tehta: (stained glass tree)
[personal profile] tehta
Recent, er, events in my head have inspired me to dash off a quick chat between Maedhros & Maglor. I call it:

The Artistic Temperament, a ficlet à clef.

While walking to the dovecote, Maedhros came across Maglor, who sat morose in the courtyard, harp hanging limply by his side.

“What ails you, brother?” Maedhros asked. “Is it another attack of Curse-Torment? They are more frequent whenever a storm is brewing, I have noticed.”

“Have you?” said Maglor distractedly. “But no, it is not that cursed Curse. It is the cursed Noldolantë.”

Not again! Maedhros braced himself. “What about it?”

“I have come to the conclusion that it is awful.”

Maedhros sighed. “I told you the last time: everyone loves your composition, and you know it.”

“I know that everyone *here* claims to love it. But I also know that saying so is only common courtesy, for a follower. Not to mention a shrewd career move.”

“Well, perhaps... But what about me? You would not call me a follower -- not of anyone yet living, nor of any god -- but I truly love your masterpiece. Indeed, looking forward to the inevitable next installment is the only thing that makes performing evil acts bearable, these days.”

“Come on, Russandol. You are my brother, and also my friend, and then, all the constructive criticism you have offered me over the years has surely given you a personal stake in the piece.” Maglor shuddered. “To think, if not for you, I would have left that kinslaying/harp-playing rhyme in! Anyway, you are clearly biased.”

“I do not feel biased.”

“Because yours is an unconscious bias.”

“Fine.” Maedhros rolled his eyes. “But what about all the other Noldor? The ones who are neither kin, follower, not friend, and were not privy to your early drafts?”

“Oh, they are biased, as well. For political reasons. Or out of vanity, since they are mentioned in the title.”

“True… but the Sindar get no such mention! Also, your ‘political reasons’ should surely lead them to hate the Noldolantë. And yet, it is said that many of them listen to it, or play it -- or even plagiarise it, which is the sincerest of tributes.”

“About half of the Sindar like it, yes. But they have their reasons.”

“What now?”

“The violence. Blood-soaked action-filled epics are always popular. With about half of all the people of any race, I suspect.”

“I see.” Maedhros passed a hand over his face, and looked up at the threatening clouds. “So, to summarize: you are in despair because half the Sindar do not like your work.”

“That is right.”

“But are you even sure they do not like it? Have you received any criticism?”

“What Sinda would wish to criticise a Son of Feanor? No,” said Maglor darkly, “they are simply ignoring my piece, as one might ignore a dog turd one carefully steps over.”

“Perhaps they are merely intimidated. By your brilliance, talent, and intellect, I mean,” Maedhros added quickly. “Not by your non-poetic activities.”

Maglor scoffed.

By the Jewels! Maedhros was well used to facing impossible tasks -- his entire agenda was full of them -- but this one was proving daunting even beyond his experience. He excused himself, and went off to send a pigeon before the weather broke. At least his Silmaril-requesting letter to Elwing had some chance of success.

Date: 2013-09-09 03:54 pm (UTC)
hhimring: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hhimring
So a secondary purpose of the Third Kinslaying may have been to forcibly convert the half of the Sindar that did not appreciate blood-soaked action-filled epics?

Kinslaying/harp-playing does seem to sort of suggest itself as a rhyme in this context. Maedhros thought it was a bit too obvious, perhaps? Or did he object for more rarefied reasons?

Date: 2013-09-09 04:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Yes. Unfortunately it turned out that this other half of the Sindar likes ONLY slashy romance. That's when Maglor went back and worked a Maedhros/Fingon subplot into his magnum opus.

As for the rhyme, the obviousness was one problem, and a bit of mood whiplash was the other.

(Also, I really must acknowledge that your recent piece was a bit of an inspiration, here. At least, for Maedhros' talk of looking forward to new installments. I promise to do so officially, when I post this to an archive.)
Edited Date: 2013-09-09 04:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2013-09-09 05:07 pm (UTC)
hhimring: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hhimring
And the first slash fic exchange was staged in the smoking ruins of the Havens?

I'm not sure what I did to inspire that line of Maedhros's, but as I really like it, I'll happily take the credit.

Date: 2013-09-09 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lenine2.livejournal.com
If the Galvorns were still around I'd nominate this for Best Self-Insert.

I am flattered that I am lumped in with the Maedhros crowd.

So Curse-Torment is like rheumatism?

Date: 2013-09-09 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Many things are like rheumatism. But, really, so much strife could have been avoided if only the Feanorions had all moved to Florida.

Date: 2013-09-09 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elfscribe5.livejournal.com
The Artistic Temperament for sure. lol.

Date: 2013-09-09 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I know of what I speak!

Date: 2013-09-09 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wulfila.livejournal.com
If the fact that you caused me to identify with Maedhros of all possible people in some passages of this fic does not constitute proof that you are a wonderful writer, I do not know what would.

Date: 2013-09-09 05:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Let me guess: it was the passage about evil deeds, wasn't it?

Date: 2013-09-09 07:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eveiya.livejournal.com
Yes, although I must confess to having a soft spot for Maedhros (well, at least some of the time, in some moods), I've probably never before empathised with him so much as I do here. :-D

Date: 2013-09-09 07:56 pm (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moetushie
I suppose Maglor, like every Controversial Artist, must deal with the fact that he brings out strong feelings in everyone - whether it's love or hate.

(Although, for the slash-loving but Noldor-hating Sinda, I guess Beleg/Túrin
would be a great substitute.)

Date: 2013-09-09 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Maglor thinks that a great artist should be admired by everyone, or he is a Failure.

Hmm, Beleg/Turin. I can see many people getting into that. Not Saeros, though. Are there no great Sinda/Sinda pairings?

Date: 2013-09-10 06:38 pm (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moetushie
Are there no great Sinda/Sinda pairings?

I'm certain there is. Like:

Beleg/Mablung - Dutiful, yet sexy. Though, being a shipper, I believe Beleg was more into human disasters, and Mablung, well, he had his hand. (I think I've hit on the pairing I'm going to request for the next Slashy exchange -- Angrod/Mablung! I just can't resist heavy-handed jokes!)

I suppose one could try to slash Daeron, but his excessive canonical lady-love might get in the way.

You can slash Thingol or Celeborn with Oropher or Thranduil, do the *true* Sindarin royalty versus upstart Sindarin royalty thing.

You could slash different versions of Legolas with himself. Book!Legolas and his terrible poetry and movie!Legolas with whatever he's good at.

Date: 2013-09-10 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Hey, I am about to start posting a lengthy (for me - 10k) Turin/Beleg/Mablung soap opera! I just need to finish the last chapter.

And wait a moment: how about Beleg/Saeros? It would explain Saeros' feelings re: Turin.

Also, Thingol/Celeborn were a pretty popular pairing once, when Galadhir aka Marnie wrote many stories about them. (She was v. good.) She took it all down when she became Professional, though.

Date: 2013-09-10 07:09 pm (UTC)
moetushie: Beaton cartoon - a sexy revolution. (Default)
From: [personal profile] moetushie
Oooh, I cannot wait. A soap opera, eh?

And wait a moment: how about Beleg/Saeros? It would explain Saeros' feelings re: Turin.

OH. DEAR. I guess I could see it, but only in a hatesex context? Although Saeros' feelings re: Turin could probably explained by the fact that Turin probably smells quite a bit from living in the woods and all. Plus, Saeros is a jerk.

It's weird, I'm all over the cousincest in this fandom, but uncle/nephew pairings are not my cup of tea.

Date: 2013-09-09 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eveiya.livejournal.com

But I'm sure Maedhros felt it was all worthwhile when he finally got to read the completed Noldolantë... or did he in fact throw himself into the fiery fissure mainly to escape the black hole of Maglor's writerly angst for good...? :-D

Date: 2013-09-09 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Judging by the comments here, only you, Wulfila, and Lenine can answer that question.

Date: 2013-09-10 03:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
I have considerable sympathy for both of them. Maedhros for the agenda full of impossible tasks, and Maglor for not realising that for the artist hate is quite as good as love as a response to artistic works. It's indifference that is fatal.

Date: 2013-09-10 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
Good point... although I think that, actually, Maglor is worried not about hate, but about mild dislike (see the dog turd metaphor -- he thinks the Sindar are side-stepping the story. Maybe the dog-turd is TOO unpleasant, though.) I will have to change this in a rewrite.

(This is sort of what I mean by having to make decisions at the writing stage, but usually it's mostly about wording. When I imagine a story, I see it more as a flow of information and a mood than actual words. Picking the right words to set the mood and release the information at the right rate, but without much redundancy, is what really takes forever.)

Date: 2013-09-10 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anna-wing.livejournal.com
Picking the right words to set the mood and release the information at the right rate, but without much redundancy, is what really takes forever.)

Yes, in a short piece, the right word is vital. Most of the time that I spend after something is written down is spent on polishing and re-polishing, until it says exactly what I want it to say, and produces exactly the effect that I want it to produce. The number of near-but-not-quite synonyms in English doesn't help either.

I think dog-turds in the path would produce mild revulsion and disgust ("ick") rather than mild dislike ("No haggis for me, thanks"). It's also important not to overthink these things.

Date: 2013-09-10 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tehta.livejournal.com
I like the variety of English! Lots of room for subtlety. (There is much less in Polish, I feel.)

I don't think it's overthinking: that dog turd never sat right with me. I wrote this very quickly, though. I am polishing it in the AO3 version.

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