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9/7/2016 c20 DefenestratedCountess
Great story! Is it abandoned?
That would be a shame :(
1/17/2016 c20 1Zelda-Galadriel
Wow.

This is the darkest and most frightening thing I have ever read, and has definitely earned a favorite. I realize it's been a long time since you worked on this story, but I'd love (if that's the right word) to see more of it.
8/7/2014 c20 62Sauron Gorthaur
Oh my, Ranye really is on a downward spiral at this point. Over the last few chapters, she’s been getting rapidly worse, and now she’s just dangling from the thinnest thread of sanity. This was an extremely disturbing chapter – not that all the chapters haven’t been – but other than the chapter where she burned herself, this has been the largest plunge in her sanity so far.

This further dip in Ranye’s sanity is appropriate at this point, however. As I’ve commented in previous reviews, Ranye’s madness so often mirrors the state of the House of Feanor and the state of Beleriand. Ranye’s shattering sanity in this chapter did a great job of paralleling the shattering of Beleriand around her and also the impending complete doom of the Feanorians, now that the Valar have swept in and the Elves’ war against Morgoth for the Silmarils is coming to a rapid end. I enjoy seeing that sort of mirroring – even if I’m reading more into the story than you intended – and I thought it was well done in this chapter particularly.

I’m really impressed with how you show Ranye’s madness. Having not had these sorts of problems nor known anyone who did, I can hardly imagine dealing with such insanity, either from Ranye’s end or from the other characters’ end. I feel very sorry for her though, even while I feel sympathetic toward the “El” brothers and the guards. I can understand their frustration with Ranye as they attempt to deal with her erratic behavior and as she asks the same questions over and over and spouts nonsense in-between. But you made me able to sympathize with Ranye’s fears and frustrations, too – a difficult task that you’ve pulled off well.

Part of what makes Ranye sympathetic and what makes her insanity scarily believable is how you show her train of thought that lead to the erratic outbursts. There is some weird logical progression in her thoughts. Of course, to the people who can’t follow her thoughts, her outbursts sound completely random and insane, but we who can read her thoughts see where her outbursts come from and see that they aren’t as utterly insane as they seem. Not that they are completely sane or anything, but they do make more sense than one might think, those comments that stem from her (quite creative and artistic) metaphors, like her comment at the beginning about the strings untied.

And the really sad thing is that *Ranye* thinks she’s the one who’s completely sane, and it really must be frustrating for her to be treated like she’s mad when she thinks it’s everyone else who’s acting strangely. That frustration of hers adds to my ability to sympathize with her. I particularly felt for her frustration (so ironically referred to as “maddening”) about the guard who “stabbed” her who won’t answer her. Her fear, pain, and panic are completely real to her (and scarily so to the reader, as well) and being just ignored must be a difficult situation for the wife of a Feanorian prince. Likewise, it’s clear that while she may be insane, she’s not stupid. I liked that she did catch the fact that one of the “El”s changed the word “Valar” and realized that he was going to say something else first – even if they were quickly able to appease her and feed her another answer, it still shows that she’s aware, even hyper-aware, of what’s going on around her, but her perceptions of reality are just horribly skewed.

It was also in character (and humorous in a twisted sort of way) that she’s resorted to just calling the twins both “El” something, and that still she’s never taken the time to figure out which of them is which.
I think you also did a great job of using language and structure to also show Ranye’s madness. All the sentence fragments and weird ordering of sentences, like in the first paragraph especially, really did a great job of showing Ranye’s fractured mind. Her thoughts twirl around in odd circular patterns, coming back to where they started oftentimes and progressing in weird, but connected, ways.

I thought it was cool too how she continuously keeps coming back to the question of where Maitimo and Makalaure are. Again, I can sympathize with the twins’ frustration at her repeated question, but her panic each time she realizes they are gone was well done. Again, I sense a bit of foreshadowing in that aspect – as Ranye has seen all the other brothers fall one by one by the wayside, it isn’t surprising that she would freak out over the two remaining brothers’ disappearance. And of course, soon Maitimo and Makalaure will indeed be gone for good. I don’t know yet whether Ranye will survive longer than the Feanorians, but either way, things are coming to a rapid close.

And connected to the idea of Ranye’s shattering sanity mirroring Beleriand’s physical shattering, I thought the earthquake worked well. For a paragraph or so, I wasn’t sure whether the earthquake was real or not – I actually thought it was another of Ranye’s hallucinations initially. The fact that this particular event *was* real amidst all of Ranye’s actual hallucinations made it stand out. Ranye’s sanity is falling apart and so is Beleriand.
I’m also not sure where it connects in to everything else I’ve been commenting on, but I just enjoyed the sentence: “One of the children disrupts the thoughts that just aren't there.” I thought that was a poignant description of Ranye’s state of mind with her odd contradictions and train of thought.

Good work and keep on writing! Cheers!

-Sauron Gorthaur
7/15/2014 c20 5DeLacus
This is honestly so amazing. *-*
I'm glad I stumbled upon it - Looking forward to more! :D
6/13/2014 c20 Nimloth9
Thanks for the awesome update! Ranye really gives me the shudders... and yay the Valar have come, but it's all leading to that tragic end for the two brothers. :( I'm looking forward to the next chapter!
4/30/2014 c19 62Sauron Gorthaur
I like that in this chapter you continue the theme of Ranye’s frenzied obsession with cleaning, which, as I pointed out in the last chapters, fits well into the Lady Macbeth idea of attempting to “clean” the memories and guilt that fill this place. Rayne’s OCD is particular vivid in this chapter, in her meticulous obsession with cleaning this room to perfection. The detail with which you describe the whole of this simple process shows her obsession for detail and flawlessness. There’s something decidedly unsettling about it. As Ranye mentions, this is a common chore – a housewife’s chore – but as she usually does, Ranye has perverted this simple, normal task into something more menacing: a never-ending battle against those crumbs that will always re-gather and be soon replaced by new ones. It’s the story of the Feanorians’ lives: fighting an endless battle with perhaps a small, temporary victory here and there, but one that they can never truly defeat once and for all.

Throughout the chapter, especially at the beginning, I sense Ranye longing for a sense of purpose. She flees from the idea of staring in her mirror and turns to cleaning because at least *it* has a purpose, she says. However, then there’s that simple, but telling moment when Ranye steps in her pile and scatters them again, undoing her own work. It was a well-described moment, and Ranye’s subsequent frustration is one that I’m sure anyone who sweeps on a regular basis has experienced at some time or another. But again, it underlines that ultimate futility of her mission – she undoes her own work as much as new diners will soon leave another scattering of crumbs on the floor. Again, it reminds me of the Feanorians, who often as not cause their own obstacles in their mission, who set themselves back.

Ranye’s abrupt mood-swing also added a dark element to this chapter and illustrated her madness clearly. The fact that both her moods – both the ecstasy and the fury – result from things that her own mind has conjured up: her ecstasy from her “defeat” of Maitimo and her fury from the hidden “menace” of Elros.
Both these scenes worked very well in the chapter and did a good job of showing Ranye’s character. The imagined scene between her and Laehiril was truly chilling, made even more effective and disturbing by the fact that you don’t reveal until after that it wasn’t real. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a real scene, however; the selfishness and complete lack of empathy in Ranye are utterly disturbing. The sad thing is, she clearly thinks she did a good job, but it’s such a twisted scene, with her “comforting” of Laehiril turning into an accusation of Seregil, a defense of herself, and finally, a cruel commentary on the worth of her own life over Seregil’s. Not exactly what a grieving widow wants to hear on any account! Her belief that she is acting “honestly” just makes it all that more sick, especially that last comment about Seregil being there instead of her if it wasn’t for Makalaure, as she completely gives in to self-concern and forgets about Laehiril, who undoubtedly *would* have preferred her husband to Rayne’s company.

The last scene did a good job of illustrating other aspects of Ranye’s madness, her paranoia that we’ve seen throughout the story as it grows to the point where she is now hurting other people, her reckless fury, and her distorted sense of justice. As I think I noted in one of my last few reviews, Ranye’s madness is steadily growing worse as the Feanorians’ demise grows steadily closer as well. Her madness is becoming more and more obvious to everyone around her, it seems to me. Elros’ cutting observation at the very end shows that it’s certainly not hidden from even a child.

I found Makalaure’s comment about the punishment fitting the crime to be particularly ironic, although if any of the Feanorians were going to recognize such a thing, it would be Makalaure. No, Ranye slapping Elros in the face certainly did not fit his crime of spying, but massacring a city of elves also didn’t seem to fit the crime of them not handing over a jewel. It is in the nature of the Feanorians to repay with violence for seemingly small offenses. It is not particularly surprising that Ranye, too (though only a Feanorian through marriage) would have picked up on her in-laws tendencies in this manner.

Top-notch writing, imagery, characterization, and themes, as usual :) Keep on writing! Cheers.

-Sauron Gorthaur
4/4/2014 c11 24Galad Estel
Love that C.S. Lewis quote!

Another intense chapter!
4/4/2014 c10 Galad Estel
Other people are constantly paying for the Feanorians's mistakes. You would think that Feanor's son would have given up on their quest. After all, after the crimes they've committed they would seem to be damned, but it would not make as good of a story if they all just killed themselves and the stones were never recovered, also Noldorin will would not allow it.
4/3/2014 c19 1k+ncfan
Elros, you are a delightfully snarky child. (At least I think he's being snarky. If he's not: Yikes.)

And as for Ranye, I don't think those kids are safe around her anymore. Of course, I don't think they were safe around her to start with, but it's only going to be a matter of time before she starts doing something more serious than hitting them for small offenses. Maglor's slip and that look he gives Elros towards the end is pretty telling, too. I wonder if he hasn't been telling the twins to avoid Ranye when he's not around for a while now.
3/26/2014 c9 24Galad Estel
Maedhros is back! :)
3/25/2014 c8 Galad Estel
Ah, poor Ranya, everyone is dying or leaving her. It's no wonder that she creates voices, so she is not alone, or is there something more going on?
3/13/2014 c7 Galad Estel
I love how Maedhros is trying to make amends for his family's sin, even to the point of possibly getting himself killed.

Ranye, on the other hand, seems to be really going insane.
3/5/2014 c18 62Sauron Gorthaur
I really enjoyed this chapter, despite its darkness, on a number of levels, a number of levels as I can regularly expect from your writing. Overall, this was a delightfully clever chapter, and I love how you broke down the third wall (to use the theatre term) by having the characters aware of themselves as characters and aware of us, in a way, as an audience.

Having spent much of my life in the theatre world myself, I loved the theme of drama that is so cleverly entwined throughout this chapter. Starting from the (as usual) well-chosen quote at the beginning that could have been made for this chapter and the Feanorians, especially that chilling second line. “It is a truth- of Blood-” – that captures the Feanorians so well, their very existence wrapped up in the Silmarils that have caused such extravagant blood-shed, not to mention the Kinslaying that brought the Curse of the Noldor down on their heads.

Going along perfectly with the drama theme, and quite appropriate for the situation, is Ranye’s cleaning obsession at the beginning. I’m assuming that you did this on purpose, considering how perfectly it fits, but even if you didn’t, it’s still great – Ranye’s going through a real Lady Macbeth syndrome here: her abhorrence toward her own filthiness that only she is actually aware of, her obsessive cleaning that never seems to accomplish anything, and of course, the underlying idea that her outward obsession with cleaning reflects her knowledge of the “dirtiness” of the House of Feanor itself – all the blood and guilt that it, and she, has acquired over all these centuries, even if she never states that fact. The sentence that begins: “Once upon a time the lack of cleanliness would have bothered me little at all…” reminded me of Lady Macbeth in particular, who also begins with a distinct lack of concern or conscience, but with her, as with Ranye, all that blood and dirt catches up and builds up eventually… It was a chillingly effective comparison between these two characters, especially subtly slipped into a chapter that is already focused on drama and tragedy.

I really loved the setting of this scene, too; it was beautiful, in a sad, poignant way, and it actually surprised me a little. When Maitimo first said that he’d found the Silmaril, I thought for a moment that he meant the two in Eonwe’s camp that he and his brother will steal, but I quickly realized what was happening as he led her up onto the roof. I liked how you did that scene - the description of the Silmaril-light flooding over the roof was a vivid, beautiful description but chilling all the same as Ranye so quickly comes to understand the import. I had not thought about a scene like this before. When I think about Earendil and the Silmaril, I’m generally focusing on Earendil and Elwing, not what the Feanorians were thinking when they first saw the Silmaril in the sky. But that must have been a huge moment for them, both of wonder and dread, both of which you capture here so well.

All three of their reactions were completely in character. Ranye’s immediate despair that the new star has just sealed their doom once and for all goes with her pessimistic nature, mirroring the futility she had just been feeling at trying unsuccessfully to clean away her “dark cloud.” Makalaure’s ability to admire the Jewel star and find some small bit of hope, even if it’s just that the beautiful work of his father is finally free, is perfect for him, as is Maitimo slightly more restrained than Ranye, but less than hopeful, realization that though the Jewels may be free, they aren’t. After Makalaure’s comment though, I do wonder what Feanaro would have thought of his Jewel becoming a star – that could make for a very interesting fic. I fear I disagree with Makalaure’s optimism though on that matter – I suspect Feanaro wouldn’t like it, considering that he kept the Silmarils hoarded so that no one else could have them or appreciate them, and considering, as Maitimo rightly points out, that the Evenstar represents the Valar defying the Oath. And it is an ironic fact that I hadn’t really thought about before, that the first act of the Valar in all that time is a direct spurn of the Oath.

I also liked Ranye’s reflection, and reminder, that the Jewels themselves are innocent and pure. It is easy to forget, like the characters, that the Silmarils are not inherently evil, as is the Ring for instance. There is a fascinating parallel/contrast between the War of the Jewels and the War of the Ring.

Then there’s that extremely clever conversation at the end that ties the drama theme back in so neatly. This here is really great dialogue. This type of dialogue I find is very hard to write convincingly and well, but you do a really great job. It felt eerily real, as these characters discuss themselves as characters, their lives as a story, and us, the readers, as the audience. There is of course, that biting irony in the fact that we ARE reading this story, and we read The Silmarillion, for pleasure. Maitimo’s remark of “would anyone even watch?” is of course intensely ironic for that reason and that this IS a very popular story. And the brothers’ questioning of what type of sadist would take pleasure in this story circles back around to us, the readers – why do we love, treasure, and admire a story that has so much pain, bloodshed, and tragic endings. There are really very few characters who this story ends well for. This whole scene reminded me of Frodo and Sam’s similar discussion of being put in stories and the irony that they ARE characters in a story.

Makalaure’s comment about them being the villains is also an interesting, thought-provoking one; I know Tolkien often gets accused of drawing everything too solidly in “black” and “white” – evil and good – which I have always found silly. Yes, there are Morgoth and Sauron, the obvious villains, but there are a ton of grey characters, especially in The Silmarillion. The sons of Feanor certainly fall into that category. They have done many villainous things, but very rarely do I see them painted as villains, and we feel for them and their situation. Makalaure’s firm belief that they are the villains though was very in character for him in his conscious-stricken way, and Maitimo’s willingness to still see that subjectively was also in character.

Wow, now that Earendil’s star had risen, the beginning of the end as the brothers realize, it kind of struck me as a cold chill just how close this tragic tale IS drawing to an end. For the first time, I really do feel them hanging on the brink over the rim of the Void. For the first time, I *really* thought about: what is going to happen to Ranye? I have no idea, but I suspect it’s not going to be a happy ending. Keep writing!

-Sauron Gorthaur
2/24/2014 c6 24Galad Estel
I like how you describe Dior as surprisingly effeminate. Also, a very dramatic end to Tyelkormo. Well done, you're writing is amazing as always.
2/24/2014 c5 Galad Estel
I love her strong desire to survive. Her smiling at the stupidity of the soldier who died in her place. That was perfect. And her desire for the Silmaril is just strong as the others of the House of Feanor, even when it comes to killing the innocent. But somehow Elwng and the Silmaril must have escaped.
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