Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Descent

Author: Dwimordene
Nominator: dkpalaska
2007 Award Category: Times: Early Third Age: 1-2850 TA - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Gondor is sliding towards war. Two boys brought together by the very forces tearing the kingdom apart sit and talk and wonder about the future. Written in the spirit of the Tolerance challenge at HA Yahoo Group.


Reviewed by: dkpalaska -- Score: 10

The Kin-strife is not often addressed in fanfiction, but has a wealth of open territory to explore as an awful and complex period in Gondor's history. Here we get an insightful "ground-level" view of the forces closing around the common man in the impending war. I have always loved the way that Dwimordene writes political situations and this is no exception. The story revolves around two wonderful, believable OC's, and the use of such young protagonists allows a unique viewpoint of mixed innocence and experience. They know what is coming, and although they lack a full understanding of the politics, both boys recognize how it might impact their lives. Their dialects and interactions, and all the lovely touches of authentic-feeling culture, are very well done; as is the distasteful and revealing interlude between the bigoted guards at the end. The setting is delightfully rendered: the docks, the descriptions of the hustling and multi-racial Row. I am left with a very a clear picture in my mind, and love the image of Pelargir as the mercantile crossroads of southern Arda. We finish with a beautifully descriptive and heart-chilling ending that points to the looming "first great evil": the rebellion against the rightful king, the siege and breaking of Osgiliath, and the terrible and pointless loss of many of the best men of the southern kingdom.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 6

Strange though it may seem, I am as wary of stories containing nothing but original characters as the next person. But I will always read Dwimordene's. Her sons of the North and South have their own culturally unique brands of fatalism as they contemplate their families' current difficulties and the prospect of war on the horizon. In a way, children are the wisest of us all, in that they can reach across the gulfs of race and culture to extend hands in friendship, and this story beautifully illustrates that. Though circumstance would seem to spare them from the possibility of fighting against each other on opposite sides, one gets the idea that a permanent parting will happen all too soon. This is an era that not many people write fic for but it is beautifully dilineated by Dwimordene.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 6

A sad and haunting story of two boys in Pelargir who are soon to leave childhood behind, in the shadow of the Kin-strife that will soon set Gondor aflame. The boys, one a fair-haired son of Northmen, and the other a dark-skinned descendant of Haradrim, are both outsiders in Pelargir; their parents struggling to live in one of the poorer districts; since political pressures prevent their fathers from finding their usual work. Dwimordene masterfully depicts a friendship between the two; and shows how that friendship, and the boys themselves, is at risk from forces far beyond the two boys' control. The last paragraphs are utterly chilling; the unknown guards echo genoicidal bigots in our own Age; and the imminent death of Valacar is a death-knell that we can hear, but the boys, as they run to eat cakes, cannot. Wonderful commentary on the utter ruthlessness of historic events.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 6

The backdrop for this story comes alive in all its bustling, colourful activity; it appeals to all the senses in sound, scent and sight and forms a true three-dimensional picture. I very much enjoyed the multi-cultural aspect of this story, how Pelargir is seen as a melting pot of many different influences. Both this story and ["A Very Rain of Sparrows"] are concerned with the Kin-Strife, and both show this important era in Gondor's history, the political implications, the upheaval in the lives and society of the citizens, from the low level of children belonging to the common populace. This makes for narrative infused with tension, but subtly, filtered through the limited comprehension and perception of the protagonists at the same time as their everyday life and little personal concerns are of more immediate interest to them, without perhaps realising just how much the greater events impinges on those.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

This is a delightful little interlude, developing a lot of the world of Gondor during the Kinslaying. Even though there are all original characters, it is wonderfully tied to the politics of book-canon!Gondor. The names in particular were foreign enough to make it clear that both boys were not native to Gondor. I really liked this slice of life.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

Valacar is dying, and already Eldecar and Castamir are in contention, with those who dwell in Pelargir caught in the midst of the tug-of-war for rule. A thoughtful look at how this situation affects the lives of two from disparate homelands, come to dwell midway between their worlds.