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Reviews For Swans
I think my favourite bit is Fingon's letter about the tower.
(I meant to say more, but can't seem to manage it at present.)
So many things: funny and romantic and with the necessary sadness to make it a true Silmfic. Though time has passed and governments and society have changed, I find that the foundations are very much the same as five ages before: Sindar still distrust Noldor (Noldor imperialism!), Noldor - Fingon really (he is perfect, by the way) - are still pedantic and think too much of themselves, Avari move in huge extended families and so on.
Nelyo is odd, because how can such a stiff, uptight guy - here we would call him un aparato, and not in a positive way - have been the hero, the leader, the diplomat of Beleriand? Please make him not tuck the shirt into his trousers!
The retreat: yes! add to it all the Argentine psychobabble and you will see why I found it all so funny. I remember doing a shoe exercise at some point!
Grading: poor, poor Nelyo! Angband is almost a joke compared to the endless karma that teachers have to cope with :D
I really liked this. I have cringeworthy memories of a three day weekend retreat for campus leaders when I was a junior in college--a near silent, withdrawn roommate and interminable team building and "trust" exercises I hated. So Fingon's experience made me laugh, although I'm more with Nelyo on the whole concept.
The kickball diagram and scorecard were priceless! I suppose I can understand the attitude towards the Noldor at this retreat But at the same time it bothers me because they need to all understand each other to really move forward. But Findekano is making his own flawed assumptions--basically mansplaining their form of government to people who are painfully familiar with it.
The realization that Findekano , despite Nelyo being the love of his life, was not exclusive in that relationship was initially shocking but ultimately understandable, even though it did make me quite sad. Poor Nelyo--considering how careful, precise, detailed and slow he was at his initial seduction it must have been so difficult afte his capture and return to find himself again--perfection was unattainable and I can see him struggling with that.
I was so relieved that he came for family day. Small steps, Nelyo, but in the right direction, you poorly dressed awkward soul.
please tell me we will be able to sit in for Caranthir and Fingon's group therapy tall tales hour.
Awww Nelyo you unclenched a little in the end! :)
Thank you Dawn, for this abundance of fail!sex. I enjoyed it immensely. :D (but was glad to know that there had also been instances of rather phenomenal sex, just because these guys suffer enough really. :))
I would have hated that retreat, so I think you really hit the nail on the head with it. Elchin was awesome, and I kinda hoped that he would tip Fingon out of the canoe, but he was much kinder than me in that situation. I also really like the idea of Ambarussa immersing themselves in more relaxed cultures, but not being able to properly explain them to someone who has not experienced it themselves. It seems Fingon is making good use of his stretched time once he got to know it.
(Also MARGARETS! hehe yes, Nelyo, I am shouting)
> but was glad to know that there had also been instances of rather phenomenal sex, just because these guys suffer enough really. :)
They do! I can't be so mean as to give them ONLY fail!sex. :D
> I kinda hoped that he would tip Fingon out of the canoe, but he was much kinder than me in that situation.
Poor Fingon! He's freaking clueless. When I was working on the story, I got so tired one night that I had to stop mid-scene, and I wrote a note to myself for where to continue the next day (because I'll forget and then write something totally different) along the lines of, "Fingon mansplains the Sindar and Avari about democracy." I patterned some of Fingon's behaviors after clueless white people in the U.S. ;)
> Also MARGARETS!
Yes! I put that in for you too, of course, and then forgot I did!
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! <3
Another wonderful (and weird ;)) piece from the 5th Age. I love how things have progressed to (much) resemble a world we know, and yet remained Elvish. I think it's hard to keep that difference in culture (and it must be different, if the dead return and the living might not die, ever) alive while modernising the setting, so kudos to you for pulling it off.
The ADMISSOIN hall sign made me laugh out loud! Haven't we all been to places like this! I'm glad Fingon came to enjoy his experience and ended up being accepted by the others, but at the same time, I can't help sharing Maedhros' skepticism. In general, I took turns wanting to shake Nelyo (because WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU) and hug him. Much like Fingon, probably. ;) I can't decide whether I think Nelyo might actually benefit from an experience like this, or whether he'd hate it all the way through and come out even more bitter...Glad he managed to show up a day early, at least. He comes across so disinterested sometimes.
Lots of delicious little details in here - the graphics were a delight, especially Fingon's doodles on the Icebreaker card - and the holiday activities and psycho talk. (I wonder how the therapist copes with Fingon and Caranthir trying to outdo each other!) And I loved your take on the different Elven people!
This story was both amusing and heartbreaking. I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about your Returned (with a capital R) Nelyo - mostly sad, I guess, but that's not a bad thing!
> so kudos to you for pulling it off.
:D Thank you for pointing that out specifically. I'd like to say I give it a lot of thought. Mostly, I just throw things in that seem right in the moment. (Bonus if they are funny or wryly mocking of our culture!) But this does feel like the most self-indulgent fanfic I've ever written, in part because I have so much fun with those modernisms that it's good to hear they actually do work most of the time!
> Haven't we all been to places like this!
As an English teacher, this is my life!
> I can't help sharing Maedhros' skepticism.
Because nothing I write can stay lighthearted forever, my Republic of Tirion stories have taken a slightly heavier turn of late by dancing with the implication that the Valar are, once again, not playing entirely hands-off with the reembodied Elves. Elchin hints at this too when he speaks of returning to Middle-earth and Fingon is all like, "Bzwah?!" because the assumption is that no way no how will this be allowed.
(The Republic of Tirion story that I started for the Matryoshka challenge addresses some of these issues more explicitly, namely that the Avari woke up one day in a country that they specifically decided not to emigrate to, and the implications of that for them as individuals and a culture ... and politically. Perhaps that's why I didn't finish it on time! It makes better sense after this one. [Yeah, that's it ... :D])
> the graphics were a delight
Another indulgence! Thank you for encouraging all of my bad habits! ^_^
> (I wonder how the therapist copes with Fingon and Caranthir trying to outdo each other!)
I expect this might end up in a RoT story eventually. ;)
> I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about your Returned (with a capital R) Nelyo - mostly sad, I guess, but that's not a bad thing!
He seems to have alarmed a few people! Ah well ... there's lots of story to make him well again.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Lyra!
This is such a fun story. That details of the camp are ridiculous, absurd, and all-too-real. I related it to other group discussion events of my life! I worked at a fancy lawfirm that had a fancy extended luncheon each month and did awful things like that! The office manager told me that they had to cater from better and better restaurants, otherwise people would call in sick that day! (I know I did!) It was excruciating. We didn't even have cells phone to distract us.
You always take things so far! 100 years from the wine cellar kiss to actually getting it on! I do very much love the odd couple aspects of the story. I love the arrogant Noldo and the culture clash. I have some of that in my story, but it takes on more of a "Your reputation precedes you" kind of theme. I even had some aspects of the Noldor can always do it right! And shamelessly bragging about it.
I think Brooklyn is teeming with with your kind of Avari.
...seethed with people, most of them Avari, by appearances. But this was not surprising. The Avari did everything in sprawling clan groups...
This is a real thing. I could write a paper about it. I think I have pinned down!
The existence of this story was killing me last night when I was trying to finish mine and could not look at yours--such a distraction.
Anyway, I loved the Welcome sign and the ADMISSOIN hall! My whole family still has a ball laughing at how my ex- would almost have a stroke when he encountered something like that. He'd never make it on Tumblr.
None of my business (every couple negotiates their own boundaries), but this made me kind of sad:
"I stopped visiting his tent the night before battles and took my pleasure elsewhere, then returned to sleep in his arms while he laid awake and machinated. The night before we parted ways to finalize our plans for the Fifth Battle, that is what we did."
This is another Dawn classic. I do like this story-verse a lot. Congrats on yet another Keeper!
You might remember, from when I worked at the school in Baltimore, the Team Spirit training that we did every summer. This was ostensibly so that we would learn that 1) not everyone had the same personality type as we did and 2) we should make an effort to understand and work with those differences. (This was preceded by taking a Myers-Briggs-type assessment at which I learned--shocker of all shockers--that I am 100% Introvert within the snowflakey-unicorn personality type INFJ.) In one of the most painful ironies of my life, the training to accomplish this was done after school, after a full day of teaching summer session (with a whole half-hour away from students!) and requiring vast amounts of human interaction: In other words, despite its stated purpose, it was 100% aimed at extroverts. (Like most things in this culture but whatever!)
Anyway, I seriously used to entertain thoughts of self-harm. (It's hard to express the crushing exhaustion I used to feel at these things, coupled with the knowledge that the work I wasn't getting done--because we had no planning time in the summer session--would then have to be done at home, on unpaid time.) I thought, "If I stand up and stab myself with this pen, I probably won't ever have to do this again!" and that sometimes seemed a serious option. It is not an understatement to claim that this stupid Team Spirit training ruined many a summer for me.
So I can imagine people would have called out sick at those luncheons! And of course I reserve a deep skepticism/cynicism toward these kinds of activities, which might reflect in this story just a little. ;)
> You always take things so far! 100 years from the wine cellar kiss to actually getting it on!
LOL! In Nelyo's logic, that's because he had to get every other person in his vast family out of the house for it to happen.
Fingon would certainly agree with you though!
> None of my business (every couple negotiates their own boundaries), but this made me kind of sad
I intended it that way. Nelyo really becomes a ruin after Thangorodrim, not surprisingly. And I don't think any of the Elves, at this point, would really know how to cope with that kind of PTSD-like reaction. The same would have been true in Aman, but they had different concerns that let them figure out how to deal with it better. (They developed psychotherapy!) I don't think the Noldor in M-e had that kind of opportunity. They just coped however dysfunctionally. (In Fingon's case, with beautiful young soldiers innocent of battle who probably reminded him quite a bit of Nelyo pre-Darkening.)
I know, of course, that I'm stabbing into the hearts of Mae/Fin fans, who probably prefer to imagine that as a beautiful, amorous night full of hope and love and all that. ;)
> I do like this story-verse a lot.
Thank you for saying that! It feels a little self-indulgent right now, like I'm writing Silmfic but also not because I've really been itching to write ... not Silmfic. ;) Anyway, I do have another started, for the still unfinished Matryoshka challenge, so there will be at least one more. Who am I kidding. There will be more.
I really appreciate you reading and commenting on this. I can't wait to read yours! (I'm working at the moment, of course, but maybe can justify treating myself to it tonight.)
I'm trying for the coherent commentary 15000 words in your Fifth Age republic deserves, but I got stuck on the ice breaker card and the kickball diagram (and the reply it got) and have yet to stop giggling. I liked the swans of never, but I'm also hoping at some point your Maedhros will unbend just a little... Oh, and I love the idea of Fingon and Caranthir taking therapy totally un-seriously and messing around for each other's amusement.
Which is all to say I liked it, if that wasn't clear.
Thank you so much for commenting! I'm glad you liked the story; it was fun to write as well and *especially* fun to plot and plan amid all the stew of inspiration at the MA! ^_^
These two seem to have decided (without consulting me) that they are worthy of multiple stories in this series, which was going to follow one character at a time at the outset (and four stories in, they have demanded two for themselves), and the complexity that is their relationship refuses to resolve itself in a single story. So I think Nelyo will relax into his new and less demanding life in Fifth Age Tirion; it might just take a while to get there.
The Fingon and Caranthir anecdote has actually suggested itself as wanting its own story! But I have another of these already in-progress for Elenwe (for the Matryoshka challenge) that would make better sense, given some of the hints dropped here about Issues surrounding the Elves of Middle-earth. (Of course, now I'm committed to finishing my "Tamlin" novel that was supposed to be one of my summer goals before this thing took over my life!)