Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Walls of White

Author: Elleth
Nominator: Dwimordene
2010 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: Angst - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Reason for rating involves non-graphic mentions of (canonical) violence and death (Aredhel's and Eöl's fates, respectively).
Summary: Around 700 words in length, completed, originally part of the Silmarillion Writers' Guild B2MeM ', 2010 project, challenge was to write about a specific colour dominating the story. Maeglin attempts to come to terms with his arrival in Gondolin, the events surrounding his father and mother, and an ominous prophecy.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

This short story was written to a prompt I personally was glad I didn't get during this year's B2MEM fun-fest: color. Not that color isn't suggestive, poetically inspiring, etc., but making an entire story revolve around it is tough, especially when in your game life, you have a world to save, thanks very much. Elleth did a fantastic job using purple and white, not only to create fabulous images of Gondolin and of its brilliant walls and shadows, but to show us a conflicted Maeglin. The sunset purple and the white of Gondolin's stones are at war with each other, as Maeglin is with his inheritance and himself. Does he belong to his father (purple) or to Gondolin that killed his father and failed his mother (white)? Does he identify with metal, the smith's sign or with stone, Gondolin's foundation? What happens to his own native desires, which perhaps do not align so easily with one or the other? The judicial murders seem to push him toward his father, yet his own relationship with purple is conflicted as well, for Eöl is a difficult soul. Maeglin seems to have been forced at various points in his life to destroy what he truly desires in order to win place, affection, life. His character is shot through with unhappy, self-divisive ambivalence, and Elleth shows this well in a very short, intensely visual story.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 8

I thoroughly enjoyed how this story took its title and then ran with the contrast. But not the direct contrast, and here is where the story really gains power and depth. The automatic opposite of white is black, but Elleth is more subtle that. By using purple as the color, the contrast is not quite as obvious. The same could be said in Maeglin's thoughts regarding stone and metal. Certainly there is contrast, but neither is an automatic opposite for the other. Rather, they seem like contrasting compliments, and it gives the story of Maeglin a completely new depth. I also love the imagery in this story. The setting is vividly described with its vibrant hues ranging from white to purple and everything in between. I could see the surrounding mountains and the gleaming walls of Gondolin as the sun sinks into the west. It really does feel like a sunset in more ways than one. It isn't night quite yet, but night is coming. The story closes with a wonderful sense of false comfort as Maeglin's thoughts return to darker musings.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

The juxtaposition between white encirclement and the purple Maeglin sees everywhere about him is marked, as is the vision he has of steel overcoming stone in the end and purple veiling all the colors of life. But that in the end the white arms encircling him as his anger nearly overcomes him he finds restful and comforting--that is interesting. White arms or white walls--which shall prove the stronger in the end? An enlightening look at one of Tolkien's most troubled figures, well described.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Wonderful use of description here; as the interwoven colors of white and purple, and the substance of stone and metal, play out tragically in Maeglin's mind and vision during his first days in Gondolin. A novel approach to one of the Silmarillion's most bitter Elven characters.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 2

This is a poignant ficlet, with atmospheric descriptions and strongly worked out colour symbolism.