Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Painting a Golden Light

Author: chaotic_binky
Nominator: weepingnaiad
2008 Award Category: Genres: Drama: Featuring the Noldor

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: Non graphic description of injures after a war time shell blast. Haunting by the ghosts of dead soldiers.
Summary: Story set during and just after the First World War. Glorfindel is an explorer who has come back to Britain and lives with the shell shocked war artist Erestor, in the small village of St. Michael's Leap. The villagers are curious about their relationship. Glorfindel looks forward to sailing and Erestor's sole aim is to paint, 'the perfect golden light'.


Reviewed by: Keiliss -- Score: 10

A fascinating and I suspect unique picture of elves in modern times. The story starts off during the Battle of the Somme, with Erestor serving as a military artist in the front line, the forerunner of the official photographer. When his luck finally runs out and he is wounded, Binky introduces us to the early twentieth century’s view on post traumatic stress disorder and the attitude to the sufferers, mainly regarded as cowards and malingerers. The story then moves to the little English village of St Michael’s Leap and the ladies who make up its gossipy, competitive social circle. I loved every one of them, they were exactly like my aunty Margaret and her friends - I could see and hear them. And of course, having two celebrities in their little community – an explorer and a war hero/artist - is a huge event. This part of the story explores Erestor’s mental disorder, Glorfindel’s loving but determined efforts to heal his soul mate’s damaged psyche, and Erestor’s attempts to take refuge in his art, and to turn his skill to painting the perfect golden light. The descriptions of sleepy village life are masterful, as are the simple but very telling reminders of the intense prejudice against anything hinting at an ‘unhealthy interest’ in a member of the same gender back in a time when homosexuality was illegal. Erestor and Glorfindel take great care to avoid any suspicion that their relationship is anything other than that of familial fondness, even alone in their cottage they’re careful. There are twists regarding Erestor’s hallucinations and the very nature of war itself, which I won’t divulge. At the end, there is a sea voyage on one of the great liners, complete with wonderful descriptions based on meticulous research, and an ending that is little short of perfect. Can’t say more about it here though, except that yes, they finally hear the call home. The final parts, the newspaper obituary, the old photographs, and the utterly gorgeous epilogue round it off masterfully. A wonderful story, truly painted in a golden light.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 6

This story is a real change of pace for the author. It is a fascinating look into a specific time and place: post-World War I England and a close look at English village life (with all that implies relating to provinciality and a sly look at the behavior of big ducks (the local village matrons) in a small pond). It contains pathos, humor, and redemption, all with a backdrop of an examination of the effect of post-traumatic stress syndrome on a rather surprising victim. Contains mystery as well and a surprise ending. The author has included some extremely interesting visual aids: photos and even press clippings, which help set the mood of the location and the era in which it takes place. This is one of the most unique elves-in-the-modern-day stories I have yet encountered.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

First off--I don't like slash particularly and usually just skip such works. I didn't bother looking at the intro to this one, so just read it, and found myself intrigued in spite of the relationship between Mr. Fin and Captain Erestor. The idea that Sauron was behind the shell shock Erestor was suffering and that Glorfindel's Light could best it was wonderful, and loved the identity of Dorothy Nerwen--and the choice of name. Interesting juxtaposition of ME and our history. And love how Tolkien was inspired, and the last letter begun. That was so delightfully funny.

Reviewed by: weepingnaiad -- Score: 3

This is a beautifully written story that takes place in England during WWI. It truly captures the sense of that time period and the dichotomy of the war in the trenches and the bucolic existence of those living in small town England.

Reviewed by: Erviniae -- Score: 2

This was such an original and well researched story. I enjoyed it very much. The ending was so wonderfully explained.