Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Unwilling

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: Imhiriel
2008 Award Category: Races: Elves: Drabbles - First Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: 100 words; for the Remembrances Challenge, January 2008. An Avari contemplates the vast changes wrought in Middle-earth during the Dominion of Men.


Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 10

I love how this drabble uses the limit of the form to its fullest extent to tell a sweeping tale spanning many Ages of the world to deliver its "message" to best effect. You find yourself enchanted by the pictures that are evoked before your eyes as you read, of primaeval nature, unspoiled, lush and so fresh you can nearly smell it, or hear the songs the Avari sing to the stars. I like that there is little antagonism towards the other Elves who did follow the summons to Aman, just a dispassionate statement of fact, a calm disagreement and correction, and presenting of their own PoV. The more poignant is this calm narration when telling of the ruin of this paradise by the exploitation of Men, hiding the grief and horror the Elves must feel at having to witness this and being unable to prevent it. It's as if the narrator makes a last "witness statement", just to be able to have it out there, to have spoken it out loud, before fading out of existence like so much of what was pristine and beautiful. And yet, going by the last heartbreaking lines, the world as it now is doesn't care, doesn't even notice. What I also appreciate is the extensive author's notes, which further show how much care and thought went into every detail in this drabble.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

Yet again, Elena Tiriel has produced a drabble of great subtlety, wisdom and poetry. In this piece about one of those who refused the Great Journey from Cuivienen, she offers us a glimpse of a rarely-heard voice that speaks quietly but with enormous power. The drabble sets up a series of contrasts that give us a new insights on the Avari and their response to the world, from their simple pleasures at being within Illuvatar's creation to their horror at the changes wrought by Men as they shape the world in modern times. One can see clearly why the Avari were so early divided from their brethen who had made the journey, and spent their energies on devising works and waging war over them. The most poignant line in the drabble is the elf's grief that we humans ["stole our beloved stars from the night"] -- as someone living in a highly light-polluted area, I can attest that this is all too sadly true. The end of the drabble provides moving closure, as the elf's passing is unmarked by those rushing around their busy lives. In short, this piece is a wonderful meditation on modern life, and I think also a concrete manifestation of Elena Tiriel's own approach to her art. As someone whose own output is prolific and somewhat disposable, I was only wishing today that I had the patience and persistence consistently she shows to work and rework her drabbles to achieve such perfection in them. She has a gift for this literary form that I deeply envy!

Reviewed by: Robinka -- Score: 4

Sometimes, I wonder what an elf would have said or thought about us – modern people, and our civilization, but then I think that I don’t even want to know. In her excellent drabble, Elena conveyed the feeling of utter helplessness that an elf of the Avari experiences upon seeing what people have done to their home, and that is a very sad and hopeless conclusion. Those that were faithful to Middle Earth, even though called the Unwilling once, fade, and hardly anyone seems to notice that. Excellent, though-provoking writing.

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 4

One of the Avari mourns the loss of his Middle-earth to Men, and the abominations committed on nature. A very contemporary and alarming drabble for all its fantasy background: It could easily have happened this way. The vanishing Avari and the falling dewdrop gain such significance here, seeing how the Eldar are bound to waters of all kinds and both go unnoticed. I liked this very much, and will certainly make sure to watch a little better in the future - who knows what we might otherwise miss.

Reviewed by: Isabeau of Greenlea -- Score: 3

A lovely drabble that seems to have relevance in what happens today. I was particularly struck by the observation that Men had stolen the stars. So many folks today who live in cities never see them.

Reviewed by: Dawn Felagund -- Score: 3

This is a perfect example of the beauty that can be wrought within the small confines of a drabble. This piece is heart-wrenching and beautifully executed. The idea of "unwilling" versus "faithful" give Tolkien's history a much-needed look from the perspective of those whose outlook is not represented in his works.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 3

This drabble really makes me resent the frenetic pace of modern life, not to mention traffic jams and noise; even though I'm happily high-tech; it's just so sad. Tolkien would approve of the piece, and it reminds me of his attitude and themes.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

To see the reasons why one of the Green Elves found himself fading is a sad affair; and the final expression of that fading is both poignant and powerful in its imagery. Excellently written.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 3

What a powerful, compelling drabble, capturing in but a few words the viewpoint of the Avari, and the fate of a faded elf. This is marvelous, and will stay with me for a long time. Thank you for writing and sharing!

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 3

I'm impressed with those who have mastery of the short form, and Elen Tiriel is among the best. This is a succinct, searing indictment from an Avor to Man's lack of stewardship of the earth, tying the ancient world of those who remained in Middle-earth to our contemporary times with a sad subtle coda.

Reviewed by: SĂșlriel -- Score: 2

I love the contrasting, complimentary point of view of this drabble. It's brilliant and vivid in it's clarity of faithfulness in spite of unending loss.

Reviewed by: Lindelea -- Score: 2

Heart-rending, so much feeling, so many images sketched in so few words. Masterful power of description. [Men rushing by the solitary, gnarled yew overlooked the single dewdrop that clung, trembling, to the tip of a twig.]

Reviewed by: Keiliss -- Score: 2

Very evocative and haunting. Paradise lost indeed. I like the way it starts off slowly and then speeds up, intensifies, when Men become part of the world. Lovely last line, too.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland -- Score: 2

I loved this poignant account of the fading of the Elves from M-E,especially the tear drop on the ancient tree.

Reviewed by: Avon -- Score: 2

Such an unusual point of view - and I really loved the first line. For one hundred words it managed to convey a remarkable amount of anger and mourning.

Reviewed by: nancylea -- Score: 1

and all the earth should weep uncontrollably. loss, such loss.

Reviewed by: Bodkin -- Score: 1

Holding on beyond reason - but everyone has a breaking point. His time is come.

Reviewed by: viv -- Score: 1

That last line is a doozy.

Reviewed by: elliska -- Score: 1

Amazingly well captured sentiment in so few words. Very powerful!