Reviews for Sunday, November 1, 2009
Title: No Traveler Returns · Author: Ignoble Bard · Genres: Drama · ID: 94
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:04
I think Ignoble Bard really captures the irreversibility of death well. What is so painful, and so maddening in this piece is that everyone immediately understands why the newly dead Elf cannot possibly grasp how forgetting and letting go of his family is in any way good or necessary - it is to ask too much of anyone. There is no consolation to be had in any promise of future happiness: there is no compensation for what is lost. To do what Mandos knows is necessary requires a level of trust between the self and the warden of the dead that seems unbearably high - so much so that the wonder is that anyone finite ever manages it.
Title: The River · Author: Indigo Bunting · Times: Ring War: Quest of the Ring · ID: 61
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:11
I remember reading this a few years ago as a WiP for the MEFAs. Congratulations to Indigo Bunting for bringing it to a close! Somewhere between gapfiller and AU - gapfiller in that Indigo takes seriously the threat of spies dogging the Fellowship, AU in that I'm still not sure medically one could tie this back into the story - [The River] makes you feel the terror of not knowing whether the Fellowship, or at least a couple of its members, will make it to their appointed dates with destiny.
This is an ensemble piece - all members of the Fellowship get their chance to shine and be a perspective on the action. The first two thirds, if not more, of the story just sweep the reader along with the action, giving one no real pause to do anything but gulp at intervals; the last several chapters take a different, more introspective turn, focusing on the effects of war on those who have just entered it for the first time. I'm a little ambivalent about that - not that I don't appreciate that angle, but after such a tense story, the shift to a more introspective end leaves me a little bit stunned myself.
But in any event, lots of good characterization here, and a well-told tale all the way through. So happy to see this again and in finished form, Indigo!
Title: The Giver and the Gifted · Author: annmarwalk · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 274
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:25
A nice pair of drabbles - I love Denethor's assessment of the idea of giving Finduilas jewelry. Mormegil comes through with the means for his master to bestow a fitting gift - a great little gapfiller, Ann!
Title: Think Of A World Without Any Harvest · Author: Jay of Lasgalen · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 260
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:35
Very visceral, and so appropriate a theme. Bringing out the degree to which the Dark Lord and his servants can turn even the earth against itself and against all those who depend on it is tricky, but this drabble succeeds. The idea that people might be reduced to trying the toadstools out of desperation is very poignant and that understated, mostly hinted at situation brings home just how bad things are in Mirkwood.
Title: The Hardest Month · Author: curiouswombat · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 788
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:41
Understated and sweet, this drabble reminds us how thin the line is between life and death, and not just for Rangers in extraordinary circumstances.
Title: Little Brother and Little Sister · Author: Tanaqui · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 696
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:49
A very seasonal story for me! I like the idea of Eowyn telling her brother scary stories, rather than the reverse.
Title: Pride of Place · Author: Linda Hoyland/Raksha the Demon CoAuthors · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 756
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:57:56
I like the tension in Denethor's mind when it comes to his Rohirric allies: on the one hand, he appreciates their prowess, on the other, he has no appreciation of the culture or inclination to learn the language. This makes his own contempt of their struggles with Westron stand out the stronger, and since I love it when language gets highlighted as playing a role in cross-cultural/class interactions, I loved this point.
Denethor has a number of such contradictions in him, most of them stemming from that titular pride in the place that he takes to be his proper, not to be challenged by any other. Thorongil presents a problem precisely because Denethor recognizes in him someone who could, if he wished, challenge him. Naturally, his self-consolatory last line hits a high note of irony in light of all of that.
Title: The Maegd Feorran · Author: Nancy Brooke · Times: Pre-Ring War · ID: 89
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:58:05
Thengel is said to have spoken Westron in his home, and to have been loathe to take up the rule of Rohan. One forgets that he did have children, and those children might have been born and raised to Gondorian custom. Lacking any connection to Rohan and the duties of their own station there, leaving Gondor would undoubtedly have been extremely trying for them.
Morwen's portrayal here is nicely done, even though she doesn't speak but once, through her daughter's memory and pen. It reads right for a woman of her station, in a feudal aristocracy - this is the strength she has to have to endure, and that her daughter will have to learn.
Title: The Search and the Song · Author: Elen Kortirion · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 567
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:58:14
An interesting and unexpected choice of setting for young Estel! Reading this on Halloween, it feeds right into the eeriness of the season, yet one gets the sense of a world that is not actively hostile to its seekers - a good sign for one Estel!
Sweet and enjoyable.
Title: Son of Durin · Author: Elena Tiriel · Times: Pre-Ring War: Drabbles · ID: 535
Reviewer: Dwimordene · 2009-10-31 14:58:20
Oh dear! I know this conversation, though I don't have the easy justification that Gloin can give his impetuous son. Gimli's youthful desire to follow in his father's footsteps, but skip all the training that he can't see as directly related to becoming a metalsmith, reads very true of young boys of a certain age.
As a bonus, I think this may be the first time I've seen anyone try to write Gimli's childhood - thanks for this glimpse, E.T.!
Title: The Age of Men · Author: Altariel · Times: Post-Ring War and Beyond: Drabbles · ID: 467
Reviewer: Marta · 2009-10-31 17:41:48
What an interesting twist on the end of the Ring War! It answers a sort-of latent unease I always had with the books, with their connection (mostly) of nobility-of-character with nobility-of-social-status. It is nice to see Gondor portrayed in this way, and was very thought-provoking to boot. Nice work, Altariel.
Title: Boquet · Author: Fileg · Races: Hobbits: Drabbles · ID: 472
Reviewer: Marta · 2009-10-31 20:43:24
Oh, this was just lovely! I could so see Rosie objecting to names like that. It just felt so delightfully human, very light and fun. (Though I'm not sure, given his habit of naming sons by copying other peoples' names, whether she should push *too* hard for him to pick another tack...)