Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Surpassing All Rumour

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: Tanaqui
2009 Award Category: Races: Men: General Drabbles - Second Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: for the Alphabet Challenge, September 2008 Ar-Pharaz˘n, King of N˙menor, approaches the Undying Lands with a covetous heart.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

Reading one of Elena Tiriel's drabbles is always like unpacking a small but exquisitely wrapped present, and this drabble is no exception. The wrapping is the beautiful language she uses: I know how much time and care she takes to find the perfect word or phrasing in each instance, and this piece is no exception. Here, the opening sentences convey the beauty and tranquility of Aman; they are in stark contrast to the brutality implied in the final lines where ["Commanding the trumpets"] conjures up the blare of war horns. The present within the pretty outer covering is the content: a chilling portrait of the pride and arrogance of the last king of Numenor. Into these brief words, Elena Tiriel has managed to touch on much of Ar-Pharazon's history, reminding us of more: his corruption by Sauron, the nature of the lies whispered in his ear, and the horrific acts committed against his own people, symbolized by the destruction of the White Tree. Also, while I would be happy to see a drabble from Elena Tiriel on any Tolkien subject, the fact that she has focused on the Second Age and Numenor is an added joy. Rather like finding that the present inside the box is not just chocolate but chocolate from Ghiradelli's! The short version: one of my favourite drabblists, Elena Tiriel has yet again delivered powerful story telling within the contraints of the hundred-word form. Well done!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 7

A grim and frightening look at one of the Silmarillion's most fascinating characters. I think that what really makes this drabble work is the characterization. And that characterization is achieved by contrasting it with the surroundings. The result is that Elena Tiriel nails Ar-Pharaz˘n. I loved the moment of indecision as he's taken aback by the sheer splendor of the Undying Lands. The fact that his own lands can't even hold a candle to the beauty before him must have been a little unsettling and certainly would have given him pause for thought. But here Elena Tiriel introduces a fantastic contrast to the vivid imagery of Eldamar by portraying the burning White Tree and the whisperings of Sauron. Ar-Pharaz˘n's ugly jealousy and arrogance is all the more stark when compared to the beauty of the Undying Lands, and with the setting as a foil, Ar-Pharaz˘n becomes a terrible and frightening figure.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 6

A character deceived or obsessed to the point of madness is unsettling alone, when the person in question holds great power it becomes a more disturbing subject by far, and if this power is exploited, it becomes a downright chilling story. Elena Tiriel's portrayal of Ar-Pharazon has all three, so that his corruption becomes apparent in a brilliant example of the 'show, don't tell' maxim. While the last king of Numenor at first apparently seems to harbour some reverence for Aman and some vestige of 'proper faith' (as far as Tolkien's definition goes), the contrast to his thoughts at coming ashore offers an all-too-close look at the insidious workings of Sauron to bring about the Downfall of Numenor. Not a comfortable story, but all the more impressive for it. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 5

Prideful arrogance was as close to a deadly sin as Tolkien would imply in his works. Few of his characters illustrated the correlation more than Ar-Pharazon the Golden. Here, Elena Tiriel captures the last Numenorean king's most foolhardy endeavor - written from his point of view, it is Pharazon's greatest triumph. Pharazon is at the peak of his splendour and strength, surveying the shores of Aman from his mighty ship, his loyal followers trumpeting as he prepares to go ashore to the hallowed, forbidden shores. The reader feels a bit of sympathy for the deluded king, since the Valar's punishment is about to fall. But only a bit... Very well done.

Reviewed by: WendWriter -- Score: 4

This was brilliantly written, and the way you compacted the details of the story into so few words impresses me. Ar-Pharaz˘n's desperate recklessness is well-rendered and believable, and the duplicity of Sauron is all the more effective for it. The ambivalence Ar-Pharaz˘n feels about invading Valinor before he finally decides to do it creates tension, even though we know what's going to happen next. Great stuff!

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

This look at Pharazon's final moment of determination, convinced beyond all reason he is somehow blessed by Morgoth and Sauron and will make the Valar tremble, is most profoundly done, capturing the last tremble of indecision before he steps forward, seeking to take immortality by force. All the more chilling for the ability Elena Tiriel has shown to capture the moment so very well!

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 4

I love stories that are constructed to fit certain challenges and restrictions-- and when they flow as naturally as this one, I love them even more. This one not only fit the normal constrictions of a drabble but also had to begin and end with the same letter! Ar-Pharazon was a fool, but he'd been willingly duped. This glimpse of his choice to defy the Valar and bring on his doom is explored, and we see him as he gives in to his pride..

Reviewed by: S├║lriel -- Score: 3

What an emotional telling of Ar-Pharazon's last moments, and the last moments of N˙menor. ...Such arrogance, in spite of the instant of doubt. Weep indeed. -as he claims his due, condemning all his people to the deep.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 3

Wow, this is actually kind of spooky, picturing the empty beach before him and know what his pride has led him to. You do a great job bringing to life the little snippet about this deed that Tolkien gave us, especially in a drabble. Amazing skill to do that so well.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 1

A significant moment, skillfully captured!