Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Strange Land

Author: Elfique
Nominator: Windsurfbabe
2010 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: Moderate gore/violence
Summary: From the flimsy boughs of a dying tree, a dark figure listens to the chaos of night unfold around him. He strives to do all that he can, knowing that it is already too late. Luck, however, does not always favour the wicked, and this he knows well.

Reviewed by: Windsurfbabe -- Score: 10

Superheroes are supposed to be dashing and colourful, barging into people's lives to snatch them away from danger with much bravery and selflessness. Yet the picture that is painted here is very different. It is not the fact that said hero is an elf, shattering once and for all the worn-out image of overly kind, peace-loving creatures - no, it is the disgust, the determination of Maglor to clean out the earth of the scourge of violence and greed and lust - all that which, in his eyes, characterizes Man. He applies by the word the old saying, slaying with his sword those who live violently. He vanishes into shadows after his deed is done, not relieved at the accomplishment of a good action but feeling dirty at having witnessed proof of Man's downfall once again. The whole piece permeates a feeling of sadness, and forces one to think about the probable clash between mortal and elven moral standards and honour codes in our times. It seems likely that our lifestyles would only draw them away and disgust them, while we so direly need some magic and fantasy in our lives. A haunting, beautifully written, twisted tale of a hero and the lady his saves - only with more blood, tears and loneliness. A must-read for all those who wish elves still existed, and that the times of bravery and duty were not past.

Reviewed by: Erulisse -- Score: 10

It is a harsh society that we live in. The followers of Morgoth and Sauron still exist among us; in fact they have never left and have gained strength over the ages. There are still those who fight the Darkness, one small battle at a time. This author has described one of those battles. Maglor has been in Ennor for ages upon ages. His life is anything but easy, but he has found a way to allow himself to exist and even, sometimes, to help. This time he comes to the assistance of a young girl who is about to be brutally used by a group of men. In confronting them, killing them, and comforting the girl, he in a small way makes up for one more negative action of his long life. Does it help him feel better? Probably not, but his psychology isnít in the words for examination; only his actions which speak for themselves. Iíve always had a soft spot for the musician of the Noldor. Although he is a penultimate warrior, as is fully indicated in this tale, he still has his roots as shown in the last line where a soft song is heard as he walks away from the girl. I would love to think that warriors for the Light such as Maglor still exist in our world. I donít see much evidence of that, but tales like this give me hope and that is important too. A good read and highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

Reading this story was a lot like watching a movie. It was so visceral and so vivid that I found myself picturing everything in clear and unmistakable detail. I am green with envy over the atmosphere and tone that infuse this story from beginning to end. Elfique effectively captures an unsavory part of town in the midst of a rainstorm, and even more amazing is that it's captured from Maglor's perspective. The scene is recognizable to mere mortals, whether it be from personal experience or from Hollywood, but there's an edge to it that goes beyond that. Maglor's senses delve beyond just the look and feel of the place, touching the foundations upon which it is all built. As for Maglor himself, I was surprised to learn his identity, but it fit so well with everything else. I'm still trying to find words to describe his outlook on the world. Vengeful might be as close as I come, because there's despair and futility but also anger and determination. And it's all wrapped up in a being who has become something he was never meant to be and who is altogether incomprehensible to the rest of us. A fascinating and compelling portrait of modern Maglor!

Reviewed by: Clodia -- Score: 6

Maglor in the modern world is a perennial favourite for writers of Silmarillion fanfic. Here Elfique sets him in startlingly unpleasant urban surroundings, vividly described -- through [the urine soaked streets and vomit splattered corners] of some horribly dystopian but all too real unnamed city prowls Feanor's second son, no longer hunting Orcs but now a vigilante [taking vengeance for the scarred and bleeding earth]. The atmosphere is claustrophobic and the action in this brief vignette powerfully written as Maglor Feanorion, proclaiming his many names, battles street thugs in the dark. And then their rescued victim is left comforted with the sound of singing lingering on the air... how very Elven, even in this degraded and darkened world, and precisely what one would expect from Maglor, singing as he departs the hunt. Thank you, Elfique!

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale -- Score: 4

Elfique credits "Watchmen," but I actually thought of "The Crow." It was the overriding cinematography of the piece: the darkness and rain, the marble-like Maglor, the scene of seedy violence he interrupts, the inhumanly swift and gory vengeance he wreaks, the anguished tableau immediately thereafter, and the final tenderness shown the prospective victim. A very different "Modern-day Maglor" than we usually see: this is a figure of strength, though one who retains the canonical traits of song and lamentation.

Reviewed by: Aeärwen -- Score: 4

This is a gripping story, and truly a unique look at what would happen if Maglor managed to live all the way through to modern times. Most of the stories with him in that circumstance have him kind, if aloof; this one, on the other hand, makes him an avenging angel. He lives up to his reputation as Kinslayer here - and it is a disturbing image. Very nicely executed, however. A very good read.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

Woo-HOO! Maglor goes vigilante with a vengeance. I love the film noir feel of this unusual portrayal of Modern-Times Maglor. He's nostalgic and rather bitter; but can more than hold his own; and he's not going to let an innocent be harmed. This is Maglor Unleashed, and he shows the strength of an ages-old Elf. Tense and tight; a good read.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

And just how WOULD we like a modern-day Maglor to be? I also would like to think he would be much like this, finding himself championing the would-be victims against the modern gangs of predators. Perhaps a bit too much of videogame imagery, but satisfying nevertheless. To be commended!