To Sing Of...

Author: Darth Fingon

Nominator: viv

2009 Award Category: Times: Second and Early Third Age - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Teen rating applied for a few instances of crude languages and allusions to sexuality.

Summary: Gil-galad, about to be married to a very nice lady, makes an important discovery about himself with Erestor's help. A heartwarming tale of cluelessness, ill-fitting clothing, impractical pets, and exploitation of Elvish linguistic ambiguity.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 10

I found this story immensely enjoyable. The summary and beginning made me a little sceptical (although the part starting at [heartwarming] was what had me click on the link in the first place) because the abandonment of an unwanted marriage/betrothal in favour of the main character's true love isn't that uncommon a plot and usually foreseeable, but you managed to give it your very own and highly entertaining original twist. Starting with the wonderful no-frills style and Gil-galad's somewhat wry voice, the story sucked me right in. The phoney courtiers, the attempts at defamation (your Erestor reads so wonderfully suited for that, I was rooting for him to find something!), Elrond's pet fish, pleats, the tree that was never noticed before, those and other details helped establish entirely credible secondary belief and a well-rounded, balanced portrait of the Lindon court. I already mentioned rooting for Erestor, but as for supporting characters, Alachel has to be among the best I encountered in a while. For one thing it is refreshing to see an 'imperfect' elf (the same goes for our favourite High King, by the way!), and you fleshed her out believably and in a way that makes her completely sympathetic despite the brief appearance; the clothing choices (I loved how you employed it - skillfully done, too - to underline her character instead of going for 'teh pretteh') and her quest for a husband are just two examples. Heledhol, too, despite appearing as something of a stock character still has some character traits that make him likable as the antagonist. All of the above contributed a lot to me liking the story, however, the icing on that already very tasty cake was the way you wove all the elements together. While reading I kept wondering how they would end up being significant to the plot and couldn't imagine any way for it to lead to the proposed outcome even when Gil-galad woke in Elrond's bed. Cleverly done, and it made me laugh out loud, as much as Gil-galad's eventual realisation did. One last thing, as a linguist in training I very much enjoyed the fact that the two opposing elements of possible romance ('Laerinn' and 'Liritaryo') were both based around song in Sindarin and Quenya. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this piece. Good luck with the awards!

Reviewed by: KyMahalei  ✧  Score: 10

When savoring this bit of heretical tomfoolery I found myself vacillating between an occasional chuckle and laughing out loud. The story reads well; it tumbles through one delightful and provocative scene after another. The dry and sardonic tone plays constantly through it all. In spite of an almost continual barrage of images that spin a familiar cast of epic characters in a less than complimentary light, Darth never veers too far from cannon - he merely twists it to his own distorted and somewhat dysfunctional ends. The predicamate Gil-gad finds himself in is only slowy revealed, and it is appropriate, given Darth's propensity for illuminating the nuances of Tolkien's languages to the uninformed, that the entire plot should hinge on the of an appropriate (or perhaps inappropritate us of a single Quenyan syllable. I appreciate the underlying artfulness that this narrative slowly reveals. It is more than a pleasant read, it is a story well told and a joke well crafted. I look forward to finding and reading other narratives by this esteemed writer. Excellent job, and a worthy read, especially the part where the king was demonstrating the location of Elrond's arm as it was dangling whilst the king was enjoying a night of welcome repose in Elrond's bed.

Reviewed by: viv  ✧  Score: 9

You said something predictably humble about this story when I nominated it... something like it's goofy or silly (I forget the exact word). I wonder if you even know how brilliant your humour is. It's such a tricky thing to write, and then to enfold it in a story about something not really funny at all is ... crap, I've already used that "brilliant" word. How about these ones, then: amusing, thoughtful, insightful, touching. The characterization of Elrond is unusual but solid; I could very easily visualize him as melancholy but kind of sarcastic. His pet fish is a nice touch, too. Also, as I think I mentioned before, the character of plain-speaking, chest-envying, hottie-voyeuring, tongue-clucking Alachel is absolutely charming. I could definitely stand to read more about her. And the first-person Gil-Galad? You've humanized him as well, given depth and layers to a character almost completely glossed over by Tolkien. Finally, I wouldn't be a Tolkien fan if I had failed to be impressed by the central twist of the story and its link back to Tolkien's beloved linguistics. In sum: smooth and lovely, light but just a bit melancholy, even in repeat reads, this story is a gem.

Reviewed by: elfscribe  ✧  Score: 7

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which contains Darth's original and offbeat characterizations and wonderful humor laced throughout. I loved Ereinion's cluelessness and desire to flee his erstwhile father-in-law, and Erestor's snarkiness. All the characters are so clearly drawn and I particularly liked Alachel, wearing her sister's dress in hopes of ensnaring an unwanted husband, her sighs over the gardener, and desire for large breasts that when fulfilled, she regrets. Such "human" characters. The dialogue is priceless, makes me want to read it over and over, as much for its rhythm and understanding of how people actually speak, as for its humor. Loved Ereinion's enlisting "pure as ditchwater" Erestor's help in getting him out of the marriage. LOL! Such great details, such as the betas that lead to Ereinion's "outing," the tree branch outside Elrond's window, and the ambiguous meaning of the title of the song that gives away Elrond's inclination. Pure enjoyment!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 6

I love stories that are good canonical gapfillers, in that they take something just mentioned or hinted at in canon. While this isn't *quite* that in that it is definitely its own tale, it does rely on canonical elements to very good effect -- in this case a certain ambiguousness about Quenya pronouns. It makes the existence of same-sex relationships very believable, and makes for a very touching tale indeed. As a bonus we get Darth!Erestor, which is really a hoot if you have read Erestor in any of Darth Fingon's other stories and especially humorous essays. He's such an interesting character here, and trying to imagine him as reconciled with the elf presented in other stories makes for some very interesting imaginings.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This story is a lighthearted tale that made my evening. Gil-galad sneaking around his palace to avoid pesky courtiers, and the oh-so-perfect bride that not even master spy Erestor can find anything incriminating on her had me smiling throughout the story. I loved the way Gil-galad's relationship with Erestor and Alachel is portrayed and the contrast to his intended bride.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

I do not usually pay much attention to Elven slash stories; but this one, which brings the reader to the brink of love between male elves and then draws the curtain on the future, is cleverly written, with undercurrents of humor and wit, not to mention a well-devised linguistic (Quenya I think) issue involving the title of a song originally written by Maedhros and sung by Elrond. And there's a great minor character, who is an OFC but thankfully not a Mary Sue. Enjoyable; and slash fans should love it.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea  ✧  Score: 4

As someone who keeps fish myself (and had a heck of a time keeping them alive during last year's ice storm!), I'm kind of intrigued by the idea that Elrond kept tropical fish. An intriguing approach-a love story without angst or drama or full-blown speeches. It only takes one quiet, pedestrian evening to convince a charmingly clueless Gil-galad that he's making a mistake about his choice of a life partner. Elrond is quiet and rather sweetly nerdy in this story and Erestor is delightfully sly. Well done!

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 3

This was ... interesting. I have my doubts that Elves in the Tolkienverse would use the crude language, but otherwise I found the story very convincing, well written and entertaining. And I liked the fish!