The Green Grave

Author: Ellynn

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2011 Award Category: Ficlet: Later Age Elves - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Disturbing Imagery/Themes

Summary: "...she [Arwen] laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed..." (quote from FotR) But who made Arwen's grave in empty, desolate Lothlorien? Someone very sympathetic watched over her... (Ficlet of about 950 words)

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Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 10

I always think that Arwen's death is one of the saddest parts of LOTR as she is so alone and desolate,though Tolkien drops hints that she will be reunited with her beloved Aragorn at Cerin Amroth once she leaves the circles of the world far behind. It is so sad though, that no one will bury her nor be with her as breathes her last. In Ellynn's beautiful story, Arwen is not as alone as the trees in Lothlorien watch over her, feel her sadness and try to care for her and when she dies make a fitting grave for this wonderful woman who was Queen of both Gondor and arnor and the most beautiful of all women. It makes perfect sense to me that the trees in an Elven realm should be sentient and very much part of Tolken's world. A beautiful poetic story, which will surely bring tears to the eyes of all but the most hard hearted reader! I whole heartedly recommend it as Ellynn captures the mystery, melancholy and beauty of Tolkien's world. I love the way that Ellynn captures the fading of the Elven world and the passing of time and the sadness of the deserted Elven realms which must have once been full of music and laughter. I was left wondering how long these trees would remember and lament for what was no more.I especially liked the idea that the trees wakefulness and awareness was part of the Elves being present.

Author response: Thank you so much for your praise, Linda. It means to me even more because it comes from such a great writer like you. *hugs*

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 7

This is the first review I have marked for spoilers in this year's MEFAs, because I can't talk about what I love about this story without disclosing who made Arwen's grave. That the trees themselves should mourn with Arwen, and then for her, opening the earth as their [roots build her final home] is a beautiful image, as well as an explanatory gapfiller. After all, Lorien was empty, [and the land was silent]. Who else was there to dig Undomiel's [green grave]? It is also a nice antidote to the more sinister images of trees abounding in LOTR. Depicted in a descriptive way, as part of the landscape, they are lovely, but endowed with any measure of sentience they are invariably dangerous: the corrupt, resentful trees of the Old Forest, the vengeful, violent Huorns, the rotten-hearted Old Man Willow. Ents are sympathetic figures, but they are merely tree-like - they are not trees themselves. And the Elves, we know, loved trees. This story shows something of the love those trees returned.

Author response: Thank you so much for the compliments for this story. :)

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 7

This is a haunting and beautiful ficlet about Arwen's last days; from a unique perspective: that of the mallorns of Lothlorien. The trees themselves are fading from the world, but rouse at the coming of the heartbroken Arwen; and become the witnesses of her grief and eventually, her death. Ellynn sets up a nice contrast here, a contrast in mingled emotion and silence. Arwen is inconsolable, grieving, consigning herself to death, but she does not call out, or sing, or speak. The mallorns are saddened by Arwen's grief; and try to reach out to give her comfort; but she cannot hear them - one of the saddest points in this sad story. The ending is touching. Arwen, one of the great beauties of all the Ages of the World, is gone; and the mallorns, themselves among the fairest trees ever grown, are fading and will, one thinks, not survive for many more decades. But while the trees live, they did the best they could to help their elven princess; and honored her after her death. An eloquent and Tolkienesque story.

Author response: Aww, thank you so much for your kind words, they mean so much to me! *hugs*

Reviewed by: Elleth  ✧  Score: 5

It takes a while to understand the narrator and point of view Ellyn has chosen, but the idea alone was an engaging and intriguing one. Matched with Arwen's grief and loneliness as well as the notion of passing and sorrow that permeates the story as a whole, it feels wrong to say 'I enjoyed this story', but it was a fantastic read with a very original take - the trees laying Arwen to rest seems like the obvious solution considering Lothlorien was deserted, but to grant this level of sentience to the Golden Wood was a genius move on the author's part. Beautiful and touching, and it feels entirely in line with Tolkien's conception to allow a certain level of animism to preside over Arwen's final resting place.

Author response: Thanks so much, I am happy you enjoyed this, no matter if it feels wrong or right to say it. :)

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 4

The author presents a very touching death with a new flair. The narrator of this piece is very simply written, and the tone and the collective ‘we’ work well for the description and content. There are quite a number of “Arwen’s death” stories floating around, and it’s a nice change to see something new. Here, the author has accomplished just that.

Author response: Thanks for your kind review, dear! :)

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 4

This is a bittersweet, beautifully written ficlet. It feels melancholy, but that fits the story. I like that the beginning and the end are like a frame to hold the story within. I think it is a great idea to have the trees of Lothlorien build Arwen's grave and make sure she is not left to the elements. It feels as if the trees still protect her even in her death. Something every Arwen fan should read.

Author response: Thanks for your nice review, I am glad you like the story. :)

Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 4

Dear Ellynn, I had asked myself before who Tolkien assumed would have given Arwen a grave if she was the last Elf ever coming to Lothlorien. In this story, you have given a very plausible and poetic answer to this question, one that fits perfectly with the way trees are portrayed in the Tolkienverse. This is a short but powerful piece which I enjoyed reading. Well done.

Author response: Thank you, I am happy you enjoyed this. :)

Reviewed by: mirach  ✧  Score: 4

I love this story for several reasons. One of them is the point of view, the narrator of the story: the mallorns of Lórien. They watch the last hours of Arwen Undómiel when nobody else does, they cover her gently with their leaves after her death. They are sentient beings, who can perceive and feel, while still being trees. It is a very sad story, but beautifully written and bittersweet.

Author response: Aww, thank you so much for your kind words. :)

Reviewed by: Rivergift  ✧  Score: 4

A very beautiful, sad piece, carrying a sense of quiet melancholy that I felt too when reading the end to The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen. The sorrow, the nostalgia, is so strong in every word, as the rather unusual narrators carry out their last duty to the elven lady, each nuance ringing with the grief of the fading, the drifting, the feeling that 'our time is past', but oh, how wonderful to think that there in Lorien endures the grave of Arwen Undomiel, even when all else is forgotten. Great work!

Author response: Thank you so much for your compliments, your words mean a lot to me.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 3

Well written in its imagery, and explores an interesting idea: if Arwen was alone at the time of her passing, who buried her? Full of sorrow, but moving and still quite enjoyable to read. I also like the utilizing of an unusual POV. Well done!

Author response: Thanks for the review, I am glad you like this. :)