Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Fell and Fair

Author: Elena Tiriel
Nominator: Tanaqui
2009 Award Category: Times: Second and Early Third Age - Third Place

Story Type: Story : Length: Medium Length
Rating: Teen -- Reason for Rating: scenes of battle and its aftermath; desperation born of extreme poverty
Summary: a medium-length story, told in ~140 drabbles (100 words apiece), with novel-length Author's Notes What might have happened if Elladan and Elrohir had fought in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant? How would they be remembered in the legends of other races? A story told in drabbles, depicting events surrounding the battle, and its widening repercussions for the sons of Elrond and others.

Reviewed by: Tanaqui -- Score: 10

I am both delighted and saddened that Elena Tiriel has finished this masterwork. Delighted, because it means it gets to compete once more in the MEFAs and be brought to the attention of a wider readership. Saddened because it means there will be no more gems added to this epic tale that spans many hundred years as she explores the semi-canonical participation of the Sons of Elrond in the Battle of the Field of Celebrant. One of the most extraordinary things about this series is that each of the drabbles -- well over one hundred of them -- from which it is formed is capable of standing alone as an example of the drabblist's art. Elena Tiriel has not sliced a long story into chunks of one hundred words but created a series of interlinked drabbles each of which has its own sequence of rising action and resolution. To do so while providing the reader with an exciting and engaging ongoing story is a remarkable technical achievement. With so many excellent drabbles and so many different voices speaking, it's hard to pick out favourite parts or to identify the outstanding from the merely good. However, I would give special mention to a few. The sequence set in the Balcoth homelands [2511 Third Age] is haunting in exposing the terrible cost of war on a culture. The thoughts of the various combatants during the battle itself [15 April, the Battle] add depth to an exciting action sequence. The section covering Eomund and his family [2995 Third Age and 3002 Third Age] is a delightful exploration of how history passes into folklore. And Eorl dissing Galadriel to Ellladan and Elrohir [12 April, Late Morning] and Elrohir's retort ["She is our grandmother."] always makes me laugh out loud. Just looking through the chapter list, I find so many other parts I want to mention.... Suffice it to say that this is a brilliant work, and I would urge everyone to read it.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon -- Score: 10

This is a superb drabble-series; breathtaking in scope and ambition. The effort to research the storyline, which flows over some six hundred years or more, from Lothlorien to Rivendell to the Balchoth homeland and into the West, must have been staggering, even for a researcher of Elena Tiriel's caliber. And yet, she makes it all look easy. It's not just a tale of the rage of two sons over their mother's torment, and the vengeance they take. The story covers battle and tragedy, victory, the breaking of families, Elves and Men and orcs and trolls, Eorl in glory, Arador's death, the reunion of the twins with their parents, a glimpse of Lorien traditions, Balchoth preparations for war, the family life of Eomund and Theodwyn and their children, and more. Elena evokes so many different emotions from different peoples and cultures in more than 30 drabbles. It's hard to pick favorites among all these drabbled chapters; but I particularly enjoyed Galadriel's bringing of the mist, Arwen's leading the maidens in the preparation of the lembas; and Cirion's viewpoint chapters in the battled drabbles (Cirion being my second favorite Steward of Gondor; and he is well-served here). And the drabble about the fate of one Balchoth woman whose husband never comes home is haunting.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger -- Score: 10

I am floored at the ambition and scope of these drabbles. Spanning thousands of years, they tell a story that for the elves probably passed like moments. And told in drabbles, it unfolds as a series of moments. But these moments are more than just fragments of a greater whole. It's like a puzzle that you start putting together only to discover that every piece is its own story, separate and distinct yet still a part of the main tale. But while the twins may have made up a majority of the focal points, I have to admit that I found myself drawn to every drabble involving Celeborn and Galadriel. Their relationship in Lothlorien, their ability to laugh at misunderstandings long past, and their dedication and loyalty to one another as they aided Elladan and Elrohir in the race to the Field of Celebrant was heartening and wonderful to see. And then later, when they are separated, that previously warm relationship seems sapped of strength and vitality. It was like an elastic that was pulled too tight but refused to break. Beyond Celeborn and Galadriel, I also found myself drawn to the drabbles containing characters who only appeared briefly and then vanished, like the widows and the birds, and the doomed soldiers. Also, I was very moved by the drabble wherein Elladan and Elrohir bury Arwen. Something about their composed grief and reverent focus struck a chord in me. Beautiful and epic, all around!

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 10

This is a sprawling tapestry of Middle-earth history, with Elladan and Elrohir as the focal points, but with so many more small and not so small threads weaving it all together. A broad array of moods, characters, genres and details, from the most intimate, poignant character studies, to exciting action-packed battles . Suspense is built and sustained well, sometimes with the help of contrast through more light-hearted moments just as in real life. The characters and their relationships ring true, and complex, and are developed very convincingly (I also liked the use of flashbacks and sidebars to do this, as well as showing all sides of the core conflict, Gondorians and Éothéod, Orcs and Balchoth, deserters and loyal steeds, leaders and footmen, the twins and Elvish bystanders...). Elena Tiriel's grip on canon - both well-known and totally obscure - is sure as ever, seemingly effortless she can stitch together the most disparate details and information to one coherent, vivid entity. The extensive (hurray! *g*) author's notes demonstrate just how broad her sources were and how neatly she used them for the drabbles. The language is smooth, with a slightly formal, archaic touch, adapting itself to the mood of the respective drabbles, just as it does for the changing points of view (using fitting metaphors and turns of phrase for individual PoVs). The drabble format is cleverly used to highlight just the most poignant scene, the most evocative spotlight. The quality is consistently high, with many real gems.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene -- Score: 6

The difficulty with Elves is the time line: it's just so extended. Elena Tiriel's ficlet set undertakes to cover a huge swath of time, and from multiple perspectives. Continuity is a real challenge it's a bit like reading a braid: many strands that cross and cover each other to reemerge later. E. T. has to get readers to invest in the stories of the major, repeated elven characters to hold it together. At the same time, I must say, I think my favorite perspectives were those of characters who appeared only once or twice: the Balchoth war widow, the boy-warrior who died under the knife of an experienced Ithilien Ranger, whose view also stands out to me. Cirion's perspective for a time holds us steady and feels very real. It's an ambitious ficlet project, with many little gems tucked into it.

Reviewed by: Súlriel -- Score: 6

It's hard to fathom this is complete. (laughing - not that you would never complete it), but that the updates have been such a part of the fandom for me for so long. You've shown extraordinary talent in telling this tale. Drabbles are so very hard - to get the depth of emotion and characterization and to tell so much story as you tell in each one. As I read each one, I laugh and cry and curse in turn. You wring the readers heart in one and twist a knife in their gut in the next. Your points of view and characterizations are extraordinary. You are truly a gifted author and it shows clearly in each and every chapter of this story. I hope you are well pleased with your efforts these last years and I hope you have well rewarded yourself with a generous meal and a beverage of your choice - or some other precious reward. I can only sigh, sad it's over and yet content, and look forward to seeing your future projects.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 5

This tale of Elrond's family from the time of the wounding of Celebrian to the reunion with their mother when the twins arrive on the last ship from Middle Earth is truly a joy to read, particularly as each drabble tends to be from a different point of view. It tells in particular detail the battle of Celebrant, including the part played by Elladan and Elrohir as they arrived with Eorl the Young to succor the beleaguered Cirion of Minas Tirith. Well paced and well sequenced--definitely a drabble series to delight in, and particularly for those who love tales of the Peredhil!