Solving Old Mysteries

Author: Aeärwen

Nominator: Nieriel Raina

2009 Award Category: Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: A dead city gives up its secrets.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 7

An original peek into a corner of Middle-earth that is not oven explored. The descriptions are detailed and sprawling, and I like that the readers can go along with Faramir to explore the different aspects of this ruined and misused city that was once so proud. Faramir's visceral dislike of what the city has now come to, his disgust and even revulsion at the corruption are evoked very compellingly; I could feel my own skin crawling. It's also very telling that his visit only comes when the cleaning-up operations have been going on for some time - so things must have been even worse before. I think I'm glad that the gruesome details weren't described too graphically, although on the other hand, that leaves the readers' imagination free to run amok. The build-up towards the mystery is done effectively and its eventual revelation creepy but also sorrowful. And Faramir is the right person to appreciate the impact and ramifications of this staggering tragedy.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 6

Brilliant little gem of a story. I love the idea behind it, with ancient history and Faramir colliding. Linked as his family is with the crucial and historical turning point alluded to in this tale, Faramir is the perfect choice to house the POV. But perhaps what impresses me most is the attention to little details. The setting, in particular, is drawn with a very adept hand as Minas Morgul unfolds before the reader in all its horrific glory. Small mentions like the absent mithril door and casual references to halls and corridors make this city come alive. The city itself isn't the focus, but nevertheless, as readers, we get a very good look at a very gruesome place without ever feeling like we're bogged in descriptive exposition. It all comes naturally through the course of the story, and it serves to augment the tone. Excellent descriptive work!

Reviewed by: Nieriel Raina  ✧  Score: 5

This concept is something I had not even considered, though surely the Gondorians must have reclaimed Minas Morgul and cleansed it of the touch of darkness. I can just imagine the horrors Faramir must have felt upon finding the realities of that place. Aearwen has vividly portrayed what it must have been like to have walked in that dead city and to have found the surprises that awaited them there. What a WONDERFUL story! Very dark, but fulfilling to know some of Gondor's lost men and king will finally go home and find their rightful resting places.

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 5

Minas Morgul. The seat of the Witch-king of Angmar’s power. The very name evokes images of horror, depravity and dark secrets, but when the men of Gondor begin systematically demolishing it, they learn what real horror and depravity mean and a secret long kept hidden is finally brought to light, figuratively and literally. This gap-filler explains one of the mysteries of Middle-earth’s history and Aearwen does a good job of evoking atmosphere with only the minimum of implied description through Faramir’s reactions as he comes to Minas Morgul: [He looked down, in order to look away, and then wished he hadn't done that either.] Thank you, Aearwen, for solving this particular mystery for us.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

Gapfillers. They are the bread and butter of fanfiction. What is amazing is how someone can find a gap that someone else has never even considered, and then proceed to fill it in a way that is wholly plausible, making the reader go "Of course! It had to have happened this way!" This gap is not one I ever gave much thought to. Being a hobbit person, Gondorian ancient history is not my forte. And yet-- to have the mystery of Eärnur's fate solved is intriguing nonetheless. It felt very appropriate to see Faramir's reaction to the grisly discovery. I also liked the way that we are never given the gory details-- the hints are horrifying enough. A really insightful and plausible story.

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

I'm very impressed by this story. For a start it is such an original concept. The execution is done well, too: certainly gruesome, but not so gruesome as to appal. The contrast between this place of horror and the image of pregnant Eowyn waiting back home in peaceful Ithilien works well. Faramir is well captured and his reactions are completely believable. Well done.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

Too many fanfiction writers neglect the rich possibilities in the project assigned to Faramir by his new king - to clear out Minas Morgul and the Vale. Here, the writer takes a single incident during this process and makes it emblematic of the horror of this task, and Faramir's own strength of character in dealing with it, as well as affirming his role as an agent and inheritor of history. Well and thoughtfully written.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 4

Of all the things that might have been found within the ruins of Minas Morgul as it was dismantled, no one could have anticipated such a find as THIS, and the ring that identified the remains. Faramir indeed has reason to rejoice that his wife managed the feat she'd accomplished, rejoicing to give honor where it has been far too long withheld. Well told and most creepy--a perfect tale for the season!

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 4

I loved this story when I first read it. It is surprising that no one told it before,as it solves one of the mysteries in LOTR. What happened to the last King of Gondor(before Aragorn) who went to challenge the witch King. It seems verp appropriate that Faramir should investigate this mystery.Hopefully Earnur can now be laid to rest in peace. A chilling tale, and although some of the dialogue is a little too modern in style, on the whole beautifully told and well worth reading.

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel  ✧  Score: 2

A phenomenal answer to a mystery posed in the appendices to 'Lord of the Rings,' and delightfully creepy. This gave me shivers on a warm humid morning.