Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Innocence

Author: Dwimordene
Nominator: Dwimordene
2010 Award Category: Genres: Character Study: General Drabbles - First Place

Story Type: Drabble : Length: True Drabble
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: One hundred words for Tari's birthday. Words mean something. How Lúthien of Doriath got her name.


Reviewed by: Clodia -- Score: 10

This drabble provides such a vivid and deliriously beautiful explication of Luthien's name that I find myself hard-pressed not to babble incoherently and repeat over and over how remarkably true it seems to me. 'True' is possibly not the best word to use here, but I find it hard to think of a better one, unless perhaps we should accept that sometimes fanfiction rises very close to canon. For such a symbolically powerful and canonically key character, Luthien tends to receive surprisingly (and I would say depressingly) little attention from those of us who play in Tolkien's sandbox; in the latter stages of the First Age she sang Sauron into the ground and enchanted Morgoth into sleep, so that Beren might cut a Silmaril from the original Dark Lord's iron crown, and here Dwimordene gives us Luthien in her youth: from a child who listens to the world to Melian the Maia Queen's daughter who shakes the listening world by speaking. [For she spoke mountains. Beauty. Fire. Passion. Sleep—that between life and death that makes souls rise from flesh.] No mere maiden frolicking prettily beneath the boughs of Doriath, this! Dwimordene portrays with great and eloquent precision the power and the splendour, and also a touch of the danger, of this daughter of Melian and Thingol, a Maia and one of the forefathers of the Elves. And I think that one of the most delightful things about this drabble is that it captures the glory of Luthien Tinuviel without referring at all to her famous good looks. Thank you, Dwimordene, for such a beautiful glimpse of Melian's daughter!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 9

Dwimordene pulls out some of the most fascinating nuances in the characters she chooses to write. Sometimes these things come from Tolkien's more ambiguous personalities, but at other times, she surprises everyone with insights that immediately make sense but that just haven't been fully realized before. The latter seems to hold sway here, because while no one in the Silmarillion is really fleshed out, Luthien seems to have more characterization than most. But I'd never taken the time to back trace Luthien's power in Song and apply it to a whimsical child who doesn't quite understand her own potential. The possibilities are endless, and thankfully Melian is on hand to put a stop to it. I love the idea that this is where Luthien gets her name, and I love even more the idea that Melian forestalled but did not completely curtail this talent in her child. It makes me wonder if Melian foresaw Luthien's eventual need for such a gift or if she decided to let Luthien make her choices and find her own path while possessing a [polyphonic voice], as Dwimordene calls it later on in the author notes. I really do love the pieces that make me see origins and beginnings to characters.

Reviewed by: Azalais -- Score: 5

The thing I love best about Dwim's fic is that she so often manages to make me see Arda in a new way, or points out something which once stated seems blindingly obvious, but that had never occurred to me before. This drabble does just that - looks at an Elf whose song was powerful enough for Mandos to overturn, just for once, the destinies of First- and Secondborn, and says, "what might that power be without any wisdom or learnt control?" I love the idea that [As a child, she listened—to kings and counselors, hounds and horses, bees and beetles], the smallest insects looming as large in Luthien's interests as the great of the earth. As ever, Dwim's terse drabbling style manages to pack an awful lot into 100 words.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

How wonderful to read this once more! "Luthien," we are told, means "enchantress," and "enchantress" means a woman who commands magic via chants or songs. This drabble tells how it was that Melian was moved to name her daughter, finding the magic of the child's voice too intense. What a strange and awe-filling manner of looking at the greatest Elven maiden to ever grace Middle Earth! Dwim has given us a fantastic and powerful glimpse of the power that in the end led this woman to move even Namo to pity in his own halls. By recognizing the language usage Tolkien himself assigned to Luthien's name, Dwim again demonstrates her own mastery of the medium!

Reviewed by: Elleth -- Score: 4

This was just lovely - the image itself that lead Dwimordene to write this ficlet as much as the outcome, paying tribute to Luthien's tremendous power even as a child. Wonderfully done, her life before Beren's appearance is not often considered, and (as in so many of Dwimordene's works) the language use here leaves very little to still be desired, managing a distinct Tolkienic echo and great poetical beauty.

Reviewed by: Oshun -- Score: 4

This is an interesting concept and beautifully executed. I like the idea that Melian tempers the powers of her daughter. It is fascinating to think about Luthien as a bit of super heroine in a very modern sense within the context of Tolkien's world, where he often introduces the magic possessed by his actors in a smoother and more integrated way, often strong but usually more subtle. Luthien is blatant. So it feels logical that her magic needed to be controlled in her childhood.

Reviewed by: Phyncke -- Score: 3

This is an elegantly beautiful piece like the elf, Luthien herself and one can imagine this moment happening. It is magical and mystical and very spiritual. I really loved this and how Melian loves her daughter so and bestows the name. Truly magical, really wondrous.

Reviewed by: Elfique -- Score: 3

I particularly enjoyed this little ficlet because it carried a very Tolkien-ish feel in the way its been written, especially in the dialogue (which is wonderful). It's short but sweet as it were. The short one word sentences are really punchy and really add to the power of the words.

Reviewed by: Virtuella -- Score: 3

I enjoyed this very poetic drabble, though I confess I am now somewhat at a loss what to say about it. The music of its prose matches the music of the words it describes, the scene is utter simplicity and utter enchantment. It is a very beautifully written, strongly evocative piece which paints a portrait with very few words.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 3

Dwimordene has taken a very Tolkienish notion -- the power of words -- and run with it in an unexpected and intriguing direction in this drabble, which explores the fascinating notion of the "magical" power of Lúthien's voice. Highly intriguing.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 2

Powerful and wonderfully down, as I've come to expect from you. Yes, I knew the meaning of the name and like very much how you've woven it in.