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Reviews For Inside the Fire
I'm excited that I arrived at most of the points you were making. I love that you take it further in your head to extend those considerations to include this:
My vague idea was that the Oath, exodus, ship-burning and Balrog duel (ultimately, the entire Fall of the Noldor - but also the eventual liberation of Middle-earth in the War of Wrath) can be seen as a sort of final creation (under the same sort of influence, possibly?), and yes, it did indeed burn him out.
The best part of reading others' ruminations on the texts is when they ring true to what one wants to explore/imagine oneself.
This is very well conceptualized, it seems to me, and provides a very plausible context for what Feanor says (and does and feels) about the Silmarils.
It is, as Oshun says, relatable, because it is a bit like what sometimes happens to us when writing (or drawing), only much more so and therefore different after all--which is of course a point you are making here, too.
That fear at the end evokes sympathy. Only what actually happens to him in the end is a bit like that, only it isn't: he burns up on the battlefield, not in his workshop...
(By the way, thank you for the lovely border design for the Silm40 pages, which I see is by you.)
Author's Response: Thank you very much! The original concept was actually a lot weaker, but fortunately, it gained momentum in the writing. As you say, part of the experience are relatable, although I was indeed trying to depict this as something more intense and overpowering.
He burns up on the battlefield, but in the process of creating something: The Fall of the Noldor (but also the chain of events that will eventually overthrow Morgoth, if you want), "the matter of song until the last days of Arda". Whether or not it's worth it is up to interpretation! ;)
Aww, you're very welcome! I'm glad you like it. It was so much fun to come up with!
This is terrific. It moves from a totally reocognizable and relatable concept to one that becomes magical and frightening.
Gone, even, is all sense of self: He does not feel hot or cold, hungry or thirsty, awake or exhausted, happy or sad; he simply is. The world ceases to exist, time ceases to exist, and he ceases to be Fëanáro: he becomes one with his work, whatever that may be.
A lot of us have had this experience to a somewhat lesser degree. I get really annoyed with myself when, because of interruptions and the responsibilities of daily life, I can infrequently reach this point.
But I really love the part that the reason he can never repeat the creation of the Silmarils is not because of lack of raw materials or the amount it sucked out of him to make them, but the fact that he lost track of what he did to reach that point.
It is frustrating, for when inspiration takes over and erases all conscious thought, it also erases his working memory. He cannot afterwards say just how he created these marvels: the Silmarils, the Palantíri. He refuses to admit it – he says that their making is a secret that he will not share with anyone - but the humiliating truth is that he could not share it if he wanted to. It is locked even from himself. More humiliating yet is the nagging feeling that, since he is not in control during these spells, since he is unaware of the process and can neither begin nor interrupt it of his own volition, that these astounding achievements are, somehow, not properly his; that he is in fact nothing more than a tool, however useful, in their creation.
I doubt that anyone who ever got lost in thinking about Feanor or wondered about his creative process hasn't wondered how worked or ever thought it came easy to him.
The end part is really wonderful and devastating.
One day, it may wring every last spark of life from him, consuming him in one final, relentless surge of grandeur, in the same way that his mother's strength was burned up in the effort of giving him life.
When that happens, he can only hope that it will be worth it.
It makes me want to answer this question in two parts--yes, it was worth it (it gave us the Noldor and The Silmarillion); second, it did destroy him.
That's why I always want to give him a chance for redemption.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I initially meant to write it as a perfectly ordinary "flow" experience, but the story took over and insisted it had to be something MOAR. The story was right, of course! I'm glad you enjoyed the heretic little ideas that made their way into this fic, like FŰanor's lack of control over the creative process. I never doubted that it would be an enormous, potentially draining effort, but the idea that he didn't even plan for it was new (for me), so it's good to hear that it works for you.
Your thoughts about the end are particularly delightful to me! My vague idea was that the Oath, exodus, ship-burning and Balrog duel (ultimately, the entire Fall of the Noldor - but also the eventual liberation of Middle-earth in the War of Wrath) can be seen as a sort of final creation (under the same sort of influence, possibly?), and yes, it did indeed burn him out.
Me too, as you know! :)
What a vivid glimpse into Feanor's creativity: really compelling, the play between the mundane detail of life, family, and household, and the ecstasy/compulsion of his work.
And that there is an element even of humilation to it: that he will never have full control over it--will never be able to re-create the Silmarils because he can never consciously track everything that went into making them.
Author's Response: Thrilled that you found it vivid and compelling, and that you enjoyed the lack of control I've brought in. Thanks a lot for your comment!