Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

The Cloak

Author: Elen Kortirion
Nominator: Gandalfs apprentice
2006 Award Category: Races: Men: Gondor

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: PG -- Reason for Rating: Language, reported violence and sex, not graphic.
Summary: Lord Boromir's old amah, Melleth of Arthedain, tells of her last gift to him - and the circumstances of how she came to make the garment. An extract from her private journals, annotated by the late King Elessar and his Steward, Lord Faramir - transcribed by Ohtar, King's Scholar, by order of King Aldarion - for his private library that the doings of his father should not be lost.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 6

There’s a fabulous depth, a richness of color and detail to Kortirion’s tales that few can match. This tale winds its way through the leisured paths of the storyteller’s memory, encompassing Corsair raids, a Rohirric boy-whore, and the intricacies of northern trade routes before reaching its heart: a retired amah stitching her love and care into a valued gift for her charge, now grown. But she is far more than just a pensioner: this amah is a trader, spy, beloved mentor and advisor, and the relationship between Boromir and his amah is portrayed with realism, affection, humor, and trust. The imagery is marvelous in its detail – all about that cloak, that fabulous cloak. [He turned and I stretched up to drape it over his shoulders. When he turned back it made my heart catch to see him – as fine as any lord ever was. He twisted his shoulders, taking pleasure in the swirl of the fabric.] Rich velvet, acquired through the Amah’s craftiness and trickery; exquisite sable, the season’s finest, the results of her skill and business savvy. An unforgettable character, and a vivid history to a memorable artifact.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

A quite fascinating story--this old nurse is most emphatically *not* the sort of woman to sit at home by the fireside, even if she does end up making Boromir a nice warm cloak. A spy on the front lines who bargains trades for slaves taken by Corsairs and their knowledge as often as she does aught else, and who seems to be beholden to a lord more northerly than Denethor, she's a tough old bird who pretty clearly knows Boromir inside and out. Her efforts to tell him what he needs to know about the journey north and the Elves he seeks fall on ears that are perhaps somewhat deaf, though not for lack of love. A pity indeed for her that Boromir did not return, but she's not one to drown in grief, either. She'll do her mourning and continue on in service to the kingdom.

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 4

Elen Kortirion's amah character is one of the best original characters I've ever read. She places her seamlessly in Middle-earth, and it's a Middle-earth of bustle and noise and action. The amah's voice is unique and full of personality, her love comes through! This story is just one of many Elen has written in the saga. I couldn't begin to guess my favorite, they are all not to be missed. In "The Cloak," it's Boromir who stands out vividly and large as life. The writing is muscular and rich, very individual.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

What an engaging original characcter you have given us here! She is one of the few "professional women" who I have read in Tolkien fanfic who seems to naturally fit within Middle-earth. It's hard to write without imposing too much of our modern sensibilities. But something about your style and the amah's crusty demeanor seem to justify what she does. I think this is exactly the kind of woman who Boromir would feel most comfortable around, and I'm glad to think of him having this kind of support.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

A fascinating exchange: it seems that Boromir's old nurse is far more than she seems. I could have wished to know a bit more of this universe and this backstory--for it seems very interesting. And Boromir seems very much in character here, proud and affectionate and practical.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 2

A most enjoyable story. I do like hearing about Melleth and her effect on Boromir's life - she is a most remarkable character. I look forward to finding out more about her!