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The Spy  by daw the minstrel 57 Review(s)
DotReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
LOL. What a treat. You know, you need never have mentioned Beliond’s name and we’d still have known who it was by the whole tone of the piece. It’s such fun to be in his head for a while!

I really enjoyed Beliond veering between grudging admiration, cynicism and downright distrust. I had to laugh at the line “if one of the town’s inhabitants had told him that the day was sunny, he would have immediately pulled his hood forward to keep the rain out of his face.”

"Entering a town of possibly hostile men being plagued by a group of even more hostile ones would give him a chance to keep his skills from growing rusty." Oh yeah, what more could one want?!

I like the two women gossiping in the market. Any good spy probably knows that’s the best way to get free information! Their reaction to the minstrel was hilarious and it was such a Beliond thing to do to go after him. What a pity it wasn’t a juggler they needed ;-)

I love the way you don’t have everyone amazed by his elven beauty but instead have him appear slightly odd-looking. It must have taken a lot of self-control for him not to react to the two guards grinning at him!

“Arrogant, pus-filled pimple on an orc’s privates,” he fumed under his breath. “Witless little wiper of a warg’s backside.” Beliond’s respect for Abun soared. He liked a man who could express himself well.” ROTFL! That has to be one of the best parts of this. And I’m filing away those insults for the next person who annoys me!

The part with Beliond singing was so lovely. It’s a very touching insight into him and glimpse into the more private part of his character. I also like it because his performance is tinged with a very endearing smugness ;-)

I really like the boy and the way Beliond immediately recognises him as a potential ally. I nearly cried with laughter at the line "Beliond fished in the pocket of the minstrel’s coat and pulled out the purses he had lifted from Abun, Thade, the steward, and one of the door guards." So he’s a rather skilled pickpocket too!! He has so much he could teach someone.

One of the funniest scenes was Beliond in the kitchen and the two discussing this poor, daft minstrel and treating him like a simpleton. He may be much cleverer than they think but I bet his bottom is just as nice as they say!

"He pulled the dagger from his boot, worked it into the lock, and had the door open within three minutes." Aha! I was wondering when that skill would appear!

Very kind of Beliond to return the minstrel’s clothes. And to leave them so neatly too. I’m still grinning at his thoughts that it’s “just like a man” when the minstrel has disappeared. Somehow I don’t think Beliond would be waiting there patiently if he’d been tied up and gagged either!

I loved the ending so much. It seems Beliond’s days of solitude are coming to an end. "He had known Thranduil for a long time and was confident of his ability to manage him. Whatever the king wanted, Beliond would deal with it and be on his way on his own again." Sorry, old boy, not this time. Ah well, he’ll get used to his new job in another couple of centuries or so.

I really enjoyed this, daw. You do humour wonderfully and it was such a delight to get to see more of Beliond at his sneaky, insulting best! :-)

Author Reply: Beliond's distinctive tone is exactly the reason he's fun to write! I read somewhere that even when you're writing in the third person, you should aim to catch the tone of the POV character so that a reader could guess who it was without being told. With Beliond, that's easy.

Beliond has such self-confidence (and such scorn for men) that he's willing to go into hostile situations because he's sure he'll be fine. I tried to picture what he would have done as a spy, and I think hanging around in marketplaces would be a good way to find out what was up.

Writing the insults felt really good. I'm usually rather reserved and restrained, but with Beliond I could just let myself go.

The part where he thinks about his family and all felt real to me, like that was the moment when he let himself come out from under that cynical, hard shell he's built. And clever Thranduil is about to give him a task that will gradually melt that shell away.

I thought it would be too obvious that he was picking pockets because I had him stumbling into everyone, but it was still fun.

ManderlyReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
Yay, a new story and it's about my favourite grouch. A very entertaining chapter. I must admit though that I am pleasantly surprised by Beliond's many talents - a skilled pickpocket, an accomplished spy who plays a harp and sings like a minstrel, and a nice bottom to top it off (LOL - sorry about that). What a gem! Legolas doesn't realize what a jackpoet he's landed when he got Beliond as his body guard.

Very much looking forward to more of this.

P.S. "pus-filled pimple on an orc's privates; witless little wiper of a warg's backside" - these are absolutely priceless. Must make note of them for future reference and use.

Author Reply: Thank you, Manderly. This is just a one chapter fic for Nilmandra's birthday at the moment. Beliond is on his way home to start acting as nana for Legolas, which should be quite a change after his adventures as a spy. And he's an elf of many talents indeed. If Legolas only knew!

Writing the insults was fun too. I'm usually a pretty restrained person so I had to just cut loose!

LOTR loverReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
Great story, daw! There are so many highlights I hardly know where to begin: Beliond as wry observer, as minstrel, as pickpocket, and constantly worrying about how short that dratted coat is! And having the kitchen folk think he's daft because of the way he has to hide his ears is priceless. Beliond is a great character, and this is a fine story.

LOTR lover

Author Reply: Glad you liked it LOTR lover. Beliond is fun to write about because he has such a bad attitude that it's easy to give the story a tone showing it's about him and nobody else. Legolas would be dazed if he ever heard this story in all its detail.

perellethReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
Ooops! What a wonderful surprise!!!! (for a bedridden perelleth with her first summer cold!)My" I don't know where to start!THis is a jewel, daw, ! above all, because we all know so much about Beliond that .. well. it is double enjoyment!

"This trip had been a boring one. Entering a town of possibly hostile men being plagued by a group of even more hostile ones would give him a chance.." I bet Legolas never heard of this...;-) BEliond seeking action!

"Beliond judged that she had no intention of turning the bread over to the maid until she had wrung every drop of information from her". This, and his supplanting the minstrel, and his noticing that the lord was angry.. made me laugh until my head hurt..why, this is reckless Beliond, mixing with foregin human affairs and with his deep knowledge of human behaviour... NO surprise he mistrusts them so much. Legolas would be torn between amusement and awe if he heard him tell stories like this!. And then Beliond á la McGyver? (forgive me, but my brain is muddled, I could not find a better paralell..) is priceless. Or maybe á la Robin hood? I stop now, I promise. Great piece! and I suppose Beliond must have remembered this episode more than once, since it is supossedly his last adventure before that "special task" Great! seriously!

You know, it amazes me how you managed to grow such well established characters.. I mean, we all know their environment and certain things abut their nature and circumstances, but your series have a life of its own, even if they're stuck in Tolkien's world. When I first read Good NEighbours, in another flu episode and bored to tears,(by the flu!) I tended to run away from LEgolas' stories, and what caught me in yours was the tangibility of an established world, even within Tolkien's universe. And now here we are, enjoying Beliond's adventure before he becomes Legolas keeper.... ¡Congrats, truly, it's a huge achievement and a great piece!

Author Reply: I'm sorry you're sick! But reading fanfic is a good escape.

Beliond did a lot of things he'd kill Legolas for trying. But then, he's been around a long time.

The baker withholding the bread comes directly from my life. When I was kid, there was a drycleaner on the corner of the street where I lived, and when my mother sent us to pick up the clothes, she'd hold them out of reach while she asked about all the things she'd seen happening through her shop window all day.

Playing nana to Legolas would have been quite a change from spying. Poor Beliond.

I'm glad you like this, Perelleth. Feel better soon.

Jay of LasgalenReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
What a wonderful story, Daw, and what a lovely present for Nilmandra! Beliond is great here, so assured and cabable and confident - and so contemptuous of men! I'd wondered what he'd done to the minstrel with the nice legs, but knew it wouldn't be anything too serious.

I love all of it, but think my favourite line is towards the end: 'Thranduil could be very high handed sometimes.' *snort* It's so typical of kings, isn't it? I think I can guess what the new assignment is - bodyguarding Legolas, perhaps?


Author Reply: Nilmandra's birthday is actually tomorrow, but I've had this story done for almost three weeks now and I couldn't stand waiting another day! Beliond was a lot of fun to write about once I got going. He has such an attitude.

And yeah, I think Beliond is off to play nursemaid for a while. Now there's an assignment he'll greet with a happy smile. *snort*

BodkinReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
I want to join the Beliond fan club!

This is spying with bells. Actually, literally. Abun doesn't know how lucky he is - and neither do the townsfolk.

This special mission - it couldn't have anything to do with a princeling on the point of warriorhood, could it? I'm not surprised Beliond was a little miffed at his change in role.

Fun. I like picturing Beliond disguised as a minstrel singing for his supper.

Author Reply: The townsfolk will never know who saved them. And that's the way of all good spies!

Yes, the mission Thranduil wants him for is going to look much less exciting than thinking on his feet and preventing coup d'etats.

KarriReviewed Chapter: 1 on 6/21/2005
LOL! Beliond called that one wrong, didn't he? He wasn't able to 'handle' Thranduil and get out of that special assignment well at all. ;-)

Author Reply: No, he wasn't. His fate was sealed. But I think Thranduil saw his new assignment as something that would be good for Beliond as well as Legolas.

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