2011 Award Category: Ficlet: Elder Days - Third Place
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: Teen ✧ Reason for Rating: Violence
Summary: After the Kinslaying at AlqualondÃ« and the burning of the swanships, Fingon makes a promise. Years later, he makes a second one.
Reviewed by: Elleth ✧ Score: 10
I have stressed grey_gazania's aptitude for writing believeable emotion in other reviews already, but in [Promises] there is another aspect that shines, namely the complicated relationship that Maedhros and Fingon share during the decline of the Blessed Realm. In the aftermath of the kinslaying at Alqualonde they meet again, only to - seemingly experience that yes, they are estranged (and grey_gazania's attention to detail, especially Fingon's blood-crusted fingernails, keeps breaking my heart) despite the horrid cost they are sharing at that moment. What Fingon is thinking that moment is not quite clear (and doesn't have to be for the fic to be effective!), but his grief and bitterness are readily apparent, whereas Maitimo - moved by that consequence - mounts his own little rebellion against his father at the burning of the swanships. The author does the occasional glimpse of her characters approaching an edge of sanity extremely well, and with (if I'm any judge of that) somewhat disturbing realism. It takes skill to pull this off well, not lose track of the fic and relationships in the meantime, and round all that off with a convincing use of language that spins the whole story off in a darkly poetic direction. This one even possesses a somewhat mixed happy end, with Fingon rescuing Maedhros from Thangorodrim and revoking his former promise of never coming to his aid again. Of course any reader of the Silmarillion knows where that will eventually lead, but for the moment it is a fantastic stopping point.
Reviewed by: Oshun ✧ Score: 6
I can absolutely see how Fingon could have been really fed up with coming to Maedhros's assistance when he saw the results of Alqualonde. At least that is one way one can interpret the situation. Actually, in canon there is no indication that Fingon ever backed down or showed regret over that. Interesting to think about from the exact opposite side of the possible responses. I ran across that information when I was thoroughly combing all of the texts for my biography of Fingon. The story as you tell it is beautifully organized and emotionally delicious and, despite the themes of anguish, regret, and sorrow, there is also a little bit of self-deprecating humor. Very nicely done to have fitted so many things to consider into such a short little piece. Thanks for sharing. There can never be too much Fingon and Maedhros in the world.
Reviewed by: Lyra ✧ Score: 5
"Promises" is a very moving and powerful short tale, linking the battle at AlqualondÃ«, the burning of the swan ships, and the immediate aftermath of Maedhros' rescue together. Fortunately, unlike his cousins, Fingon knows when it's better to break a promise and make a new one. This ficlet is full of vivid imagery, and in just a few words, grey_gazania neatly manages to sum up the characters and their relationship. I particularly enjoyed her choices of just the right adjectives - coincidence or intuition, perhaps, but even that is a talent. Great and evocative writing!
Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel ✧ Score: 5
Oh, this is wonderful! In spite of its brevity, grey-gazania has managed to effectively capture the essence of both Maitimo and FindekÃ¡no's characters. They're so wonderfully written here; truly beautiful. I especially love how the author offers a glimpse into both sides of the storyââ¬âone part in Maitimo's perspective and the other part in FindekÃ¡no's. That aspect gives the piece a cohesive, complete feel, emotional and deep. I really do think that both of these characters' emotions are captured beautifully here. Again, truly wonderful and highly recommended!
Reviewed by: Darkover ✧ Score: 4
This is very vivid and moving for such a brief tale. The story explores the relationship between Fingon and Maedhros by making use of the experiences that defined the character of each. There is a hint of slash at the end, but no more than an implication; it can be interpreted that way, but it need not be. This is a very moving story, so well written that I wish it was longer. Well done.
Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 ✧ Score: 4
Grey Gazania has a gift for word-craft. Her use of language coupled with the ability to delve deep into the emotions of her characters, whether canonical or original, yields remarkable stories with evocative imagery and visceral impact. [Promises], in a remarkable 300 and change word ficlet, delivers an intense spectrum of emotions between Maedhros and Fingon through three pivotal events in their lives and their enduring connection to one another. Beautifully written and memorable.
Reviewed by: Liadan ✧ Score: 2
Some promises are made to be kept while other promises seem made to be broken, and there are many times when it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.