Revolutionary and the Usurper is all from Feanor and Fingolfin’s POVs, but I’d like to either add more to Vengeance 1 or write another story exploring those years in Tirion.
Either way, I would be thrilled to read it! o/
:) I’ve just got to finish Heralds first…yeah, that’s going to be a while lol but one day!
Thank you for your thoughts on this. The second best thing (beside reading) is, for me, hearing an author’s in-depth thoughts on their story!
Oh, despite poor darling Glorfindel’s absolutely dreadful upbringing and scars, I am thrilled he is a Finwïon — I always thought he should be pretty much since reading of him in LOTR! He had to be of a mighty House! I definitely don’t think that should be changed.
She either showed up unexpectedly at his door in Tirion or wrote him a letter promising to do so, and she threatened/manipulated him into believing she was so wrecked and heartbroken without him that she would throw her reputation to the wind and declare their ‘love’ publically. He was, by this point, ashamed of ever having anything to do with her, and never wanted his father or brothers to ever find out about her.
Yes, I remember how Irime was with Maglor when he was leaving for Formenos, the fact that she would threaten him with all this, ‘I’ll tell everyone...I can’t live without you...etc’ makes sense. It was an abusive relationship, and dreadful. And he was so very young when they met. (I mean I am a bit sorry for her having to marry a man she didn’t love and get stuck far from her family, but Fingolfin married a woman he didn’t love, and didn’t turn into a bastard). I am just glad that Maglor’s love for his family always outweighed his attachment to her. Maedhros said he would help him with getting away from her, and all his family would have. They did discuss it in Middle-earth, didn’t they, when she turned up at Thand Barad. I thought he should have just sent her back to Fingolfin, but as it was, her chasing him down did her no good, anyhow.
Maglor must be a far nicer person than me, because when some-one tried that on me I told them to bugger off and kill themselves then (it creeped me out so much!) And of course they didn’t although they did eventually go away!
I will try to find the parts you have edited, just from interest, not to nitpick. And I hope you don’t think I am, because I’m not, I have always felt very protective toward Maglor and what Irimë did to him ( let alone Glorfindel) has always just stunk!
“I am thrilled he is a Finwïon — I always thought he should be pretty much since reading of him in LOTR! He had to be of a mighty House! I definitely don’t think that should be changed.”
Yes, I totally agree! I like him as Finarfin’s son in your verse too –it fits his hair lol
“(I mean I am a bit sorry for her having to marry a man she didn’t love and get stuck far from her family, but Fingolfin married a woman he didn’t love, and didn’t turn into a bastard).”
Yeah, I can feel sorry for her too, but having an unhappy life does not give one a free pass to be abusive. What she did to Glorfindel was still just as disgusting even if she had a poor childhood of her own.
“I am just glad that Maglor’s love for his family always outweighed his attachment to her. Maedhros said he would help him with getting away from her, and all his family would have.”
Yes, thank goodness! And you are right, his family would have jumped in to be his shield and sword against her!
“They did discuss it in Middle-earth, didn’t they, when she turned up at Thand Barad. I thought he should have just sent her back to Fingolfin, but as it was, her chasing him down did her no good, anyhow.”
Ah, you’ve found another of those places in the story where I wish could write something out of it. It feels out of character with his journey for him to allow Irime to hang around. But at the same time it’s important for the end of her own character arch for her to be there within sight of him but constantly out of reach. This is something tho that I want to think more on and try to figure out how to keep him in character but also keep her hanging around him. What if he refused her a place at his table/at his hearth, but she was so sure she’d win him back and prove she’d changed that she humbled herself and took some ‘lowly’ employment in his keep? I could see him being annoyed with her but not casting her out as long as she didn’t make trouble with the other servants, and, for all her pride, she had proved she would do something like this before when she snuck into Gondolin in disguise.
“Maglor must be a far nicer person than me, because when some-one tried that on me I told them to bugger off and kill themselves then (it creeped me out so much!) And of course they didn’t although they did eventually go away!”
Good for you!
I think, while Maglor was a more tender-hearted person in his youth, he also grew up in a society that had no education about abusive relationships and one where people actually could die of a broken-heart. Maglor’s own grandmother had died of –something (Maglor wouldn’t have believed the common, Valar-approved message that Feanor killed Miriel, but I wonder what Maglor thought did kill her? What did Feanor think? I can’t believe I didn’t address that in the story! But something to write about when Miriel is reborn…maybe a part of Feanor did, secretly, fearfully believe that he had killed his mother –Finwe certainly wasn’t standing up and denying it!) Irime saying and acting like she could not go on without him would not have seemed out of the realm of possibility, especially since Maglor knew how unhappy she was –even if he didn’t like her as a person by this point.
“I will try to find the parts you have edited, just from interest, not to nitpick. And I hope you don’t think I am, because I’m not, I have always felt very protective toward Maglor and what Irimë did to him ( let alone Glorfindel) has always just stunk!”
No, I don’t think you are nitpicking at all! I have really loved getting a chance to talk over the story again with you, it has gotten me thinking about things from different angles and high-lighting future things to explore :) As for the recent edits: I didn’t change that much, but if you want to re-read most everything is in ch 1 and Irime’s memory of Maglor leaving Tirion in ch 9.
The more I think on it, the more I love the idea of awkward, confused Maedhros! He would have been 20, and tho mature for his age in a lot of ways, and tho he had to have received attentions from others before, he has lived most of his life with his father’s people and has never had a romantic attachment before. I really like the idea of his stumbling through this. He would have felt alone and ashamed, fearful of his own confusing feelings being known. He didn’t tell Feanor about Fingon until Fingon was 17 I think, and Feanor was still the one to confront him about it. Maedhros, like all the young people who grew up in Valinor, had no public and positive examples of other gays or bis. Every person found to have ‘unnatural’ relations were publically Shamed, even outcast. And added to this would be the fact that Fingon was his underage cousin. Him pushing Fingon away seems only natural, but I also like the idea that he did it messily, not as delicately as Fingon needed to be rejected, and thus snipping off the blossoming bud. And then, when Fingon final came of age, Maedhros is forever waiting for Fingon to show a sign, a single look, that Fingon’s interest had been rekindled, but Fingon has shut the doors on that desires and buried it deep in his heart, so Maedhros keeps waiting and waiting and waiting….)
Oh, no, this is too damned heartbreaking. What a mess. Andf I do hope we see it in aflashback, or something, because I can absolutely see this happening. All those crossed signals!
I feel like there is a lot more to write about before the Darkening. Revolutionary and the Usurper is all from Feanor and Fingolfin’s POVs, but I’d like to either add more to Vengeance 1 or write another story exploring those years in Tirion. But, if not, then I need to write a flashback, defiantly! I am sure Maedhros and Fingon will have lots to work through in rebirth, so hopefully this could fit in somewhere…
I want to explore Maglor and Glorfindel’s attractions, and see how they respond to the other they had spent so long secretly jealous of :)
Oh, yes, that has *got* to happen, please! None of this is going to be easy, which is why it’s so fascinating.
Count on it! No way am I skipping sex scenes with these four lol
Isn’t it interesting that the person Maglor is drawn to when he cannot bring himself to risk his relationship with Maedhors, is another blood-relative? Almost like self-inflicted punishment, or maybe an act of defiance against his own head telling him want he wanted was wrong.
It is, and you’re probably right. I was just thinking, Fëanor’s sons adored their father, and he was a brilliant father. And children, especially if they respect their parents, tend to accept their likes and dislikes, until they’re shown a very good reason not to, anyhow. Maedhros went into the political dance of Tirion and did think most of them were complete arseholes, and never really changed his view, except on Fingolfin. Fëanor couldn’t stand Irimë, so I wonder why Maglor didn’t look at her with that same prejudice and simply dismiss her, or wonder what she was after by seducing him? I think I definitely would have thought that, even if I had been willing to be seduced because I was young and wanted sex and it was exciting and taboo.
And he did see Irime at that ghastly family dinner, that must have been rather embarrassing, as she certainly didn’t cover herself in glory. She was rude and spiteful. He must have writhed in internal embarrasssment.
His incredible moment with Fingolfin was much more him and yet Fingolfin was his uncle, but by that time, I suppose, since he’s already had Irime and knew he wanted Maedhros,Fingolfin was not too big a step, and must have felt a bit like a triumph as he was so beautiful and also had this aura of being ‘untouchable’ simply because Fëanor hated and despised him. But then, Maglor obviously knew Fingolfin was ripe for it, so he saw Fingolfin rather more clearly than his father did. ;)
“His incredible moment with Fingolfin was much more him”
This, so much. Honestly, Irime/Maglor’s relationship is one of those things that, if I hadn’t written it into the story a decade ago, I wouldn’t do it over again. But what’s done is done. Plus: Glorfindel. He wouldn’t be who he is if he had a different mother. I guess if I could do Irime/Maglor again, I would have it a much briefer relationship that quickly turned toxic and Maglor got the hell out of.
But working with what I’ve got, your review has me thinking more seriously than ever before on what exactly drew Maglor to her in the first place, and how did it last as long as it did?
I think the answer lies in how little we have seen of Irime as a young woman. We know her best as she was at the end of their relationship, when she had become a creature Fingolfin could not recognize as his sister. I think Fingolfin’s passed closeness to her is a clue that she was once someone quite different to the bitter, hypocritical, awful woman she became.
I’m not sure I will ever write this into the story, so I will put my thoughts down here, if you don’t mind :))
Irime as a child idolized and tried to mold herself after three people: Finwe, Indis, and Fingolfin. Finwe’s neglect soured her admiration for her father, and left her with two role models who were vastly different people. In personality, she took after her mother, but in her beliefs Fingolfin was her biggest influence.
Unlike Indis, Irime did not venerate the Valar or seek to follow their laws, and she wanted to see the Noldor achieve more freedom. Over time, her bitterness and selfishness grew, and she became extremely concerned with reputation and her own desires. She proclaimed to herself that she would live openly with Maglor as his lover, but she never took one step to do so for fear of the consequences, and don’t get me started on what she did to Glorfindel! Hateful woman!
But, before her marriage and time among the Vanyar, I can see her and Fingolfin spending their time together poking fun of the courtiers and the superficialness of court, bonding over their shared dissatisfaction with Finwe, affirming the other’s belief that the Valar’s laws were unjust, and generally sharing the bond of siblings that, tho Fingolfin did not like everything about her, loved her because she was his sister. Irime shared many of Fingolfin’s same experiences at that time, and could be kind when she was with someone she liked, and witty, enjoying making Fingolfin laugh at her jokes.
Finarfin was not around, having run away to Alqualondë years before, so it was easy for Fingolfin to brush aside Irime’s past cruelties against their brother as the squabbles of childhood, and the bickering of two siblings who had little in common and were closer in age than himself. And when she displayed her crueler side now, it was in cutting remarks about lords and ladies he didn’t much care for either.
Then Irime was married off, and it was very much an arranged marriage. Her mother chose her husband. Fed up with Finwe not finding a decent match for Irime among the Noldor and stung from her own experience married to a Noldo, Indis looked to the Vanyar. Irime agreed tho she desired it none at all because she wanted to please her mother. Indis promised her happiness, and convinced her to marry a near-stranger despite Irime’s own misgivings. Indis lied. Betrayed was how Irime felt those first few years of marriage to a man who did not try to love her and spent all his time at the Valar’s feet while she was stuck in a city she hated.
There was this window of time in which Irime was lonely and had few charitable thoughts towards her mother, into which Maglor stepped. She wanted him from the first, how could she not? Maglor was sixteen (?), and fresh-come to Tirion, but already wishing to be free of the gaggles of shallow girls hunting him. Irime wasn’t like these other girls. She was outwardly beautiful, forbidden, but also familiar. Not because he had met her before, but because of their shared family. When she shared stories of her childhood –longing for days gone by—they were of Fingolfin, and when she spoke of him her face lit with love. When she spoke of Finwe and her mouth twisted, and in-between the words not said was Finwe’s absence and failures as a father, it rang a familiar tune to Maglor’s own opinion of Finwe. When they spoke of broader issues, her views about the Valar and the Vanyar did not seem so wholly dissimilar to what Maglor had heard growing up, and it was refreshing to find a like mind in a city so saturated with Valar-worship. And when Irime spoke of her current life, her loneliness and feelings of betrayal drew him to her, desiring to ease her unhappiness.
There was also the clandestine nature of their relationship. It was a game. They had to be so careful not to get caught, and it heightened the passion, while diminishing the amount of time they spent in each other’s company. The only reason their relationship outlived a season was how rarely they saw each other.
“And he did see Irime at that ghastly family dinner, that must have been rather embarrassing, as she certainly didn’t cover herself in glory. She was rude and spiteful. He must have writhed in internal embarrasssment.”
I re-read that scene, forgetting what I had written and how bad she’d been (and she was awful!), but I see an explanation here for something that has been bothering me for sometime: how did Maglor not recognize Glorfindel as his son when Eol knew Maeglin was his with a mere touch? During the family dinner we see Irime showing her pregnancy with Glorfindel. If Maglor hadn’t been up to see her since Glorfindel’s conception, and hasn’t seen her since she arrived at the city for the dinner, and then they had a massive row afterwards, Maglor wouldn’t have sensed his son in her womb. Nor seen him as a infant or during his youngest years, since I think their row split their relationship for years.
Why did Maglor come back to Irime tho after escaping her for a time? Fear. She either showed up unexpectedly at his door in Tirion or wrote him a letter promising to do so, and she threatened/manipulated him into believing she was so wrecked and heartbroken without him that she would throw her reputation to the wind and declare their ‘love’ publically. He was, by this point, ashamed of ever having anything to do with her, and never wanted his father or brothers to ever find out about her.
But he didn’t stay emotionally dethatched as he wanted, it wasn’t just having sex with her a few times a year to keep her silent. He went back initially because of fear, but it turned into guilt, and all kinds of tangled emotions under her manipulations. She wasn’t like she was with Glorfindel with him, she didn’t try to make him hate himself, she tried to make him keep coming back to her out of guilt for how ‘heartbroken’ she was without him, how much he’d made her love him and how could he leave her like this, she would die without him. It’s not uncommon in abusive relationship for the abuser to say things like: I will kill myself if you leave me. (the nerve of her to make him feel guilty when she was the one who had sex with an underage boy!)
It would have been so much easier to leave her if she had been trying to make her hate himself, but when the manipulation came in the form of ‘I love so much I can’t live without you’ it was harder for him to guard himself against. Maglor is hardly without empathy, and she used that against him.
….I had no idea if this rings true with the way they are portrayed in the story, it’s just how I feel about their relationship now, so I had to go back and do a little editing, it kept niggling at me! Still far from perfect, but hopefully the story reflects these thoughts a little better than before.
Thank you so much for getting me thinking about these two. I love that about reviews, the way they get me to stop and take another look at something I’ve written :)
Then Maglor went east, and healed enough to have come to a point that he could have spoken of it, but Fingolfin did not heal, did not move on at all. He build a life for his people, but never himself, the despair only grew, and he lost more people when Turgon built Gondolin –Glorfindel, Aredhel, and the lost hope of ever repairing the broken bridge of his relationship with Turgon. From the moment Fingolfin learned Feanor was dead –having just come back from looking upon the full might of Morgoth and realizing that there was no way they could ever win this war, unless Feanor pulled off a miracle—there was no true hope, no estel, in Fingolfin’s heart.
That just breaks my heart. Along with Maeglin, I feel Fingolfin had the worse deal of all, because he simply had no comfort, he had made himself into a fortress that everyone looked up to, leaned on, looked to, and his soul was just a wasteland. And yes, he could have shared it with Fingon, but he had locked himself up so tightly that it would not have occurred to him, :( I’m crying.
This is what thinking of Fingolfin does to me too. Gods, this poor, tortured man! And I am thinking of torturing him more? But I totally will to write more UST with him and Feanor lol
“I feel Fingolfin had the worse deal of all, because he simply had no comfort, he had made himself into a fortress that everyone looked up to, leaned on, looked to, and his soul was just a wasteland.”
Yes, your point about him having no comfort it so, so true. He made himself so alone, even with Fingon right there. Fingon must have felt that gap between them, and wished so much that his father would just let him in, let him see, let him love. Not that I think they weren’t friends and didn’t share many burned together, but Fingolfin’s buried love for Feanor was something he never shared, and Feanor’s absence left a coldness and loneliness that Fingon could not fill, for he was not Feanor, and it was Feanor who Fingolfin longed for, always.
Fingon’s hand jerked away. “Don’t try to pretend you understand. What did you lose? Just a half-brother who never liked you anyway.”
Fingolfin’ sucked in a breath, but Fingon stood at the back of his father’s shoulder and was spared a glimpse of his face.
Fingolfin should have told Fingon then, what Fëanor meant to him. If it wasn’t enough to lead his host over the Helcaraxë, he was alone, alone, alone. Did he ever tell Fingon? Would he had told Maglor, did Fingolfin ever have anyone to really share this with? He breaks my heart.
I don’t think Fingolfin ever did tell Fingon, which is heartbreaking. But Fingolfin had this sense of isolation around him, this lonely suffering. I think he had been alone for so long that he didn’t even think about sharing his pain anymore. It would have felt to him like burdening Fingon; what benefit could sharing possibly do for Fingon? he would think. So selfless as to become destructive, so determined not to falter and fail when his people and family were depending on him, that he couldn’t see how his own mental health was necessary for his people’s survival. And not seeing that Fingon would want to share the heartache with him. We, as the outsiders, see a shifting in Fingon and Fingolfin’s relationship over the ice, the way they grow into partners and friends as well as son and father, but I don’t think Fingolfin saw himself as any less Fingon’s father and protector. It’s really tragic that Fingolfin’s inability to open up and share the burdens of his heart is what ultimately drives him into such deep despair that he chooses suicide by Morgoth rather than continue living like this.
As for Maglor….I am not sure if either of them ever spoke the words. I think to talk about Feanor, even to say his name, was such a painful thing that at the time of their relationship neither was ready to speak of it. Then Maglor went east, and healed enough to have come to a point that he could have spoken of it, but Fingolfin did not heal, did not move on at all. He build a life for his people, but never himself, the despair only grew, and he lost more people when Turgon built Gondolin –Glorfindel, Aredhel, and the lost hope of ever repairing the broken bridge of his relationship with Turgon. From the moment Fingolfin learned Feanor was dead –having just come back from looking upon the full might of Morgoth and realizing that there was no way they could ever win this war, unless Feanor pulled off a miracle—there was no true hope, no estel, in Fingolfin’s heart.
As she stood beside Fingolfin and watched their father and the Fëanorions ride from Tirion, she pushed all her resentment into the pool of hate she nursed against Fëanor. It was Fëanor who caused this. She couldn’t blame Maglor for his leaving lest she fall into a pit of bitterness and their love be forever soiled. For now she would give him one more chance to regress his words. Valar help him if he treated her love so flippantly again. She would show him the vengeance of a woman scorned.
Ugh, god, she is sickening, and places herself far too high. No-one could possibly love her; she is poison. Manipulating, controlling, treating her son like a leper while thinking a Fëanorion would ever choose her over his family. I think of the way Sauron manipulated Celebrimbor yet find that almost clean in comparison to what Irimë did. Mind you, he undeniably had style ;) and was intelligent and she had nothing.
“I think of the way Sauron manipulated Celebrimbor yet find that almost clean in comparison to what Irimë did. Mind you, he undeniably had style ;) and was intelligent and she had nothing.”
I think that this is the tragedy in Irime’s character. She could have been so much more. Fingolfin and Finarfin both had the same parents as her, both grew up in the same household with all its neglect and abuse, and yet they turned out so different. But then, that is often the way of things. No two children, even raised in the same household, become the same person.
While much blame can be laid at Indis and Finwe’s feet, Irime made her choice to abuse her own son as an adult. She leaves me wondering how on earth she turned out that bad. But I don’t think there is some hidden horror in her childhood that explains her. She is who she is because, in large part, her choices formed her into this person. I have sympathy for the child she was, an innocent raised in the poisonous environment of a father who loved her little no matter how she tried to please him and earn his attention though ‘perfection’ and a mother that paid her too much attention, nursing all her own slights and bitterness in her daughter’s impressionable mind, and then her love-less marriage that took her away from home and threw her into the narrow-minded world of the Valar-worshiping Vanyar. By the time she met Maglor, years after her marriage, she was a very different person to the one she’d been as a child who, tho capable of cruelty, had enough goodness in her still to earn Fingolfin’s love. In the end, the person who took everyone she loved away from her was herself.
I am one of those people who see Fingon and Maedhros as canon :) But in the beginning of this story I didn’t think much of Fingon because he seemed so irresponsible, not really because he slept around, but how it took him a while not to pass his son off on Fingolfin. He did gradually come around to being more ‘fatherly’ and certainly his treatment of Glorfindel was kind. He was also the only child of Fingolfin who made his father happy, was affectionate and loving, and Fingolfin needed that so much.
But I think mainly (and for this I have to hold the Valarin Laws a lot to blame) he irritated me because with Maedhros right there he was still going off with women. It beggars belief. I don’t blame Fëanor for not really liking or accepting him, because casting an eye around, I can’t see any woman competing in looks or sheer charisma to Maedhros Fëanorion, and I just do not get Fingon at all. I can’t understand how he could have been so completely blind when he was so close to Maedhros, and they were together so often. I am so deeply sorry for Maedhros all those years, and it does seem strange that Fingon didn’t once look at him and think, wow, he’s gorgeous!
Maybe Fingon did need the explosion of fear thinking Maedhros would die at Alqualondë to shake him out of himself, but all these early chapters, and in Revolutionary too, make me want to smack Fingon’s face. Poor, poor Maedhros.
on the other hand, because I feel your ‘Starborn’ Elves with their multi-mates are far closer to what Elves should be, their relationship feels (I don’t mean from your work, I thought this before I ever came into the online fandom) like ‘old married’s’ so I never feel I wish to write about them myself. Up to a point (Where Fingon rescues Maedhros0 but not so much after. Maglor’s yearning for Maedhros, (Oh, and it just struck me, what about all those nights Maedhros took comfort in Maglor thinking he was Fingon — or did he? Is this going to come out when Maedhros is reborn? Would Maglor ever even allude to it? Would Maedhros remember? — and his relationship with Glorfindel is much more interesting, as is Caranthir/Curufin’s non-relationship, Curufin and Finrod, Celegorm and Maeglin, Celebrimbor and (unnamed, those he admitted to sleeping with and shrugged off when people got ‘iffy’) and obviously Annatar which was truly explosive and sexy and tragic and — of course! Fëanor and Fingolfin. It always felt odd to me to read of Elves being ‘married’ when I read LOTR and the Silm; it just felt like humanising them too much. I almost wish — no, I *do* wish — that Glorfindel would have his dream of being with Fingon just to shake things up a little! ;) He still thinks about it, as he taunted Gil-galad with it.
“But in the beginning of this story I didn’t think much of Fingon because he seemed so irresponsible, not really because he slept around, but how it took him a while not to pass his son off on Fingolfin.”
I agree with you, Fingon was irresponsible in the beginning of the story. He should have been a better father. He was afraid of himself, of his own inadequacies. We see his insecurities under the confident façade more than once in the story. He really did have a poor opinion of himself in Tirion. As a child, he was constantly comparing himself to Turgon, and later, Maedhros, and thinking he fell short in the wits department. And, while he’s not as book-smart or clever, he was far too hard on himself.
He was terrified of messing up as a father. It seemed to him that his son could not go wrong with a father like Fingolfin, who, in Fingon’s mind, would be ten times the father he could ever hope to be. I think he already thought himself a failure as a father before his son ever came into his care because he had not been there during his son’s early childhood. He reminds me of Curufin as a father. They were both afraid of not being good enough fathers, of somehow messing up, so both of them lent too heavily on their own fathers, thinking their children could not find a better father. I think both Curufin and Fingon would have benefited from not having their fathers around to pick up the slack but being forced to confront their fears and overcome them. Not that Feanor or Fingolfin weren’t the best grandfathers in the world, but I think they should have pushed their sons more to be the fathers they could have been if those fears were not crippling them. Fingon got another chance with Gil-galad, and we saw how he did better the second time. Poor Curufin tho kept spiraling towards destruction (I need reborn Curufin and Celebrimbor bonding time!)
I love your questions about Fingon’s utter blindness about Maedhros. How could he not see? How could he not be attracted to Maedhros but instead chase after all these nameless women? You got me turning this over in my head. And now I know what happened:
Fingon was young when he first met Maedhros (14-15), but had already begun to explore his sexuality. To a point. He had internalized the repressive Valinorion society as much as any other Elf, so it would be harder to recognize ‘forbidden’ attractions. But he was attracted, even if he didn’t consciously understand what was drawing him so strongly to Maedhros. He flirted (bold boy that he was lol), and gave off a lot of signals without even understanding that that was what he was doing, but Maedhros understood –so at least was made uncomfortable even if he too did not quite know what this was between them at that time. The problem was, of course, Fingon’s age. So Maedhros stomped down on this, hard, maybe refusing physical contact between them, disapproving looks, comments, maybe he even left the city for a time. I haven’t decided yet if Maedhros even knew what he was really doing, I think there was a lot of confusion in their initial attraction, but I think Maedhros wasn’t quite as aware of his attraction as Feanor was for Fingolfin, but he knew enough to feel discomforted.
So Maedhros sent a clear message to Fingon that any attraction between them was not to be pursued. Fingon, though he didn’t understand his own desires either, did internalized this message. And so his mind turned away from it, again and again, over the years. And, coupled with his own insecurities, I think he came to believe Maedhros beyond his reach, that to even think of him as anything but a friend, was to reach too high. Fingon’s opinion of himself was not helped by his many liaisons; but then, his many liaisons were a result of his own low opinion of himself, as well as his inability to form a strong romantic connection to another when he was unconsciously in love with Maedhros this whole time. But Fingon really likes sex ;), so he found his pleasures in meaningless dalliances, but these encounters only served to cheapen himself in his own mind, which then led him to believing he didn’t deserve anything else. So it was a vicious cycle full of secret self-doubts and low self-esteem that reaped a lot of hurt for everyone involved.
(The more I think on it, the more I love the idea of awkward, confused Maedhros! He would have been 20, and tho mature for his age in a lot of ways, and tho he had to have received attentions from others before, he has lived most of his life with his father’s people and has never had a romantic attachment before. I really like the idea of his stumbling through this. He would have felt alone and ashamed, fearful of his own confusing feelings being known. He didn’t tell Feanor about Fingon until Fingon was 17 I think, and Feanor was still the one to confront him about it. Maedhros, like all the young people who grew up in Valinor, had no public and positive examples of other gays or bis. Every person found to have ‘unnatural’ relations were publically Shamed, even outcast. And added to this would be the fact that Fingon was his underage cousin. Him pushing Fingon away seems only natural, but I also like the idea that he did it messily, not as delicately as Fingon needed to be rejected, and thus snipping off the blossoming bud. And then, when Fingon final came of age, Maedhros is forever waiting for Fingon to show a sign, a single look, that Fingon’s interest had been rekindled, but Fingon has shut the doors on that desires and buried it deep in his heart, so Maedhros keeps waiting and waiting and waiting….)
“their relationship feels (I don’t mean from your work, I thought this before I ever came into the online fandom) like ‘old married’s’ so I never feel I wish to write about them myself.”
I feel you on this too. I love them together, but once they get together there seems less to explore with them then other couples because they just fit so well together and seem to have the major conflicts in their relationship already solved. But we shall see what happens in rebirth. They obviously never stopped loving each other, but how damaged is Maedhros still going to be even after rebirth? And what about Maglor and Glorfindel? I think you are right that it doesn’t feel natural for the Elves to only have that one monogamous relationship all their long lives. They aren’t humans; not only are they a different species, but their lives as immense, and the idea of them never forming intimate bonds with others seems strange. So one thing I can share: there will be no angst between Maedhros and Fingon about how they were only meant for each other and how dare the other want to bring someone else into their bed lol I want to explore Maglor and Glorfindel’s attractions, and see how they respond to the other they had spent so long secretly jealous of :)
Well, I think Irimë is still the most unpleasant and ‘ugly’ character I’ve ever come across. She wants to grab ‘everything’. She wants to live with Maglor, although she’s his aunt, yet she wants to bully out of Glorfindel everything he is, as if incest and adultery is fine because she’s doing it, but her son loving men is unforgivable and vile. She couldn’t truly have thought her father or the Valar would have allowed her to openly be Maglor’s lover when she knew there would be objections if Aredhel had wanted to marry Celegorm.
She wants Fingolfin to hate Fëanor, is jealous of the amount of mental space Fingolfin gives him. If there was ever a ‘Wicked Witch’ award, she would get it, and since poor Glorfindel even after rebirth had to struggle against the poison she implanted in him, I feel she never paid enough for her crimes. I hope she’s never reborn, or if she is, she is ignored and outcast by her son and Maglor and Fingolfin and everyone she tried to control. I still feel uncomfortable that Maglor would have ever looked at such a manipulative bitch, (Fëanor saw straight through her, as did Maedhros) maybe slept with her once out of curiosity to get Glorfindel, but not more than that. I’m so glad he just turned his back on her. But for Glorfindel’s self-hate and shame and pain that went on until his death, and even returned after, she could never be forgiven. What he goes through makes my heart break.
“as if incest and adultery is fine because she’s doing it, but her son loving men is unforgivable and vile. She couldn’t truly have thought her father or the Valar would have allowed her to openly be Maglor’s lover when she knew there would be objections if Aredhel had wanted to marry Celegorm.”
This is such a good point. How on earth could desiring your own sex be worse than incest in the eyes of the Valar or the Elves? Really, she’s damn lucky Glorfindel was born without birth defects (I’ve thought about this a bit, and think it has to do with Finwe and Indis and Míriel (probably Nerdanel’s father too) all being from some of the first generations of Elves. I think there was something in their DNA. There were so few of them that close-kin were bound to inter-breed).
You have her summed up nicely when you describe her as wanting everything. She doesn’t get it that she is not above consequences; she doesn’t get that to have something often one has to sacrifice something else.
As for Maglor, yes, it really is a wonder how he didn’t see through her. He was young, sure, but he seemed smarter than this. I think what happened was the long-distance of their relationship and how very, very rarely he saw her in other company. Unlike with so many other people, she wanted Maglor to like her, to love her. It was similar to how Fingolfin didn’t see the true depth she had sunk to for a long time. She talked big to herself, but she wasn’t as confident about Fingolfin’s love for her as she wanted to believe. Which is why she was so jealous of Feanor, and everything that lessened Fingolfin’s time and regard for her. Also, I think, like with Fingolfin who let the burdens of rule and his own depression act as blinders, Maglor didn’t really look at Irime. He didn’t love her. She was a distraction for the one he really loved. I think it was because Maglor didn’t really care that much about who Irime really was, that he didn’t see her true self for so long. So, really, Maglor is kind of to blame for not seeing her for who she really was…but I am hesitant to blame him because 1. He was underage when the relationship started. And 2. It ended up turning into an abusive relationship by the end. He may have only started it for the escape and sex, and he may not have known Irime well because of how rarely they saw each other, but she did hold a power over him by the end….I wonder if some of that power was derived from the secret nature of their relationship? Did Maglor fear his father ever finding out about it? Was it shame that gave her some of her power over him? Maglor comes across as so confident in his encounter with Fingolfin, but I can easily see this gnawing at him, not only that he had sex with someone his father despised and who despised his father, and of course the incest element, but also the reason he fell into her arms to begin with: his ‘forbidden’ love for Maedhros –yet another insestual relationship.
The incest elements shouldn’t be discounted, I think, not when we are talking about Elves raised in Valinor under the Valar’s laws. Of course Feanor and his sons didn’t want to be held by such laws, but it’s harder to escape laws so internalized in the heart of a society. How could Maglor not feel a sense of guilt, even self-disgust? What held him back from telling Maedhors of his feelings? Was it not Maedhros rejecting him, feeling disgusted by Maglor’s desire? Isn’t it interesting that the person Maglor is drawn to when he cannot bring himself to risk his relationship with Maedhors, is another blood-relative? Almost like self-inflicted punishment, or maybe an act of defiance against his own head telling him want he wanted was wrong.
Now I want to go back and re-write all the Maglor/Irime and Maglor/Maedhros scenes and put little hints of this in!! Or maybe I’ll just wait until they are reborn. Maybe they were all too blind to understand why they acted the way they did in Valinor….
It hit him like a fist in the gut. She had not woven a tale of suffering this torment-of-the-loom, but a single moment, like a painted picture, capturing the fall of a star crushed under the heel of a black mountain of a monster. Body, broken. Helm, smashed. Armor, rent. Star, fallen. Blood on those lips he’d never, never once kissed, smeared all over a cheekbone that had once been the perfect curve of the ocean meeting the shore and now was caved in bone, crushed beauty. Hair a mess of gore and mud that had once begged Fëanor’s hands to sink themselves in to the wrist, all that dark beauty sinking into the bed of stars.
The world tilted, hazing out around the edges, there was only: the screech of a bird shot down, the roar of a forge-fire leaping up, feral and wounded to consume all, and the anguish of a head thrown back as the loss poured out like blood in a scream that quelled the hearts of gods.
It was supposed to be the only thing he did right! He’d burned the ships, he’d burned them! He had broken Maedhros’ heart, but he had given him something to live for too because Fingon would be safe, they would all be safe. And one day Fëanor was going to bring Maedhros home to the arms of his beloved, and Fingolfin would be enthroned in Tirion –of course he would be, as if Fingolfin could be anything but a king—and he would lift his arrogant brow at Fëanor as he marched into the throne room with his sons at his side, and they would have been forever-changed and hauntings would shadow their eyes, but they would be alive and together, and coming like thunder and the smell of spring rain out the East. Of course Fingolfin would not smile and walk down from his throne to embrace them, but he would be there alive and so beautiful it hurt, and flawed and diminished from what he could have been with all those masks woven over his skin and games spun into game that Fëanor hated, but he would be alive and crooking his brow at Fëanor, not the least impressed, but alive.
So what in Hells name was Fingolfin doing on the other side of the sea!
Fëanor’s memories of his years of madness were hazy, jagged things, only glimmering to clearness in moments with his sons when their love poured out all over him and pushed back the madness (he had never deserved them, but after what he had done…how could they bear to touch him? Hold him? Even look at him? Why hadn’t they walked away long ago?)
One of those glimmers cutting through the haze was his mouth on Maedhros,’ his lips promising to bring Fingon back to him (sorry, so sorry), then his hands cupping the Palantír, and being broken by the horror of those visions. He remembered burning the ships because he had to save Fingolfin from lying sprawled in the mud with his ribs turned against himself and puncturing lungs as they splintered under the weight of a monster’s hate.
He never had worked out why Fingolfin had followed him in the beginning. Was it vengeance for Father’s death burning a hole through his gut? He’d certainly wanted to be king badly enough, but he could have had that in Tirion. Was it because Fingon had sent his heart on following Maedhros? Whatever the pull, Fëanor would have thought the burning of the ships enough to snap it. Why had he come to Endor? How had he even crossed the ocean without a fleet? Why had had done something so stupid?
Why did he have to die too? Was it not enough Fëanor’s sons, his boys, were chained to an Oath (what had he done?), and would be here soon if they could find no way to break the strands of the Song? Must Fingolfin lay entombed in this prison as well?
A flash of memory: Fingolfin covered in blood, sword in hand, fierce as a lion, beautiful as heartbreak, stained in a sin not of his making. Kinslayer.
Not this. Not a fate so cruel as this for the whitestar of their people. Not this for that little boy of wild hair and eyes for no one but Fëanor.
And this really hit *me* in the gut, this, and all that came prior, Fingolfin’s despair that he would never, never see Fëanor again, his glorious defiance of the Valar, and a little comfort given to him by the vision at the end. Fingolfin may not rate himself as strong, but he truly is, strong as steel, and yet he does not know that Fëanor is balancing his scales for him, only that somehow, his crimes have been paid for.
And Fëanor’s horror, seeing Vairë’s tapestry, thinking Fingolfin would never follow him, not understanding why he would, but paying for Fingolfin’s ‘crimes’ anyhow. *sobs*
Thank you so much for these reviews! This is what I love so much about reviews: you got me thinking more deeply about the characters! I especially love the questions you asked about Fingon. Thinking about them revealed to me a hidden part of his story with Maedhros! (more on that later J)
“And this really hit *me* in the gut, this, and all that came prior, Fingolfin’s despair that he would never, never see Fëanor again, his glorious defiance of the Valar, and a little comfort given to him by the vision at the end.”
This really is one of the most heartbreaking moments for Fingolfin –but also one of his most glorious—and that is saying something, for it often feels like Fingolfin’s entire life was heartbreak.
And then Feanor not understanding why Fingolfin would follow him….gods I want to weep; it’s well past wanting to knock their heads together, it’s not frustration anymore, it’s sorrow that they missed all those opportunities in their first life, and have had to endure all this pain and despair. The only way to wrap my heart around this is to remember that one day they will have a second chance!
I need some Curufin/Finrod right now and it seemed to me that you wrote some in this fic and daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn your Curufin is so intense/creepy/sad/scary! I just love what you did with him, the focus on war, the obsession with Fëanor, the way he cannot accept his own needs if he does not assure himself that he is not doing that for himself but for Fëanor!
His dad would be devastated if he saw him like that. Curufin became everything Fëanor hated in Valinor; in fact, I think he became everything Fëanor believed Fingolfin was, and hated in Fingolfin.
Also: you write erotism so amazingly well.
I am thrilled you like the way I wrote Curufin/Finrod! They have such a messed-up complicated relationship, and it will get no easier in rebirth, only more complicated. Most of the messed-up is, of course, on Curufin’s part.
I like your comparison between Curufin and who Feanor thought Fingolfin was. Curufin plays games and is so far from honest about himself or his goals to the people around him. Feanor had not been able to stand people who were not true to themselves. It really would break his heart to see what the Oath and his dying did to Curufin.
Curufin has so much healing he needs to find in his rebirth, but he will find it in his family. As for Finrod, he has a lot of healing he needs as well –his death was a horrifying experience and the feeling of betrayal cuts deep.
“Also: you write erotism so amazingly well.”
I’ve been intending to write a few words about Maeglin’s rewritten chapters for a while now, so here it goes. The new and improved Maeglin gave me a bit of trouble (to be honest, this is why I procrastinated instead of reviewing these chapters when they first came out). This is largely related to what I said about Galadriel and my dislike of mind reading in a previous review. I haven’t been this unsure about any other character in your stories. Maeglin is standing right on that line which is drawn between characters that I like despite their flaws and characters who are so flawed that I just can’t form a connection with them. Where he goes from here depends entirely on his actions after rebirth. It is a credit to you as a writer that you can write such a complex character, one who evokes such strong conflicting emotions. I like that he recognizes that what he did to Maedhros and Galadriel was violation, but he has done the same to so many other people, and he feels no remorse. Again and again he sees that his negative assumptions about people are incorrect (e.g., Maedhros, Celebrimbor, Celegorm, and Glorfindel), but he continues to think the worst of every “Golodh” he meets – hating the Noldor is his default setting. I like that he is stronger, more assertive, and more confident; and I think this new Maeglin will be less damaged and more capable of coping with the reality of the situation when he is reborn. Anyway, I still have hope for him. I *want* to like him, dammit!
I can say with absolute certainty that despite my conflicted feeling on Maeglin as an individual, I loved his new story. And poor Eol, he has to be reunited with Miriel, he will never heal otherwise. Unfortunately, his reunion with Finwe will probably do more harm than good (unless Finwe cardinally changes after rebirth). I’m still feeling quite angry at Finwe - this guy has a lot to make up for.
You’ve done an excellent job in your portrayal of Aredhel. The self-blame, her choices haunting her… she feels very real and very damaged, almost as much as Celebrimbor in the end. I cannot really blame Eol for his treatment of her, since he was quite damaged himself, but I do blame the Wolf Clan and specifically Breglos for ostracizing her and doing nothing to help her, or even just sending her away to her family to get help. Breglos recognized that Eol was mentally damaged, but didn’t see the same symptoms in Aredhel? It’s like he doesn’t even see her as a person – she is just a Golodh to him. The members of the Wolf Clan aren’t immune to the same superiority/racism that plagued the Noldor.
I liked the changes to Idril’s character. The old activist!Idril didn’t feel quite right. She seemed like a teenager, which didn’t really make sense because she was several hundred years old at that point. I can see her possibly going through an activist phase in the early days of Gondolin, but by the time Maeglin arrived, she had to have become a different, more mature, even slightly jaded person. The new Idril comes with a lot more emotional depth and tragedy attached. Her search for redemption by way of the prophecy child is an idea that worked well in the narrative.
There are so many little snippets of information that you have dropped in the Maeglin and Eol chapters that interest me, and which I hope you will explore in the last story. What’s going on with Thingol and Melian and the Sindar of Doriath? It feels like there is an entire separate story there complete with factions and a bunch of power struggles between the numerous descendants of Thingol. I like the depth it gives to the series - there is stuff happening not only to the main characters (the Finwions), but to off-screen characters too (what would they be called? the Thingolions? the Elwions?). And what is Ulmo up to? Why is he helping the Noldor in Gondolin? And what about Poldorea? You seem to be implying that he died in Nan Elmoth. That would explain why the Land’s magic was stronger there than in other places. And Orome, as well. After seeing Orome at Fingolfin’s “trial”, I actually thought he was one of the nicer Valar. I should have known that there is no such thing as a nice Vala. Poor Celegorm! What about the Elves who join the Land after death? Will they be reborn? If so, where? Surely not in Beleriand, since it is under the sea now. But if they are reborn in Middle-Earth they will never travel to Valinor. Well, Eol might, if he wanted to be reunited with Finwe and Miriel. But will he be allowed to travel there? The Valar stopped him the last time he tried. And the most important question of all – where the hell is Caranthir? What’s he been up to for two Ages? Is he still following his family around or has he managed to sneak into Valinor?
Your Miriel is just wonderful, of course. I cannot wait to see her again. I hope she and Feanor will grow into the same type of unconditional love that ties Feanor and his sons together. There has to be at least one woman in the tight knit circle of Feanorions, and since Nerdanel seems to have bowed out, Miriel is the only candidate left. The Feanorions’ followers seemed to form a society with a less defined class structure, one that is based more on merit. In this respect Miriel has so much to offer Feanor and her grandchildren – she was there in the beginning, before there were lords and kings, she knows where their people came from and what Elven society was like before the Valar imposed their laws on the elves. The Feanorions need a voice of reason and a mediator and a shoulder to cry on, and she can provide all that and more.
Well, I think that’s about everything I wanted to say about the Gondolin arc. I guess Miriel doesn’t really belong here, but she is sort of connected to Eol and I wanted to gush about her one more time :)
Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and review, and what a review it is! A real treasure!
I find your comments on Maeglin so fascinating, because they travel the path of his character’s fall and highlight some of the most important parts of his gradual rise back out of the pit of hate that had consumed him.
First we see him in Nan Elmoth where he is a young man who forgives almost too easily, never holding onto his own hurt, but letting it go so he can see clearly the one who hurt him and see that they are hurting too. He has such a deep well of empathy.
Then we see him come to Gondolin and at first the empathy is still there. He keeps trying to forgive the ones who hurt him, keeps telling himself that there must be some reason for them to act like this. Even after Turgon killed his father, Maeglin still held on to hope that there was more to his uncle. Even after he saw the conditions the Wood-elves were living in, he still had a kernel of belief that there might still be good in some of these Noldor.
But the atrocities kept piling up, and it became harder and harder to reach for forgiveness, and then his friend was raped just because she was his friend, and he stopped. There was no forgiveness left in him, no understanding, he didn’t try to see anything redeemable about the Noldor of Gondolin for all he could see was Golodh. And Golodh’s weren’t really people to him anymore, just like the Wood-elves weren’t really people to the Noldor of Gondolin.
We see this same attitude in Breglos. You are completely right that he didn’t see Aredhel has a person in the same way his people were persons deserving of respect. Now, some of this is because Aredhel herself had internalized some of the Gondolindrim’s attitude towards the Wood-elves. We can see it in her thoughts, and her belief that Maeglin, as a Prince of the Noldor, should not grow up with Wood-elves. They were beneath him in her mind, even if she never consciously acknowledged her own prejudice. I have no doubt that, while I don’t think she said anything purposefully offensive, her prejudices were sensed among the Wolf Clan (one of the reasons they did not do more to help her, I think). She had fallen to less than his own people in Breglos’ mind, because he saw the same attitude of the Noldor who had oppressed his people in her.
I wanted to show the way an oppressed people who suffered from racism against them, could develop their own prejudices against their oppressors. Did slaves working a plantation see their ‘masters’ as human beings the same way their fellow slaves were? Does not some oppressed people look at their oppressor and think, they are not like me, and, there must be something less than human in them for them to be able to treat another human being like this?
And so we see in the Wood-elves of Gondolin, and those outside it like the Elves of Nan Elmoth and Ossiriand, that after years of their people’s suffering at the hands of the Noldor, years of enduring various levels of prejudice, the Noldor had become other, not their fellow human beings in quite the same way other Elves were.
In Gondolin, where the oppression was the worst, we see this divide the deepest, on both sides. And just like Aredhel had become influenced by the society she lived in (tho she had not been prejudiced against the Wood-elves before living in Gondolin for years), Maeglin too became influenced, and, as the crimes laid at the Noldor’s door piled up, he stopped seeing them as human beings the same way the Wood-elves were human beings. And thus he was blinded and became less than he once was as the hate ate away at some of the best parts of himself. He started breaking into the Noldor’s minds without much thought because they were not really people to him anymore, but vehicles of his own people’s oppression.
But it was his contact with other Noldor outside of Gondolin that slowly changed him. First Maedhros, then Celebrimbor, until he finally met Fingon and the Noldor outside Gondolin and his first thoughts were not that they were the enemy or the oppressors, but that they would show themselves to be good people.
And then he met Celegorm. We saw that at first he saw Celegorm as a person, not a Golodh. But when Celegorm seemed to him to transform into a Golodh, Maeglin stopped seeing him as person who he had no right to violate the mind of, and did just that. But it was by violating Celegorm’s mind that Maeglin finally saw what he had been doing –entering other’s minds at will—as the violation it was. And he looked at himself and thought, had he, then, become a Golodh? Had he become everything he hated?
I should have made it clearer in the story (sorry!), but Maeglin was shaken by that revelation, and he never again entered the mind of another without permission.
I think one of the great tragedies of Maeglin’s story is that he did not get out of Gondolin then, but was returned to that hell. If he had only been able to escape then…well, so many things would have been different, and he would have been a different person. He had begun to find who he had once been, the young man who had looked at the people who hurt him and saw passed his own pain and into theirs and forgave. But he was returned to Gondolin and his growth stunted in its cesspit, so that it took him years before he was able to look at Glorfindel and not see a Golodh looking back.
It’s heartbreaking for me to think about what might have been between these two in only Maeglin hadn’t been captured. Finally, Maeglin saw a Noldo of Gondolin and realized that he was a person like him, like the Wood-elves, and his old empathy rose to the occasion. Of course everything went to hell, but I think Maeglin learned the lessons he needed to learn to put aside his hate and became the man he once was after he is reborn. We see that his soul has joined the Hall of Kinslayers in death, and there he will meet many noble and good Noldor. I am not sure if he will remember much of his time in death except for subconsciously, but he will be reborn into Valinor, and be surrounded by Noldor, some good, some less so. But I believe he has learned enough now not to prejudice himself against the Noldor, but to see each person for who they are.
I think, that while he bears the scars of Angband on his mind, the reborn Maeglin will look far closer to the young man he’d once been before he slid that dagger of hate into his heart.
“And poor Eol, he has to be reunited with Miriel, he will never heal otherwise. Unfortunately, his reunion with Finwe will probably do more harm than good (unless Finwe cardinally changes after rebirth). I’m still feeling quite angry at Finwe - this guy has a lot to make up for.”
Yes, I want Eol to come to Valinor and meet a reborn Miriel and Finwe! But you are quite right to worry about Finwe. The Finwe who ruled as king in Tirion would have done him more harm than good to meet. That Finwe was in complete denial about everything, and hiding from his past. But we shall see if the time in Formenos and his death changes Finwe for the better –tho he does have a lot of mistakes to answer for!
“You’ve done an excellent job in your portrayal of Aredhel. The self-blame, her choices haunting her… she feels very real and very damaged, almost as much as Celebrimbor in the end.”
I am so happy you liked Aredhel so well! And I too wish she received more help from the Wolf Clan. I feel like they missed out on a chance to see a Noldo as more than a Golodh. They needed one of those lessons that Maeglin had.
Maeglin was right to call Breglos out on his treatment of Aredhel, and Breglos did realize he’d been wrong, even if it came very late, but he didn’t forget what Maeglin said, though he still needs more lessons before his first thought when meeting a Noldo is not suspicion. We will see if he comes to Valinor at all, and if he can change while there.
I am glad you liked this Idril better, and she felt more real. You are right that the old Idril didn’t work. I wanted to give her more depth, and it’s good to hear it worked!
“What’s going on with Thingol and Melian and the Sindar of Doriath? It feels like there is an entire separate story there complete with factions and a bunch of power struggles between the numerous descendants of Thingol. I like the depth it gives to the series - there is stuff happening not only to the main characters (the Finwions), but to off-screen characters too (what would they be called? the Thingolions? the Elwions?).”
I am glad to hear you this! And you are right, there is stuff going down with Thingol and his descendants. I imagine there was a bunch of court intrigue in Doriath, and power grasping. We will indeed get to hear more about Thingol and Melian, and find out about the Sindar, Wood-elf, ect rebirths.
“And what is Ulmo up to? Why is he helping the Noldor in Gondolin? And what about Poldorea? You seem to be implying that he died in Nan Elmoth. That would explain why the Land’s magic was stronger there than in other places.”
We will soon get some explanation about Ulmo’s motives, and yes, I am glad that Poldorea dying in Nan Elmoth and making it an especially powerful place came across well. We will see more of Poldorea in Dawn as things come to a head.
“I should have known that there is no such thing as a nice Vala.”
Yes, even the ones that seem not too bad at first turn out to have ulterior motives. I want to draw this out more in the story. Right now, the Elves mostly see the Valar as hive-mind like, they don’t know the Valar’s individual desires. We have seen only a few of them, like Orome and Alue, but why did Ulmo send dreams to Finrod and Turgon? Why does Tulkas stick by Manwe and Varda’s side when he’s not a character in love with power? Why did Este help Celebrain? If the Elves can learn the answers to these questions, maybe they will stand a better chance in the war.
“And the most important question of all – where the hell is Caranthir? What’s he been up to for two Ages? Is he still following his family around or has he managed to sneak into Valinor?”
Ah! Great question! And I am glad you remembered him. He is coming up soon :)
I love your thoughts about Míriel! You have me eager to see her reborn, more than ever, and explore her possibilities!
Thank you so much for this fantastic review! It had me thinking more about things, and reminding me not to forget to take my time layering the story so I don’t leave out things but keep them as deep as possible. Thank you!
I am dreadfully, dreadfully sorry for Eöl; he had such a raw deal. I would love him to be reunited with Finwë and Miriel again, and Breglos too. I think the Finwë of the early years could have become a great man, had he not lead the Noldor to Valinor; he was certainly more interesting and passionate, even if he was too young to want Eöl, and thus hurt and confused. I thought they way they parted was heartbreaking! Even later, Eöl makes Lómion a knight-Finwë — he never stopped loving him.
All these tragedies twisted like brambles into one another!
Eol ended up climbing onto my favs lists after writing this! (Or at least this version of him. I can see him much, much darker too. He’s one of those characters that isn’t set in stone in my mind).
Finwe was a lot more interesting before Valinor, for sure. He took to blinding himself about everything in Valinor. He blamed himself for leading the Noldor there, and for Miril’s death, and tried to repress everything about Eol, but I think he kept seeing glimpses of Eol in Feanor and that made it all the harder to build a relationship with Feanor.
We shall see what he’s like after rebirth tho. He was trying to make amends with Feanor in the end, but there was so very much he had to make amends for regarding his family, especially his treatment of Finarfin. But I think there is hope for him as long as he gets his head on straight and doesn’t slip right back into the same old mistakes. Changing one’s ways tho is no easy thing, so we will see, oh yes, we will see.
But he had to be here, because Fingolfin couldn’t bear…he couldn’t…never to see him again. Never. Again. The world staggered, tripped, sliding into the gleaming jaws of a darkness that knew no end. Cold, it was so cold, in here. It was stumbling across the ice, one more footfall, just one more, tears freezing on his cheeks before they fell, and the emptiness of starvation in his chest, and so cold, cold, cold where the fire of the world had reached into his heart and torn it out, carrying it away in hands he ached to have pressing all their starfire into his skin, but never would feel, never, never, never because the hands that carried his heart away to strangle in their cruel, cruel grasp (don’t leave me, brother, please, please, just once, just once don’t leave me all alone) had abandoned him to die, freezing to death without the fire of the world to curl his aching, aching chest into.
Every time I read this. Ever single time, I am so choked up I cannot breathe. I just want Fingolfin to find Fëanor, to see him, be with him again, to talk, for them to be honest and real with each other. It’s such passionate, tragic and magnificent writing.
Hi Sian! It is always the most wonderful feeling to know that you still come back to the stories and read them. Thank you for letting me know this with your review :)
Gods, these two. I want the same as you, so very very badly. Every time I think about the desolate way their lives ended…and the way they never had any happiness together, never understood each other, it’s just so heartbreaking. Fingolfin’s life especially. He lived so long in terrible loneliness and depression, and after Feanor died…I don’t think could ever write a story focusing on his years as High King. They would have been so bleak and full of despair. I think he knew, just like Feanor, once he saw Angband that they were never going to win the war, that they were all going to die, but it was too late to go back.
I need these two reborn NOW! But they are taking their time about it! I have finally started writing the final installment (tho the writing is going slllllow), but it’s taking too long to get to the good parts lol I don’t know how much longer I can wait, and I am the making us all wait :snorts:
Thank you for these reviews. Knowing that you are still waiting, gives me that extra push I need to get on with things :)
I have been meaning to read this for ages :-) I love the intricate relationship dynamics at okay here! And yay for Irime - there isn't enough fic about her. Can't wait to watch this all unfurl.
Author's Response:Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! There really aren't a lot of stories about Irime, you are so right. It's interesting to think how the dynamics in the House of Finwe would have been changed if Irime and Findis were part of it. In this story there is no Findis since I have always gone with the idea that Fingolfin was the first of Indis' kids. I think it fits the best with his relationship with Feanor, that he was the first one born of the union between Finwe and Indis. I cannot promise that you will like Irime's character much (or at all) in this story; she is very much a product of growing up under her mother's wing, who is in turn a product of growing up under her family's and the over-arching presence of the Valar among the Vanyar. Poor parenting trickles down generation to generation, but some characters break free!I hope you will continue to like the story Thank you again for commenting!
Few things have twisted my heart more than this chapter with Maeglin, because he's tried so very hard to be a decent man, and this, in the end is his reward.
There is so much tragedy in the First Age, but three people will always stand out for me in your stories, Glorfindel, Maeglin and Fingolfin. Glorfindel, thank goodness, comes to healing with Maglor, but these two latter still need to, and the last of Fingolfin we heard was in the Halls of Mandos when he could not find his brother. There is always a knife in my heart with him because of having to live hundreds of years with a broken heart.
And then Maeglin, it's so tragic, so heartbreaking. What I wonder is, if Turgon and his people will ever be brought to account for what they did in Gondolin. I honestly believe Fingolfin or Fingon would have done something, but of course they had no chance to.
Thank you for all the reviews and encouragement you left me on the story :hugs: I am sorry I did not respond sooner!
“There is so much tragedy in the First Age, but three people will always stand out for me in your stories, Glorfindel, Maeglin and Fingolfin.”
Yes, these three, they have had some of the roughest times, that is for sure! Glorfindel had such a tragic first life, and is still dealing with the residue of poison Irime injected into at a young age, Fingolfin spent most of his life in heartbreak and then depression that it breaks my heart thinking about him, and then Maeglin who, like you said, tried so hard to do the right thing, and yet in the end all that he accomplished (which was so depressingly small in comparison to how much he tried and tried) was washed away, all because he broke under torture, as anyone would break, and now he is forever remembered only for this failing and nothing else. He is going to have the hardest road, I think, because there is almost no one who knows the truth of him that is in Valinor. So how is he going to be received when he is reborn? He will be living among Noldor again, far from his people or land, and he himself will be carrying so much baggage in his heart over his ending. With the denial and numbness he lived those last few months of his life in torn away, he will be tormented by memories of his torment and what he did. Gods, my heart is wrenching just thinking about it! But I will not leave him in torment forever! I could not endure anything but a happy ending (or, well, as happy as it can get for any of these characters. As long as they are all together again, I think that will be enough!).
Thank you again for the reviews :hugs:
Thank you so much for this massive update! I have enjoyed reading it immensely, and I have nothing but praise for your dedication to the story. I know that the two new intermission chapters were just the backdrop for Maeglin’s re-written story, but for me they were the highlight.
Your description of the awakening and the lives the first elves built at Cuivienen was just perfect. I loved that the Starborn made mistakes. How could it be otherwise? The idea that the elves awoke not only in pairs, but also in threes or fours and even alone was great too. I guess that by the time the Silmarillion was written in-universe historical fact shifted to accommodate what the Valar considered “right”. This is the clearest sign yet that the Valar are way off from what Eru intended for Arda and the Children. I also liked the mentions of Rumil and Beleg. I was hoping to see Cirdan (he is a favourite of mine), but maybe in your universe he was born later.
The glimpse of Miriel’s background was great too. With her depression beginning with Anneth’s disappearance, I can just imagine how much more depressed she became after Eol’s capture. And then she had to leave her home, the place where she lived her whole life and was so happy to go to Valinor. That must have been pretty traumatizing. I don’t think she bought what the Valar were selling (unlike Finwe). She probably accompanied him because he was the only mate she had left. Her eventual fading had a much deeper cause than just Feanor’s birth. It’s the Valar who were truly at fault, because they were frolicking around Valinor instead of dealing with Melkor as they should have. Of course when it came down to it, they just blamed Feanor for his mother’s death. I cannot decide if they really were that ignorant or if they knew the real reason, but couldn’t face the consequences of their actions. Or maybe they just didn’t care and went with the easiest explanation.
Having read these chapters, I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive Finwe for his remarriage. How can he do that to Miriel? She sacrificed her relationship with Anneth and Eol in order to be with him. She pretty much brought him back from the dead. Arguably, Anneth’s long hunting trip that resulted in her capture was a consequence of the fracture of the relationship that began with Finwe’s arrival. And after all of that, he couldn’t wait even a few decades for Miriel to recover? He came across as a whiny entitled bratty kid. Which actually makes sense, because in R&U he was a whiny entitled bratty adult. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but he deserved to be miserable being married to Indis. Ugh.
With Miriel being unbegotten, it explains why Feanor didn’t have any of her family supporting him, which was something that bothered me a little while I was reading about his childhood in R&U. I do wonder about Finwe’s parents and/or potential siblings. I guess they never made it to Valinor, otherwise their absence from Finwe’s side in Tirion doesn’t make sense.
Reading about Finwe’s interactions with Eol made me think back to Finwe’s reaction to Feanor’s confession about his attraction to males in R&U. This really puts in perspective Finwe’s opposition to Feanor openly declaring himself. And Finwe’s negative experience with Eol was probably one of the things that made him so pro-Valar. He probably felt guilty for not desiring Eol and blamed himself for tearing apart Miriel/Anneth/Eol. I think when the Valar declared that attraction between males was wrong, Finwe must have seized that as an excuse for his actions, because it absolved him of (some of his) guilt. I love how you tied everything together, it’s absolutely brilliant. All the little details fit together so well now.
I will review the other chapters in a couple of days once I’ve had a chance to gather my thoughts and maybe do a re-read :)
Thanks again for all your hard work!
Thank you for the review you gifted me, merwinem. I am sorry for this terribly late reply, but I wanted you to know that I read and treasured it when you gave it, and found encouragement in your words.
“I know that the two new intermission chapters were just the backdrop for Maeglin’s re-written story, but for me they were the highlight.”
I had never written about the Elves’ awakening before this, and ended up loving the chance to explore a side of this universe I had never touched on before. Those two chapters were actually some of my favorites to write, so it’s great to hear they were your favorites to read!
“The glimpse of Miriel’s background was great too. With her depression beginning with Anneth’s disappearance, I can just imagine how much more depressed she became after Eol’s capture. And then she had to leave her home, the place where she lived her whole life and was so happy to go to Valinor. That must have been pretty traumatizing. I don’t think she bought what the Valar were selling (unlike Finwe). She probably accompanied him because he was the only mate she had left. Her eventual fading had a much deeper cause than just Feanor’s birth. It’s the Valar who were truly at fault, because they were frolicking around Valinor instead of dealing with Melkor as they should have. Of course when it came down to it, they just blamed Feanor for his mother’s death. I cannot decide if they really were that ignorant or if they knew the real reason, but couldn’t face the consequences of their actions. Or maybe they just didn’t care and went with the easiest explanation. “
Yes, I didn’t know much about Miriel’s background until I started writing it, and then it just came. But she began to emerge as a fully formed character, and one I could understand now. The fact that she’s such a shrouded character later on in the timeline is just the way it should be, I think, because there are so few left who actually know her full story, and those that do (like Finwe), refuse to talk about her. She’s such a pivotal figure that overshadows so much of later Elven history, and yet she herself is a figure cast in shadow.
“With Miriel being unbegotten, it explains why Feanor didn’t have any of her family supporting him, which was something that bothered me a little while I was reading about his childhood in R&U. I do wonder about Finwe’s parents and/or potential siblings. I guess they never made it to Valinor, otherwise their absence from Finwe’s side in Tirion doesn’t make sense. “
Yeah, I have read other stories where Feanor has family on Miriel’s side, but I think for this one the very fact that he had so few positive adults to turn to while growing up was a deciding factor to how he turned out. If he could have had someone to act as a surrogate mother or father, then he wouldn’t have had to cling to Finwe to provide all the love he needed (not that Finwe ever did an adequate job of providing that!). As for Finwe’s kin, I think he was an only child of 2 unbegotten Elves who did not stay together (like Eol and Lenwe, who he had a child with, did not stick together), and both of his parents either never came to Valinor, or had as little a place in his life as Eol did with his firstborn son.
“Reading about Finwe’s interactions with Eol made me think back to Finwe’s reaction to Feanor’s confession about his attraction to males in R&U. This really puts in perspective Finwe’s opposition to Feanor openly declaring himself. And Finwe’s negative experience with Eol was probably one of the things that made him so pro-Valar. He probably felt guilty for not desiring Eol and blamed himself for tearing apart Miriel/Anneth/Eol. I think when the Valar declared that attraction between males was wrong, Finwe must have seized that as an excuse for his actions, because it absolved him of (some of his) guilt. I love how you tied everything together, it’s absolutely brilliant. All the little details fit together so well now.”
Yes!!! I was thinking about Feanor too when I was writing Finwe and Eol! I think Finwe saw SO much of Eol in Feanor, and it made him all the more distant with Feanor. Finwe is a person who runs away from his mistakes, burying his head in the sand, rather than confronting and dealing with them. Feanor was like a living reminder of Eol (his skill in the forge, and then his desire for men). And I think you are absolutely right that Finwe latched onto the Valar’s declaring that desiring one’s own kind was wrong and unnatural. It made it easier for him to shift all the blame for what happened onto Eol’s shoulders. Not that Eol and Miriel and Anneth didn’t have a large share of the blame, because they did, all the unbegotten had blame. Finwe was messed up because of what they’d done, but Finwe has to take responsibility for what happened after. Melkor taking Eol wasn’t Finwe’s fault, but Finwe did not deal with his grief properly, and then decided to try and forget Eol ever existed in Valinor, and then decided to blame Miriel and marry again. He kept on deciding not to deal with any of the hard things in his life by pretending they didn’t exist, and that is what ultimately led to all the mistakes he made as a father and husband that contributed to the mess his family was by the time of his death.
Thank you again for this lovely review, and I hope that this finds you healthy and happy in the holidays :hugs:
The vast tragedy of Fingolfin and Fingon's death in the larger story is less heart wrenching than the personal tragedy it was for others, Glorfindel and Maeglin in this story in particular. :(
I wish that Maeglin had accepted Glorfindel before he did, when Fingolfin died and when Fingon died. It would have been something, at least.
This is so unbelievably sorrowful :( I am so glad Fingon accepted Maeglin, not that I ever believed he wouldn't and I am so pleased you wrote them meeting, and that later, Maeglin would have been friends with Glorfindel. But as ever, in the grand raggedy of the Doom of the Noldor, it is always too late. *Sobs*
I have to say that I think you should publish this as a stand alone for the loveliness of the language and the subtle beauty of the storyline. There is so much to admire in this- from the slipping of one hand into another as Avranc does to Thoriel,
His words settled like warm embers in her chest. She should crush them, but she didn’t. His hand picking up hers, ignoring her protest, made her feel stronger.
to the dark passing of the sword into her chest-
With fearless hands she grasped the black metal. A hiss, a voice like the coldness between the stars, the abyss of light, the greed of cracked soil in a land locked in famine, and her answer: Drink, and return me to the one you stole.
I loved the dark description of the burial mound and its strange mysticism,
Darkness lay behind the door. The smell of cold stone, the roots of green things, and the barest lingering hint of the herbs the Haladin had burned though the day and a night of the Honoring.
Thóriel bent to pick up the torch she’d dropped on the grass, and stepped into the darkness. She didn’t plan on coming out again, so she shut the door behind her. As the living world was sealed from her, all the hurricanes in her head, belly, and heart stilled. The oceans inside her laid still as a sea turned to glass. There was not even a ripple of doubt within her.
The torchlight illumined the rectangular room of stone, hollowed out of the hill by the Haladin, the stone blocks under her feet set by the skilled hands of the Drughu. She walked to the first tomb. It lay in a boxed alcove. The tomb itself was a plain rectangle of grey stone. She rested her hand over the slab sealed over the body beneath. It was cool against her skin’s fire.
The only decoration was an engraving over the place the head lay.
Beloved of Gwindor
Túrin had chosen the words. Thóriel remembered him taking her hand the night of the Honoring, and pressing her fingers into the engraving’s edges and curves, tracing out her mother’s name. She could feel his steady legs against her back as she leaned into him, seeking the comfort of the one familiar face left in the world. His hand guiding hers had been hot, but safe and strong. The pillar of rock she clung to in a storm of darkness.
I know that's a long extract to pull out but I loved it- it pulled me into memories of Long Barrow and Avebury and all those echoes of our past that Tolkien was so keen to exploit.
and the sword was fabulously described- fitting for Anglachel and its cold hiss.
This is a tragic and love beautiful story in itself. Bravo, Encairion.
Thank you for the review you gifted me, Ziggy. I am sorry for this terribly late reply, but I wanted you to know that I read and treasured it when you gave it, and found encouragement in your words.
I am so happy you enjoyed this small segment in the story. I haven’t heard many reader’s thoughts on it, so I treasure yours all the more! I was worried that all the little known characters and OCs made it an uninteresting read for most people, but it’s good to hear you enjoyed it!
Thank you again for your lovely words, and I hope that this finds you healthy and happy in the holidays :hugs:
Thank you for the review you gifted me, Ziggy. I am sorry for this terribly late reply, but I wanted you to know that I read and treasured it when you gave it, and found encouragement in your words.
I am so happy you enjoyed this small segment in the story. I haven’t heard many reader’s thoughts on it, so I treasure yours all the more! I was worried that all the little known characters and OCs made it an uninteresting read for most people, but it’s good to hear you enjoyed it!
Thank you again for your lovely words, and I hope that this finds you healthy and happy in the holidays :hugs:
Oh, how could you. You have made it ten times worse than it was before. I am wracked and wrecked upon my emotions. There is just too much pain :(
It is bloody incredible, though. Marvellous!
I'm so SAD. The way you have rewritten this is amazing (as it was originally) but it is so heartbreaking- Eöl, Maegling, Glorfindel...it's breaking my heart. I am only saved emotionally by the fact that these people do have. Second chance :(
Truly superb, Encairion, and so much appreciated.
Oh, I definitely do think that you are right to explore this part of Feanor's character. I think it was always inherent in him (he would have sacrificed anything for his sons).
Also more UST between Feanor and Fingolfin- phew! I shall undoubtedly shout at the screen and swear, and cannot wait to see how it unfurls! :)
“Also more UST between Feanor and Fingolfin- phew! I shall undoubtedly shout at the screen and swear, and cannot wait to see how it unfurls! :)”
Lol I know! I wrote how many chapters of UST already between these two? Pretty much all of Revolutionary is UST :snorts: And yet I did not grow the least bored with writing them! Though I did grow frustrated with their blindness :D We shall see how long I can hold out before I need SOMETHING to happen between these two :)
Excuse the typos, I corrected them, it's a pan on my iPad.
Yes, I think this way it is well, more tortuous, but I also cannot wait to see what happens when they meet again. So much unsaid, but the fact that Fingolfin asked, demanded to see his brother and just blazed into power and glory was superb and heartbreaking. And what Feanor is doing is far more than noble.
“Excuse the typos, I corrected them, it's a pan on my iPad.”
Hey, no problem! I am not good at double-checking my reviews/replies for typos myself!
I am glad you like the change too :) It is more tortuous, but hopefully more interesting too, since so much will be left to be sorted out. The way it was before would have made things too easy I think. I a hundred more chapters of UST between these two lol I am terrible :grins:
“And what Feanor is doing is far more than noble.”
I think so too. It is very self-sacrificing of him, which I think he always had the potential to be, given his response to the Valar demanded he give them the Silmarils after the Trees’ death. He considered it, and that is a damn sight more than most people would do, it wasn’t like the Valar couldn’t have made new light to stop anyone from suffering, they only wanted the Silmarils so they could have exactly the same thing as before. I wanted to delve into this side of his character, one we haven’t see really show up yet in the story. I think he will need to develop it to be the best leader he can be when he gets out :)
Thank you again for all the lovely, lovely reviews :hugs:
I just sobbed my heart out realising that Feanor had not known Fingolfin followed him (and could not even understand why he had) and had to see that image.
These are just two wonderfully larger than life characters in the depths of horror and despair and grief they still hold on. It is impossibly painful
Thank you so much for the reviews, Spiced!!!! I hope you are doing well, and am glad to hear how much you enjoyed the edit! It makes the story even sadder (as if we need more of that lol), but I think it will be more interesting when they are reborn. Now, they can remember what happened when they were in the Halls, and still have lots of things unsaid between them to work out! I really want to see what happens when they are reborn….
“I just sobbed my heart out realising that Feanor had not known Fingolfin followed him (and could not even understand why he had) and had to see that image.”
I know! He still has no idea! And he doesn’t remember much of those years when he was grief-mad, so he only has the memories of before to go off of. Oh what oh what will happen when they two meet again :) I can’t wait to find out!!
Thank you so much for the reviews, they made my day :hugs: