2007 Award Category: Times: Late Third Age: 3018-3022 TA: Gondor Drabble - Second Place
Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet ✧ Length: True Drabble
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Nightfall on the bridge of Osgiliath brings with it the coming of the Shadow. (100 words for one of the 2006 Advent prompts.)
Reviewed by: dkpalaska ✧ Score: 10
The first word that comes to mind when I read this drabble is still the same as when I read it months ago: Brilliant. Every component comes together perfectly. Boromir's voice is excellent and in character. The descriptions are chillingly, almost painfully, vivid. The phrasing, use of brief repetitions, contrasting images, the words chosen - all convey the maximum impact and superbly flesh out the sparse account that Boromir offers at Elrond's council. Really, it's a bit unbelievable that everything somehow still fits within the 100-word limit... There's so much about this drabble that I love. The entire exploration of the attack on Osgiliath, the desperate battle to hold the line and the horrifying effects of the Nazgul are all brought to mind with a terrible immediacy. Boromir's battle lust and fierce refusal to fall - goodness, I adore this: ["Boromir feels it, stands screaming it out upon sword's edge."] So brief, and yet it completely, totally evokes a powerful image and response in me. Then the aftereffects, worse than the battle itself, when reflection brings the creeping tendrils of despair settling in and twisting, the realization that what he has based his life upon - battle training, strategy, strength of arms, courage - none of it will suffice. From here we can see the clear way forward to Boromir's future actions with regards to the path of the Fellowship, and the Ring. ["Night departed, but the Shadow remained."] Indeed - and within his own soul.
Reviewed by: Imhiriel ✧ Score: 8
This drabble has a driving rhythm that fits the tense moment perfectly. Word choice and word order complement it wonderfully, the alliterations marking out some even sharper moments. A haunting picture, infused with the desperation of fierce struggle. The moment of the fight on the bridge and the plunge into the Anduin is given keen immediacy. The terror the Nazgûl evoked, that of the battle itself, and the battle-lust that can come in the very midst of fighting, are conveyed very evocatively. I found the play with the term ["shadow"] in the last line very intriguing. It seems as if the attack by the Ring-wraiths insinuated a feeling of futility into Boromir, which could not even be shaken once the fight was over. A tinge of the Black Breath? Moreover, a "poison" that might have contributed to Boromir's feelings that the Quest might be hopeless, and the Ring should be put to better use? The allusions are vague, ambiguous, but the basis is there for this kind of interpretation - which is what a well-constructed drabble that contains more than the surface layer like this is can provide.
Reviewed by: docmon ✧ Score: 5
An incredibly powerful and moving drabble. I am amazed that one hundred words can say so much. The writer has really captured the sense of Boromir's character, who can do nothing other than stand before the Shadow, in the face of death. I know he would fight fiercely, with all he had, believing that it would be enough. But he had to learn the harsh lesson of the Darkness, described so succinctly with the heart-breaking phrase: ["valor cannot win this war."] Beautifully crafted, with wonderful rhythm, the drabble ends as simply as it began. And leaves your heart aching for Boromir and all that he has lost, and all that he will lose.
Reviewed by: agape4gondor ✧ Score: 5
This is so profoundly beautiful in its stark telling of a bitter and terrifying moment! Told so well that the reader must even think they are part of the tale... The beginning and the end are perfect with the Shadow... I love [the bridge, the narrows, the death, the life] simple words that evoke great feelings in the reader. And the action of standing... and the shakes and the water... Good grief, I'm babbling. I wish I had better words to give substance to what I felt when I read this. It is inspiring and sad and beautiful - all at the same time... And what could end up as despair of a thought too terrible to linger on - that one thought of hopelessness.... oh my!
Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel ✧ Score: 4
(Possible spoilers within:) This is truly chilling! The readers really get a taste of the stark terror that must have pervaded the hearts of the soldiers when the Witch-king made his appearance at the Bridge. What is especially compelling is the shock at understanding that will not prevail against such enemies. The last line is absolutely heart-rending. Very well done!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 3
Boromir and Faramir upon the bridge of Osgiliath, fighting together, leaping to safety in the Anduin, and realizing that for the fighting to end something more must happen. To combine so many emotions into such a short ficlet has taken great, great skill.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke ✧ Score: 3
I love this heroic vision, and its aftermath. This is a crucial moment: Boromir's first face-to-face encounter with the darkness within and without him, and drabbles are ideal for such subjects. Well done.
Reviewed by: Altariel ✧ Score: 3
It's the alliteration that makes this drabble so punchy; that, and the terrible insight which we the reader share with Boromir: that no matter how undefeated he has been so far, it will not be enough. Or, ObEliot: "After such knowledge, what forgiveness?"
Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea ✧ Score: 3
Dwimordene is a master dabbler, her incredible output matched only by the way she achieves incredible complexity in very few words. Here, Boromir undergoes a trial by fire and has a very chilling realization about his Enemy, as he encounters the Black Captain for the first time.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 3
This drabble does a really good job of capturing the action of that last desperate stand on the bridge in Osgilliath. The language puts you right in the scene, and both the physical adrenaline and the philosophical tension is evocatively portrayed. It's a wonderful gapfiller, and I think lots of fans of drabbles will enjoy this ficlet.
Reviewed by: Dot ✧ Score: 3
This is very powerful. For such a short piece the emotions are heartwrenching the rage, the fear, the overwhelming sense of futility, and that realisation that Shadow cant always be banished with daylight. This is so well written; Im in awe.
Reviewed by: stefaniab ✧ Score: 2
You feel the coming of the shadows and the Nazgul as they overtake Osgiliath in this chilling, moody drabble.