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Comments For The Tempered Steel
You have got to stop updating behind my back; it really isn't fair- well, wait. Nevermind, continue updating behind my back, it's always a pleasant surprise.
Once again, I felt determined to strangle the majority of Nolo's people, but that's just my bias, not your writing, so I'll content myself to restraint and not contemplate cybernetic murder.
You have managed, again, to take fic from this era to another level; while many authors like to focus on Nelyo's long, hard recovery and his bitterness and despair resulting thereof, you have (again) painted what I feel is a more realistic picture based on what the Silmarillion actually tells us. Predictably, I loved it.
I also loved the healer and Findecano's not understand why Nelyo refuses to scream/cry when in pain; it's a much more realistic portrayal of the psychological scars he has, and the one I found most poignant (though the line about maybe not being beaten today was, also, amazing).
Thank you for continuing to share and update behind my back. =)
Author's Response: And I did it again! *shifty look* You think I should attach an alarm bell to the story or something? ;)
I'm afraid you'll come to dislike Nolo (and his people) a bit more yet - but that is intentional. They're not meant to be extremely understanding - after all, they've gone through a bit of a hard time themselves, and though they've had the advantage of being able to deal with the trauma more or less collectively whereas Maitimo has to deal with it all by his onesies, I don't think they realise that. (I don't think even Maitimo himself realises that it's perfectly ok to be a wee bit traumatised after his experiences...)
There will also be a lot of long, hard recovery and bitterness and all that good stuff - occasionally I despair of this story because the only things that happen in Part Two seem to be healing, lying around, moping, arguing and angsting. You'll probably grow bored soon. >_>
You're very welcome, at any rate - and thank you so much for continuing to comment! ^^
What a nice surprise! May the Valar keep you inspired! ;)
Author's Response: Aw, thank you ^^
Beautiful story. I don't know when you posted this last chapter, but I hope you are still writing the story. Fingon is one of the elves I like more, and you write him very well.
Author's Response: As you can see, I'm still working on it :) Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed this so far!
Well, I was surprised to see see such a quick update; I thought I had somehow missed a chapter when I first read it.
I forgot to say in my last review that this fic also offers the most realistic portrayal of Nelyo in Angband that I've ever read. A lot of times authors get bogged down in the squickness of torture (or maybe BDSM is the point of Angband?), but you moved the plot along nicely and didn't completely turn me off from reading because I needed to wash my brain. If Tolkien had ever gotten around to writing out the entire Silmarillion... and had indulged my Fëanorion obsession... I feel like it would have gone similarly to your version of it. But we all know he was firmly not in the Fëanorion camp, so...
Anyway, as for this chapter. Nolofinwë continues to be a dark horse favorite (wtf?), though I will admit to wanting to strangle him when he sent Findecano away (he can sleep there, and you can serve him breakfast in bed when he wakes up, jerk) and when reading that letter (because I have long, long suspected that Nolo did try to hold Nelyo hostage, and I can't remember if another author gave me that idea or if I came up with it myself). (Rule of thumb: don't mess with my Fëanáro's kids. Not even Tolkien is spared from my wrath. Fingolfinians beware.)
Another favorite that is slightly surprising is your Moryo. He lives up to Tolkien's 'strange' epithet, but is not the blood-drinking monster of so many fics. Everytime he speaks, it's a little gem that makes me glad I read this fic, despite some misgivings from reading the summary (like I said before, these era fics can degenerate into the realm of squickness very quickly.)
The other thing I love about this fic is the extent of Nelyo's injuries. Erm... sorry, Nelyo. But all the fics I've read of Nelyo after Angband either skip the immediate aftermath (to when he is bitter and trying to recover) or deal more with the psychological wounds he recieved (guilty). It never really ocurred to me that after and indefinite amount of years of staying at Hotel de Morgoth he'd be... well, injured. Weird. I always think, "Oh, yeah, missing a hand. Stupid Findecano. Poor Nelyo. Let me make it worse." But, yeah. Torture -> injuries. Strange concept, but you pull it off.
Other tidbit that I adore. Findecano thinks of Nelyo as "Russandol", whereas Nolo sticks with "Maitimo" and the brothers call him "Nelyo". I use similar distinctions myself, and love seeing it in other people's work.
Other thing, not so surpising: your Curufinwe is to die for. ("Well doubtlessly I don't understand!" XD Precious.)
Ahem. Okay, I'm done.
Author's Response: "Quick" is relative - I posted the last chapter before this one back in June, so it's been two full months!
Let me thank you again for your extensive review! First, it's a bit of a relief to hear that you don't mind the lack of... um... more detailed gore as far as Angband is concerned. When I started writing this story (2006), I hadn't read all that many "Maedhros in Angband" stories in the first place, and those I had read (IIRC) either didn't deal with the torture aspect at all or had very little. Back then I kind of meant to rectify that, because I just didn't think it realistic that Morgoth would be happy with just saying "Hah, gotcha" and then hanging Maedhros on the mountain and more or less forgetting about him, although that's the only part that's mentioned in the published Silm.
Afterwards - in the past few years - stories that focused on the torture aspect in really brutal, squicky, gory detail became fashionable (or I only then discovered them), and I was torn between "Oh shit, I'm much too harmless, must make it worse" and "But I don't want to!". In fact, that is part of why it took me so long to bring myself to publish this story: Because I just couldn't decide what parts to elaborate on and what to leave "as is"...
Anyway. So it's nice to know that you think it is just right. ;)
It's also nice that you continue not to hate "my" Nolofinwë despite his behaviour in this chapter. It's funny, I'm used to seeing him portrayed as this pure, perfect kind of person, so I was rather nervous that my version might come across too negatively when I was just trying to make him, you know, a normal human(...oid) being with flaws and strengths.
Personally I don't think Nolo would keep Nelyo hostage, though. In the Silm, we aren't even told just where Findekáno takes him. I first came across the idea that he first came to Nolofinwë's camp rather than that of his brothers in the artwork of Jenny Dolfen, but I figured that it made a lot of sense that Findekáno's impulse would be to take him "home". Besides, after dealing with the aftermath of the Ice, I suspect the healers at Nolofinwë's camp are rather more experienced than those on the other side of the lake! But at any rate, in theory Findo might as well have brought Nelyo to his brothers at once. Either way, I think his state is pitiful enough that Nolofinwë's cautions are justified (Nelyo will protest them on his own soon enough!), although it certainly isn't nice to keep the Brothers Fëanorion from visiting.
Curvo is another character where I'm afraid that my portrayal deviates too far from the "usual" (whatever that may be ;)) - sometimes I feel like I took all the "blood-drinking monster" bits away from Moryo only to heap them onto Curvo and Tyelko, who surely don't deserve it either - so I'm glad you like him the way he is. ^^
And yay for name geekery!
Finally, don't worry about writing so much. I love getting long reviews. They allow me to ramble at length about what I was/am/might be thinking. :D
Poor Nelyo. Even knowing he's been freed doesn't make me feel much better. :( Well, know what am I supposed to do, hmm?
Anyway, there were a lot of aspects about this fic which I enjoyed. One of the first would have to be Ambarussa's distress about dear Nelyo- I'm not sure why, but I never really imagined they were all that close. That the three bad boys of Feanaro's weren't complete monsters was also a plus for me.
A long time ago I read a fic dealing with Findecano's reaction to finding out that the brothers didn't try to save Maitimo, and I found his anger to be not fitting. I'm not sure why, but I always expected him to be more understanding, and I didn't particularly care for the presentation. This fic totally sold it for me, and bringing up the parallels of betrayal made it click this time around. Love it.
And... I don't know if I should admit this; my Feanorian muse is going to kill me. But you're the first author to make me like Nolofinwe even the slightest bit. *cowers from the barage of curses and pointy, shiny things my muse is raining on me*
In all seriousness, I mean it. I've always found him stuffy, obnoxious, arrogant, etc etc. You've managed to portray him... I don't know. And the not so subtle reminder to Findecano that not only did Nolofinwe lose a brother, but so did Findecano- most fics from this era neglect the fact that Findecano recently lost his youngest brother (or don't follow the canon where he exists). That Findecano is (or seems) more distraught over Maitimo than his own brother's death is really poignant and adds a layer of character to him (intentional or not) that I adore.
Nice work; thank you for sharing it with us.
Author's Response: Thank you for such a lovely and extensive review! ^^ I'm afraid it'll take a while yet until one gets to feel a bit better for Nelyo (but at least he will get to smile eventually! Yes, I'm breaking all the rules!)... I'm so glad that you enjoyed the read so far and I'm very excited that some of the more 'unusual' ideas work for you! Personally I'm not exactly a fan of most portrayals of the brothers Fëanorion, particularly the "three bad boys", and I'm probably weirding out a lot of people by attempting to keep even Caranthir likeable. Your saying that this is actually a plus for you made me smile like whoa. Like you, I'm also firmly on the Fëanorian side of things so I'm not particularly fond of Nolofinwë, and in fact I was slightly worried that I had portrayed him too negatively for most tastes in this story. It's a relief to hear that you actually found him more likeable than usual! And of course I'm thrilled to hear that you bought Findekáno's anger (and grief). So... yeah! Thank you for letting me know! :)
It continues to be very interesting to see how you join up the dots! Perhaps I'm saying the obvious here, but this particular source material is very difficult to turn into a realistic story at this level of detail because it keeps slipping into the mythical. I think you are very good at solving the problems that entails.
Author's Response: It really was difficult - the book is so bloody vague about everything that it's hard to figure out how to make it work in a somewhat more detailed (and, if at all possible, at least vaguely realistic) way! Thank you for letting me know that my version works for you. :)
This is very well done. There are a lot of stories about Maedhros on Thangorodrim, but I am enjoying seeing one that is detailed and doesn't turn it into a story of romance between Maedhros and Fingon with everything else secondary. The description is very well done, and I like the characterisation. Thank you.
Author's Response: My fondness for Maedhros/Fingon notwithstanding, I suspect Thangorodrim is just not the right place for romance ;) Thank you for your kind words!
I liked very much the detailed description of the whole process of rescuing Maedhros (bleak and gruesome that it is). It makes Fingon's actions more corageous and daring and show the terrible difficulties of the whole expedition more accurately and , yes, realistically. Nice twist to explain the harp, too.
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm glad it works for you. That harp is such a headache.
You're right: there's always something novel to say about this episode. You showed very clearly how naive Maedhros (in particular but I think it applies to all the exiles) was as to what to expect of Morgoth, to think that death was the worse he would have to face. The brothers' discussion show that they are beginning to learn. I always like Maglor portrayed as the strong leader he had to be to take up the terrible responsibility of picking up the pieces and making the awful decision to leave Maedhros in Angband (I detest the weak, autistic Maglor of some fics). You leave no doubt about his capacity to rule and his reluctance at the same time.
Author's Response: The frequent depiction of Maglor as weak and indecisive, and of the other brothers Feanorian as overly nasty and ambitious (in the sense of "Oh, let's not save Maedhros, because with Maglor we have a leader who's easily manipulated) were part of the reason why this story was originally written - I don't like those readings either, and I'm glad that "my" Maglor comes across as someone who, even in such difficult situations, is perfectly capable of holding his own. :) Thank you!