The Burden of Sons

Author: Linaewen

Nominator: agape4gondor

2011 Award Category: Cross-Cultural: General - Third Place

Story Type: Story  ✧  Length: Short Story

Rating: General  ✧  Reason for Rating: N/A

Summary: Legolas contemplates the burden of responsibility placed upon himself and his companions by their fathers, and makes a vow.

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Reviewed by: Larner  ✧  Score: 10

I'd intended to nominate this story, but then someone else beat me to it, as has happened often enough this year. To see this meditation by Legolas of his duty, comparing it to what he sees in his companions, and as he evaluates the actions of Boromir, Aragorn, and Gimli in comparison to his own goals and choices, is to put oneself in that situation, and to realize that this ought to be the goal of all people of conscience. He sees himself as duty-bound to free his father from the fear of evil that Thranduil has known these past three thousand years, since his own father fell fighting Sauron the last time. And his meditations waken the same realization in the heart of the reader--that this is probably a good part of our purpose in life--to help relieve the fears of others, and to fulfill the desires of all our people to live free of coersion and to live fully. He does so in the wake of Boromir’s death, realizing that he, too, might be called upon to offer himself to see such a purpose reached, and finding that he is willing to make that sacrifice if it is needed. A wonderful work, exquisitely written, and well, well worth the reading. I only hope I can do half as well in my writing in the coming year as Linaewen has done here. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Kara's Aunty  ✧  Score: 10

This was a really good story. Can't remember reading one before of the impact of Boromir's death upon Legolas, but Linaewan sketches his thoughts and emotions perfectly, injecting an element of sad wistfulness as the Prince of Mirkwood wonders where the Man's fëa will go and whether he will ever see him again, given that the final fates of Men are known to very few. Legolas compassionate and forgiving nature is also evident as he weighs the goodness, loyalty and service of the man, decreeing them to vastly outweight his one little slip near the end of his life. Yes, Boromir will be missed indeed, for all that he believes himself fallen in honour. Perhaps it would bring his fëa comfort to know that he alone holds himself in such low esteem; the Fellowship and his kin will ever hold him in honour and love, for they all know that none among them is perfect. But this tale is about more than Legolas' opinion of Boromir, high though that is; Boromir's death seems to clarify what the task ahead means to both Legolas personally and to his other companions. It has him pondering their strengths for the trials to come: Aragorn's, Gimli's and, crucially, wondering if he possesses a similar strength of his own. Of course, he does; Legolas' determination to see the power of Sauron banished forever - that his own father, who has lived for millennia in dread of it arising again and destroying all that he loves, may be liberated from his fear forever - lends him all the strengh he needs, the same strength his friends have in abundance. The strength of love. Doesn't get more powerful than that, really. A well-crafted, thoughtful story exploring the burdens of responsibility, sacrifice and the love of sons for their fathers. Wonderful work.

Reviewed by: agape4gondor  ✧  Score: 7

The scene in RotK where the three left on the shores of the Anduin gather is brought to mind in this tale. I can just see Legolas as he looks out over the river-formed lake and ponders what the death of Boromir means, but more importantly, what his role now is. Legolas looks to the man and the drawf who stand beside him. His thoughts wander to the burdens each carries. The Ringbearer is off and no longer of immediate consequence. The three who remain on the west side of the Anduin must do something. I love the calmness of the elf. He stands and waits for Aragorn to delve through the doubt that assails him. He waits with the dwarf and contemplates fathers. I love that the title speaks of the burden of sons - whereas, it seems to me, the tale encompasses the burden of fathers. This is a nice little look into what each - Elf, Man, and Dwarf - have left behind. And what they still carry as baggage. A rock solid piece, well worth reading.

Reviewed by: Marta  ✧  Score: 7

I really liked this look at filial obligations, dynasty, and the role fear plays in it all. Of course, being an elf, Legolas would not have lived with the reality that the father must die and the son must carry on the father's business, as is the case with mortals. But I think he is right that, at least with Boromir and Aragorn, there is more going on than just that issue. There is a fear, and a need to bind. That's something that elves - at least the high-elves, a la Feanor - know all too well, and I found it quite interesting how Thranduil's fear created that commonality for Legolas. It is telling, I think, that in many ways Frodo of all the mortals in the Fellowship has to meet the dynastic concerns but his predecessor (Bilbo) does not bind him with oath or fear; Frodo takes up the burden freely (if out of ignorance), and Frodo does this in the tranquility of the Shire. That bodes well for Legolas in the Fourth Age, when (one hopes!) that sense of security would have more sway in more places.

Reviewed by: Linda Hoyland  ✧  Score: 5

I’m not a big Legolas fan, but I enjoyed this short story very much which explores Legolas’s thoughts after Boromir’s death, which leads him to reflect how Boromir and the surviving members of the fellowship are all bearing their father’s burdens in struggling to defeat Sauron and his evil. Aragorn’s family have fought for generations against the darkness, now Aragorn must make the final stand, while Legolas’s father and his people have long lived in fear, which saps away life and joy and hope and is no way to live. Legolas vows he will somehow free his father from this burden. A very thought provoking story, well worth reading.

Reviewed by: Darkover  ✧  Score: 4

What do sons owe their fathers? What are the responsibilities of a son? This thoughtful and insightful tale, written from the POV of Legolas, attempts to answer those questions. Perhaps because he is a near-immortal Elf, Legolas does not think much about how the outcome of the Ring War will affect future generations, but how it will affect his father, and the father and longfathers of his companions. Well worth reading.

Reviewed by: Adonnen Estenniel  ✧  Score: 3

The Burden of Sons is a very strong piece of writing. I think that Linaewen's choice to write in a stream-of-consciousness manner served to highlight the intensity and emotion of the writing, and also kept things moving in a very fluid way. Excellent!

Reviewed by: Liadan  ✧  Score: 3

This is an interesting story that explains how the Ring Quest is perceived by one of the major participants, Legolas, and how he attempts to understand it from his father's point of view.

Reviewed by: Ellynn  ✧  Score: 1

I love how Legolas is portrayed in this story very much. Beautifully done.