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Reviews For Illuminations
Beautiful, inspiring, descriptions. I love your showing, and the way you draw in the reader's imagination. I like your writing style a lot. I wish i could have seen the scroll, you made it sound so amazing to behold.
I would love to see it too! :D We were talking on another Tolkien list about how, sometimes, it would almost be more fun to see the wondrous objects and art that our characters create than to meet the characters themselves. (Because Feanor and I? So would not get along in real life! :D)
Thank you for reading and reviewing, and especially for your kind words. :)
*nods* I could easily see some of the more adventurous volunteering to go off to war, just as there were men from the US who joined foreign countries armies to fight in WWI prior to 1917. I liked this!
Thank you! :D I think that many, like Sailaheru, are so caught up in the romantic depictions of battle and war from stories and epics that they long for it. Sadly, I think they'll have a rude awakening ...
Oh, wow - this was really well done, the shock of coming across a viewpoint so different from your own but as firmly held as your own. Wonderfully done!
Thanks so much! :D I plan to challenge Pengolodh's views a lot ... my Feanorians wouldn't let me have it any other way. ;)
Oh I love your take on this prompt! I can so see the young lad sitting there, looking up for a bit and then figuring out where that voice did come from.
What a mixture of how he's brought up, his own rebellion/teenager behaviour, struggle between what he as a loremaster should do and what they all expect of a loremaster (I had to think of our discussion about the press, how they should have reported it all, but did not) in Nevrast (there is one truth and it ain't the Fëanorian one). Pengholodh even fights it that much that he doesn't pick up on Celebrimbor's first revelation regarding his uncle, the not mentioning of his own father shows how much Celebrimbor wants to make amends to those who suffered from the burning at Losgar.
Thanks again, Rhapsy! :D Yes, I'd say our discussion on the media's responsibilities to report the unpleasant truth is very apt (and there is probably a bit of me coming through in this!) And, actually, I think it's a tough question. If one believes (as Turgon and many of his people doubtlessly do) that one side represents Evil ... is it morally sound to show Evil truthfully if it makes them sympathetic? And it might endear one's people to them, to those peoples' detriment? Or to be flexible with the truth for a good cause? I have my answer on this subject (though I know it's not always easy to be particularly convinced that I'm correct ... :^/), but it is still a legitimate question, I think. And one which Pengolodh will wrangle with for his life.
And I'm glad you picked up on Celebrimbor's eagerness to move past the "sins of the fathers," so to speak. I think that's true of both boys, although Pengolodh is less willing to reach out ... but both desire the healing of their people, certainly.
Thanks so much for reading and reviewing, Rhapsy! *hugs*
Oh this is just... yes I read it despite the warnings, but the last paragraph says so much, so immensely much.
Especially this bit:
There was an emotion in the song, but it was an emotion for which no word had ever been uttered, an emotion known only to those whose imaginations reeled and blood surged and felt that they would burst but for an act of creation; it was the emotion of that creation denied and thwarted.
And later she might understand that even that is part of the art of creation and Eru's music.
Even though Pengholodh perhaps never was able to look at his mother as his mother (more as a teacher, an outsider well it feels like that to me), I do hope he understands her a tad better. Perfectionism has failed, and the guilt will eat at her and then even that bloody harp is not cooperating. Even though a lot is not being said about the loss by his dad (I get the impression that they are all an introverted bunch), his pain is immensely tangible. Ah and the healer, he might have studied it, but who is he to speak like that if he never experienced such a thing.
Dawn, you treated this topic with in a gentle manner, it speaks to the heart and also for me, I need a tissue.
Thank you for your kind words about this vignette, Rhapsy. :) I absolutely agree with you about his mother: She is not much of a mother to him. Nor is his father much of a father ... not in the sense that Nerdanel and Feanor (for example) were parents to their children and put their children above their work ... at least, until the Silmarils. I get the feeling from Pengolodh that he is *part* of their work almost, and it is hard for them to see him beyond that. They are also all very introverted, and I don't think they're likely to share much in the way of emotions. All of this comes together (in my version of events anyway) to create a character who understands the world chiefly through history and story, who cannot touch the emotions that underlie those stories/histories within himself yet who longs for something and so is open to influence, despite his moral/ethical obligation toward truth ... here, Celebrimbor; later, Turgon (and others).
Thanks again, Rhapsy, for reading and reviewing. :)
One would think that the job of Elvish historians should have been easier or at least, less controversial: they don't forget and they can always try to find witnesses to events, even hundreds of years later. As this story shows this is not the case since the past is still a tool to justify the present. The last lines of the story strongly reminded me of the refrain of a song by a Spanish poet and singer that goes "Nunca es triste la verdad, lo que no tiene es remedio" (roughly: truth is never sad only it can't be changed). Will Pengolodh learn?
As always, teenCelebrimbor is a delight, full of telling details like the tunic that's too big for him and the soaked boots and the emotions that he can hardly control.
Good points about the role of history and historians to people who live forever ... but also the fact that they remain *human* and wont to see things how they want to see them. :) Somewhere in the HoMe, it is said that the Elves in Aman didn't use books because they possess a perfect memory. I've always doubted that point for a lot of reasons, not least of all because they're still human, and I find it very hard to belief that "perfect memory" means "without bias or desire to see the truth one wants to see." And I agree with you that the past--especially captured in books--would have been a tool to justify the present. I think Turgon represents one of the best examples of this. (Thingol too.)
As for whether Pengolodh learns ...? I'm not sure. I think the Silm proves that he doesn't learn entirely, but maybe a little bit. I hope. :)
Celebrimbor is such fun to write! However, I'm afraid he's stealing the show! *stern look at Feanor, who answers with a smirk* Muses! ;)
Thanks for reading and reviewing, Angelica! :)
This is my absolute favorite in this series so far. I suppose you might think my reasons are shallow. Celebrimbor simply appeals to me so much here. He seems so principled and attractive, even to your young protagonist. I wondered when I read it, if any of Tolkien’s notes on Losgar are so negative toward Maedhros as the ones in the book Celebrimbor is perusing. I didn’t remember that, but I don’t have time to do the research on it this weekend. One could easily imagine, however, that there would have been those among Turgon's followers who told the story in its darkest form--otherwise why found Gondolin? (Never mind, that's a whole other argument; there are probably at least a dozen scenarios written by good writers, which defend that tactic.) In this story, I liked Celebrimbor’s ability to admire the work of art, despite the lack of truth in the history, and to be able to separate the two while noting that he considers it a betrayal to use one’s gifts in the service of a lie.
Beautifully described and set up. Loved the hand activity and their worrying about how to handle the book. The thing about the shoes killed me also! Adored that.
Thank you so much, Oshun! And you're no shallower than I, who cannot keep Feanorians from her story no matter what she tries. ;) I don't think JRRT had any negative notes on Maedhros at Losgar; afaIk, he always stood aside and was always one of the more sympathetic Feanorians. (I think, in BoLT, he may have been a bit of a jerk, but BoLT barely even counts! Or I could be misremembering completely!) Since JRRT seems to have settled on Pengolodh as the primary author of the histories of the First Age, I figure that Sailuheru's book got lost in the fall of Gondolin ... or more likely influenced Pengolodh, tempered by what he learned of Celebrimbor. I have *never* been able to believe that Turgon or his followers would have been particularly inclined to give impartial treatment to the Feanorians in their histories. The question for me, then, is how Pengolodh came to write the stories as he did, which is how Celebrimbor ended up involved. :)
On the shoes ... Celebrimbor has recurring clothing problems in my stories about him! :D Thanks again for reading and reviewing!
As you very well know by now, any mention of the Fëanorians in a Dawn Felagund story gets me excited. (OK, maybe not just in a Dawn Felagund fic.)
Kidding aside, I really liked the lines you wrote for Tyelpo here. Both he and Pengolodh were young but they already have this "invisible boundary" in mimicry of the adults's. It makes me think that they did talk many times after this and that some may have found their way into Pengolodh's lore.
Yes, I think you embody the term "Feanatic"! :D
And, once again, you're spot-on as to what I'm hoping to do with these stories! :) The mystery, to me, has always been: how did Pengolodh know about things that happened before he was born or, later, outside of Gondolin? *Especially* among the Feanorians (because, presumably, he would have heard news and tales of Fingolfin and Fingon's people): how did he learn what he did of them? I thought that connecting him with Celebrimbor (besides being fun for me and good for both of them) was a lot better than the alternative of writing his histories based solely on hearsay or, worse, invention.
Thanks again for the review, Jenny! :D
I agree with the others about the Healer. You gave a good idea of Pengolodh's parents here and in a way I think his upbriginging will play a part in how he writes his History later.
I'm definitely going for that--so yay! :D Just as I started at the beginning with the Feanorians, I'm hoping to show a somewhat opposite trajectory for Pengolodh. Thanks for reading and reviewing! :D
I really, really like Celebrimbor in this one, but I am not sure I like Pengolodh at all or have an ounce of sympathy for him. I am afraid I am bringing too much of myself and my own prejudices to the story and not able to place myself in Pengolodh's head. But I think I am supposed to feel his pain and fear. It certainly held my attention.
Pengolodh is a difficult character for me because, when faced with that old Noldorin dilemma--obedience! no! rebellion!--he pretty much always chooses the opposite of what I would choose. :) I hope to write many more vignettes with him and Celebrimbor; being as they are close in age (in Felakverse) and come from basically opposing philosophies, it seems too good a chance to pass up. My sympathies, of course, lie more with Celebrimbor, but part of my reason for writing this series is to write someone very different from me.
I didn't intend one or the other to come across as sympathetic, although I hope I did at least hint at Pengolodh's subtle longing to actually learn what Celebrimbor would tell him. This and "Stars of the Lesser" (which precedes this one) are really the point where he begins to question things. Of course, we know what road he chooses in the end, but I at least plan to enjoy the journey, if not the destination. :)
I'll hold that healer down while you two kick him!
And the moment of weakness on the part of Sailaheru is very well portrayed. (Although I have to repress the urge to slap the gentleman!)
I wonder how much Pengolodh really understands about his mother's miscarriage. It doesn't seem an environment where such things are explained :/
Woohoo! Three on one! Not fair, really, but all things considered ... ;)
Thanks for the note about Sailaheru; I was definitely going for that and am glad it came through for you! :D I also don't think Pengolodh probably knows much. Not only do I doubt that Turgon's people (or maybe the Noldor as a whole) are particularly forthcoming about these things, but Pengolodh is fairly young here, and his parents have already shown themselves apt to shelter him.
Ooooo. I liked this!
Yay! Thank you! :)
I really, really want to strangle your healer. Really. And then to give Pengolodh's mother her paints. It's just flat out cruel to tell an artist that she's allowed to express herself and then take away the tools she knows how to use and force her to use something unfamiliar.
After you're done strangling him, let me kick him a couple times, will you? ;) I have a few choice words for that guy ... and those like him who have existed and, unfortunately, continue to exist in the real world. But I'll be nice and agree with "cruel" and maybe add "paternalistic and condescending" to the mix.
Thank you for reading and reviewing! :)
I like the depiction of Pengolodh's emotional conflict - all the crossed-out sections in the first piece, the scribbles in the margin, and the much tidier and tighter composition of his final piece.
Pengolodh the rebel, hey? *Grin*
Excellent work on both the art and the writing!
Thank you! Ironically, the first poem was supposed to be formal calligraphy, yet I like the look of the second much better, when I was trying to be casual and messy. Perhaps if I had messy handwriting to start, I could have pulled that off better! ;)
I think Pengolodh had his moments of doubt. That's nothing resembling "canon," just my own biased hope. :) Of course, we have the Silm to know how he turned out ... most decidedly *not* rebellious! :D
How innovative to give us a sample of Pengolodh's 'early work', take us deeper into his 'psyche' and meet the requirements of the prompt.
Thanks, Jenny! I'm glad you liked it; it was a fun exercise. (As is any excuse, as a grown-up, to get messy with ink and paint. :)
Very insightful psychologically, poor hard pressed boy.
I liked the reference to the "construction" of the Ainulindale stories and it sent me back to your previous story where Pengolodh scribbled in the margin that his father "recorded history but did not create it". He still has a long way to go, indeed.
Thank you! :D I knew a lot of Pengolodhs in my erstwhile days in one of the more competitive high schools in my county. Writing him feels very natural. (Never mind that he's asking questions that I ask too, though I think we'll come to different answers. :)
That you and others pointed out the Ainulindale comment is funny because I needed something that would bring a Feanorian (the only person I could imagine Pengolodh's folks staying out late to argue with!) to Nevrast and needed a topic for debate, and the Ainulindale just came first to mind ... so that was rather on a whim as well. I might have to explore that one a little but further! :)
Oh, Dawn, such a creative work! I loved how you approached not just the idea, which is great, how Pengolodh himself couldn't quite decide who his role model is, but also the way of expressing it through the handwritten poem. And that final note about burning the page! Superb.
Thank you, Angelica! :) I'm generally disinclined to "gimmicky" presentations, but this one, I didn't know that the ideas could be expressed any other way. I'm so pleased to see that it worked for you ... and you're the second person to mention positively the "Please Burn" note at the bottom, which I added on a whim sometime after the piece was finished. I'm glad I did. :)
This is quite a powerful piece and really, rather searing with its insights into Pengolodh's psychology as you're creating him here.
He had the loneliness of any child with the weight of expectation upon him, heavier than a shirt of rings
What a fantastic way to describe Pengolodh's burden of parental high expectations! In a short piece, you've also provided key background on Pengolodh's parents, too. Master Sailaheru sounds rather overbearing, and his mother's disappointment can still be glimpsed. Subtle writing there, Felagund!
And much more of Pengolodh's character is revealed when we see that he is picked on and how he exacts his revenge with his own list. Definitely the reaction of one who has been bullied. I am intrigued by the potential fallout of Pengolodh's list. Revenge has a tendency to turn around and bite one in the butt.
Of course, I perked up at the potential debate on the Ainulindalë. Heh.
This series is truly illuminating, Dawn!
Subtle reading too, Pandemonium! ;) I'm trying to characterize his parents without actually characterizing them in the traditional sense. It's sort of a personal challenge to myself. So I'm pleased that you picked up on that! :)
The fallout ... that wasn't something I had really considered. It might be something to come back and revisit once the whole character study is done. (Or, at least, the B2MeM portion, since I've been writing the Feanorians for years and am still studying their characters--I don't expect Pengolodh will ever be any faster!) I doubt imagine, however, that Pengolodh is ever discovered as the author of the list. Which might make the fallout all the more intriguing!
Somehow, too, I thought the debate on the Ainulindale and the Feanorian involvement in it might intrigue you. ;)
Thank you so very much not only for reading but for your very kind words and your insights! The series has been so much fun (it's been too long since I did something strictly character-based), and I'm looking forward to finishing this last bloody term paper and getting to write more of it! :)
A highly imaginative presentation here! Pengolodh's struggle with historical convention comes across so well on Bristol vellum! :^D The transition from the more formal
Felagundian Pengolodhian calligraphy to more informal notes is a great touch...just what one expects to find -- as you note -- in a writer's journal or papers.
Heh. I know who I think the "creator" is. Lovely poem. And these verses?
He summoned all his lore and subtle skill
That mind and hands should serve to manifest
The greatest desire of his heart and will,
Then--suddenly still--he allowed to rest.
His hands lay gently folded, gloved with night,
Then, as a blossom opens, revealed Light.
I would have loved some *real* vellum, but, as they say, people in Hell want ice water, and at $30 a sheet, the Bristol works just fine. ;)
Oddly enough, I like the scribbled writing better than the formal calligraphy, which I think might be the ugliest hand I've ever seen. (I have hope that I can tweak it into something halfway decent-looking! In the meantime, I will assume that, like me, calligraphy is just not Pengolodh's strength.
I leave the creator's identity up to the reader, though I tend to agree with you. ;) Pengolodh rather gave himself away, I think, when he asked that the page be burned. Burn a poem about Eru?? Not likely!
And thank you for noting those specific lines as your favorites. I love writing sonnets, but they're really hard for me, so it is an enormous sense of relief that this one worked for at least one other person! :)
Go Pengholod! I do feel for him though that he has so much pressure on his shoulders and that he cannot celebrate this big day with his parents. It just feels to me that he doesn't fit in anywhere: not with his family or his peers. What a lonely life. But then at the end he makes his statement and I can't help to say that I am proud if him rebelling a bit.
Spoken like a true Feanorian, Rhapsody! :D I am definitely trying to set up Pengolodh as a character who has pressure upon him from many different directions. Again, I am pulling a lot from life for this; not from my own life (my parents were always very nonchalant about my academic performance, and that's probably why I did so well in school) but from seeing RL friends who came from families that put tremendous pressure on them. Pengolodh is probably half the kids at the maths & science-focused high school I attended. Thank you for the review! :)
Oh my Dawn, I like the way you tackled this. I angled my head to read the doodles and they are so genuine for a writer/poem when they are composing. The method looks like my notebook. He's very muchly struggling with what he's supposed to say and think as to how he thinks things has happened: questioning himself. His note: this is my father's story and then 'What?
Truth, a good just cause, yes but?
It can't be easy being him, deep down knowing that there must be more to it, that a for a good cause doesn't equal that it is the whole truth. It just can't be easy for him to be a child born from exiles with know tangible knowlegde of Aman and what made them leave Valinor. All he has is hearsay basically, then there is this perished elf who intrigues him so much, but has a bad name...
In a nutshelf: I loved this very original piece and I ramble too much!
Thank you, Rhapsy! :) It looks like my notebook too, sometimes; I just start to free-associate and see where it takes me. And I doodle a lot in my margins! :D
It can't be easy being him, deep down knowing that there must be more to it
Yes, I can say that as a U.S. citizen, I've done some of the questioning of my country and people and culture that Pengolodh is doing now, and it isn't easy. There's what you're told all of your life and you want so badly to believe, and then there is what *is,* and it reaches a point where one can shove one's head deep into the sand and "drink the Kool-aid" or one can make the uncomfortable decision of disbelieving a lot of what most everyone else believes. Pengolodh, of course, has a long journey ahead of him yet.
And you do not ramble too much! :) I loved your review, and thank you for it!
This reminds me a bit of Match Day. To get into a residency program, you have to go through the Match - you apply, you go interview, and then you submit a rank-ordered list of the programs you liked to the National Residents' Matching Program, and the programs submit their lists of candidates, and every year, mid-March, at noon Eastern time, the results get announced. You can tell immediately who got into a really good program and who didn't by the reactions - the ones who got into good programs are jumping up and down and screaming, the ones who got into merely OK programs are always like 'OK, whatever, I'm pleased to have matched.' They're very blasé. So the differing reactions - the students who care about that list and the ones who don't let themselves care, it reminded me of that.
I liked it!
Thank you! :D It always seemed to me, in my school days, that those who didn't do well on whatever academic assessment could make it like they just didn't care. It always seemed a natural defense to me. Match Day seems to fit that as well. :)
Thank you for both reviews! I really appreciate it! :)
Poetry, period, is hard for me, so I commend you on this!
I like the first one for this sense of determination. The second - I'm not sure I but that it's about Eru. It somehow 'feels' Feanorian to me, if that makes sense.
That absolutely makes sense, and that's what I wanted to convey! (Yay! :D) My version of Pengolodh is intensely curious and thoughtful, and his consideration turns, at times, to those "outside" the safety of what he has come to know as morally right in the followers of Turgon. He is fascinated by those outside Turgon's people despite himself. (I don't know if you've read "Stars of the Lesser" that I wrote in '07 for Pandemonium, but this was sorta the origin of this idea.) So, here, when he realizes that his father speaks of history without ever creating it, he muses on creators ... to be safe, of course, that is Eru, but I have my suspicions otherwise. ;)
These studies -- like miniature portraits -- of Pengolodh are each and every one little gems, Dawn. In fact, I'm visualizing these each as illuminations! I was especially taken by the precious parchment from Aman with the fiery border. I have to confess that I wondered if Pengolodh -- Pengolodh -- might be hungover with that headache on the snow day, but I have to remember that he may not drink as much as certain of my Firstborn! :^D
This is a really neat idea for a character study, that is, to tie it into BtMeM.
Thank you! :D I'm glad you picked up on the multiple meanings of illuminations here--that was intentional. ;) That parchment with the fiery border, I have been requested to try to illuminate someday; it's based on a real technique, so I'll give it a try. Though it won't compare with Feanor, I hope it will please mortal eyes!
I had to laugh at your assumption of the hangover! No, Pengolodh isn't quite that rebellious ... yet. But he will have his moments. After all, there would be no fun in writing these if he was always as steady and dry and boring as he seems in the books!
Thank you for the kind comments; as much as I respect your work, your thoughts on my writing always means a lot to me. :)
What a nice break for Pengolodh! Found myself smiling at your note about the Valinorean lamp. It's amazing how you use small and deceptively simple details like that meets the prompt theme with every with every chapter. I can't help but agree with Pengolodh in what made him the happiest for this chapter (and maybe Fëany may even agree with him? ;-)
Ah, but I think the small details make all the difference in a story! :) Normally, I don't even footnote this sort of thing but broke my own rule and answered the canatics before they had the chance to ask: "Aren't they called *Feanorian* lamps?"
I think Feanor would agree with Penny in some regards too. He actually has a forbidden-fruit sort of fascination with the Feanorians that started in my story for Pandemonium last year "Stars of the Lesser." His curiosity makes him more like Feanor than his own father, which of course creates moral quandries. But I'm on the verge of spoiling my own story now ... ;)
Thank you again for all the reviews! :D