Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Dance

Author: Dawn Felagund
Nominator: Rhapsody
2008 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Elven Lands - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: n/a Nerdanel and FŽanor attend their first dance and discover their love for each other.


Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 10

[The Dance] is such a delightful romantic tale, and yet written in such a realistic way. Dawn spins a fabulous tale full with court politics and expectations for the high placed, having the daughter of a common smith to be chosen by the high prince of the Noldor. It just feels right that FŽanor simply ignores what is expected from him and chooses for that what is or feels right for him. Nerdanelís surprise, mingled with her family background: it just makes you go and cheer her on! This story just feels like a story written by Andersen or the brother's Grimm. However, it is Tolkien who came up with this and it with the touches Dawn presents this story, you just feel like a fly on the wall and this story just begs to be brought to the screen. I love the touches upon court politics, the tangible emotions and the incredibly rich scenery she provides, but it also has those gorgeous down to earth moments like their first dance and how helpless the big hero feels. The story is a beautiful mix with suspense and romance, and even though you do know that these two will get married eventually, it is still presented in a manner that makes you doubt for a moment if it will ever be. This is a genuine feel good story, one where you just for one moment can avoid thinking about how this ends, but just revel in the moment Dawn brings. This is a must read for those loving to read romance stories!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 9

Nerdanel is probably the character that keeps drawing me back to the Quenta Silmarillion more than any other (what must it have been like to be marred to an elf like Feanor!), and so it's perhaps not surprising that I've read a lot of F/N romances. I think this is the first one that I've come across, however, that had a true sense of realism about it. There isn't the slightest bit of mushiness to be found here, in fact, it reminded me of nothing so much as my first middle-school dance. Geek that I am, I could completely identify with Nerdanel but also with Anganer and Mahtan and a host of others. It was a very fun read for anyone who has ever felt socially awkward. (Which is, you know, pretty much everyone, especially in fandom.) Beyond that, though, there is a kernel of truth not to be missed. It seems that Nerdanel and Feanor are a much better match for each other than anyone else could have been, and one wonders how much more later events would have corrupted his character if he had not learned to connect with another woman and his family - if he had taken a trophy life? So buried underneath the fun, Dawn gives us a gleaming insight into Feanor's character - for which I applaud her.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 6

A lovely and convincing start to the epic romance of Nerdanel and Feanor. Dawn Felagund presents the fabled pair as two social misfits, respecting and liking each other, and that fondness deepening during a ball to which Feanor has asked young Nerdanel. Feanor's impulsive and self-willed nature is obvious here; he wants Nerdanel as his partner rather than the young and socially suitable lord's daughter chosen for him, despite Nerdanel's nervousness at the flouting of social convention. A wonderful ending, as Nerdanel teaches the King's heir how to dance, and Feanor reveals that he is smitten with Nerdanel. It's almost painful to see how cute and natural they are with each other, and how their love is growing...

Reviewed by: whitewave -- Score: 5

I liked the lightness and sweetness of this story almost as much as the details: How Feanaro invited her (for once he is not so confident), Nerdanel's discomfort in her dress (what a "Cinderella" moment!), Feanaro's behavior during the dance and how he approached her (who ever thought he could actually feel nervous! I re-read their awkward first steps in the dance and enjoyed its sweetness immensely, made me feel like it was a scene from a romantic comedy. The cherry on the decadent chocolate cake is Feanaro's "realization" and confession of his love for her was such a "squee" moment for a hopeless Feanorian fan girl like me. It made very nice, pleasant reading. My favorite quotes were: [He thinks he beautiful...no wonder that he is so long in coming to success for his work. Clearly, his concept of beauty is lacking."] ["I know that."... then why does it hurt so much?] [...his name upon one card...and at his side, a card naming a lady unfamiliar to Nerdanel....disappointment plunked hard in her stomach...] [...a sonorous, overlong name clearly belonging to someone better than the daughter of artisans...] [I am ugly and--No. Worse than ugly. Invisible.] [But Feanaro stood so quickly that his chair nearly fell--indeed, had to be caught by the King...]

Reviewed by: elea24 -- Score: 5

I thought this was a really beautiful story, and was only sorry that it ended so soon. I loved Nerdanel's characterisation. The awkwardness in her own appearance and feelings of inadequacy were very realistic and charmingly written. I particuarly like the contrast between Nerdanel and the other ladies mentioned. Nerdanel's inner beauty shines through and it is a lovely interpretation of the qualities that Feanor was attracted to in her. I also liked the obvious youth of the couple. Feanor still has remnants of teenagehood in his reluctance and and his slightly timid behaviour with Nerdanel was very touching.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

The premise of the story reminded me of Cinderella, and I liked the perspective of Nerdanel as an outsider looking into this highly stylised, rigid and hierarchic court ceremonial. No wonder FŽanor and she wanted to distance themselves from this, per Dawn Felagund's universe! Wonderfully plotted, with great descriptive detail. Although I like my Elves ususally a little more "ethereal", I love how Dawn Felagund can "humanise" them, with foibles and passions great and small that anyone can sympathise with, and then really explore with great psychological insight the consequences of this on the individuals and those they interact with.

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 4

This elegant tale imagines a first dance between Feanor and Nerdanel; as a whole it hovers between Tolkien fanfiction and Regency comedy of manners. I like the melange, although, I think, Tolkien would not have. (He seems to have thought that the cruder the culture, the more "noble" it would be, and thus disavowed any concept of courtly love.) Being very clumsy and socially inept, I was able to fully identify with Nerdanel's agonies at the ball. The story ends with a sweet, romantic twist.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 4

I don't usually read stoies about "The Simarillion", only having read the book once, yet I found myself enjoying this story. It seemed both touching and amusing that an Elf should go to a ball in an ill fitting dress.It makes Nerdanel seem very human,somehow. I've never warmed to Feanor, but I feel greatly for his wife, a talented mistress of crafts in her own right. This delightful story shows Feanor and Nerdanel as coming from very different backgrounds yet being drawn to one another.

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 3

This is very sweet, and a little sad, both because of Nerdanel's family's obvious feelings about the situation and because we know, ultimately, what will happen to them both. I like the idea of her as an "ugly duckling" in a way, which is counter to much of what I've read about her within the fandom. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Ah--if only their love could have continued as it did that night. Alas he must in time find a love of crafted things overwhelm the love he had for the woman he took as his wife--truly the wise one she was called.