There was so much I liked about this chapter.
I loved how Maglor met Tolkien when he was a child and then again later and how the 'Silmarillion' is based on the truth not actually an account of history.
The ring of 'Barahir' *Squeal* Oh! Beloved Finrod! Oh my god! Narya you're just thinking of everything.
And last but not least;
He was limned in soft, luminescent silver – and yet when I tried to fix my eyes on the shimmering outline, really look at it, it somehow wasn't there. His face, always beautiful, was suddenly, unnaturally perfect, his skin so flawless that it seemed an illusion. And his eyes...the familiar silver burned, fierce, unflinching, like a pair of wondrous lamps...and then I remembered that Tolkien had also described Gollum's eyes as lamp-like.
I found this beautiful.
Thank you for a wonder filled chapter. God I love the Elves! :)
Author's Response: Thank you! Yes, I couldn't resist Maglor having the Ring of Barahir :D after Summerland, Spiced and I were chatting about what else might be out there too...
I'm glad you liked that passage. Confession - I choked up writing it. God, I'm soppy.
There is such an effortlessness about the way you write you Maglor, Narya! You don't even have to try to write him right. It's just there.
Yay! Claire's put it all together! This is where it becomes super interesting. Not that it wasn't before. OMG! What's Maglor going to say or do if she confronts him.
This is a great story. Wish I'd thought of it. :)
Author's Response: "There is such an effortlessness about the way you write you Maglor, Narya! You don't even have to try to write him right. It's just there" - awww, thank you, that means such a lot! Thank you for these lovely comments, Gabriel, what a lovely start to the day.
I have to confess, I read this chapter when it was first posted and it resonated with me so much, I found it hard to comment so I left it. Sorry Narya. Claire's past resonated with me. It took me back to my twenties and everything she experienced I had experienced, except the expectations of her becoming a lawyer. With me, there were no expectations that I would amount to anything. I was a failure, my sister was the success in our family. As with Claire I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, no matter how hard I'd thought about it.
Any way I won't go on about it. Don't want to ruin your day with my 'stuff'.
*“Nobody knew anything was wrong. Like I said, I'm a good actor. I did a really great line in calm and competent and pulled together – if you can believe it.”
He sounded like he meant it too. “Well, anyway, one morning I woke up and all I could do was cry. I couldn't get up, I couldn't move...it was like someone was turning a wheel inside me, cranking out all this shite that had somehow got stuck...and over and over I kept thinking, I've had enough. I wish I wasn't here. I want...I want to...”
The word got stuck in my throat. Even now I couldn't bear to repeat it. It was as if saying it aloud might bring back the desire. I looked up at him, wondering what he'd been through, what he must be thinking – poor, spoiled little girl with her shiny London career, what could she possibly know about the call of the dark?
But instead he just looked deeply sad. “Oh, Claire.”*
This part between them was beautiful. She's sharing her innermost feelings and Maglor understands completely and there's this instant connection between them.
Its funny. But throughout this part in the chapter I half expected them to kiss. Just a feeling I had, probably with how easily and closely they connected with each other. :) Anyway rambling on. Great chapter!
Author's Response: Hey, Gabriel! No worries at all, there's no need to apologise. Apparently this chapter hit home for a lot of people, and it can be difficult to revisit those experiences - don't be sorry for taking care of yourself and doing what you need to do.
You're right that their bond goes a bit deeper than a "normal" friendship, but at the end of the day there is too much difference between them to let it be anything else. In a way, though, I don't think it matters; what they both need is that unconditional friendship for a while, and the support of a sort-of family.
*g* Love the boys feeling whiny and entitled after their exams.
Good answer by Mark, too, why he looks so rough.
“We didn't have...we didn't watch a lot of films.”
I nearly sprayed my screen at this. No ineed. ROFL
Things are getting more intense and more interesting every chapter! Claire’s story is very interesting, and so realistic and fitting. I probably don’t want to ask how much of this is based on experience… I can relate to this very much, particularly this:
“You made the right decision.” [...] “I mean that you were right to change your mind. To make your life different, instead of holding to a path that would only have hurt you and everyone around you.”
This is so, so true, and important, to talk and write about, and write fic about. Something very similar happened to me and wreacked considerable havoc with the track of my life. Thankfully, I understood in time how I was hurting myself, but I wish I had realised this much earlier, and avoided some of the damage done through this.
In the soft-edged lamplight he looked like an oil painting, an angel fallen from the canvas of a Renaissance master.
And Claire is going to be in for a big surprise, isn’t she. Heh. :oD And I love how you have him compare her to Fingon (it is Fingon, isn’t it?)
There’s something else I’m curious about: a traditional, well-paying career. With a BA in English, that basically meant law This intrigues me a lot, as it’s totally foreign to me; I’m either totally not getting something here or we must have a much different system. I went to uni in Germany and France and have a couple of friends who are lawyers, so I heard a bit about the typical itinerary. In both countries, you’d need to study law to become anything law-related, and there wouldn’t be any connection between language or literature as uni subject and a career in law. How does this work in the U.K.? Feel free to answer me by mail or message, review-ansers are probably not the right place for this.
Author's Response: Thank you Ysilme! So glad you're enjoying it still.
I am touched and in some ways saddened by how many people have got in touch with me after reading this chapter to say that they've been through something similar to Claire, and that it rang true. It is important to write about, and talk about, because so many people suffer in silence. I'm glad you understood in time that you realised you were hurting yourself; I think Claire probably feels similarly, and wishes she had realised too.
Oh yes, she is in for a bit of a shock :D and you're right, yes, it is Fingon. I will have to make that explicit at some point, a fair few people guessed Finrod.
Ah, yeah, the UK is great like this! (I think so, anyway ;) ) you can do "graduate conversions" in a lot of areas, so if you want to study a pure Arts, Science or Humanities degree, you can do that, and then not have to do an entire second degree to practice law, or accounting, for instance. It varies with degree and profession, but it's completely normal over here to do an essay-based degree like English or History, and convert it via a one year course in law. I work in a big professional services firm, and people with degrees in Law, Business, Accounting etc. are actually the minority - most have studied a traditional academic subject rather than a vocational/professional one. For accounting and consulting, we also take people straight out of school, with no degree at all. I think it's partly because you learn so much on the job - you do a professional qualification/obtain an independent licence to practice while you work. In the case of law we call this a pupillage. Even for medicine, you can do a conversion from an appropriate science degree to get yourself to BMed level, and then go on to placement.
Bless you, Harrison!
I really enjoyed this chapter.
Author's Response: I know, Harrison became the accidental star of this chapter! Thank you Himring, I'm so pleased you liked it.
oh what a lovely, soft and hopeful chapter. I really love the Harrison and Claire interaction. It was so nice to have their rapport front and center again. he's quite perceptive too.
I can't even imagine how I would feel if I were Claire. I'd be absolutely beside myself. and likely second guessing everything around me and everything I said to Mark.
I am so glad he is part of their routine now. It must be so awkward but comforting to have a semblance of a family around him again. And I can't help but think in his mind he's thinking back--to his younger cousins, Galadriel and Aredhel when he's around Rosie, feisty Aegnor and Angrod or the twins when he's with Theo and Harrison. It's lovely but also must be jarring in a way.
I like the mind talk and I love the images he brings to Claire with his music. I was not expecting Finwe but what a lovely image.
And Les Mis! Perfect casting for them all!
Author's Response: Thank you Nelya, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! I like writing Harrison and Claire too; they have a lovely bond that is very rewarding for me as their writer to explore. You're right that Claire has taken this all very calmly - but part of her had worked out the truth a long time ago. I think she's reassured, too, by the fact that Maglor didn't keep anything back in the last chapter (although at some point she is going to ask him about what happened around Christmas). And you're absolutely spot on that the younger three remind him of his family. I actually think Rosie is quite like Riniel, one of my OCs - she's Lalwen's daughter, so Maglor's cousin. With Harrison the Aegnor and Angrod comparison is definitely right, and he has a soft spot for Theo
Glad the casting works for you; let round 2 of theatrical shenanigans commence!
Oh, I loved this — it was gentler, and yet no less ‘deep’ if you see what I mean, and I like the image of Maglor being there as the others accept him and get on with their study, and cooking and being part of a kind of family — and his conversation with Claire.
And Harrison — yes, he’s grown up a little and I love how he is now watching out for Claire and realising she has her own internal demons to cope with.
And so Maglor is going to be in Les Mis after all! :)
Author's Response: Thank you, you're so kind :) gentler but not pointless is what I was going for! I wanted to show Maglor settling in to the group, and also Claire's developing acceptance of who he is and what that means for everything she thinks she knows - plus life going on as "normal". Glad you like Harrison, I'm very fond of him - well, all of them really.
Yes, Maglor is going to be in the show :) had to be done - though it's a bit of a contrast to Pirates!
This is a really nice chapter- as you promised! Lovely domestic atmosphere, cosy and warm. Please let Maglor stay. Now that we are getting Les Mis I suspect we are in for a few chapters more of this lovely, warming fic:)
Author's Response: Yeah, there's a bit to go :) no promises on the ending, though! :P thank you so much, ziggy, I hope the start of term isn't too hideous xx
It's all down to you!
Author's Response: Honestly I'm less worried about Elladan ending up with Imrahil and more concerned about what Naledi would do to me, if that happened and it was my fault...
Noooo -you can't say that! Find way, Narya, or Elladan gets Imrahil!
Author's Response: :D you wouldn't do that...would you!?
I just love the domestic scenes with Maglor watching wistfully, clearly thinking and dreaming about his own childhood and family. It's funny and wistful at the saem time. Your OCs are great fun, the yougnsters are bouncy, silly, determined, funny, young and daft= amkes them very endearing. Claire is just superbyl written, a really fully developed character I care about and relate to - and I am rotting for her! Espcially having read Spiced's spin off and some of your otehr fics. Wanting a happy ending please!!
Author's Response: Thank you so much, I'm so happy you like it! I have a very soft spot for those youngsters - and for Claire, and Maglor of course. Happy ending though...mm...no promises! Their situation is somewhat impossible, long term.
The brilliant way you write has keot me so gripped that I couldn't stop- until I had to catch the moment of Maglor making tea- and what is brilliant about those images is this: the impersonal and spartan, cold setting -which is what I didn't want, I wanted interesting clutter and warmth- but the cold emphasises Maglor himself and his extraordinariness. It makes him stand out so that it IS credible that nhe is actually there. You are a masterful writer, Narya- I've said ti before and will say again.
And I owe you many reviews for this so will go back and do it properly just I was reading through the night and didn't want my husband to wake up and tell me to go to sleep!! Now it's morning I can go back properly.
Author's Response: Thank you so so much, ziggy! I know, it made me sad to write Maglor's lonely little house, but it's partly because he very rarely allows himself to put down roots anywhere. He's always ready to move on, if he needs to. LOL at reading through the night and grumpy husbands, that sounds like my life too XD
No way, not OTT at all. Sometimes an expression of acceptance and trust, pity, love, shock, all those things, needs more than just words — for both of them in this instance! And he came of a large, and (I believe, anyhow) loving family, and how long since anyone hugged him? Being alone is a mental state yes, but also a physical one.
Author's Response: God, yes, you're right on acceptance and trust. He still can't quite believe she does trust him. How long since anyone held him that way? Goodness knows. He has had friends through the years, but she's the first in a long, long time to know everything.
I teared up reading it! And her reaction is so spot-on — something strikes you that is a little ridiculous and you’re so overwhelmed you want to giggle and bawl at one and the same time. Just such a true-to-life reaction. Emotions are never simple, especially on the heels of an ‘impossible’ revelation. And when she hugged him, I really did cry, as I should think he has not been held like that for uncounted years! And he needs to be!
Author's Response: Oh goodness, I blubbed writing the hug as well (I'm so soppy)...I was worried that it might be OTT, or the wrong point in the conversation for it, but it just felt so in character for her at that moment, feeling a weird mess of guilt and pity and fear and love. (You're going to set me off again...!)
also had to laugh as there's a passage in Summerland where Claire is asking about the Palantir and Van talks about finding relics after WW2, and I was just, like O_o she's reading my mind!
We must have been en rapport!
When she saw him...truly saw him, wow that was fantastic! I was just feeling what Claire felt!
I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who writes that part of Fëanor’s soul is in the Silmarils, (Encairion does much the same) but to me the Oath and his sons utter determination to reclaim them hardly makes sense otherwise.
Author's Response: Thank you :) I loved writing that part; I actually teared up a little bit, and I was in the pub when I was drafting it, and my poor hubby couldn't understand why I was suddenly sniffling!
I have seen it elsewhere too, but I came across it in your fics first and it has been part of my "personal canon" ever since, so it seems only fair to credit you.
This was BRILLIANT. It deserves the caps-lock. I am so so glad that he told her everything, and you made it feel so real that I was feeling Claire’s emotions, the almost-laughter and the tears, too. So much to get off his chest, and probably not thinking she would believe it, but she did,, and accepted it, and him and his history.
I also love that he has the Ring of Barahir, and I wonder too if there is anything else, the Palantir, the Arkenstone — even if the Valar wanted things hidden I believe Maglor could find something.
It does my heart good to read that chapter and to know that he’s not alone any longer, after goodness knows how long.
Again, this was absolutely brilliant, Narya. So wonderfully written that I might have been there watching this happen!
Author's Response: Yayy, I'm so glad you liked it! For Claire, as she said, once the puzzle pieces were in place it was the only thing that made sense, so yes, she believes him. And I'm so pleased you like him having the Ring of Barahir; that's a story by itself, and will (hopefully) be the next new thing I post. I also had to laugh as there's a passage in Summerland where Claire is asking about the Palantir and Van talks about finding relics after WW2, and I was just, like O_o she's reading my mind! Although in this case, of course, it's the ring. I'm sure there are other things out there, but we'll have to see what they get up to ;) thank you so much, Spiced! Oh, and I am going to go back and credit you in the notes re: Fëanor's soul being in the Silmarils; I was in such a hurry to post that I forgot, I am sorry.
this entire chapter had me on the edge of my seat, heart racing in expectation of this encounter.
The moment he said Quendi I got goose bumps.
And Tolkien!! Yes--of course, he was more interested in the languages!
This part gave me chills:
“You want to know if I slew my kin at Alqualondë. If I burned the ships that would have borne my family safely across the sea to join us. If I swore an Oath that would shatter a continent, if I hunted the Sindar through the halls of Menegroth, if I drove an innocent woman to leap to her death from Sirion's cliffs.”
The bitter scent of a gathering storm burned in my nose, and for the first time I was acutely aware of the terrible force of him, of his sheer ancient power, awful in its oldest sense – and still dangerous.
“Yes,” he said simply. “Yes, I did.”
And this OMG OMG OMG I've always had this thought too--that Fëanor put a part of himself into the jewels. Seriously the goosebumps are unreal right now. I feel like her!
“The Silmarils were not mere trinkets – and nor did they house the light of the the Trees.” The hairs on my arms stood on end, as they had in The Central when I'd touched the indigo book. The air thickened and grew heavy, as though thunderclouds gathered in the small galley kitchen. “The Silmarils each hold a piece of Fëanor's soul.”
Sound of incoherent screaming on my part!
This was such an incredible chapter. I'll have to read it again--I'm sure I missed details because I was so agitated while reading. Chills, Narya, literally chills. A triumph of a chapter.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Nelya! I actually first came across the idea that Fëanor put part of his soul into the Silmarils in Spiced Wine's Dark Prince 'verse, I must go back and put a note at the end crediting her. But yes, it made so much sense to me - and of course he wouldn't hand them over to the Valar, because breaking them open would kill him. As for Finrod's ring...that's a story by itself ;)
What a great chapter! I read it right after you posted it, didn’t find leisure to write the kind of review I wanted to, and now that some time has passed and I also already read chapter 8 I needed to refresh my memory as I don’t remember all I wanted to say. *g* I hope I won’t forget anything, as this is so intense and complex and lovely!
Anyway, the cat is out of the bag, now, and done in a great way. I was looking forward to this moment when Claire finds out that Maglor is not, in fact, human, and I really love how you’re doing it, and how she reacts. I also adore and admire how you’re weaving together her dreams about Beleriand and the First Age, and her rising awareness of something, and the occasional bit of her present reality. That moment, though, where Harrison relates that to having watched LotR before, filled me with utter glee. ^^
Watching the others through their everyday and so typical student life, juxtaposing Claire’s current experiences, is such a delight, too, and so lovely to read.
Love how Mark and Claire meet again in the pub, and that Claire is also somebody needing solitude to absorb a place and “be” there. I share that, so I can fully relate.
"What was that?” I asked as we emerged into the courtyard. “Psychic paper?”
He gave me a strange look. “No, a Historic Scotland membership card.”
Now I’m looking forward to the next important reveal or realisation. ;o) I adore this kind of anticipation and tension-building, you’re really a master at this!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and tell me you enjoyed it! Sorry I'm slow responding, I've been away on holiday this week. Yes, Claire has started to work it out - although her rational side is resisting a little ;)
I do have fun writing the student antics, so I'm really happy you're enjoying that too, and the contrast between their "everyday" existence and the gradual intrusion of the ancient and forgotten and magical. Also, I'm thrilled you picked out the line with the psychic paper, that made me grin! :D
Not long to go now until she puts the puzzle together. I really hope you continue to enjoy it. Thank you for your lovely comments!
Ooh!! Yes! Connections finally made! Great chapter with her putting it all together finally and letting the realization that's been percolating finally surface. Can't wait for the next chapter!!
Author's Response: Thank you Nelya! :) so glad you liked it. Yes, she knew on some level, but her rational mind just hadn't put the pieces together.
AH, I did wonder if it might have occurred when he was absent for Christmas, but yes, in that case, by now, he really is desperate just for someone to share with, yes!
Author's Response: Oh I can see how that would fit...maybe I should stick date labels on the stories to make it clearer! :) But yes, that conversation is a few years away yet. Sorry...perils of not doing this in chronological order :/
I think this too, that Maglor did get more careless than he normally would — that he does need to talk to someone (I know Gandalf has talked to him) someone who was not there, someone who can hear the truth, just someone to share with!
Author's Response: Ahhhh...because I am unhelpfully writing out of order, that conversation he has with Olorin in Auld Acquaintance hasn't happened yet ;) although he does speak to Gandalf at Thorin's tomb, and there are several meetings between them leading up to and during the Ring War, which I haven't got around to writing yet. So at this point he is even more desperate for someone to talk to.
Don't you think it's romantic, though?” Rosie sighed and fluttered her lashes, looking for all the world like a lovelorn Disney heroine. “The exiled minstrel prince...”
Something slipped and blurred in my mind, like suddenly I was seeing the world in two halves, each one from a different angle.
The song, the sea, the fire...sorrow deeper than the earth...
...old thick yellow pages...indigo leather and embossed with eight-pointed stars...a familiar figure glimpsed through fog...petrichor and lightning...a fist grasping a fierce white light...
Breath crept down my throat and over my galloping heart. It made sense, it made so much sense - absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer - and yet it was mad, impossible, even more than my crazed idea that Mark might be an Elf, or whatever creature it was that had given rise to our stories of them.
I squealed when she finally made that connection, and her feelings, because they are so authentic! I started bouncing up and down on the chair when she went to to the books! But so sad that she thought of cancelling, of not seeing him — but Claire, think of what Dawn said on her post on Pengolodh on Tumblr, that the Silmarillion is written with intense bias — not that I think for one minute Maglor would not do the same again if he had to.
So, now, armed with the Silmarillion — and Maglor can hardly push her aside, now, or fudge the issue or downright lie. And I don’t think he even wants to.
This was wonderful, absolutely brilliant!
Author's Response: Awww, I'm so pleased you like it, thank you so much!! <3 Yes, she did panic, but not for long. (I was thinking of Dawn's post too, but Claire needed to take a few deep breaths and apply a bit of logic - she's only human, but by the end of the chapter she's started to think that there might be more to it.)
You're right that he doesn't really want to lie to her, either; he won't deny it now she's worked it out. In fact I think there was part of him that almost got careless on purpose, and let her see and hear enough to maybe join the dots. I can't blame him; I think he needs someone who knows the whole truth.
Thank you for continuing to follow and comment. I really hope you like where it goes next!
That must have been quite anti-climatic - Mark seems to have vanished, the seasons turn to the dreary, cool and wet... there's the Christmas time and break to look forward to, but on the other hand it means leaving their special bubble. (At least it always felt like this to me...)
Knitting, however, turned out not to be my strong suit, and Rosie wasn't much better.
“Why does it keep going all boggly?” she asked, staring sadly at her knotted mess of a scarf.
This is so cute! And I'm so happy for Claire that she finally caught Mark at home.
“You've seen him with his trousers off?” Theo's voice leapt up about three octaves.
“Lucky,” smirked Harrison.
Rosie's delicate pink flush deepened into dark coral. “Not all the way off.”
Ahaha! XD The scars sound quite nasty, though.
What a lovely ending to that chapter, too! :o)
Author's Response: Yeah, I was trying to capture that sort of bleak, post-euphoric letdown. And bubble is right, that's exactly what we used to call St Andrews.
Rosie is not the world's most talented knitter, bless her. As for Mark...well, he was probably at home some of the times she's drifted past, just not in much of a state to talk. Too lost in memories.
Those particular scars have a history - if you've read Auld Acquaintance you might be able to join the dots.
Glad you liked the ending! Thank you so much for all these lovely comments, Ysilme; waking up to three new reviews this morning made my day :D
OMG, that tattoo! XD
"My God, does that man know how to work a crowd."
He DOES have some experience with that, too. *g*
It was like he was looking at me for the first time, his silver eyes cataloguing and assessing everything about me, gentle yet intense and deliberate. My forearms prickled and my cheeks heated.
Harrison's musings are certainly interesting. And the suspense is rising. *g* (I can't wait until Claire learns about Maglor's true self; if you're going to reveal that to her, that is. This is such a lovely build-up.)
Drunk Theo is cute, except for the very last part. But that cat is getting more and more intriguing.
Author's Response: I loved that tattoo, that was a sneaky bit of late, inspired silliness. And yeah, Harrison's not as daft as he first appears.
Theo...bless him. He means well.
I feel bad that everyone is so intrigued by the cat, it does have a role, but I don't think it's going to come out in this story (this is one of many, many fics in a Maglor series I've been planning for years).
Lovely, lovely chapter! I adore that bit with the cat!
“It sounds a bit rubbish when you're all just saying the words.”
LOL again. That reminds me of choir rehearsal when we have to chant the text to work at phrasing, breathing and pronunciation rhythm issues, and the Latin text evolving to something like a weird mystic language...
And I love how you describe Maglor, or rather Claire's perception of him. Very fitting! Really cool outfit, too - "Too Jack Sparrow?" *snorfle* Not to mention the later bits down to - or up to? - the leather boots.
And that hidden talent of being able to tame long hair! That scene is very sweet.
And now we also begin to see glimpses into who Mark really is. Very well done, with the right amount of information and the lack thereof, and topped so perfectly with his music, and how it affects Claire.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Ysilme! Haha, yes, I remember that kind of rehearsal very well indeed.
Glad you like the outfit - a few people were fond of the boots! - and the moment with the hair.
Yes, he's slipping a little around Claire, possibly giving away more than he should...