Fire and Smoke

Author: Marta

Nominator: Marta

2011 Award Category: Drama: Angst

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

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

Summary: "Thereafter the fire and smoke went up without ceasing; for the power of Sauron daily increased, and in that temple, with spilling of blood and torment and great wickedness, men made sacrifice to Melkor." (Akallabeth)

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Reviewed by: Malinornë  ✧  Score: 6

I found this story horrible and deeply disturbing, in that it dealt with the horrors of Sauron's reign in Numenor in such a way that what I had earlier known in theory now influenced me emotionally. The fears of the main character and his hopeless situation and the cruelty of the entire system of faith brought tears to my eyes, literally. I had not expected to be moved like this, but I was, and I salute the author for bringing alive a part of Numenor to me, for showing and not telling, and making me feel rather than just know from the scanty descriptions in Tolkien's writings. This certainly fills a gap and reveals the terror of Sauron's reign, as well as his cunning in making the people of Numenor actually commit to these sacrifices.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 5

This is a horrifying story, all the more so because it seems so realistic. People can accept anything, or get used to anything, if it is presented to them in a way that seems reasonable and gets them to become accustomed to it--even human sacrifice! The story is brilliantly written, in a style as compelling as it is terrifying, as it presents an account of the sort of thing that doubtless was all too common in the last, evil days of Numenor. A horrifyingly-good example of what religion is like when it is corrupt. This story took my breath away.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 4

This is quite a chilling tale, expanding on the religion of Númenor towards the end of the Second Age. In this piece, Marta presents a disquieting scene of human sacrifice and the political climate brought about by the influence of Sauron. Beautifully worded and excellently written, this leaves behind a haunting after-taste. Highly recommended!