He Who Laughs

Author: Altariel

Nominator: Dwimordene

2005 Award Category: Books/Time: The Silmarillion: First Age

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: PG  ✧  Reason for Rating: Generally dark atmosphere

Summary: Could Túrin ever be happy?

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 8

This is one of those pearls that one occasionally finds, where a lengthy story gets boiled down to its essence and then distilled in a few lines of gorgeous prose. The brevity of this fic only heightens its impact—there really isn't a wasted word in this story, that opens, appropriately, with the act that closes it: laughter. Túrin's entire arc is present here, in this short meditation on the movements of fate, and speaking as one who personally cannot tolerate another reading of the "Narn i hin Húrin", I can certainly sympathize with *this* Túrin's reflections on his life, and the way everything seems to tend inevitably towards the undoing of his efforts, the thwarting of every good intention as action turns back against the actor. And surely the gift of Men has never been put to such fearful use before, as the epiphany that moves Túrin to laugh again at the end of his life, and then choose death. Well written, and the ending, with the vengeful celestial swordsman, just waiting for Armageddon day to avenge the wrongs of fate, is a wonderful image.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 4

Turin's confusion and frustration are portrayed so well in this story. No matter what he does, it comes to ruin, but he really can't choose to do nothing. I like the way that laughter and mourning are drawn together, and when he finally laughs in the end, a real laugh, it brings a very satisfying sense of closure. And then it's time to wait. Great use of conflicting emotions and themes.