In The House of Elrond
Nominator: Nieriel Raina
2010 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Incomplete - First Place
Story Type: Incomplete ✧ Length: Novel
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: Very little is known of the life the mother of Aragorn, Gilraen, lived while raising her son in Rivendell. This is her tale.
Reviewed by: obsidianj ✧ Score: 10
This is a beautiful story, well worth the time spent reading. Gilraen is often in fanfiction either killed off so as not to interfere in the family dynamic with Elrond as father or relegated to the sidelines with little to nothing to say about her. In this story she gets to shine. After being dumped into the middle of this elven society, she has to make a place for herself and raise her child to be the leader of the Dunedain. Her way is fraught with obstacles in form of cultural misunderstandings and the secrecy necessary to keep Aragorn safe. It must have been hard for her to not be able to grieve for her husband properly because to mention his name is not allowed. The author brings all the characters to life. The elves, as familiar they are, are different, with their own cultural quirks and sets of moral and behavior. Gilraen's background is different and she has to learn to fit in. Even when everyone tried to accommodate her, she still comes up against cultural barriers that are difficult to understand until everyone takes the time to tease out the differences. One of the most touching moments in this story is when young Estel starts calling Elrond 'Ada'. The reaction of the adults around the boy and the significance of this moment is beautifully written. Her father as autocratic acting chief of the Dunedain is well written with her mother as counterpoint. I love the tandem Elrond and Gilraen as parents of Aragorn. Elrond's experiences as father of his own children help to ease Gilraen's worries about the things her son has to learn.
Reviewed by: curiouswombat ✧ Score: 8
Gilraen is another of those characters, so lightly sketched by Tolkienthat she gets little more than a passing mention, that good writers can make much of. This story is an example of someone doing exactly that, and I am always pleased to find a new chapter. Aeärwen shows us how difficult it must have been for Gilraen to be taken from her own home, whilst hardly yet taking in her own widowhood, to find herself in an alien society to which she has to adapt; just as the elves try to understand her also. As I write this review I have just read the most recent chapter, in which she is now coping with news from her son who has only just rejoined the Dunedain - where he is not finding it easy to cope, and also with the arrival of her father who is insisting that she shouldr return to his household and his command. All this seems so very likely, and Aeärwen has made all of these characters into people we can believe in and understand - even if, in her father's case, we may not be immediately sympathetic! A well written story, well worth the reading
Reviewed by: Russandol ✧ Score: 7
A woman loses her husband to an enemy arrow and her son is believed to be in mortal danger; on top of that she has to seel refuge and live with immortal strangers in a different world. Many tales in the Lord of the Rings fandom focus on Elrond as the effective father of Aragorn, but few give Gilraen any significant role, which is surprising, considering how most of her story is a huge gap in Tolkien's canon, as those of many other female characters. Her life in Imladris must have been plagued with all kinds of conflict and compromise, as well as the challenges of finding a place and a purpose without renouncing her own culture, even to the extreme of facing disapproval by those in her own family to defend her choices and new friendships. I love how this story gives us a vivid glimpse of what those difficulties might have been for Gilraen, and how she gradually learnt to overcome them and fought the prejudice of those who misjudged her. Great story, Aearwen!
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 5
A most fascinating examination of Gilraen's stay in Imladris with her young son, showing her growing appreciation of Elven ways as opposed to those of Men, and of her growing relationships with the Master of Rivendell and those closest to him--his twin sons, his chief counselor, and his master of arms. The valley has been bereft of female leadership for far too long, apparently; and it is pleasant to see Gilraen taking on the role of Lady of the Vale even as she oversees the preparation of her young son for his destiny, as he becomes indeed the hope he was named for.
Reviewed by: Marethiel ✧ Score: 4
I loved this story. I found Aearwen's grasp of characterization quite remarkable, really. I love the complexity of her Elves, particularly Elrond and Glorfindel, though I love her Erestor as well. But the characterization I found most remarkable was that if Gilraen. We got to see a woman grow up before our eyes in the words on the page. And to have a neat little side-story of Gilraen and Glorfindel... mmmmmm yummy! Well done!
Reviewed by: Vanime ✧ Score: 3
This is one of the most beautifully written stories of Gilraen that I have seen. The writing as always is superlative, and I know that when reading I won't be disappointed. Highly Recommended!