Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2008 Award Category: Races: Men: Minas Tirith - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Short Story
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Denethor's new manservant, Mormegil, faces an intimidating task in the service of his master. Inspired by the endless, and highly enjoyable, debate on the subject "Numenoreans: Bearded, Or Not?"
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 10
This is probably the first of the stories by this author that I can remember reading it, and so coming back to it after all of this time was a real treat. Since I am now familiar with Ann's original characters and the world she has created "under the stairs" of the Citadel, I can appreciate what she does here even more than I did at first. What hasn't changed, though, is the delightfully light feeling she brings to this piece and the love of details that is evident throughout. I think Mormegil might be my favorite of Ann's original characters, and he really shines here. I love the way his history as an archivist is detailed, not just for the physical details Ann tells us about such an environment but also the way it sets up Mormegil's character as one who never desired a high position but was chosen for his merits. Denethor, too, shines through, as a bit gruff but not without compassion in ways that would be missed by most people. When I read about the large settlement I felt like cheering for my favorite steward-to-be. Yet his actions are subtle and he is not familiar with his servants, something I miss in a lot of fanfic. A delightful glimpse into this world. I wish Ann would write more young Mormegil, but I shall content myself with rereading this gem.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 7
Going along with her talent for dealing with the world of gardens, Ann is able to evoke a very textured, sensual world. This holds true whether she's writing romantic encounters for Theodred and Boromir or dealing with the domestic routines and relationships that go on quietly behind the lines of epic questing that Tolkien gave us. Mormegil's position as man-servant is one of those social constructs that is extremely hard, I think, for modern writers to capture. The very idea of this kind of relationship is exceptionally difficult to feel one's way into if one is accustomed to 'fending for oneself' being the mark of responsibility and standing. But Middle-earth is a feudal world, and Mormegil comes off believably as a man with an important, if distinctly unglorious, position. His interactions with Denethor feel right, and give a glimpse into the relations above and below the salt in Denethor's Minas Tirith. Thanks, Ann!
Reviewed by: Elen Kortirion ✧ Score: 7
The author has a rich and wonderful talent for creating very real, well-rounded and believable original characters. She looks for the seemingly small tasks that might often be considered to be perhaps mundane in Middle-earth's world of grand quests and heroes, but out of these rough, earthy nuggets she creates polished jewels of prose about living, breathing people of the most familiar three-dimensional kind, people we feel we could get to know. The reader can relate to them because we can easily imagine what a cook, or a barber or a young man nervous about their first important job for the big boss might feel. The fact that her original characters fit perfectly seamlessly into Tolkien's world of is a triumph of his art in making the world so rich, and her talent in that she knows the world well enough to play there, and to convincingly take the reader with her. Well done, I am so very, very fond of these 'extra' folk of Minas Tirith.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
Ann fills her stories with exquisite details. This is the point of view of a very skilled and hard-working manservant who must anticipate the needs of the future Steward of Gondor and carry them out properly. The bit where Mormegil muses over the perfection of the razor is very credible, as well as amusing. And the epilogue, with Boromir going through the same motions as have Mormegil and Denethor, is delightful; with an especially resonant, and funny, last line.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 4
This is a lovely little vignette, or series of vignettes. You include all sorts of interesting and well-thought out details without ever making them seem cumbersome or extraneous in any way. The first epilogue was wonderful, bringing the story about full circe; the second did feel like an afterthought, though a charming one, perhaps better suited to a stand-alone drabble?
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 4
While I enjoyed the appearance of Denethor and Boromir (as well as the shout out to scruffy rangers), I must say that the scene-stealing character for this little story is quiet little Mormegil. He's got quite the name to live up to, but if his courage before Denethor is any indication, he might just make it. I'm not sure he's ready to take on any dragons, but even Turin needed a little preparation for that. And the loving description of his scissors and razor is worthy of any praise for any sword wielded by any warrior. Very fun little tale.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 4
That's quite a tall order for Mormendil, especially after his own failed attempt to shave himself. But in the end he is regarded as an expert in questions of facial hair. I like Denethor's recommendation at the end, which shows that he is quite aware of what his manservant is doing (or not) and pays him this backhanded compliment. I don't think Denethor is the type to praise his manservant for a job well done.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
Ann's ability to show us the servants of the Ruling Steward is so wonderful! From Mags to Mormegil, she's breathed life into the Steward's quarters within the Citadel. Charming, and particularly the last vignette, where the steward's sons are cautioned to seek out Mormegil's advice. Humorous and delightful.
Reviewed by: nancylea ✧ Score: 2
we each make our own choice and some parents even let us learn to live with them. wise parent.