Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Alas, Poor Ufthak!

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: sulriel
2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Villains: Drabble - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: G -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: "'D'you remember old Ufthak? We lost him for days. Then we found him in a corner; hanging up he was, but he was wide awake and glaring. How we laughed! She'd forgotten him, maybe, but we didn't touch him -- no good interfering with [Shelob]' ..." (The Two Towers, "The Choices of Master Samwise")

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 10

Oh, dear, when I read the title and the (necessarily cribbed ;-P) first few words, I thought "By the Valar, Elena has gone and put Shakespeare into an Orc's head". You're just spunky enough to pull that off. But then I read on: "we suspected he'd deserted like a stinkin' Morgul-rat." And I laughed. Hard. So much that I almost slid out of my chair. The discongruity was just so great -- it seems you're spunky enough to not only put Shakespeare into an orc's head, but then to turn around and cut even those expectations. And then you made me stop laughing, and sit up and take notice. Your description in the second paragraph was as well-done as I have come to expect from you, but it's really the beginning of the third that caught my attention: "Take heart! Her Ladyship doesn't eat dead meat, or suck cold blood. She'll keep you alive, here in Her larder, maybe for weeks!" That this should be an encouraging thought to an Orc, even in jest... wow. Very orcish, very chilling, but very true to Tolkien. Of course the first half is straight out of the books, but it didn't seem unnatural at all to have it here. And now you've given me the mental image of salted elf-flesh hanging in the supply shack, perhaps being smoked with dried warg-dung, somewhere in the farms of southern Mordor. *shivers* Elena, I told you once hat you were probably one of the top three drabblists I know. (Incidentally, Annmarwalk is my second favourite, and Meril is my third.) But it's drabbles like this that make you earn that position in my ranking. You accomplished so much here! And it's all the more valuable of a gem because it's so hard to write orcs well, and that's done so rarely. See what you did? This review is three times as long as your drabble, you have me thinking that hard.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 4

Although Im not sure shed thank me for saying so, Elena Tiriel has a distinct talent for channelling the dark side of Tolkien, which is well displayed in this drabble. The behaviour and taunting of the orcs is extremely convincing. Part of the humour of this drabble also arises from the juxtaposition of the Shakespearean misquote with a very good ear for Orcish dialogue. A neat little snapshot of Orc-minded talk and behaviour.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 3

Alas indeed! Funny thing, though; the orcs don't seem too upset about losing one of their number. Perhaps "alas" isn't quite the right word to use. But in all seriousness, I liked how callous the orcs were toward Ufthak. It became a big joke to them, and that feels very in character with orcs. Nicely done.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 3

Now this drabble is just a confession of how sick and twisted your sense of humour is. I love it! You do a great job with the voice of the Orcs and their description of their fellow guard. And their actions are disgustingly and perfectly in character for who they are. Funny and sick and another depiction of characters not many authors tackle. Great job!

Reviewed by: sulriel -- Score: 2

Oh! This is so wonderfully, delightfully nasty and Orchish. Isn't it frightening to think that they were once Elves, that there may be something of an Orchish nature lurking in the best of us?

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen -- Score: 2

A very amusing dabble, although dark at the same time. Your use of language is very clever. Itreally set sup the mood and setting of the piece very well.

Reviewed by: picara -- Score: 2

This was very twisted! I can certainly see orcs doing this but it was disgusting just the same! Unfortunately :-) this was very well written!

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

This is a very clever piece, mostly because it's based on such a small nugget of text. I love that even small details can inspire fic, and that that small detail has been fleshed out so well here.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 2

Poor old Ufthak! The implications are ghastly. A deft and skilful snapshot of what passes for humor and friendship among the Orcs.

Reviewed by: Werecat -- Score: 1

Deliciously morbid. Loved it.

Reviewed by: Ainaechoiriel -- Score: 1

No loyalty among orcs, huh? Good use of a drabble here.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 1

Friendship is most definitely fleeting among Orcs, particularly in misfortune, it seems.

Reviewed by: Rabidsamfan -- Score: 1

*snort* There's something strange about giving an Orc such a Shakespearian demise... :)

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 1

With friends like Orcs, who needs enemies? A good use of a throwaway character, and very telling.