Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Forlorn Hope

Author: Elen Kortirion
Nominator: annmarwalk
2005 Award Category: Races/Places: Gondor: Poetry - Third Place

Story Type: Poem : Length: N/A
Rating: G -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: Faramir's charge

Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 9

Forlorn hope: An arduous or nearly hopeless undertaking Though a signifcant departure from book canon, Peter Jackson’s invention of a Gondorian suicide mission to retake Osgiliath has inspired many writers. However, few have handled the scence with such painful grace and loveliness as Kortirion, in this poem. The rhythm of the words themselves seem to echo somber drumbeats. The first verse is most evocative of the scene from the film: the silent prayers of the onlookers; the strewing of flowers; the tight-lipped faces of the soldiers. We have all watched this heartbreaking scene many times, but it has been brought to life in all its anguished power here. In the second verse, Kortirion’s exquisite wordsmithy takes flight. The masterful metaphor –We had become steel and iron- is repeated, reinforced, through the use of words and expressions related to armorcraft: blades, tempered steel, scabbards, sheathes.. The juxtaposition of the wreathes of flowers, gifted to them as a farewell, and the wreath and crown of rubies – the martyr’s crown they will each soon wear – is as heartrending, as is their desire for eternal rest in Ithilien, the moon-land. The utter beauty and sorrow of this piece leaves me breathless each time I read it.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 6

I love the way this poem uses contrasts. The most obvious ones are those involving the men themselves as they are turned from creatures of soft feelings into bared steel. But I like the way sound is also used. So much of poetry is based on sight and touch, but this uses hearing as well. I like the idea of silence leaching everything away and how they rode in that silence toward "coming thunder." Nice, ominous overtones and it's a good contrast to the silence that has made them what they are. Maybe the thunder will find a way to unmake them. The imagery of men as blades that will be sheathed in the ground was particularly moving, too, as was the idea of "moon-drenched Ithilien." Powerful stuff.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 3

"We focussed not on moving lips, Lest our own take on a quiver, Unbecoming Gondor’s metal." An excellent play on words, here, mettle/metal, and each appropriate. The transformation of Faramir and his men into the objects of their craft, blades and metal without souls or hopes, was well done.

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 3

Although the language used is elegant there is still a cold and eerie edge to the emotion that is conveyed in this piece. The first stanza recalls the solemn faces as the soldiers ride out and in the second stanza one can sense the change from sadness to determination to do or die. Poingnant and filled with angst.