Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Anadûnai

Author: Darth Fingon
Nominator: Russandol
2010 Award Category: Times: Second and Early Third Age - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Teen rating applied for mature themes and some coarse language.
Summary: 163 years after their parting in Middle-earth, Elrond travels to Númenor to see his brother again.


Reviewed by: Russandol -- Score: 10

From the opening sentence [I cannot explain the presence of bears in the dream], I was captivated. I saw the opening flashback dream as the way to point out one of the key differences between the two brothers: rash boldness versus caution, something that probably was a major factor in making different choices. Then, in the story's present, I visited a Numenor that felt real, seen through Elrond's eyes. The experience of reading this tale is similar to that of walking along the stalls of a street market in a foreign country, where one is wrapped in the exotic atmosphere and a multitude of little details stick to one's mind. But that's not all. As well as the "adventure" of visiting a different country the tale explores the cultural differences, in which the Numenoreans replicated the architecture of the Noldor but their customs, a blend from all sources, seemed bizarre to one who lives amongst the Noldor. The sand spa treatment and, best of all, the different choices of depilation, werre just pure hilarity (for the reader, not for the "victim"). The fashion of some Numenoreans of pretending to be Elves hinted at Numenor's darker future when men would wish for the immortality they couldn't have. But it was also a good prompt for Elront to question his own identity and the reasons for his choice. And of course, his flashes of foresight were suitably frightening. His highly anticipated reunion with Elros and later with his family highlighted to perfection the differences and similitudes between the brothers, never too far away from the poignant [magnet topic] of their separate fates, but cheerful at times, too, not forced or over-dramatic. Inevitably, both had regrets and shared a sense of not belonging, in the case of Elrond, he felt like a stranger in both worlds. I love this summary: [I am not Elros' brother who happens to be an Elf. I am an Elf who happens to be Elros' brother. The small differences separate us the most. I love him, and yet somehow inside I know it is impossible for us to be true family.] The ending almost brought me to tears. This is an amazingly well written story.

Reviewed by: Olorime -- Score: 10

Akallabêth is my least favorite part of the Silmarillion, yet I was really glad I read this particular story. Elrond is usually portrayed as this wise, mythic elf and when an author braves to touch the untouchables of the Tolkien Universe -- like Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel -- bringing them down from their mighty pedestal in such a skilled way it is always a guarantee of a rewarding and entertaining read. The author's takes on Elven and Númenórean culture and their differences were very interesting, but what I enjoyed most of all was the exploration of the relationship between twin brothers that chose such different fates. The family dynamics, the emotions, the settings and the point of views were, as it is always the case with this particular author, well handled and the slightly irreverent humor sprinkled throughout the story relieve a bit of the tense, melancholy tone of the story as a whole. I recommend this story to anyone who is interested in delving into the Tolkien universe in a more scholarly manner. Darth Fingon's knowledge of Quenya, Sindarin and Adûnaic is daunting. I always check his fictions or his essays when I am in doubt as how something is spelled or how something works with those difficult lenition rules abundant in Tolkien's languages. All in all, a thoroughly engrossing, compelling fiction.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

Fabulous, fabulous story. I've always loved Darth's Elrond anywhere I have gotten a peak at him. Yeah, you bet I am jealous of him as a writer and of his fertile imagination. But it is the small details in his stories that always kill me--the often called unnecessary parts, the parts that aren't moving the story forward in any obvious way. This flies in the face of the recommendations of many online writing groups. The old saying that the devil is in the details is proved in his work. Lots of us can have grand plans for works of fiction, but without the skillful execution and the attention to the small things—whether it is finer points of characterization or the layering of unique elements into the setting and environment--they come to nothing in the end. One of the wonderful things about Darth's writing for me is the counter-position of the comedic and the serious, the cynical and the emotional, that characterizes all of his work. I think is what makes me love his body of work so much. This story is no exception. Elrond is flawed, funny, self-deprecating and Elros is charmingly odd and endearing. One is so aware of the brothers' differences which have led to their choices. But we learn also of their enduring affection and importance to one another despite their separation, which is final in the most dramatic way. The invented and/or embellished world of Númenor is terrific. But, after making me laugh and snort at certain elements of the story, in the end he moves me without making me feel manipulated or that my trust was won cheaply.

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 10

Darth's stories always have a way of catching me by surprise, I'm not exactly certain why. I think it's because they are never trite or predictable, leading the reader by the hand to some foregone conclusion. Instead, they take off in unexpected directions that are as audacious as they are entertaining. I really enjoyed Anadunai for these reasons and also for the portrayal of Elrond. Darth writes as affecting a take on him as I've ever seen: somewhat self-conscious about his half-elven status, watching his brother's family with admiration and wistfulness, even advising his lovelorn nephew in the wooing of his sweetheart. Here are glimpses of the Elrond we all think we know, interspersed with an Elrond we all wish we did. His journey to visit his brother Elros in Numenor turns into a little bit more of an adventure than he bargained for and I laughed at his Vanyarian bathhouse acquaintance, schooling Elrond on the advantages of hair removal, and an encounter with a spider (I'm with Elrond on that one). Finally, the emotional impact of the ending is really a standout piece of wordsmithing here, and is one that moved me deeply. This story was recommended to me and I can see why, it's terrific. I'll be recommending it myself in the future.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

A few years ago, not long after I became ensorcelled by Tolkienian fan fiction, I met Oshun and Gandalf's Apprentice at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC and careened through exhibits enthusiastically chatting about things in fandom. We continued our fannish clucking at a nearby restaurant. Given that I was a neophyte regarding fan fiction, Oshun and GA made a number of recommendations. Among those they thought whose work they thought I (especially) would appreciate was a writer who went by the unlikely moniker of [Darth Fingon]. While extolling Mr. Fingon's work, they cracked up at something called a [Fëanorian turnip.] I didn't get it at the time, but later I did and thus was introduced to Darth's unique, intelligent and wonderfully creative take on Tolkien's legendarium. [Anadúnai] is among my favorites of Mr. Fingon's fan fiction. He has written many outstanding stories, but this tale of Elrond visiting his brother in Númenor is one that has engraved itself as an exemplification of what makes Darth's writing and vision so appealing: splendid characterization, wildly imaginative attention to detail and a subversive view of Middle-earth that still is fully recognizable as, well, Middle-earth. After I made Mr. Fingon's acquaintance, he confessed he had long held some reluctance to use first person PoV. Fortunately, he overcame that silly bias. Elrond's voice is so rich with intellect and emotion: a mixture of the bemused, the perplexed, the annoyed and the grieved. Elros likewise is an engaging character, clearly Elrond's brother with their shared memories and experiences and yet...different. Darth makes good use of the two brothers and Elrond's perspective to highlight the distinctions between and similarities of Elves and Men -- the "same race" biologically speaking (as Tolkien explicitly stated). Darth's supporting cast in his stories are always well drawn, and so they are in [Anadúnai]: Elros' wife, his children, and the son's blind girlfriend are all memorable. Darth's examination of Númenórean culture and Elrond's experience thereof make for good comedy as does the dragon spider incident which has now joined the Fëanorian turnip in my Official Darth Fingon Treasure Chest™. The comic relief is welcome because overall this is truly a bittersweet, heartrending story of what will be the last time the brothers see one another. And the ending? Well, that brought tears to my cynical old eyes.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 8

A moving, detailed story of Elrond's one visit to his brother's land of Numenor, filled with poignancy, humor, and the grief of the Eldar as they watch what they love changed and lost to time. I've read one other tale of Elrond seeing Elros's home, so open to the distance and sky, so different from the architecture familiar to Elves, of towers of guard and small rooms with smaller windows, a home that in time led Elrond to build his own home of Imladris similarly, in harmony with its surroundings rather than always on guard for expected enemies. There is camaraderie between the brothers once they finally come into one another's presence at last, but there is always the fact of their differing fates between them--Elros will always be mortal, no matter how long he might live; Elrond will always be one who will live on unless he is killed. And in the end, when invited to return, Elrond accepts that.... Well, one must read it for oneself. Most thought provoking and filled with Elven grief and joy. And one is left to wonder anew which was the harder choice in the end?

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 8

Darth Fingon hits Elrond from a multitude of angles in this story. Before meeting Elros, a few vitally important things are established: First, he's self-conscious with his elven half. At least, he is around other elves. It creates a peculiar awkwardness that is both endearing and uncomfortable, and it sets up a nice parallel for Elros. The fascinating point is raised that their choice was to be one or the other but never both, something I don't think I'd ever considered in this depth. Another thing that's established is the way Elrond perceives things. I was particularly intrigued with his view on the architecture as being ["copied"], and one can see the seeds that led him to choose an elven life. Elros and his family provide another fascinating counterpoint to Elrond's lack of family and lack of aging. All of a sudden, the story takes on a much more somber tone. The phrase ["before I die"], which mortals take for granted, is something harsh and unfamiliar to Elrond. It's a level of detail that really drives home the difference between immortal and mortal. A thorough and heart-wrenching examination of Elrond in Numenor.

Reviewed by: Jael -- Score: 7

I first became aware of Darth Fingon's deft touch with delineating character in a story called 'The Old Ways'. A very young Elrond sat primly in a rowboat off the Isle of Balar while Elros ran enthusiastically up and down the beach -- the epitomal boisterous human child. One could see their differences and their eventual choice of fates. In this story, the brothers are reunited when Elrond makes a journey to Numenor. Like all of Darth Fingon's work, it is well written, and it has its moments of off the wall humor -- a visit to the dentist, a venomous spider bite, Elros's obvious passion for his wife. My favorite was the part about Elrond getting a wax job and the reason given by the bath house attendant for getting the procedure. But again we see the differences between the two bothers, between Man and Elf, as they reconnect as family. And then, the final paragraph will hit you like a shot in the gut. Wel done, Darth Fingon, and thank you!

Reviewed by: SurgicalSteel -- Score: 5

I just tore through this while haing my coffee this morning. It felt for me like I was suddenly immersed in a world that was both oddly familiar and completely alien at the same time. Little details - Elrond coming to hate the lembas, the Vanyarin dentist (with the wife who might be pregnant or might be fat), hair removal - all of those things just added to that feeling. I like that Elrond's recognition that he doesn't belong in Numenor comes slowly. The differences between the men who ape elvish culture and those who don't - that gives a sense of the groups who'll eventually be the 'king's men' and the 'elf-friends.' And the ending made me reach for kleenex. A thoroughly enjoyable read.