The Long Race
Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2009 Award Category: Genres: Humor
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Innuendo involving an onion, nonexplicit scenes of naked men lounging in a sauna, references to said naked men getting a nice backrub from their female companion.
Summary: Faramir of Gondor is a stranger to the people of the Mark. So before he may wed the sister of the King, the steward must prove himself the equal of any Rider. Rated for nudity and implied sexual situations.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 10
After five or six re-readings, this story still makes me grin. It's so well-written that plot and narration seem to flow smoothly from one passage to the next, to present a most entertaining whole. Branwyn uses her considerable skill to blend humor and action in this atypical Eomer-tests-Faramir's-worthiness story. Often, fanfiction writers delve into Eomer's jealousy of the man who is going to wed the Horse Lord's beloved sister. Branwyn presents an Eomer who has no malice in him, rather a healthy competitive streak and a canny awareness of the political implications of the Lady of Rohan's upcoming union with a man who is not well known among the warriors of the Riddermark. Eomer hits on a fine solution - include Faramir in a traditional Rider's initiation, a rite which involves a tricky challenge along with lots of riding and friendly male bonding. Unexpected dangers pop up, Faramir exceeds expectations and gains acceptance. Eomer and Faramir are written very well, their 'battle' is hilarious, and the Rohir viewpoint is absolutely credible. Eowyn is also well written; and I love the way Branwyn presents her relationship with her brother; with quite a bit of give-and-take, and Eomer having more of a sense of mischief. And it's a very clever response to an unusual challenge prompt. Highly recommended for Faramirists and Gondor/Rohan aficionados!
Reviewed by: annmarwalk ✧ Score: 9
A breezy, lighthearted story, the happy result of a somewhat unconventional fic exchange request for a story involving...onions. The Onion theme is skillfully woven throughout the story, starting with Eowyn venting her displeasure with her brother on hapless root vegetables, and moving on to the already-slightly-giddy Faramir and Eomer thwacking at each other with - well, you'll find out. *grin* Lady_Branwyn is a writer of extraordinary wit and skill, as well as humor, and there's drollery here in full measure. After the rigors of war it's quite easy to imagine the earthy Rohirrim cutting loose, and wonderful fun to imagine Faramir as the somewhat bemused center of all the mayhem. ["The Onion Riddle"], celebrated in a 2008 MEFA-nominated ficlet, is reincarnated here in bawdy folksong form, perfectly in character for those rambunctious Rohirrim. There's also a delightful allusion to one Son of Gondor's, ah, distinguishing physical characteristic, that will make readers chortle with glee. Good-natured naughtiness is delightfully implied, but not depicted; the only warning this rollicking story needs is a beverage alert!
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 6
Leave it to Eomer to turn a rite of initiation into an impromptu bachelor party. There are a lot of little perks and quirks to this story that make it a fun ride. The first is the Rohirrim in general and Eomer and Elfhelm in particular. The stone-faced declaration that they can discuss nothing that comes after the trial alerts everyone to the fact that things are not quite what they seem. And I love Eomer's casual dismissal of potential danger since only one rider had been killed previously. I also got a big laugh out of the fact that the Rohirrim sent to rescue Faramir should he run into trouble ended up needing rescuing themselves. And then there was Faramir, who proved himself adaptable and more than willing to join in on the fun, even if he can't hold his alcohol. A lively and fun romp that provides some wonderful down time for Eomer and Faramir.
Reviewed by: MedeaSmyke ✧ Score: 4
The Long Race is absolutely delightful to read! Lady Branwyn's cultural take on Rohirric customs is very entertaining and well-developed. I love the rivalry between the future brothers-in-law/nations and Faramir's steadfastness. The story also provides glimpses into post-war Gondor and Rohan's leaders. And humorists will love the cunning use of onions.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
What a means of having to prove his worth to marry Eomer's sister--and trust our Faramir to do it in such style! Truly a masterwork, and a joy to read on several levels! A perfect vehicle to enjoy the rivalry, as pleasant and benign as it is, between the folk of Gondor and those of Rohan, and the special gifts Faramir brings to his intended marriage!
Reviewed by: Sevilodorf ✧ Score: 2
Clever tale of Faramir's initiation into Rohirric culture. Much better than a stag party, though they probably did that too.
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 1
Ahh yes, quite fun, onions are. ;) Thanks for a great laugh, and a nice answer to a 'what if'.