The Unspoken

Author: Elfique

Nominator: Robinka

2011 Award Category: Romance: General - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Ficlet Series

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Just three words could have changed the course of the future. Many things that should be said remain unspoken, the reason for Glorfindel's apparent bachelorhood being one of them. A five part series of vignettes exploring all he did not say.

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Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 10

In the fandom, Glorfindel’s character is probably one of the most toyed with. He’s been presented in many different lights and ways, and somehow he always manages to maintain the identity Tolkien gave him (or the two hims, depending on one’s viewpoint). Elfique’s tale is a wonderful contribution to the slew of Glorfindel stories that exist. For myself, I have never been overly interested in the character, but her portrayal of Glorfindel is hard to dislike. The author manages to humanize one of the more ‘lofty’ canon characters; in this story, Glorfindel has a definite personality, and I found him to be quite endearing. Whether this is a good or bad thing is up to the reader’s discretion—I found myself liking it very much. The romantic aspect of the tale was well-told all around, and though I had never considered the pairing, it does make a certain amount of sense, and I found it to be quite plausible, given the author’s presentation of the situation. The writing was also splendid—something that does not often happen in fanfiction, I’ve found. Descriptions and word choice were all completely spot-on, and added very much to the depth and impact of the author’s overall message. On the whole, I was very satisfied with the piece. It was wonderfully written and had a truly unique take on age-old questions.

Author response: Hi! Thanks so, so much for your lovely review of The Unspoken! I'm chuffed to bits you enjoyed it so much and took so much time to write why! :D

Reviewed by: Himring  ✧  Score: 10

Where Aredhel is concerned, most fan fiction authors look no further than Eol or Celegorm (although we are actually told in at least one version of her story that Aredhel was not in love with Celegorm). Aredhel and Glorfindel is an unusual pairing, but Elfique writes it convincingly, in a series of vignettes that span the period from before the original departure from Tirion (I assume, although the scene might be set in Vinyamar) to Aredhel's return to Gondolin. It is an affair that never quite takes off. Glorfindel is there for Aredhel when she despairs after the Kinslaying at Alqualonde and the Burning of the Ships at Losgar and comforts her--it is the one time when he he is able to convey how profoundly he cares for her. But when she actually makes advances, he doubts, hesitates--until she loses her patience with him and each chance is missed. Elfique's version of Aredhel is temperamental, but also kind and sensitive and has a sense of humour. The piece set during the crossing of the Helcaraxe is especially lovely: I adore the description of Aredhel and Glorfindel's mutual embarrassment and her way of dealing with it. The ending, inevitably, is very sad, but would be sadder if Elfique did not permit them that final exchange.

Author response: Thank you for taking the time to read Unspoken and for leaving such a kind review! I'm so glad you felt the pairing was convincing, if unconventional - I always try to do things differently so I'm very pleased its worked in this instance. It looks as though you understood everything I set out to try and get across in this, especially Aredhel's personality - I really wanted to make her 'real' and give her some depth/substance as a character. Thank you again, your review has me smiling :)

Reviewed by: The Lauderdale  ✧  Score: 7

Although the subject matter is sad, this story is a lot of fun structurally. The tale is told in reverse, beginning with Glorfindel's attempt to dissuade Aredhel from leaving Gondolin. Next chapter: crossing the Helcaraxë, several hundred years before. Earlier still: Feanor's burning of the ships, stranding the majority of the Noldor in Aman. And so back in time, as we witness Glorfindel's pattern of uncertainty before a consistently proud and indomitable Aredhel. There are two occasions when that facade cracks, one of them the burning of the ships, when Aredhel is wracked with guilt for the slaughter of the Teleri and Glorfindel soothes her with a gentle lullaby as he keeps guard over her tent: a touching interlude against a backdrop of violence and betrayal. The might-have-been relationship between both characters is poignantly rendered. I also liked the side detail of a friendship between Glorfindel and Ecthelion, the other Balrog slayer.

Author response: Thanks very much for reading and reviewing The Unspoken. Thanks in particular for commenting on the story's structure, I wrote all the parts separately as the ideas came and then wasn't quite sure how to string them together - I'm really pleased you felt the final result worked!

Reviewed by: Fiondil  ✧  Score: 4

How often do we refuse or are unable to say the words that are needed to be said to another? How often do we stand mutely by, full of regrets? Elfique gives us such a moment (or a series of them), when three words could have changed the very course of the history of Middle-earth. It is, in one sense, a frightening thought and is enough to give one pause, to reflect on the power of words, spoken and unspoken, to change the course of one’s destiny. Well done.

Author response: Thank you very much for taking the time to read, and then review The Unspoken so favourably! I'm kind of amazed it made you think so much on how what we say/don't say; its funny as whilst I was writing this I didn't really have that angle in mind at all, it was just about him and her, until after I'd finished and read it all back! Thank you again.

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

Glorfindel is in love - and is loved back in return - but he cannot bring himself to admit it to anyone, least of all himself or the one he loves, and thus a case of unrequited love changes the course of history.

Author response: Thanks very much for taking the time to read and review The Unspoken!

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 2

Poignant, heart-breaking story of unrequited love. I really sympathized with Glorfindel while reading this. Well done.

Author response: Thank you so much for leaving such a lovely review, and for taking the time to read this peice.