By Strength of Hounds
Nominator: Nieriel Raina
2009 Award Category: Races: Elves: Featuring Glorfindel or Erestor - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Mature ✧ Reason for Rating: Detailed killing in a hunt; suggestive nudity.
Summary: A request for Erestor doing something different. Preferably involving a female companion. Bonus points for a state of undress.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 10
A real treat of a tale! Adaneth deserves points for the lovely and consistent medieval terminology that she uses credibly (i.e. [raches] and [alaunts] as names for types of hounds), and for writing a story that takes a different path from expectations. In many Tolkien fanfiction tales, unresolved sexual tension culminates with a romp in the nearest stable or hilltop or satin-sheeted bed, or at least with a passionate kiss. Nothing wrong with that; I enjoy such tales; but I also admire stories like this where the road less traveled is taken. This story ends with Erestor's embarrassment, the laughter of his female Silvan-Elf hunting companion, as Erestor, realizes, nekkid in the water he's bathing in to clean himself up, that one of the lady's well-trained hounds has stolen his clothes. Anyone who doesn't buy that dogs would do such a thing hasn't met my own dog; who loves to steal things, including items of clothing. The story felt very real to me; which is rather amazing, so real and gritty are the details of the hunt; it is as if Adaneth has personally participated in a medieval hunt on horseback, with greyhounds, scenthounds and mastiffs and an unexpected wild boar. That's good research, plus a great imagination and powerful writing skills. As an aficionado of dogs, it was a pleasure for me to read a story acknowledging the uses and differences of dog breeds evolved for specialized purposes - even within the field of hunting game animals, one size of dog does not fit all...Not to mention the excellent writing about the strategies and customs, and dangers, for/of hunting big game. The story lacks only one thing - a sequel! I would really like to see one.
Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina ✧ Score: 6
Another wondeful tale from Adaneth, only this time it's not about dwarves. :) I love the cultural details that Adaneth always brings to her writing. We see them here again in the differences between Erestor and the lady he hunts with, showinb the various elven cultures that existed in Middle-earth. The details of the hunt are informative as well as delightful, as are Erestor's thoughts on the lady, her horse and her hounds. I especially enjoyed Erestor's valiant and heroic saving of the maiden and the humorous ending. Rarely do we get a chance to see the stoic counselor in such a situation! Bravo to Adaneth for letting him shine in his own tale of heroism! Vivid imagery, engaging story line and wonderful characterization make this a fun and fulfilling read. And the ending is simply a hoot!
Reviewed by: Lissa ✧ Score: 5
This is an entertaining and fun read - and very informative, too; it is always a pleasure to read a story which is so obviously well researched, but then this is always the case with your stories. I very much enjoyed your slightly alternative take on Erestor: Polite and respectful to a valued visitor in Imladris - as we would expect. Trying to stop a lady from riding into potential danger - yes, also to be expected. But a strong, fearless, boar-killing Erestor - that was a novel and very refreshing idea! And of course the end of the story was also very much appreciated. *g*
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 5
Adaneth always pays such careful attention to her words, recreating through them specific lands and lives. Here, she gives us a very classic hunt - or it would have been, had Riniel been less herself. However, she and her mismatched dogs, her Sindarin ways, and inappropriate arming for hunting a hart lead to a very different quarry from the one the Imladris hunters had planned to take that day, and I don't mean the boar. Speaking of which, the boar's attack was suitably terrifying - Erestor and Riniel and her animals all were extremely fortunate, and Adaneth makes certain you feel their fortune, not simply know it. An enjoyable romp through the woods, Adaneth!
Reviewed by: Súlriel ✧ Score: 4
Erestor is one of my understated favorites. It's a little difficult to read him sometimes because so little is said of him in canon that authors thoughts and views of him, his history and most especially his characterization vary so widely. I have to say now that I absolutely loved this fun portrayal of him. It seems to mesh so perfectly with what little we know - and yet it fills in those gaps smoothly and delightfully.
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 4
So much gore, and yet such an enjoyable story. I like the expertise with which this is written - it's always interesting to find details about a particular field of knowledge in a story, and I know nothing about hunting. The slight erotic tension between the characters is beautifully handled, and the open ending is a great invitation to imagine how these two will procede from here... ;-)
Reviewed by: Aeärwen ✧ Score: 4
It is SO good to see Erestor doing something that doesn't involve books, and wearing something besides dark robes. Seeing the hunt through his eyes as he tries to watch out for the lovely guest is a delightful look into the way his mind works. The details of the hunt, the scenery around them, the hounds, and the final battle are very nicely drawn. And then ending is absolutely priceless. All in all, a very satisfying read, which I was sorry to have missed before. Well done, Adaneth! Very well done!
Reviewed by: Clodia ✧ Score: 3
This is a refreshing and exciting tale! The level of detail is very rich and the descriptions are very well done. I like the ending - very humorous. It's certainly a different take on Erestor.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
A clever story with well researched details. Lightly humorous and nicely written as we see Erestor, who is usually presented as strictly proper, discomfited by circumstance and a sly dog. A nice read.