Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Unrequited

Author: elfscribe
Nominator: Lady Roisin
2010 Award Category: Genres: Fixed-Length Ficlet - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Triple drabble, 300 words A lovesick Daeron crafts a new song to try to gain Lúthien's attention.


Reviewed by: KyMahalei -- Score: 10

The lyrical tone of this piece is beautiful and mesmerizing. It reads like a bit of poetry or music in its own right. The supporting cast, the children of Ilúvatar dance onstage like ballerinas moving gracefully to herald the pagentry of the entrance of the king and queen. The royal couple does not disappoint. They, in turn give center stage to the prima ballerina who does not flaunt her beauty but by her very presence enriches the occasion by the purity of her nature. This layered introduction is exquisite and well executed, elfscribe. Well done! Daeron, who should be the star of the dance is relegated to the footlights, the orchestra pit as it were. And yet he adds his own thread of perfection to the tapestry of the story. We are lifted by the sound of his music and the story he portrays. His performance is flawless and brings the story to a breathless climax that should resolve with songs of joy and yet, in a moment, all is undone and we find the mirage of loveliness lying shattered at our feet. The evening is lost with a glance. The tragety is complete. This story is brief but well written and well balanced. It reveals facets of the characters that Tolkien never took the time to unpack. Elfscribe you've done an amazing job of bringing this small moment of canon to life. Thank you for an excellent read. I've enjoyed this immensely.

Reviewed by: Russandol -- Score: 9

The Silmarillion only said "But Daeron the minstrel also loved Lúthien,..." before telling us of how he betrayed her and Beren to the king. Whenever I read that in the past, I confess I had spared very little thought for Daeron's feelings, he was just a small cog to help move the plot along and transform their tale into an epic quest. This ficlet brings him fully to the foreground at the turning point. From those seven little words, elfscribe has conjured a magic scene in the realm of Doriath, where the minstrel's love is translated into music, touches his audience's hearts and yet fails to reach the one it was meant to win. We see his hope built and crushed. The words of this short piece draw the characters and their background as in a picture, and I read them once and again, to capture all the details, past, present and future: the shiny love of Thingol and Melian, the master harper plucking song from the wind, the stars shining over the awakening elves, the hint of the rival that will claim Daeron's love. Both poignancy and haunting imagery are skilfully wrapped together in very few words, almost like a poem.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 8

So much yearning is packed into so few words! I absolutely love the imagery and emotion in this ficlet. You can see the assemblage around Daeron and easily picture the flowing robes and feel the hope and dreams of elves from younger days. And Daeron's song, though described only in mere words, manages to hit different notes as it soars and fades. But of course the real star of the story (insofar as Daeron is concerned) is Luthien. Seen through Daeron's eyes, Luthien is absolutely captivating. I love the picture of her hair falling wild and [untamed] around her shoulders, and the word [untamed] really sums it all up. Her affection, or even her attention, isn't something Daeron can command or control or influence. It truly is untamed, and while everyone else is captivated (almost literally) by the power of Daeron's music, Luthien stands apart and seeks for something beyond that which Daeron provides. Poor minstrel! One wonders how much the other elves know or guess of his songs, and one wonders if Luthien even heard the music or if she was too distracted by her own distant melody.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 6

Elfscribe's trademark is clear and clean writing with beautifully strong and sensual imagery. It is a pleasure to see you apply her well-developed craft to the earliest periods of Middle-earth. Daeron is an interesting character. Once I get past my own prejudice that I would so have chosen the most fantastic musician of his people and a minstrel and historian as well and the inventor of a system of writing over a unwashed human, however hunky. I like to think about how he felt about Lúthien and what it meant to him that his love was unrequited. The awakening of the elves is fascinating as well and the fact that he chose to sing of that enthralls me. Love the lines: ["The gladsome tune changed to a minor key and Daeron sang of a fair maid dwelling by the waters, who had captured a youth’s heart, and because she knew it not, paid him no heed. Overhead wheeled the canopy of stars as he sang of longing and love unrequited until his listeners’ hearts were wounded and their cheeks wet."] It’s not a complaint, but I still don't know how Lúthien could have looked away.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 6

This beautiful little vignette carries a lot of emotion and is so movingly written I found myself with a tear in my eye at the story’s end. The scene of the Elves arriving to listen to Daeron’s performance is very visual and one can picture the look in Daeron’s eyes as he watches them arrive, Thingol and Melian with their love shining for all to see, and the object of Daeron’s desire, the incomparable Luthien. His longing for Luthien is palpable, and the heart and soul he pours into his performance in the hope she will give him a look, a sign, something for him to pin his hopes on, is quite touching. The final line is especially affecting, and nicely foreshadows events to come. I enjoyed this story and it gave me a new appreciation for Daeron.

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 5

Poor Daeron. This poem-drabble made me sympathize with him in a way that, frankly, reading the original story matter did not. We see his envy for the wedded happiness of Thingol and Melian (although that, too, will have an unhappy end in later times) and the lovely description of Daeron's subject matter conjures up some shadow of the effect it has on its listeners. A rueful conclusion when Daeron, finishing his song of unrequited love, looks to Luthien for approval to find that she is the only one not paying attention. Favorite line: ["There, in the hidden dells the awakening Firstborn touched their own faces and knew they were alive"]: it just feels very true.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

How very difficult for Daeron, to have his own love unrequited. Perhaps that is why he crafted the song he sang that night, and why he reacted so badly in the end when Luthien did find her heart stirred, and by such a one as she finally favored! This sounds as if it came right out of the Silmarillion. The use of language is exquisite, and the story beautifully wrought. A story that shines like Varda's stars!

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

As artists, fanfic writers will perhaps sympathize with the Daeron in this tragically beautiful vignette, and get a lot out of his expression of his truest self through his art; it felt very genuine to my experience, at least. The imagery was beautiful too. Fans of the Lúthien story won't want to miss this gapfiller, as it really caught my heart.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 3

Beautiful language, and a lovely idea that I could easily see happen in Doriath. Glorious altogether, but I especially liked Luthien's acknowledgement of the future song only she can hear.

Reviewed by: Jael -- Score: 3

This lovely tale has the masterful, evocative prose I have come to expect from this author. The forests of old Doriath come alive with familiar faces, as do the starlit waters of Cuiviénen. Then, in a poignant ending, we have a hint of a story yet to come, one we all know well. The title says it all. Thank you, Elfscribe!

Reviewed by: Elfique -- Score: 3

Poor Daeron! This is a very succinct but lovely look at Daeron as a character as well as his attraction to Luthien. The last line was my favourite part, its very powerful and you just can't help but feel so sorry for Daeron after his efforts!

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 2

Gentle and sad description of unrequited love. I especially like the end of the story, the last sentence is heart-breaking.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 2

This is a beautiful and very atmospheric piece, reminiscent of an impressionist painting.