Light Fingers

Author: Aeärwen

Nominator: Nieriel Raina

2009 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Gondor - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: There is a single scene of threatened violence toward a child in the first chapter.

Summary: The story of the lives of the Sons of Elrond after the end of the Ring War, as seen through the eyes of a child of Minas Tirith who has lost almost everything.

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Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 10

An original look at life in Minas Tirith after the War and after Aragorn has become king. Among the poor, the orphans left behind, many are left to fend for themselves. The story follows one small family's attempts to survive and an encounter that changes everything. Vivid descriptions, moving emotions, the reader is swept up in Ivoreth's tale and her attempts to save and protect her younger brother and sister. Terrible circumstances lead Ivoreth down a road that forks when she meets an unlikely rescuer in Elladan. Learning to trust is not easy, but in the end, the peredhel manages to get behind Ivoreth's walls and she finds that life can be so much more than she ever expected. A new life, new clothes, a new family. Ivoreth even gets to meet King Elessar and Queen Arwen! Her life is never the same after her encounter, and never again will she need to live in the drains of Minas Tirith. Ivoreth's tale is a moving experience the reader cannot get enough of. Told completely from Ivoreth's point of view, the reader is swept into the tale and cannot help but be moved emotionally by the hardships Ivoreth and her siblings face. The reader cannot help but fear, doubt and even hope alongside her as she faces challenge after challenge, the ultimate of which is can she ever learn to trust again. A beautiful story!

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 10

When I first read [The Return of the King] as a young teenager, I wondered just what the rest of Minas Tirith and its people were like and wished I could see more of them. Many years later (and after a 20 year hiatus from reading Tolkien) I came back to his world with a more critical eye that demanded more detail and the realization that behind the high myth, there had to have been harsher realities among all the societies of peoples of Middle-earth, not just the usual suspects like the orcs. Then I read Aeärwen's [Light Fingers] and discovered a vision of another darker side of Minas Tirith, one that I found refreshingly realistic while retaining the sense of the legends and the "magic" of the milieu. [Light Fingers] represents my first exposure to Aeärwen's wonderful compendium of work. I grealy enjoy reading the perspectives of original characters, and in Ivoreth, Aeärwen has created an excellent one: an impoverished orphan whose life teeters on the brink in the aftermath of the War of the Ring. She lives from day to day in desperation, trying to fend for his siblings and herself. Her existence is truly harrowing, and one day, the unthinkable nearly happens, but she is rescued by a noble warrior -- Elladan. He brings her into the fold, but her journey toward trusting him and others is not an easy one. That is what I especially appreciated about Aeärwen's tale of Ivoreth. She is a damaged child, and that damage has consequences. Aeärwen never flinches when addressing these, but Ivoreth's path to trust is a poignant one.

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 10

Holy cow! Just wow! I was looking through MEFA stories for pieces that looked interesting and I decided to give this a try since I like some of the other stuff you wrote. Ok, this is simply the best LotR fanfic I have ever read and believe me I have read a lot of them. Given that I do not normally read fics based in Gondor, that is saying a lot. I am absolutely floored. I could not stop reading it. I started crying the moment Aragorn picked Ivoreth up in the Houses of Healing and I kept right on crying through most of the story. The writing in this was phenomenal. I loved the italicized 'thoughts' running through Ivoreth's head--that was incredibly effective and kept me really close to her POV, which was incredibly powerful. The characterization of Elladan and Elrohir and Aragorn and Arwen was absolutely perfect. Exactly the way you would expect them to react and really well written. And the plot itself was really powerful. I especially loved the chapter where Aragorn interviewed Samul and passed his judgment over the people abusing their positions and the children. I loved gentle healer Aragorn, but King Aragorn was formidable. Absolutely awesome. This was a great read that I now intend to go recommend to all my friend who read LotR fanfiction.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 9

This is a fantastic exploration of a topic that not a lot of authors have the courage to examine so thoroughly. In the aftermath of war, of course there will be orphans, but the war has gone on for so long that the previous rulers never really had a chance to look into just what happened to orphans, orphanages, and those who never made it that far. That's all changing now, but it takes time to unravel years and years of what was essentially martial law as well as corruption within the the City-guard. The truly amazing thing is that Aeärwen is able to tell the entire story from the perspective of a child caught up in the middle of it. Ivoreth is remarkably mature for her age (as would be expected for one burdened with her responsibilities) but she's still a child. Yet through her, Aeärwen is able to pass on the issues of trust and duty that Ivoreth understands as well as using overheard conversations to convey the political tangle that Aragorn and Arwen face, which is something Ivoreth doesn't understand as well but which we as readers are eager to learn more of. A painful but fascinating story with profound insights and a sensitive touch.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 7

Describes in vivid and realistic details the not so lofty streets of Minas Tirith. I can't see such squalor and injustice in Minas Tirith myself, and corrupt Guardsmen who prey on the poor and helpless, but the Author makes this premise absolutely believable and compelling. Ivoreth's fear and mistrust, her extraordinary courage, and her need to protect her siblings are conveyed well. Her PoV was handled excellently. Elladan's (and others') attempts to draw her out and gain her trust were heartbreaking to read, the progress and the setbacks drawing the readers ever further into the story. The compromise assuring the other orphans will not starve is perhaps not a satisfying solution, but maybe the best possible in the short run. Hopefully in time they will lose their fear of the orphanages now that Arwen is running them. Daren's fate was a very daring turn in the story, unvarnished, and utterly sad.

Reviewed by: Celeritas  ✧  Score: 6

A unique look at the lives of everyday people in Gondor. Long years of war have produced two things: a community of orphan children who must beg or thieve to survive, and a lack of oversight to see that these children must resort to this lifestyle—and risk dreadful punishment when caught. Ivoreth is a wonderful OFC to showcase this life, forced to grow up too soon (and yet in many ways a child), burdened with the responsibility of looking after her dying family, and ultimately distrustful of authority, both from tales she has heard from her father and from ill experience. Her slow journey to trust, as evidenced by her budding relationship with the sons of Elrond, is well written and realistically done—as is the Royal House’s discovery of the injustices that have been and are still going on. A great OC-centric tale!

Reviewed by: Alassante  ✧  Score: 5

I loved this story from the beginning to end. Its very rare to see a story about children from a child's point of view. Its wonderfully refreshing. I loved the way you portrayed the children too. None of them were the least bit unbelievable. I like that you showed Gondor realistically too. Elladan was a wonderful father figure. Elrohir was a good uncle in the end despite the rocky period. And all the elves welcomed them into the family in the end. I really think this is one of the most touching stories I've read this year. It was beautifully written and inspiring.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

There may be a King now in Gondor, but there are still patches of darkness within the system of justice there in the White City that the King is only just becoming aware of, and some of the guardsmen are anything but pillars of righteousness. This Ivorwen has known for some time; but when two catch her about to steal a woman's purse and decide to offer her a form of justice not precisely in keeping with the King's justice, it sets in motion consequences that serve to change the fortunes of all. Excellently written and crafted story in which we see Aragorn and his family doing their best to set things right for an orphaned child and her remaining family.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 5

I really enjoyed this story - so much, in fact, that it's now taken up residence on my Sony Reader. Aearwen gives us a look at Minas Tirith - the events leading up to the siege, the siege itself, and events in the immediate aftermath of the war - from what I think is a unique perspective: a girl from a very poor family who's been orphaned and struggles to care for herself and her siblings. I found the details of her efforts to do things as simple as finding food and medicine to be heartbreakingly true to life, as is her reaction to suddenly being offered a way out. She has a wonderfully drawn original character who I hope to see much more of in the future!

Reviewed by: Peredhil lover  ✧  Score: 5

Aeärwen is a gifted writer who is able to create incredibly engaging tales which never fail to draw in her readers, and this story, “Light Fingers” is no exception. I’ll admit that more than once I had tears in my eyes as I read about this young orphan’s struggles to protect her younger siblings and survive in the streets and sewers of post-ring war Minas Tirith. One of Aeärwen’s many writing strengths is in her characters, both original and those borrowed from Tolkien: each one is so carefully crafted, well thought out, and believable that the reader can not help but become completely wrapped up in their fates and totally engrossed in their tale. Very well written, as always.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel  ✧  Score: 4

The prequel to "Elladaniel", this shows how the child Ivoreth struggles to keep her three younger siblings alive after they are orphaned in fire storm of the Siege of Minas Tirith. I like the sense of the everyday struggle to eat and survive, and how Ivoreth hates having to steal for a living, and the terror she has of guardsmen and orphanages. We see her inner thoughts, which seem realistic for the horrible circumstances. Very nicely done!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 3

We know that Gondor emerged victorious after the Ring War, but what happened to all the orphans that the fighting must have left? This touching story tells the tale of two little girls struggling to survive alone in what seems a very hostile word:That is until they meet Aragorn, Arwen and her brothers. A delightful well written story well worth reading.

Reviewed by: picara  ✧  Score: 3

Wow! Ivoreth is really an incredibly well drawn OC! And I have rarely seen anything other than the warrior side of the Elladan and Elrohir, so seeing the fatherly side is really a refreshing treat. Great plot, great characters and great writing make this a really fun story to read!