2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Gondor: Original Characters - Third Place
Story Type: Vignette ✧ Length: N/A
Rating: G ✧ Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: The aftermath of the fields of Pelennor, from a very humble perspective: a "charwoman" of Minas Tirith.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 8
Easily one of the best alternative viewpoints I've read, and perhaps one of the most thought-provoking. Given the author, that's really not a surprise, but even so, I was still caught off guard by this woman's perspective on battle. It's so very different from most of what's out there, but it rings true and there's a very simple kind of logic behind it all. It was so easy to see where she was coming from and how her life had been boiled down into her chosen profession to the point where she could no longer escape it. Or wanted to escape it. She'd found beauty and she was content. To be honest, I'm still not sure how to react to this story. I want to pity her for her lot in life, but she seemed to have no qualms about it, which makes pity feel wasted. In any case, it was definitely a fascinating read, and I like to think that the clasp she found toward the end belonged to Halbarad. Somehow, it feels right that someone so devoted to her own way of life should see to his final remains.
Reviewed by: Marta ✧ Score: 5
"Mother taught me well: never drop a man, nor simply leave him lying
once he is brought to where the pyre is: lay him straight, cross his arms (if he has any); if he is an enemy, then put a bit of turf in his mouth, but if of Gondor, then put a pebble instead; always close his eyes if you can."There's something so wonderfully matter-of-fact throughout this whole piece, but especially in this line. It reminds me of the attitude of the father in the movie "My Girl". Deaht is a part of daily life, and Dwim's charwoman does not flinch. She goes about her Duty. But then we see that she is not jaded: "Thank you, good sirs, for having lain down for us all." She is still affected, even if she has learned to suppress it. I can see her very easily being a part of Tolkien's Middle-earth.
ADMIN note: excessive quote blocked from being scored
Reviewed by: Lindelea ✧ Score: 5
You have brought tears to my eyes. Heart-wrenching, even in the practicality of the main character. Was in a museum recently, dedicated to the Welsh Guards, and read a poster about camp-followers. It was said that sometimes these, accustomed to supplementing their income by robbing the dead, would administer the death-blow to mortally wounded soldiers, to speed their passing. I was glad your character took from the dead, not for her own benefit, but that loved ones might have keepsakes to hold in memory.
Reviewed by: annmarwalk ✧ Score: 4
I am reading this the Monday after Katrina and would like to thank you, Dwim, for giving us a woman of such beauty and dignity for such a task. That she performs this necessary duty with such compassion gives me hope those in our own age who will be doing the same, today. I bless them in the name of your charwoman, and all others through history who have had to do set their hands to this as well.
Reviewed by: Bodkin ✧ Score: 3
A story that deals with the kind of aftermath to battle that is usually overlooked. Eerie, in a way. I like the central character - her profession has rules and she is an honourable representative of a role that is essential - but uncomfortable to think of. I enjoyed this.
Reviewed by: Dreamflower ✧ Score: 2
And so there were those who were too humble for battle, who cleaned up its aftermath, and tended to the dead. Very melancholy and insightful.