Author: Maeve Riannon

Nominator: Rhapsody

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

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: In the wake of a civil war, a conversation will change the fate of Númenor forever. Written for B2MEM, Day 14, under the challenge of religion, it deals with the introduction of foreign cults to the Island in the time of Ar-Adunakhor.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 10

Stories about the clash of religions in Second Age Númenor are usually fascinating, and I quite enjoyed Maeve Riannon's creative way of introducing the worship of Melkor to the island kingdom. It makes sense: it starts slowly, is bred by forgetfulness (the danger of that whole 'we won't name M----- by his real name' taboo comes back to haunt now), and it isn't political until someone *makes* it political. Túrion lacks any sense for religious life, just as his cousin Hiram lacks any sense for strategy, but together, they make a team that could be formidable. Túrion clearly has a sense for his own advantage, and can see how he might manipulate the loyalty of disparate worshippers of Melkor, currently left to follow whatever Númenorean faction they prefer, into a unified force that will NOT work with the lords of Andúnië and the royal line. In so many ways, that is true to life: religion is not always a politically relevant; it can become so, and once the fighting begins, afterwards, we may tend to understand a conflict as religious that really had its origins elsewhere. Great job filling gaps, and generating an interesting take on how the worship of Melkor both entered Númenorean life and became politicized! Although those following Maeve's fanverse will get more out of this than other readers, you don't need to know all the background to appreciate this story.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 7

Religion and politics, choices made and characters forged. History shows us how those two go hand in hand so often, also in Tolkien’s world. Túrion sees the threat to his realm and must act accordingly. What I so love about this story is how Maeve has taken the challenge to portray how easily religion can be used for political motives as it suits the ruler(s) or decision makers at that moment. Of course there is a backstory to it and the seeds sown in the first age are slowly growing, the growing resistance regarding the elves and Valar meddling with the realm by favouring Túrion’s opponent. It makes one wonder how the Valar would have regarded this move. I love the characterisation in this piece. Maeve gives the reader an idea as to the why Ar-Adûnakhôr made such brash moves during his reign and to secure his position. Marvellously done Maeve!

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 6

This short piece is set in the author's Numenor, a place whose history she has envisioned in meticulous and realistic detail, drawing on the history of ancient seafaring nations such as the Phoenicians. Here she describes a pivotal historical moment, the point at which Ar-Adunakhor chooses to adopt the cult of Melkor. The cult of Melkor as conceived in this version of Numenorean history is rather different from the practices later introduced by Sauron (the last high priest of Melkor before Sauron is one of the heroes of the author's great Numenorean novel)--and Ar-Adunakhor's motives for this momentous step, which are political and yet very personal at the same time, are comprehensible and sympathetically described.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

I really enjoy the author’s use of original and minor characters here, as it helps to give a richer history and culture to the somewhat mysterious Númenor, especially in the way it adds an alternative to the origins of the cult that developed over time on that island.