2009 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: Featuring Maedhros or Maglor - Honorable Mention
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Where did the Arkenstone really come from and why does it seem so strangely familiar? A mildly AU explanation
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 10
Clever, very clever way of bringing the Silm and the jewels (or a jewel) into [The Hobbit]. They are of course there in the background, but this retcon makes such a direct connection with the history of the Dwarves. With any alternate universe story, taking care of the precise nature of the alteration to the text whence we depart is the major challenge and obstacle. Sometimes, our other story-telling concerns don't help: for example, I can only think of the giver of this gift as one particular Elf, but two details made me doubt my guess because they contradict what I know of him. The story is entertaining enough that I'd probably not have been unduly bothered by it, but Clotho takes are of these details. What could have been sticking points were transformed into plot points by the author's foresight, which worked in the idea of false rumors and stories to cover his tracks - one can, within the frame of the story, read the Silm as the product of Dwarvish interventions into the history of the Eldar. It's a conceit much appreciated by this reader. Finally, there's a nice touch of humor here: the casuistic legal hair-splitting over the terms of the Oath made me chuckle. Fans of [The Hobbit] should definitely give this a read, and those who are intrigued by a nicely crafted AU should enjoy this as well.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
Absolutely brilliant! I knew there was more to the Arkenstone than what Tolkien revealed, and this seems just as plausible as anything else. So long as the dwarves can avoid being ruled by their gems, they don't fare too badly with them. Then again, Thingol's realm met with something of a disaster when the dwarves of the Blue Mountains caught a sight of his Silmaril, and Clotho capitalizes on this point by fast-forwarding an Age or two at the end of the story. Once again, the dwarves are on the verge of war thanks to a fancy jewel, even though no one now remembers its origins or associates it with the terrible Oath that drove the kinslayings. Clotho beautifully links two events that, at first glance, seem to have no connection whatsoever, and even better than that, they're linked so naturally and so plausibly that it's hard not to imagine it happening this way. I do have to say, though, that my absolute favorite moment in the story came not form the dwarves or the canon tweaking, but rather from Gandalf staring at the evening star trying to remember what it was like to remember. That was just such a neat turn of phrase at the start of his section, and his entire POV seemed to take its tone from that. There's almost an irreverent wit lacing his perspective, and it reminds me very much of the narrative tone in [The Hobbit]. I especially liked his reference to the Silmarils as ["a certain Elfs party headwear"]. Fantastic writing!
Reviewed by: Clodia ✧ Score: 6
This is a lovely piece. The conversation between Maedhros and the Dwarf crams so much characterisation into so few words; so Radsvinns appreciation of the jewel is mixed with a craftsmans curiosity, and Maedhross gentle allusions back to the jewels unfortunate history evoke a whole lost world of blood and brutality. I do like this relatively pragmatic view of Elvish history seen through the prism of Dwarvish culture; and even though Im not normally interested in Feanorion redemption stories, its good to see Maedhros exploiting technicalities to wriggle free of that inadvisable Oath at last. Gandalf's bemusement at the end winds it up nicely and his description of the Silmarils is delightful! This is certainly a very good way to tidy up a couple of loose ends of Tolkiens history.
Reviewed by: Angelica ✧ Score: 4
Clotho provides in this story a very original twist that links the First and the Third Ages, Gandalf and Feanorians. Because who really knows what happened to Maedhros? How many witnesses survived the destruction of Beleriand to tell of his fate and of his Silmaril? Who could tell for sure where the Arkenstone came from or even what it was? This story answers all these questions in a most enjoyable way.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 4
A wonderful alternative to Maedhros' fate as written in the Silmarillion. Clotho makes a very plausible case for Maedhros' finding a better disposition for the Silmaril, and himself, complete with a loophole from the dreadful Oath. The narration reads like a scene from The Hobbit, Tolkienesque but with a lighter tone than the doom-laden Silmarillion. A very intriguing AU!
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 3
What an amazing and intriguing AU idea of what the Arkenstone was. Indeed, there's nothing in canon to *contradict* this-- and it follows a certain amount of logic that it could have gone that way. In which case, it says even more about the hobbit who recovered it, all unknowing. There's a lot of power in innocence. Love Gandalf's mistrust of his memory.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
What a unique, and perhaps all to plausible, manner for the Arkenstone to have come into the keeping of the Dwarves! As for the final disposition of a certain Elf with fiery, coppery hair--we do have some questions now that could be investigated. Beware--a major plotbunny exists in this tale! Do read it!
Reviewed by: crowdaughter ✧ Score: 3
Interesting AU... I doubt that there would have been any of the Wise in Middle Earth who would not have recognized one of these things at first sight, but still, this whole ficlet works well. Nice idea!
Reviewed by: Virtuella ✧ Score: 3
What an interesting idea for a story this is, smoothly told and with a lovely little touch of humour, especially Gandalf not being able to remember how good his memory used to be. I like it.
Reviewed by: Oshun ✧ Score: 3
Now this is a fun AU. I like the concept very much. Also like the idea that Gandalf worrying that his memory is fading--a reaction to the bodily form he has taken. I assume it would be restored immediately when he decides to cast off his elderly Mortal's body. Of course, my favorite part is Maedhros giving the stone to the Dwarves and walking away from it.
Reviewed by: NeumeIndil ✧ Score: 2
Very clever idea! I think I know who "the other" was, and if that's the case, I love, love, LOVE this idea. Exactly what I would expect him to do with that... thing!
Reviewed by: Elleth ✧ Score: 1
An interesting AU take on the Arkenstone story, convincingly done.