Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Where Light in Darkness Dwells

Author: Dreamflower
Nominator: Larner
2009 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: General Drabbles - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: Short Drabble Series
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Nine drabble series about the Fellowship Nine drabbles, one for each member of the Fellowship, centered around the theme of Light.


Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 10

Dreamflower is one whose works I have ever loved and honored, in part because she, too, loves primarily the Fellowship and above all the Hobbits who were part of it and the Shire that nurtured them. Her stories often parallel my own, and at times we do inspire one another. She has also written both epics and short tales, and rather more (as well as more successful) poems than I. Her work has sometimes moved me to laughter and sometimes to tears, but always to admiration. But this series of drabbles, in each of which one of the Fellowship has a unique encounter with light--or perhaps with the lack of it--has to be one of the most moving she has crafted. Legolas finds the return to the natural light of day after the darkness of Moria brings no comfort when the encounter with the dark fires of the Balrog has robbed them of an even greater, more personal light; Aragorn sees two small but greatly shining lights approaching the Light they ought not to be coming to as yet and calls them back. And in between each of the other members of the Fellowship has his own experience with light that will be remembered through all that comes after, whether that encounter presages renewed life or peaceful death. When I read or reread these I know again the awe I first knew as a thirteen-year-old girl some forty-five years ago when I first opened the covers of LOTR, the first time I entered Middle Earth and came to dance and feast with Hobbits beneath the lights hanging from the Party Tree and Gandalf's fireworks, when I first was greeted by Bilbo and Frodo, watched Merry drive away with Frodo's furniture and walked across the Shire with Frodo, Sam, and Pippin, when I first encountered the elves of Gildor Inglorion under the trees of the Woody End, or fled from Black Riders into a terrible short-cut-gone-long, first took refuge in Tom Bombadil's house, or saw the bright eyes of the first man I truly loved peering at Frodo from the corner of the common room in the Inn of the Prancing Pony. I want so to thank you, Dreamflower, for this series, that so gently captures that early wonder and awe, and brings it all back to me; and for this special memorial to each of the nine who set out afoot from Rivendell that winter day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

What strikes me most about this drabble series is the sheer variety Dreamflower envisions concerning light and its place in the darkness. Each of the nine drabbles are powerful and poignant with words chosen carefully to convey as much meaning as possible given that there can only be one hundred of them. But the two drabbles that caught my attention most were Legolas's and Pippin's. Being the first drabble of the series, Legolas really caught me by surprise because his is a different kind of ["Light in Darkness"] than what I was expecting. I was looking to see hope in darkness, since light frequently represents that. This first drabble, though, alerted me to the fact that light was going to be more things than hope, and not all of those things were going to work to the Fellowship's benefit. Legolas's drabble is about abandoning light in the darkness and leaving Moria only to find that the light outside isn't as bright or as hopeful as he'd anticipated. Great way to start the series and shake the readers. But Pippin's drabble... Wow. The concept of shadows having a life of their own independent of the light that forms them is one that I think Tolkien very powerfully brings to life, and Dreamflower capitalizes on that with the idea of a ["dark light"] that's incomprehensible to the poor hobbit but exists and overcomes him, nevertheless. And even as Pippin is struggling to remember true light, he can't get past the light with which Sauron confronts him. Brilliant and original take on a metaphor that we so often overlook!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 9

I've recently been rereading the opening chapters of the Silmarillion and so I have in mind the many ways that Tolkien uses it, how in some sense it was the fundamental battleground as first the Lamps and then the Trees were destroyed. That got me thinking about how we use light in our culture - the [light at the end of the tunnel], [going toward the light] at death, even in the Biblical language, God's teaching being [a lamp unto my feet]. It's a versatile metaphor, to be sure. But even with all that varied imagery in mind, I don't think I would have thought of quite this many permutations. Some are drawn very closely from Tolkien, but others use light in an original way, definitely. I think I most liked Legolas's, because for a Dwarf of *Mirk*wood forced to live in a cave for security reasons and who chose to identify with the Moriquendi, I can see light taking on a particularly nostalgic but also very complex meaning. That it is in some sense oppressive after Moria struck me as an extremely perceptive way to capture some of the truth of depression and grief and shock. All in all, a very nice use of the element and the drabble format to show how this theme might mean different things to different characters.

Reviewed by: Inkling -- Score: 5

This is a marvelous drabble series. In developing her theme Dreamflower has chosen key moments in LOTR in which she interprets the role of light in dramatic, moving and often unexpected ways, as in Legolas' lack of joy in his escape from Moria. Just as interesting as the use of light is the flip side of the theme as suggested in the title, for in these drabbles darkness gives the light its significance--whether it is physical in nature, as in Frodo's drabble; psychological, as in Gimli's state of mind before Galadriel speaks; or metaphysical, as in Pippin's terrifying encounter. Beautifully done!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 4

I like this very much. The simple theme of light and darkness is conjugated through the fellowship in a skillful manner. The scenes are very well chosen for each person, they fit the character and present a logical progression through the plot. The last scene is clverly wrought, not canonical, but so convincing that it might well be. The prose is polished and pleasing, but then, your prose always is.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 4

Dreamflower's writing is lovely, and fits well with the tone of Tolkien's stories. These are nicely placed drabbles - they fit right into the overall story of LOTR, and using light as a thematic thread works very well. I think I liked Gandalf's best, just for the swell of joy, followed by the stark contrast of his awakening. But all of these work well and give a quick glimpse into our favorite characters.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 4

This drabbles series skilfully and movingly explores the theme set out in the summary. Light, in all its facets, in its lack or full brightness, in its literary meaning or symbolical connotation, from the highest form, Eru Ilúvatar Himself, to the lowest, the gloom of Merry's despair as he wanders in the Shadow. My favourite drabbles are those about Legolas and Pippin.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 1

Each of these drabbles finds an unexpected moment from which to explore the theme.