Reviews for Not Lightly Do the Leaves of Lorien Fall
elsbeth chapter 16 . 7/18/2004
I don't know why you've allowed one reviewer to make you doubt yourself. This is an excellent story. Your character lacks several key Mary-Sue traits, she's not obnoxiously perfect and though useful everyone would muddle on just fine without her and she'd be the first to admit it (however much she wants to be in the action). I hope inspiration strikes again and you keeping writing.
Envinyatar chapter 15 . 9/21/2003
I hope you haven't abandoned this?
smedleycat chapter 15 . 5/20/2003
Hello Sepdet - I have been a fan of LOTR and The Silmarillian for more than 30 years. (There are a few of us "mature" fans out here as well as the teenage fan-girls.) About a year ago I discovered the world of fan fiction and have been having a marvelous time searching for and reading well-written stories that expand the world created by Tolkien in entertaining and meaningful ways. I can tell by reading your words that you are respectful of Tolkien canon, but you are intelligent enough and creative enough to explore some significant "what ifs..".

You are a skilled writer who definitely has a talent with the use of words to create a mental picture or evoke emotion in the reader. Well done! You have obviously thought carefully and long to determine what it means to be "Elvish" and you have sprinkled your writing with specific insights into those subtle differences with a clever turn of phrase, or precise imagery. There are priceless moments in your story that strike me as being very poetic, i.e. "The elf-host came to a halt between one step and the next. There was a ripple of... something... through their ranks. No expression changed, no word was said, and yet it was as if a cold wind had passed among them. The men of Helm’s Deep looked at one another in consternation. The king stopped too and turned, his jaw tightening as he realized the cause of the hitch."

Now - about the dreaded Mary Sue. I don't expect to see her in your story. I trust you. You have written so well thus far, I can't imagine that you will suddenly lose track of your focus and descend into drivel. You have come too far with too much skill for that to easily happen. For some strange reason, some readers automatically assume that a female OC will be a Sue. Not so. I have read some very well-written stories with female OCs that are not a bit Sueish. It takes care, and polish , but it can be done. Sometimes, it is necessary to create a character with whom our original characters can interact. That is called expanding the story. That is called creativity. Perhaps it is just that there is such an overwhelming number of badly written stories that many of us are very wary. However, this is the reason I am writing to you - I search and search for the stories that avoid the pitfalls set for the careless writer and then try to give encouragement.
filigod chapter 1 . 5/6/2003
I hate to reply again, but a few things have come up. Nope, that wasn't a flame, Jinnie, though thanks for kind words.

Yes, a gal in league with elves is Sue-ish, and in fact I was quite perplexed by Panneth's comment that Haleth's sword-wielding was one characteristic that made her less so. In my book, that's a Sue trait. In fact, if anyone besides Tolkien had written Eowyn, she would be classified as one. I'm not sure why Panneth thinks I was "deceiving" anyone on this issue, since if you'll glance back at the first page of reviews, I conceded the point.

With some reservations, since I believe that Mary Sue is traditionally an above-average and amazingly talented individual, one that most of the canonical characters admire, and one who in some fashion or other eventually saves the day. Nope, that's not on the schedule. But she's working for the elves.

The odd thing is that I did not think up this unlikely situation. Tolkien implied, startlingly, that humans *are* in Lorien - not so much with Eomer's "few escape their nets" comment, but with Faramir's maddeningly tantalizing conversation with Frodo, in which he noted that people of Gondor still go to Lorien, some returning, some staying. Then there's Tolkien's "firiel" character in his lesser-known writings, befriended by elves, urged to join them in heading for Valinor. And finally, Haleth in the Silmarillion gets special permission, in spite of a ban against mortals, to settle in the northwest corner of the legendary forest of Doriath so long as she and her people guard the eaves on behalf of the elves. I synthesized all of those items from Tolkien to create this character and this situation, based on actual precedents in his writing. However, he never pursued these ideas as far as I have done.

I have read enough bad MS fiction on the board I moderate to wince at the genre, and I know why and how so many people hate it. My pride as a writer is such that I can't help but feel conflicted to be writing this, even just for fun. Why am I indulging in bad habits? Because this is recreation. An OFC allows me to chew on some issues in Tolkien that bug me, which I cannot address otherwise. She also allows me to get out cheap fangirl urges. That's an annoying reason, so I am trying to mitigate it.

I am puzzled about Thuriniel's objections to my Tolkien essays. There is a difference between occasionally mentioning an idea by a fellow fan that I found worthwhile (or answering someone's objections), and citing a fellow fan as if she were a leading authority on the subject. Most of the articles on my Tolkien website are polished and more fully-developed versions of my thoughts that came up during various discussions on CoE, so it's unsurprising that I occasionally make references to other people's comments in those discussions. I would be remiss if I didn't give proper credit where due. However, if you've actually read my articles, you know my method: I quote, examine, and interpret Tolkien's own words. I am not using the same exhaustive rigor I would for work, since this is what I do while goofing off, but nevertheless Tolkien is my foundation.

If you mean my reference to Gildor Inglorion's Sindarin lessons, well, the study and debate of Elvish nowadays takes place largely online among more or less skilled linguists and fans. Gildor synthesized his lessons based on that material. Comparing his lessons to Tolkien's actual Elvish, I find them as good as anything available, and less out of date than published books like Noel's. Certainly our knowledge of Sindarin is imperfect; Tolkien himself never made up his mind on many points. But it's adequate for fanfic.

The last question which I'm both surprised and unsurprised about is why a longtime Tolkien reader would use (or enjoy) Jackson. Quite simply, Tolkien's monolithic genius is such that it never occurred to me to write fanfic until Jackson started presenting fanfic on the bigscreen as if it were canon. I winced at some of his alterations, but they also gave me some toeholds and fingerholds, and raised questions I found intriguing enough to pursue: What if Elves had aided Men directly? What if Legolas were more hard-edged, less a flake, and had some bona-fide character development through on his experiences with mortality? What if his friendship with Aragorn were far more deep-rooted than in the books? What if Arwen were more than a porcelain doll?

Fanfic springs from such questions. I define fanfic as a) presenting original material or plots in an established world, or b) reexploring canon from an unusual point of view. For good or ill, Jackson does both, and so do I. I honestly don't think I could write fanfic based entirely in canon: It would feel like adding make-up to the Mona Lisa. But Jackson's flaws and "what ifs" and half-thought-out possibilities gave me some ideas to explore. Also I liked his flesh-and-blood style of character portrayal, even if I wasn't always satisfied with his interpretations of them (Gimli).

So I set myself to blend the best of Jackson and Tolkien, indulge in a few bad habits, excel in other ways. Yes, I'm offering literary popcorn, not caviar. A lot of people like what I've done. Some don't. That's to be expected. If this ain't your cup of tea, then go grab the real thing, Tolkien himself.

And for those who are actually looking forward to the next installment, I apologize for the lag: I am studying for that thing that Thiriniel finds it annoying I keep mentioning (yeah, yeah, I should keep it to myself, but I'm probably going to flunk out if it makes you feel any better). Pelargir and the Arwen problem are giving me trouble, and I have yet to get a version of the next two sections with which I'm satisfied. It may well be late May before I post them. Or I may have yet another irresponsible fit of procrastination and beat them into submission. Stay tuned.
Thuriniel chapter 15 . 5/4/2003
I wasn't even bother to review, but hey, after reading the review below mine, I had to make myself do it.

First of all, don't call someone a flamer when the review was done in polite, nice language.

Second, please don't tell me this story is for a more mature audience. It has a Mary Sue for the love of everything. Haleth IS a Mary Sue ... human girl going fighting with the elves? Give me a break! At least recognize Haleth for who she is and don't act as if it's a crime to write a Mary Sue. There's nothing wrong with it. Enjoy yourself and don't spend hours divagating about how to convince the readers that Haleth is not really a Mary Sue, but the character that Tolkien "forgot" to include in his books.

As for the writer's knowledge of Tolkien, I bow my head to that. Sepdet is an amazing researcher, and I wish I would have the time to research the way she does. And yet I wish she wouldn't have the need of reminding us every few seconds that she's getting a PhD. Especially when she's presenting essays with members of the CoE as sources. My professors would be cringing at the thought.

But I don't understand this ... with all of her knowledge of Tolkien, then why oh why is she using Peter Jackson's butchery of T? Elves in Helm's Deep, Haldir dying, the Rohirrim appearing at the very last? Come on, give me a break!

And please, don't even bother to flame me. My fic is not for more "mature" audiences and it would probably give you a big headache. Pardon my rudeness. It's my mediterranean temper getting the best of me. Navaer.
Jinnie chapter 15 . 5/1/2003
Yet another wonderful chapter. As the webmaster of the Top 10 story-site-thing (although it's actually the Top 14, at the moment), I must say that it seems a certain rude reviewer would benefit from a little maturity pixie dust.

Because that's what story is. MATURE. You obviously invest an unfathomable amount of time in carefully checking your facts and making your words flow, because your technique shows your mastery over those skills.

I also call it a mature story because it makes character development just as important as action. As opposed to stories that brainlessly cause climatic event after climatic event to happen, you develop such events. As a result, the characters' reactions are wholly believable, though less learned readers view such things as slow.

Furthermore, I adore the way you write Tolkien's characters. In so many stories, it's almost as though they randomly choose characters and assign, say, Legolas to one. Not here. Your characters are wholly Tolkien's, and it shows.

Also, so many people that write stories with a female OC do nothing but write themselves in the story to live out their fantasies. (Aside from this, Scribe and Nebride are the ONLY writers of successful 'Legomances'. Period.) Your 'Haleth' is wonderful because you have invested great effort in giving her a clear, definable personality.

Unfortunately, writing stories from an adult prospective, as opposed to a child's, will result in undeserved flames such as the one below. Just know that those of us that appreciate rich, knowledgable and developed stories like your lovely one outnumber those folks 24 to 1. ;)

And that's why you're listed on my site! LOL

- Jinnie
Earwen of Alqualonde chapter 1 . 4/30/2003
what! 23 reviews only? personally i feel your story should recieve more recognition than it has now.

It is so damn intricatley woven and er...interesting

write more please...
PepsiBob chapter 9 . 4/26/2003
I have to disagree.

I think this story is one of the most interesting and I really enjoy the fact that Legolas is in character unlike most fanfiction where its the boring, makes-you-want-to-yawn, plot of 'girl meets Legolas, she happens to be an elf/half-elf/human from our time, they fall in love, yay'. Woot. Typical.

This one, at least, for god's sake is taking its sweet time, and as far as I can tell, there is no romance at all!

Keep up the good work! I look forward to the next chapter!
Panneth chapter 15 . 4/23/2003
I am sorry to say that I disagree with your other reviewers. I have to say, unusually for me, I do not like your story. Mostly I start to read stories and decide they are not for me, but rarely do I find a story that I really cannot stomach. The only reason I have got this far was because I was trying to find a reason why this was voted in the Top 10 of stories. I find it boring and simply a re-telling of events as Peter Jackson would/will probably envisage.

As for Haleth, she is a Mary Sue, in my opinion, despite your efforts, except that she is one who can wield a sword. I freely admit that my female characters have more of a Mary Sue in them than I'd like, but at least I do not deny it. Stories intending to be "alternative Mary Sues" never end up the way their authors would like them to, and are increasingly putting me off reading fan fiction, here at least, completely.

Don't deceive yourself or us any longer.
Faerfaen chapter 13 . 4/20/2003
o hm getting even more interesting. Updat eagain soon!

*~ Dy *~*
daw the minstrel chapter 13 . 4/20/2003
This was an interesting exchange between elves from different realms and different ages. The elves often get portrayed as all alike, I think, but I doubt that they were.
chris chapter 13 . 4/20/2003
new reader here - wonderfully done - i'm looking forward to more:)
Faerfaen chapter 11 . 4/20/2003
lol that would be an interesting sight! *thwack* *thud* heheheh update again soon!

*~* Dy *~*
Envinyatar chapter 10 . 4/17/2003
This is wonderful. You create an extremly vivid picture of the journey through the Paths of the Dead. I like the way you kept it from Gimli's pov, as in the book, but expanded it to reveal more of both the circumstances and Gimli's character. This story would be worth reading for these 2 chapters alone, but I'm looking forward to the rest of it.
Ruth chapter 10 . 4/17/2003
Dear Sepdet,

I have just returned from holiday, (Yes it was cooler than here at home) don't you just love it when that happens? and it was pouring with rain as rain in Spain fell mainly on our villa not on the plain. Happily, I found your little gem of a story waiting to be read, so that cheered me up thanks muchacha!

Best wishes,

Ruth
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