Light of the Westering Sun

Author: Dawn Felagund

Nominator: Rhapsody

2008 Award Category: Races: Cross-Cultural: Fixed-Length Ficlets - Second Place

Story Type: Fixed-Length Ficlet  ✧  Length: Fixed-Length Ficlet Series

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: mild sexuality

Summary: The non-canon pairing of Haleth and Caranthir remains a favorite for the exploration of interracial romance upon Arda. This series of double drabbles is about the life of Haleth and how it touched, briefly and in love, upon that of Caranthir.(A series of six double drabbles (200 words each).)

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Rhapsody  ✧  Score: 10

This is a very ingenious and creatively crafted story that looks back on Haleth’s life. This series works on so many levels since it portrays all stages of womanhood, life, her love, her decisions towards the love of her life, her own people. The format Dawn chose her works here so well, most commonly you see drabble series that begin in the youth or start of events, but this is written in reverse, an experiment as the author called it. This experimental writing resulted in a melancholically tribute to (a fanonically favourite) love. A series that to me it feels like just brief touches upon her life and yet they tell so much in this short format. [Love bought me my wisdom.] and this phrase seems to be the central theme in this drabble series, but it also connects the first to the last. But foremost it reads as a celebration of love which might have been between Caranthir and Haleth, the wisdom and wishes that brought them together, a lie she did had to tell for the safety of her people and sundered her from Caranthir in the end. Even though we don’t see Caranthir saying it aloud, but to me his love for her ruled his mind and heart and all we are left with is her sadness of what might have been and the love mirrored in the eyes which were alike the [Light of the Westering Sun].

Reviewed by: Keiliss  ✧  Score: 10

I left several stories till the end, assuming that as I had read them before it would be a simple matter to skim over them and review them adequately, which was of course one of many errors I've made in my reviewing patterns. I am particularly sorry this has meant that I will give this piece far less than its due. Here we have snippets from Haleth's life, little snapshots of moments, thoughts, experiences, that chart who she is and where her heart lies, and the wisdom that love and her own innate common sense have taught her. She knew a love that could never really have its time, but which still at least in part defines her. Strange how a line can catch your attention and tell you all you need to know - she is thinking of him and remembers him [eating with his right hand or his left, depending on his mood] and later recalls the way he moves in sleep, in dreams, and it takes love's eye to note and be able to bring back those tiny details about someone. And I understood the significance of her awareness that they felt the same sun shine on them both - I have experienced that before, it has its own bitter-sweet joy. The final part, part Vl, really spoke to me. I thought standing alone it would still tell me an immense amount about Haleth. She looked back yes. And the old woman did not try and stop her. And that in itself is a great lesson in wisdom - we all have to make our own mistakes, experience our own joy. Which tied it back to the beginning, and to her refusal to stand in judgment of another young heart. Very, very beautiful reading. I wish I had done this early so that my review could do it justice.

Reviewed by: pandemonium_213  ✧  Score: 10

Dawn has a wonderful talent for writing gifts for her friends which fit them oh-so-well (that pair of knitted gloves with a perfect fit). [Light of the Westering Sun] was written for Unsung Heroine who has created a "canonical fanon" of Haleth and Caranthir, a pairing many of us Silm-geeks quite like. The skill of Dawn's storytelling and prose is such that even if a story is "custom-fit" for another, the rest of us are treated to the gem, too. Such is [Light of the Westering Sun]. In a series of double drabbles, Dawn takes the reader back in time, beginning with Haleth in old age to her initial sightings of the Firstborn -- human but Other -- when she who would become a chieftainess was a young girl -- a sighting that was the harbinger of the intersection of the Edain and the Eldar. The "backwards" construction of the story is very effective and heart-wrenchingly poignant. Dawn's language is, as always, poetic, e.g. Caranthir's eyes with [the same mournful light as the westering sun]. But most of all, this series of ficlets casts into high relief the chasm between mortal Men and the Firstborn in Tolkien's world: so similar as fellow human beings who experience sorrow, joy and love, yet with such a profound difference to create a nearly unbreachable gulf between the peoples. Yet Haleth and Caranthir do so here, if only for a fleeting moment of time.

Reviewed by: Robinka  ✧  Score: 8

I have always admired those authors who possess the ability to tell a whole story in as few words as for example a drabble contains. The entirety of a tale must be filtered and the most important, turning points must be emphasized. Here, Dawn has done a wondrous job bringing such moments and she has written an excellent series that present the life of Haleth of Brethil. The series touches upon her relationship with Caranthir, and I one more time ponder the different fates of the Firstborn and Secondborn (but well, it’s just me ;)). I admire the clever structure of this set of ficlets: we see Haleth’s life move backward, as she probably would have recalled it at the late hour of her life. Very well thought out! And even more significant, the drabbles are brought full circle – again, a very good idea. Each time I read the series, I marvel at the elegant, poetic, beautiful language of these pieces. And the inner romantic in me is utterly satisfied even though Caranthir and Haleth could not have been together for eternity. Wonderful, touching, and poignant series! Greatly done!

Reviewed by: whitewave  ✧  Score: 8

I've always preferred elf-to-elf pairings in the stories I read but Caranthir and Haleth's had always been too interesting for me to pass up. I especially liked how you describe the Feanorions, thanks to AMC I've always pictured Caranthir/Carnistir as a cherubic, pink-faced baby who bounced on his family member's knees--a picture of innocence. But here I'm treated to a very different Caranthir/Carnistir--a grown-up and utterly irresistable image of physical attractivness and power. In my opinion, he is the most mysterious and probably the least developed Feanorion and having him fall in love with one of the Second-born adds to his "appeal". I liked how you compared the color of his eyes to the setting sun--I thought it was romantic. The first and last scenes served their purpose well; I think they "united" the whole story. I wish I could give more technical comments but I'm afraid I'm only limited to writing about how your story moved me. I'm hoping to read a few more stories about Haleth and Carnistir/Caranthir from you in the future, maybe lighter, happier ones too. Thanks for sharing this.

Reviewed by: stefaniab  ✧  Score: 5

I wish Tolkien had described Haleth in a great more detail in the Silmarillion. For all who complain about the lack of strong female characters in LOTR, rest assured, folks, Tolkien saved them for the Sil. And Haleth, leader of one of the three houses of the Edain, was the most powerful of women. But did she have a long time romantic relationship with Caranthir, fourth son of Feanor, greatest of the elves? Dawn's double drabble series is a lyric journey into the romance of Caranthir and Haleth. Whether you accept this premise or not, the language of the series and its progression from Haleth in old age to Haleth as a child makes enjoyable reading.

Reviewed by: Inkling  ✧  Score: 4

Things left unsaid can be at least as interesting as those said, as Tolkien well knew, and the relationship between Caranthir and Haleth--allies? Friends? Lovers?--is one of those things. Dawn provides a tantalizing glimpse of what might have been in a lovely series of ficlets. My favorite among the memorable images she conjures has to be that of Caranthir with the wooden beads and feathers plaited in his hair [as did her people]. The idea of the Haladin adorned in the style of Native Americans is both fitting and inspired.

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 3

A very sweet set of double drabbles telling backwards the romance between these two unlikely lovers. Characterizations are excellently done, and the atmosphere is perfect. And I love the elderly Haleth's self-identification with a hapless girl brought to her for judgment.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 3

These scenes do a very nice job of expanding on the Caranthir/Haleth "'ship", which I have always found to be one of my favorite fanons in Silmfic. I particularly liked the first and the last ones, as I think they're very perceptive about the relationship between a passion like love and wisdom.