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 [1] Reviewer:Denise Date:March 10, 2009 1:32 AM
Hooray! I’ve just had a bit of free time come up to catch up on reviewing, and was thinking, “OK, Dwim had that blisteringly excellent drabble about Amandil a couple of months ago, and another on Luthien and Beren – where did she post them?” And lo! Here they are in one place…

My Latin is sparse, but thanks to Google: beautiful and apt title. All the drabbles connect so well this, Nienna’s vital aspect; and underscore the necessity of her gift to the world: taken well, vs. taken wrongly or not taken at all.

My favorite first: “Amandil” [4]. I’ve always thought he got the short end of the stick for being such a nice guy. But here you’ve found precious mercy and reward in his sacrifice, and it is tremendously satisfying. So is the language: every image completely fits the theme. Thanks so much for giving me this lovely insert into the Akallabęth.

Most adored lines: Yet rebels are her ministry. (I’d never seen it like that before, but very descriptive!); and ….a floodcrest of tears. (Lovely!) Just all-around wonderful.

[1] Ouch. I like the comparison between a grief that frees and a grief that consumes, leading to Fear the fire that fears subsiding. So much about Fëanor in that one statement. Loved the line about him using even Nienna’s gift in machinery/mechanizations. The tone and wording of this is wonderful, although I’m having trouble articulating it well: fire/anger using tears/mercy wrongly as fuel, leading to destruction instead of redemption. Fortunately, Nienna is ever-patient… Does the last line refer to any specific moment, to Fëanor, or more generally that she seeks the return of the Nolder through the ages?

[2] Beautiful! But Fate is pitiless – pity is Nienna's privilege. Yes, yes, yes. Brilliant insertion of Nienna into Luthien’s song (I buy it!) and Brother Must-Be vs. Sister Should-Be. And mercy comes from beyond the world. So many shining resonances throughout this tiny piece. Gorgeous and effective wording and structure.

[3] Gah. As with so many other Tolkien readers, I’ve always found it hard to like the Silm’s story of Turin. Too much self-centered self-absorption. Yet I love how you’ve rendered their story, added the depth of refusal of Nienna’s gift of mercy, so that like Fëanor they eventually self-destruct as the … sorrow that scorns pity kills. The grief and waste of it comes thorough well. Nice ending; there’s beautiful alliteration sprinkled through all of this and the others, and I do like how part of the Sindarin phrase here has the sound of Turin’s own name.

With this and [1] contrasted to [2] and [4], there seems to be the definite message that mercy extended and accepted can change fate.

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 [2] Reviewer:Denise Date:April 24, 2009 9:21 PM
Ch. 5: Melkor

And now, for her toughest customer of all... Lovely and deep portrayal, Dwim.

I love how you draw in so many threads: that mourning is woven into the Song, due to Melkor; that she lived her name both within Time (forgiveness and aid) and without (ceaselessly offering pity, even when he challenges her to withdraw it).

Their connection is fascinating. I had to go back and read through the Ainulindale and first part of the Valaquenta, but I'm probably still missing something. Melkor has a measure of all the gifts of his brethren, it says, including presumably some of Nienna's? And is there a particular connection in that Melkor is the most powerful Vala, brother of Manwe in Eru's mind, and that Nienna springs from Eru's heart? Or maybe I'm reading too much into my lovčd.

At any rate, I love that "[h]e is her torment, her trial, her temperer – tempter-teacher...", that she maintains that brother-sister connection with him. But talk about "sitting by someone's hearth" and waiting for healing for an indeterminate amount of time!

I'd be curious to see one day what you think would go on with Sauron or Saruman, Maiar that started good but went bad. Would she find repentance there?

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