Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

King Thingol's Codpiece

Author: elfscribe
Nominator: Russandol
2011 Award Category: Mystery: General - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: Sexual Content
Summary: Oropher, a healer and son of the Lord of Nivrim, assists Finrod Felagund in a hunt for a saboteur who has prevented spring from coming to Doriath. A Sherlock Holmes style mystery with a twist.


Reviewed by: Keiliss -- Score: 10

This stunningly detailed and polished story is just the most amazing romp --- First Age meets Sherlock Holmes meets Elizabethan fashion, set in Menegroth, complete with talking ravens and ent sex (I'm not sure how far I want to think about that) The fashions are wonderful, and so well described I could picture everyone clearly, as is Elfscribe’s utterly believable creation of the culture and life in Doriath. I loved Oropher's informal sales venture (so typical, why am I not surprised it was a success?) and his note taking was - something else. That part should come with a beverage warning. He reminded me just a bit of Paul Bettany's Chaucer in A Knight's Tale there *g*. The image of him perched on the edge of the nest and then that terrifying return to Celeborn's rooms will remain with me for a long, long time, LOL! Loved the description of Celeborn, and particularly enjoyed the interchange between Finrod and Galadriel. This is Elfscribe at her best, so it hardly needs to be said that the personalities remain very true to themselves, an overlay of Holmes and Watson on characters who will colour my personal view of both Fingon and Oropher forever. A sequel would be more than welcome *hint* This was really well done. Highly recommended!

-- Thanks so much Kei for your generous review of this unlikely story. I had a good time writing it, especially since it was in a totally new location for me, Doriath, in a time period I'd never written about before, with characters I'd was only vaguely familiar with. (I'm the one who always seems to mix up Finrod and Fingon). Not to mention I'd never written a mystery before. The initial research was rather intensive, including rereading some Sherlock Holmes stories, working with maps of Middle-earth, checking timelines and canon character info, researching dates when various trees and plants flower in England, oh and not to mention the research into Elizabethan fashion, especially codpieces. lol. Thanks for pointing out the parts you particularly liked. All of those tongue-in-cheek, double entendres were immensely fun to write and a nice break from my more serious stuff. A sequel, eh? Well, I've promised one to another friend. We'll see. Thanks again!

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

I usually don’t find parodies funny when they are too broad. This one is not at all; it has a real plot and is a ripping good mystery as well. Yet it takes some of Tolkien’s sacred cows from the high-flung tragedy of his First Age canon and cuts them down to size, while enticing us to enjoy every hilarious moment of their undoing—St. Finrod, a delectably earnest Oropher, and a serious Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, all revealed to have feet of clay. I absolutely adore Finrod in this piece although he mildly but ungallantly disses his stay-behind sweetheart Amarië. Elscribe’s writing is characterized by its lushness; and what a yummy Celeborn she gives us here: Celeborn was nearly as handsome as Finrod, but his features were less delicately hawkish and more ruggedly chiseled. He was tall with that plaited silver-white hair, and tarn-blue eyes under low-riding dark brows. (Notice she gives us a two-for-one? We now know what her lovely Finrod looks like also.) Who could not enjoy Finrod’s dig at Melia the Maia: [“I wondered about that,” Finrod said. “She sometimes seems to have an uncanny ability to see the future, but often can’t see something right under her own nose.”] It's a no brainer to open up a story of Elfscribe's and find that it is exceptional. She is impeccable in her organization and timing, language use and rhythm, simply one of those fabulous fanfiction writers that I love to know.

-- Thanks so much Oshun for your generous review of this unlikely story. (It's all Darth's fault.) I had a good time writing it, especially since it was in a totally new location for me, Doriath, in a time period I'd never written about before, with characters I'd was only vaguely familiar with. (I'm the one who always seems to mix up Finrod and Fingon). Not to mention I'd never written a mystery before. The initial research was rather intensive, including rereading some Sherlock Holmes stories, working with maps of Middle-earth, checking timelines and canon character info (for which I was grateful for your essays), researching dates when various trees and plants flower in England, oh and not to mention the research into codpieces. lol. I'm so happy you enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Russandol -- Score: 10

I'm amazed by the wildly original plot and the clever characterisation in this outstanding piece. Elfscribe has crafted a dazzling plot full of surprises and twists, in the best tradition of good thriller stories, and characterisation which carefully preserves the spirit of the Silmarillion while adding to the two main characters (a charmingly naive Oropher and a cunning Finrod) a few traits from those of the very familiar Sherlock Holmes duo. Add to that a wonderful romantic relationship (including oodles of UST), peculiar Doriathren fashion, plus a fantastic cast of other characters like Thingol, Melian, Celeborn and Galadriel, not forgetting a couple of ents with, er, marital problems and a crowd of highly frustrated elves, all endangered by a strange shift in the normal cycle of the seasons. Mixing all of those ingredients, elfscribe has crafted a truly polished story which grips you from the beginning and carries you through a whirlwind of mystery, action and humour set in a wonderful vision of Doriath crammed with a wealth of details that truly brings it to life. So, even if Sherlock Holmes is not your thing, if you want to read something different in this fandom, you will certainly enjoy this!

-- Thanks so much for your generous remarks, Russa. I couldn't have done this fic without your help. You are a marvelous beta. What fun that was!

Reviewed by: Himring -- Score: 10

Here's how I reviewed this story right after I first read it: "This one made me laugh so much--the kind of laughter that warms you from the inside out when you're sitting up far too late into the night to read the story right through to the end and your toes are getting cold..." (This was in February, when the story had just been posted after its completion for a Slashy Santa exchange; since then the time for cold toes has gone and come again!) The whole proposition, of course, sounds like total crack and, in a sense, that is certainly what it is: Finrod is Sherlock Holmes, investigating the disappearance of Thingol's codpiece, which turns out to be not only a symbol of fertility, but a highly potent--burarum--object. However, this story is told with such superb craftsmanship, such a loving attention to detail, with so much affection for the gallery of the canon characters that it seems to make disrespectful fun of, that crack is raised to a whole different level and becomes a form of art. (Of course, it's still going to be anathema to anyone for whom the Laws and Customs of the Eldar are a holy text!) I can only recommend this story--and not only to those who are sitting up late and whose toes are getting cold!

-- I loved your initial review, the image of the late night read with warm laughter and cold toes was lovely and I've certainly been there myself. I remember first reading LOTR, parts of it under the covers with a flashlight because I was up way too late too and supposed to be getting up for school in the morning. And thank you for elaborating on your first review here. I think the best humor comes from characters that we empathize with, rather than ones we feel superior to and are making fun of. I really fell in love with my Finrod and Oropher and their unlikely relationship -- enough that I might consider a sequel. Thanks again!

Reviewed by: Malinornë -- Score: 10

When I read this the first time it took me a little longer than usual to get into. I believe it has something to do with how the characters are introduced. I know Oropher previously only as Thranduil's father, king of the wood-elves, impatient, not too wise, not getting on too well with his neighbours, obstinate perhaps, and usually the older of the main characters. I'm afraid I've seen far too many stories with him as Legolas' evil, child-abusing grandfather, in my early days of reading fics. So, although Oropher in this story is a charming youth, I feel I would have needed a more thorough introduction of him. I found it difficult to 'pop into his head' in the beginning. To me, in this story, he is a new character, and would need to have been introduced more like you do with your original characters. Or, it might have been enough with a different name. If he's not Oropher, but is called, say, Feredir or any non-canon name, then there's also no 'baggage' to deal with. On the other hand, of course, there are always readers who'd love to read an Oropher story but wouldn't look at one with a main original character... That said, I really did enjoy this story a lot, for the witty fun, the innuendo, the plot and not least for finally showing us what an entwife is like! The chapter titles made me smile, #1 and 5 brought back memories of bad singing around campfires an eon ago, and I found the very idea of a codpiece for Thingol to match Melian's girdle (and even her girdle being an actual object) brilliant. The Holmes and Watson idea was very good as well, and well carried out, and worked perfectly for me as I've read practically nothing with Finrod or a young Oropher. I like what you did with the ravens (perfect names!) and that outrageous song was almost too good to be true :) And Teleporno, heh, you found a great way to sneak it into the story. I also very much liked the end, very fitting for a Valentine's challenge.

-- Hi Mal, thanks so much for your long review. I'm glad you were finally able to get into the story, even though you had a different image of Oropher. Darth's request required me to include Oropher, Finrod, and Celeborn, an interesting combination. I really appreciated your beta help, especially the 30 words for codpiece, which were a total hoot. It was also fun for me to write characters I've never tried before, like ents and ravens. Hugs and thanks again!

Reviewed by: KyMahalei -- Score: 10

This is a brilliant piece on several levels. The action moves smartly, the setting glows, and the characters sparkle with a life all their own. Elfscribe has brought her own droll sense of humor to the table and has created a story that is an absolute delight to read. like any good Sherlock Holmes story, this one is made up of a number of puzzle pieces. Each one is carefully crafted and interlocks with the others. Elfscibe is the only one I know who could mix Oropher, a codpiece and an ent come up with something that makes sense. She doesn't stint on the supporting characters either. One of the things that makes the sprightly romp so entertaining the is attention Elfscribe pays to details. Of particular note are the festive and often ludicrous costumes she decks her characters out in. of course, all the men wear cod pieces, some more decoratively embellished than others but the laced, striped, and star-studded fabrics often add to the whimsical nature of this story. it would have been easy to tell this story as simple mystery, but Elfscribe rewards readers with an abundance of quirks and subplots. the discovery of the medicinal effects of echulias comes to mind, as does Oropher's perspective on his relationship with Finrod. These elements add richness and robustness to the story, making it an even more entertaining read

-- Thank you so much Ky! It's good to stretch oneself and try something new and this was certainly a new one for me on numerous levels. It was fun to write, especially with Russa's active participation. And I'm glad it made sense. LOL.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

What is it about Darth Fingon's prompts that inspire creativity? Elfscribe's [King Thingol's Codpiece] follows this trend and indeed sets a standard! This story, by turns sly, hilarious and clever (well, all blended together), pay wonderful homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes with a significant tip of the detective's hat to the more recent BBC rendition with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Holmes and Watson, respectively. The story finds Finrod in the role of Holmes with Oropher as sidekick (with a tasty sidedish of attraction) investigating why spring in Doriath has ground to a halt. Through an excellently crafted detective story, full of puzzle pieces, sub-plots, and Finrod's florid poetry, Elfscribe takes the reader along with the intrepid Finrod and the trusty (and swooning) Oropher through Menegroth and environs to solve the mystery of King Thingol's missing codpiece: the obvious yin to the yang of Melian's Girdle. The story is chock-a-block with memorable characters from Fangorn (yes, Fangorn!) to wilting members of the court (so to speak) to Finrod's bossy sister to her silver-tree boyfriend. Not to mention the thief. The dialog snaps, crackles and pops and is guaranteed to make the reader smile.

-- Thank you for the review. I'm thrilled you liked it! Glad you saw bits from the BBC Holmes in it. (I loved that series to distraction). And yes, I knew I was writing for Darth the minute I saw the prompt; that knowledge was rather intimidating but also made me feel I could be a bit more outrageous than normal. I know you appreciate a good romp with outrageous characters (to wit, Gilfanon, Elrond, and Glorfindel) and I'm so pleased you enjoyed this one.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 9

This story has been flirting with me (or at least making Groucho eyes) for the entire duration of the MEFAs. I blame the title. It is perfectly absurd, and would surely send Tolkien into a sputtering fit. The tale that goes with it is an witty, inventive, bawdy and irreverent romp that just keeps serving up the humor. Who other than Finrod Felagund could serve as the Sherlock Holmes of First Age Middle-earth? Oropher is surprisingly charming as his Watson, re-envisioned as an impulsive, persistent and somewhat horny youth who takes an immediate interest in Finrod for his keen mind, along with other attributes. Highlights of the story include messenger ravens, a flagging Fangorn (entertainingly introduced by his [ta ra ra boom de ay]), a gaseous Celeborn, and a whole lot of codpieces - or [corongyll, dolthand,] or [mirchebir], as Finrod informs Oropher that they are also called. (And who would have imagined that many words for the thing? Clearly the Elves of Doriath would.) Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I will forever remember this story as the first fanfic to christen my new Kindle, and to introduce me to the works of Thomas d'Urfey.

-- Thank you, Lauderdale. Usually I come up with a title after I've finished a story and the process is torturous. In this case, I actually thought of the title first and was so amused by the notion that it begged a story to go with it. I'm glad you gave into the title's flirtation. And I am absurdly pleased that this fic broke in your Kindle. Cheers!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 8

If there was one thing I never believed I'd see - and glad to have seen it now - it would be Finrod Holmes. The story was a hoot from the get-go, the quick pacing should draw any reader in, and all the little irreverences and double entendres added enormously to the tone and to my enjoyment of the story. All this is still short of a certain Ent in a pickle and a glimpse at the real reason for the Entwives' loss, Menegroth's new security measures and the tradition of Doriath's epically gaudy codpieces, not to mention the special properties of Thingol's stolen item and the perpetrators of said theft. Although I'm not commonly a fan of detective mysteries or whodunnits, tt truly seems that Elves Make Everything Better(tm), the relevance of many little details adds spice and depth, and Elfscribe's brilliant sense of humor had me in stitches my the end of Finrod's song in the first chapter. I didn't entirely stop laughing until well after the story was over. It brightened my day immensely, and I'd recommend this to anybody who is not averse to slashy elves and bawdy humor.

-- Thank you so much Elleth. I think pretty much everything has been tried in fanfic at one time or another, so it's hard to find a new twist. I was amazed, actually, at how well Finrod became Holmes. And it's true, elves do make everything better. *g* I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Erulisse -- Score: 5

A chance comment sent Elfscribe on a romp through Doriath with an unlikely team of investigators and a delightful amount of interplay between characters and clues. What indeed happened to King Thingol's codpiece and why was it missing? From a veritable fever of double-entrendes liberally sprinkled throughout, everything works like clockwork and the sexual lives of the high, mighty and wooden are examined through a laughing lens. If you need a pick-me-up to bring a smile to your face, you should treat yourself to this happy romp through the girdled kingdom.

-- Thank you 1L. Double entendres are so much fun. I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 4

This is a wonderful mystery with some unusual twists. The idea that the protection of Melian's Girdle has its counterpart in Thingol's Codpiece is totally plausible and makes perfect sense. After all, most magical protection is dependent on the balance between the female element and the male as well. Melian, despite being one of the Maiar, surely needed the extra support provided by Thingol to guard Doriath for as long and effectively as she did.

-- Thank you so much for your review. And I'm quite glad Thingol's Codpiece made sense. Whew! LOL.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 3

What a hoot this is. Whether you are a Holmes fan or not, this is a riotously brilliant piece of writing. From the beginning, I was making unladylike snorting noises. The creative cursing alone was good enough for great bellylaughs. Poor Oropher's 'state' was comical enough. But no --I had to clutch my sides for four fun-filled chapters. A great read. Bravo!

-- Thank you so much for the review and for the unladylike snorting noises. lol. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Reviewed by: Lilith Lessfair -- Score: 3

This is an absolutely brilliant piece: clever, beautifully written, very well sourced in Elfscribe's tremendous knowledge of Tolkien's world and characters, and hilarious. Very, very well done.

-- Thank you very much Lilith. I'm pleased that you think highly of my knowledge of Middle-earth since I've always felt that there are so many more knowledgeable people out there - you know those who can recite whole genealogies and know the most obscure characters and how to say their names in 5 languages. lol. I do like to make sure my canon is accurate so I do my research, even if I end up bending the canon in absurd ways. Cheers!

Reviewed by: grey_gazania -- Score: 3

This story should come with a beverage warning. It's a complete riot, from Elfscribe's slightly-Sherlockian Finrod all the way through to a woeful ent and the true purpose of Melian's Girdle. I laughed myself silly!

-- Thank you GG. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!