A Light Beyond the Darkness

Author: Alawa

Nominator: Dwimordene

2005 Award Category: Genres: Romance: Poetry - First Place

Story Type: Poem  ✧  Length: N/A

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Gilraen and Arathorn respond to the 'How do I love thee?' Challenge.

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Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 10

I think what I most enjoyed about these poems was the understatement of the erotic, especially in Arathorn's sonnet. The imagery there seemed almost courtly, ponly it was a little forward for such a model. So much romance and especially erotica in the Lord of the Rings fandom lacks that subtle, almost ambiguous, quality that makes it feel so much more historical. This is one of the reasons why I love reading your work so much. Especially with the lead couples of the Angle (Gilraen and Arathorn, Arwen and Aragorn) you have a real knack for capturing the tension between duty and pleasure. I can see the spirit of Aragorn's comment to Bilbo (I think) in the Hall of Fire that often has he had to put pleasure aside. But the poem that really took my breath away was Gilraen's villanelle. The form is what first did it for me. I have tried to write villanelles, but it is the one form that I have never really been able to capture, so I bow in homage to those who have mastered it. And here Alawa clearly has. I loved in particular the way you worked in how different citizens of the Angle (besides Gilraen and Arathorn, obviously!) might think that the age difference between Gilraen and Arathorn was too great. Interplaying this with the erotica that makes it OBVIOUS that Gilraen and Arathorn don't feel the same way was pure genius. How could they be improved? There were a few places where, to make it scan, I had to delete a syllable of a word. Pow'r as opposed to power, that sort of thing. It would have been easier on a first reading to have these scanned-over syllables marked (like I did above with pow'r/power). But this is really a minor criticism in otherwise brilliant love poems. The softer side of my heart is still demanding more.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 7

These two poems seem very apt to the characters they speak of. Gilraen's villanelle has that certain suggestive mischief to it, appropriate to a young woman in love, that says the words fall short even as they illuminate much about her relationship with her husband. The repeated lines are indispensable both in form and also in moving the content forward, which I find admirable. Arathorn's sonnet, coming from a very different, worldly-wise perspective, opens up even as he does in loving Gilraen—we can see in the progression the ressurection of wonder and delight, and the need and desire to speak of these things that has been too long suppressed. Fortunately, speech isn't everything, and the poem in a sense deconstructs itself—it's only a poem, and the important thing lies elsewhere, in the feeling that animates it.

Reviewed by: annmarwalk  ✧  Score: 5

Oh, these are lovely! I’m certainly no student of poetry, but I like rhythm, and pattern, and order, so the careful form of these spoke to me immediately. Beyond the form, though, the beauty, and humor, and vitality of the words delighted my soul. I can so easily envision the young, laughing, Gilraen, certain of her unconventional choice, and the older, sedate Arathorn, his sober heart ‘surprised by joy’ in the winning and warmth of his radiant bride. No shadow of the fate that awaits them, only the bliss of newfound love.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 4

I really like the way that these two poems work in tandem. The first poem's claim about Arathorn not being grim and grey is verified by the imagery and desire in the second poem. Nice use of form, too, particularly with the sonnet. I wonder if a terzanelle might not have been more effective for the first poem, but regardless, the villanelle definitely works. That's a tricky thing when you have such an open-ended first line. Good adaptation.

Reviewed by: nerwen_calaelen  ✧  Score: 1

These are clever uses of forms and nice to read.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 1

Nicely executed with romantic language and a strict observance of the forms.