She Who Weeps

Author: Dwimordene

Nominator: Thundera Tiger

2009 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: The Silmarillion - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: "Not all tears are evil..." - Gandalf, Return of the King, "The Grey Havens(A story and a hymn. Complete.)

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Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 10

I was floored when I first read this. It was the poetry that hit me hardest, and for a while, that was all I could see. The words are so skillfully crafted together and so carefully chosen that the imagery they concoct can hold one spellbound. Eventually, though, I got past the sheer beauty of the phrasing and really took a good look at the message. It was then that I found a story that reads almost like a eulogy to all of Arda. And given some of the message, perhaps that would be an apt description of Nienna, except that even then, the scope of Arda is too small for her. I was especially drawn to a short passage about how Nienna ["wrests place and meaning"] for things. It fit so well with the idea that while others were children of Eru's mind, she came from his heart. The partnership that Dwimordene creates between Eru and Nienna shows how she brought meaning to what was created. She finds incarnation in the struggle that gives life purpose and is the teacher behind life's hardest lessons. It's a role that, once stated, makes complete sense. But I would have never seen it on my own. That requires a more philosophical frame of mind, and I heartily thank Dwimordene for taking the time to understand Nienna's greater role and putting it to what I have to call verse. Because I can't think of this as anything besides sheer poetry.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 8

Beautiful, sad, hopeful, thought-provoking and so very moving: this story evokes many emotions, similar to how Nienna's diversity of concerns/Powers are described. And I think it is the observation that the latter are not disparate, even contradicting, but just the reverse - that they are often intertwined in the narrative and in the deeper *sense* - that gives it the greatest impact. The language perfectly complements the content, carefully constructed to impart meaning in every word and between the lines, by rhythm and structure that reminds me of church chorals, even in the prose style of the first chapter. The titles for Nienna, particularly in the "actual" hymn of the second chapter, are poignant, and encompass so much more than what could be supposed from her scant mentions in canon, and yet, this very creative, unique interpretation seems compatible with it. Very philosophical, and deeply spiritual, this complex story warrants close attention while reading and leaves a lasting impression afterwards. I particularly love the notion of grief as an offering of or a bridge to hope.

Reviewed by: KyMahalei  ✧  Score: 7

I looked for this story especially when it came time to review. Although it is rather short in length, it is one of the most beautiful, most poignant, most lyrical odes to the concept of sorrow that I have ever read. The images embedded in this piece evoke a sense of cannon scripture, not written by Tolkien, but by Dwimordene, in a magnificent attempt to embody the very essence of "she who weeps." It is a celebration of sorrow, not as a force to be avoided, but a natural piece of the greater reality. What a beautiful euligy to Nienna. The second chapter was somehow less poetic, although it was written in poetic format. It appears to be lyrics for a song about Nienna. One can only guess the tone and timbre of a melody that would bring justice to Nienna. Taken together these two chapters provide a unique and breathtaking insight into a character that remained largely undeveloped in Tolkien's cannon. I highly recomment this piece as an insightful look into the nature of tears and sorrow.

Reviewed by: Erfan Starled  ✧  Score: 5

I had the impression that the writer was drawn strongly to do this piece. The first, prose section reads in places like poetry, with its rhythms and rhymes. The poem, which came as a surprise, bears rereading. It does not always scan easily, but the stanza [‘she’s in the waters’] and the line [‘she’s grief and joy and rage and tears’] are two which spoke to me, as well as the stanza ending [‘makes our deeding done.’] The language and word choices are not in every case what gives it appeal so much as the content, drawing me in and then along, moving me between Nienna’s own self and the world’s wider horizon of life and feeling. I found this offering, that gives The Weeper her rightful place in the pantheon of the Valar, refreshingly original.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Trust Dwim to have crafted both thoughts and hymn--Dwim with her facility with language and words, her quick imagination and her appreciation for how we too often destroy ourselves and one another! That Nienna is a personification of the Creator's own grief is so very right! We can see this, appreciate it so! Definitely thought provoking, both descriptive passage and the hymn that follows, both weaving poetry and stark description so very well.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 4

Oh, what a paean to Mercy and Pity! Those two virtues that JRRT prized above all others. In this piece-- not a story, but very nearly poetry, though not verse-- Dwimordene shows how Nienna is the very personification of those virtues, pure and unalloyed. Her pity and her tears are the very stuff of Arda. There are many passages in LotR in which we are told that ["in all lands love is mingled with grief"]. And here Dwimordene also shows us why, as we were told in Cormallen ["tears are the very wine of blessedness"]. To mourn the passing of the fair and beautiful honors it, and Nienna's mourning hallows it. Lovely.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 3

An unusual set of ficlets devoted to the power and passion of Nienna, the Compassionate. This particular Vala doesn't usually get as much play in fanfic as her more flashy brethren and sistren; but Dwimordene skillfully explores the range of her vocation. The language is beautiful; I like in particular the connection made to Hope...

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 3

Dwimordene's ficlets about the Valie Nienna, are really a treat to read. Her characterizations of the Valar ring true, and they are poetic, to boot. We see how Nienna, whom we do not hear much about, really makes a difference in the world... Nicely done!

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 2

I welcome this chance to learn more of Nienna and her connection to Iluvatar's love for His people. Well done!