A Beggar of Distinction

Author: Alassante

Nominator: Súlriel

2009 Award Category: Genres: Mystery - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Aragorn has an interesting meeting at his wedding that leaves him speechless.

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Reviewed by: Súlriel  ✧  Score: 6

What a wonderful surprise, both for Aragorn and for the reader. I especially love these snips and glimpses of those who are surely still among us. I keep rereading this, looking for something deep and emotional and amazing to say – but words are failing me. You are so deeply in Aragorn’s head, the writing, the situation, the story itself is amazing, but what has me so deeply hooked is the concept. Not just that Maglor is still here, but that others may be as well. Of course, a son of Feanor, is far from common, but if he still lurked into the Fourth Age, couldn’t he still be here? Couldn’t others still be here. Your bittersweet story tugs at my heart and makes me pause and glance into the shadows and around the corners , hoping against false hope to catch a glimpse of one of the lingering Eldar.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 6

The hints, once one knows how to read this story, are all there, and the solution appears both natural and stunning - I felt reminded, just a little, of [The Sixth Sense], with the difference that Maglor is very aware of his role at the fringes of society and self-imposed exile. It is very telling that Aragorn has the grace to let him go -- and I still can't help but wonder what happens to Maglor next. [A Beggar of Distinction] indeed, and an unusual guest at Aragorn's wedding, but thoroughly understandable and heartbreaking, especially facing a goodbye similar to Elrond's. Or so it seems. And if the story's ending is unsatisfactory then only insofar that this reader is left wanting more. Maglor, presumably still wandering, can't quite gain closure yet. The story as it is is wonderful and does full justice to one of my favourite characters as he might have become after two Ages of Wandering.

Reviewed by: viv  ✧  Score: 6

This piece gives me chills. It's going along, seeming to all intents and purposes to be a sweet Aragorn/Arwen moment, all about how peaceful and spiffy the world has become, after the ring war. And then the beggar speaks, and his words stop me cold: ["I just wanted to see his children."] Holy crap. I knew who it was right away, and so perfectly have you depicted him, Alassante, that I can completely believe this scene happened, folded right in there with canon. The details are all in line with his character and history; especially telling is the voice that sounds like it hasn't been used in a long time. Also, holding off on naming him until the penultimate word of the vignette was nothing short of brilliant. You have a gift for storytelling, and it shows, even in such a short piece.

Reviewed by: Erfan Starled  ✧  Score: 5

I chose ['A Beggar of Distinction'] by its title alone, to read, and was not disappointed: I deliberately missed out the story summary to my added enjoyment, wondering who Aragorn had seen. This simple story of feelings heightened by the great weight of the past is beautifully told. This story is an example of something I occasionally come across: a piece I very much like, not calling for a lot of words or comments. Your title drew me, I loved reading it, I love the memory of it finalizing this draft months later. It is one of the simplest, shortest stories I have read in looking at the MEFAs for reviewing them, and it has one of the most poignant, enduring images combined with the circumstances and feelings we learn of by the end.

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 5

It's going to be hard to review this without writing spoilers, which I totally do not want to do because I don't want anyone's fun to be ruined! This is a great piece--the central concept, the meeting between Aragorn and a mysterious guest, is a wonderfully clever idea that has so much potential, I am shocked no you ever thought of it before. But to the best of my knowledge, no one ever did, and that's part of what makes this story so brilliant. Kudos! The incredible idea is superbly laid out by great writing and great suspense to keep the reader wondering what is going to happen/who the person is. And the wow! when you figure it out just left me staring at the page! Great story!

Reviewed by: Jedi Sapphire  ✧  Score: 4

This was a wonderful story, bringing together the LotR and Silmarillion worlds seamlessly and beautifully. Your writing style is lovely and very suitable to the plot. And you really did surprise me with Maglor! I was definitely not expecting him. I think you did very well with Aragorn's point of view, especially his thoughts on Arwen. It made me feel a little sad, too, to see Arwen and Elrond together for almost the last time. Thanks for sharing!

Reviewed by: Aeärwen  ✧  Score: 4

I think this was the story that taught me what a wonderful and tragic character Maglor was - which in turn has created a number of plot bunnies that I'm still chasing down. The setting is perfect, the descriptions just clear enough without getting bogged down in trivial details. Aragorn's curiosity and concern are given a firm foundation, and his encounter, while brief, is very emotionally intense. Wonderful job, Al. This is one of my all-time favorite stories in this fandom. Brilliant!

Reviewed by: Robinka  ✧  Score: 4

This is one of those stories that I read and thought, "Oh yes, the Professor himself could have had this idea". Truly. Alassante had a believable idea of Maglor's fate and captured an important moment of his life and one of the crucial moments at the end of the Third Age -- I can so imagine him wanting to take a glimpse, even a brief one, at Elrond and his family. Very touching and insightful ficlet. Bravo!

Reviewed by: Angelica  ✧  Score: 4

Alassante slowly discloses the mystery of the identity of this beggar, and the reader is as surprised as Aragorn to realize that a [beggar of distinction] indeed is attending the wedding. A very fitting concept that Maglor should want to see Elrond for the last time and have at least a moment of joy seeing his foster son happily dancing with his daughter before he too goes to the West. Maglor walks into the LotR very convincingly without losing his tragic aura.

Reviewed by: White Wolf  ✧  Score: 4

You started with a joyous occasion, which then turned to curiosity over the mysterious stranger, the identity of which was a surprise, at first. It was the revelation of who the elf was that made perfect sense and explained his sad condition, considering the sorrows he suffered in his life. It also made sense why he would want to make sure Elrond turned out to have a happy life. A very nice vignette.

Reviewed by: Lady Bluejay  ✧  Score: 4

This was another of yur stories that made me look up first age stuff – you have a habit of making me interested in the unfamiliar. I love the idea of Maglor wandering the shores of the World, singing laments for his despair and regret, as it says somewhere I read. I enjoyed Aragorn's kindness as well, very true to character. Great to find a little gem like this here. A lovely piece, well written.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

A strange and awe-filling encounter between the newly crowned King of Gondor and one of those who has remained longest in Middle Earth. Alassante has written a wonderful tale here, bringing two of Tolkien's most compelling characters together at least once, and in such a plausible manner! Definitely a tale to read and savor slowly, rejoicing that for once this wanderer traveled inland to visit the court of Gondor, and on such an auspicious occasion!

Reviewed by: Scarlet10   ✧  Score: 4

This story left me with a tear at the corner of the eye. With short sentences, the story took me back to a place and time where Maglor was still a prince, even if a fallen one, and Elrond was young, before all the burdens of life, which made him the wise elf he became, had fallen on him. That it's Aragorn who has the encounter with Maglor, is a bit ironic, as he is the last in a long line of "pain givers" to Elrond. Lovely story

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

A lovely and credible vignette; one of the best Maglor-in-later-Ages pieces that I can remember reading. The way that Maglor appears, a lost, lonely shadow garbed as a beggar, peering furtively at the only family he can claim on this side of the Sea, works perfectly.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 3

Maglor is such an endlessly fascinating character, isn't he? I think it's the unfathomable loneliness. You've brought that across very well here. It doesn't matter that the reader is quicker on the uptake than Aragorn - a bit of dramatic irony never comes amiss!

Reviewed by: Cairistiona  ✧  Score: 3

A touching vignette of a stranger at Aragorn's wedding feast, one whose identity both surprises the reader but also instills a feeling of "I should have known that" when his identity is finally revealed. Very well done.

Reviewed by: MedeaSmyke  ✧  Score: 3

Whoa, I was left speechless too! Fancy Maglor showing up after all those years. I loved how he was watching over Elrond and his family from the shadows and just had to have his one last look. Wonderful!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

I found this story very moving. Aragorn is troubled to see a stranger watching Arwen. Confronting him, he finds it is none other than Maglor, who wanted a glimpse of Elrond's child and has a gift for her. A haunting glimpse of the Elf doomed to wander and the great King. An unforgettable story that lingers in the memory.

Reviewed by: Nath  ✧  Score: 3

An elegantly written little scene, that you can easily imagine could have taken place. The revelation of who the stranger is, is handled well, even if I already had my suspicions at that point.

Reviewed by: curiouswombat  ✧  Score: 3

A beautifully written piece. I especially like the glimpse of Arwen dancing happily with her father at her wedding. I can well believe that Maglor would want one last chance to see Elrond and his children. I wonder if Aragorn told them of this uninvited, but not unwelcome, guest?

Reviewed by: crowdaughter  ✧  Score: 3

A powerful and intense piece. I do like Maglor-fics, and I like the idea that Elrond's line has been watched from afar by the one who fostered him for a while. You bring that idea to a point in an unexpected, but well-working way, here. Well done!

Reviewed by: nau_tika  ✧  Score: 3

The writer pulled me right into the mystery and intrigue of this short story. The hair on the back of my neck even rose in sympathy with Aragorn's awareness of someone watching. The ending took me completely by surprise. Well done!

Reviewed by: Inzilbeth  ✧  Score: 3

What eventually happen to Maglor must, alas, remain forever one of the great mysteryies from the First Age, but I simply loved the idea of him turning up at Aragorn's wedding to get a glimpse of Elrond, his former foster son. This was a great idea, and extremely well executed.

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 3

I simply love the thought of Maglor attending the wedding of Aragorn and Arwen. Alassante weaves this story in an easy to read and moving manner. What a sad life the elf must have led. It is fitting he would find his way to the realm of Men and to have this discussion with Aragorn is a wonderful idea. Nicely done, Al.

Reviewed by: Mysterious Jedi  ✧  Score: 3

This was an enjoyable story. I like the suspense leading up to the revelation of who the beggar was. Maglor is an intriguing character. I am glad he got to see Elrond with his children.

Reviewed by: whitewave  ✧  Score: 2

A very touching scene for the last Feanorian left in Middle Earth and Aragorn's gesture was generous as well.

Reviewed by: nancylea57  ✧  Score: 2

to love and loss that love because of the damands of kith and kin, to only get glimpses into that life denied you; yes, you might risk the ire of a great and powerful king of man...

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 2

This is a creative idea, tying the Silm nicely into LOTR in a believable way. It was also seeing Aragorn strip into "ranger mode" once more. Nice work, Alassante.