As the Tide by the Moon

Author: EdorasLass

Nominator: annmarwalk

2008 Award Category: Genres: Alternate Universe - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Mature  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing themes, non-graphic sexuality [het]

Summary: Sequel to "Eclipsed by the Moon", in which a kitchen maid in Edoras is infatuated with Grima. This story follows her efforts to gain Grima's attention, Grima's plots to use her for his own ends, and Theodred's involvment in the whole tangled web. This story is told mostly from three POVs - Grima, Theodred, and Lathwyn. Explict het, possibly disturbing themes. Elements of both Book & Movie Verse; AU

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Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 10

What a rich story. Once again EdorasLass has displayed her sublime skills at characterization, mood setting, and subtle dialog full of underlying meanings. The novel focuses on Eledher, the original character from “Eclipsed by the Moon”. In that story, she was infatuated with Grima; here, Grima is taking advantage of Eledher’s unspoken feelings to manipulate both her and Théodred. It's amazing to watch Eledher's gradual transition from a withdrawn, physically and emotionally traumatized serving wench to a confident young woman, making a life for herself and her child in a strange city. Her inherent dignity earns her both the respect of her companions and a sense of self-respect even she did not realize she had developed. Théodred – what a marvel. This is not EL's usual Théodred, that is to say, Boromir's Théodred, sunny natured, confident and proud. Eledher's Théodred (though she would be shocked to hear him referred to thus) has a gut-wrenching vulnerability, a sense of loneliness and anguish as he watches his father’s decline. Théodred does not even recognize his need for the unconditional love he finds with Eledher, who asks for nothing but simple warmth and companionship, freely given. The scene where Théodred accosts Eledher in Minas Tirith, heart in his mouth, was one of the most moving (and glee-inducing, I won't deny) scenes I've ever read. [“Am I not his faeder, then?”] AY CARUMBA what a scene! * stands and cheers * The supporting characters, Éowyn, Éomer, Grima, are well-drawn as well. Grima is in turn oppressively menacing as he terrorizes poor Eledher, and totally in denial of Éowyn's contempt – a much more disturbing characterization than Professor Tolkien ever imagined. Éowyn is particularly strong here – intuitive, pragmatic, self-reliant, yet surprisingly empathetic and supportive toward Eledher, and a valuable partner to Théodred and Éomer as they seek to untangle Grima's machinations. It's very satisfying to note also that EL's het writing is as luscious as her slash, the same understated eroticism which merely draws the outlines of Eledher and Théodred’s encounters, allowing the reader to fill in the details using the richness of their own imaginations.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 9

A fascinating story that is something of a Cinderella tale set mostly in the darkness of Wormtongue's rise to ascendancy in Meduseld. He beguiles a lonely young serving-woman who has become infatuated with him into doing some exceedingly dirty work for him. Part of that work entails the serving-woman, Lathwyn (as she is called), seducing Theodred. What neither Lathwyn nor Grima foresee is that Theodred and Lathwyn come to genuinely care for each other, and therein further snarl an already tangled web. When Lathwyn realizes just exactly what Grima has had her giving Theoden in the guise of medicine, she is placed in a nearly impossible position - betray Grima's plot and risk her own death, or keep silent and let the King be poisoned by her reluctant hand. The choice that Lathwyn makes is a difficult one, and yet is utterly credible, given the character that EdorasLass has created and the circumstances that have shaped her from childhood through recent weeks. A beguiling plot, a heroine that one slowly begins to cheer for, and a romance that is almost impossible to end well, can all be found in this well-written story.

Reviewed by: Anoriath  ✧  Score: 9

Oooooooo, this is up for review? (Yay!) As the Tide by the Moon is one of my favorite Lord of the Rings fanfic pieces. I'm not sure where even to begin to describe all the aspects that I find compelling about the piece. I think the first thing that captured my interest was the mood of the piece. Edoraslass' writing produces what seems, to the onlooker, to be an effortlessly created complex atmosphere. It is at once spare, but lush; fraught with strong feeling, but emotionally distant. In the tale there is to be found love, and terror, and sensuality, and pride, and abasement, uncertainty, and strength of purpose, and yet, despite the intensity of the dramatic aspect of the tale, never does the writing itself overwhelm the story being told. This, I think, is one of the greatest strengths of Edoraslass' writing, that she so consistently shows, rather than tells. It's that conscious choice of spareness of words that allows the characters and the story to unfold with such seeming effortlessness, without the words calling attention to themselves. Because of this, I think it allows the reader to fall head-first into the story. I certainly did.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 8

This is a story that I have eagerly awaited the finishing of, and have at times been tempted to read some chapters from it as a work-in-progress - much against my standard practice of sticking to finished fics. But it was worth breaking my practice, and it's also worth the wait to see the full thing. Lathwyn is a very well-rounded OC, and she is remarkably well-rounded - a strong woman in her own right apart from her romance with Theodred. I also liked how it showed how she was duped into helping Wormtongue, largely by being unable to read - it made me more aware than ever of the plight of lower-class women or anyone without access to education. This story joins the ranks of good "everyman" stories, showing how the events of the Ring War would have affected those not privileged by high birth and high fate. But "As the Tide by the Moon" fills its own unique niche by looking, not at the aftermath or the great events, but the political wrangling even several years before the War of the Ring. Nice job all around, EL, I highly enjoyed this story.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 7

Last year it was particularly Dwimordene's writing that moved me; this year I find it is that of Edoraslass. I rarely read extensively on the boards where these post, after all, although I post on at least one where both do. Nor do I regularly read stories of Gondor and Rohan, although I write stories of Gondor myself. But this slightly AU story in which Theodred survives and has fathered a child is superbly done, from the aching longing of the chambermaid who was smitten by Grima Wormtongue--at least until she meets him and comes to know him better--to her growth as a mother and one who has agreed to the solution offered her. Characterizations are superbly done, as are the intrigues of those who must deal with Grima within Meduseld, not to mention his own machinations both toward those among whom he lives and toward his fallen master. Definitely a story to read and ponder, and so true to the cultures amongst whom Eledher moves. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil  ✧  Score: 5

Okay, I want more! I like the het, but then again that's my primary vice in fan fic in the first place, so I'm not surprised. I like your characters, esp. Eledher. If there was ever a woman of the Rohirrim who could give Eowyn a run for her money, it's your red-head! The baby is darling. I also, and this *did* surprise me, like your change of POV. Most fiction is written in past tense, and personally I find the present tense hard to maintain, especially over longer works. This was just wonderful and kept me riveted for 2 nights. I caught myself daydreaming at work, wondering where you would go with it next. Please, write more?