The Feast of Reuniting

Author: Oshun

Nominator: Himring

2011 Award Category: Elves: House of Finwë - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: (Epic historic event--Mereth Aderthad, 25 F.A.) Never since they had left Valinor had Maglor noticed a greater hope for good things to follow. That hope flowed heavy in the veins of the Noldor at the end of the Feast of Reuniting. It was Maglor who took upon himself the task to sing of those events. He would record for generations to come that hope, as well as their fears, triumphs and tragedies.

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Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

I love this story because it is by Oshun, with all that implies, and because it is about Maglor, who is one of the Noldor I am most interested in anyway. The feast in question is the celebration twenty years after the first Rising of the Sun at the Eithel Ivrin, the pools at the source of the Narog at the foot of the Mountains of Shadow, to which Fingolfin summoned elves from all over Beleriand; Sindar and Green-Elves came as well as Noldor, and it is the one occasion on which we can assume that Maglor met Daeron and they heard each other sing. The piece is part of Oshun's "Maitimo and Findekano" series, which is a favourite of mine, and especially closely linked to her Work-in-Progress "Mereth Aderthad", which I hope she will finish soon, because I can't wait to read the next chapter. Oshun's Noldor are strong, courageous, generous, independent-minded, determined, and highly motivated. Here she has condensed all the qualities that I admire about them into one short ficlet. Maglor is, of course, known for writing the Noldolante, which is, according to the "Silmarillion", a famous lament on the subject of the Downfall of Noldor. Here his determination is described to write about hope and joy as well as about the inevitable high price to be paid for the Noldorin venture into Beleriand and those disasters that have already happened since their departure. The piece was originally written for Back-to-Middle-Earth Month 2011, and the challenge for that particular day was to start a story with the opening line of Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities". Oshun has done more than that; she has gone back to Dickens's work and used the following sentences, too, and she has made them work really well.

Author response: Thank you so much for the lovely and detailed review of this story. It means a lot to me because I know how attached you are to the characters involved. It is one of my favorite segments of the Silmarillion, because in a book filled with tragedies it is described as a happy event. The foreshadowing comes to those of us who read the words over and over knowing how it will end. I always want to re-write it. But I never will go that route; it would be just to unauthentic to me in every way. So I will read and shed a little tear.

Reviewed by: Russandol  ✧  Score: 10

Oh, this is the spirit of the Noldor perfectly distilled into a short story, like the most fragant perfume kept in a minute glass bottle. Somehow I missed this piece when it was first published during B2MeM 2011, possibly there were too many to keep up at the time. Now, reading it for the first time, I cheered. I loved that Maglor took it upon himself to record the ephemeral happinesss of his people, in the same way he also wrote and sang their downfall. He was not doing it in the belief that their Feast of reuniting is the end of their strife; on the contrary, he knows Namo's doom will follow them, but there is an indomitable spirit that refuses to bend under that doom, and that's what makes this story stand out. Speaking of the Noldor as people who have shrugged off a yoke rings perfectly true to my own view of the role of the Valar in Tolkien's world. But it was the line about artists standing tall and wielding swords with calloused hands that I admired the most. That's exactly how I had envisioned the Noldor: able to craft beauty but not weaklings, proud and fierce but able to rejoice. I haven't seen a better way to write all of that as perfectly as in that fabulous sentence. Of course I also enjoyed the fact that Daeron, rival, friend or both, joined Maglor in this celebration, to sing of happiness and hope.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard  ✧  Score: 9

Wow, I hadn’t read this piece before now but boy is it an awesome little vignette! The “borrowing” of Dickens famous opening of A Tale of Two Cities is so fitting for the Noldor it could have been written especially for them. But of course Oshun proves herself as masterful as the masters with this line: [The threats that had been made against them forced them to stand up straight and tall, caused each of them to metaphorically throw his shoulders back and grasp his sword's hilt in an artist’s hand, but the hand of a craftsman is calloused and strong.] This is a beautiful piece of writing that just jumps out and grabs one by the throat and makes one realize what an artist Oshun is herself. But seriously, Oshun really nails the Noldor and their character here, their pride and their strength, their tragedy and triumph (short-lived though it might have been). Maglor is one of my favorite Silmarillion characters thanks to her writings, and I share his hopefulness and joy as he picks up his harp to sing. Reading this makes me wish she would finish that story with Maglor and Daeron, as they are a perfect couple and almost as much fun to read about as her Fingon and Maitimo. Even though the hope of the Noldor is tainted with the doom that follows them, one feels that, in this moment in the story, anything is possible. A wonderful surprise this one.

Reviewed by: Lyra  ✧  Score: 7

In "The Feast of Reuniting", Oshun gives us a moment of high hope, making perfect use of the Charles Dickens quote requested for the challenge and continuing it in her own, fittingly chosen words. I was delighted to find a thoroughly hopeful, positive Maglor - and Daeron! - in this ficlet for a change; all too often, the focus in fanfic about either of those two great musicians is only on regret and woe (with perhaps some guilt thrown in for good measure). But as Oshun (or her Maglor) put it, ["the bliss would have to be told as well"]! There are times of celebration and joy, too, and it's good to see them remembered amidst all the darkness of the "Silmarillion". Good thing the story ends where it does, before things get dark again and hope fails once more... I also liked the observations on Noldorin strengths and achievements. I'm particularly in love with the line about hope flowing ["thick and heavy in the veins of the Noldor"]. Good stuff! A short, happy story that makes use of beautiful language and paints a picture of optimism and triumph. Definitely recommended.

Author response: Thank you so much for your gracious and generous review, which also showed me that you didn't just enjoy, but understood what I was trying to say with the story!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

Interesting piece, that builds like a brooding overture to a powerful opera, on a gathering of First Age Elves. Oshun delivers a snapshot of the exiled Noldor as proud outcasts who have left their sheltered past behind in Aman. And it's always a treat to see Daeron and Maglor together in the same story...

Author response: Thank you so much for the review! Tolkien's description of the optimism of all the participants in the Mereth Aderthad is almost more heartrending for me than the majority of his tragic stories. I also love to wonder what Daeron and Maglor would have thought of one another. I think this event where I was delighted to see both were present is one place where art could have triumphed over politics.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

This tale opens with a quote from Dickens, and then continues on. The Noldor have their own view of history and events, and clearly it is different from that of other elves, as Maglor indicates. But on this day in which the story is set, the Elves are attending the Feast of Reuniting, and life is good. Well done.

Author response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

How wonderful as we see Maglor choosing to celebrate the accomplishments of the Noldor within Endore, as he thinks on what they have won--and lost as well. A wonderful response to the prompt given for this challenge.

Author response: Thank you so much, Larner, for the lovely review.

Reviewed by: Caunedhiel  ✧  Score: 3

A beautiful piece, I love your writing style and how you make the words flow so effortlessly. I especially liked how you described the Noldor, it was perfect and that it was Maglor describing made it even more so. I enjoyed reading that very much!

Author response: Thank you so much for the lovely review!

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoy all of Oshun's First Age stories, and this one is no exception. It's full of gorgeous imagery which paints a picture of what might have been within the hearts of the Noldorin exiles as they arrived in Middle-earth. Wonderfully done!

Author response: Thanks so much for reading and your kind remarks!

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 2

This is a fine, fitting story of how and when the Noldolantë came to be written by Maglor.