Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Forfeit

Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
Nominator: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
2008 Award Category: Times: Late Third Age: Gondor Drabbles - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: For the "Characters You Have Never Written" challenge at Tolkien_weekly Awaiting judgment for desertion and murder, Beregond faces another difficult choice.


Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 8

I can't resist something that screams [Crito] this loudly. We see so few children in Middle-earth - really, only one, and that one is hardly in a position any child should be in. He would, of course, be the one child whose father had to go and fall afoul of the law in such a way as to earn the death penalty. Beregond's position is absolutely unenviable: caught between the law and what he believes is right, he cannot make a choice that will not hugely impact his son. In some sense, he is between Bergil and Faramir, and he has to choose Faramir. Here we see him with another choice: and while on the one hand, it may seem as though Beregond is acting to preserve his honor, there's also a sense, thanks to that last line, that he is also thinking of Bergil when he makes his decision. Is it the case that Bergil's opinion is one of those rarest of things: a good opinion worth preserving, rather than one of the many that can be set aside? Those who like side-views into characters' heads, and who find themselves wishing that Tolkien had written more about Beregond and Bergil will want to give this drabble a reading.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 6

Another one I wish I'd written! This is wonderfully evocative, and packs a wallop of plot and emotion into a short piece, without drowning the reader in sentiment. How does Branwyn do it, and do it so well! Beregond is the ultimate in Faithful, not necessarily to orders and rules, but to those he loves, and what he prizes most. Here, Branwyn shows, through the medium of conversation with an unnamed friend, that Beregond prizes his honor, and that of his family, above his own life; he has broken an oath to prevent an atrocity, but he refuses to run like a coward. And, as importantly, Beregond refuses to leave his son. Beregond's noble, strong character simply shines here. An excellent drabble, which I highly recommend.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 5

You know, I have no clue if this is intentional or not, but I sense shades of Plato in this drabble. Friends encouraging him to flee, having secured his escape, and he refuses for honor's sake.... It adds a nice bit of philosophical depth to it, at least for me. Whatever the case may be on that point, it's outstanding as fanfic, getting at the heart of honor and doing the right thing, but also highlighting nicely the emotional content of this period in canon. That last paragraph always (and will always, I think) makes me get a little weepy-eyed. It's really nice work, Branwyn.

Reviewed by: Elena Tiriel -- Score: 5

Lady Branwyn's drabble, "Forfeit", is a satisfying glimpse of the honorable soldier that is Beregond. He is offered a way to escape the judgement for his desertion (while he rescued Faramir) that he knows may result in his being put to death. Yet, he will not have it said that he was fled in a cowardly manner. Insted of running, he makes his uniform ready to pass inspection, and watches over his sleeping son on what may be the last night of his life. I was always impressed by Beregond's character in the book, and I think this drabble vividly illustrates the depth of his honor and courage. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 5

I love the nobility with which Branwyn invests Beregond in this drabble, evidenced not just in the big events of the drabble but through small gestures such as the care for his gear which she describes. Beregond's response to the opportunity to escape justice is convincingly of a piece with his actions in deserting his post to save Faramir: a man who takes the right course, and accepts the consequences unflinchingly. And his love for his son and desire to not shame him further shines through. I note this was penned for a [Characters You Have Never Written] challenge, and I hope this will not be the last time Branwyn writes about Beregond. Bravo!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

Interesting take on Beregond's long time awaiting judgement. I can well imagine well-meaning friends being tempted to help him in this way, and if so, that Beregond would react just in the way he did. The way the drabble is written at the beginning - with short lines of brisk, matter-of-fact dialogue which gives nothing away of how Beregond might feel inwardly, nor how tempted he might actually be considering some of the understandable arguments - contributes much to the emotional punch of the last line: While it still contains no inner insight, it is nevertheless all too revealing of his inner turmoil.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

Ah, our worthy Beregond and his decision to stay and face the consequences of his actions. His courage and honor--and love for his son--are so well expressed, and with such remarkable economy. The images of him declaring his decision, then seeing his uniform prepared for dress inspection, then standing over his sleeping son will stay with me forever, I think. Beautiful, Lady Branwyn.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 3

i'm not sure that you should call them friends they don't believe in his defense. but then again they are used to black and white justice no grey allowed so maybe they really thought to be helping. tough call, but well written.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 3

I loved this moving drabble. You capture the essence of Beregond perfectly,a man of honour who only killed out of his love for his Captain.It must have been a sore temptation for Beregond to flee.Luckily,he is rewarded for doing the right thing in the end.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 2

This is an interesting portrait, particularly of Beregond's "friends" who thought they were helping by subverting his honor. With friends like those ...

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 2

A very plausible occurence! I love how well the author shows Beregond's honor and courage in just 100 well-chosen words. It's the last line that packs the most punch.