Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Blood Brothers

Author: Elana
Nominator: Elana
2006 Award Category: Races: Villains: Fixed-Length Ficlet - Third Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: True Drabble
Rating: PG -- Reason for Rating: Violence
Summary: A mumak rider and his beast are bound by ties of blood and fate.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 4

This is fantastic. I have to say, one of the best drabbles I've ever read. I say that because of the amount of nuance and subtle backstory that is so clear through the text. With a few simple words, you show us not just an entire culture, but the stark emotion of two entwined lives from birth to death. The visual of them bleeding out, together, I can see them reaching for each other and taking comfort, even in the midst of the horror, that they are going together.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 4

A wonderful drabble exploring the relationship between one of the Haradrim and his mumak. Elana cleverly shows us the honour, value and nobility in the culture of Harad; I'm strongly reminded of Sam's thoughts about whether the Swerting who died in the Rangers' ambush in Ithilien was truly evil. The use of language and sentence structure is poetic and rich. Excellent writing!

Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 3

I was drawn to this ficlet by the summary and wow, what an unusual insight in a 'villians' mind. Elena portrays the final moments of a Haradrim soldier who thinks he fights for what is right, together with his mumak who has been with him all his life. This drabble simply shows that in a war there are no winners, only victims. Very strongly drabbled!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 3

This is a really interesting perspective - I doubt the Rohirrim are even so intimately attached to their beloved horses. I love these tales that plausibly elaborate on Tolkien's world. This is a fine example of that, and a drabble that tells a complete, full story.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 3

An extraordinarily original story. You’ve packed so much of the art, folklore, military tradition, and cultural history of Harad into just one hundred vivid, powerful words – the imagery of the Mumak and his rider growing up together, sharing blood and tattoos and mother’s milk, is fabulous. Have you expanded this further? I’d love to read more.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

A very touching drabble; it's a shame that it has to be categorized as "villains", as it is hard to imagine this mumak-rider as actually being a "bad guy", even though he fights on the enemy's side. It really depicts the cost of war, and the deep bond between human and animal.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 3

An intriguing glimpse into the life and formation of a mumak and his rider. Rider and beast share in everything together--birth, blooding, ornamentation, and finally, death. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Wonderful ficlet focussing on the bond between a mumak and its handler, they are not just agents of Sauron here, but a man and a great beast, bound by culture, ritual and understanding.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 3

It cannot have been easy for his mother to suckle a baby mumak - but this kind of life bond between them seems very likely. The mumak might have been difficult to kill, but his rider must have made a battle target - get rid of him and the mumak would be directionless.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

The author manages to paint a very clear picture of an entire culture, as well as the more intimate memories of an entire lifetime of one of its people and his mumak - all in 100 words. Splendid!

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 3

I loved the way that a whole niche of a society is so thoroughly and perfectly described in this. We get a picture of this warrior and his mumak across their whole lives, and understand that it is a relationship that has been duplicated many times over and across many years.

Reviewed by: Jenn_Calaelen -- Score: 2

A sad drabble, but it gives an interesting insight into the customs of the murak riders. The piece is very moving and really makes the reader feel sympathy for the character.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 2

This is most certainly a unique relationship! And it works here. Nice job of humanizing the Haradrim.