Ransom at the Redhorn

Author: Jael

Nominator: Elleth

2011 Award Category: Humor: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes

Summary: Ever wonder what really happened to Celebrian in that den of orcs? Wonder no longer! With apologies to O. Henry.

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Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 10

If you have a natural fondness for the House of Elrond, or an unnatural interest in Orcs, you will have encountered the ubiquitous Celebrian story. Tolkien erred on the side of discretion in his account of this unhappy woman, unlike his successors, who tend to write in much greater detail about her actual torment, or the unhappy period after her rescue and before her departure from Middle-earth. Tolkien's brevity and circumspect language (the unspecified "torment," the enigmatic "poisoned wound") inevitably give rise to speculation; because Celebrian's tormentors are Orcs, that speculation becomes darker; and because human nature is what it is, that darkness will sometimes express itself in the lurid and the prurient. Hence godawful "badfic" such as [The Goblin King] or [Celebrian]. [Ransom at the Redhorn] gleefully skewers the worst offenders with an account of [what really happened to Celebrian in that den of orcs]. The opening scene, depicting the usual grand presentation of beleaguered Elf woman to lustful Orc chieftain, is promptly turned on its head as Celebrian kills the mood: ["Is that all the bigger it is? The warts are the largest thing on it."] Snarg, son of Snograt, quickly decides that this is not what he is looking for in a sexual conquest, and, since he still hopes to profit off his captive, turns his efforts to letter writing. But while Snarg dispatches a series of missives - to Elrond, to Galadriel, to anyone that might conceivably take her off his hands - Celebrian is beginning to seriously deplete the reserve of minions set to guard her. An outrageously funny story that gives due respect to a variety of sources, including O. Henry's [Ransom of Red Chief,] Werecat's [Love me, Urgen] and the infamous [Celebrian] itself. Which is why I say, let the badfic flow! If it can inspire a beauty like [Ransom at the Redhorn], even badfic has its virtues.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Jael, oh, this was hilarious! Celebrian’s first reaction to the [orc-hood] (Oh, my, what a word…) was funny enough, albeit a little predictable given the genre and the summary, but the fate of poor Durgluk and the way his fellow orcs dealt with it – that was a scream, especially the bright side of the whole affair. Oh, and it’s so true about Elrond! He basically runs a very high class hotel and gets nothing for it! No wonder he’s out of money. Though the way he speaks about his esteemed wife suggest, just a little, well, don’t you think…? I loved the various titles for the orc king, especially [Your Putridness]. And the comma, the comma in the address to Galadriel! Yay! And ewww, sealing the letter with snot, how orcish! And Gashblakh waxing lyrically about his Urgren! Oh, poor, poor Urgren (albeit delicious, in the end)! And Galadriel’s mega-girly stationery! And the orcish worker’s union with their list of complains! Ahh, and in the end they have to pay to get rid of her, much like toxic waste really. What a completely ridiculous, wonderfully funny, witty, amusing, tummy-tickling story! It compensates for all the cheesy Celebrian Angst fics and it accomplishes the remarkable feat of making one feel quite sorry for the poor orcs. Excellent, just excellent!

Reviewed by: elfscribe  ✧  Score: 10

This is an absolute howlacious fic in which His Awfulness, Snarg, son of Snograt, Goblin-king of Moria captures Celebrían at the Redhorn Pass, thinking he's scored a prize that he can ravish and then demand a huge ransom for. But he soon discovers that not only is his charge quite able to take care of herself, but she proves more difficult to get rid of (kinda like a sticky booger) than he'd anticipated. I truly did LOL numerous times while reading this irreverent fic. The dialogue between Snarg and members of his ever decreasing staff; the ransom letters and their replies from all those who know Snarg's strident prisoner; the orc names and the strike by the Brotherhood of Tunnel Maggots Moria Local #6, all were a complete hoot, as was Snarg's increasing desperation and his final solution. Jael is a brilliant writer with a marvelous ability to write humor. This story is a send up of another quite infamous fanfic, which, ahem, shall not be named. (I read as much of the source material as I could stand and omg it was awful.) Ransom at the Redhorn incorporates amusing aspects of the original fic's "canon" but manages to improve on it, well, in just about every way possible. If you want a good laugh, give this one a read.

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 10

Celebrian's capture and torture have given rise to several fanfics, but if you are looking for angst-ridden hurt/comfort, look again. Jael's [Ransom at the Redhorn] draws on one infamous fic of the same topic that shall remain unnamed here, and utterly turns it on its head by the splendid use of bawdy humor and a great deal of irreverence - not that that fic would invite anything else. The result, at any rate, is quite the masterpiece and (almost) literally had me howling with laughter at Celebrian keeping the upper hand (toe?) against her captors and dining on orc delicacies while the great goblin is facing a steady loss of his cronies, unsuccessful negotiations to get rid of his prisoner, and at long last even pays a great deal for peace and quiet. The story stands out for aforementioned bawdy humor most of all, and Jael has a good grasp of working that - not just the somewhat whimsical orcish names - Snarg, Snograt, Durgluk, Snurtgul, Gashblak to list just a few examples, the repetitive deliciousness of various orcs, props like elfskin kilts, skull thrones and last but not least, the homage to the telltale flash of lilac. If you need cheering up and don't mind delving into doubtful orcish sensibilities, this is a must-read. And like some other humor fics, this one definitely is in need of a beverage warning as well.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 6

Can you imagine anyone not only writing a humor piece about Celebrian's orcish captivity, but actually making it funny? Really funny? I couldn't, so I had to look; and I'm certainly glad I did. Jael writes Celebrian's orc captors as being evil, vicious thuggish orcs who are entirely out of their depth with their prize. Celebrian is no elf-damsel in distress; she actually terrorizes and injures her orc-guards until they form a union and go on strike. Celebrian's beloved husband and mother are in no hurry to get her back, either. Jael writes withering humor; incorporating the orcs' less than pleasant habits and inclinations, and telling a great parody. I love the names of the orcs; they sound like bad fanfic versions of Tolkien's orc-names... Fans of Elves, Orcs and humor should not miss this story.

Reviewed by: Keiliss  ✧  Score: 5

That was, to coin a phrase, delicious! In fact it was one of the funniest things I've read all year and I am so sorry I left it this late to review because it deserves a ten, and a ten is way out of my reach right now. But --- I never thought I'd feel sorry for a goblin king, or his henchmen, but after this I did. I do think that it was rather mean of Galadriel to scent her letter - mean that way, yes -- and was impressed that Elrond was the one to make a profit. I wonder if he was still looking for excuses to stay over here while he was on the way to the Havens..... I suspect Celebrian might have a long memory. Brilliant!

Reviewed by: Scarlet10  ✧  Score: 4

One can really pity the orcs, having to deal with the "silver witch". Whoever said that the witch was in the golden wood? And Elrond/ Galadriel/ Thranduil, did you really think you can just be so easily rid of the lovely wife/ daughter/ whatever? Hehe, life is more cruel then any fantasy, isn't it. Loved this sarcastic view, and no, I spared myself the original, upon which the idea was based.

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 4

After reading a long list of tragic Celebrian stories, I was startled to find one that found such humour in it- and such good humour, too. While the Silver Queen's story is undeniably sad, I was happy to find that this story does not dishonour her torment, rather finds good parody in it- with dry sarcasm, amusingly worded letters ranging from subtle to firm and all rejecting ransom! Great humour, great writing.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 4

Never did I think that I would find a story about poor Celebrian funny, but this was utterly hilarious and I loved the idea that it was the Orcs that suffered rather than Celebrian when they captured the poor lady. This is a unique interpretation of the imprisonment of Elrond's wife and her reasons for sailing. I found myself hoping that Arwen was not like her mother or poor Aragorn would be in for a hard time!

Reviewed by: grey_gazania  ✧  Score: 2

It's not so formal, but I have to say it: ROFL! This story is delightfully cheeky and amusing. Great job!