Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Fell and Fair

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: Tanaqui
2007 Award Category: Genres: Adventure: Fixed-Length Ficlet - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: Fixed-Length Ficlet Series
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: descriptions of battle violence and animals scavenging battlefields
Summary: both FLF (True Drabble Series) *and* WIP What would have happened if Elladan and Elrohir had fought in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant? How would they be remembered in the legends of the Rohirrim and other races who witnessed it? A work-in-progress series of drabbles (100 words each) depicting events surrounding the battle and its widening repercussions, from the next day to many centuries later.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

I've watched the evolution of this remarkable series over many months, and marvelled at both the range of viewpoints Elena Tiriel has covered, and the sustained high quality in each of the individual drabbles. From the starting point of a brief obscure quote about the Battle of the Field of Celebrant found in one of the History of Middle Earth volumes, Elena Tiriel has woven a rich tapestry that draws on a wide range of canon and her own intelligent invention to give us a picture of Elladan and Elrohir and those whose lives are touched by them. As always, Elena Tiriel shows fine mastery of language, as well as a deep appreciation of the drabble form and the uses it can be put to, to do everything from illuminating a single moment to telling a complete story. Individual drabbles are structured to provide a satisfying conclusion, while pieces are effectively linked in chapters to tell the broader tale. It's hard to single out specific drabbles or chapters for especial praise, but there are two themes in the series that I particularly enjoy: Elena Tiriel's exploration of other cultures, such as the chapters about the Balchoth before and after the battle, and her taste for black humour in chapters about wargs, orcs and other Dark creatures. It's hard to praise this enough. As a dedicated drabblist myself, I can only stand open-mouthed in awe.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 10

Oh! This drabble series took my breath away. I have always loved Elena Tiriel's drabbles for both their excellent writing and deft use of canon. As with all of her stuff, "Fell and Fair" uses what little canon we have about the Battle of the Fields of Celebrant to great use, and in fact the whole series is inspired by a rather obscure quote in HoMe. But the series is not stultified as many gapfillers can be, and it tells us a whole new side of canon. It reminds me of nothing so much as Marnie's "The Battle of the Golden Woods", one of my favorite fanfic stories--only this is in drabbles, which makes the accomplishment all the greater. "Fell and Fair" has another thing in common with Marnie's novel: the Sindarin elves are really in their element, and Celeborn especially. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a Celeborn fangurl, but it has to be a certain type of Celeborn. For one, he has to be passionate and wise at the same time, and have a good sense of humor. Check on that count; his interactions with his lieutenant and their remembrance of Doriath was absolutely hilarious, and the (rather misleading….) tension of the fencing match with Elrohir was…. well, passionate is a good word here, as the author knows from my previous comments. :-D I most love Celeborn when he is not only Sindarin but very central to Doriath's politics, and Celeborn & Galadriel also need to be in balance, with Celeborn neither being overwhelmed by Galadriel's power, or vice versa. Again, check on both accounts; F&F definitely succeeds. The making of the lembas, the departure of Celebrian, Elrohir's and Elladan's connection to the Edain, fleshing out the Gondorian history…. there is *so* much to love in this series, and the only regret I have is that it's not finished yet.

Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 10

What an astonishing, ambitious accomplishment - and one of the best things about it is that more is to come. Although initially inspired by the HoMe quote concerning the Battle of the Field of Celebrant, I like that it is not just about the battle but ranges far before and after; and most particularly, the repercussions. Even more impressive is the exploration of such a large number of perspectives, from the various allies on both sides; and not just the warriors, but also the innocent who are impacted by the fallout. All are well done: the characterizations are consistent through many situations and centuries, and the alternating PoVs of single scenes are especially effective. There are many, many lovely phrases, moving passages and telling observations throughout the series. They are at turns poignant, uplifting, insightful, painful and entertaining. Perhaps... ["Celeborn, with Galadriel"] the sweetest and most sensuous, with an excellent look at sea-longing; ["Félarof, father of horses"] might be the most delightful PoV (though that's a very hard one to chose); ["A loyal steed"] the most wickedly startling; and ["A Balchoth war widow"] was almost certainly the most wrenching for me. However, I am most intrigued by the infamous lost Celeborn-Hirvegil sparring drabble... Any chance that might be excavated? I admit that I burst out laughing when I saw the author's notes tally (particularly for a series of tightly controlled drabbles): almost 24,000 explanatory words! *g* That said, I love A/Ns, and greatly enjoyed perusing these: not only a truly fabulous resource but extremely entertaining in their own right.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 10

A very interesting gapfiller, full of intriguing details of characters and actions, which brings this event in Middle-earth history (or one version of it) to life, especially in really bringing together data that is either described or implied in canon, or can be inferred logically (I also found the extensive author's notes very illuminating). Wonderful use of language, formal, with a slight archaic touch, but seldom stilted. The drabble format is here very cleverly employed to choose just the right term, just the most evocative and fitting turn of phrase. The language also adapts to individual points of view; for example Círdan uses metaphors of the sea, the Orcs slur. The appropriate tension is for the most part sustained over the lines of the individual drabbles, sometimes interrupted by welcome scenes which are more light-hearted. A very realistic touch - nobody can be always grim and alert. I also like the reminiscences to earlier times; they gave the story a wider panorama and helped to flesh out characters and relationships. My favourite drabbles were the two from Círdan's POV chapters "Early 2510 Third Age" & "A Few Days Later", "A Balchoth war widow", ch. "2511 Third Age", and "Elrohir, late that afternoon", ch. "Fourth Age.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 10

[...two great horseman... unlike all the others] *sigh*. You know these are my favorite guys! [2] [perverse sunshine] is such a wonderful, viscerally emotional phrase. I think there are very few phrase that say as much with so few words. With the tone so well set, it would be expected that the following text might fall short, but it does not. It brings tears and chills with it's portrayal of stark emotion and a dark future. [They are warriors. They do what they must.] What a perfect line for these two. This is such a hard review to write, I find myself totally engrossed in your snippets and unwilling to stop between chapters to make notes here. - flashes of life and love and pain. War, and dread of the consequences of war. Your drabbles focus these things with hard punches and incredible intensity. And it seems to me that your talent lies not so much in what is said, but in what is not said and I think that's the magic in a drabble. The hints, the shadows, the implications. It's the ability to use three words to convey fifty. [Stout-hearted, my people consider me; surely I can withstand one raised Elven eyebrow?] PRICELESS!! Poor Poor Eorl to face the mirth of the Twins. A brave man indeed. [tark-pets] *snicker* I love your Orc's voices and attitudes. Very well done. [a loyal steed]. Elena Tiriel. This one is extraordinary. the grief, the heartfelt pain of loss and the twist. I won't give a spoiler, due to the recent on-list discussion, - and this is hard because every drabble in this series is extraordinary - but this one has that extra something special. Of really being in the head and heart of the point of view character. in your notes you say [I hope to view the historical events (canon or imagined) described in this series through very intimate, personal lenses, to make them more understandable on a human scale.] I will say, that in my opinion, you do that and more. I can't imagine that anyone can read this series and not be moved. You know how much I love these two guys and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for these glimpse of them, both through others eyes and through their own thoughts. I know this has been in progress for a long time, but, at least in my opinion, it's been well worth it the wait. This remains one of my favorite re-reads.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 10

An ambitious set of drabbles, taking the reader through the lead-up to one particular battle in which Elrohir and Elladan (and, behind the one-line reference of HoME, their grandparents and a host of Lorien Elves) participated, then following the ripples of that action throughout time. We find here a pin-wheeling overview of the battle of the field of Celebrant, seeing it through the eyes of friends and foes alike, and through eyes ever more remote: I think my favorite was the heart-rending tale of the Balchoth war-widow, whose widowhood, for political reasons, is not acknowledged. That refusal deprives her of livelihood, family, and in the end, all dignity as she struggles simply to survive. For every one of our heroes who lives and saves the day by killing an enemy, there is someone left behind to mourn that man and suffer his absence. There are happier consequences as well - the Rohirrim come to be, and we see the way in which the legendary pair of Elves have passed into the folklore traditions of Eorl's descendants. We see also the involvement of Elladan and Elrohir in the line of Chieftains, until at last, the world turns just enough and the victory of the West deprives some of its saviors of their place in that world, sending them across the seas at last. Well done, ET!

Reviewed by: Jay of Lasgalen -- Score: 7

This is wonderful! I love the idea of a series of drabbles from different POVs before, during, and after the battle. You chose such unusual characters, too - the widow, the wolf, and the warg for instance, which make this so interesting. Most of all I love the legend of the Grey Ghostriders sweeping to the rescue before riding off again. A pity they weren't there for Eomund. *** ["She is our grandmother."] *Grin* I wish I could have seen Eorl's face at that! I love this collection of drabbles - and the subject matter. I really liked the twins' appearance described from the horse's POV. Thank you for this wonderful update! There are two parts I particularly love - Galadriel's musings on the fate of the males in her family, destined to be warriors; and Elrohir's thoughts as they cross the Anduin that all their training was focused on that moment. It's a chilling thought. I love the lembas blessing too - the qualities and strengths it confers seem to sum up the twins so well!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 4

An well-written set of drabbles centering on Elladan and Elrohir's involvement in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant, and branching out before and after in time, to those whose lives are touched by the twins. The amount of research that went into the drabbles has to be tremendous; yet the drabbles themselves are anything but dry. The subjects include High-Elves, Rohirrim, Orcs and Dunedain. This is one of the best depictions of Elladan and Elrohir that I can remember. And the Author's Notes are a treat for any Tolkien aficionado.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 4

This is a beautiful example of how you can tell a coherent story very powerfully in a series of short pieces - it is elegantly written and extremely effective. I love both the overall story, tracing the history of the sons of Elrond across the years from Celebrian's departure until their own decision to go, and seeing them from the point of view of so many diffferent characters. Excellent.

Reviewed by: Marigold -- Score: 2

Excellent use of language here! A very compelling series done elegantly and without a wasted word. I really enjoyed the changing pov's!

Reviewed by: Llinos -- Score: 2

This is a highly original series and I am impressed at the ability the writer has to write so many pov's so very well. I especially enjoyed the deft use of nuances of language.