2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Villains: Orcs - Second Place
Story Type: Vignette ✧ Length: N/A
Rating: PG ✧ Reason for Rating: adult themes
Summary: While men will fight for honor, renown and riches, women have other reasons to fight. A retrospective look at the War of the Ring from an unusual viewpoint.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 7
I have to admit, this confused me a little at first. Having Drukh (I think I got that name right -- the protagonist) refer to her children as pups made me think at first it was some animal, probably a warg. However, later in the piece you made it clear this was an Orc of Mordor. I am not sure how I would make the beginning clearer, but if you are interested in editing that might be something to consider. Beyond that, it was a very nice read, if reading about the denizens of Mordor can ever be considered "nice". A lot of this felt like the conversation overheard by Sam in (I think) "The Choices of Master Samwise", between the two orcs. You know, the one where they discuss their desires for the future. This piece offered insight into a culture we really don't see much of in canon, and made them understandable without being much less orcsy.
Reviewed by: annmarwalk ✧ Score: 6
A dying female orc, survivior of the battle for Minas Tirith, newly delivered of a litter of cubs, recalls with pride the glories of her people, and her own unique contributions to her society. What amazing skill to take such an incredibly original character and bring her to life with such vividness that we empathize with her! Details of everyday life, the culture and heritage of the orc-hai, and the contributions of the common orc to the war effort are described colorfully and with great zest. This is completely new territory for any writer, as far as I know, but AmandaK has made Drukh Skullgrinder from Nurn a completely believeable, almost-but-not-quite sympathetic character.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 5
Great alternatve viewpoint! The perspective of a mother on a war is always a fascinating one, but to incorporate this into the perspective of an orc with pups was inspired. She's very much an orc, but she's also very much a mother, and the two different roles mesh nicely together, which is definitely a tribute to the author. I can't imagine just how difficult this piece must have been to pull off. I loved her feelings of regret towards her children, and I liked the appearance of a man toward the end and the confusion that followed. Tight perspective, good introspection, and very well written.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 4
Pity governs many fates, and even though it doesn't save Drukh, or her three children, it's an interesting moment of mercy nonetheless. I liked the fact that Drukh was at the battle of Pelennor, working for the defeat of Gondor like any other Orc, and once again, the extinction of the Orcs is given some serious consideration as to what it means and why it's happening. It makes that moment of futile pity at the end feel sharper.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 4
Very well done! You have managed to turn this orc mother into a real person for whom the reader feels sympathy - even going so far at to hope for the survival of her and her cubs. Until, that is, you remember the savagery of the orcs. I am glad that the warrior held his hand - but cannot imagine that he either left the cubs to starve or raised them, so suspect he must have culled them. A good twist.
Reviewed by: sulriel ✧ Score: 3
Ah, the joys of seemingly eternal re-writing, it seems like it is never done, but isn't it fun to see the story change and grow, deepen and develop into more than you thought it could be. You must have know i couldn't resist a good Orc story, and isn't it great to see how the work pays off!
Reviewed by: Beethoven's 7th ✧ Score: 3
A cliff hanger! by the end i thought they might survive. Maybe the warrior would bring them food? I guess the babes died too?? Possibly The beginning of a new race of orc that wasn't so evil could have been formed, brought back to elvish ways? Perhaps i'm naive. sigh. Nicely done though. Well thought out.
Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen ✧ Score: 1
An intreaging tale, although it seemsto be drawn out far more than is necessary for the points that it is making.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 1
What must it have been like, for the last few pitiful remnants of orcs left after the War? An orc's POV.