Arwen's Heart

Author: Bodkin

Nominator: Linda Hoyland

2006 Award Category: Genres: Romance - First Place

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Novel

Rating: G  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: What was Arwen doing as Estel grew up in Imladris? Did she - or her family - have any suspicions about what would happen? How did she deal with her fate?

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Reviewed by: Gandalfs apprentice  ✧  Score: 10

What a joy this story is! I read it at Stories of Arda as it was posted, and just re-read most of it again, promising myself that when I have more leisure, I will got back yet again to linger self-indulgently. Bodkin's wonderful blend of humor and drama and her vivid prose make this tale come alive. The characters are wonderful, and their interactions detailed and loving. I don't find the interweavings of exact quotes from Tolkien very convincing, however. "The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen" is in a very different style of heroic romance, which does not meld well with the novelist's art. Couldn't you recast these scenes in your own words? As it is, it pulls me out of the story, and instead of living breathing beings I see before me stock figures from the Appendix. This is not meant to put Tolkien down--not at all--but simply to point out a different style of storytelling. I don't think they blend successfully. Aside from that, my only complaint about this lovely story is the end. Sorry, but it rings so false! Please, can't you leave it to the reader to decide? That's as Tolkien left it, too--and in that he is more real than your tale. Yes, it's a fantasy, but this is taking fairy tale endings a bit far. Not only do they LIVE happily ever after, but they DIE happily ever after too.

Reviewed by: Perelleth  ✧  Score: 10

Someone had to tell Arwen's tale, and you do more than justice to her. There is no need for epic incidents, daring rides into the wild or more heroic deeds than those she made while leading her life, being the Star of her people, supporting her family through desperate moments, understanding and following her heart and meeting the most difficult fate for an Elf, that of leaving Arda and passing beyond the circles of the way. There are many things that I love in this tale, from structure to pacing to wording, but there are four moments that stand out more clearly: The conversation between Arwen and Gilraen, after Aragorn has declared himself to tArwen. Thre is such compassion between both women, each trying to step into the other's shoes, and such wisdom shared that it is very poignant, and rarely, if ever seen. A mother, and the daughter-in-law to be who is almost 3000 year old sharing a deep understanding of each other, the losses they are confronting and the difficult times that are still before them. Cerin Amroth. That is a delightful, most beautifully written recreation of The Moment. Also a very wise depiction of the attraction the Second born had over the Elves, even in their short lives. Aragorn's passing and Arwen's choice. Again compassion, in the way each take care of the feelings and emotions of thsoe surrounding them, Gimli, GLorfindel, the twins... the pain, the hopes anhe final decisions are perfectly depicted, moving, but never desperate or overly anguished. And the elegant paradox of the Epilogue, which is a very clever loop that leaves us with a happy smile. Throughout this long tale, the Arwen who sits and sews and watches from afar comes out as the steady, powerful heroine Tolkien meant.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 6

A thought provoking and deeply moving insight into Arwen's relationship with Aragorn and how she gradually came to love him.The final chapters are some of the most moving I have ever read anywhere including published literature. Arwen has gradually grown on me from something of a cypher to a remarkable,strong and amazing person, a fitting Quuen indeed for the King of Gondor and Arnor. I defy anyone to read Faramir's thoughts on death and Arwen's eventual acceptance without a tear in their eye. I was also deeply impressed by the insights into Elrond and Galadriel and the reasons why they had to leave Middle earth. This story truly brings Arwen to life and gives an insight into matters that Tolkien only hints at.

Reviewed by: stefaniab  ✧  Score: 6

"Arwen's Heart"is a nicely written story that moves at a graceful pace, like the elves who populate it. Bodkin characterizes Arwen as a strong willed elleth, who knows her own mind and makes her own decisions, despite pressures from her rather powerful family. I was amused at the sequences where her family and Glorfindel perceive Arwen as a delicate flower who must be protected. They seemed oblivious to her strength. This tale was my first venture into long, elf-centered fiction. I enjoyed hanging out with Elrond, Celeborn, and Glorfindel, but had difficulty differentiating between Elladan and Elrohir. Bodwin's Aragorn is well-drawn and thoroughly believable. The ending of this tale requires tissues, though it is hardly maudlin or overdone, which is proof of the power of Bodkin's story.

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 5

First I really like the way Arwen is portrayed in this story--truly queen-like from the onset. Very few authors capture the fact that arwen is an old, experienced elleth that was completely ready to be the Queen of Men as she became. I really like how strong and capable she is in this story. I also love the ending here. So many authors focus on Arwen's despair, and Tolkien meant for us to see that the end was bitter for her. But I think Tolkien would like the hope he sees in your stories because hope was such an important theme in his. So I was very happy to see them all reunited. Wonderful story!

Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 5

Had another not suggested this, I would have nominated it myself. A beautiful look at how Arwen might indeed have come to know Aragorn and realize she was meant to tie her fate to his, as well as the family's concerns about what she was choosing and its implications to themselves, their Estel, and Middle Earth itself. The writing is rich and lyrical, and well worth the reading. The imagery is sharp and in keeping with the Master's own writing. And I certainly hope that I might do anywhere as well looking at this romance and its conclusion, which is deeply spiritual in nature.

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 5

This is a great story about Arwen. She gets real in a way I haven't seen before. Although, I admit I haven't read that many stories about Arwen. The elves in this story are more down-to-earth than I have seen in most stories. They are missing a bit of the ethereal, but in a good way. They and their motives are easier to understand, and I feel more connected to them than in other stories. I was touched by Arwen's end. That in the end it was something beautiful for her even if she experienced a lot of pain before she could let go. It was harder for the elves she left behind, since they cannot really understand the Gift of Men.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Wonderfully realised relationships, complex and realistic. The emotions ring true, are poignant and very affecting (especially the talk Faramir had with Arwen in ch. 13 - and the scenes of the deaths of Aragorn and Arwen had me in tears). Clear, evocative descriptions, lovely imagery. I like the gradual development of the story, with its focus not merely on Aragorn and Arwen, but also on the events of the world around them. The characterisations are excellent, particularly Arwen: she is strong of mind, intelligent, and loving. It's clear why Aragorn loves her, and that she is more than just an award for him.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

This is an absolutely beautiful story. Arwen's strength and loyalty, of which we are offered only brief glimpses in canon, are here fleshed out completely believably. Yes, I can see in this Arwen a devotion and a love that could accept a destiny beyond her comprehension, and endure a forty-year betrothal, decades spent in a strang place among strange people, and finally, an acceptance of a fate beyond her ken. And the end--it made perfect sense, for to be beyond the bounds of Arda *is* to be beyond all time, where time is irrelevant, and to wait means nothing at all. A brilliant job!

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 4

This story has some really interesting scenes. The author captures adolescent Estel really well and also hints at the anger he must have felt at being deceived so much. Arwen's calculating nature and calm acceptance of her fate were also drawn well. We don't know much about her personality from canon, but I would expect this from what we know about her parents. All in all an interesting read.

Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon  ✧  Score: 4

The lovely scene between Faramir and Arwen at the end of his life, where he is able to offer wise and compassionate counsel to the Evenstar, would delight me in itself, but the rest of this beautiful story is equally moving, a gorgeous tapestry of magic and romance and faith. Excellent characterisation of Arwen, which is no easy feat, since Tolkien's vision of her can be said to be less accessible to modern readers than that of Eowyn or even Galadriel.

Reviewed by: Dwimordene  ✧  Score: 3

Large, sprawling story that tries to pull together Arwen's story, from before Aragorn ever arrived in Rivendell, to death and beyond. Some nice character moments, though with so much time covered, the jumps between episodes can be jarring. Nevertheless, good to see an effort to tell so large a part of Arwen's tale.

Reviewed by: Llinos  ✧  Score: 3

This is above all things a most satisfying love story. I do not think that I have ever seen the character of Arwen written with such depth and understanding. The ending especially was very beautiful and filled with hope for us all.

Reviewed by: Rose  ✧  Score: 3

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to finish this before the end of voting season, so I can't do it full justice in a review. However, I just wanted to say that I enjoyed the first chapter very much, and I do plan to read the rest!