In Mordor, Where the Shadows Are

Author: Marta

Nominator: Marta

2011 Award Category: Elves: Elronds Household - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: A pair of vignettes examining the after-effects of Isildur's refusal to destroy the ring. (Written from Elrond's POV.)

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Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Marta, this is a beautiful, profound and thought-provoking pair of vignettes. I’ve never before given much thought to Elrond’s role in Isildur’s failure, and I liked how you have explored this in so much depth here. How a war, ended wrongly, carries in it the seeds of the next war – we know that all to well form, say, the end of the first World War and the Treaty of Versailles. I like how the characters speak with one another so thoughtfully, even though they do not quite understand each other. There is a calm, melancholy gentleness to the tone of these stories which I like very much. I also like the way the two settings exemplify the concepts of the stories: Imladris as the ideal of a world at peace, dedicated to creativity, and in Valinor the visible consequences of faulty decisions, the site of the ruined trees – that in particular is remarkable, because we tend to think of Valinor as a place of utter perfection. The points you are making are very valid; that our means must match our ends or else nothing good can come of our deeds; and that it is not enough to say that things turned out alright in the end if in the intervening time individuals – represented in this case by Celebrian –were subject to so much suffering. A most excellent piece indeed.

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

In this pair of stories, Elrond is haunted by his failure to deal with Isildur's wish to keep the Ring and the disastrous consequences of that failure. He wonders whether he should have wrested the Ring from Isildur by force. This is one of the most difficult moral problems--how much injury is it permitted to inflict in defence of oneself or others and where do we need to draw the line, even at great cost to ourselves? It is no wonder that Elrond cannot resolve the issue once and for all upon his return to Imladris and that the subject comes up again after the end of the War of the Ring in Valinor. In the first instance, the idea of teaching music to Valandil as Maglor once taught him helps him to think of good as well as evil repeating itself. In the second instance, it is his friendship with Gil-galad that supports him at a time when seemingly all might be well and done, but deep scars remain. A thoughtful story that hesitates to claim moral certainties where there are none and in doing so shows us an Elrond who engages deeply in thought, does not shirk any responsibility, and clearly has a gift for personal relationships. The individual Latin titles of the two parts are taken from just war theory and should not deter the reader. The notes on just war theory are illuminating, but the stories work very well on their own and an interest in the theory as such is by no means required.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

Now there's an argument and a regret that likely never can be definitively answered - should Elrond have ended the war by making a suicide run on Isildur, and taking them both out along with the Ring? I can certainly see Elrond's side of that story - in many ways, it makes absolute sense. The other side is far more hypothetical, and Gil-galad is banking on Elrond's trust in him to gain the time for the idea to work its way into something more than a hypothesis for Elrond. An interesting diptych, Marta - good questions, and one really feels the weight of the burden Elrond's been carrying.

Reviewed by: grey_gazania  ✧  Score: 3

These vignettes are wonderfully written, with excellent and vivid characterization of Elrond and Gil-galad. They also address interesting questions regarding the aftermath of Isildur's decision to keep Sauron's ring. I really enjoyed reading them!

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 2

Elrond tries to understand his decision to not interfere when Isildur kept the Ring as weregild, and later to explain his reasoning for that decision.