I started reading this (having picked it at random from the updates column) as a sort of brain Drano from writing my own fic and was astounded at its depth and quality and how damn entertaining it was. I've often thought of writing a story like this one, where ME intrudes and/or melds somewhat with our modern world, and I can say with all honesty that this is the kind of story I wish I could write.
Very well done. I do hope you decide to write sequels/prequels. I'd be very interested in reading them.
Author's Response: Thank you. I'll try.
Oh, I am very sad to see this come to an end, it has been an epic journey. Well done. I especially like that it is open to both a prequel and possibly a sequel, there is a lot of room in this story to go back, onward or even within it, if you wished.
I think you mentioned a sequel first, and I would love to see one, since especially Maglor's journey to the New World sounds very interesting, and the people he was involved with in America and how they tied in to those in this story.
( Oh, I was watching some documentary where it showed that if mankind vanished, everything would crumble after 1000 years and there would be no visible sign of modern man, - they pyramids and the wall of China would last, but nothing we have built - so eventually those who survived would at least live in a beautiful world again. :( ) You could turn this into a future Middle-earth if you wished.
Author's Response: Hmmm...I'll have to think about it. Those are some good ideas you have. I think I was planning to write a prequel about Maglor's journey to the New World, and perhaps I'll write something about Gandalf's time back on earth.
I like your use of the phrase "the end of all things," though, to my shame, I can't remember whether it's from the book as well as the movie.
Author's Response: I think it is, but I'll have to check again to be sure. It's a little cliched, but it seemed a usable cliche, so I put it in.
What a wonderful chapter. The innocence and curiosity of the hobbit children is such a huge contrast to the pain and emotional weariness of Alex and Katie, which is beautifully written and comes across vividly. the caress given by two life-long friends who find themselves together at the end of all things. And both friends knew that it was truly the end. Super phrasing, and brings a lump to the throat. :(
Author's Response: Thank you. I tried.
Oh how traumatic and terribly sad. That was a gut wrenching chapter, but there was a dignity and beauty in Faris and even his death which overlays the horror of the disease.
Author's Response: Thank you. I tried to make him seem dignified even in such a horrible death.
I was looking at my - very short - list of stories I read again and again and there are four. That's not many in a fandom which has thousands. I do read new stories of course and look for others when I have time, but certain ones just don't become '' over-read ''.
They have to have a great plot, atmosphere, be quite long and have a good knowledge of Tolkien. That's not actually as easy to find as it might sound, in published books either, 99% of mine go to charity shops after I've read them, 1% get read to death.
The Iraqi president the Mouth of Sauron? O_o. Whoo boy.
I'll be very sad when this is finished, but I will still read it. I'm also glad you said in your bio you had plans for other * serious * stories and possibly a prequel to this.
Author's Response: Thank you. It means a lot to me. I may or may not start my new stories--and the prequel/companion to this--before this is finished, but in case I do, keep an eye out.
I LOVE THIS STORY!! I am very intrigued by the ID of this Iraqui President (NAZGUL, The Mouth of Sauron?... or something worst) and what will occur next!!!
Author's Response: Thank you very much.
I think it's believable. I've always considered it something perhaps a terrorist organization might use, since extremists do not seem to care whether they die or not. If an actual regime used it I would think it was because they had an antivirus for it. We do know people experiment with these things, after all.
I've always thought it a terrible scenario, which could happen anyway, virus' are forever mutating and things like a flu pandemic , like the one in 1918 which killed more than WWI is overdue.
Looks like you have something as contagious as the common cold and as fatal as Ebola Zaire and that is a slate-wiper in humans and the most dangerous virus any-one could manufacture.
Author's Response: Yes, thank you for your feedback. In my expanded version of the story, I might examine the president's alliance with the terrorist organization; I know I really glossed over it in this one. In any case, this is a worse scenario than, say, a nuclear war, because you can build bomb shelters and evacuate cities to prepare for a nuclear disaster. With this, there's no way to prepare for it unless you get hte vaccine. Anyway, as I said before, something that doesn't wipe out humanity entirely is a more believable apocalypse than something over-dramatic like an asteroid or a bomb. It's one of the reasons why I laughed whenever I had to watch those crappy "end-of-the-world" movies like "Armageddon" or "The Day After Tomorrow".
Oh, this is getting very apocalyptic! I was wondering what might happen and bio-warfare does make sense ( although I always think that is like shooting oneself in the foot! )
Faris is emerging as both a haunted and now passionately resolute character who is perhaps trying to atone for what his people have done, but by that he may be risking the lives of others and his own.
Tense and sobering chapter ! Really enjoying this!
Author's Response: Yes, I thought bio-warfare would make the most sense. I wanted a rather slower apocalypse than something sudden like you'd see in horror movies--although I'm not sure if it's believable.
WOW!! This story has me tantalized. It is so profound and interesting... What will come to pass? (I think I have an idea of what's coming, but better to wait and see your own take on it...)
Once again, and I cannot say it enough times: WELL DONE!!!
Author's Response: There may be a long wait before the next chapter is posted. I know what's going to happen next, but I've got to figure out how to type it up--and even then it might not turn out how I planned it. So when it's posted, any suggestions for improvement would be welcome. Anyway, it will be interesting to see if your guess is right!
Wow, what a beautiful description of the ship. But how sad for Katie and Faris. I really wonder what is soon going to happen if travel will become perilous. Another nail gnawing ending!
Author's Response: Thanks. The description of the ship I had to pull from the Silmarillion and from how I pictured it. I even checked "Return of the King" to see how the ship looked in the last chapter, but nothing was said about it except that it was "white". So I remembered the Teleri vessels and just went from there.rn
rnJust a quick note: there may be a long wait before the next chapter is posted. I know what's going to happen next, but I've got to figure out how to type it up--and even then it might not turn out how I planned it. So when it's posted, any suggestions for improvement would be welcome.
Yes I have . . . I have a problem of reading and not reviewing . . . usually what I do is read the all of the story that is posted and then review, but I have been following this for several months now, and it has just escaped my mind.
Keep it up!
Author's Response: Thank you! I tend to be pretty skimpy on my reviews as well. Anyway, it's hard for me to find the words to express my enjoyment for a good story.
Ah poor Katie; and poor Gandalf in a way. I understand her feelings toward him and his own for Arda. He did seem to feel a great compassion and love for all the races.
Katie must feel completely hollow inside and abandoned. That is extremely sad. There is going to be an enormous gap in her life, which she already knows no-one can fill.
I feel that the * outside * would be dangerous to Katie of itself, with her sensitivity, even push her to suicide or madness. Whether Gandalf meant that or something darker, I don't know, but she is extremely vulnerable, I think. :(
Author's Response: Yes, she is. This is the main reason why she could not live a normal life.
And the Muse takes over and you can't call your life your own, because it's theirs. [ Anwyn, who is on here, has this when she is in an operating room, lol and she get's furious and frustrated as she really cannot do anything, and has to be alert and on her toes. ]
My reaction to your O/C's, shows, I think that they are realistic, as they are normal reactions I would have with real people; they make you annoyed, irritated, impatient, sympathetic etc. You don't get the urge to impale them and toast them in front of a Balrog, which is usually the case with MS's, and yes, some character's in published books too. [ And Adele, because of Maglor; burn, woman! I don't care about your issues. d;-) ]
Did Robert Jordan wite The Wheel Of Time books? I've never read any of his work, but I have read some dreadful depictions of women characters in some fantasy works.
I think the real talent lies in taking quite ordinary people and making them interesting. What most of us do, - me included - is realize our OC's are going to be boring as mud if they're normal and so we start adding * speshulness * to them .
It's really something which is done when we either know we can't create an interesting character, or are too young to realize ordinary people can be just as fascinating as characters with powers.
Tolkien really played down what Gandalf actually was, and even when you have read all of LOTR it's not that clear. Yes, he defeated a Balrog, but unless you read earlier works it's not entirely clear what a Balrog is or why it was such a battle. To really understand you have to read the Silmarillion and UT about the Ainur, the Istari and Morgoth etc.
We know who Aragorn is, but again he is downplayed ( except at times, until the end ) and the Hobbit's don't need to be downplayed at all.
Of course Tolkien can create incredible and larger-than-life characters like FŽanor too, but he left them with that rather untouchable mystique and didn't unfold them for us.
He didn't have to use special powers or skills to hook a reader, and the best writers don't. He gave some glimpses and then moved the story on leaving us tantalized.
I think that is one of the reasons why I love this story. The OC's are people we all know, in different ways, so we can connect at once to them and they are in a story * now * which makes us feel we could be there, or it could be happening around us. And then it's placed in the grandeur of Tolkien's world - only later in the timeline, so to speak - so it presses all the right buttons.
I have to say I also love the portrayal of the canon characters, all of them, it's not even as if they hog the story, or take it over, only Gandalf is the real * constant *, but it's like one of those pen drawing's, where a few stroke is an exact portrait.
Author's Response: Thank you. Yes; Robert Jordan wrote "The Wheel of Time".
You could definitely write an expanded story or a prequel, I think that would be fascinating!
I started off writing one of mine at the time of the War of the Ring and then realized there was so much which happened before it which was not explained. It cleared things up for me, more than anything, when I wrote it, as it was long before I joined a fanfic site. It was just me wanting to know, and refer to.
I would love to read it certainly. The thing I really love about it, is that it does come across as a spotlight shone upon one part of what is a huge tapestry, with everything else in shadow; Faris' life, Maglor's, Elladan and Elrohir, Gandalf's, Tilton's.
Also the Mortal characters do come across as realistic, and because of that you do want to give them a shake, telling Tilton to stop being so henpecked, and Alex not to be such a boring conformist as getting married and Adele to stop being a controlling, selfish cow.
I don't actually feel that about Katie. She is not a Sue, there is something more mystical about her, which is very hard to describe; I would frankly have felt it a shame if it had been she who married Alex.
She does come across as obsessed, but I would be too, that's probably the easiest thing to understand about her from my point of view and a relationship would have to be along the lines of; '' I can fit you in Tuesday and Sunday afternoon. '' d;-) if it were me in that situation.
It also seems as if she * feels * things more deeply than any of the other Mortal character's and it's causing her to suffer. She may have, in a sense, discovered all she was so fascinated in is true, but it does not seem to give her a great deal of joy.
Author's Response: All right; after this is done, I'll be expanding the tale. I never planned to do it when I started this fic, but it seems like the characters, having been made, just won't leave me alone! And that's not a bad thing. It kind of reminds me of Aule and the dwarves.rn
rnI try to make my mortal characters realistic, with flaws as well as good points. The fact that at times you want to smack some of them for their stupidity is a positive sign, because it means that they're not boring, Sueish characters (because let's face it: you wan to smack Sues for a different reason). However, you don't want to pull a Robert Jordan with your characters, particularly your female characters. This author gave his characters plenty of faults, but made them extremely annoying and horrible, and his portrayal of women is one of the most offensive I have ever read in a fantasy book.
I still feel there is something * off * with Adele. I never liked her or the way she practically bullied her husband - although he should have had more backbone. The fact that he seemed to lose interest in all this just seems odd.
Molly is not a favorite of mine either, perhaps because I have more sympathy with Katie and want to know why she is suffering such melancholia lately .
Because I like such things I would almost imagine Adele was something to do with Sauron/Morgoth from the past, or was being influenced by them and manipulated Alex into marrying Molly to grab the last scion of the line of Aragorn. >.< Lol!
I know their courtship seems to be very sweet and old-fashioned, perhaps mirroring Aragorn and Arwen's, but so little passion...hmmm. Well, perhaps they will get over that, but Adele is always going to be one I would watch, and Molly is fairly shallow compared to Katie. That is not an indictment on your writing, by the way, rather a tribute to it. But I am almost disappointed with Alex for marrying some-one who seems rather one dimensional. Not that I think he should end up with Katie, there is something different about her, and much more fascinating, to me.
Poor Katie, ye Gods I hate those affairs too, marriages are almost as bad as funerals.
Perhaps the reason Gandalf did not come is true, and it does make sense or perhaps there is another reason he did not show? I love the way that when you write, you will give a very plausible reason for something, but also leave room for people to wonder.
It's a bit like watching an Agatha Christie play. People can do things perfectly innocently, but there might be another reason behind their actions. I can never see it, myself, so I always get a shock.
Author's Response: It was originally my plan to have Alex marry someone much shallower and more down-to-earth than Katie. Alex, despite the work he has done with Gandalf and the others, is still a normal guy, who's got a relatively normal place in society. Katie is not only too fascinating and what Sue authors would call "speshul," but is pretty much unfit for marriage. She's devoted herself to Gandalf and to the mission, she's isolated herself from the world, and she is still a loner. Is she a bit mad? You be the judge.rnrnIt's true that Robert doesn't have much backbone. Almost without my control, he's become a contrast to Faris. Robert is one of those people who become overly excited about an issue and throw themselves heart and soul into it--hence his obsessive passion for Gandalf's project at the beginning, and his thoughtlessness concerning his family. However, the demands of real life and the bullying of his wife have cooled his enthusiasm.rnrnI am thinking that once this story is finished, I will write an expanded version of it, or else companions to it, explaining the background in more detail: Maglor's friendship with the Tilton ancestor and his subsequent disastrous life in America, the marriage of Robert and Adele, Gandalf's life on Middle-earth in the centuries before the story begins, etc. I don't know if this will improve the fic or ruin it, though, so I've got to think about it for a while.rnrnI must thank you for your long, expanded reviews. Of the reviews I receive on this story--here and ff.net--yours are both the most cheering and the most helpful. You've gotten into this story, and I like that. A typical reviewer at ff.net will gush about one chapter and leave me alone, or else send something incoherent (I've been having some trouble with spam recently). So I'm glad for your reviews and enthusiasm on this site.rnrnP.S. The next chapter, starring Katie and Gandalf, will be up sooner than usual. It was originally going to be part of the wedding chapter, but the chapter was becoming so long that I was losing my train of thought on it.