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Comments For The Tempered Steel
What an amazing chapter. I just discovered this story through a post on Tumblr.
You make a series of little meetings with three people, and supper with his brothers, in to an emotional rollercoaster
The way the encounter with the young scholar plays a critical role in helping Maedhros reframe himself is so vivid, and convincing.
Author's Response: Wow, thank you for such a lovely comment! The funny thing is that while I was writing this (and many of the following chapters) I was often feeling that nothing much was going on. Which, on the surface, is clearly true - they're doing little more than sit and talk and occasionally eat - but I'm really glad if the movements underneath the surface bring the emotional turmoil across. Particularly delighted you find the young scholar's role in Maedhros' recovery convincing! Thank you for dropping by and taking the time to comment!
Sorry this is the first chapter I've reviewed but i have been so caught up in the story! I had to pause and write something after this absolutely stunning, brilliant chapter.
I love your Maitimo--he is damaged but he is so rich in character and so noble. I've always loved Maitimo but you actually made me love him even more.
I am really enjoying the details of the land, the camp, the people. It brings this whole early settlement to life in a very detailed and accurate way. It adds so much depth to the story.
Your Findekáno is just as lovely as Maitimo. He is emotional and I really appreciate how you bring that out.
lovely--I am really enjoying this.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for your lovely review! I'm so happy that you enjoy my depictions of Maitimo and FindekŠno. I love those two so much, I'd be heartbroken if someone came out of this story disliking either of them. Thrilled that I could make you love them even more, and that you enjoyed all the details of their environment, which was so much fun to explore. Don't worry about reviewing only now - I'm happy you took the time at all!
This is a very good story. I especially like the way you covered the political ramifications with the Nolofinweans. Because in this family, the personal is poliitcal, and the political is personal! There's no way to avoid it, and the situation is rightfully shown to be complex and difficult to cope with on both levels. The interactions of Maedhros with those beyond his immediate family and Fingon are very good. I'm not complaining about his interactions with his brothers or Fingon - they're good too - it is just that the further out interactions are something that is much less often explored in any detail.
Thanks for wiriting!
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes, there's so much to keep in mind when dealing with that family, and establishing and exploring both the personal and political aspects of it was sometimes quite daunting (but also, very satisfying). In that light, your words of thanks made me chuckle - I started this story to fill out something that I felt I wanted, so it was born out of selfishness more than anything else! But I'm very happy that you enjoyed it, too. Again, thank you!
Well it doesn't matter that you have only just replied- as far as I am concerned this is the seminal work on his captivity and there is very little more to be said. I have sort of dedicated /acknowledged this in a small fic on Ao3, your work along with Dawn, Himring and Spiced Wine. It has influenced me so significantly and along with Himring and Dawn Felagund, you have inpsired my absolute love of Maedhros. Again, thank you.
I have just re-read this superb story- I htink it is far and away the very best of its kind- you spare nothing and I love the uncompromising grimness and grumpiness of Maitimo as he recovers. It is such a realsitic piece of writing in that sense. And the details are amazing- from the experience of being cative to the release and the recovery, right to the scene where he gives up the crown- you make it all comepltely reasonablr, but surprsing and admirable for all that. I would pay to read this. It is truly magnificent and utterly utterly compelling. I could not stop reading and now that it is ended,I know I will read it again - prob every 2 years actually, which is, I htink, the last time I read it!!Thank you for sharing this with us.
Author's Response: Thank you so very much for your kind review, and please forgive me for taking so long to reply! Comments like yours mean the world to me, and I really should have answered sooner. I'm so happy to hear that you found the details of the story convincing, and that in spite of the plot being (basically) known, you still found it surprising. It makes me even happier to know that you'll read this repeatedly! You used so many wonderful words to describe this story that I honestly don't know how to respond, except by saying Thank you, thank you for enjoying this and thank you for letting me know.
It is a little bit annoying, I do not know if I should review in English (which would be proper) , or in German (which would be so much easier and more effektiv ), and I could not decide it... Maybe it is just this undecidable thing between appriciate YOUR work (written in this perfect English, though you are not a native speaker), and your main audience, and the original co poser.
It is reaĺly not a simple decision; same thing as Maitimo has to consider, but I am not this wise, so I do not know...
For such a long time, I longed to write my own fanfics; when I was m6ch younger, II did, lots of, but it never was good enough for my own standards.
There were some really good beginnings, ideas, whatever, but Inever fullfill my own exspectance of a good story, a real plot, and... oh, whatevever...
But I always loved reading so very much, and some people told me, I was an upright judge for the... may I call it... quality of their stories?
Oka! I loved this one very much; for several reasons, and, because I know, you are German, I would like to do some suggestions and some deeper reviews in German, because it would be impossible (for me!) to èxpress it in a language , which I do not excactly have mastery of...
Please apologize, I only remember Englishh from school, about 30 years ago, some recent affaire, and my efforts reading ( and sometimes trying my best to translate, but never seems to fulfil the responsibility , some really good things for people, who are even worse in reading, than me...) all this wonderful fanfics , of three fandoms, I growed to love.
Some persons, I used to follow, and admire, are just swallowed by the call of reality; they published their own things recently, as CUTHALION (who translated lots of things for us poor Germans), Stepanie Dorer, with her ELENARDA, with stuff from Tetha or Marnie translated, and the original story of Erenion , until now, not finished, by the German author EARONN..., Marnie, which beautyful stories I tried so hard to translate....
Okay, I will send you some private message, in German, to keep up with all rhose things, I would like to talk about, if you like it...
Author's Response: Hi there, either German or English would be fine. Feel free to send me a private message in German so we can discuss things more easily.
I do have to warn you that I am unlikely to incorporate any suggestions you make into this story - it's completed, and although I know it is flawed, I prefer to leave this one as it is. That doesn't mean I'm not interested in reading your suggestions (and I always love getting in-depth reviews!) and discussing things, it just means I probably won't change anything about this particular story. I'll rather put any fic-writing energy I have left into new stories. (Hard enough!)
I'm sorry it took me so long to discover your comment - I didn't check my account here until today. If you're still interested in talking about this (or any other) story, please do!
Until then, I hope you manage to write a fanfic that fulfills your own expectations (they rarely ever do - I'm never content with my own writing, either!) or at least find other fics that you enjoy to read - preferably from authors who still manage to update their stories... ;)
Best wishes, Lyra/Oloriel
That must have been extremely difficult for Findekano and everyone, to step out on the ice like that. Beautifully written, as always. I also like it when the Feanorians wave at the others, it shows the want to be friends again... very good.
And Artanis, on the other hand... I really don't like her here, she seems very annoying, for some reason. I don't really know why.
Author's Response: I thought I had long since replied to this review, but something seems to have gone wrong. So sorry!
Glad you enjoyed the ice scene. After writing it, I really wasn't certain whether it worked.
As for Artanis, I think we have to remember that the POV is heavily biased towards FidekŠno in this chapter. Artanis has very firm opinions on the Feanorians and possibly on heroic antics - and Fingon would find that annoying. I doubt he has much patience for Finarfinian righteousness. ;) If it were written from the perspective of Artanis (or FindarŠto, or even Nolofinwe!), she'd probably come across as perfectly reasonable.
The letter is great. Maitimo's perfectly in character in the letter, and I know I have said this before but Findekano is just perfect. I think you're turning me into a even greater Fingon fan. Maybe he'll surpass Maitimo. (The horror... XD)
And I love the idea of Astaldo as Findekano's amilesse. It suits him admirably.
Author's Response: The letter was equally fun, and equally scary - it's one thing to describe a character through his actions and experiences, but quite another to describe him through the way he expresses himself in writing! Glad you like it. (Those two never surpass each other, they're so firmly linked together!)
I came across quite some speculation why Fingon was called "the Valiant", including that he kept doing dangerous stuff as a dare even back in Valinor. That seemed so absurd to me. There are really two versions: Either, his mother called him that, or else the epithet was given to him by the chronicler later, after he rescued Maitimo. It's silly to think that he "earned" the epithet in some way even before the Darkening. (Says I! ;)) I liked the amilesse idea best, so there we go! :)
This is probably my favorite phrase; "A sly smile crossed his face, and he spoke very softly - his brothers, had they been there, would have known this to be the time to take cover. Varnacanyo certainly did; he subtly moved the tea-can out of Maitimo's reach so it would not be swept off the table, and backed off slightly." It's slightly unexpected, but then he is a son of Feanor and a brother of Curufin. So yes, he can be sly, despite my thinking that he inherited more of Nerdanel's temperant than Feanor's. And I love Varnacanyo's subtle reaction...
Rather randomly, I like the description of the clothing, with all the blues and brocade. It's very well done. And I also like that Maitimo suggests it all for Finno and Nolofinwe and that the weaver is furious at the suggestion. Though I can see the weaver's point of view, despite his unnecessary flourishes and the like.
I really like the description of Maitimo seeing his appearance for the first time. I was thinking "Are people seeing this?" while reading it and when he finally looks up, that must have been really awkward.
Author's Response: Nelyo surely inherited a lot of his mother's temperament, but all through the book he also displays Feanorian traits - enough hubris to think that trying to trick Morgoth is a good idea, for instance, or the single-mindedness that allows him to command several kinslayings including cutting down his own men when they oppose him, and finally the theft of the Silmarils from the Valarin battle-camp.
Varnacanyo knows his master very well. :)
Glad you like the description of the clothing. Details like that are what I miss most in the Silmarillion - we learn that houses are white etc., but never what those houses really lookd like. Or what people wear, or harvest, or trade with... Everyday culture just wasn't the chroniclers focus, sadly!
The weaver absolutely has some points, and it's very unfortunate that Nelyo has taken a dislike to him from the start.
Yes, that must have been extremely awkward. Of course, dealing with him (and dealing with others, in his case) must have been pretty difficult and awkward. I wasn't actively thinking of the difficulties that, in the real world, returned POVs and their families experienced in the early days of their reunions, but I read and heard a lot of stories about that and it probably influenced how I imagined the beginning of the Feanorians' reunion.
I laughed so hard at the three eavesdropping and pretending to be extremely interested in the weather. They were all so well characterized there. I love Ambarussa's question and Tyelkormo's random comment on snow. That was perfect.
Author's Response: Glad it works for you! Managing so many characters at once (and they ARE a large family, aren't they!) felt very difficult, so I'm really happy that you find them well-characterised. Thank you!
This is so well written and heartbreaking and devastating... ai, Nelyo!
Author's Response: *pats* It's going to get better! For a while, at least.
Oh... oh... oh... that was so sad yet so beautiful! *crieshappytears*
Finno is so in character. Wonderful job!
Author's Response: Thank you so much!
Ooooooooh.... now that's why Findekano brought his harp! Perfect explanation; I was never able to understand that when I first read it. Finrod I can see bringing along his harp randomly, Fingon never. And Finno's perfectly characterized.
Author's Response: I'm not even that convinced by the explanation myself, but it was the best I could think of. Glad it works for you!
This is by far the best of the Maedhros on Thangorodrim stories that I have read. Poor, poor Nelyo...
Now, in my mind I'm combining the majority of this with snippets from other stories and my own headcanon.
2 weeks? Ai, if only it had been that long! I go by that he was imprisoned for 10 years and hung for 30. I'm pretty sure that's from HOME, though I could be mistaken.
Author's Response: Thank you for the high praise!
Different Annals give different numbers. I think the "2 week" idea isn't actually stated anywhere, but more based on the period of time for which a human being had a chance of surviving the ordeal. Since Middle-earth is full of supernatural things, and since we're told that Elves are more enduring than mortals, I tend to disregard such concerns (even though I try to strive for realism! Ah, I'm so full of contradictions!). 40 years, on the other hand, are just too much time for me to comprehend - not because of Nelyo's suffering, but because of the development all around him. I'm aware that things are different for Elves, but in human terms, 40 years are two generations! I knew I wouldn't be able to handle that realistically, so I chose a length of time that allowed for a lot of change and development, but didn't comprise a full generation. We can put it down to translation or conversion errors. ;)
Beautifully written! Maedhros is pretty well characterized - though I can't really see him as attempting to lie to Morgoth like that... but then he was under a lot of stress. Morgoth himself... perfect. Perfectly characterized.
*sobsbecauseofMaitimo* I just really want to give Maitimo a hug now... though I'm not sure if he'll appreciate it. ;)
Author's Response: Wow, you've left so many comments and I never got around to responding to any of them. Shame on me! Glad you think I got Morgoth right. I'm not sure about Maedhros' attempts to lie to Morgoth, actually, but people do some pretty weird things under duress and I wanted to explore the possibility. Of course, the Master of Lies sees right through it.
No, he probably wouldn't appreciate it! But I appreciate that my story made you want to hug him, for what it's worth. :)
I found this amazing story by chance - looking at the new chapters posted for the first time or so (I'm still getting the hang of these archives). I've read it trough in one go - mostly, that is; I had to skip most of the first part until Maitimo was released, it was too intense and painful for me at that moment, because it was so very real and believable. But I will re-read this story without any doubt at least once, and then the whole of it.
Now to the part I acutally read - this is not my first story about Maitimo's rescue and recuperation, and I enjoyed your take on this enormously. I liked the bitter and brutal realism of it all, and the way how you made everybody's character and actions so real and believable, and so easily imaginable I had often the impression I was seeing it all happen around me. Your original characters are deligthful, too; particularly Tamurille.
Thank you for giving me so many hours of wonderful reading with your story.
Author's Response: First off, thank you so much for your comment! I'm very happy that you found it, and even happier that you read it, and especially happy that you took the time to let me know that you enjoyed it. Of course, I'm also tickled that you found it believable, and that you like my original characters. I hope I'll be able to give them more "screen time" in future stories - particularly Tamurille!
I'm sorry that you found the bits about Maitimo's ordeal too painful to read! Being a vain author and possibly a bad person, I have to admit that I'm going to take that as high praise. While writing this, I was wondering often enough whether I was making the suffering real enough, or whether I might be pussyfooting around the gory details too much. Getting feedback like yours suggests that I made it sufficiently intense, and that makes me kind of proud. Please don't feel that you're obliged to read the whole of it, though, if it is too unpleasant for you! I know that there are topics that I give a wide berth if I can, and you're welcome to do the same.
Again, thank you so much for your lovely review!
I will soon take the time to read this story from beginning to end again, because although you say that other stories have dealt with Maitimo's recovery to a level of satisfaction for you, this has not been the case for me; I have never found a story that truly made me sigh at the end and say: "Alright. This was how it could have gone"
I loved every time I saw there was an update from silmarillion writer's guild, because I only have one favourited story on here; yours.
I even have a printed out version of it and I absolutely adore the story and I am so glad you did not give up half way, because it was a story I wished to see finished.
So thank you for writing and letting me have the chance to read.
Author's Response: Oh, wow. I'm actually not quite sure how to respond to this, because I feel at the very flattered but also rather scared - scared that I'll disappoint you, too, so you'll sigh at the end and say "Well, damn. Another one failed"!
At the same time, of course, I'm thrilled that you seem to think this story might have a chance of handling the topic in a satisfactory manner, and that you've faved it and printed it out and everything. Squee! Thank you so much for letting me know!
Now I can only hope that you'll enjoy it and won't feel let down by the end.
You did it! You finished it!! Congratulations!!!
Ouch! He slaps him? I realize that Maitimo has knocked him off balance, but...!
At least Findekano has his moment of glory.
Author's Response: I don't think it's an off-balance thing - like FindekŠno wants to shout, it's really rather a symbolic deed than anything serious. Personally, I think it's a clever choice: To most of the Noldor, it'll pretty horrible, bad enough to be accepted as symbolic revenge (an Elf striking another! And in public, too!); to Maitimo, once he's gotten over the initial shock, it's nothing; and as payment for the theft and burning of the ships, it's a very low price. Or that was what I thought! ;)
Yep, FindekŠno can finally be celebrated now!
Oh, I see! I am a little slow! Now I can more easily see chosing to write that if the idea of psychological torture is more painful for you. It is hard to write suffering in general, isn't it? It costs something very real of the writer on an internal level. I find it harder read since I had children than I did in my callow youth also. My empathy with suffering of others and imagination is much stronger since I became a mother. Not that I was cruel before! I have always been soft-hearted; but am much more so now. Something about being responsible for the well-being, even the survival, of another human being hones those instincts.
Author's Response: I'm not too uncomfortable with the physical aspect, strangely (maybe a result of having two medical doctors for parents; the stuff they discussed at the everyday dinner table might make more sensitive minds run for the bathroom) - as long as no kids are involved. I definitely have grown very touchy on that subject since I've become a mother; I make wide berths around stories that involve (say) Lalaith, or Nimloth's twins. I know it's fiction, but augh, it just hits me too hard! You're probably right, something changes in your brain when you're a parent. Dangers suddenly feel a lot more real.
Mind you, I could never handle psychological pressure well - neither in real life nor in fiction. These days I find it pretty much unbearable. Maybe because with physical torture, if I read about it or see it on TV, I know that my own body is perfectly safe. But psychological or emotional abuse -- well, it's in the mind, and if I read it, it's in my mind, so in a way, it actually affects me. No clue whether that really makes sense, but that's what it feels like to me.
Your version is in a totally different world than mine. You would probably hate mine. I have Morgoth pretty much using psychological torture with him instead of mainly physical (it is near the end of my novel A New Day as a flash back and there may be more in future fics--in my version, Maedhros did not like to talk about it, although he did have a lot of nightmares). I was tired of the trope of no-longer-beautiful Maitimo and/or 25 years or so of torture--it did not feel to me like he would have enough of a brain left to do anything if it had been like that and lasted that long. Doesn't mean I cannot enjoy a good story that goes that route. I also relied a lot on a good friend/relative of mine who was tortured in Chile under Pinochet.
Author's Response: I'd probably find it hard to read yours because the mere idea of psychological torture hits me a lot harder than the idea of physical torture (I know that probably makes no sense! I'm just a lot more queasy when things move to a psychological level), but that doesn't mean I'd hate it - it sounds like a worthwhile interpretation (although I'm very, very glad I didn't have to write it; not sure I could have put up with the research, especially if it meant talking to a friend who actually suffered something like that! *shudders*). In my "world", I can always fall back on some blah about the resilience of the Feanorian mind and the purported supremacy the Elvish mind has over the mere physical, or something!
I can't wait to read what happens next.
Author's Response: I could roughly tell you what happens next, but I'm still trying to work out the details, and you're probably more interested in those than in what you can find in the Silmarillion anyway... I hope I won't keep you waiting for too long! Thank you for all your lovely reviews - what a nice surprise to come home to. :)
Well, the bread threw me. One I presumed the meant lembas and not all kinds of bread and, anyway, I am sure there were a ton of women with the Feanorians. I guess I missed that point entirely. Oh, well. It's your story to imagine as you will.
Author's Response: It's not a matter of women, it's a matter of ladies (i.e., women of noble birth or married to noblemen). The Quenya word massaniŽ, translated as "lady", literally means bread-giver, which makes sense if you look at the etymology of English "lady" (literally, "loaf-kneader" or "loaf-giver"), which Tolkien of course knew. So bread cannot be made by just any woman, but by the (adult) women of the ruling house. The FŽanorians are short on sisters and on wives, so they must go without bread for the time being. --
Now, the mas- element in massaniŽ is, of course, the same as in coimas (Quenya for Sindarin lembas); however, I can't help noticing that "lady" is not coimassaniŽ. Either, even the most circumlocutory Quendi considered that a bit too unwieldy - or the lady really is responsible for all sorts of bread. Except maybe unleavened flat wafers, but those have religious meaning for some people, so I didn't want to mess with them.
Interestingly, while the English word "lord" also has a relationship to bread (the Anglo-Saxon word literally means 'loaf-guardian'), no such connection exists in Quenya. In Anglo-Saxon society, apparently the lord's wife made the bread, and the lord dealt it out; among the Eldar, both the making and the giving of bread are the lady's job. (If there is a lady.)
So it's not strictly speaking my imagination alone - rather, it's my attempt to come to terms with just what the hell the crazy old professor may have had in mind with that particular linguistic tidbit. ;) I apologise for the etymology lesson!
I like the choice of Astaldo--may I borrow that with credit. of course, if I need it? I like the idea that "the Valient" was his mother name.
I am feeling bad for Nolofinwe, all those damaged people to care for and having to invent how he might possibly move from hardship to something a little better. Still no horses from the Feanarions? And the messenger even had to walk? Interesting details though and I love the scribe. And the references to his first healer.
I should be working on something else, but am reading this whenever I have a few moments.
Author's Response: By all means - with or without credit, really! The more people share my interpretation, the more "canonic" it feels. ;) *ducks and runs*
Yes, the horses will only come later once Maitimo finds his footing.
It's funny, back when I started writing this story, I had very little sympathy for NolofinwŽ. But the more I had to write about him, the more I came care and feel sorry for him and his followers! -- Yes, the messenger had to walk. Elves may be able to walk on snow, but I am less certain about Elven horses. If I dump a healthy load of snow on Hithlum, I can't send them gallivanting around on horses unless they shovel, shovel, shovel first. (Or invent the snowplough-sleigh, I suppose.) IstimŽ is another character who more or less just showed up out of necessity, and then grew on me more and more.
Awww! You make me so happy by telling me that. *hugs*
You are doing such a magnificient job with all of these details. This chapter made me cry. I cannot properly review. This entire period is very personal for me, because I lived with it myself for a year or so and spent countless hours, and every day, imagining how I thought it must have played out. It is a real credit to your writing that you can make me accept the differences and enjoy reading your version.
Author's Response: Sorry I made you cry, although I suppose I did something right then? Either way, thank you for reviewing anyway! This part of the story was what made me start this fic in the first place, because I wasn't satisfied with how I'd seen this handled in any other story I had read back then (in 2007!) and eventually decided I'd have to try myself. I'm not perfectly satisfied with my version, either - I should read yours, I don't think I have read it so far!
I'm thrilled you didn't find the differences between our two versions too jarring. That sometimes happens to me, when I invested a lot of heartblood in a story and I read an interpretation that goes totally against "my" version. So I'm doubly glad that this is working for you anyway!