Middle-Earth Fanfiction Awards

Counsel

Author: Alassiel
Nominator: Fiondil
2007 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Gondor

Story Type: Story : Length: Short Story
Rating: General -- Reason for Rating: n/a
Summary: On the night before his coronation, Aragorn receives advice from someone who ought to know.


Reviewed by: Fiondil -- Score: 10

This is a gentle piece that is nevertheless quite deep. I like that the two people speaking are Aragorn, on the eve of his coronation, and Finrod (one of my favorite elves of any Age), who was once the King of Nargothrond. The easy acceptance of what has to be a most unusual phenomena by Aragorn shows his upbringing among elves where such things may be considered commonplace. The concept of kingship, its rights and obligations and the relationship between King and subjects as a compact, is one that resonates well in our own world where too often our rulers are uncaring of the oaths they took to secure the welfare of their people. Finrod is, to me, the epitome of kingship, simply because he is willing to lay down the burden of kingship for the oath he had given to Barahir. His willingness to give up power shows that he has never lost that power, that regardless of what happened afterwards, he is and remains a king in the truest sense of the word. One has the sense that Aragorn will endeavor to imitate Finrod, who is, or will eventually become, Aragorn's great-uncle by marriage. Which brings us to the next point -- Aragorn's marriage to Arwen. Finrod rightly points out that such unions are and always have been fraught with sorrow and normally would disapprove of them, as we see in the "Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth", for, as he points out, Arda is still Arda Marred. Yet, he is wise enough to recognize that Eru's plans for both Firstborn and Secondborn will always supersede any objections individuals might have about such unions between the sundered Children. Finrod's simple ["May you have joy"] is perhaps the most beautiful part of this story. I can clearly see Aragorn's smile at this simple wish by one who has always been known as the Friend of Men and even feel the love that Finrod pours into that simple phrase and the joy that Aragorn experiences because of it. The gentleness with which the story is written, the rhythm of the words spoken by the two characters, the simple yet heartfelt wish on Finrod's part for Aragorn's happiness is clearly evident and leaves one with a warm feeling. One wishes that our own leaders would take their cue from these two kings who represent the true meaning of what it means to be a king/ruler in any Age.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel -- Score: 5

Written in a gentle, elegant and restrained way. There is a fine balance between giving details to bring the scene to life, and a tantalising, dreamlike vagueness, which fits so very well with this mysterious, improbable encounter between Aragorn and Finrod. I also like the balance between awe at this momentuous time, and downright friendly companionship between the two kings. Obscure (semi-)canon details are woven smoothly into the narrative. Finrod's thoughts on true kingship show his greatness, and I feel sure Aragorn will heed his advice and follow in his footsteps.

Reviewed by: obsidianj -- Score: 3

Aragorn has an unusual visitor in the night before his coronation. I like the ideas and the concept of kingship laid down by Aragorn's visitor and even if Aragorn is not sure he is up to the task, I have every confidence that he is.

Reviewed by: Marta -- Score: 3

Oh, now this is a fascinating story id! I never would have thought about the connection between these characters, but you flesh out that relationship nicely. Even more than that, you walk the line between a sympathetic Aragorn and one who is weak. I really liked this snapshot into his psyche.

Reviewed by: Larner -- Score: 3

As he prepares for his coronation, Aragorn has a most enlightening--and blessed--visitation. Reassurance--counsel--comfort; all he deserves, and all he receives that night. And he is sung quietly to rest for what hours he might know by his unusual visitor. One of my favorite of Alassiel's stories.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower -- Score: 3

A very interesting conversation, and made plausible by the use of JRRT's own devices--I found the advice given very straightforward and true, and only wish that RL leaders could have such good advice!