Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Bedazzled

Author: Branwyn (Lady Branwyn)
Nominator: annmarwalk
2009 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Gondor or Rohan

Story Type: Story : Length: Ficlet
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: When Finduilas of Dol Amroth came to the White City, her young husband was not the only one to be smitten by her charms.


Reviewed by: annmarwalk -- Score: 7

This is an enchanting little story, full of a sense of freshness and joy. The richly detailed and expressive writing makes it very easy to visualize the scene in luminous colors like a medieval Book of Hours, all deep blues and reds and gold leaf. Lady_Branwyn's use of language, too, is wonderfully original, rich and evocative. Look at the semi-nautical terms she uses to describe the sea-princess: [bright as the dance of sunlight on the water; cloth rippled in waves at her feet.] These terms add a bright new dimension to our mental picture of Finduilas, don't they? It's also quite intriguing to see Thorongil here as a not-quite-unbiased bystander, giving a lovely lady the attention she richly deserves without compromising his own heart. Thorongil's analogy ([light-headed ... as if he had stared too long at the sun on the water.]) is perfectly fitting for Denethor, too, bedazzled and giddy at his good fortune: [ his eyes flitting between his father and his bride, as he repeated the solemn words of the oath. He stumbled badly on the last line.] We don't get to see this besotted Denethor often enough; it's a bittersweet thought to imagine him holding the memory of this day close to his heart.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

[Bedazzled] is the absolutely perfect title for this short story. Just one word, but so rich in meaning, lovingly explored in the text in its different connotations, and the line of Aragorn thinking of the imagery of the sunlight sparking on water embodies it evocatively. I love how it all links and entwines: the sun and the brightness of Finduilas' smile and palpable joy, the colours blue and silver like the sea and the wind of Dol Amroth evoked by her veil. This moment seemed so perfect, like a still life, and yet Denethor's awkwardness and flawed delivery of the oath didn't mar it, it only enhanced the preciousness of the moment. I like the recognition that Aragorn can appreciate and feel moved by her beauty while firmly staying true to his own heart.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

There are many who have suspected that Aragorn might have found himself somehow tempted to love Finduilas of Dol Amroth. In this ficlet he at first sees her as vulnerable and overwhelmed by her very gown as she stands to watch her new bridegroom offer his oath of fealty to his father. It is in the moments afterwards that we truly get the feeling of motion as she moves in flashes of blue and silver to her husband's side, and we see that moment of fascination Aragorn knows, almost in love with her himself. I truly love the feelings and impressions this ficlet gives me. Well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

A lovely ficlet focussing on Finduilas as an icon of beauty and enchantment for her husband, the Steward and the captains of Gondor during the days of Ecthelion. Branwyn, a consummate drabblist, uses wonderful imagery of sea and sails to evoke Finduilas' Dol Amroth heritage. The lady's personal strength is not overlooked, to Thorongil, even looking back fifty years, he thinks of Finduilas as an exemplar of the strength of women as well as a beautiful woman to whom all eyes are drawn. Elegant and unusual!

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 4

Very nicely done vignette. I think you are not the only one to have imagined that Finduilas was attractive and appealing to those beyond her husband. The idea that Aragorn was included in her admirers appeals for some reason. I suppose because she is an interesting character who is given so little space in the texts--another of those women of Middle-earth who must have had a fascinating untold story. Your imagery is lovely.

Reviewed by: Celeritas -- Score: 3

The title alone shows that this vignette is written by a master of style. The light/gem imagery started here is developed and continues into a sincere appreciation (on both the authorís part and that of the character observing) of the beauty and charm of the young woman. A lovely portrait of Finduilas in the freshness of youth.

Reviewed by: Nancy Brooke -- Score: 3

I,too, was charmed by this story. I particularly liked how you sidestepped the usual rivalry question, and embodied Finduilas's background in her apperance and her person. Very nice.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 2

What a charming glimpse of a young Finduilas! I liked the opening sentence in particular, but the whole ficlet is well written.