Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Do Not Go Gentle

Author: Elleth
Nominator: Lyra
2009 Award Category: Times: First Age and Prior: Featuring Maedhros or Maglor - Second Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: Mature -- Reason for Rating: (Implied) violence, description of battle wounds, character death.
Summary: The death of FŽanor as witnessed by Maedhros, and how the story took shape as we know it.

Reviewed by: Lyra -- Score: 10

The most amazing part about this story is that it truly works like a film scene for me: There are so many sharp, vivid details that events unfold before my eyes as I read it. It not only inspires a cinema show in my mind, but brings its own DVD! Tears, blood, sweat and ashes, as well as Maedhros' (he tells the tale) memories and emotions, truly become tangible. All this is accomplished without coming across as either gory, sensationalist or sterile; instead the story is told in a very sober, sympathetic and honest style, making it all the more heartwrenching. The cruel details of the damage and the thoughts they inspire in Maedhros as he tries to come to terms with his father's condition are interspersed cleverly, adding up slowly rather than overwhelming the reader in one long list of injuries. The reader practically realises the extent of the damage along with Maedhros, slowly arriving at the realisation that Feanor will die, slowly beginning to wonder how to go on. The reactions that Maedhros observes in his brothers Ė ranging from denial to impatience to anger Ė are also very convincing. Even though most of the brothers are only briefly mentioned, their different characters shine through clearly. A very moving and convincing look at Feanor's last moments and his sons' way of dealing with his impending death Ė and an interesting take on the origin and purpose of the Elessar we see in [The Lord of the Rings]. Maglor's "prettified" account of the messy, not quite glorious truth is a great final touch.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213 -- Score: 9

[Do Not Go Gentle], an excellent addition to the compendium of Elleth's stories of the FŽanorians, tells the gritty and moving coda of FŽanor's life through the eyes of his eldest son, Maedhros. The tale unfolded for this reader with so vividly and with such harsh reality that the story is now ingrained in my mind as "how it was." Elleth does not shy away from the grave injuries that contributed to FŽanor's demise nor does she flinch from the raw emotion experienced by Maedhros who clutches the healing stone (a very neat touch here) with the realization that it is useless here. The dynamics among the brothers, particularly between Maedhros and Curufin -- something of a harbinger of what is to come -- as they watch their father stubbornly cling to life are well-drawn. Death does not come gently to FŽanor, and at the end, his last gesture is to swear the oath, which he cannot complete due to his injuries, but the oath, jagged with pain, is taken up by his sons. The final scene -- when the spirit of fire consumes his dead body -- is incredible. Elleth's excellent wordsmithing is such that one can imagine this grisly -- but necessary and powerful -- scene unfolding. Well done, Elleth!

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 8

There is some really wonderful tone work that makes this story. Maedhros may be the main character (or at least the character sharing his thoughts with readers), but the movement and driving force behind the tale is this fantastic tone. It begins with despair and helplessness, and I love the way that Maedhros's thoughts seem to tumble away from him like he can't control them and sometimes can't even finish them. Then comes this aching, yearning feeling that stretches and strains for something that it never quite touches. Feanor's last moments were particularly poignant as Maedhros acknowledge the glory and greatness of his father while at the same time noting that it's just not enough. His father's efforts weren't enough and his own efforts weren't enough. No matter how hard they try, it's not enough. And the story closes as a hard, almost relentless wall seems to go up in Maedhros's mind. Shouldering the responsibility for his brothers, he moves them forward, telling himself that ["in the end, what did it matter? Death was death. He was gone. We marched on."] A wonderful and chilling gambit of emotions and a fantastic tribute to Feanor's last moments.

Reviewed by: Rhapsody -- Score: 6

This story rolls along so gently, yet the actions of the characters do not. What a marvellous piece and so many questions come to mind when reading this. Did Maedhros truly not know how to wield the Elessar or did he not want to use it for this. That thought alone sheds a different light on Maedhros motives. The bond between Curufin and his father is so well explored and since the author has already expressed that FŽanor cannot speak, Curufin's action just feel so natural and it fits so right that it is he who resembles his father the most starts to swear the oath anew. This bit just stands out: [They looked nearly the same, and now their voices also were near-indistinguishable, the same timbre and quality and the sharp consonant sounds they preferred over the more docile majority.] The helplessness of the others, especially that of the twins is so well conveyed and the story keeps you in its grasp until the very end, where it leaves you to wonder why the loremasters ended up with such a glorious version of such a brutal death. Such graceful prose and what a great gapfiller Elleth!

Reviewed by: whitewave -- Score: 4

I've always enjoyed all of Elleth's stories about the "doomed" Feanorians. This one was particularly dramatic and dark but makes for great reading nonetheless. I especially appreciated that this was narrated in Maedhros's point-of-view. My favorite line was Maedhros's: [But with no one else to turn to, they followed even me.] Describing the death of Feanor is not an easy task but Elleth's portrayal was convincing. How very fitting to show Feanor's favorite son being the most visibly affected about his father's demise.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 4

As Elleth has noted, perhaps this is indeed somewhat AU. It is definitely compelling as we see the Elessar stone given to Maedhros by Feanor before he died, although Maedhros could not wield it to effect his father's cure, made apparently as it was to gather and reflect Light to bring about renewal and healing. Nice to think that the Elessar might have been created by Feanor himself; and a horrible death for the all to witness. Again, a powerful and compelling story, well told.

Reviewed by: Lissa -- Score: 4

And no, he does not go gently. But then we would not have expected him to. FŽanor's last moments as described here are a harrowing experience for his sons who grew up in a land without death and who, consequently, do not know how to deal with it. The scene is gruesome; this is not the glamorous death described in the brief lines in The Silmarillion, but stark reality, and so much more believable for it. Thank you for sharing!

Reviewed by: Alassante -- Score: 3

A very sad and moving tale of the death of Feanor told by his oldest son. Wonderfully and realistic thoughts from a son losing his father after a horrific battle. Very true to the voice of Maedhros.

Reviewed by: WendWriter -- Score: 3

This is an interesting glimpse into the minds of the Feanorians as they cradled their dying father. The idea that the last thing on his mind was the jewels he had gone to retrieve is hammered home, and the brothers' reactions all the more believable from the way you wrote it.

Reviewed by: crowdaughter -- Score: 3

Powerful and stunning. The stark reality of death, especially of the death of a loved one, the helplessness in the face of that death, is described intensely and compelling, here. The contrast with the fanaticism the oath causes in some of the other sons works well. Very well done!

Reviewed by: NeumeIndil -- Score: 2

Pity for Maedhros was easy to come by, but I was a little lost near the end regarding the ashes/embers and his passing. Still, a very enjoyable (though not pleasant) story.

Reviewed by: Sevilodorf -- Score: 1

Shudder.... very descriptive and heartbreaking at the same time.