The Axes of a Soul

Author: Eärillë (Virodeil)

Nominator: Elleth

2011 Award Category: Second Age and Early Third Age: General

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes

Summary: The last survivor of the drowning Númenor reflects on herself, her life and her decisions as she struggles to avoid certain death. What will she get in the end? Does she dare to face it like the proud daughter of the Island that she is?

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Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 10

[The Axes of a Soul] is the first story Eärille writes about the Second Age and Numenor, and what a story it is - the cataclysmic setting of the Downfall of Numenor and Queen Tar-Miriel in its midst racing to escape with her life intact are rendered with skill and picturesque, dramatic writing, so that I couldn't help rolling the story in my head as a movie. It's a very human story insofar that Miriel refuses to give in and clings to life with all her strength - and contrary to the vindictive end she meets in the original story, here Eärille departs from the Silmarillion and adds a touch of Elwing's own grace to her distant ancestor. Tar-Miriel's supplication moves Ulmo, and while she is not turned into a seabird to seek her husband (rather the contrary; the waves deny her passage to Aman and Ar-Pharazon), she instead becomes a dolphin to guide the ships of the surviving Faithful to Middle-earth. And who is to say that it didn't happen this way because it wasn't written? It is a far more lovely ending than the published one, not impossible in keeping with the Silmarillion, and parallels the uncounted number of stories about dolphins lending their aid to the shipwrecked both in real life and in myth (while the first no doubt caused the latter). Here now, we have the Middle-earth version of the story. Plausible and gripping, even though I didn't usually consider myself a fan of Numenor and its stories before. As usual, the MEFAs are a lesson to read more widely and not regret it.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Interesting choice, to let Míriel's pleas have some good effect and bring a second chance to the House of Elros at this last, latest gasp. And how will that second chance play out, one wonders?

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

An interesting alternate view of Ar-Zimraphel's life. The author's portrayal of this queen is unconventional yet still believable.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf  ✧  Score: 1

Does she deserve mercy? You are more merciful than I.