2005 Award Category: Genres: Drama (includes Angst): Incomplete - Second Place
Story Type: Incomplete ✧ Length: Novella
Rating: PG-13 ✧ Reason for Rating: adult themes, violence
Summary: From the Second Age of Middle-earth to the Third, few of the elders of the elves remain to guide the young. Still, relics of an ancient world exist, for good and ill. Divine banes return in a blaze of revolution, betrayal, war, balrog, death, and the cruel indifference of the Valar. Yet there may be tempering strength in a refiner's fire. Featuring Galadriel, Celeborn, and Amroth -- their son.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 10
This is, without a doubt, one of the most complex, intricate, and far-reaching stories that I have ever read. From its amazing characterization to its constant awareness of the time and setting in which it takes place, this tale leaves nothing to chance. The descriptive work is fantastic. The fall of Hollin and the escape of Elrond's army thanks to Amroth and Durin is easy to picture. The emotions are real. The interlude between Celeborn and Galadriel, with special attention paid to the addition of Nenya, is tense and awkward until that tension is broken by both parties. And the characters are complete. I very much enjoyed the different ways that Celeborn and Galadriel deal with their overthrow. Galadriel walks away as regal as any queen without a backward glance for anyone, but Celeborn meets every eye until the others turn away. It's a very bold and very blunt characterization stroke early on that holds true for the rest of the story (at least as far as it's been written). But characterization comes in smaller ways, too, and I had to smile when Galador declares that ignoring fear in the presence of the Nine would be like unto raising stars, to which Elrond smile and replies that this has been done. It's the little reminders like that of who and what these characters are that binds a reader to them and forces that reader to endure everything that they do. And finally, the plot itself is gripping, fast-paced, and epic in style. Possibly my favorite moment in the story so far is when Celeborn threatens to test the theory as to whether the Three could be destroyed. He is pure Sinda in that moment, and his actions certainly make an impact on Elrond, Gil-galad, and Galadriel. Absolute brilliance! I'm now very intrigued to see where this story takes itself, and I'm even more intrigued by the almost throw-away comment made by Annatar in the first chapter regarding Celebrian and Amroth. Count me in the ranks of the hooked, and I hope there will be an update in the near future.
Reviewed by: Dwimordene ✧ Score: 8
I think the truly impressive part about this story is just how much time the author is covering, without creating a story that is completely disjointed. Over two milennia of the Second Age have already been covered, and there's still more to come before the Third Age. Using Celeborn and Galadriel as the central characters undoubtedly helps, as the story feels episodic on an Elvish time scale. Nevertheless, this story may be less approachable for those without a fairly firm grasp on the material from "Unfinished Tales", and having the Tale of Years at hand as a guide is helpful. Celeborn is given the most prominence in the story, or at least, he seems to be the character whose personality feels most complete, although other characters are used as points of view, including the little-known Amroth, Sauron, and a future Ringwraith. The classic problem of evil haunts this story, and appropriately so, although it never gets brought to the forefront for long. One wonders what Celeborn's rejection of theodicy will ultimately amount to, in terms of the journey his character undergoes. I look forward to the completion of the tale.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 8
This is a very well-told story where the author has taken the tantalizing fragments Tolkien gives us (largely in secondary sources like "Unfinished Tales"), and has woven this into a full picture. Nay, not just a picture -- a tapestry, woven with bright colours and yet dulled by the passing years, its edges perhaps a little frayed but its glory still in tact. Elrond and Valandil are understated as lords on less-than-friendly terms might be (and you never forget that they are lords, no matter how personal their interactions), but this does not undercut the emotional impact of Valandil's continued searching for Isildur's remains. There is a bitterness to Valandil's wish to take Narsil's shards to Annuminas; it reminds me of the slight bitterness I always imagine in Denethor's answer that "in Gondor, ten thousand years would not suffice (to make a steward a king)." It is the only politic answer, but you can just feel that it is not what the speaker really wishes. At least I can. Regardless, this is a touching story, and all the more beautiful for its obscurity.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 3
So good. This is so good - and picking up a time that is so full of gaps. I love the mature Celebrian acting like an adult - Celeborn and Galadriel being - well - in between roles, in a way. And I want more, please. The whole thing is so multi-layered and interesting.