Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

First Snowfall

Author: curiouswombat
Nominator: annmarwalk
2010 Award Category: Races: Elves: Drabbles - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Written for the 'Blizzard' challenge at Tolkien Weekly. The Galadhrim face the reality of Lothlorien without Galadriel and the protection she afforded them.


Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 6

I confess, I didn't have the heart to read this when it first appeared; we were still deep in the depths of Snowmageddon 2010 and the thought of one more snowflake was just more than I could bear. But I'm a great fan of curiouswombat's deliciously descriptive, thought-provoking writing, and by late-February was ready to dare a peek. I'm so glad that I did, else I would have missed this gem entirely. At first the tale seems lighthearted, conveying the Galadrim's delight in the beauty and novelty of the first flakes ["the snow began to settle, like pale blossoms, on every twig and branch; beautifying the trees"], but then, the author surprisingly begins to twist the knife, so gently we barely notice it: ["... so that one could no longer see how they were losing their former glory."] The Galadrim's sense of disquiet grows as the snowfall continues; ["nothing could be seen of their golden wood but stark, eerie, shadows "]. We can certainly feel for them as they begin to worry and wonder ["chilled to their very souls"] about what other changes are in store in this strange new world, bereft of Galadriel's sphere of protection and influence.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 6

An outstanding drabble that captures the fragility of Lothlorien. CuriousWombat uses exquisite description to evoke the beauty of snow as it first falls, and its savage power as it becomes a blizzard. The scenario is familiar to us, but the writer places this snowfall in Lothlorien after Galadriel's departure, observed and felt by Elves who have never seen snow fall on the mallorns. The progression from beauty to destructive, shadowy cold that hides the remnants of Elven-magic by veiling the trees, is wonderfully done here. I've personally always felt that Lothlorien, when guarded by Nenya-wearing Galadriel, was just a bit creepy in its out-of-time perfection. Although the change is jarring and sad for the Elves raised amidst perennial good weather, the snow can also be viewed as Nature's revenge. Innovative and engaging - Highly Recommended!

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 4

Curiouswombat gives is a melancholy picture here of Lothlorien deserted by its mistress. Snow, remarkable enough in itself and representative of a whole host of changes, first delights and then chills the few Elves who remain. It is the strength of this drabble that it takes a real life experience - who isn't delighted by snow in December, and fed up with it in February? - and embeds it convincingly into the Tolkien settting.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 4

A beautiful progression from glory into ruin as it happens so typically in Tolkien's works. I think the effect is made far more poignant because the beauty of frost and snowflakes that appears in the ficlet is also mentioned in the beginning of Silmarillion, which - like in this drabble - doesn't fail to mention the destructive properties. Wonderfully done, evocative language, and heartwrenching regarding the eventual fate of the Elves of Lothlorien.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 4

I love the way that curiouswombat has managed, in such a short space, to really make the pacing shift towards the end. The build-up is lovely and slow and light, and then, just as she says of the snow: [Then, like the other changes, the snow came harder, faster, whirling, filling their eyes]. I love that line! It says what it says, not only in the words, but the way the sentence is formed. I can imagine Lorien fading to a blank, dead white and falling silent forever. In just one hundred words, curiouswombat makes us feel the absence of Galadriel and Celeborn, the end of the age of the Rings of Power and the death of magic. Well done!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

In this beautiful small gem CuriousWombat has managed to capture the change of mood one would hope to see as the wardens of what had been Lothlorien watch a gentle snowfall develop into a blizzard, and as they appreciate just how their lost Lady's power protected the realm ere she sailed west. A beautiful bittersweet drabble and one I can definitely recommend with a whole heart. Well, well done, CuriousWombat! And thank you!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 4

Perfect as a snowflake, this drabble shows another incursion of the natural world into the once impregnable woodland realm of Lothlorien. I love how the snow is at first an adornment, ["beautifying the trees so that one could no longer see how they were losing their former glory,"] but as it gathers in force the trees are blotted out entirely. The dismay of the wardens felt real to me and wholly understandable, and I pitied them for their continuing duties in this forsaken realm, a onetime paradise doomed to decline in the absence of Her Ladyship.

Reviewed by: SĂșlriel -- Score: 3

What a wonderfully dramatic and emotional portrayal of the lessening of magic due to Her Ladyship's leaving. Heartrendingly beautiful and poignant. Very well done, thank you for sharing this with us.

Reviewed by: Elfique -- Score: 3

Direct and brief but still very vivid. Lovely wording and a great take on the situation. I like the contrast of opinions on the snow as it progresses - its something you can relate to which makes this ficlet/drabble even stronger.

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty -- Score: 3

A very imaginative comparison between the first snowfall and the inevitable decline of Lothlorien after the departure of the elves. Beautifully worded, very evocative and deeply haunting, this drabble brings home to the reader exactly what the elves sacrificed in order to save the lands they loved so much. Heartbreaking, wonderful work!

Reviewed by: Beruthiel's Cat -- Score: 2

Both eerie and elegant, painting a stark portrait of finality that is as subtly chilling as its chosen subject. Extremely well done and highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Ellynn -- Score: 1

Beautifully described change in Lothlorien, after the departure of Galadriel.

Reviewed by: Liadan -- Score: 1

Change is not always welcome, and it is often frightening as well.