Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Paper

Author: Dawn Felagund
Nominator: digdigil
2006 Award Category: Races: Elves: Feanorians - Third Place

Story Type: Other Fiction : Length: Short Story
Rating: PG-13 -- Reason for Rating: Mild sexuality and sibling-rivalry violence
Summary: Curufin, fifth son of Feanor, finds himself as an outcast in his father's burgeoning family and turns to the pleasures of fantasy to alleviate his fears and his loneliness.


Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 10

Paper is another favourite story of mine. In elegant prose, Dawn gives us a peak in Curufinís life this time and also insight in his character and the decisions he made to find his place in this family. This line simply stands out and carries so much weight: [Writing of it later, in the secret haven of the library: Let it be known, I have claimed my destiny as the favored son of FŽanaro.] This is so powerful and the scene before that, no, even better, this whole story explains why Curufin felt driven to claim this destiny. Everone in this family has a role and the inner strife amongst the brothers is well explored. Maedhros who flinches, brash Celegorm, Caranthir following his example... I also love the way, in this context, how this connects your other works [the Gift and Another Manís Cage]. But what I like about this story is that in the end it leaves you wondering if even Curufin is writing this. It feels a story within a story; he either relates how he met his first love, or maybe his wife, in a story. Or this meeting of love is a fantasy orÖ But how could he possibly have run out of paper!!! I love when I come across a work like this. As a reader you can decide for yourself what the author means with it. Actually, there is a line in this beautiful short story, which says it all: [And so the paper is itself a loremaster, he thinks, like me. Each story containing a story within and without, spiraling toward infinity in both directions.] Very though provoking and evocative, Tirion, FŽanorís household, his sons feel so real to you as a reader in this piece. A great read and a gem of a story!

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 9

This story is marvelous on many levels. The characterizations are brilliant. Each brother has his own voice (although Carnistir/Tyelkormo are a bit lumped together), with subtle interplays between each other and their parents - so much like a real family. I had never thought about what Feanor naming his fifth child after himself would have meant to his first four sons, but Dawn has believably portrayed possible repercussions. The dialogues felt spot-on, and the descriptions of family life were entertaining and always contributed to the story. I had a very clear understanding of the tension between Curufinwe's desire to please and emulate his father, and how overwhelming this would have seemed, right from the first line. To be named after someone as famous and talented as Feanor would have been more burden than blessing. Faced with this, it is wholly believable that his son turns to fantasies acted and drawn out on paper. Loved the ending (how much of this was real, or another fantasy?), the letter Feanor sent to his half-brother, the ruminations on writing and the possibilities of a blank page... The story is packed with delightful and insightful moments.

Reviewed by: Erynhith -- Score: 5

I really liked the idea of Curufinwe being so keen on paper and on enjoying his visit to the paper merchant's. Writing what he would really like to happen and then burning it sounds like therapy of a sort, something which helped him to stay sane in a large family. I loved the idea about the paper itself having a history, even before anything was written on it, and the way the ink spreading across it seems to parallel the pain he feels when he gets hit in the head: art following nature or something like that. The girl with apple-green eyes and chocolate-brown hair sounds really delicious.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 4

I love those Feanorians--but you are writing in an area where the bar has been set high. So please do not think I praise this story out of personal preference, but on its independent merits. I like so many elements of this story: family interactions, the brothers' carrying-ons with girls, CurufinwŽ's sense of estrangement and rich fantasy life, and FŽanaro as a good father. I love the characterizations. I have to admit, I would rather spend time in a stationery store than almost anywhere else!

Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice -- Score: 4

I first opened this story when it was in for review at HASA, and was rather dubious about whether I would like it: First Age Elves is usually not my thing. But Dawn quite won me over with her intense POV, deeply emotional with more than a tinge of everyday life. Remarkable to write convincingly of Valinor in such terms. I have not read any other of her stories, but am looking forward to the day I have the time to do so!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 3

Beautifully told. The family dynamics you show are extremely well-developed in their complexity; full of conflicts and hidden currents that are elegantly sketched, without dwelling on them overlong. Wonderfully detailed yet restrained descriptions. I love Curufin's observations on paper and how it relates to his life.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

The youngest son of Feanor indulges himself in writing fantasy revenge over his older brothers, who resent him. I love the way the story keeps one guessing as to what is fantasy and what is reality.