Through all the Changing Scenes of Life

Author: Linda Hoyland

Nominator: Raksha the Demon

2011 Award Category: Post-Ring War and Beyond: Gondor - Second Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: Teen  ✧  Reason for Rating: Mature Language/Themes

Summary: Aragorn must say goodbye to an old friend. Written for the Teitho contest - "Heartbreak".

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Reviewed by: Virtuella  ✧  Score: 10

Dear Linda, I really enjoyed this touching and sensitive story. I do not live with animals and hence have no emotional attachments to them, but I do remember being very fond of an old carriage horse at a holiday camp, and saddened when it died. Obviously those who live in close contact with their horses and rely on them for their very survival will have strong bonds with them and feel deeply when such an animal dies. I like how in this story Aragorn is encouraged by Faramir to allow himself to grieve. It does Faramir credit that he does not try to appease Aragorn or feeds him some trivial stock consolation. I believe it is one of the greatest disservices we can do people not to allow them to express their feelings of bereavement, and yet this often happens, possibly because we feel awkward and helpless about other people’s grief. You have done a good job of showing an example of handling such a situation with wisdom and empathy. Furthermore, the conclusion of the story steers clear of the soppiness it could so easily have ended in. There is no dramatic response from Aragorn, just a tentative smile and the willingness to accept things as they are. Much of this is due to the down-to-earth attitude of Éowyn, which you have captured very well here.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 10

This is an unusual look at the passing of time during Aragorn's storied life. In real life, our pets are a mirror for our mortality, since very often we watch them grow from young animals into their prime to age and then finally pass away. Here, King Elessar faces the death of his beloved horse, Roheryn, brought to him by the Grey Company in LOTR to bear him on his passage through the Paths of the Dead and other legendary exploits. But the story is more than the touching death of a worthy and much-loved horse. As Aragorn comforts the old horse during his dying hours, the stallion's mortality shows Aragorn the passing of time. Aragorn may be a long-lived and still-healthy Dunadan, but his friends Faramir and Eowyn are showing signs of age; and Aragorn feels the changing of the world and the mortality of all those he loves with a special sorrow. We all wish that we could stay healthy and strong forever; and that those we love would never grow old and leave us. Linda Hoyland shows the mark left by Roheryn not only on Aragorn's kind heart, but on the memories of the Rangers who help him bury the stallion, as the horse passes from life into memory and legend. And the ending is lovely, a reminder that life not only does go on, it springs up young and fresh in the wake of death.

Reviewed by: Wtiger  ✧  Score: 5

You would think that I would remember not to read this story at work. I get teary eyed every time I read it. It is so sweet and powerful. People often forget that animals have spirits of their own and that they can be as faithful or more so than people. They truly become members of the family and you have represented that so well in this story. I can well imagine Aragorn's heartbreak as his friend and companion succumbs to old age. I also love the irony and slight humor that Eowyn brings when she speaks of an old horse jumping so high. Perhaps Roheryn knew his time was short and he wished to leave his master with more than just memories.

Reviewed by: Ragnelle  ✧  Score: 4

This is a well-written story that shows the bond that can, and often will, exist between a horse and rider. All who have worked with horses know this feeling of that special horse that no other really can come close to, and the sadness that we outlive them. What I was particularly touched by, was the scene where Roheryn dies. It was a death that all horses would have liked, and too few get.

Reviewed by: Oshun  ✧  Score: 4

The loss of a horse is an enormous, life-altering experience, perhaps because of the strength of bonds which often forms between men and horses, or the very grandeur of the nature of the horse itself. This story reflects on parting, change and loss through the medium of describing a farewell to a very special horse, one with whom its owner experienced unequaled life events. Letting go of the horse in this case is like letting go of other closely held memories.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 3

This is a fitting tribute to a horse like Roheryn. I like it that Aragorn could say a proper good-bye to his faithful steed. Aragorn is right, having the long lifespan of the Numenoreans brings with it a lot of heartbreak.

Author response: Many thanks for all your much appreciated reviews . I am so pleased that you enjoyed my stories.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 3

with this story, Linda gives us another lovely, touching tale about Aragorn. My favorite part of this story is the very end, when the readers (and Aragorn) find out about Rana. It is a detail that eases his pain. Wonderfully done!

Reviewed by: Antane  ✧  Score: 3

I love the encouraging end, that life does indeed go on. Love the image of such a dear friend now running free forever somewhere far beyond old age, grief and illness. Also Faramir's comforting arms. What a nice gift to get and that of the new life as the old dies.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 2

A touching look at a distressing point in Aragorn's life. Told with wonderful depth of emotion.