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Reviews For The Crownless Queen
All-devouring hunger was the only thing she saw in their hands. The Valar did not possess that thread of darkness, that core of Nothing that made up her being; they could not understand the starvation that was their mercy.
I can sympathize with this.
The whole story is an impressive look at feelings and facts through a totally different perspective than I, for one, have ever tried very hard to do.
It is a virtuoso effort and very successful.
Thank you for your kinds words! Ungoliant was, for me too, surprisingly fun and intriguing to write. I'm so glad you liked it!
Oh dear, a second comment to respond to yours! I was sort of assuming that Melkor's most precious possession would either be his pride or his liberty/independence, both of which the Valar sort of tried to take from him, but it's intriguing to think that it might be the people he chose to surround him. That's another fascinating idea, that they might have meant a lot more to him than mindless minions!
I always assumed that he burned his hand while clutching the Silmarils during the theft, so I guess Mairon couldn't have helped with that. That's something else that I loved, though, that Ungoliant's unlight couldn't harm Melkor's hands (though she feels it should :D) but the Silmarils did. Perhaps he was just too arrogant to consider the possibility that anything might harm him. Yet more food for thought!
Pride and liberty/independance are what Melkor is, somehow, not what he necessarily wants most. When the Valar imprisoned him they cut off an intrinsic part of Melkor's soul. I don't think they were aware of this (as mentioned in the story, Melkor keeps his Themes, and thus his identity, carefully secret so no one can exploit them) and so didn't understand what they were doing, but it certainly didn't help their case. Melkor is the rebellious one among the Ainur, the one who did not blindly follow Iluvatar's Themes but instead did what he himself liked best, and this is what fundamentally sets him apart from the other Ainur. Since he is literally a part of the world, it is not that strange an idea that he is supposed to rule it. This again ties into the liberty/independance part of him; Melkor is simply unable to sit back and watch while others build their realms and kingdoms upon Arda, be they Ainu, Elda or Human. This is also part of the reason why he destroyed so many of the Valar's works before he was first chained, the other part being that it was just so much fun :D
That said however, I don't think Melkor sees himself as the Supreme Overlord or something similar, instead building true relationships with those around him (I'm a fervent Angbang shipper, I admit it, and not entirely unbiased in this matter). He is not against other people as a principle, it's just that those others always want to take what is his.
I assumed the same thing until I reread the chapter, but during the flight the Silmarils are actually inside a crystal box that does become heated to the touch when he refuses to give them up to Ungoliant and she strangles him, but he never actually touches them. It is stated in the book that he only burned his hands when he picked them up to set them in his crown.
Melkor is way too powerful for Ungoliant to harm him, until she devours the power of the Trees (imagine the enormous strength of the sun only being a single fruit from a Tree, two of which grew nect to each other!) I think that later on that power did fade away as she exerted herself, but in that moment she was the stronger of the two. This might ofcourse also have something to do with Melkor still not discarding his physical body or changing his shape, and being taken by surprise. I think that in a fair fight Melkor could've defeated her, even swollen as she was then.
The thing with Ungoliant's Unlight not harming him while the Silmarils could... well, I think that's only because Varda hallowed the Silmarils, which is in my interpretation basically channeling Iluvatar and using his power to enchant the stones.
Ofcourse this is all just my headcanon, feel free to ignore or accept it :)
What a perfect choice of character for these prompts! And a very sympathetic (if one can say so) depiction of Ungoliant. I particularly liked your observations about her Theme in the Music, and her thoughts about what would be most precious to Melkor. I grinned at the description of Melkor's hands! They're not going to stay pale and perfect much longer, are they! For some reason, I also really enjoyed the way you described Ungoliant's shrug. It underlines her spider-ness so neatly. Bringing the darkness riddle into this was also inspired. And that last line is a real killer! In conclusion, so much good stuff!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it!
I reread the passage in The Silmarillion a couple of times to get everything right, and there is so much potential for Ungoliant as a 'real' character - there are hints as to her thoughts (initially not wanting to follow Melkor, for example) but those are in my humble opinion not expanded enough upon (as is sadly the case for almost every character in The Silmarillion). This was partly also a character study, as I'm sure you've noticed, discovering who Ungoliant was and where she came from, and what the source of her hunger is. I enjoyed writing the shrug-thing a lot, as well as the other little things that indicate her spider-ness. I think I never actually mentioned she's a spider :)
Ah, Melkor! I think that what is most precious to him is not any material object, but rather the people he surrounds himself with, as well as Arda itself since he's invested such a large part of himself in it. Which can be used to argument that Melkor is the biggest egoist in Arda's history. But that's just my opinion ^^ It was really fun to write about his hands, knowing what would happen to them later. Though, I (re)discovered he only burns them when he tries to forge the Silmarils into a crown, which makes me wonder why he didn't simply order Mairon, professional blacksmith, to make it while he hovered close by. I don't think Mairon would've made the mistake of touching them once he heard Melkor's tales about Fëanor and how he acquired the Silmarils; in which case they both wouldn't have burned their hands.
I must admit that the last line is a paraphrasing of the introduction in the movie: "And in the darkness of Gollum's cave, it consumed him." Just like the poem, it just fit too well into the narrative and I couldn't resist adding it.
My response got kinda carried away; I'm just happy you enjoyed this little tale enough to review!
Wow. I would not have thought 'Ungoliant' for 'hero', but you make it work. Very nice use of the riddle. (I still can't say I feel much sympathy for Ungoliant or for Morgoth either seperately or together, but you write them quite well.)
Thank you! I've had the idea of giving Ungoliant a voice and a personality for a while, since in my opinion there's always more than one side to any story and Ungoliant is no different. Ofcourse, Ungoliant is certainly no 'hero' in the conventional sense of the word, but she's more than just an "Evil Spider". As for the riddle, I was writing this piece and suddenly I realized how well it fit in the text.
Ungoliant and Melkor are no sympathetic characters although Melkor is one of my darlings, but I'm glad you liked my version!