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Reviews by Encairion
Before Strife Was Born by Oshun Rated: Mature themes

Not your typical romance, this is a story about two people who know one another all too well and understand one another not at all and share an almost love/hate relationship replete with passionate conflict and caring. It’s a Years of the Trees story of FŽanor and Fingolfin as very young men, written to satisfy this particular prompt: “Pairing: FŽanor/Fingolfin. I prefer dark, angsty stories, but can appreciate humor on the side. Whether you give me a pre-darkening of Valinor or a re-born life in Valinor or something from the First Age, it doesn't matter, but I love seeing elves with flaws, so please no utopian, unrealistic worlds." I have done my best to respond to the request. The protagonists are self-absorbed at times but not evil and both did too many wonderful things to have lived in a constant depressive state. I cannot help crossing into my own personal canon with characters I have thought as much about as these two.

Thank you for the prompt. You made me like them together like this. I’ve enjoyed writing this. I want to extend the warmest thanks to my super skillful and perceptive Betas Ignoblebard and Lilith Lessfair who so generously combed through it at least a couple of times each.

Written for Encairion, Ardor in August 2012

Categories: 2012 Ardor in August
FŽanor, Fingolfin, Maedhros, Other character(s): Silmarillion
Genres: Backstory, Character Study, Romance
Warnings: Incest
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: Yes Word count: 4316
Published: July 21, 2012 Updated: August 06, 2012

Reviewer: Encairion Signed
Date: August 07, 2012 Title: Chapter 1: In The Bliss of Valinor

Wow!  I thoroughly enjoyed this, thank-you so much for all the hard work you put into this fic.  It was beautiful, and just perfect.  I have a tendency to be overly angsty in my own writing, so I really love getting a taste of something lighter :D

You’re characterization of Feanor and Fingolfin was spot on.  I love how overwhelmingly cocky Feanor is, almost o the point of unbearable, but not, because he’s, well Feanor lol!  And the way you wrote Fingolfin almost as Feanor’s other half was so perfect.  ”Not for the first time, he wondered if Eru had designed an insoluble puzzle when he made Fëanáro the foremost craftsman and scholar among their people, but with so little interest in his father’s work, and then gave Nolofinwë a talent for the very tasks that Fëanáro distastefully pushed to the side.”  Yes, that’s so true.  They are both gifted with different talents, and yet as so similar at the same time!  I really enjoyed Fingolfin’s insecurity in this piece.  I (and I think many other writers too) tend to focus on his undeniable strength as a leader, and forget that he was a younger brother as well (one that was not always made to feel welcome at that).  I think it’s in the nature of most younger brothers to want their elder’s approval, and yet feel uncertain of that favor.  Beautiful portrayed.

I got a kick out of that last scene with their wives, so thank-you for making me laugh!  I couldn’t believe they both told their wives about their little tumble in the sheets.  Priceless. 

Again, thank-you ever so much for this wonderful little piece.  I truly appreciate all the hard work and dedication you put into answering my request.  I am more than satisfied, quite delightedly so :D

Author's Response: I was worried! I am so glad you liked it. I did not ask who I was writing for until I was virtually finished and then I saw that your material does seem to be a good deal darker than mine. It was a little late then to re-conceptualize. The fact is that even when my stories have a fair amount of humor, I really try to let the reader known that I realize I am writing the Noldor and The Silmarillion--epic tragedy. I just like to filter it through a bit of realism which mean moments of silliness despite all that. I know a thank you for the lovely review is not the place to talk about my insecurities, but I really worked myself into a tizzy over the request. I wanted to meet it and try to make it fit into my own personal canon as a challenge to me (and self-indulgence also I suppose!). By the time I had finished, I had quite fallen in love with the idea. Thank you for the gracious comments and the lovely prompt. I was just reading your story for this swap when I got this review. It's very beautiful. I really love Finrod! And Maglor. I want to read it through again because I wanted to find out what happened so badly that I ended up racing through it. I will definitely write you a comment on what I liked about it.