Wish
Author: Dawn Felagund
2008 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: House of Finwe
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Mature ✧ Reason for Rating: sexuality
Summary: Shortly before the Darkening of Valinor, Fëanor returns briefly to Nerdanel to beg one last wish of her.
Reviewed by: Elleth ✧ Score: 10
Poignant and bitter and heartbreaking, [One Last Wish] presents to the reader a possible version of how the eventual estrangement of Feanor and Nerdanel came to pass. The author, Dawn Felagund, is a well-known 'Feanorian' and a great writer, a coming together these two traits create an exquisitely sorrowful tale that shows deep insight into canon material and the craft of writing both. Like leitmotifs to emphasize the significance of certain passages (though no word here is superfluous or out of place): the sound of the forge door, the broken latch that cannot keep it closed, the leaves rushing in, the idea of going back in time to undo what has been done all guide the reader through the story. In her final chance for reconciliation, Nerdanel chooses selfishness (if you can justify to call it that) over sacrificing herself to her husband's cause; she refuses to create another child with him that he hopes may fix their relationship, and is left. A year later, the period it takes from conception to birth for the Eldar, Nerdanel is back in the forge and left alone, and wishing for a second chance - but that is not all there is to the story. In glimpses and flickers and fragments, Dawn shows episodes from the marriage of Feanor and Nerdanel, and furthers understanding of how it could come this far. She establishes a profound sense of sympathy for Nerdanel and makes her final decision all the more understandable, but no less heartbreaking, and weaves everything together into a tightly-spun whole that is a delight to read and re-read. I keep coming back to the story and discover something new, and Dawn's evocative, picturesque style certainly does nothing to distract the reader, but rather adds another layer to the whole. I wish I could write like this.
Reviewed by: whitewave ✧ Score: 10
I re-read the story and this is positively one of most heartbreaking stories I've read, fanfic or otherwise. I like the artful way in which you narrated it, the repetition of the "gust of wind" to set up a number of the major scenes was quite dramatic and contributes to the melancholy mood. The madness that is slowly overtaking Feanaro is quite obvious to me here and his agitated behavior made me wonder if he had some "premonition" of what is to happen or maybe it was just because he had been separated for her for so long. I was also touched by how you portrayed the strength of their love in that Feanor swallowed his pride and sought her out and an equally proud Nerdanel stayed away but lived in anticipation of his arrival every waking moment. Personally, I think this story gives a tantalizing view of "what could have been". What could have happened if Feanor and Nerdanel reconciled before the Oath, would she have gone with him to Beleriand, would she have been able to prevent him from the Oath? What could have happened if they had a daughter/daughters? How different could things have turned out if one or few of the events had been "tweaked". I think this is one of the reasons why it is very interesting to read Tolkien fanfic--the wealth of the "what could have beens" or "what ifs". The last scene of her alone in her forge was very sad and the "sliding grains of sand" underscored this beautifully. My favorite lines were the last three. It is easy to relate to the character especially when one remembers moments of deep regret and draw upon the pain of those experiences to assume how she must feel at that time. Of all the members of the Feanorian family, I personally believe that Nerdanel and Maglor had the worst of luck--at least the others had each other before they died but these two had to go on living. I've read once that death is a form of rest, but mother and son (?) are doomed to toil until the end of Arda with their "haunted" past. On a lighter note, (leave it to me to turn a serious work and make "silly" conclusions about the details, oh well) this story also shows a telling picture of Feanor and Nerdanel and how strong their love must have been for each other. I mean he is exiled and dishonored and separated from his wife and all and one of the first suggestions or solutions he arrives at to "solve" the problem is for them to procreate. How distinctly Feanorian (in my humble opinion), which is why they are so interesting! They offer a wealth of "what could have beens" and "even ifs".
Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina ✧ Score: 6
It is a rare thing for a story to move me to such deep emotion, let alone tears. A story that has me pausing to read again that I just read and then stop and gape at the pain and truth in the words. And yet full of such dark beauty. Dawn Felagund in this story has managed to capture Nerdanel in such a way, I do believe this could be canon. Nerdanel's hope, pain, loss and bitterness ring as truth, and so many of her reflections hold true for so many women in this world. Thought provoking, vivid and moving, this should be a must read for all Silmarillion fans, and especially fans of Feanor. Dawn, this story touched me beyond words. As I sit here and weep for Nerdanel, I find I also weep for myself and friends who have been so hurt by the love of a man. It is as if you have tapped into the collective consciousness of women and spoken dark truths that reside in many of us all. Bitter, dark, but beautifully written.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
For Nerdanel the wind that blows open the door to her forge is a traitor. The last time the door had opened that way her husband had come to her, seeking her return to him, to his bed and their family, seeking the chance to parent a last child between them; now it is his shade, perhaps, that enters in. Sad, poignant, and heart-rending; beautiful as Feanor's own face, perhaps. A beautiful read.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
A sad and beautiful, but not easy, story of conflicting passions. Dawn Felagund brings these fated lovers/consorts to life beautifully, Nerdanel's sorrow and regret and hunger for the husband whose final desire she could not grant are heart-rending. I like the way that even after seven sons and a marital rift, Feanor and Nerdanel still need each other rather desperately.