Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Left Behind

Author: Elanor
Nominator: Dreamflower
2007 Award Category: Genres: Drama: With Merry - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: This story includes some scenes of violence which might be upsetting to children but can certainly be tolerated by teens. They include Merry's remembrance of Boromir's death, his account of Eowyn's heroism, a confrontation with the Shadow, and Faramir's remembrance of his mother's rather shocking death and its aftermath. No gore or torture.
Summary: The story of Merry and Faramir's meeting in the Houses of Healing. When a quiet introduction and heartfelt conversation between convalescents becomes a harrowing confrontation with the Shadow and some staggering memories long repressed by the House of Stewards, Merry and Faramir forge a solid alliance and a bond of understanding and friendship that sees them through the last critical days of the War of the Ring.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 10

This is the first story by Elanor that I read, and it impressed me so much! The time Merry spent in the Houses of Healing, while Pippin and his other friends were away at the Black Gate is only touched a little in canon, and in fanfiction all too seldom. Yet this was Merry's difficult task, to once more be left behind, alone in the gathering darkness. Perhaps it was even more difficult than the moment in which he struck his desperate blow against the Witch-king of Angmar. In this story, the author turns the metaphor of Merry, holding on to Pippin's hope into something literal. The leave-taking between Pippin and Merry is so sorrowful, so full of pain, but also full of love and dignity. The one thing we do know from canon, is that during this time, Merry made the acquaintance of Faramir, and they discussed Eowyn. In this tale, they also discuss other things--including what little Merry knows of Denethorís death, and his own anguish at not being able to go with the rest. It is then that another battle begins, as the Shadow reaches out for Merry once more, and he is engulfed by darkness. Faramirís struggles to help Merry bring out some of his own memories of a dark time in his own life, and Merry is drawn into those memories quite literally. The author has a fascinating, dare I say, unique, take on Finduilasí death! Through all of this runs the threads of Pippinís hope, to which Merry must cling in his search for light. It is a beautiful and deeply spiritual story, and it encapsulates the nobility of both the characters beautifully.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor -- Score: 8

Oh my goodness - what a delightful, sad, sorrowful, joyful, tense, ernest, incredible tale. I loved every piece and part of it - the normal - being left behind is so very sad... but the terror that Faramir and Merry must endure - first at the thought of what their friends would find at the Black Gate - but even further - with the repercussions of the Black Breath upon them... both of them had it twice over - Faramir at the battle of the bridge in June, right before Boromir left on the quest - and Merry at Weathertop. *shivers* I am madly in love with Denethor and struggled as I began to read your 'explanation' of Finduilas' death. I can accept it - and to me that is very good writing. I could see Denethor putting Gondor before her - Eru forgive him. And, sadly, I could see her accepting it. *shivers again* And Faramir and Boromir's part - how they had ever survived and grew to be strong and sure men of Gondor, I do not know. Very well written. I am grateful to have found this tale and been able to 'share' in Merry and Faramir's experience.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 5

Here is a psychological and emotional study of Faramir and Merry, as they battle their demons, and their loneliness, in the wake of the departure of the Host to the Black Gate. There is an unusual flashback to the death of Finduilas, and a rather interesting reason created for much of Denethor's disfavor of his second son. As a Faramirist, I was very impressed with most of Faramir's characterisation. I particularly liked the part where, after Faramir grieves bitterly in the Houses of Healing over his father and brother's deaths, he awakens the next day resolved to redeem his father's ruin and hold the City for the King whether Sauron is defeated or triumphs - that, to me, was very Faramirish.

Reviewed by: PipMer -- Score: 5

This is a fascinating story that explores the emotional well-being of Merry and Faramir, or lack thereof, while they reside in the Houses of Healing after the army leaves for the Black Gate. Merry's spiritual connection with Pippin is explored, and Faramir's memories of his mother are brought into focus as well. This story explores their friendship as they both heal, and the support they give one another during this time of separation from friends and family. I especially like how the story begins with the parting of Merry and Pippin, and ends with their very joyful reunion. This is the author's first fanfic, and a splendid job she did.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

Mostly Merry's story as he recovers from the Black Breath, and as he and Faramir together realize how the Shadow took Faramir's mother and seeks now new victims. But Hope sees them through; and in the end Merry finds himself back with his Pippin, and then greeting Sam and Frodo once more, even though he knows Frodo is not and will not heal properly as long as he lingers within Middle Earth. A frightening and yet hopeful tale as we see Merry fight valorously against an implacable enemy that deals more with despair than with conventional weapons. Well wrought indeed.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 4

[spoilers] This is a haunting tale. Faramir and Merry meet in the houses of healing while waiting for the army of the west to return. They both have to fight the lingering effects of the Black Breath and discover that they have more in common than they would have imagined. I like the language of this story. It has just the right archaic feel to it. My favorite part is the flashback to Finduilas' last days and the way Faramir and Merry support each other in their fight against the Shadow of the East.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 4

This is such a fun story. I love all of the details, especially the bit about Finduilas setting up the garden in the Houses of Healing. But what really stands out is the insight into Merry's and Faramir's character. They both seem completely reconcileable with their canon selves as well as exemplars of their races, while still the story added to how I understand them. I don't know if a story with this much angst can be properly "enjoyed", but I certainly found myself thinking for quite a while after I'd read this story.

Reviewed by: Cathleen -- Score: 3

An extremely emotional story that encompasses many of the best aspects of Merry and Faramir - their love, fear, hope, and faith all rolled into one very well told tale. I was just as moved, if not more, by it on the second read. Wonderfully rich and such a satisfying exploration of that time in the houses if healing for both Merry and Faramir.