Tangled Web

Author: daw the minstrel

Nominator: elliska

2005 Award Category: Books/Time: The Hobbit - First Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Novella

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: Violence

Summary: A gap filler for The Hobbit. Legolas helps to defend the Woodland Realm, while, elsewhere, unknown forces are on the move. Great events are astir in the Woodland Realm in 2941 TA. This is how they looked to the Wood-elves.

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Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 10

It is really hard for me to say which of your stories is my favorite, daw, but this one is right up there. I always wished that Tolkien showed more of the Mirkwood elves in The Hobbit, so this story is a dream come true for me. Your version of everything that happened behind the scenes was absolutely perfect. I love that it was Tonduil's wedding feast that the dwarves saw/interrupted. And Magic!Thranduil was great to see. I felt so badly for Sinnarn since he was the 'drunk' guard. That sequence was absolutely painful to read since I like him so much. I felt so bad for him (and the punishment you devised for him could not have been worse). But I loved the way Thranduil and Emmelin reacted--everyone needs unconditional love, especially at times like that. And Legolas was great in this. I really enjoyed confident, lieutenent Legolas. He is so close to Fellowship Legolas here. Except for his problem with the child Hobbit (that was too comical). I guess he remembered what a Hobbit was when he saw them again in Imladris! And you did an outstanding job portraying the Battle of the Five Armies and Thranduil's interactions with the men and dwarves. Battles scenes re hard to write, and even more so when you have to show someone else's fixed strategy. I like how you showed how the battle affected all the people involved (even though so many people died--it was sad, but very realistic given how Tolkien describes the battle). This was an absolutely fantastic gap-filler. I loved it!

Reviewed by: Karenator  ✧  Score: 10

I can't tell you have much I enjoyed this whole tale. You did a superior job of telling it from the Elves' perspective. Your battles were so well done and realistically portrayed. I think war is a horrible thing and much worse than I can even imagine. I knew we had to expect deaths...that's the way of war...but I can't help but feel bad for the OC's we lost. I think Galelas was the most sad for me. He'd come so far personally and professionally under Eilian's kind guidance. I even felt bad for Tinar. He was shocked back to reality by his brother's death. I suppose even arrogant fools still love their family and friends. I don't know how this will impact him in the future, but at this moment, he's a grieving brother, and I can't help but feel for him at such a time. The whole Woodland Realm will be in mourning for those lost...even the unnamed ones that we simply know died. The main characters were wonderful. Thranduil is indeed the greatest Elven-king. He's shrewd, but wise, nevering losing sight of what was really important. He raised his sons well. Eilian and Legolas stepped up when needed and proved themselves competent and mature. Adar saw his sons in a new light. Sometimes parents can be the last to see their child as no longer a child. All our energy goes into seeing them to this point and are probably the most surprised when we find they've reached it. If we do our jobs well as parents, we put ourselves out of a job. Good for Thranduil for acknowledging this. You did a great job of showing strong, competent Ithilden's weakness: His family. I know Sinnarn was nearly a goner, but I'm glad you didn't let him get killed. I would hate to think of that pain it would have caused Ithilden and Alfirin. (That's the parent in me suffering with them.) There are so many little things about the story that I found just wonderful that it would take me all day and most likely bore you to tears if I were to list them all. Let me just say that you gave such warmth and terror, political intrigue and mystery to Tolkien's tale. Shoot! I think he would even be impressed with the thorough job you did telling the story from the Elves' point of view. I don't think I'll ever read the Hobbit again and not picture your story going on behind the scenes. Thanks, daw. You've given me much pleasure in reading this. This is absolutely one of my favorite stories.

Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger  ✧  Score: 8

A tangled web indeed! The sheer scope and depth that Daw brought to the world of the Wood-Elves was mind-boggling. Working against the backdrop of events within The Hobbit, Daw managed to bring to life a connected story that was just as complicated and involved as Bilbo's adventure, if not more so. So many things are explained, such as the dwarves' sudden blindness, the reason the Wood-Elves were out celebrating, their involvement in Dol Guldur, their anger toward both the dwarves and the spiders, etc. I don't think anything was missed, and the amount of detail that this adds to canon makes for a very enriching read. I think my favorite part was actually the journey south that ousted Sauron from Dol Guldur. Glorfindel was an excellent character with a wonderfully wry sense of humor that blended well with Eilien and Ithilden. But I very much enjoyed the fact that Legolas seemed to think Bilbo was the child of Dori and Nori, too. Great story all around, and it fits easily into canon as presented in The Hobbit.

Reviewed by: picara  ✧  Score: 7

This is simply the best version of The Hobbit from the point of view of the elves that has ever been written! I loved it. First of all, I am a big fan of Thranduil and you showed all the wonderful sides of him in this--magical Thranduil, angry Thranduil, good father/grandfather Thranduil, warrior Thranduil, King Thranduil! Incredible. I loved how he managed Sinnarn (both after he 'lost' the dwarves and when he is wounded and Thranduil lets go of being king to be father and grandfather). I love his reaction when the dwarves were lost (I always wished that Tolkien had written that. And poor Sinnarn! I can't believe you did that to a member of your regular cast (made him the guard). What a punishment--a position lower than Tinar's. Ouch! And I was so glad to get to see the mission to Dol Guldur too (another part I wish Tolkien had let us see). That was very well done. This was a wonderful story!

Reviewed by: Larian Elensar  ✧  Score: 6

I loved reading this story. We knew all about the elves from the dwarves' perspectives, but to see it from the elves, was a real treat! Poor Legolas! And Poor Sinnarn! I wondered about that when I read the Hobbit--just how much trouble the elven guards were in for letting the dwarves escape. I wonder if Saruman was turning bad at this point already. He certainly seemed like it. Now then, after the battle. I know warriors have to die, but two of them that we've all come to know and love a little. And again, poor Sinnarn. I know Nithron died doing what he was supposed to do, but that would be a difficult burden to bear, I know I'd feel guilty if anyone died for me.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

Oh my goodness! What a long and wonderful read! I normally only read hobbit-fic, although of course this did have Bilbo in it, but even the focus on Elves was not enough to turn away my interest. Of course, like any gap-filler, I knew the ultimate outcome, but the author managed to make me forget that half the time, and cause me to worry about the survival of characters that I *knew* would survive. The pacing was tense, and swept me along, and the mix of humor and drama and action was masterful. I also loved the natural weaving of canon quotes into the story. Very well done!

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 4

Brilliant. Well written. Well researched. Fits in perfectly with the events of the Hobbit and provides the Wood Elves viewpoint of the events. In addition to liking the characterisations of the elves, I also rather took to Bilbo - and Bard. And I have to say yet again - poor, poor Sinnarn. The ending was full of promise - and the whole story combined humour, adventure and grief effectively.

Reviewed by: jastaelf  ✧  Score: 3

daw, please forgive me for cutting and pasting.... I wanted to make sure I got everything reviewed if I could possibly do so....
I love all your stories, as I hope you know, and this is no exception. My favourite line: (or one of them anyway): And then Legolas could contain himself no longer. He leaned into his brother’s arms and wept and knew that, in his embrace, Eilian too was crying. Why my favourite? Because by then I was sobbing too... :-)
Thank you for this wonderful story and for all your stories!!