Where the Grass Grows Green

Author: Ragnelle

Nominator: The Lauderdale

2011 Award Category: Incomplete: General - Third Place

Story Type: Incomplete  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: Dark AU. The Quest failed. Sam killed Gollum before the Ring was destroyed and now darkness rules the lands of Middle-earth. A small group from the resistance battles both hunger and mistrust, to keep hope alive. But will the sacrifices outweigh the gain? Part 1 of a longer series, planned to consist of 6 parts, first two books to be read together.(Book 1 of 2. 10 of 20 chapters posted of book one. Book two not yet posted)

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 10

This is an ambitious work in progress, and I am very pleased to have nominated it for this year’s MEFAs. Its projected structure is intimidating, corresponding to Tolkien’s own LOTR: three books divided into a further two books each, beginning with Sauron’s recovery of the Ring and the tragic fall of Gondor. As of my review Ragnelle is eleven chapters into the first installment, much of which focuses on King Eomer of Rohan and his followers, who are coordinating with the surviving northern rangers in a chancy bid at rescuing Aragorn, Mordor’s hostage of the past decade. How has it come to this? The picture painted in the first chapter is a grim one. We know that the Quest failed and the Ring was taken, but we do not know of Sam or Frodo’s fate. Eowyn, who wedded Faramir, did so only to part with him when the Rohirrim retreated from Sauron’s forces. Aragorn, captured on the field of battle, was brought to the Citadel and mockingly crowned under the auspices of Mordor by an unhappy Steward. Though his perspective has of yet been limited, the sheer awfulness of Faramir’s position has earned him the chief part of my pity: Gondor’s Steward governs her on sufferance but he is obliged to follow the dictates of Mordor. His powers of protection are small, and dark intimations attend this meager allotment: [What reasons [Sauron] had to offer such mild terms other than to force the lord Faramir's surrender, would not be clear until later.] There are many asides of this nature, enigmatic and evocative, carrying a promise of dark times still to come. Yet surely there is hope for the future, for an unknown scribe has taken it upon himself to tell this story [“faithfully and truthfully, so that by knowing the darkness our fathers lived through, we will better preserve what light they bought us.”] Whatever light or shadow falls, I will be reading.

Author response: Thank you, both for the nomination and the encouraging words. Sometimes I wonder if I have been too ambitious, so it is very encouraging to read your words. I hope I will be able to live up to it with the rest of the story.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 6

Ragnelle presents a terrifying alternative to the well-known story in this piece. Like others, she wonders what would have happened had the Quest failed at any of the numerous points it nearly did so. The idea is chilling, and provides endless opportunities for speculation and exploration. And yet, though this scenario has been written before, I find that this author brings something new to the table. For one, the tale focuses on characters not typical of this sort of plot, and I find that I very much like Ragnell’s focus on Éomer and his men, if only for its novelty. Additionally, the story’s cast of original characters is quite sound, and the author’s writing style is simply perfect. A wonderful Alternate Universe—dark, yet with a light that seems attainable.

Author response: Thank you so much for your review. I was very happy to hear that I was able to bring something new, and that you found my characters and the focus interesting. And I was delighted to hear that you liked my writing style. Thank you.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

This is a fascinating AU where Sauron wins the battle of the Morannon, and the war. There are many survivors, but Sauron has forced Faramir to hold Minas Tirith as Mordor's fief by holding Aragorn and Imrahil captive. This story is mostly Eomer's, but Faramir and Aragorn and Eowyn make brief, heartbreaking appearances in the first chapter. And there is much more to come, as Eomer travels towards Minas Tirith years later. I am looking forward to more of this interesting story.

Author response: Thank you so much for the review, I am glad to hear that you find my story fascinating and interesting. There is indeed more to come, and I hope I am able to keep the altered world both believable and fascinating as the tale unfolds.