Lessons Learned

Author: Anna Wing

Nominator: Ithilwen

2010 Award Category: Genres: Character Study

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: The building of Caranthir's fortress by Lake Helevorn, and what he learned from the Kinslaying of Alqualonde.

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Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 9

What I love about this little ficlet is the way it takes you, layer by layer, through the fortress that Caranthir has created - it's all so carefully planned, so well thought out, from the location, to the architecture, to the food supply, to the cultivation of allies against Morgoth's fortress and forces. And then we come to the last ditch, save your skin escape route, to be used if all of that fails, which the family's own pessimist, as Anna characterizes Caranthir, insists upon. As with every other measure taken, it makes perfect logical sense. And yet the punchline tells you of a mind that, in pursuit of logic, has fundamentally drawn the wrong lesson out of the kin-slaying at Alqualondë, transforming it into an obstacle, rather than a tragedy. It's a question of external resources and skills, rather than a question of moral vision. Brilliantly done, and in a short space, and taking on a character whom I feel tends not to get as much attention, perhaps just because he seems so darned unlikeable. Silm fans will appreciate this, but if you've ever had to consider having a character build a fortress, one might peruse the one Anna Wing has created for ideas.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 8

I love the oblique reference to the kinslaying in this. It's almost a throw away musing at the end of the ficlet, but it packs a punch. It says quite a bit about what Caranthir took away from the kinslaying, both in practical terms and in the fact that Caranthir either missed or is ignoring a significant point, namely that kin slew kin. But beyond that, I love that this ficlet has a very no-nonsense Caranthir at the helm. The detailing of his efforts to build a secure fortress give some fantastic visuals and paint a very clear picture of the fortress. One can easily imagine Lake Helevorn and the sheer walls rising above it. It's also easy to envision the partnerships springing up between Caranthir's followers and the local populace. All in all, it seems like a very sound strategy, which makes the contrast of insisting on escape plans and training all the more stark. It brings home the reality of what it meant to have Morgoth as an enemy, and some very apt characterization of Caranthir makes him the perfect voice to make this point.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

Well, it does appear that Caranthir, at least, has learned some lessons. He's learned to be diplomatic, careful, and to plan redundancies into his designs. And he plans on not stealing any more ships, either, in at least the near future! A good look at one of Feanor's sons having indeed learned from his experiences so far. Nicely done, Anna Wing!