Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Wind and Fire

Author: elfscribe
Nominator: Dawn Felagund
2008 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior - First Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: m/m sexual encounters, some violence
Summary: Manwe discovers both the delights and the dangers of assuming corporeal form as he is drawn into a relationship with the brilliant, prideful Feanor. In trying to dissuade Feanor from leaving the Undying Lands, Manwe learns more than he would like about why Feanor created the Silmarils and why they hold him enthralled. An elemental clash of titans.

Reviewed by: Dawn Felagund -- Score: 10

With one of the first lines of "Wind and Fire"--["Thou, Feanor!"]--I wanted to dislike the archaic style that is too often overused and abused in Tolkien fanfic. It did not take Elfscribe long in this story, however, to convince me to do otherwise, and this story has since become a favorite of mine. "Wind and Fire" is an elegant and gracefully written piece about the most unlikely of pairings. While the unconventional pairing might dissuade some, I encourage those with an open mind to take a chance on this story. Aside from a beautifully wrought and effortless style, Elfscribe uses canon to excellent effect to explore several important concepts in this piece. First is the idea of what it might be like for a being of spirit, like a Vala, to be clothed in flesh. Does such an individual feel the same longings and desires as the Children of Eru? How does he learn to command it ... or does he not? These questions form the basis for the story's pairing, as Manwe comes to terms with what it means to be a creature of flesh with desires of the flesh. Secondly is the enigma of the Silmarils. Why does Feanor remark that their unmaking shall be the death of him? Elfscribe takes him at his word in this piece and puts forth an entirely plausible scenario of how the Silmarils gained not only their exceptional beauty but also their hold over their maker. Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and erotically charged, "Wind and Fire" is a must-read First Age story.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 10

An elemental clash of titans is [Wind and Fire] and oh, what a clash it is! Elfscribe's story of the encounter between Fëanor and Manwë is nothing short of cataclysmic. Just short of 5000 words, this is a far bigger story than its length would indicate. Elfscribe's depiction of Manwë enthralled me as she deftly wove the semi-divine (or whatever the essence of these strange beings is) with the incarnate. Tolkien wrote at length in his works about the Valar assuming forms like that of the Children of Iluvatar. He said they put these on as raiment, like we would don a sweater or a dress or a suit. However, to my life scientist's mind, assuming an actual *human body* with its attendant physiology, which invariably links into mind and behavior, has consequences. Elfscribe addresses this in a most satisfying manner here as Manwë takes on a human aspect. I also like Fëanor's portrayal here. As Moreth noted, there's an appropriate mix of the vulnerable and the arrogant. His digs at Manwë concerning the Lord of the Wind's egregious oversight with regard to Morgoth are sharp and to my mind, quite appropriate. The culpability here did not rest on Fëanor's shoulders alone, and a careful reading of [The Silmarillion] will reveal that. Elfscribe brings that into high relief here in [Wind and Fire]. The eroticism is written on a grand scale, fitting nicely with the larger-than-life tone of the entire piece. Elfscribe's bailiwick is slash, and she shows her skills here, remaining in the erotic and not succumbing to the boringly (well, to me at any rate -- I need something left to the imagination) explicit. Like the previous reviewers, I more often than not flinch at "ye olde archaic" speech, but Elfscribe is one of the few who can wield this effectively and still hold my attention. It flows well, and I was never jolted by stumbling around awkward usage of this form. Taken together, Elfscribe's gorgeous prose and the conceptualizations of these icons provide a short story as rich as a Delacroix painting, and in fact, that is what I visualized when I read this fic.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 10

Elfscribe is one of my favorite writers and while I love her work for its heart and humor, I am also greatly attached to her stupendous command of dialogue. Her characters speak in a manner that is never glaringly modern and, therefore, incongruent with her protagonists, Elves, nor is it ever stiff or archaic. She is able to translate dialogue into warm and natural voices, in which one can literally hear intonations. That talent and craft add immensely to her capacity for character development. Her characters' language can be humorous, witty, sarcastic, and moving, but never unnatural or contrived. This story turns her usual technique completely on its head. In this story, she renders the dialogue between Fëanor and Manwë a high and lofty style, similar in its tone to certain sections of The Silmarillion. However, while doing so, she does not sacrifice her ability to develop character and convey convincing voices. I am not a great fan of what I often, in a fit of impatience when I read it poorly done, call “pseudo-archaic.” Elfscribe’s dialogue could not be further from that unfortunate clumsy of use of the archaic. It not only works in this piece, but also greatly enhances the story. I am impressed. Her characterization of both Fëanor and Manwë is masterful. I adore the first look we get at Feanor through Manwe’s point of view: [“Fëanor turned and looked up. He turned with a warrior’s precision as he pulled his sword; his long dark hair and cloak spun and settled around him. His armor was cleverly wrought: black inlaid with silver, the helm topped with a fiery red plume. Never did Fëanor set his hand to anything that was not well done. All about him crackled with reckless beauty. Truly, he was the most wonderful and terrible of Eru’s creations.”] That is purely and simply Tolkien’s Fëanor perfectly described and I absolutely am convinced that Manwë would have seen him that way as well. If the style and characterization were not enough to make this a wonderful story, she takes on the whole complex theme of the nature of the Silmarili and the manner of their creation and spins an entire theory around these which is not in any way incompatible with the canon sources. Yet this is gradually throughout the piece revealed both to the reader and to Manwë. She also takes on a very interesting concept that I have seen very few writers handle so well, which is how does the corporeal form a Maia or Vala might take affect what they physically experience, and how that could change how they perceive reality under those conditions. Pandemonium does this well and effectively in her stories about Sauron as Annatar. Elfscribe uses a similar logic in depicting Manwë's responses to Fëanor refracted through the prism of a bodily form, which is not identical to, but similar to and compatible with that of an Elf. In this story, Manwë's godlike control of his responses and reactions short circuit and cause him and Fëanor a whole lot of trouble. It is a sad and tragic story with a twist and is intellectually stimulating on a whole series of different levels. I highly recommend this creative and original version of the roots of Fëanor's frustration, anger, and despair, which lead to his rebellion against the Valar and a whole new vision of Manwë’s role in the entire disaster.

Reviewed by: Keiliss -- Score: 10

No matter how many times I read this, I am still struck by how simply and clearly Feanor’s obsession with the Silmarils is explained – not a materialistic desire for possessions, but something far deeper and more potent, going beyond symbolism to explain how in their making a part of himself became one with them, and why. I remember mentioning when this was first posted that I was reminded of Sauron leaving part of himself within the One… Loved the descriptions, something at which Elfscribe excels, and the pervading sense of too little, too late. The atmosphere in the camp when Manwë arrives feels as it should, and Feanor is – beautiful. That was the first thing I noticed when I first read this, that he is beautiful. Most writers don’t bother to mention that fact, but how else would he be, considering who and what he is? I loved the way the passions of the flesh took Manwë almost by surprise and carried him away in a manner that kept him coming back, hungering for more. Sadly he is in many ways very similar to Zeus, and like Zeus he has no courage when faced with his wife’s anger and tears, and the stage was set for the long tragedy of the Noldor to play itself out. Cooler heads, higher courage, and it could all have ended quite differently.

Reviewed by: Moreth -- Score: 7

I must applaud Elfscribe's rendition of Fëanor and the reason behind the creation of Silmarils. Not often does someone write a Fëanor who is not either simply an arrogant idiot, or glowing hero. Elfscribe's Fëanor is hurt and desperate (Oh yeah, and arrogant ;P). In this story his desperation to recover the jewels has a very sound basis. The sex scene (let's be blunt, the story contains a sex scene!) is interestingly written. The uncertainty of a Vala in an incarnate form is explored, but what I am most impressed by is the way that Manwë's emotional response is rendered through music. Now that is very appropriate. I personally have no issues with 'ArchaicSpeek' provided it is grammatically correct - and here Elfscribe delivers! Very well done indeed. Although I'm not certain about the canonical value of Melkor helping to define the Silmarils, who's going to let that stand in the way of a good story?

Reviewed by: Ignoble Bard -- Score: 6

I thoroughly enjoyed this depiction of Manwe and Feanor, a pairing I never would have thought could work, but which Elfscribe has brought off so perfectly here. I like her description of Feanor [A restless brilliance married to great passion] and she does an excellent job of showing us both. One imagines such restlessness would be also a part of the make up of a Lord of Winds and, indeed, it seems that Manwe, once awakened to the possibilities, finds in Feanor a match of his own restlessness and passions. Feanor’s creation of the Silmarils in response to his desire for Manwe and thereby his desire to create jewels of great beauty as a tribute to the Vala he so idolized is deftly done. As is their conversation about the how and why of Silmaril’s creation. In a story so rich in detail and character, the beautifully written erotica is the icing on the cake.