The Laughing Oliphaunt

Author: Aeneid

Nominator: Marta

2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Gondor: Original Characters

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: n/a

Summary: On the twenty-ninth of Nárië in 2885, the Haradrim forces were defeated at the Crossing of Poros and a legendary tavern acquired its name. On the twenty-ninth of Nárië in 3018, the eastern shore of Osgiliath fell to the Enemy as the Ring War loomed, and a group of weary soldiers returned to this same tavern on the night of its anniversary. Experimental writing style. Slightly AU.

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Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 6

On a hot summer evening, seven survivors of the battle for Osgiliath seek to calm their trembling nerves at a favorite tavern. Each one carries his own brutal, terrifying memories of the day, and Aenied’s incomparable storytelling skills has made each tale breathtaking in its realism. She has skillfully bound each tale together with warmth, compassion, and humor, reflecting the relationships of the men to each other, their captain, and his young brother. I’m delighted once again to see fanfiction moving towards well developed original characters who flesh out the many gaps left by the professor. Aeneid has taken the bare structure that was given to us and built a new city, bit by bit, for us to inhabit, enjoy, and share.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 6

Great series of vignettes! I loved how it was all tied in with the fateful night when the last bridge was cast down, and how the ending brought it even closer to canon events as Faramir recited his dream. But as for the vignettes themselves, there was such a wide assortment of different characters coming from different backgrounds. It was truly amazing. Each had his own story to tell, and each had something different to offer, from grizzled older captains to trembling young soldiers to the Steward's sons themselves. Brilliant characterizations on each of them. The canon characters were firmly rooted in what Tolkien gave us, and the original characters were solid enough to stand beside them. Great writing.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 5

As good an account of the battle for Osgiliath as I've read for quite some time. I like the fact that it's done in retrospect, and the succession of narrators, each having seen different parts of the battle, each reacting in his own way to Nazgûl-induced terror, exhaustion, and the loss of half of Osgiliath, gives a sense of the total and overwhelming chaos of that retreat across the bridge. It comes in short bursts—none of the chapters are long—but they keep the battle manageable, in a way, by refusing to show too much.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

A nice piece -- both the drama and the humour were biting. And the OCs were very original. I liked seeing what led up to Faramir's revealing his dream to Boromir, and loved the way you used Gondorian history to develop the folk lore of the laughing oliphaunts at Poros.