Reviews for Thursday, October 29, 2009
Title: The Guardsman Comes Home · Author: Larner · Genres: Drama: Gondor · ID: 12
Reviewer: Virtuella · 2009-10-28 13:24:30
It's hard to imagine nowadays, with our digital photography, our blogs and live journals and video conferences, that one could be so cut off from a place as to have no idea what it looks like after years of change. You've shown that very well here, and it was lovely to see the Palantir put to such use, creating an image of the renewed city that the reader can picture just as vividly.
Title: Beating Down the Pain · Author: rhyselle · Genres: Drama: Aragorn · ID: 187
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2009-10-28 16:01:46
Vivid descriptions; Aragorn's thoughts and emotions are captured well. The actions of the Rangers, their decisions regarding their fallen, are plausible, if sad. I can understand that Aragorn might not know every detail of the customs of his people, and would find out many of them only by actually experiencing them.
Title: Of Orcs, Rangers, and Peach Pie · Author: Silivren Tinu · Genres: Drama: Aragorn · ID: 47
Reviewer: Imhiriel · 2009-10-28 16:02:54
Wonderfully spirited dialogue, funny despite the circumstances, and still the severity of those are not dismissed lightly. The bond between Halbarad and Aragorn is conveyed very well in the way they interact. The needed help through the twins' appearance - and the end of the story - comes a bit abruptly, but I liked their swift response to the situation.
Title: A Feast of Lemons · Author: Linda Hoyland · Races: Cross-Cultural: Drabbles · ID: 644
Reviewer: White Wolf · 2009-10-28 18:16:42
Our dear king and queen know how to make a guest at their table feel at ease while also shutting up those who made fun of his discomfort. A sweet little piece that made me smile.
Title: Mirror of Lies · Author: Alassante · Genres: Drama: House of Finwë · ID: 164
Reviewer: Robinka · 2009-10-28 19:09:58
Each of the clan of Feanor paid his price, but I think that Celebrimbor's was the cruelest one -- if we look at the grand scheme of things. And no way he might chose would bring him peace of mind. This is an excellent look at a very complex character. Well done!
Title: On a Field of Battle · Author: viv · Genres: Ficlets: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 73
Reviewer: Robinka · 2009-10-28 19:17:55
Clever and wonderfully composed a portrayal of Imrahil, in which he presents the many roles of his life: a commander, a lord and a father. Plus it is also a great challenge entry, which I enjoyed when I read it for the first time, and this time round I was glad to read it once again. Very effective and well written!
Title: Unweaving the Rainbow · Author: pandemonium_213 · Genres: Ficlets · ID: 418
Reviewer: Robinka · 2009-10-28 19:37:15
Pandemonium's stories are always a treat to discover what hides in them. Here, in a short fic, we can see the allusions to Tolkien's own views at epistemology, science and technology (which were ambivalent), scientists and those who preferred 'feeling' the world than exploring it with a looking glass of a researcher. Very beautifully written, poetic and absolutely thrilling a glimpse at the two Maiar and their debate. Thank you!
Title: Victim of the Unlight · Author: Alassante · Races: Elves: House of Finwë · ID: 69
Reviewer: Robinka · 2009-10-28 20:17:40
Chilling and heart-breaking fiction that shows the moment of Finwe's death at the hands of Melkor. A tragic history of his house begins, and this short look at the patriarch does him justice. Brava!
Title: The Fortunate Few · Author: elea24 · Genres: Ficlets: Gondor or Rohan · ID: 83
Reviewer: Robinka · 2009-10-28 20:38:30
This is a story that adds another emotional layer to an already intense moment, and with it a different perspective, in a most convincing way. The writing is beautiful, the scene -- vivid. Excellent read and a great addition to the challenge, for which it was submitted. Thank you!
Title: A Thief in the Night · Author: annmarwalk · Genres: Romance: Drabbles · ID: 558
Reviewer: Oshun · 2009-10-28 22:21:21
Ah! Eowen’s two loves: a story that continues to fascinate me. She is certainly not the type to fall easily and yet she did and twice in such short order! Never for a moment did I doubt that it was possible--a credit to Tolkien’s characterization of both Aragorn and, especially, Faramir. The phrase that Aragorn’s [“pity cut sharp and bitter as the winter wind, leaving her to ravaged pride and desperation”] is right on point as well.
[“The second came like a thief in the night”]: very nice explanation of Faramir sneaking up on her. Poor Eowyn, she did have a chance. Not dealing with a stupid guy here. One of things I always liked about Faramir. He would have noticed her reticence and played his cards carefully until he was sure of the cracks in her armour.
Title: Children's Play · Author: charli800 · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 235
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:29:22
I see Bilbo's influence is pervasive among the younger hobbits, even though he might discourage them from seeking adventures at such a young age. But his confirmation that Sam has used the word ["elitist"] correctly seems to indicate that Bilbo's already teaching Sam about letters and elves and possibly other things, too. Sam seems to have an usual urge to fight dragons, even if he doesn't believe in them. Charming little tale!
Title: The Maegd Feorran · Author: Nancy Brooke · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 89
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:31:22
Moving is never easy, and it isn't even necessary to read between the lines in this letter to see that this young woman does not necessarily appreciate the prospects awaiting her. In particular, I was amused by the throwback to Milton's ["Paradise Lost"] in this line where she wonders which is better, ["To serve in Gondor, or to rule in Rohan?"] I'm not sure that I would equate Gondor to heaven, but to this poor girl, it must have seemed like she was being forcibly cast out.
It was fascinating to see the stereotypes come out, and also to see the truth within the stereotypes. The love of the Rohirrim for their horses is obviously well known and has given rise to a lot of supposition and speculation. How much of that is true, Nancy Brooke doesn't say, but it certainly plays havoc in the letter. I also absolutely loved the descriptions of Lossarnach and Rohan. Having grown up around mountains, I always have trouble orienting myself in more open country, and I easily sympathized with trying to take in the vastness of it all.
Title: Pride of Place · Author: Linda Hoyland/Raksha the Demon CoAuthors · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 756
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:33:03
I love stories of the first meeting between Thorongil and Denethor, and Linda Hoyland and Raksha the Demon set up a beauty in this one. Several things are working against Denethor. He's been away, he's tired, he's enjoying the finer things accorded the Steward's son, and he's given enough time before supper to formulate a few expectations of this Thorongil. I enjoyed seeing how the people of Gondor stereotype the Rohirrim when they're not anxiously awaiting the arrival of the cavalry, and I enjoyed seeing Denethor quickly reassess the situation when those stereotypes aren't realized. The fact that Thorongil has apparently been in town for a while and formed a familiarity with Ecthelion that seems to almost surpass Denethor's creates an interesting dilemma, one that I think Denethor handles rather well. The fact that Thorongil answers Denethor's challenging look without actually returning the challenge feels exactly right for Aragorn and his purposes in Gondor. Great story of first meetings.
Title: A Game Well-Played · Author: Marta · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 469
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:36:22
Before saying anything else, I have to say that I would really like to see more excerpts from (or better still, a complete version of) ["The Philosophy of Kings"]. As engrossed as I was in the story unfolding between Faramir and Denethor, reading the separating sections was just as enjoyable and I kept wanting to know more about Middle-earth's leadership philosophy.
But back to the story, I felt almost like a voyeur here. More than any other story I've read, these seemed like intensely private moments in the lives of Faramir and Denethor. There's a sense that there are always agendas being juggled and motives being assuaged, but in spite of all that, this has the feel of sacrosanct time between father and son. And in the end, it seemed as though Faramir and Denethor (and the nameless clerk outside) felt the same, culminating in Faramir having his own key to the chess set and making his own move in relative privacy before Denethor allowed himself to go out and greet him. And this story spans far more than just these two characters. I love the inclusion of Imrahil and Theoden in the chess games, I laughed at the horror that must have ensued when Boromir knocked a game over, and I was intrigued at the thought of how Thorongil and Denethor might play. But even given this vast expanse of tidbits involving the rest of Middle-earth, the story was still intensely focused on its principle characters. If I could alter the title just a bit, it was a story well-written, and even that praise seems insufficient.
Title: A Lesson in the Library · Author: Pearl Took · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 114
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:37:57
Ah, I thought there was more to that old Boffin than first met the eye. Of course, that seems to generally be the case with hobbits anyway.
Fantastic story! I loved Pippin's frame of mind. As is all too often the case with grief, his emotions and feelings are all wound up together to the point where he's finding it difficult to separate one thing from another. He acts out against the books, he berates his snobbish relatives, he bemoans whose son he is, etc. It's a lot for a little hobbit to take on. Not only does Pearl Took have him dealing with grief, but he's dealing with the fact that his father is now the Thain. It's one thing to know that Ferumbras is unmarried and so the title will eventually make its way down Pippin's family line. It's another to have it actually happen. What an emotional turmoil, and it's written brilliantly!
Our visiting ghost is also written brilliantly, and his wisdom reminds me quite a bit of the little tidbits of advice that Frodo occassionally remembered from Bilbo. It seems the old adventurers all learned the same lessons, and I love the way that Rollo helps Pippin realize this lesson as opposed to just preaching it at him. A fabulous and quiet little moment in Pippin's early years.
Title: Birthright · Author: Marta · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 43
Reviewer: Thundera Tiger · 2009-10-28 23:39:55
I love the way this plays on the remark Gandalf made about the blood of Westernesse flowing nearly true in both Denethor and Faramir. I've always felt that the two had much more in common than a first glance at the books might indicate, and in this powerful little ficlet, Marta shows exactly how much in common they might have had if the fates had permitted it. Marta brings to life a Denethor who could easily grow into the man we meet later on during the War of the Ring. But initially, this is a youth who hasn't yet sacrificed his dreams and his arts, and it's almost painful to look at what might have been. His sacrifice on Gondor's behalf is noble and speaks of his love and devotion for his country, but I think Denethor is absolutely right when he argues (only to himself) that such a sacrifice is exactly what Sauron would want. Marta powerfully conveys that ["Birthright"] comes with privileges, but for Denethor (and in a sense, for all of Gondor), it also comes with a heavy cost.
Beyond getting a wonderful glimpse into Denethor's talents, I also enjoyed seeing some of the traits that would survive his sacrifice. The ability to ["to sit still and unnoticed"] is something I think Denethor would have often employed, both in court and on the field. His first uses of the palantir seem a natural extension of that, and I applaud Marta for uncovering that particular childhood echo.