Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Through the Rain Curtain

Author: Eledhwen
Nominator: Dreamflower
2009 Award Category: Genres: Crossover - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Description of war and the resulting effects of war in reasonable detail.
Summary: A soldier at the Somme finds himself whisked away by a stranger to a new world, where a fragile peace is beginning after another terrible war. (Crossover with "Doctor Who").

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 10

A young British officer, traumatized by his time in the trenches of World War I and the horrendous Battle of the Somme, has an unusual encounter, and makes a life-changing journey. I cannot get over the brilliance of this idea, nor say enough about the wonderful handling of it. It could have been way OTT, but it was not--it was poignant and melancholy and delightful in the end. Crossovers between Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who have been done before, but I believe this is the first time I have seen in which J.R.R. Tolkien also plays a character in the story. The author has obviously familiarized herself with Tolkien's traumatic time in the trenches of France, and draws upon that as he follows the ninth Doctor into an amazing adventure. The story is solidly book-verse, as far as LotR goes, as the visitors arrive in Arda in the aftermath of the Ring War, and we see our young philologist's fascination with this amazing culture and its people. This story is not about plot, it is character driven, and we feel for both "Ronald", who must soon return to the War he has briefly escaped and for the Doctor, who must continue his own lonely journey, at this point in time bereft of any companion and the lonely sole survivor of his race. And the epilogue is quite brilliant.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

This was an absolutely fantastic story. Legends of all sorts come to life, and I love the statement made by the Doctor that a legend is simply ["a word for something you can’t prove happened"]. And by the end, that's just what it felt like. Our young Lieutenant and his arrival in Middle-earth was breathtaking. I love the fact that the first person who spoke to him was Faramir, and he was in fine form. That ["glint"] in his eyes spoke so much about his character, particularly when it appeared every time someone referenced Aragorn. You can see the suspicious Ranger still at work in him, but throughout the story, Faramir shows his other colors. And the shared dream of Numenor had a mythical quality to it by the time they finished talking about it. Aragorn also got to shine, and I enjoyed that Gandalf confided in him and explained more or less what was going on. Gandalf's familiarity with the Doctor was something of a surprise, but as it unfolded, it felt completely natural. And far and away, the crowning moment (for me at least) was Frodo introducing himself and the other hobbits to Tolkien. For as much as I loved the Doctor's interjections and the blending of Middle-earth into the greater universe, that quick section was probably my favorite. Fantastic storytelling!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 8

What a lovely crossover! I haven't watched Dr. Who since the days of the Fifth Doctor; and I liked the Fourth Doctor best of all, but I am delighted to know that the series goes on. Here, young Lt. Tolkien meets a later incarnation, who takes him out of the trenches of World War I for some much needed rest and recreation in Post-War Gondor. And one of the first of the locals that Tolkien meets is Prince Faramir - may I say, as a dedicated Faramirist, how much I loved that bit? The visit to a land a city that is being rebuilt from a terrible war is just what the Doctor orders for Tolkien; meeting Faramir and the hobbits and Aragorn gives Tolkien inspiration for future tales as well as some badly needed hope. I loved it that Mithrandir knew who and what the Doctor is; wouldn't you just know that they'd be familiar with each other? Tolkien gets to share his dream of the Wave that drowned Numenor with Faramir - another wonderful connection. And it is somehow very fitting that Eledhwen has Arda be a planet a few galaxies away from our own. Marvelous epilogue, too. This is a great trip in all senses of the word!

Reviewed by: Celeritas -- Score: 6

The subgenre of transmission tales is so small, and yet contains a surprising amount of variety considering it’s only trying to answer one question: where did Tolkien get his ideas from if Middle-earth is real? Eledhwen comes up with a solution that every fan of Doctor Who is sure to love (at the same time that they plant their faces into their keyboards for not writing about it first!). The idea is already a solid one, but small gems, like having Tolkien speak most extensively with Faramir (who seems to be a close philosophical analogue in canon), or asking the Doctor to switch the translator off so he can hear the native language make the whole fic truly worthwhile. The final scene was a nice nod to a tendency in Who episodes to have the Doctor revisit people when they’re older—plus it had my favorite of the New!Who companions.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

The Doctor was very in-character; I could picture both Eccleston and Tennant playing their respective scenes very easily. It was very enjoyable to learn how much he knows about Middle-earth and that Gandalf, too, recognises him. Tolkien's interest in everything, particularly, of course, in the languages, is explored skilfully. I loved the inclusion of Tolkien's wave dream, his incipient trench fever, and the poem about Earendel. Brisk pacing, well-flowing dialogue, which swiftly skims over the history Tolkien is learning to get to the highlights of this speedy visit (and the trench fever was a very credible way for the short sojourn). One question kept nagging me, though: what is Prince/Steward Faramir doing patrolling around Ithilien?

Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 6

Lieutenant Tolkien, just off duty, is hoping a smoke will help his headache when he meets a stranger who calls himself the Doctor. Soon after, Tolkien’s headache is forgotten when he finds himself in the TARDIS and on his way to another world, a world called Arda [“five and a half galaxies away”] as the Doctor tells him. This is an interesting crossover to explain how Tolkien came to write his stories about Middle-earth, perhaps one of the more unique takes on the subject. The only thing that marred my reading pleasure was the fact that the story is written in the present tense rather than in the usual literary past tense. It was a bit annoying but luckily the story is not so long as to make reading it tedious. If you are a fan of the Doctor, you should enjoy this.

Reviewed by: dapperscavenger -- Score: 4

Certainly one of the better crossovers I've come across, this piece has a touch of the inevitable about it. A little melancholy mixed in with all that wonder and excitement of discovery. The concept is simple and I think that's why it works. It's an adventure, a learning experience and a not-quite dream. Wonderfully written. The doctor is absolutely spot-on!

Reviewed by: Dreamdeer -- Score: 4

A pleasant piece for whiling away a Sunday afternoon. The words flow easily, the dialogue sounds believable and true to character, and people react appropriately. At points I found it touching. A stroke of hinted pathos here and there add depth, without weighing the story down. I encountered no point where I felt inclined to stop. I'd call it better than the average run, or I wouldn't be reviewing it at all.

Reviewed by: Garnet Took -- Score: 4

I'll be honest, I am not a Doctor Who fan; I have friends who are, but I never got into the show. This, however, is an excellent story. I like the characterizations and Eledhwen writes as Tolkien was an acquaintance of hers whom she had talked with in reality. This story has some very poignant moments in it. It shows that the horrors of war are often with those who live through them for a lifetime--and maybe beyond. Very well done.

Reviewed by: Antane -- Score: 3

Now we know how the Professor came out with the story - he was told it by those who had lived it! I am quite jealous but how neat for him. I love it! And how nice to see Faramir - I'm rather be reading (or writing) a book than anything too. It was fun to read about all these interactions between Tolkien and everyone and I wish I could do it myself!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

A most fascinating AU, in which a lieutenant serving in the trenches of the Somme finds himself meeting a strange man who takes him into a blue box, and via it to a different world altogether. A good way to do research, after all, to meet some of the participants in the most recent conflict! I think Dr. Who would be pleased, actually.