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Back to Middle-earth 2009 ficlets
by:Dwimordene
 [11] Reviewer:Isabeau Date:March 25, 2009 9:07 PM
Awwwwww. Imrahil is at his best here-taking care of Andra instead of the other way around. And Andrahar's disgruntled internal dialogue had me chuckling the whole way through! Imrahil is also very canny in the way he uses his side of the blood-oath to inveigle Andra into the water-nothing less would probably serve!

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 [12] Reviewer:pandemonium_213 Date:April 19, 2009 11:47 PM
Dwim, this is a fantastic story! You captured the outriders of dread and excitement come before a big storm as it approaches across the plains. The cultural differences between the plainsmen and the "city boys" are nicely done. Torald -- the grizzled plainsman -- has an almost shamanistic quality here.

Most strikingly, the storm itself is a vivid character. The sound, the wind, the very air come to frightening but awesome life. You described that barometric pressure drop, e.g., "His ears wanted to stop; he opened his already dry mouth, and struggled against the sense that he couldn't breathe fast enough to pull air into his lungs, that the air actually drew the breath straight out of him." Oooooh, that is great stuff! The title and term horn of the kine, kine-horn storm are quite poetic and appropriately Tolkienized.

And all of this rings true. I grew up in East Central Illinois about 130 miles or so south of Chicago so I have serious experience with tornadoes, having taken refuge in our basement several times when I was a kid. I have heard that eerie sound. I was an undergrad in Champaign-Urbana when the huge storm system that spawned the Xenia monster passed through, and a funnel raked the trees between my dorm and where I was studying that day.

The horses' reactions also are realistic. When my father was a teenager, they still used big draft horses to plow the fields. He had a story of trying to control the pair of horses when a storm rolled in quickly and a funnel cloud formed above. He said it was one of the more hair-raising experiences of his life.

Honestly, this fic sent shivers down my spine as it triggered my memories of the storms that roll across the prairies, and it made me shiver in a good way.

Brava, Dwim!

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 [13] Reviewer:Denise Date:April 24, 2009 10:49 PM
So many, so good – I'll try to do them justice! I have the feeling I will run out of good descriptions and fall to repetitive adjectives, though. In every one the writing is superb and the descriptions original and brightly illuminating.

Ch. 1: Wonderful exploration of Olorin's character, newly arrived. I could truly feel the strangeness of his new home, and the sacrifice that he made (in all obedience) in coming so humbly. The first paragraph sets up the scene marvelously, with a world bright with modesty and freighted with secrets.

It is very easy to anthropomorphize the Valar and Maiar, but you've neatly sidestepped that and left me wholly aware of the otherness of this being, for whom the Song is still audible, the world less shy of him. And of course, I love the double-(triple?) meaning of the title, for fire/Fire/the eventual bearer of Narya who will enkindle Men's hearts.

Ch. 2: This is so delightful. The Éorlingas were a musical people... - well, yes! And that it finds such expression in Eowyn: you've captured it beautifully! How she wants to learn every dance, the noble and the common and the soldiers', and her indomitable spirit as she does so: it just vibrates so vividly in your writing. Then the death of that joy, the description of feeling the whole future fold itself up and fall away, and all her strength with it - but remnants of past joy are still in the dance, and I love that it holds a good part, if not all, of her eventual healing within it.

There is only one right answer to this question, and he fortunately has the wit to give it, and with grace. Yes, that’s our boy! *g*

Ch. 3: Excellent and realistic; I think you really "got" Imrahil's voice here and the aftermath of a big battle: the oncoming shock, forcing oneself to attend to duty, the horrible realization that Andra is in very bad shape indeed. (...as he cleaned and stitched, and cleaned and stitched, and stitched and stitched...; and that Andra's "sixth sense" of the world has gone.) I really enjoyed this - since I know that it all turns out right in the end! I can clearly project out from yours and Isabeau's vignettes of this event into his eventual complete realization in "Ultimatums".

Ch. 4: Oh, man. This may be my favorite thus far – what an original, incredible idea! I don't think I've ever read about someone trying to heal the Old Forest, but now that you've introduced the idea I can't imagine that Sam the Gardener didn't try this. And clever, so clever, to take the scene from the end of the LotR and have a few little grains clinging to the sides of the box.

Excellent voice; it feels very Sam and true to the character, with a perfect use of specific language and colloquialisms and asides. I love his reflections about why he didn't tell the people in his life; his determination to do this thing anyway, foolish or dangerous or both; his thoughts about shadow shapes, tress and Black Riders. Lovely, to-the-heart descriptions, like a scar that would not be permitted to fade.

His courage and awkwardness in the Bonfire Glade are utterly touching. I could feel the hairs on the back of my own neck stand up as he thinks he hears/feels all those roots reaching out to see what it was he planted. And the geometry of his planting – perfect! Then the gentleness of the trees as he nears the gate in the Hedge, the caresses – beautiful! And he goes off whistling back home: deeply Hobbity; mirrored by the whistlish quality of the trees' singing at the end...

Just absolutely awesome.

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 [14] Reviewer:Denise Date:April 27, 2009 3:41 PM
Ch. 5: Ah, Dwim – beyond the pale, indeed. Great title, and great intro quotes. Yes.

You’ve really done a lot of excellent work examining the horrific realities of war on Everyman, and this is a superb addition. So applicable to modern-day times, but wonderfully M-e all the same. Yeah, this happened, and still happens. You show us a terribly raw, visceral scene, so clearly. Even though the situation is utterly foreign to me, I can enter into the hearts and minds of these two and feel I “get it”, I understand, through your writing.

I’m running out of adjectives again, but awesome mirroring between vastly different - but, no, not really - individuals, and within the writing itself. (The boy in braids clutched his leg, and the boy in green and brown clutched his sword...) A terrible brotherhood, but a brotherhood nonetheless; somehow I’m left a little glad for that...

Ch. 6: And on to a different, utterly delightful brotherhood. :)

This is such a wonderful glimpse between these two, I mean just perfect in every way. From Andra being up early to Imrahil being up late, one sweaty and one immaculately turned-out, to their differing attitudes to Andrahar’s completely wonderful and spot-on, in-character reaction to Dol Amroth weather. I laughed and laughed, but also particularly because – you just couldn’t leave Andra happy, could you?!? Lolol!

Of course, I also enjoy this because spring has arrived with late sunsets and short-sleeve weather (at least when in the sun!), and I am soooooo with Andra in many ways. :) We at least have mostly dry cold up here, vs. that yucky wet cold where I grew up. Humidity can be way overrated.

…the perpetual, deceptive dryness that turned out, upon movement, to be damp and cold - what Gondorrim called 'clammy' – Andrahar was offended by it, frankly. It just was not proper.

Amen, brother!

I also love that there is a tender, bittersweet note for me, too: Andra, after so many years, just beginning to realize what “carefree” might mean. A beautiful hint of depth in otherwise light fare – very nice!

And the usual title worship: well done twist, for two who are as far from being “fair-weather friends” as two can be.

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 [15] Reviewer:Larner Date:September 21, 2009 7:34 AM
Regarding "Amends"--It's been a delight to read this again, and I find it as thought-provoking in a positive way now as I did the first time, Dwim. And I'm certain that of them all it would be Sam to even think of such a thing, much less to see it through! Yes, wonderful!

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 [16] Reviewer:Larner Date:August 2, 2010 11:48 PM
At least the two of them have broken the cycle of violence between them.

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 [17] Reviewer:Larner Date:November 30, 2011 8:43 AM
Indeed, perfect for this shieldmaiden of the Rohirrim, and love that she draws her new beloved into it! A perfect way to celebrate a wedding, and love the manner in which she conned her brother into teaching her the sword dance, too.

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